Workouts don’t come much better than swimming. With your weight supported by water, there is no stress on your joints, and, whatever stroke you use, swimming is a full-body workout.
You can do long, slow-paced swims to develop your cardiovascular fitness and burn fat or pick up the pace and do interval training to improve anaerobic fitness. Swimming can also help you build muscle, especially in your upper body.
Swimming is more than just a great form of exercise; it’s a sport and part of triathlons too. What’s more, swimming is a life skill, and being able to swim could save your (or someone else’s) life.
If swimming has a downside, it is that it’s sometimes hard to determine how far or how fast you have swum.
Counting pool laps is not always easy, especially during a long swim when your mind may wander, and there are no mile markers out in the ocean or lakes, either. The good news is that there are some great activity trackers for swimming you can use to analyze your workouts.
Using a swim tracker will make it much easier to monitor your performance, see how well you are progressing, and stay motivated. Not sure which is the best fitness tracker for swimming? Check out the products below!
7 Best Fitness Trackers for Swimming
Garmin makes a lot of different activity trackers, but this is their premium swimming model. With lots of great features, this watch is like having a swim coach on your wrist, and you can use it to plan your workouts and then analyze your performance in great detail.
It’s not cheap, but if you want a dedicated activity tracker for swimming, this is an excellent option.
- Waterproof to 50 meters
- Stylish design
- Easy to read display
- Built-in GPS
- Pool and open water modes
- Optical heart rate sensor designed to work in water
- Swimming efficiency function
- It can be programmed with your workouts
- Detailed workout analysis via Garmin Connect app
- Does not track any other activities
- Quite expensive
- The battery needs to be replaced every 12-months
Activity trackers don’t come much more swim-specific than FORM Swim Goggles. This product has a built-in heads-up display so you can monitor your performance as you swim, getting real-time feedback.
If you want an activity tracker made just for swimming, these smart goggles could be just what you’ve been waiting for.
- Customizable in-goggle display
- Easy to set up and use
- Tracks time, pace, distance, stroke rate, calories, and heart rate
- Anti-fog lenses
- Interchangeable nose pieces and silicone strap
- 16-hour battery life
- Wireless charging
- GPS – when connected to a suitable smartphone
- Heart rate – when connected to a suitable chest strap monitor
- Some functions and features are only available when linked to a smartphone
- The display could be distracting
- Goggles may not suit all face shapes
The FINIS Swim Sense is a dedicated swimming tracker that’s popular with competitive swimmers. Accurate and easy to use, this stylish waterproof watch has some great features, but some users find the horizontal display hard to read.
- Automatically detects which stroke you are swimming
- 6-hour battery life
- Tracks time, pace, distance, calories, laps, and distance per stroke
- Swim efficiency analysis
- Small strap size with fiddly clasp
- No GPS – only suitable for pool swimming
- Quite big and chunky
The Misfit Shine 2 is a waterproof fitness tracker made in conjunction with Speedo, one of the world’s leading swimming companies.
It doesn’t have a screen, but various built-in sensors monitor all the relevant aspects of your swim workout, which you can then view via a dedicated app. This is a very slimline, lightweight fitness tracker, so it’s ideal if you are trying to reduce drag.
- Waterproof to 50 meters
- Doesn’t need charging
- Monitors activities and sleep
- While LED display
- Compatible with Speedo swim app
- Counts laps and measures time, speed, distance, calories
- Must be used in conjunction with a smartphone or tablet
- No built-in GPS or heart-rate sensors
- The battery needs to be replaced every 6-months
While the Fitbit Ionic is not a swimming-specific activity tracker, it has all the features you need to track your swimming workouts.
If you want a fitness watch that you can wear 24/7 and also use to track dry land activities such as running, cycling, and gym workouts, this great-looking watch could be just what you need.
- Large, easy to read color screen
- 50-meter waterproof rating
- Built-in GPS
- Compatible with iOS and Android devices
- 4-day battery life when tracking activities
- Multiple activity tracking modes, including swimming
- Supplied with two wrist straps
- Third-party app compatibility
- Music storage
- Downloadable audio coaching and workouts
- Date screens cannot be customized
- Quite a large watch – may be too big if you’ve got small wrists
While the Apple Watch is a smartwatch rather than a fitness tracker, it does everything you’d expect a fitness tracker to do, which is why it’s made it onto our list.
In fact, because you can download a swimming-specific app for this watch, it’s actually a great swim tracker that you can wear 24/7 and for many other fitness activities.
