Best smartwatch 2022: Top picks for every budget

Best smartwatch: Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Apple Watch SE (2022) shown on wrist
(Image credit: Future)

The best smartwatches are more advanced than ever. They're now everything in one: a comprehensive health and fitness tracker, digital wallet, and an extension of your smartphone, even if your smartphone is nowhere nearby. 

In fact, smartwatches these days can even save your life. Many can measure your heart rate, detect elevations, and automatically connect you to emergency services if you have a fall. Electrocardiogram (ECG) and blood oxygen (SpO2) readings are perks of certain models, too. 

The best smartwatches go above and beyond, housing various features and apps and also packing impressive battery life lasting well over a week. And of course, there's style: The best smartwatches can be customized, from their straps to their faces, to best fit your personality. 

We've tested dozens of the best smartwatches to find the ones that will be best for all types of users, so check out our top picks below. You can also refer to our smartwatch buying guide for more tips on finding the ultimate wearable for you. And be sure to look at the best cheap smartwatches if you're on a mission to save some dollars. 

The best smartwatches you can buy today

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The best smartwatch overall

Specifications

Sizes: 41mm, 45mm
Battery Life (Rated): 18 hours
GPS: Yes
Swim-Proof: Yes
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
LTE: Optional
Mobile Payments: Apple Pay
Compatibility: iOS

Reasons to buy

+
Skin temperature reader for cycle + sleep tracking
+
Crash detection
+
New watchOS 9 workout interface
+
Low power mode

Reasons to avoid

-
Similar to previous Apple Watch

The Apple Watch 8 is the best Apple Watch yet. It’s not a major upgrade over the Apple Watch Series 7 in terms of features, but it has the same great design and larger screen. What's new between the Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Series 7 is the skin temperature sensor, which can inform cycle and fertility tracking, as well as sleep tracking. The Series 8 also launched with the long-awaited low power mode, which can extend the latest Apple Watch's battery life to 36 hours. What's more, the Apple Watch 8 has a new crash detection feature, leveraging improved motion sensors for instant help when you might need it most.

Otherwise, the Apple Watch Series 8 is a full-featured health tracker and communications tool. With watchOS 9, this smartwatch packs the latest and greatest of what the Apple Watch experience has to offer. Whether you want a smartwatch for working out, answering calls from your wrist, or using the best Apple Watch apps, this is the best smartwatch for you. As long as you have an iPhone, of course.

Read our full Apple Watch 8 review.

The best smartwatch for Android

Specifications

Sizes: 40mm, 44mm
Battery Life (Rated): 50 hours
GPS: Yes
Swim-Proof: Yes
LTE: Optional
Mobile Payments: Samsung Pay

Reasons to buy

+
Sporty, yet versatile design
+
Stronger, scratch-resistant screen
+
Added skin temperature sensor
+
Longer-lasting battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Skin temperature sensor doesn't work at launch

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 has a new skin-temperature reader, more scratch-resistant display and a longer-lasting battery life. It's the best Samsung watch yet, because while there aren't a ton of differences between the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs. Galaxy Watch 4, the changes make what was already a great device all that much better. And starting at $279, it remains a fair value. 

Though the skin temperature reader won't work at launch, there's plenty to like about the Galaxy Watch 5. For one, it lasted for an entire two days in our testing, and reached almost 50% charge from 0% in 30 minutes. Wear OS 3 with Samsung's skin has more perks, too, including Google Assistant and better interoperability with your other Samsung devices. For more GPS features and an even longer-lasting battery life, check out the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review.

The best smartwatch for Pixel smartphones

Specifications

Sizes: 41mm
Battery Life (Rated): 24 hours
GPS: Yes
Swim-Proof: Yes
LTE: Optional
Mobile Payments: Google Wallet

Reasons to buy

+
Minimalistic design
+
Full collection of Google services on-board
+
Reliable Fitbit fitness tracking

Reasons to avoid

-
Big bezel
-
Lackluster battery life

The Google Pixel Watch is the best smartwatch for Pixel phone users, bar none. Though it’s a first-generation device, a clean design, a full collection of Google apps and fitness tracking powered by Fitbit’s platform make for a compelling smartwatch. In many ways, the Pixel Watch is the best of both worlds, pairing a top-notch Wear OS experience with Fitbit’s holistic health-tracking (which is further enhanced with a Fitbit Premium membership.) There are plenty of tools on-board for staying connected and getting active.

