Help Me, Tom's Guide: Which Smartwatch Has the Best Battery Life?

Smartwatches are growing more advanced and more affordable every year, but there's one area where they still stumble: battery life. The latest high-end watches from Apple and Samsung last about a day on a single charge, so you'll find yourself plugging the device in while you sleep. Although people are accustomed to charging their phones overnight, adding a smartwatch to the pile of gadgets on your nightstand isn't ideal.

Fitbit Ionic and Apple

Fitbit Ionic and Apple

Tom's Guide forum user landsofwinter loved Pebble's smartwatches, which last about seven days on a charge. But Pebble was acquired by Fitbit, and won't receive software or hardware upgrades after 2017. landsofwinter is seeking a long-lasting smartwatch that will (presumably) receive support, with regular updates and further releases down the line now that Pebble is no more.

"I don't want a Fitbit smartwatch but I wanted to upgrade from my original Pebble to something newer in the near future. I was hoping to get one of the new Pebble watches but they are obviously not being released anymore. What's the next best smartwatch to get for someone who values battery life above all else?”

Fitbit Ionic

Fitbit Ionic

You might want to reconsider a Fitbit smartwatch. A kernel of what was once Pebble is still there; it's now the basis for the Fitbit Ionic's operating system. The Ionic, with four days of battery life, doesn't last quite as long as the Pebble's, but that's a whole lot longer than the single day you get from most other smartwatches. And because you can wear the Ionic at night, you benefit from Fitbit's advanced sleep-tracking analysis, which is miles ahead of its competitors.

If you're more focused on fitness, Garmin's Vivoactive 3 lasted about three days on a charge during my tests. With a round face, Garmin's new smartwatch is more fashionable than the bulky, square Ionic. Its sleep tracking leaves much to be desired, but it can track just about any type of workout you can imagine.

Neither the Ionic nor the Vivoactive 3 can last a week on a charge like Pebble's watches, but they do feature heart-rate sensors, GPS and NFC chips for mobile payments. For some buyers, those perks might be worth the sacrifice in battery life.

But if the battery is really all that matters, then a hybrid smartwatch is your best bet. These smartwatches have analog watch faces that belie smart features like activity tracking and smartphone notifications. Some even have heart-rate sensors. Companies like Kronaby, Fossil, and Fossil-owned brands such as Skagen and Michele make watches that last months on a charge, and have coin cell batteries that are easy to replace when they finally die.

Credit: Tom's Guide

Caitlin is a Senior editor for Gizmodo. She has also worked on Tom's Guide, Macworld, PCWorld and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. When she's not testing out the latest devices, you can find her running around the streets of Los Angeles, putting in morning miles or searching for the best tacos.