- Large easy to read screen
- Built-in GPS tracking
- Optical heart rate sensor that works in water
- Compatible with many third-party swim-centric apps
- Waterproof to 50 meters
- Interchangeable strap
- GPS is less accurate when the watch is underwater, i.e., swimming breaststroke
You don’t need to spend a fortune on an activity tracker for swimming. This budget model from Fitbit might not have a display, but it’s always busy monitoring your movements, and that includes swimming.
However, you will need to view your performance on your phone, tablet, or computer once your workout is finished. This is a good option for anyone looking for a basic swimming tracker that won’t break the bank.
- Waterproof to 50 meters
- Sleep tracking
- Starts and stops automatically
- LED display
- Measures time, distance, calories
- No GPS
- No heart rate sensor
- No display screen
Consider the following before buying your fitness tracker for swimming:
Why you should buy a swimming tracker
While you don’t NEED a swimming tracker, there is no denying that they can be valuable. You can use a swim tracker to measure the length of your workout, record the number of laps you’ve swum, check your speed and time your training.
Some also have analytical functions, so you can measure and then improve your efficiency and performance.
If you’ve got a swim coach, some of these features may be somewhat redundant, but if you swim alone, all this feedback could be very useful and lead to better workouts.
Armed with all this information, you can then set training goals, which can be very rewarding and motivating.
What features to look for?
Waterproofness – there is a vast difference between water resistance and waterproofness. For a swimming activity tracker, you need the latter and not the former. Look for products waterproof to 50-100 meters.
While you will probably never go that deep, such a rating means your tracker will be very pressure-resistant, and therefore much less likely to leak.
Easy to read display – if you want to check your readings mid-workout, you’ll need a tracker with an easy-to-read display. Take note that some activity trackers don’t even have a display and must be used in conjunction with a smartphone or tablet.
If you want real-time feedback, get a tracker with a large screen.
GPS – if you plan on doing any open water swimming, GPS (global positioning system) is a must. GPS uses satellites to track your movements, measuring how far you have swum.
Programmable timer – if your workouts usually involve intervals, a programmable timer feature is a must. This will take the guesswork out of your training.
Swim analysis – if you want to get better and swimming and don’t have a coach, this is a useful feature to look for. By comparing things like stroke rate with speed and distance per stroke, your tracker will be able to analyze your swimming efficiency.
Improving your stroke means you’ll be able to swim further, faster, and with less effort.
Heart rate tracking – fitness trackers often have built-in optical heart rate sensors. Unfortunately, these don’t always work in water.
So, if you want to monitor your heart rate while you swim, you’ll need a tracker with Bluetooth connectivity that you can use with a waterproof heart rate chest strap.
Fitness trackers for swimming can cost as little as under $100 to $500 or more. In most cases, cheaper models have fewer features, while more expensive models have lots of bells and whistles.
If you are a recreational swimmer, a simple and affordable swimming fitness tracker should be all you need to record the basic details of your workout.
But, if you want things like GPS and stroke analysis, be prepared to spend more money. However, before buying, ask yourself if you REALLY need all those features; otherwise, you could end up paying for functions you never use.
Battery and Charging
Battery life varies from model to model. Some have a big enough charge to get you through a couple of workouts, while others may last a couple of weeks before they need recharging.
Battery life is largely a question of personal preference. If you are happy to charge your tracker between workouts, you don’t need a big battery capacity.
But, if you want a fitness tracker you can wear 24/7 like a regular watch, you’ll need something with a longer battery life.
If you want to get fit, lose weight, tone up, and even build some muscle but want to be kind to your joints, swimming could be the best workout for you.
You can swim in a pool or head out to the ocean, rivers, or lakes and do some open water swimming. Other than your bathing, goggles, and maybe a swim hat, you don’t need a lot of equipment to have a great swimming workout.
Using a swim tracker can add a lot to your aquatic training. A swim tracker makes calculating speed, distance, and stroke rate much easier and saves you from wondering how many laps you’ve done.
Some even measure your stroke efficiency, which you can then use to help improve your swimming technique.
Some activity trackers have a swim tracking mode, but this often seems to have been added as an after-thought. They’re mainly designed for use on dry land, so their swim features are not especially comprehensive or accurate.
So, if you want more detailed feedback, it may be worth investing in a product made especially for swimmers or, at least, one with all the features that a swimmer wants.
Check out the seven swimming trackers in this guide; you’re bound to find the right product for your needs and budget. Visit the Fitness Equipment Reviews homepage for more expert product reviews and advice.