Skip to main content

The best Samsung watch in 2021

Included in this guide:

The best Samsung watch: Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
(Image credit: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

What is the best Samsung watch? The answer depends on what you’re looking for out of a smartwatch for Samsung users. Whether you’re looking for a device for fitness tracking, an extension of your smartphone or something that can save your life in some emergencies, there’s a Galaxy Watch for you. 

In fact, all the Samsung Galaxy Watch models can do those things, but some models do it better than others. Some look better than others, too. Each new Galaxy Watch offers distinct visual and functional upgrades that makes it one of the best smartwatches every year.

Samsung has made five iterations of its smartwatch with a few design variations: the newest flagship is the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, though you can often buy older models like the Galaxy Watch 3 and Galaxy Watch Active 2 at a discount.

That said, only the latest Galaxy Watch has the new Google Wear OS software. Samsung has promised to support Galaxy Watch versions with Tizen for three more years. Many of the best smartwatches for Android will be making a switch to Google’s wearable platform in the future. In most cases, we’d recommend buying the Galaxy Watch 4 so you’re eligible for improvements for a longer time.

But if you’d like to browse all your options, see the best Samsung watches below.

What is the best Samsung watch right now?

The best Samsung watch is the newest Samsung watch — the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. Introduced this year, the Galaxy Watch 4 offers a versatile design, complete with a sporty-looking model starting at $249.99 and an elevated ‘Classic’ model version starting at $349.99. It caters to those with the best Samsung phones with exclusive tools like ECG monitoring and blood pressure monitoring in countries where those features are approved.

Last year’s Galaxy Watch, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, is another one of the best Samsung watches. It remains one of the most stylish smartwatches on the market, and comes in LTE variants, so you can leave your Android smartphone at home. It runs Tizen instead of the new Wear OS, but long-time Galaxy Watch users might prefer the company’s native software to Google’s refreshed one. 

Similarly, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is still worth buying as one of the best cheap smartwatches right now. Yes, it’s two years old, but the timelessly sporty design and reliable software make it a bargain. These companies build their smartwatches to last. That’s why we’ve included the first Samsung Galaxy Watch Active and original Samsung Galaxy Watch on this list, too.

The best Samsung Watch today

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

(Image credit: Future)

1. Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

The best Samsung watch overall

Specifications
Display: 40mm, 42mm, 44mm, 46mm
Heart Rate: Yes
GPS: Yes
LTE: Optional
Battery Life: 40 hours
Swim-Proof: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Slim design and fun watch faces+Improved Wear OS software+Body composition analysis
Reasons to avoid
-Battery life can be inconsistent

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is the best Samsung watch overall. It notably comes in two different designs (and prices) to cater to a wider variety of user needs. The standard Galaxy Watch 4 looks more like the previous Galaxy Watch Active devices and is the company’s flagship, starting at $249. Then, the ‘Classic’ version carries on the luxurious characteristics like the physical rotating bezel, starting at $349.

Thanks to a 3-in-1 health sensor, the Galaxy Watch 4 measures heart rate, takes ECGs and reads body composition. However, a number of features are exclusive to Samsung phones, like ECG and blood pressure monitoring if you’re in a country it’s available. Otherwise, the one Galaxy Watch 4 setback is inconsistent battery life, but as long as you don’t mind a daily charge, you’ll benefit from on-board GPS, an always-on display, excellent sleep tracking and more.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

(Image credit: Future)

2. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

The best Samsung watch with a traditional timepiece design

Specifications
Display: 41mm, 44mm
Heart Rate: Yes
GPS: Yes
LTE: Optional
Battery Life: 2 days
Swim-Proof: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Physical rotating bezel is great+FDA-approved ECG readings
Reasons to avoid
-Battery life could be better-Replaced by Galaxy Watch 4

Though it’s a year older than the Galaxy Watch 4, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is still available to purchase and remains one of the most stylish smartwatches around. It's available in two sizes, as well as in LTE variants, so you can leave your smartphone at home. The Galaxy Watch 3's rotating bezel makes navigating the watch's interface easy, while access to thousands of watch faces lets you customize the display to your liking.

Although the Galaxy Watch 3 has a shorter, 2-day battery life compared to the original Samsung Galaxy Watch, it introduces more music storage, FDA-approved ECG tracking and trip detection. Of course, you'll get Samsung Pay for contactless payments, and some good fitness features too. If you’re not sure whether you should get this model or the newer one, see our guide to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch 3.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

(Image credit: Samsung)

3. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

The best Samsung watch you’ll find on sale

Specifications
Display: 40mm, 44mm
Heart Rate: Yes
GPS: Yes
LTE: Optional
Battery Life (Rated): 60 hours
Swim-Proof: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Offline Spotify storage+Versatile design+Competitive price for a smartwatch with ECG
Reasons to avoid
-Not good for sleep tracking

As our Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch Active 2 face-off explains, the Watch Active 2 is still worth buying, especially when you find it on sale. Samsung's watch works with any smartphone and features GPS, a heart rate monitor and the option to enable LTE. It also can automatically track your activity and sleep. (It's much better at the former task than the latter.)

