Pretty much every smartwatch is water resistant these days, making them equipped to handle a dip in the pool and even survive for an open water swim. But some are way better than others at tracking your swims accurately.

With more smartwatches now able to tell your breast stroke from your front crawl, it can also be difficult to pick between all the best options.

After extensive testing from the Wareable team, we’ve ranked the best waterproof smartwatch to swim with as the Garmin Vivoactive 4 – but that doesn’t necessarily make it the right choice for everyone.

We’ve been swimming with every smartwatch in our testing process – here’s the best in the business.

1. Garmin Vivoactive 4

Price when reviewed: $299.99/£299.99

Garmin Vivoactive 4

We might still be waiting to see if we ever get a Garmin Vivoactive 5, but for the money, the Garmin Vivoactive 4 feels like a solid waterproof watch, blurring the lines between a regular smartwatch and the company’s typical crop of sports watches. It’s one that works with Android and iPhones too.

Like the older Garmin Vivoactive 3 range, the 4 delivers great swim tracking accuracy – and remain waterproof and resistant to pressure up to 5 ATM (50 metres).

Of course, as with any Garmin, half of the experience is looking through your data after workouts. And in Garmin Connect, you’ll find a dedicated swimming screen in Garmin Connect, showing data on distance, time, stroke, SWOLF, temperature, pace, speed and more.

This is also a smartwatch that has full access to Garmin’s Connect IQ store, letting you bolster that swim tracking experience with additional apps like Swimming App Professional and extra data fields.

The transflective display ensures you can view your real-time swim data under the water better than Garmin’s color display-packing Venu 2 watch (more on that below). While there’s no open water swim tracking support, like you’ll find with more expensive Garmin devices, this is an ideal choice for those who spend a decent amount of time in the pool and a solid smartwatch experience outside of that time too.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water: Pool only

2. Apple Watch Series 7 and SE

Best waterproof smartwatch 2022: top watches you can swim with

Not a huge deal changed on the swim tracking front for the Series 7, but that’s not a bad thing. That’s because the Apple Watch is one of the best smartwatches we’ve taken into the water.

Like the Series 6, you’re getting all the same swimming abilities from previous Apple Watch models but you now have larger cases sizes and more screen estate to show off your swim data in the pool or the open water.

You’ll get served a host of metrics, including distance covered, lengths, average pace, and it can distinguish stroke style, as well.

During the swim, the touchscreen is inactive, but the always-on display does mean you can raise your arm to check in on real-time progress.

In terms of accuracy, the Apple Watch is up there with the dedicated sports watches and the experience overall of taking it swimming is very good.

Core data (distance, lap counts, average pace) were all pretty much in line, and it’s a really comfortable watch to wear in the water. Data lives in the Apple Activity app, but you also have the benefit of third party Apple Watch swimming apps for that extra hit of analysis.

If you don’t want to spend big, the Apple Watch SE essentially offers you the same tracking experience in the pool and open water and the same smartwatch experience too for less money.

Both are up there with the Garmin as being one of the best smartwatches to hit the water with, and it has the added benefit of being great to wear out of the pool, too.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water: Yes

3. Garmin Venu 2

Price when reviewed: $399.99/£349.99

Garmin Venu 2

The Venu 2 was the second Garmin watch to pack a full color AMOLED touchscreen display and now it’s gone bigger, brighter and sharper with that display to make it a much nicer watch to live with in and out of the water.

Like our top pick the Vivoactive 4, it largely mirrors that cheaper Garmin with the very same pool swim tracking features, albeit you have a better quality touchscreen display to show off your real-time metrics. Those metrics include basics like distance, pace, stroke count, SWOLF and calories. Garmin does now add the ability to view intensity minutes within the Garmin Connect app to assess how hard you worked in your pool session.

It will also detect type of stroke, offer a basic rest timer and offer underwater heart rate monitoring. Though, how reliable that HR monitoring is firmly up for debate.

Post-swim, your data can be viewed on the watch, and you can dig deeper inside of the Garmin Connect app. Garmin does also play nice with third party apps like Strava, if you want to earn some Kudos too.

While the Venu 2 might get you slightly less battery life than the Vivoactive 4, it should still offer up a solid amount of tracking time in the water before you need to charge it up again.

