When it comes to buying the right fitness tracker, the characteristic of water-resistance can often be a deciding factor. Whether you are looking for wearables for swimming or just want a fitness tracker will survive a rainy day, getting a water resistant device is a solid investment.
Waterproof wearables do not exist and regulation prohibits watches and fitness wearables from being marketed as such. This is because, there is always a certain level of water pressure at which a wearable will begin to leak. Activity trackers can therefore only be marked as water-resistant. You should always check the markings on your device or the manufacturers website before taking a fitness tracker into a shower or a pool.
Essential reading: Explaining water-resistance ratings for your gadgets.
The list below shows our pick of the best water resistant fitness trackers and swimming wearables you can buy today.
This fitness tracker aims to teach you the concepts of a healthy life. The truly novel feature of the Moov is real-time coaching feedback in a wide variety of exercise programs. At the moment, Moov is pretty much out on its own for what it can do. The device tracks your movements, analyzes them and gives you a comprehensive report on how you are doing, after, a well as during the workout.
For swim tracking, Moov Now will provide you with: stroke count & stroke rate, distance per stroke, turn time, rest time and calories burned. The device analyses your movement to detect whether you swam freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly, backstroke or an IM. The app provides you with detailed info which you can use to learn to lower your stroke rate, increase distance per stroke, review your rests (and when they help or hurt your endurance), and see how your performance changes with each swim.
The original model was meant to be worn only during workouts so was not intended to be used as a standard activity tracker – in contrast, the Moov Now is designed for all-day use. The tracker will measure your activity level and active time, in addition to automatically monitoring your sleep at night.
Heart rate training has been utilized by the top athletes in all sports in order to improve their training. The Aqua Pulse uses an accurate infrared sensor that clips to the earlobe in order to pick up the swimmer’s heart rate. Simply slip the device inside your goggle strap, attach the soft rubber clip to your earlobe, and go swim.
The device audibly communicates to you your heart rate in real time, with information being transmitted directly to your inner ear via Bone Conduction Technology. This is a unique sound transfer technology that communicates sound vibrations through the temple bone to the inner ear. Which means, no ear buds, cumbersome chest straps, or watch devices are needed.
The heart rate announcements are made in 10, 20, 30, 45 second or 1, 2, 5 minute increments. Complete with a lithium-ion rechargeable battery, you can use the AquaPulse from 5-8 hours depending on the interval setting. Simply plug the integrated USB directly into a USB port on your computer to recharge.
Wearables company Misfit has partnered with Speedo to create an activity tracker designed for swimmers. The device uses similar hardware to other versions of the Shine, but adds new algorithms to its firmware.
Speedo Shine is worn on the wrist and capable of tracking both swim distance and lap count, regardless of swim stroke. It syncs with the Misfit app for iOS and Android and displays laps and swim distance, along with calories burned and points earned. The device will soon also work with Speedo’s personalized swim tracking app, Speedo Fit.
Alternatively, you could go for the Shine 2 which is water resistant to 50 metres. At only 8mm thick it is Misfit’s thinnest wearable ever. With zero cables, an elegant design, and no need to recharge – the Shine 2 is one of the best-looking, lowest-maintenance activity trackers. The device, which tracks a good deal of activity, can be worn anywhere as it is very small and light. In addition to tracking steps, calories and distance, Shine 2 provides detail on your nightly deep, light and REM cycles as well as total sleep duration and periods when you were awake. You can also set the vibrating alarm to wake you up.
Misfit made activity tracking accessible for everyone with its Shine trackers. As something to look at, Misfit wearables work well and we love their low-maintenance status and reasonable price.
The Vivoactive successor takes all of the features from the original device but upgrades it with a heart rate monitor and a sleeker, albeit slightly bulkier, new design. The device looks similar to the Fitbit Surge and features a rectangular, always-on, Garmin Chroma touchscreen display. The improved screen is sunlight readable with a resolution of 148 x 205 pixels.
The Vivoactive HR counts steps, intensity minutes, monitors sleep, and now with the addition of a barometric altimeter, the number of floors climbed. The device uses 24/7 wrist-based heart rate data to calculate calories burned as well as the intensity of fitness activities.
The fitness band offers 50 metres water-resistance, and in this case, they actually want you to swim with it since the device tracks swimming. With the swimming feature, you can track number of lanes, distance, pace and stroke rate, calories burned and the swimming efficiency indicator (SWOLF score).
Vivoactive HR also includes Garmin Move IQ™, a feature that recently arrived via a software update, which continuously monitors for periods of sustained activity. This is essentially auto-recognition for running, swimming, cycling and elliptical. Rather conveniently, you don’t need to push buttons any more to start tracking workouts. Once synced with Garmin Connect, users can review their full day of activity in a Timeline view.
Dont confuse the Alpha 2 with a daily activity tracker such as the Microsoft Band 2, Fitbit Charge HR or Jawbone Up3. It was not built for this purpose. Its main strength is that it offers accurate heart rate tracking from the wrist at performance levels.
