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The ultimate guide to the best swim watches

Ultimate Guide to the Best Swim Watches

Are you a swimmer looking to take your training to the next level? A swim watch might just be what you need.

In our Ultimate Guide to the Best Swim Watches, we’ll cover everything you need to know about swim watches.

From understanding what swimming watches are and the benefits of using one, to the features you should look for and how to choose the best one for your needs.

We’ll also review the top swim watches available on the market today, and provide tips on how to maximise their use.

However, investing in a swim watch has its potential drawbacks too, such as battery life concerns.

But is it worth it? Read on to find out!

Understanding Swim Watches

Swim watches are specially designed wearable devices for tracking swimming metrics and performance. These watches are built to withstand water immersion and provide accurate data even underwater.

Many waterproof watches can track metrics like lap count, stroke rate, distance, and calories burned.

Swim watches often come with features like built-in timers and interval training modes for structured swim workouts. Additionally, they can be synced with smartphone apps to analyse and store swim data.

With their water resistance and advanced tracking capabilities, swim watches are essential tools for swimmers, triathletes, and fitness enthusiasts.

Benefits of Using a Swim Watch

There are many benefits of using swim tracking watches, such as the following:

  • Real-time feedback – Swim watches offer instant feedback on swim performance, aiding technique and efficiency improvement.
  • GPS and navigation – GPS swim watches track open water swims and enable the exploration of new routes.
  • Heart rate monitoringHeart rate analysis optimises training intensity and aids recovery monitoring.
  • Sleep and recovery tracking features – Sleep analysis helps evaluate the impact of swimming on rest and overall well-being.
  • Compatible with other devices – Swim watches ensure seamless integration into fitness routines through compatibility with other devices.

By providing these benefits, swim watches enhance the swimming experience, making them essential tools for dedicated swimmers.

Check out our other equipment reviews, such as tow floats, changing robes, and wetsuits!

ocean swimwatch

Features to Look for in a Swim Watch

When choosing a swim watch, there are several key features to consider, such as the following:

Water Resistance

When choosing a swim watch, it’s important to consider its water resistance.

Opt for models with high water resistance ratings, such as 50 meters or more, for durability and functionality during water activities. These watches can handle immersion in swimming, snorkelling, and other water-based activities.

Check for specific water resistance capabilities, including resistance to pressure and depth, to match your swimming needs.

Some swim watches are even designed specifically for scuba diving, offering higher levels of water resistance. Ensure your chosen swim watch can withstand the demands of your aquatic adventures.

GPS and Navigation Features

Swim watches with built-in GPS allow for precise tracking of distance, pace, and routes during open water swims. These watches also offer GPS navigation features that help swimmers explore new locations or stick to familiar routes.

When choosing a swim watch, it is important to prioritise reliable GPS connectivity and quick satellite acquisition for seamless tracking.

Advanced navigation features such as waypoint marking and breadcrumb trails can further enhance the swimming experience by providing guidance and ensuring accurate information.

Look for a swim watch that offers these GPS and navigation features to make the most out of your swimming sessions.

Heart Rate Monitoring

Heart rate monitoring is a crucial feature in swim watches as it provides insights into your cardiovascular effort while swimming.

To ensure accurate readings, look for swim watches with reliable heart rate sensors that can function even underwater.

Monitoring your heart rate during swimming helps optimise training intensity and improve performance.

Some advanced swim watches offer additional features like heart rate variability analysis, which provides deeper insights into your overall fitness level.

By utilising these features, you can make the most out of your swim watch and enhance your swimming experience.

Sleep and Recovery Tracking

Swim watches are often equipped with sleep tracking features to analyse your sleep patterns, providing valuable insights into the quality and duration of your sleep.

Additionally, these watches offer recovery-tracking capabilities, allowing you to monitor your body’s readiness for intense training sessions after swimming.

Look out for swim watches that provide personalised recommendations based on sleep and recovery data, helping you optimise your performance.

