When activity trackers were invented and merged fitness and technology, these allowed everyday people to monitor their body while exercising. They could take note of their distance covered while running or jogging, the calories they burned, and even their heart-rate. Recently manufacturers upgraded their activity trackers to become waterproof fitness trackers and this was great news for swimmers. All of these waterproof fitness trackers fall into two broad categories: the trackers that are meant to monitor various activities including swimming, and the trackers that were designed mainly for swimmers and swimming athletes. If swimming is your recreational sport among others, then a waterproof fitness tracker that can cover other activities is more suited for you, but if you’re a serious swimmer, you’ll likely need a waterproof fitness tracker whose features focus on swimming.
Waterproof fitness trackers may cost a little more than normal activity trackers so it’s best that you know more about them before deciding on which one to buy. Here’s our guide to choosing the best waterproof fitness tracker and a list of the devices we recommend.
Questions you should ask yourself when shopping for a waterproof fitness tracker:
- What would you like to measure?
Think about all your athletic and recreational activities and what metrics you’d like to track. The activities that most trackers feature are running, walking, cycling and swimming. Some metrics to look for are number of steps per day, distance covered when running or swimming, amount of calories burned and heart-rate. Even your sleep can be monitored by some trackers. For swimming athletes, it’s even more important that their tracker accurately calculate their time, strokes and turn speed. GPS capability is another important feature.
- How long is the device’s battery life?
On average, fitness trackers usually run for about two days to a week before requiring charging. Some users are not too bothered by this depending on their number of activities, but if you’re often on the go, a fitness tracker that keeps needing charging may be too inconvenient for you to wear everyday. There are some devices which have a longer battery life but these may also cost more.
- How much are you willing to spend?
If you want more basic or more specific features, you can opt for a tracker that highlights just those. More features mean higher cost. Some trackers, for example, have a goal setting feature which users find encouraging and useful. Another unique feature of some trackers is an alarm or notification for periods of inactivity. Higher end fitness trackers also have notification features linked to your smartphone.
- Which apps are compatible with this device?
You will also need to check the smartphone app for your tracker especially if the device doesn’t have a display screen and will only show your results on the app. Some apps are user favorites because of their ease of use while others need more improvement and details. You might consider a fitness tracker that has more options when it comes to apps.
- How impervious is it to water damage?
There are two ways of determining how safe your device is for underwater use. The ATM or Atmospheric pressure rating shows you how water resistant the device is and how far underwater you can take it. Waterproof fitness trackers specially made for swimming usually have a higher ATM rating, from 10 to 50, which translates to 100-200 meters. The Ingress Protection or IP number, meanwhile, is a gauge of how much protection the device has against dirt and other pollutants, and how much water the device was designed to withstand. Look for a device with a higher IP number.
My 5 favorite waterproof fitness trackers:
- Mio ALPHA 2
The Mio ALPHA 2 Heart Rate Monitor Sports Watch is a smartwatch that measures EKG (electrocardiogram) for your heart rate without a chest strap. It also records your calories burned, your speed and distance covered during your exercises. The watch can sync to both iPhones and Androids and can be used continuously for 24 hours straight when you’re exercising but it will need charging after that. When it comes to water resistance, its performance is about average for a general purpose tracker, 3 ATM or up to 30 meters. A minor drawback is that it’s doesn’t monitor sleep. However, overall, users are quite satisfied with the Mio Alpha 2, reporting that it was surprisingly comfortable despite looking a bit large for a fitness tracker. Users also rated this tracker highly due to the tracker’s data being accurate and reliable, especially for heart rate.
- Jaybird Reign Advanced Active Fitness Recovery Band
If you’re looking for an all-around tracker that can calculate your performance for several activities and automatically detects which sport you’re doing, the Jaybird Reign Advanced Active Fitness Recovery Band is a great choice. It can measure your steps taken, calories burned, distance covered, heart rate and sleep patterns. By recording your sleep and activity patterns, it can notify you of how long you need to sleep for your body to fully rest and recover. The battery is also efficient and runs for 4-5 days. One thing that the Jaybird Reign does differently is that it measures heart rate by Heart Rate Variability instead of EKG. Some disadvantages to this device are that it doesn’t have a display screen and the LED indicator lights system may take a while to get used to. The tracker is rated fully waterproof for swimming but not for diving.
- Garmin Vivosmart
One of the first companies to develop a fitness tracker that has some smartphone features, Garmin also has a waterproof fitness tracker, the Garmin Vivosmart. This device measures metrics like your steps taken, calories burned, and distance you’ve covered. Aside from showing notifications from your smartphone, it has a goal-setting option and prompts you to move after long periods of inactivity. Another reason to love theGarmin Vivosmart is its accuracy in recording data. The device’s battery life is also relatively long and it’s waterproof up to 5 ATM, or 50 meters. One issue users have with this tracker, though, is that the app is very basic, but this issue is easily resolved since you can use this tracker with other third-party apps. Also, the tracker can feel uncomfortable if you wear it for too long.
- Moov NOW Personal Coach & Workout Tracker
A fitness tracker that’s perfect for swimming, the Moov NOW Personal Coach & Workout Tracker tracks your performance and helps you set your goals. This device’s battery can last as long as an impressive six months. It tracks your metrics for most sports: walking, running, cycling, boxing, and swimming, as well as monitors your sleep. Swimmers will love that this tracker records and analyzes distance, time, strokes, and laps, plus it’s waterproof up to 50 meters, more than other trackers. After analyzing your activity patterns, you’ll receive advice on how to improve your performance, plus, encouragement and motivation, via the smartphone app. When it comes to style, the band is light and comfortable. You can even wear it on your ankle and not just your wrist. All in all, the Moov NOW is a highly recommended fitness tracker for professional swimmers.
- Sony 1279-4925 Swr10 Smartband Us1
The Sony 1279-4925 Swr10 Smartband Us1 offers more than just a way to record your fitness as, together with your Sony smartphone, it can track your everyday activities as well. The device can monitor your steps taken, calories burned, and how long you sleep. As a smartband, it vibrates when it receives notifications from your phone. It even allows you to control the music from your smartphone with play, pause and skip options. The battery life is up to 5 days and charging takes about an hour. The device’s waterproof rating is IP58, which means it’s also ideal for swimming. Although this is a fitness tracker with multiple features including for entertainment, these features may be nice to have and could be useful for daily life, but they might not be necessary for some people. Serious swimmers may also want to note that there are some concerns with the device’s accuracy.
Waterproof fitness trackers, when used properly, can certainly aid you in reaching your overall fitness goals. From tracking your performance stats to offering advice and linking you with a supportive community through its mobile apps, there are various ways from different fitness trackers to help you get fit and stay fit. To make sure your tracker lasts long, be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions for care and use. Some trackers, for example, have controls that you should not press underwater.
However, since trackers are meant to be worn often, they might still be exposed to wear and tear or damage. In this case, you might also want to look at the quality of after sales support the manufacturer offers and the device’s warranty. Whichever waterproof fitness tracker you choose should be a good fit for your lifestyle and one that you can wear every day.