The Best Smartwatches to Keep You Connected in Style
Not sure where to start when it comes to shopping for a smartwatch? We've rounded up the best smartwatches on the market for every need and budget.
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The best smartwatch for your life
These days, there seems to be a “smart” version of pretty much every device. Aside from smartphones, you’ll find everything from smart TVs to smart thermostats, smart speakers to smart alarm clocks and, of course, smartwatches. The best smartwatches are stylish and versatile, and some are even equipped with features that can save your life. While these wearable gadgets are undoubtedly products that will make your life better, it’s best to do your homework before strapping one onto your wrist. After all, you’ll want to be sure you’re selecting the best smartwatch for your lifestyle, needs and budget.
On top of making your life easier, smartwatches make fun and useful tech gifts for pretty much anybody on your gift-giving list. Once you’ve selected the best smartwatch for you, treat your home to a digital upgrade with these smart doorbells and other smart home devices.
What is a smartwatch?
Smartwatches are tech-heavy, time-telling devices designed to be worn on your wrist. Some smartwatches connect to your cell phone plan, upgrading the common wristwatch to what amounts to a wearable smartphone. They offer a variety of apps and GPS, and they can make and receive calls and text messages. Other smartwatches don’t require a cellular plan and can be used almost exclusively as one of the best fitness trackers.
What to consider when buying a smartwatch
For starters, you’ll have to choose a smartwatch that’s compatible with your phone. Some smartwatches require iOS, while others require Android. And while some are compatible with both iOS and Android, certain brands may work better with one operating system or the other.
Once you’ve decided on iOS or Android, you’re going to want to look for a smartwatch that fits your individual needs. Casual wearers who are looking for another way to stay connected should look for a basic smartwatch with a style they like. Athletes and outdoor enthusiasts should look for a smartwatch that’s more durable. Swimmers will want to invest in a smartwatch that’s not only waterproof but also designed for swimming.
Before you buy the best smartwatch for you, decide what kind of features you need and what kind of activities you want to track. From there, you can find a smartwatch that delivers on all the needs you have, along with some extra features too.
How we chose the best smartwatches
When selecting the best smartwatches, we looked at several key factors. First, we considered standout features. We then looked at how long the battery lasts. Because smartwatches do everything from keeping you connected to tracking health and fitness goals to helping you find a location via GPS, it’s important to ensure you’re never missing out because you needed to charge your device.
We also looked at the price—and the features the smartwatch offers for that price. After all, more features don’t always point to a better watch. Instead, we wanted to ensure that every smartwatch we recommend delivers consistent features and strong battery life—and isn’t going to break the bank.
Finally, we sifted through tons of user reviews. Were there any consistent complaints that users had about a particular watch? How well does it really hold up, and did users think it was actually worth the cost? We wanted to be sure that none of the smartwatches we recommend had a common glitch or problem that makes users feel as though they wasted their money.
Here are our picks for the best smartwatches out there:
- Best overall smartwatch: Apple Watch Series 8
- Best budget smartwatch: Mobvoi TicWatch E3
- Best high-end smartwatch: Apple Watch Ultra
- Best for Android users: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
- Best Google smartwatch: Google Pixel Watch
- Best fitness-tracking smartwatch: Fitbit Charge 5
- Best waterproof smartwatch: Garmin Swim 2
- Best smartwatch for outdoor enthusiasts: Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra
- Best smartwatch for teens: Apple Watch SE (2nd Generation)
- Best smartwatch for younger kids: TickTalk 4
Best overall smartwatch
Apple Watch Series 8
The Apple Watch Series 8 is the latest and greatest update to the ever-popular Apple Watch family. This upgraded version is more durable than previous models, has a low-power mode that can extend the battery life to 36 hours and offers lifesaving new safety tools. The new Crash Detection and Fall Detection features can automatically connect you with emergency services in the event of a severe car crash or a hard fall. The gadget also has enhanced health features that make it one of the best smartwatches for women. Thanks to the device’s new temperature sensing, people with periods can get a detailed view of their monthly cycles. Not only does this help when it comes to family planning, but it can also notify them of any irregularities that they can share with their health-care providers. If you’re new to the Apple Watch, be sure to familiarize yourself with these hidden Apple Watch features.
