The Best Rugged And Waterproof Smartwatches

Everything evolves. That’s no different for Smartwatches. When smartwatches were first coming into mainstream culture they seemed like the next step in technological evolution.

That being said you could say they had some major flaws at first, whether they were just being a little bit temperamental, or if they struggled while getting wet.

At the time of inception to the manufacturers it was more of a point to make them flashy more than durable. After all consumers jump at things that are easy on the eye.

Luckily as time has gone on manufacturers have seen error of their ways, aiming to give a more durable and hands on watch.

At first, Smartwatches could only handle shallow waters for a small amount of time. However, now most major brands offer watches that can handle deep water submersion allowing the user to have the ability to swim with their watch on. 

The Best Rugged And Waterproof Smartwatches

If you are an avid swimmer for example it's important to note that the watch you use has around a 50 meter water resistance.

If swimming is not your minted use or anything other water based then you should be fine with just a regular smartwatch as they are intended for some accidental dunking or splashes. But they will fail if left in water for an elongated time. 

The majority of watches on the market should actually be describing themselves in a more “water resistant” tone than a “waterproof” one.

However if deep sea diving or snorkeling are your hobbies of choice then this is the place for you. This a list of what we believe to be the best rugged and waterproof smartwatches on the market, the list will also be accompanied by a buyers guide and a few FAQs.

OUR TOP PICK

GSW-H1000-1CR

When it comes to Gshock it's really no surprise that they have one of the more if not the most durable watches on the market today.

I mean after all it’s in the name “G SHOCK” Yes we can all routinely expect this watch to be able withstand more of life's bumpy roads.

What sets this watch apart from the rest is an incredible 200 meter water resistance.

This is like nothing ever before, what that means is that any activity you enjoy partaking in that involves being deep in the water then this is the watch for you.

It’s as close to indestructible as you can imagine. This watch will provide full functionality in the toughest of conditions.

Whether that be hiking up a snowy mountain of paddle boarding in choppy waters this watch can handle it all.

Pros

Cons

  • Not solar powered and will need charging.

EDITORS CHOICE

Garmin 010-02064-00 Instinct, Rugged Outdoor Watch with GPS, Features Glonass and Galileo, Heart Rate Monitoring and 3-Axis Compass, Graphite

Garmins instinct smartwatch is a very price friendly smartwatch for what it actually offers, rugged in design and in ability it really is one of the more “industry leader” watches.

The straps made out of silicone and a body that is enforced with fiber it’s in some ways nearly bomb proof. 

It has a 100 meter water resistance which although not as deep as the G-shock we mentioned earlier it still is a rather deep level making activities such as surfing snorkeling attainable.

It also comes with a step counter and a heart rate monitor which it tracks from around your wrist. This watch is recommended for those who need a watch that is as durable as it is consistent in deep water.

Pros

  • 100 meter water resistance
  • Step count
  • Heart rate monitor

Cons

  • Although having a 14 day battery life, it still will need to be charged.

BEST VALUE

Casio Men's G-Shock Move, GPS + Heart Rate Running Watch, Quartz Solar Assisted Watch with Resin Strap, Gray, (Model: GBD-H1000-8CR)

This is a more advanced “fitness watch”. Like all G-Shock watches it is a very shock absorbent watch and won’t be struggling after just a few bumps and bruises, no, this is made for the long lasting.

Like the previously mentioned G-shock watch it has a water resistance of 200 meters.

But unlike the previous G-shock mentioned on the list this is the first with an optical heart rate monitor, it is also powered by solar, but you do have the choice to charge it manually.

It has a step counter to manage how much you walk or sun during the day. Along with that it also has smartphone uses such as messaging.

The GPS function has many different uses. It can plot a course of travel for you but it is also used to measure distance for various fitness activities.

It can also locate you based upon your current coordinates if you’re ever lost.

These features including a lovely LED display make it the perfect watch for those who enjoy being outside more than they do being inside.

Pros

  • 200 meter water resistance
  • GPS functions
  • Solar assisted power
  • Extremely durable

Cons

  • Advanced tracking and training settings are limited to runners

RUNNER UP

Amazfit Neo Fitness Retro Smartwatch with Real-Time Workout Tracking, Heart Rate and Sleep Monitoring, 28-Day Battery Life, Smart Notifications, 1.2' Always-On Display, Water Resistant, Black

A very affordable Amazfit Neo has a vintage style to it, following a design of a standard casio but made for activity instead of style.

