The best smartwatches do more than let you know if you're getting a call or text message on your wrist. They're everything in one: a fitness tracker for counting your steps, a digital wallet and in some cases, it can act as a phone, even if your smartphone is nowhere nearby.
Smartwatches these days have health features that can even save your life. Many of the best smartwatches we've tested can detect elevated heart rate alerts and automatically connect you to emergency services if you take a hard fall. Electrocardiogram (ECG) and blood oxygen (SpO2) readings are perks of certain models, too. The former detects signs of atrial fibrillation, while the latter is a good indicator of respiratory health.
But the best smartwatches do all these things better than others. Some have huge numbers of apps you can download, and some have batteries that will barely last a day, while others can go nearly a week on a charge. And of course there's style: The best smartwatches can be customized, from their straps to their faces, to best fit with your personality.
What is the best smartwatch?
After testing dozens of the best smartwatches, our top pick is the Apple Watch Series 8 ($399), which builds on years of health features and communication upgrades, adding a skin temperature sensor, crash detection and Apple Watch low power mode.
For $249, the Apple Watch SE (2022) is also a great value for iPhone users. It has a older design, yes, but it gets the latest Apple Watch processor while working as a reliable fitness tracker.
Meanwhile, the Samsung's Galaxy Watch 5 ($279) is the most worthy Apple Watch contender — in fact, it's the best smartwatch for Android and the most compelling Wear OS 3 smartwatch right now. It's truly the ultimate accessory for Samsung phones, and is more capable for monitoring health and overall wellness than any Galaxy Watch before.
The best smartwatch from Fitbit is the Fitbit Sense ($329). We like how it gives you a well-rounded view of your body, rather than expecting you to self-administer readings and tests. However, Fitbit just announced its successor, the Fitbit Sense 2, which will be arriving this fall. There's also the Fitbit Versa 4 on the way. Also coming in the fall will be the Google Pixel Watch. It'll feature a round face and borrow some fitness-tracking features from Fitbit.
See all of the best smartwatches below, as well as our smartwatch buying guide for more tips on finding the ultimate wearable for you. And check out our roundup of the best cheap smartwatches if you're looking for something more affordable.
The best smartwatches you can buy today
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 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 Fitbit Sense is the company's top-shelf smartwatch that comes with more advanced health and wellness features that the Versa line. Not only does it have an FDA-approved ECG sensor and blood oxygen reading, but the Sense has the ability to measure electrodermal activity and skin temperature, too.
As one of the best Fitbits, the Sense works with both iOS and Android, and comes with on-board GPS, a native app store, Alexa and more. No longer is Fitbit just a brand with products for tracking our steps: Fitbit devices like the Fitbit Sense show what it means to take a holistic look at our health. If you're interested in the Sense, be sure to check out the best Fitbit deals for potential savings, too.
Read our full Fitbit Sense review.
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 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.
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 those interested in advanced sleep tracking is the Fitbit Versa 3, the next-generation of the popular Fitbit Versa 2. The Versa 3’s standout upgrade is on-board GPS. Now, even when you leave your phone at home, the Versa can (finally) track your location during outdoor exercise. A curvier, larger display is welcome, too.
Plus the Versa 3 has gained a great motivational workout feature, Active Zone Minutes. Introduced with the Fitbit Charge 4 and 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. Torn between the Sense and Versa? See our Fitbit Sense vs. Fitbit Versa 3 face-off.
Read our full Fitbit Versa 3 review.
We often get asked whether you should buy an Amazfit Watch, and the answer is yes, especially the large Amazfit GTR 3 Pro. This is easily the brand’s best smartwatch yet, and while we wish it was a bit more full-featured for the price (there's no NFC, for example,) there are ample health and fitness features on board. With improved accuracy compared to the previous-generation Amazfit GTR 2, the GTR 3 Pro offers an excellent one-stop measurement tool for your heart rate, blood oxygen, stress levels and more in a single reading.
When you’re not checking on your body or working out with the 150+ exercise types, the watch’s built-in apps, hands-free voice controls and menu layouts can be tailored to suit your needs. Pair that with up to 12 days of battery life, and this is one of the best smartwatches for Android that isn't from one of the top-shelf names in connected wearable.
Read our full Amazfit GTR 3 Pro review.
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. Based on 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.
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.
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.