Head off to the pool with one of these gadgets

Too cold to run outdoors? How about indoor swimming as an alternative way to get fit? While the characteristic of water-resistance can often be an overlooked factor when it comes to buying a fitness tracker, it is something important to look for.

Essential reading: Compare swim trackers with our interactive tool

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 to a particular depth. You should always check the markings on your device or the manufacturers website before taking a fitness tracker into a shower or a pool.

Whether you are looking for a wearable for swimming or just want a fitness tracker that will survive a rainy day, getting a water resistant device is a solid investment. Read on for our pick of the best swim trackers you can buy today.

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Fitbit Flex 2 | Apple Watch Series 3 | Moov Now | Misfit Shine 2 Swimmers Edition | Garmin Vivoactive 3 | Finis Duo | Swimovate PoolMate 2 | Garmin Swim | Finis Swimsense Live | TomTom Spark 3 | Garmin Forerunner 935 | Fitbit Ionic


Fitbit Flex 2

Water resistance: 50 metres | View full technical specs

Waterproof fitness trackerFlex 2 is Fitbit’s slimmest tracker yet and for the first time for a Fibit device is water resistant.

Some 30% smaller than the predecessor model, Flex 2 sports a removable core unit and interchangeable slim, classic fitness bands in seven colors. A simple LED display uses color-coded lights to show progress toward your daily goal, and keeps you connected with call and text notifications.

There is a full range of options if you wish to customise the tracker. You can choose from a range of luxe, premium mirror-finish bangles in silver stainless steel, and 22k-plated gold or rose gold stainless steel, or elegant lariat-style necklaces in silver stainless steel or 22k-plated gold stainless steel.

More importantly, this is Fitbit’s first swim-proof wristband. The device is water resistant up to 50 meters, whether you’re in the shower, pool or ocean, and it automatically tracks your pool swims including laps, duration and calories burned in the Fitbit app.

For those on a budget, Flex 2 covers the basics when it comes to swim tracking.

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Apple Watch Series 3

Water resistance: 50 metres | View full technical specs

Waterproof fitness tracker

While the Cupertino company didn’t deliver a significant design refresh in 2017, new components in Apple Watch Series 3 make it better, while software upgrades makes it smarter and more useful. You finally have a better reason to want an Apple Watch.

While the main news may be cellular connectivity, the watch carries over the 50 meter water resistance of the predecessor device. Yes, you can wear Apple Watch Series 3 in the shower and read those all-important emails while taking a bath.

The timepiece also comes with its own Pool Swim workout mode as well as open water swim. At the end of a session, the watch displays the time of day the activity took place, dominant stroke used (auto-detection is used), distance, workout time, pool length, laps completed, average pace, average heart rate, and both active and total calories burned, as well as the weather at your location.

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Moov Now

Water resistance: 3 metres | View full technical specs

Waterproof fitness tracker

Waterproof fitness trackerThis fitness tracker aims to teach you the concepts of a healthy life. Its truly novel feature is real-time coaching feedback in a wide variety of exercise programs. 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.

Essential readingExplaining water-resistance ratings for your gadgets

For swim tracking, Moov Now will provide you with: stroke count and stroke rate, distance per stroke, turn time, rest time and calories burned. The device automatically detects your stroke type and 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.

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Misfit Shine 2 Swimmers Edition

Water resistance: 50 metres | View full technical specs

Waterproof fitness trackerWearables company Misfit has partnered with Speedo to create an activity tracker designed exclusively for swimmers. The device uses similar hardware to other versions of the Shine, but adds new algorithms to its firmware.

Speedo Shine 2 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.

In August last year, Misfit announced that two of its most popular trackers, the Shine 2 and Ray, have been upgraded to track laps and swim distance. The added functionality, which requires a one-off $10 purchase, is available via in-app upgrades for both iOS and Android. This is essentially a firmware refresh which uploads and enables the algorithm Misfit already uses in its Speedo Shine range of activity trackers.

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Amazon | Misfit


Vivoactive 3

Water resistance: 50 metres | View full technical specs

Vivoactive 3 is the successor to the Vivoactive HR, a Swiss knife of activity trackers. Garmin has realised that it needs to introduce a less bulky form factor if it is to appeal to a larger demographic. And on that count, the Vivoactive 3 does not dissapoint.