It offers a handful of fitness features, one of those being a 24 hour heart rate monitor helping you track your patterns through every day exercise or perhaps you want to know how your heart acts while you’re asleep, this watch has the features for you to be able to do that.

Including a step counter like all the others on this list so far. You can also be notified with phone and messaging notifications through bluetooth connection.

The watch face is always on showing you the time and date at all times. It also has a backlight that is activated through movement.

The battery life is an incredible four weeks before you need to recharge and it has a 50 meter water resistance.

Pros

  • 24 hour heart rate monitor
  • Step counter
  • Phone and messaging notifications
  • 4 week battery life

Cons

  • Only has a water resistance of 50 meters.

RUNNER UP

SUUNTO 7 GPS Sports Smart Watch, Black

The Suunto 7 has a more sleek look to it, making it at first look a more professional styled watch.

To be clear it isn’t known all too well how durable the watch actually is, it is marketed has a shock proof watch. The watch runs OS and features a heart rate monitor.

It also provides its users with a GPS function allowing them to plot routes or track a distance while exercising in some form.

Although by first look it’s clear to see that it isn’t as durable as a watch that is known for the durability such as G-Shock, that being said it does have a glass screen made out of gorilla glass and a titanium bezel which allows the watch to be at its core durable and shock proof.

It features a 50 meter water resistance which while one of the lower resistance meters on today's list doesn’t completely hinder it as that level of resistance is still okay for the majority of water based activities that one might take part of, except for snorkeling.

Pros

  • Gorilla glass screen
  • Runs OS
  • Heart rate monitor
  • GPS

Cons

  • Only has a 50 meter water resistance.

RUNNER UP

Garmin 010-02174-11 Vivoactive 4 Smartwatch Black/Stainless Bundle with 1 YR CPS Enhanced Protection Pack

A more standard design, the Garmin Vivoactive 4 makes it a more suitable choice for everyday use.

It has a water resistance of 50 meters which like others isn’t as deep as some of the others on this list, however, it does include a rather unique feature in swim tracking.

It also comes with features such as an optical heart rate monitor and a GPS system. This is the watch for those who take their training and exercising very seriously.

For those who are less fitness orientated it is good to note that it comes with text messaging replying but only if you use an android phone.

It gives you updates from your social media and allows music playback.

You can also set your wallet up on this smartwatch which can be used for card readers that accept a contactless form of payment.

If you decide against using the GPS feature then you can have a battery life of 8 days.

Pros

  • Swim tracking
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Music playback
  • 8 day battery life providing GPS is not being used.

Cons

  • Only a 50 meter water resistance

RUNNER UP

Like the name for the watch Fitbit (see also our favorite Fitbit apps) is truly ionic for its fitness tracker. This is the first attempt at a Smartwatch.

It has a wrist fitted heart rate monitor which tracks its users bpm automatically, it is compatible with OS.

It doesn’t have the deepest of water resistance but a respectable 50 meters isn’t too bad. Like the Garmin Vivoactive has a swim tracker which can help its user track laps completed or duration.

It also will count the calories you burn during your exercise. Much like many other FItbit watches this is a great watch for tracking all kinds of sports and activities and isn’t just exclusively good at tracking one.

It has a built in GPS and an ability to store music for its user to listen to. 300 songs to be exact, so you’ll never run out of music once you’ve connected bluetooth headphones.

It has plenty of other Smartwatch features such as notifications for your smartphone, including call, calendar and text messaging.

As well as notifications for smartphone apps that aren't directly available for use on the watch.

Pros

  • Fitness tracker
  • Music playback
  • GPS
  • Swim tracker
  • Compatible with smartphones

Cons

  • Not known for durability
  • Only a water resistance of 50 meters

RUNNER UP

Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch with Heart Rate, Music, Alexa Built-In, Sleep and Swim Tracking, Black/Carbon, One Size (S and L Bands Included)

The Versa 2 watch at first glance looks similar to a classic apple watch, not that there's anything wrong with that. It looks slick and smart.

The features include a heart rate monitor and a 50 meter water resistance. However you can only use GPS features with a smartphone connected to do the actual routing for you.

It also comes with amazon and spotify integration for you to listen to your music with connected bluetooth headphones. This offers a 6 day battery life.

Pros

  • Spotify and amazon integration
  • Fitness tracker
  • Can be used while swimming
  • Battery life of 6 days

Cons

  • 50 meter water resistance. 

RUNNER UP

SAMSUNG Galaxy Watch (46mm, GPS, Bluetooth) – Silver/Black (US Version)

Normally known for there phones and televisions Samsung have now made their way into the ever budding Smartwatch industry.

