If you’re the kind of person that wants all the data about your exercise you can get your hands on, but you’re also a keen swimmer, it can be tricky to find a tracker that you can trust to take into the pool with you. Not only do you want something that will accurately track your lengths, you need something that won’t pack it in as soon as it gets wet.
It took a while for fitness trackers to offer a decent choice of waterproof options but now everyone is diving in, so which ones stand up to the challenge and which ones are left behind?
Moov Now – Best for improving your swimming
With a dedicated swimming mode the Now from Moov is a serious swimming tracker available for around £50. Waterproof to a depth of 30m, it is capable of tracking not only the distance and speed you swim, but also stroke type and count, as well as the speed of your turns.
All this information is collected to provide coaching to help you improve your performance and the efficiency of your swimming. Its design may leave you a little unconvinced, but unlike some fitness trackers the Moov is designed to only be worn while you are exercising so it’s not a fashion statement you have to incorporate into your look full time.
It’s comfortable to wear while swimming and as all the activation is done from your phone once you’re in the pool all you need to do is concentrate on swimming – all the rest periods will be recorded automatically. There is no readout on the watch and it does take a bit of time (a few minutes) for your workout to upload to your phone once you’re done, but no longer than it takes to get dressed so you’ll know how you did before you’re on your way home.
It’s a superb swimming tracker, particularly for its price, and unlike some trackers doesn’t get bogged down trying to do too much.
Read our full review of the Moov Now.
Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro – Best for instant feedback
If seeing your performance in-pool is important to you the Gear Fit2 Pro is an excellent choice. The curved AMOLED screen means you can quickly review your performance without having to dry off and the tracker is still waterproof up to 50m.
It is suitable for both pool and open water use and the built-in trackers mean it can easily track activity outside of the pool as well.
It does cost a fair bit more than some of our other options at over £200, but for the extra outlay you also get a proper smartwatch that goes beyond just sports tracking.
Garmin Vivoactive 3 – Best for multi-sports
If you’re willing to spend a decent amount the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is an excellent option. A superb all round fitness tracker, it too has a dedicated swimming app for tracking things including distance, stroke, speed and SWOLF rating (Swim Golf, an aggregate score of your lengths based on stroke count). Plus it can also track your heart rate while you exercise.
It is rated to be waterproof to a depth of 50m so you can be secure taking it into the pool or even making use of the diving pool. The only downside is the price, as at £150+ it is more expensive than some others on our list.
It’s pretty chunky with a large strap, which you will appreciate if you have large wrists, although it may look a little silly if you’re on the smaller side.
It also is a smartwatch, but don’t expect Apple Watch levels of functionality. it’s fine for the basics but this is very much a fitness tracker first and a smartwatch second. There is also a Music version that includes enough storage for around 500 songs for about £50 more.
Fitbit Flex 2 – Best for style
It took Fitbit a while to catch up in terms of swimming tracking but the Flex 2 brings its accessible tracker to the pool. Waterproof to 50m, the Flex 2 can recognise the stroke you are using and the distance and time you have been swimming.
It may not have the level of detail some of the other trackers have, but if you’re just a casual swimmer who doesn’t want to have to count their lengths it’s more than suitable, as well as offering the ability to track other activities and your sleep patterns.
It’s not the cheapest on our list at just under £90, but thanks to its simple, unobtrusive design it’s a great entry level option. Battery life is a little disappointing, with it needing to be charged every 3 or 4 days – which is a slightly strange habit to get into – but it’s not a major issue.
Polar V800 – Best for triathletes
If you really want to go all out and have the budget to back it up, you might want to consider the £390 Polar V800. Like the Garmin, this is a serious sports tracker capable of recording multiple activities and when it comes to swimming it picks up the stroke you are using, stroke count, speed and distance.
It’s rated to a depth of 30m and with GPS for tracking long distances it’s an ideal watch for triathletes, especially as it is also capable of recording transition times. A heart rate monitor means you can tell how hard your body is working and the inclusion of individual training targets means you can always push yourself to work that much harder.
Note: There were some issues with the battery swelling in the first versions of the V800, but this has since been fixed by Polar and no longer appears as a common problem for long term users.