But there’s some room for improvement: the thick bezels and singular size option might deter some users in terms of design, while we found the battery life feels disappointing compared to that of other Fitbit smartwatches. Still, the Pixel Watch stands out enough from other smartwatches for Android, making for what we consider a successful first attempt based on our testing. Do check out our lowdown of the 3 reasons to buy and 3 reasons to skip the Google Pixel Watch.

Read our full Google Pixel Watch review.

The best smartwatch value for iPhone users

Specifications

Sizes: 40mm, 44mm
Battery Life (Rated): 18 hours
GPS: Yes
Swim-Proof: Yes
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
LTE: Optional
Mobile Payments: Apple Pay
Compatibility: iOS

Reasons to buy

+
Lower price than previous Apple Watch SE
+
Color-matched bottom case
+
Same chipset as Apple Watch Series 8

Reasons to avoid

-
No always-on display
-

The Apple Watch SE is kind of a hybrid device, pairing an older Apple Watch design with the Apple Watch Series 8's chipset. The $249 smartwatch doesn't have all the Series 8's features, but still stands out for its great fitness tracking and safety features. It also offers an LTE option, making it a good choice for those interested in trying out Family Setup.

When choosing between the Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Apple Watch SE (2022), your ultimate decision will be if you want to spend an extra $150 for a brighter display with an always-on option, an ECG monitor and skin-temperature, and a bigger display. If those tools aren't deal-breakers for you, the SE is a highly capable option for iPhone users. It even gets watchOS 9, the most up-to-date Apple Watch software with low power mode, fresh new watch faces, an upgraded workout interface, a redesigned compass tool and the new Medications app.

Read our full Apple Watch SE (2022) review.

The best smartwatch from Fitbit

Specifications

Sizes: 40mm
Battery Life (Rated): 6 days
GPS: Yes
Swim-Proof: Yes
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
LTE: No
Mobile Payments: Fitbit Pay, Google Pay
Compatibility: iOS, Android

Reasons to buy

+
Proactive stress management with cEDA
+
Comfortable design
+
Robust fitness and health tracking with Fitbit Premiums

Reasons to avoid

-
No third party apps

Compared to the original Fitbit Sense, the Sense 2 features an upgraded design, interface and EDA sensor, making for Fitbit's most holistic smartwatch yet. Thanks to advanced health analysis and deep integration with Fitbit Premium, the $299 Sense 2 also sustains an edge in fitness-tracking over many of the best smartwatches  on this list.

An update to the stress-detecting EDA (electrodermal activity) sensor plays a large role in the device’s success: now called cEDA ('c' for continuous,) the sensor monitors stress levels or heightened responses throughout the day, prompting the user to take action on mood monitoring with Body Response notifications. However, added support for Google Wallet and Google Maps, while useful upgrades, won’t be available for the Fitbit Sense 2 at launch. There’s oddly no third-party app support, either. Still, for a smartwatch that helps you get in touch with how you feel, the Sense 2 succeeds.

Read our full Fitbit Sense 2 review.

The best fitness-tracking smartwatch

Specifications

Sizes: 43mm
Battery Life (Rated): 10 days
GPS: Yes
Swim-Proof: Yes
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
LTE: No
Mobile Payments: Garmin Pay
Compatibility: iOS, Android

Reasons to buy

+
Stunning AMOLED display
+
Reliable fitness tracking and Garmin Coach
+
Call quality is better than expected

Reasons to avoid

-
Not enough third-party apps

The Garmin Venu 2 was already a stellar fitness-tracking smartwatch. We consider it one of the best Garmin watches that’s both a capable workout companion and stylish lifestyle device. The $449 Garmin Venu 2 Plus introduces on-wrist calls and voice assistants. While it maintains Garmin’s reputation for thorough fitness tracking and accurate GPS, the Venu 2 Plus is now a stronger sell for those who want their smartwatch to act as an extension of their smartphone.