By utilising these extra features, such as sleep and recovery tracking, you can enhance your swimming experience and improve your overall fitness level.

Compatibility with Other Devices

When choosing swim watches, it’s important to consider their compatibility with other devices.

Look for models that can be easily synced with smartphones and fitness apps, allowing you to transfer swim data for in-depth analysis and tracking progress over time.

Opt for smart watches that support popular operating systems like iOS and Android to ensure seamless integration.

Some swim watches even offer additional features, such as smartphone notifications, an activity tracker, and music control during swimming.

By choosing a compatible swim watch, you can enhance your swimming experience and make the most out of its extra features.

How to Choose the Best Swim Watch for You?

Considering your swimming goals and preferences is key when selecting a swim watch. Evaluate the specific features offered by different models and prioritise those that align with your needs.

User reviews and ratings can provide valuable insights into reliability, durability, and functionality.

Budget is also important, so find a swimwatch that balances desired features and affordability.

Lastly, try on different options to ensure a comfortable fit and intuitive interface.

Price vs. Quality

When choosing a swim watch, it’s important to consider the balance between price and quality. Swim watches come in varying price ranges, so it’s essential to determine your budget and desired features.

Look for a swim watch that offers affordable pricing without compromising on quality.

Compare prices and features to find the best value for your money. Additionally, consider the long-term durability and reliability of the swim watch to ensure high-quality performance.

By finding the right balance between price and quality, you can make an informed decision on the best swim watch for your needs.

Brand Reputation and User Reviews

When choosing the best swim watch, it’s important to consider brand reputation and user reviews. Research brands that are known for producing reliable and high-quality swim watches.

Reading user reviews can provide valuable insights into the performance and durability of different models.

Look for swim watches with a strong reputation and positive customer feedback. Pay attention to user feedback on features like accuracy, durability, and battery life.

By considering brand reputation and user reviews, you can make an informed decision and find a swim watch that meets your needs.

Reviewing the Top Swim Watches

In this section, we will dive into the top swim watches available in the market.

1. Garmin Forerunner 965

Garmin Forerunner 965

The Garmin Forerunner 965 is a swim watch that offers accurate GPS tracking for open water and pool swims.

With advanced metrics like stroke rate and heart rate variability, it provides valuable insights into your swimming performance.

This swim watch is water-resistant up to 50 metres and has a durable design that can withstand the rigours of swimming.

Its long battery life ensures that you can have extended swim sessions without worrying about running out of power.

In addition to its swim-specific features, the Garmin Forerunner 965 also offers extra features like smartphone notifications and a fitness tracker making it a versatile companion for your daily life.

One slight disadvantage is the toe-curling cost; however, for a keen athlete who will use this watch most days, it’s a worthy investment.


  • £599.99
  • GPS tracking
  • Water resistant up to 50 metres
  • Activity tracking

2. Fitbit Charge 4

Fitbit Charge 5

The Fitbit Charge 4 is a versatile swim watch with built-in GPS, providing accurate distance tracking for your swim sessions.

It automatically recognises different swim strokes, allowing you to focus on your workout without interruption.

In addition to tracking your swim metrics such as calories burned, it also monitors your heart rate, giving you valuable insights into your performance.

With its water-resistant design, the Fitbit Charge 4 is suitable for both pool and open-water swimming.

Beyond swimming, this swim watch offers extra features like sleep tracking and guided breathing exercises, enhancing its usefulness in your daily life.


  • £129
  • GPS tracking
  • Heart rate and calorie tracking
  • Guided breathing exercises

3. Suunto 9 Baro Titanium

Suunto 9 Baro Titanium

The Suunto 9 Baro Titanium is a durable and rugged swim watch that is perfect for outdoor adventures.

With its built-in GPS and navigation features, it provides accurate tracking for open water swims.

You can rely on its heart rate monitoring and swim-specific metrics to keep track of your performance.

This swim watch is water-resistant up to 100 metres, making it ideal for both pool and open-water swimming.