As for looks, Galaxy Watch Active 2's circular design is visually appealing, whether you get the 40mm or 44mm model. Running Samsung's Tizen operating system, this Galaxy Watch boasts other useful features such as Samsung Pay, onboard music via Spotify and heart health features. That includes an ECG feature, which is usually reserved for pricer models. 

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 review.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

(Image credit: Future)

4. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

An affordable Samsung watch for working out

Specifications
Display: 40mm
Heart Rate: Yes
GPS: Yes
LTE: No
Battery Life (Rated): 45 hours
Swim-Proof: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Elegant software interface+Sleek design+Useful apps for fitness enthusiasts
Reasons to avoid
-No LTE option

Samsung's first-gen Galaxy Watch Active smartwatch is its most affordable — and also one of the best Samsung watches for those looking to spend less. When it debuted, the first Galaxy Watch Active had a faster processor and easier-to-use software than other Android watches that run on Google's Wear OS platform. That’s changed for newer wearables, but is a testament to how much we enjoyed using this sporty-looking Samsung smartwatch. 

Samsung's built-in apps, including its fitness-focused options, are more than capable of handling most tasks. You won’t find as many app options as you will on, say, the Apple Watch, but enough to accomplish most tasks. You also don’t have an LTE option, so you can’t untether your smartwatch from your smartphone. If that’s a dealbreaker, stick with the Galaxy Watch Active 2 or newer.  

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch Active review.

Samsung Galaxy Watch

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

5. Samsung Galaxy Watch

The best Samsung watch for battery life

Specifications
Display: 42mm, 46mm
Heart Rate: Yes
GPS: Yes
LTE: Yes
Battery Life (Rated): 4 days hours
Swim-Proof: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Stylish design+Long battery life+Good fitness feature
Reasons to avoid
-Several years old

When the original Samsung Galaxy Watch first came out, it proved there's a real place in the world for smartwatches. It was the best Samsung smartwatch to date, marking a transition from the company’s Gear smartwatches to true Apple Watch rivals. The best part? It came with an epic four-day battery life, blowing the competition away in terms of stamina.

You can still buy this Samsung Galaxy Watch online, if you want a wearable that runs Tizen and can keep up with you for a few days. As far as specs go, it’s still highly capable, offering heart rate monitoring, GPS, music storage and the option for LTE connectivity. It doesn’t have ECG, blood pressure reading or body composition analysis like the newer Galaxy watch models, but no newer watch has beat the original’s battery life. Still, we’d choose one of the options above before this one, unless you score a deal you can’t pass up.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch review

How to choose the best Samsung watch for you

Choosing the best Samsung watch for you doesn’t need to be a hard decision. In most cases, it will come down to the newest Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 or Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2. We’d recommend getting the Galaxy Watch 4 if you want to have a smartwatch with the ambitious Wear OS software and the most advanced health monitoring features — and you own a Samsung smartphone. But if you find the Galaxy Watch 3 or Galaxy Watch Active 2 at steep discounts, they’re both attractive alternatives that could go easy on your wallet.

And, if you’re still questioning which Samsung watch is best, or whether a Galaxy Watch is the best smartwatch for you, take a look at our smartwatch buying guide. It includes a number of Galaxy Watch and fitness tracker comparisons, which may help you determine whether one of the best Fitbit devices or best Garmin watches better suits your needs.

How we test the best Samsung watches

We test Samsung smartwatches the same way we do all smartwatches: By wearing them for several days to see how they hold up in a series of everyday trials. We first see how well the watches fit on our wrists, and how easy the displays are to navigate and read, especially in sunlight. Depending on its capabilities, we also test the watches' sensors, such as GPS and heart rate monitors. 

Other criteria that factor into our ratings include the smartwatch’s software and app collection, how well it interacts with our smartphone, and battery life. In all of this, we also take into account the price of the smartwatch. The less a watch costs, the more leeway we're inclined to give it. In the case of the best Samsung watches we also analyze how each new Galaxy Watch compares to its predecessor, and how well (or not) the company continues to push the boundaries of wearable technology.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide covering wearables, TVs and everything smart-home related. When she’s not in cyborg mode, you can find her on an exercise bike or channeling her inner celebrity chef. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at kate.kozuch@futurenet.com.