As a fitness enthusiast who loves to engage in all kinds of workouts, you would surely prefer to have a waterproof fitness tracker that you could use in different kinds of environments. Maybe you want a fitness tracker that you can use for your biking or running activities and then dive into the pool with without having to worry whether it will work under water.
Whatever the situation is, having a waterproof fitness tracker is a great way to monitor your performance. A waterproof tracker is not the same as a water-resistant tracker. Water-resistant trackers can still work when splashed with a bit of water or sweat but cannot operate under water. These kinds of trackers are no good for swimming.
Waterproof means that you can immerse the tracker in water for a specific depth for as long as possible without affecting the working of the device. This is where the waterproof rating comes into play. When considering waterproof fitness trackers, you need to look at the IP waterproof class and ATM standard, which give you an idea of how well protected the device is from the effects of water.
ATM refers to the atmospheric pressure unit and indicates how effective the device will be able to tolerate the underwater pressure of a specified depth. Any fitness tracker with an ATM rating greater than 1 will be able to withstand water pressure of 10 meters or more.
The activity trackers in the list below have been examined based on their performance, basic design and software functionalities, waterproof rating, and versatility.
Let’s take a look at the five best waterproof fitness tracking wearables found in the market.
Garmin Forerunner 920XT CMultisport GPS Watch
Price: $267 (Buy Now) without HRM run | Release date: 2014 | Style: Wrist band/smart watch | Display: OLED | Battery life: 40 hours in UltraTrac mode; 24 hours in training mode; 4 months in watch mode | Waterproofing: Yes – 50 m | Bluetooth: Yes | Fitness Tracking: Yes – VO2 max, speed, distance, ascent/descent
This is a truly versatile fitness tracker from Garmin, who have experience in designing high-quality smart watches. The 920XT is great for a wide range of activities such as swimming, biking, as well as running. When it comes to swimming, it can be used both in a pool setting and in the open sea. It can also be used as a simple everyday activity tracker since it has a hinged band and can also operate in watch mode.
The 920Xt is as much as 15% lighter than the previous model, the 910XT. It can measure your steps, sleep, as well as number of calories burned in a day. When swimming, it measures your stroke rate, speed, cadence, calories burned, and other swim metrics.
It enables you to set two distinct timers: one to notify you of your distance goals and the other your time goals. You can also access smart functions such as SMS and auto syncing. With a waterproof rating of IPX-8/5 ATM, it can be used to a depth of 50 meters underwater.
One problem with the Forerunner 920XT is that it doesn’t incorporate its own heart rate monitor. This means you will have to get a separate device to check your pulse rate as you work out. It is compatible with Garmin’s HRM-Run, so you can go ahead and use that as your heart rate sensor.
Polar V800 GPS Sports Watch
Price: $340-$699 | Release date: 2015 | Style: Wrist band/smart watch | Display: | Battery life: 2 weeks GPS-on | Waterproofing: Yes – 30 m | Bluetooth: Yes | Fitness Tracking: Yes – VO2 max, speed, distance, ascent/descent
Polar have created a truly versatile activity tracker with the V800 GPS Sports Watch, which is designed with dedicated fitness enthusiasts in mind. It is considered an advanced swimming training watch that can also handle several other fitness activities such as running, biking, and hiking.
The V800 has the capacity to monitor your activity data 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you are swimming, it will automatically detect the style you are using and measure your speed, cadence, distance, and route. With its waterproof rating of IPX-8/3 ATM, the V800 can be immersed in water to a depth of 30 meters.
It can be used in open-water as well as pool conditions. Unlike most waterproof fitness trackers, the Polar V800 incorporates its very own H7 dual-mode heart rate monitor that tracks your pulse under water. It also has inbuilt GPS and Bluetooth Smart sensor support.
As always, no fitness tracker is perfect. The Polar V800 is a really big tracker, and its huge band may prove to be too big for people with smaller wrist sizes. It is also quite expensive and is, therefore, marketed more with professional athletes in mind.
Apple Watch Series 2
Price: $340-$699 | Release date: 2016 | Style: Wrist band/smart watch | Battery life: 2 weeks GPS-on | Display: OLED | Waterproofing: Yes – 50 m | Bluetooth: Yes | Fitness Tracking: Yes – VO2 max, speed, distance, HRM
When you talk about fitness tracking watches, you know that Apple has to feature somewhere. As always, Apple has created a well designed, comfortable, and stylish activity tracker. The Apple Watch Series 2 is an upgrade of the Series 1 and has better seals and adhesives for swimming. It is perfect for all kinds of fitness activities, such as running, biking, hiking, swimming, and even ellipticals.