The watch offers a more classic design with a round face. It’s truly designed for it’s users to achieve their serious fitness goals.

The Samsung smartwatch includes a built in heart rate monitor. It also had a GPS system to help track your whereabouts and measure distance covered for those who love to hike and run.

It has a 50 meter water resistance which although not as deep as some of the others on the list still offers its user the ability to go swimming or surf for example.

It has a Gorilla glass touch screen offering air of durability to the consumer. It also has side buttons to make navigating the watches interface a much easier experience for the user.

Pros

  • GPS
  • Navigation buttons
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Gorilla glass screen

Cons

  • 50 meter water resistance.

RUNNER UP

Garmin fenix 6, Premium Multisport GPS Watch, Heat and Altitude Adjusted V02 Max, Pulse Ox Sensors and Training Load Focus, Silver with Black Band

The Fenix 6 has a traditional face. It’s considered one of the more exclusive smartwatches.

With its 100 meter water resistance it becomes the perfect watch for those users who love to take part in deep sea activities. 

It has a brilliant GPS feature for those who would like to plot a course to go on an exhilarating hike or perhaps those who just want to see how far they can run.

It comes with a fitness tracker like all great Smartwatches. This watch is recommended for the more adventurous person.

That being said, it doesn't shy away from the more standard user with its features such as smart notifications and/ or Garmin pay where you can use it the same way that you would make a contactless payment.

The battery life excels to 14 days of usage before it would need to be recharged.

Pros

  • 100 meter water resistance
  • GPS
  • Fitness tracking
  • Smart features such as Garmin pay

Cons

  • 14 day battery life

RUNNER UP

Amazfit T-Rex Smart Watch with GPS, Military Outdoor Sports Watch for Men,20-Day Battery Life, 1.3'' AMOLED Display,5 ATM Water Resistant, 14-Sports Modes, Heart Rate Sleep Monitor, Rock Black

The Amazfit T-rex Smartwatch is truly a special one at that, one of the most rugged Smartwatches produced, which can handle temperatures between -104f to 150f this makes it the perfect watch if you enjoy the colder or much hotter weather conditions.

The features include an optical heart rate monitor and a GPS system which can be used to plot routes and measure distance travelled by the user who is suited to an outdoor lifestyle.

It has a Gorilla glass screen making it a very tough object. It could be said that the design is based on G-Shock watches.

It offers bluetooth pairing with smart phones allowing the consumer to receive their notifications whilst being out and about. It also has an impressive 20 day battery life.

Pros

  • Can handle extreme weather conditions
  • Gorilla Glass screen
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Fitness tracker
  • Strong battery life

Cons

  • Design is very similar to G-Shock watches

Buyers Guide

If you’re like me then you may find it difficult to differentiate all aspects of what features you want your watch to possess.

At the end of the day it comes down to what the user intends to use his watch for. Is it for a professional look?

Is it to accompany the user on one of life's more adventurous paths? Or perhaps the user simply wants to know how many calories are being burnt when they are doing a specific exercise.

Rugged

For those who aren’t the most interested with smart technology you may simply bee looking for which watch is going to be able to withstand the most punishment before it’s starts to show it or perform badly, well realistically you are looking more towards the G-shock watches or the watches that have mimicked G-shocks design.

It’s important to note that the watches of this list often have a Gorilla glass face making them very difficult to scratch and crack unlike other watches with a more standard face.

However, ruggedness is just defined by how much pressure something can withstand, it’s important to take into account what type of environment the watch is best suited for, does it handle heat well or perhaps in icy cold conditions, if you’re concerned about that then the Amazfit T-rex is a watch noted for its ability to hand the most of extreme temperatures.

Water Resistance

Obviously the whole point of this list is a watch's ability to withstand water, well luckily you can see the list provides information which tells you how deep an individual watch can withstand.

Really this relies on what the user is going to be using the watch for. If you’re an avid snorkeler then something with a resistance of 200 meters will be the right choice for you.

However, if you aquatic activities are more centered on paddle boarding or surfing for example then you should be okay using a watch with a water resistance of 100 meters.

If you're an avid swimmer then you may find that something with a water resistance of 50 meters is the right watch for your needs.

Although it never hurts to go for a 200 meter resistance because you never really know when you’re going to need it.

Fitness Tracker

Some of you may just want the ability to track how many calories you’ve burnt or how many steps you’ve taken and your standard fit bit isn’t quite cutting it anymore then really any of the above watches mentioned are suitable for you, all coming with a fitness tracker embedded within them.