- Pairs seamlessly with your iPhone
- Crack, dust and water resistant
- Low-power mode for extended battery life of 36 hours
- Crash and fall detection connect you with emergency services in the event of a car crash or hard fall
- Temperature sensing for menstrual cycle tracking
- You’ll need an iPhone 8 or later with the latest iOS installed
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Best budget smartwatch
Mobvoi TicWatch E3
Smartwatches can cost anywhere from a couple hundred to upward of a thousand dollars. But the best smartwatches don’t have to break the bank. Mobvoi’s sleek TicWatch E3 comes in at just under $200 and features more than 100 professional workout modes, a speaker and a microphone, a fitness tracker, a sleep monitor, a heart rate monitor and GPS. It’s compatible with both iOS and Android and offers convenient benefits of WearOS by Google, including Google Pay, Assistant, Maps and more. And whether you’re heading out for a morning run, going for an afternoon swim (yep, this watch is suitable for pool swimming) or tracking your sleep, you don’t have to worry about the battery dying on you. The watch’s essential mode kicks in automatically when the power percentage drops below 5%. Since the watch pairs with all your favorite Google apps, check out these hidden Google Map tricks you never knew about.
- With a price tag of just under $200, this may be the best cheap smartwatch on the market
- The replacement bands are more affordable than those of other brands
- Many of the same features as the more expensive smartwatches
- Pairs with your favorite Google apps
- Compatible with iOS and Android but works more seamlessly with Android-based phones
Best high-end smartwatch
Apple Watch Ultra
The Apple Watch Ultra is a fitting moniker for this beefed-up version of the popular Apple Watch. It may be expensive, but whether you’re hiking, running or scuba diving, the Apple Watch Ultra is arguably the best smartwatch for elite athletes. This tough-as-nails smartwatch features a 49-millimeter corrosion-resistant titanium case, easy-to-access buttons, water resistance up to 100 meters (328 feet) and unique safety features, like Crash Detection and Fall Detection, an 86-decibel siren that can be heard up to 600 feet away and Backtrack, which uses GPS to map where you’ve been so you can retrace your steps if you get lost. With normal use, this watch has up to 36 hours of battery life, and Apple assures us that a low-power setting is coming soon, which will extend the battery life to 60 hours. By the way, here’s the scoop on whether or not your other Apple Watch is actually waterproof.
- Apple’s top-of-the-line smartwatch
- 36-hour battery life with normal use
- Safety features, including crash and fall detection, a siren and Backtrack, which helps you retrace your steps when lost
- Thanks to the Oceanic+ app, this watch can double as a dive computer for recreational scuba divers
- Prices start at $799
- Requires expensive specialized bands for outdoor adventures, endurance training and water sports
Best for Android users
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 syncs to all your Galaxy devices and runs on Google WearOS, making it compatible with tons of your favorite apps. It features a sleek yet durable design, thanks to its thicker sapphire crystal glass and aluminum metal frame. Its most notable features include ultra-fast charging, advanced sleep coaching, body composition analysis, auto workout tracking and curved sensors that get closer to your skin for more accurate readings. And because of its enhanced GPS and voice navigation, you’ll never have to worry about getting lost. On the fence about Apple vs. Android? Here are five things Androids can do that iPhones can’t.
- Works best with Android phones
- Under $300
- Charges up to almost 50% in 30 minutes
- Water resistant
- Customizable band and watch-face options
- Requires Galaxy smartphone with Android 8.0 or later
Best Google smartwatch
Google Pixel Watch
If you rely on Google for pretty much everything, the Google Pixel Watch is a no-brainer. It runs on Google WearOS, so you can easily connect it to your Google Wallet, Gmail, Calendar, Assistant and even your Nest devices. It also runs on Fitbit’s platform to help you stay on top of all things health, like your activity, heart rate, sleep patterns, heart rhythm and calories burned.