Just wearing the device is bound to get you motivated to stay active. It incorporates a dual-core processor that enhances its speed and capacity for outdoor activities. With a built-in GPS and heart rate sensor, you can decide whether to go hiking in the mountains or just splash around in the pool with friends. All you need to do is set the watch in “workout mode” and get moving.
The Series 2 can work to a depth of 50 meters underwater and has an IPX rating of 8 and an ATM rating of 5. It is also compatible with a comprehensive workout companion app but also supports 3rd party apps as well. The app allows you to choose from a list of 12 indoor and outdoor exercises to engage in. Of course, this means that you must have an iPhone to take advantage of the apps, which may put off some fitness enthusiasts. The fact that it is also quite pricey is another factor to be considered.
Garmin Vivoactive HR GPS Smart Watch
Price: $249.99 | Release date: 2015 | Style: Wrist band/smart watch | Battery life: 2 weeks GPS-on | Display: OLED | Waterproofing: Yes – 50 m | Bluetooth: Yes | Fitness Tracking: Yes – VO2 max, speed, distance, HRM
Garmin seems to know something about how to make waterproof fitness trackers, as this is the second of their devices on this list. The Vivoactive HR is designed to be versatile, durable, and rugged, just like most Garmin fitness devices. This fitness tracker can be used for a range of activities, including running, swimming, biking, hiking, and even golf.
In terms of features, we were impressed by the fact that it measures your swimming laps, which means it is very useful for both open water and pool swimming. The GPS loads very quickly, which is great for outdoor fitness enthusiasts who love to swim long distances in the ocean or go hiking in the woods. It also utilizes Elevate technology to monitor your heart rate.
The waterproof rating of this fitness tracking smartwatch is IPX-7/3 ATM. This makes it waterproof for a depth of up to 30 meters.
One issue you need to know about is that the band must be worn very tightly around your wrist if you want to generate precise data. A loose fit may give you inconsistent or inaccurate fitness data.
Tom Tom Spark Cardio & Music GPS Fitness Watch
Price: $180.06 | Release date: 2016 | Style: Wrist band/smart watch | Battery life: Fitness tracking up to 3 weeks, 11 hours of GPS tracking, and 5 hours of GPS + Music Listening | Display: OLED | Internal storage: 500 songs | Waterproofing: Yes – 40 m | Bluetooth: Yes | Fitness Tracking: Yes – VO2 max, speed, distance, HRM.
This is more than just your average activity tracker. The Tom Tom Spark Cardio and Music GPS fitness watch is a combination of a GPS sports watch and Bluetooth music player. It is a great addition to your running, swimming, and biking activities, but you can also use it in the gym or on the treadmill.
The Tom Tom Spark is able to take measurements of your speed, pace, distance, time, and calories burned. The inbuilt Bluetooth music player allows you to wirelessly sync with more than 500 songs. If music gets you pumped up for your fitness routine then this sports watch will definitely keep you motivated.
The device is quite comfortable to wear. You can have it on all day and night and use it to track all kinds of data, including sleep quality. This wouldn’t be possible if it was not for its long lasting battery. The only problem is that using both the GPS functionality and playing music at the same time will greatly shorten battery life. The GPS tracking can work for a maximum of 11 hours on its own but only 5 hours when music is simultaneously playing.
It has a waterproof rating of IPX-8/5 ATM and is good for up to 50 meters depth underwater.
Care Tips for Your Waterproof Fitness Tracker
If you are interested in making the most out of your fitness tracker, then the following advice will help guarantee longer service life:
- Rinse the tracker after use to get rid of any salt water that may lead to corrosion, especially if you were swimming in the ocean. It is also not advisable to store your tracker while it is still wet since this may cause damage in the long run. Rinse in fresh water and dry it using a towel.
- Don’t expose your device to heat for long periods. This may cause degradation of its components.
- Handle the device with care. Most LCD and OLED screens get damaged quite easily if mishandled or dropped on the face. Always read the manual to ensure that you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Adopt a general maintenance routine after your workout. If the device traps any dust, dirt, or foreign substances during your biking or running, clean it using a damp cloth.
Whatever kind of fitness activity you are into, you will always benefit from one of these waterproof trackers. They can be submerged up to 130 feet. Picking the one that suits your fitness goals should not be that difficult now, as long as you know what you want to get out of it.