The fitness tracker can help its user maintain a goal that they want to achieve or help its user track steps or distance covered for their own state of mind.

Heart Monitor

Maybe your use is simply to check your BPM, of course your BPM changes depending on what you’re doing but with wrist fitted heart rate monitors you’re able to check your hearts activity whilst you sleep for example not just when you’re exercising.

This kind of feature is incredibly appealing for those who want to keep a keen eye on their general health.

Swim tracker

For those who want to measure how many laps they can swim and/or what speed they can swim at then a watch with a swim tracker is a must have, A tracker is important as it allows the user to set goals to work towards as well as keeping you accountable for the amount of swimming that you’re actually doing.

After all it’s good to know you’re doing something but it's better to know you’re achieving the goals you’re setting.

GPS

Obviously we all know what a GPS does but what can you use one on a watch for I hear you ask, well think about it, you phones out of battery, you’ve hiked half way up a mountain and you can’t find your way home along the safest route possible well with a GPS tracker that issue disappears an incredibly useful tool to have with you along your outdoor adventure as you’ll never feel let down by it.

A GPS also fits in with lots of fitness trackers allowing the user to plot any type of course they want to and know exactly where they are along that course whilst they’re partaking on your journey.

Battery Life

It’s safe to say that all of the above watches have a great battery life, but some can be hindered while using some features on the watch itself, mainly being the GPS system.

Yes it can hinder the life of the watch however, at a full charge the shortest lifespan along this list is 6 days which is still an incredibly long life span.

However, the best Battery life is that which is solar powered meaning that as long as the watch has harnessed solar power (which if it’s solar, it will) the reason for this is that if you’re on your adventures it will be a big help to you if you begin to feel that your watch may be running out of charge when you need it most.

Navigation Buttons

Perhaps you struggle with touchscreen technology and think well if I’m going to struggle to navigate the watch in general then what's the point? Well here’s where you’re about to have your mind blown.

The Samsung galaxy watch comes with Navigation buttons along the side of the face of the watch, allowing the user to navigate freely through the menus.

This can help the user achieve the goals that they want to set out and maybe give a more user friendly feel to the watch overall.

Music Playback

One of the more mainstream uses for a Smartwatch is the ability to play music through bluetooth activated headphones, many of the watches listed above distribute those features allowing Spotify and amazon music to be integrated to the watch itself, allowing users to sync up there accounts and flow effortlessly from song to song while they exercise or perhaps go for a long walk.

This can eliminate the need to bring your phone on your trip with you allowing users real freedom whilst they enjoy the outdoors. The Fitbit Ionic smartwatch even allows users to store 300 songs so it can play without being directly connected to the internet.

This again is another indication of the total freedom that smartwatches offer the user.

Compatibility

Its important knowledge to have if the watch that you’re thinking of purchasing for your outdoor activities or perhaps if you go swimming that the watch can in fact be compatible with the smartphone that you use.

After all you wouldn’t want to buy a watch when you use an Apple smartphone that it can only link up with an android phone, the majority of these watches can run with both phones but it’s important to note that before you buy

Style

Another facet is how you would like the watch to look, lots of these designs offer a more classic round face and if that's for you then great however.

The Fitbit Ionic offers a similar look to an apple watch. Which in itself is fine but it won't offer the most protection when it comes to taking bumps and bruises.

If looking bomb proof is your style then you can’t go wrong with any of the G-Shock watches that are listed above.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Have To Charge The Watch Or Is It Solar Powered?

The majority of Watches that are listed above are not solar powered and will need to be charged at some point.

That being said the shortest battery life on the list is 6 days while the max that isn’t solar powered is 20 days. It’s good to note that some of the features such as the GPS system whilst being used may drain the battery life quicker than expected.

The G-Shock Move GBDH1000 is in fact solar powered and will recharge through this function.

Is It Compatible With IOS?

Most of the watches listed above are compatible with some form of smart software that you can connect your phone to.

Before you make your purchase you should be aware of what your phone is suitable for and if your phone runs on the same software as the watch.

If it does then great but if it doesn't you may find that you need to still do some shopping around before you make your mind up on what is the best watch for you.

Can You Receive Calls On A Smartwatch?

You can set your watch up to be compatible with your notifications and alert you when somebody has messaged you.

You can input your data and reply to messages using the functions of your watch but to directly take calls through your watch is something that is only achieved if you have wireless headphones connected.

Are They Reliant On Cellphones?

You don’t need a cellphone to use a smart watch however if you were intending to have your phone notifications on the watch the a smartphone would be needed for this feature.

Garrett Jones