Though Garmin still lacks a large third-party app store and continues to steer clear of LTE support, embracing more communication tools is a major step towards mastering the complete smartwatch experience. 10 days of battery life is the cherry on top. 

Read our full Garmin Venu 2 review.

The best smartwatch for safety and sports

Specifications

Sizes: 49mm
Heart Rate: Yes
GPS: Yes
LTE: Optional
Battery Life: 36 hours
Swim-Proof: Yes
Mobile Payments: Apple Pay

Reasons to buy

+
Best battery life of any Apple Watch
+
Added Action Button
+
Emergency siren

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life doesn’t compare with competitors

The Apple Watch Ultra is the best smartwatch to buy if you're a serious athlete or prioritize safety features on your wrist. In addition to new watchOS running features, the Ultra has an extra third button — the Action Button, which comes in handy for workouts but also serves as a quick way to access safety features, such as Emergency SOS and the Apple Watch Ultra's Siren.

Its 49mm screen is huge while the entire watch built for adventure. The bezel is made from titanium, with a lip around the screen to add more protection. The display is made from sapphire glass, and the watch has an increased water resistance of 100m. With up to 60 hours of battery life (in low power mode), it also has the stamina to keep up. It's still not the best battery life option compared to Garmin's sports watches, but it's better than any other Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch Ultra is a serious smartwatch. We found it's not for everyone, but depending on your needs, it could strike the right balance. 

Read our full Apple Watch Ultra review.

The best smartwatch for step counting

Specifications

Sizes: 40mm
Battery Life (Rated): 6 days
GPS: Yes
Swim-Proof: Yes
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
LTE: No
Mobile Payments: Fitbit Pay, Google Pay
Compatibility: iOS, Android

Reasons to buy

+
Great, slim-profile design
+
Accurate step counting
+
Good battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Trouble with heart rate accuracy
-
No third-party apps

The Fitbit Versa 4 is the best smartwatch for step tracking based on our testing. We will say it's not the best smartwatch for fitness tracking overall, as it struggles to provide accurate heart rate readings. But if you're looking for something that will get you moving with hourly step reminders and alerts when you've reached your daily goal, this smartwatch is a great choice.

Not only that, the Versa 4 a lovely-looking smartwatch with a slim profile and sleek metallic finishes. It looks very similar to the Fitbit Sense 2, yes, but this is the better choice if you're on a tighter budget or aren't as interested in stress-tracking. The Versa 4 still has reliable sleep-tracking and other perks available via Fitbit Premium.

Read our full Fitbit Versa 4 review.

The best smartwatch with a traditional timepiece look

Specifications

Sizes: 42mm, 46mm
Battery Life (Rated): 40 hours
GPS: Yes
Swim-Proof: Yes
LTE: Optional
Mobile Payments: Samsung Pay

Reasons to buy

+
Slim design and fun watch faces
+
Improved Wear OS software
+
Body composition analysis

Reasons to avoid

-
Inconsistent battery life

Despite there being a newer Galaxy Watch 5, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic remains available as the best smartwatch for those who like a traditional look. This ‘Classic’ version of watch features luxurious characteristics, namely the physical rotating bezel (starting at $349.99.)

Thanks to a 3-in-1 health sensor, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic measures heart rate, takes ECGs and reads body composition. And while it gets appealing Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Wear OS features, it still pays homage to Tizen, making it the ideal accessory for the best Samsung phones. Note that certain features are exclusive to Samsung users, so not all Android users will benefit from all the Galaxy Watch 4 can do.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic review.

The best smartwatch for adventures on a budget

Specifications

Sizes: 47mm
Battery Life (Rated): 3 days (up to 45 days in Essential Mode)
GPS: Yes
Swim-Proof: Yes
LTE: No
Mobile Payments: Google Pay

Reasons to buy

+
Great always-on interface
+
Good fitness tracking
+
Long-lasting battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn’t have Wear OS 3 yet

The TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS might not be the most noteworthy Wear OS smartwatch on the market, but it impresses where some of its competitors lack: battery life. Smart design, bright display and solid fitness tracking help round-out the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS to be one of the best smartwatches you can buy. At $299, the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS is also more affordable than many of the outdoor sector-centered smartwatches you’ll find on the market now. 