In addition to its swim features, it also offers activity tracking and an altimeter for extra functionality.


  • £299
  • GPS tracking
  • Water resistant up to 100 metres
  • Altimeter

4. Apple Watch Series 8

Apple Watch Series 8

The Apple Watch Series 8 is an excellent choice for swimmers. With its water-resistant design, it can track your swims with accuracy. It also offers advanced swim metrics and GPS tracking to give you precise information about your performance.

In addition, the Apple Watch Series 8 seamlessly integrates with Apple’s ecosystem, allowing you to easily synchronise your data.

With a larger screen and improved battery life compared to previous models, it provides a great user experience.

Moreover, it offers additional features like fitness tracking, notifications, and a wide range of apps to enhance your daily life.


  • £399
  • GPS tracking
  • Integrates with Apple products
  • Long battery life

5. Samsung Galaxy Watch4

Samsung Galaxy Watch4

The Samsung Galaxy Watch4 stands out as a stylish swim watch with excellent water resistance. Its accurate GPS tracking and comprehensive swim metrics make it a reliable companion for swimmers.

The vibrant AMOLED touchscreen display enhances the user experience, while the watch also offers an array of fitness and health tracking features. These include heart rate monitoring, sleep quality analysis, and even smartphone notifications and music playback.

With its sleek design and extra features, the Samsung Galaxy Watch4 is a top choice for swimmers and fitness enthusiasts alike.


  • £149
  • GPS tracking
  • AMOLED touchscreen
  • Music playback and smartphone notifications

6. Amazfit Stratos 3 Smartwatch

Amazfit Stratos 3 Smartwatch

The Amazfit Stratos 3 Smartwatch is an affordable swim watch that offers a multitude of features. With built-in GPS and multiple exercise modes, including swimming, it provides accurate tracking for your aquatic workouts.

The watch’s heart rate monitoring capabilities and swim metrics ensure you have access to detailed information about your performance.

Additionally, the durable stainless steel bezel and water resistance of up to 50 metres make it suitable for all your swimming needs.

Along with these features, the Amazfit Stratos 3 Smartwatch also includes sleep tracking and notifications, making it a versatile companion for both your swim sessions and daily life.


  • £139
  • GPS tracking
  • Multiple exercise modes
  • Water resistance up to 50 metres

7. Polar Vantage V2

Polar Vantage V2

The Polar Vantage V2 is a high-performance swim watch renowned for its advanced training features. With precise GPS tracking and swim-specific metrics such as stroke rate and SWOLF score, it provides valuable insights into your swimming performance.

The comprehensive heart rate monitoring and recovery time analysis further enhance its functionality.

Built to last, this swim watch boasts a durable build and impressive water resistance of up to 100 metres.

Additionally, the Polar Vantage V2 offers other notable features like training load tracking and running power measurement, making it a top choice for serious swimmers.


  • £291.50
  • GPS tracking
  • Swim specific metrics
  • Water resistance up to 100 metres

8. Garmin Fenix 7

Garmin Fenix 7

The Garmin Fenix 7 is a top-tier swim watch designed for serious athletes seeking advanced features. With its built-in GPS, heart rate monitoring capabilities, and multi-sport tracking, it caters to diverse training needs.

Boasting water resistance up to 100 metres, it’s a perfect companion for swimming and other water activities.

Its impressive battery life can last up to 24 days in smartwatch mode.

Additionally, the Garmin Fenix 7 offers customisable watch faces and interchangeable bands, allowing for personalisation.

Although it comes at a higher price point, the advanced technology and features make this waterproof watch for swimming well worth the investment.


  • £749
  • GPS tracking
  • Long battery life
  • Water resistance up to 100 metres

9. Wahoo Elemnt Rival

Wahoo Elemnt Rival

The Wahoo Elemnt Rival is a versatile swim watch with GPS tracking for accurate distance and pace measurements. With its water resistance of up to 50 metres, it is ideal for swimming and other water activities.

The watch offers customisable training plans and coaching features to enhance your workout experience.