And if you don’t want to shell out for the Garmin Venu 2, you can pick up the Garmin Venu Sq for less. The newer, and more expensive Venu 2 Plus doesn’t offer anything radically different on the swim tracking front, so the Venu 2 is the one to go for in our eyes.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water: Pool only

4. Garmin Epix (Gen 2)

Price when reviewed: $899/£799

Best waterproof smartwatch 2022: top watches you can swim with

The Garmin Epix (Gen 2) is best described as a Fenix with an AMOLED screen and it’s giving you the best that Garmin has to offer in swim tracking features.

It works for pool, open water swimming and swimruns, it has a higher waterproof rating than the Vivoactive and Venu series watches and you’re getting a bigger screen to view your data on.

Performance-wise, it works as well as the swim tracking offered on other Garmins. You have a rich array of metrics to capture, including distance, pace, stroke count and SWOLF scores.

In the pool, you can set up auto rests, pace alerts and includes the drill logging feature from its Swim watches.

There’s support for underwater heart rate monitoring, though you’d be better off pairing up a swim-friendly heart rate chest strap to get more reliable insights into your effort levels.

Battery life is solid too, giving you potentially up to 16 days, with that dropping down to 6 days if you keep the display on 24/7.

If you like the idea of a more feature-rich Garmin that has more to offer swimmers, this is the one to grab.

Waterproof rating: 10 ATM (100m) | Pool and open water: Yes

5. Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Price when reviewed: From $249/£249

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

The Galaxy Watch 4 is Samsung’s latest smartwatch and marks a huge software departure from the Galaxy Watch 3 and the Watch Active 2. It runs on Google’s Wear OS 3, giving you access to Google features like the Play Store and download Google apps.

In terms of its sports tracking prowess, it still feels very Samsung from that point of view and that means you can expect similar swim tracking in the pool and open water from it. It’s also waterproof up to 50 metres depth like the Watch 3 and the Watch Active 2.

It’s a smartwatch that will let you view metrics like distance, strokes, lap time and SWOLF (to measure swimming efficiency) from the Super AMOLED display. With Wear OS now on board, you have access to third party apps to track swims outside of Samsung’s own Health companion app.

Unlike previous smartwatches, the Watch 4 only works with Android phones. It does offer good accuracy on the whole in the water and is one that’s comfortable to wear in the water too.

If you want a Wear OS smartwatch that’s running the latest software and offers swim tracking too, this is one you should be looking at.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water: Yes

6. Fitbit Versa 3

Price when reviewed: $199.95/£179.99

Fitbit Versa 3

The Fitbit Ionic, Fitbit’s first smartwatch has essentially been retired, so if you want a Fitbit smartwatch for swimming, you’re going to need to look at the Versa 3.

Along with a slimmer, smaller design than the Ionic, it offers all of the same swim tracking features, so you’ll be able to view lengths, distance covered and workout duration on the touchscreen display.

It doesn’t display the type of stroke and there’s no SWOLF data available, so data-hungry swimmers might find the experience a little underwhelming, but it’s a good swimming smartwatch for beginners or casuals.The swim tracking experience feels a little basic in terms of what you see on the watch. And when you’ve showered and dressed, the post-swim data is similarly basic and the emphasis once again is on how this activity contributes to your overall day’s data.

Fitbit’s other smartwatch, the health-centric Sense, also offers the same swim tracking support, so you’ll paying the extra money for the additional serious health monitoring features available.If you want a data-rich swim tracking experience, that’s not what you’ll get here. It’s a good fit for swimmers who just want to go for a dip and are not fussed about digging into more advanced metrics.

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water: Pool only

7. Amazfit GTS 3/GTR 3

Price: $179.99/£159.99

Amazfit GTS 3/GTR 3

Chinese tech outfit Zepp Health is responsible for making the Xiaomi Mi Band and also makes Amazfit watches that are equipped to live in the water as well as the land.

There’s a few options we could pick from its collection, but the incoming GTS 3 and GTR 3 are ones that should satisfy your need for a smartwatch with good swim tracking features. And the GTR 3 Pro is also excellent.

You’ve got your pick of square and round case looks each packing AMOLED touchscreen displays with 150 sports modes on offer that does cover swimming. There’s GPS as well for tracking open water swims.

You can expect similar features to the GTS 2 and the GTR 2 tracking stats like pace, distance, SWOLF and they’ll recognise stroke type too.

Data lives inside of the Zepp app, but there’s also the ability to sync data to Strava.

Both watches promises an improved 24-day battery life and thankfully sports tracking doesn’t dent that battery in any really undesirable way.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money and like the idea of being able to track in the pool and the open water, it’s an option to definitely consider.

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