- Links to your Google account
- Fitness tracking is powered by Fitbit
- Offered in four different band and case options
- Battery lasts up to 24 hours
- Available in only one size
- Some features may require a separate Fitbit account
Best fitness-tracking smartwatch
Fitbit Charge 5
The Fitbit Charge 5 is our top pick when it comes to the best fitness trackers, and for good reason. This low-profile fitness tracker is easy to use and easy to read, thanks to its full-color screen. Aside from tracking things like blood oxygen levels, heart rate variability and skin temperature, it also gives you a daily stress management score and daily sleep score so you know where you need to make adjustments in order to live your best life.
- Extremely accurate readings
- Onboard GPS
- Straightforward navigation
- Affordable price point
- Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Brands pick
- Requires a Fitbit Premium membership
Best waterproof smartwatch
Garmin Swim 2
Though many watches are designed to be waterproof, the Garmin Swim 2 is designed for swimmers. This watch allows swimmers to record distance, pace, stroke count and rate in pools and open water. It offers advanced features for staying on pace, logging drills and monitoring heart rate. It also has an impressive battery life: In smartwatch mode, the battery lasts up to seven days. In pool and OHR (optical heart rate) mode, it lasts up to 72 hours, and in GPS and OHR mode, it lasts up to 13 hours.
- Completely waterproof
- Counts strokes, distance and average pace in pools and open water
- Battery lasts up to seven days in smartwatch mode
- Compatible with iOS- and Android-based phones
- Available in only one size
Best smartwatch for outdoor enthusiasts
Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra
Looking for a rugged watch to keep up with your favorite outdoor activities? Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra meets the 810G military spec, meaning it’s designed for toughness and has a bulk to it that makes it one of the best smartwatches for men. Its face is protected from scratches, bumps and drops by damage-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass, and its band is made from a durable yet soft fluoro rubber that provides resistance to heat, oxidation, oil and chemicals. The TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra also features sleep tracking, blood oxygen saturation data, stress monitoring, 24-hour heart rate monitoring, irregular heartbeat and atrial fibrillation detection and fatigue assessment, built-in GPS, a speaker mic, a barometer and more than 100 professional sports modes for the most intense athletes. This smartwatch is compatible with both iOS and Android, and if you’re curious, here’s which phone is more secure.
- Meets military specs for toughness
- 72-hour battery life in Smart Mode and up to 45 days in Essential Mode
- Customized backlight for easy screen reading under any condition
- Compatible with iOS and Android but works best with Android
Best smartwatch for teens
Apple Watch SE (2nd Generation)
If you’re looking to give your tweens or teens their first smartwatch, add the second-generation Apple Watch SE to your family plan. This affordable Apple Watch is up to 20% faster than the first Apple Watch SE and has all the essential features to keep your kids both connected and safe. Crash detection will put parents of new drivers at ease, as will the fall-detection feature and emergency SOS. Here are even more cool gifts your teen will appreciate.
- Most affordable Apple Watch
- Pairs with iPhones
- Equipped with enhanced safety features
- Has basic health-tracking features
- Requires an iPhone 8 with iOS 16 or later
Best smartwatch for younger kids
For parents who want to stay connected to their young children without handing over a cell phone, the TickTalk 4 is a great option. This heavy-duty watch, designed for kids ages 5 through 12, is waterproof, drop proof and shockproof, meaning you don’t have to worry about it slipping out of little hands. GPS location tracking allows you to know where your kids are at all times, and with a 62-hour average battery life, you don’t have to worry about their watch dying while they’re out playing with friends. This watch allows FaceTalk video calling through the parental control app, voice calling with up to 53 parent-approved contacts and secure messages through the TickTalk app. Kids can also stream thousands of kid-friendly songs, podcasts and stories, thanks to audio streaming by iHeartRadio Family. Beyond that, it’ll track their steps and set reminders so they never forget to do their chores again. With the holidays just around the corner, this is the best smartwatch to give as a gift for kids.
- Kids can video chat or voice call up to 53 parent-approved contacts
- Its firm internal shell and outer rubber shell make it extra durable and kid-proof
- No internet, games or social media
- TickTalk uses AT&T or T-Mobile networks and requires an affordable pay-as-you-go plan with no contracts or activation fees
- May be bulky on small wrists