It syncs seamlessly with popular fitness apps like Strava and TrainingPeaks, and the long battery life of up to 14 days ensures uninterrupted usage.

Its lightweight and comfortable design makes it suitable for all-day wear.


  • £199
  • GPS tracking
  • Syncs with fitness apps, such as Strava
  • Water resistance up to 50 metres

10. Coros Pace 2

Coros Pace 2

The Coros Pace 2 is among the top swim watches available on the market. It offers a variety of features that make it a great choice for swimmers.

With its water resistance of up to 50 metres, it can withstand the demands of swimming and other water activities.

The watch also includes GPS tracking, which allows for accurate distance measurement and route navigation.

Additionally, the Coros Pace 2 features heart rate monitoring, providing valuable insights into your workout intensity.

Whether you’re a professional athlete or a fitness enthusiast, this swim watch can help you track and improve your swimming performance.


  • £179
  • GPS tracking
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Water resistance up to 50 metres

How to Maximise the Use of Your Swim Watch

To maximise the use of your swim watch, it’s important to first understand its features and how they can benefit your training.

  • Take advantage of the lap counter and timers to track your progress and set goals.
  • The heart rate monitor can help you measure your intensity and endurance during swimming sessions.
  • Connecting your swim watch to apps and devices allows you to analyse your data and improve your performance.
  • Remember to properly maintain and care for your swim watch to ensure it lasts and functions optimally.

Syncing with Other Devices

When choosing a swim watch, consider its ability to sync with other devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets.

Ensure that the watch supports both iOS and Android operating systems for compatibility.

Look for swim watches that offer connectivity options like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. These features allow you to upload your swimming data to fitness apps or websites for easy tracking and analysis.

Additionally, consider the battery life and charging options of the swim watch, as this will impact its ability to sync with other devices.

Proper Maintenance

To ensure the longevity of your swimming watch, proper maintenance is essential. Take the following steps to keep your swim tracking watch in tip-top shape:

  • After each use, make sure to rinse and dry your watch to prevent chemical damage from chlorine or saltwater.
  • Check the water-resistance rating.
  • Avoid exposing your watch to water deeper than its specified depth.
  • Protect your watch from extreme temperature changes and direct sunlight to prevent potential damage to its internal components.
  • Keep your watch updated with the latest software and firmware for optimal performance.
  • Consider using a protective case or screen protector to safeguard against scratches and damage to the watch face.

Potential Drawbacks of Swim Watches

While swim watches offer numerous benefits, it’s important to be aware of their potential drawbacks.

Not all swim watches are equally reliable in tracking laps and other swimming metrics.

Additionally, some swim watches may not be compatible with certain swimming strokes, limiting their usefulness for different types of swimmers.

Swimming watches also require frequent charging or battery replacement, which may be inconvenient for some users.

Furthermore, certain watches can be expensive, making them less accessible to budget-conscious swimmers.

Lastly, some swim watches may have a steep learning curve and may not be user-friendly or easy to navigate.

Is Investing in a Swim Watch Worth It?

Investing in a swim watch can be worthwhile for serious swimmers and athletes.

These watches track essential data like lap times, stroke count, and distance swam, providing valuable insights for training.

However, if you’re a casual swimmer or don’t need detailed metrics, a basic waterproof watch may suffice.

Consider your swimming goals and frequency before deciding to invest in a swim watch.

analog swimwatch


To sum it up, a swimming watch is an invaluable tool for swimmers of all levels. It provides accurate tracking of your swimming metrics and helps you improve your performance in the pool.

With a wide range of features to choose from, such as water resistance, GPS, heart rate monitoring, and sleep tracking, you can find a swim watch that suits your specific needs.

However, it’s important to consider factors like price, brand reputation, and user reviews when making a decision.

While there may be some drawbacks, like battery life concerns, investing in a swim watch is definitely worth it if swimming is an important part of your fitness routine.

So dive in and make the most of your swimming experience with a reliable and feature-packed swim watch.