The best smartwatches for every type of user

Believe it or not, there are smartwatches worth owning besides the Apple Watch. If getting important (or not so important) notifications on your wrist sounds appealing to you, there’s great news: most smartwatches can now do that for you. And you have options when it comes to style, form factor, and more dedicated wearable purposes.

There are smartwatches that emphasize style and a classic timepiece aesthetic, others that help you train for competition in specific sports, and everything in between. From casual exercisers to those who want every bit of data and guidance they can get, the smartwatch landscape has matured. And recently, we revisited some of our favorite options and tested the latest releases in an effort to help you nail down the best smartwatch for your needs.

Table of Contents

  • The best smartwatch overall
  • Runner-up
  • A slightly more affordable smartwatch we like
  • Best runner’s smartwatch
  • Best Android smartwatch
  • Most stylish smartwatches

The short(er) version

  • The Apple Watch Series 7 is still the best all-around smartwatch available. No other wearable offers close to the app variety, ecosystem cohesiveness, and third-party support that the Apple Watch does. Battery life is just okay at roughly one day per charge, but charging from zero to 100 now takes just over an hour. The new, bigger screen offers larger font sizes and more space to read fitness data and notifications, too. Fitness tracking could still use more context, but the Series 7’s all-around package is tough to beat. Meanwhile, the Apple Watch SE can save you a few bucks depending on your needs.
  • Our runner-up is the Fitbit Sense. It doesn’t have the Apple Watch’s extensive app support, but it offers nearly the same level of fitness hardware (ECG, blood oxygen sensors, heart rate, GPS), week-long battery life, a more in-depth companion app, and actual Android support, all in a stylish design.
  • If you can find it for less than $200, the Fitbit Versa 3 is another option we like. It has a nice combination of sleek smartwatch looks (in both software and hardware) and the requisite fitness tracking and notification capabilities we expect at that price point. There’s no ECG sensor, but it should have you covered with basic to moderate health insights otherwise.
  • Garmin’s Forerunner 745 is our top runner’s watch for its deep training stats, useful yet easy-to-read analysis for all athletes, and suite of dedicated runner’s tools. It lacks a touchscreen, but with GPS, 24/7 heart rate, all-day blood oxygen monitoring, and music storage for up to 500 songs, it’s a capable companion for running, swimming, biking, and most other sports.
  • The Garmin Forerunner 55 and 245 Music are two less-expensive options worth a look for moderate runners. Those who love the 745’s approach but don’t need things like music storage, blood oxygen monitoring, or running-cadence analysis can save a significant amount with a Forerunner 45. The Forerunner 245 Music, meanwhile, may be better for those who don’t need an altimeter or tracking for hikes and other outdoorsy activities but want to retain the lion’s share of 745’s activity-tracking features.
  • Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 is the best all-around wearable for Android users, especially Samsung phone owners. Its classic watch styling looks good, and its rotating bezel controls are intuitive. Some of its more advanced health-tracking features require a Galaxy phone, but it’s still a very capable fitness tracker on the whole. Its collaboratively created software from Google and Samsung means it keeps the polish Galaxy watches were known for while adding a growing list of popular apps to support it.
  • We also have a few stylish smartwatches we like from Garmin. The Vivomove Luxe, Style, and 3/3S share elegant looks and premium materials at varying price points, making them nice pieces of jewelry that don’t compromise too much on moderate fitness tracking. The Garmin Lily, meanwhile, is an especially great choice for women or those with smaller wrists. It requires a phone for GPS, but it delivers useful stats for all sorts of activities and notifications with a fashionable aesthetic.

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