There are 15 built-in sports profiles, including new ones for snowboarding, cardio, yoga, eliptical and stair stepper. Vivoactive 3 will also let you mix it up by creating customized workouts. Other new features include VO2Max and stress/workout tracking.

In the water the Vivoactive 3 does a fairly decent job of monitoring your swim sessions with lengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories and swim efficiency (SWOLF). It also detects the type of stroke you are using, and can distinguish between freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly.

Rather conveniently, you don’t need to push buttons any more to start monitoring workouts as the device continuously scans for periods of sustained activity. This is essentially auto-recognition for running, swimming, cycling and elliptical.

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Amazon | Garmin


Finis Duo Underwater MP3 Player

Waterproof fitness trackerWater resistance: 3 metres | View full technical specs

On outlier on this list, Finish Duo 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.

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Swimovate PoolMate 2

Water resistance: 50 meters | View technical specs

PoolMates are designed in the UK by a triathlete family who was tired 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.

Waterproof fitness tracker

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.

Amazon


Garmin Swim

Water resistance: 50 metres | View technical specs

Waterproof fitness tracker

Waterproof fitness trackerGarmin’s flagship swimming wearable 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 the 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.

Waterproof fitness tracker

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,

Amazon | Garmin


Finis Swimsense Live

Water resistance: 3 metres | View full technical specs

Waterproof fitness tracker

The Swimsense Live is the next generation of the Finis Swimsense device. The tracker has been upgraded with more accurate propriatery tracking systems, new swim-specific data, and Bluetooth for real-time results.

The device captures 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.

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TomTom Spark 3

Water resistance: 50 metres | View full technical specs

Waterproof fitness trackerSpark 3 is a comprehensive fitness tracker. In addition to GPS and on-board storage for 500 songs, you also get multiple sport tracking, 24/7 activity/sleep tracking and a heart rate sensor.

This water-resistant device excels in ease of use and the swim metrics that it churns out are excellent. You will get detailed info on speed, pace, stroke rate, number of laps, calories burnt and swim distance.

Furthermore, Spark lets you break down your swim session down into sets. It will then vibrate to let you know when its time to switch stroke or ramp up your effort. There is also a Goal mode offers an in-pool view of how your swimming session is going.

If you are after a no-nonsense featured packed sports watch and activity tracker, you won’t go wrong with Spark 3.

Amazon


Garmin Forerunner 935

Water resistance: 50 metres | View full technical specs

Waterproof fitness tracker

The Forerunner 935 is a high-end multi-sports watch. It can track many activities such as running, swimming, cycling, hiking, trail running, skiing, paddle sports, golf and more. For swimming, it keeps tabs on number of lanes, distance, pace and stroke rate, calories burned and the swimming efficiency indicator (SWOLF score).

Where the watch stands out most, is in its detailed analysis of performance. The Forerunner 935 aggregates past training results and then uses that data to evaluate the amount of effort users exert during fitness sessions, i.e. if you are slacking off or overdoing it. It does this through two new additional metrics, training load and training status. Training load looks at users’ exercise activity over the last seven days and compares it to the optimal range for your fitness and recent training history. Training status does the same thing with a more short-term view.

A slightly beefed up version of the 735 that came out last year, the watch offers a slightly lower price and smaller form-factor than the Fenix 5 series, while not compromising on features.

Amazon | Garmin


Fitbit Ionic

Water resistance: 50 metres | View full technical specs

The second water-resistant device from Fitbit, Ionic packs some pretty decent specs under the hood. You’ll find 8 different sensors inside including an altimeter, 3-axis accelerometer, digital compass, GPS, optical heart rate monitor, ambient light sensor, vibration motor and a new relative SpO2 sensor for measuring blood oxygen levels.

When it comes to features, this is a smartwatch that puts fitness first. It includes everything you would expect from a Fitbit device, along with capturing real-time stats on 20 different types of activities. For swimming, you’ll get lap count information, duration your session and calorie burn. There is on-board storage for music too, smartphone notifications and Fitbit pay.

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