Again, it puts an emphasis on endurance — this smartwatch lasts up to 45 days with certain settings enabled. Regrettably, the software doesn’t run as smoothly as you might see on Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 or the Google Pixel Watch, which both have the latest version of Wear OS 3 (this TicWatch is eligible, but hasn’t yet been updated.) Though if you're looking for something that's durable and goes the distance, we think there's a lot to like about the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS.

Read our full TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS review.

The best smartwatch from Fitbit under $200

Specifications

Sizes: One size
Battery Life (Rated): 6 days
GPS: Yes
Sleep Tracking: Yes
Swim-Proof: Yes
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Good battery life
+
Custom training programs (with subscription)
+
Great sleep analysis

Reasons to avoid

-
Can only use one voice assistant at once

The best smartwatch with Fitbit fitness tracking under $200 is the Fitbit Versa 3. The Versa 3’s standout upgrade is on-board GPS. Now, even when you leave your phone at home, the Versa can track your location during outdoor exercise. A curvier, larger display is welcome, too. 

Plus the Versa 3 has a great motivational workout feature, Active Zone Minutes. Now a staple of Fitbit devices, Active Zone Minutes monitors the time you spend in the fat burn, cardio or peak heart-rate zones while exercising. Your goal is to earn the AHA’s and WHO’s recommended 150 Active Zone Minutes each week. Again you can use your Fitbit Versa 3 for phone calls and speak to voice assistants for queries, but note you can only enable one voice assistant at once. 

We think the newer Fitbit Versa 4 is a slightly better smartwatch in terms of interface and design, however, the Versa 3 is still an excellent value, especially on deep discount.

Read our full Fitbit Versa 3 review.

How to pick the best smartwatch for you

When looking at the best smartwatches for you, you're somewhat limited by the smartphone you own. If you want an Apple Watch, for instance, you'll need to have an iPhone. And while Wear OS watches work with both Android and iPhones, you get far less functionality when not connected to an Android device. There are plenty of differences between Apple Watch vs. Fitbit  and Apple Watch vs. Garmin as well.

Samsung's smartwatches offer the greatest in terms of cross-functionality, but even here, Android phone owners will get more in terms of replies to notifications and the ability to make and receive phone calls. 

After that, when picking a smartwatch, you also want to get one that fits your wrist comfortably. Those with smaller wrists may find larger smartwatches — ones with case sizes larger than 44mm — to be too bulky and cumbersome to wear. If you need features like cycle or pregnancy tracking, you might find our list of the best smartwatches for women helpful, too. 

Similarly, you want to find a smartwatch that fits your style. Although the Apple Watch is limited to one shape, you can purchase it in different finishes. Samsung's smartwatches offer a little more choice, while Wear OS watches, which are made by a number of companies including Fossil, Skagen, Kate Spade, Moto, Tag Heuer, Diesel, and others, give you many more options when it comes to their design.  Does your smartwatch come with a metal strap? Here's how to remove a link from a watch

And if you need smartwatches for certain fitness goals. see our guides to the best running watches and best GPS watches. You also might be better suited for one of the best fitness trackers instead.

How we test the best smartwatches

We test every new smartwatch to gauge its design and comfort. If it’s not stylish and comfortable enough to get you from an early morning workout to the office to a night out, you probably won’t wear it every day. Most smartwatches are also fitness trackers, so we put all of its sensors to the test, from step counts to heart rate to GPS (when applicable).

We install apps and use them to see if the device’s app store is robust enough to elevate it to smartwatch status. If the watch has built-in LTE, we test cellular connectivity and call quality to make sure the device can actually stand on its own without a smartphone nearby.

And we measure battery life using everyday scenarios — including workouts, using apps, and getting notifications — to make sure you can get through an entire day without needing to charge up.

For more smartwatch tips, see our smartwatch buying guide.