Alpha 2’s heart rate sensors work continuously no matter what type of exercise you are doing. The device is safe for swimming and is water resistant to 30 meters as long as you don’t press any buttons underwater. Many Alpha users have had success monitoring heart rate while swimming, although the accuracy of the watch depends on the style. The more you use your arms, the less accurate the readings.
If you are looking for a sports watch and are really into heart-rate training, Alpha 2 is the one to go for.
The Finis Neptune V2 is a MP3 player lets you listen to music as you swim. The wearable provides the highest quality sound in the water without the use of ear buds. The device has been cleverly designed using Bone Conduction audio transmission to transmit crystal clear audio through the cheekbones directly into the inner ear.
With 4GB of storage, which is enough for around 1000 songs or 60 hours of playback, aquatic athletes can listen to music, podcasts and even audiobooks. The included charging cable also allows for quick song upload to the device from your computer or iTunes.
The 3-piece design has 2 side speakers and a high contrast OLED screen that sits on the back of the head. The screen shows the song, artist and play status for each use. Neptune attaches securely to goggle straps and rests on the cheekbones as to not interfere with swimming technique. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery has a life span of approximately 8 hours, so you need not worry even if you are a long distance swimmer.
The Withings Activite and Activite Pop watches are a clever, stylish blend of everyday watch and connected fitness band that look good, are fun and easy to use. This unobtrusive device has a good battery life, is water resistant and automatically tracks activity and sleep. Activite is one of those rare watches that works in pretty much every situation. You could wear it not only during business hours, but also for a formal event, as well as light hiking or other light sporting events.
All you have to do is wear your Withings Activite while swimming. It will automatically detect that you’re swimming and track your session without any action required on your part. The algorithm works best with breaststroke and crawl. Also, swim detection has been calibrated in 25 meter and 50 meter-wide pools. Once you’re done swimming, the Withings Health Mate app will let you know how long your session was and how many calories you’ve burned.
While there are definitely more advanced fitness trackers, and more advanced smartwatches, the Activite is designed to look and feel normal. And it does this very well.
PoolMates are designed in the UK by a triathlete family who was sick of losing track of laps and thought that there had to be a better way of tracking your swim sessions.
The device is essentially a plastic wristband that contains MEMS accelerometers to capture the motion of your arms. The wearable times your swim and calculates lap count, average strokes, speed, calories and efficiency levels.
The efficiency index is based on the Swim Golf method. It is the number of strokes taken over 25 metres plus the time taken to swim 25 metres. So to increase your efficiency and improve your swimming you need to concentrate on reducing this number.
Pool Mate 2 works with all major strokes and is fully automatic. It will sense when you start a new lap without you having to do a thing, apart from pressing the start button, and swimming. As long as you have a regular stroke and take more than 7 strokes per lap (on the arm the watch is worn on) you should have accurate results, of both individual sets and total session data.
Garmin Swim is ready to go right out of the box. Just tell it the size of the pool you’re swimming in and begin your workout.
The device automatically recognises the type of stroke you are using and tracks your lengths, strokes, distance and pace. You can also log drills or start timed intervals without constantly monitoring the pool clock. Similar to Pool Mate 2, at the end of the swim Garmin’s wearable will give you a score that shows how efficient you are with your strokes and an overall time per 100m.
Most of this data can be viewed on the watch when you hit pause. For more detailed data and to view your progress over time, sync your watch to Garmin Connect. You can also share your workout data with your coaches, workout buddies, or friends and family.
For ease of use, the interface utilizes 6 exterior buttons, so each and every function can be accessed easily. You can also leave it on after the swim, as the device is slim and attractive enough to be worn as a daily watch,
The iHealth wave is a new swimming tracker that also doubles up as a basic activity tracker. The device is capable of monitoring your number of steps, distance travelled and calories burned, sleep as well as swimming.
The round tracker comes in a water-resistant wrist band but it can also be removed to be worn in a pocket when you are not in the pool. You can choose from the four different colours pictured above.
For swimming tracking the Wave is built to handle up to 30 metres depth and can sit in salt water too. In a pool the app can be used to set pool length for tracking, but it will also track open water swimming. The device will track the duration of your swim session, it will automatically recognise the type of swim stroke, it will dish out metrics on the number of movements and movements per minute as well as calories burned.
iHealth says the Wave will last a up to 7 days on a full charge but that will be reduced with swim tracking to around 5 days.
The Swimsense Live is the next generation of the Finis Swimsense device. The tracker has been updated with more accurate propriatery tracking systems, new swim-specific data, and Bluetooth for real-time results.
The tracker has been engineered to capture stroke count, total distance, pace, calories burned, distance per stroke, SWOLF (efficiency score), and more. It also features an OLED screen so you can view your workout data in real time.
The app has also received a revamp. You can now track workout times, laps, calories burned, stroke specific analytics, and more. A new web platform has also been thrown into the mix for added convenience.
The tracker has an IPX8 water resistance rating, built to withstand continuous water immersion. Due to the added functionality battery life is 7 hours, down from 12 hours on the original device.
Like this article? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and never miss out!