Garmin Forerunner 245Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

Best Smartwatches That Can Measure Blood Oxygen Saturation Levels Android Central 2020

Nowadays, it's becoming more common to see smartwatches with SpO2 sensors for measuring blood oxygen saturation. It's useful during sleep monitoring or when you're at high altitudes. Most importantly, it will alert you to potential issues that need to be addressed such as sleep apnea or other breathing conditions. The Garmin Forerunner 245 is an excellent running watch on its own, but it also has a built-in SpO2 sensor, which makes it even more appealing. We've rounded up the best watches you can buy that measure blood oxygen saturation levels.

Best Overall: Garmin Forerunner 245

Garmin Forerunner 245 ShoesSource: Android Central

Whether you prefer to run, bike, or swim, the Garmin Forerunner 245 is an excellent choice. It has the wrist-based Pulse Ox sensor for monitoring blood oxygen saturation levels, which can help gauge how your body is absorbing oxygen. It also comes with built-in GPS, heart-rate tracking, sleep monitoring, 5 ATM water resistance, and seven days of battery life. It also has a Body Battery feature that tracks your energy levels to help you determine the optimal times for activity and rest.

You won't have more advanced features, like mobile payments with Garmin Pay or onboard music storage, but this watch is made to focus on fitness. It's worth noting that you can pay a bit more for a musical version of this watch if you consider it a must-have feature. That being said, this watch is a perfect opportunity to experience everything Garmin has to offer without spending a fortune.

Pros:

  • Onboard GPS
  • Heart-rate monitoring
  • A week of battery life
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Pulse Ox sensor and Body Battery
  • Menstrual tracking

Cons:

  • Lacks mobile payments
  • Music version is more expensive
  • No altimeter

Best Overall

Garmin Forerunner 245

A great running watch

This is one of the best Garmin running watches out there with a variety of tracking metrics for monitoring your progress.

Best Value: Fitbit Versa 2

Fitbit Versa 2Source: Android Central

Fitbit has made a name for itself as one of the most trusted names in the world of fitness trackers and the Versa 2 is no exception. As usual, you'll enjoy impeccable sleep tracking but you also have the added benefit of a built-in SpO2 sensor for more insightful data. It maintains the unique squircle design with a modern twist. It's also got a faster processor for better performance, a microphone for using the built-in Amazon Alexa support as well as dictating text replies, and Fitbit Pay so you can leave your wallet at home.

While it's unfortunate that the Versa 2 lacks built-in GPS, it more than makes up for it in other areas. The innovative on-screen workouts feature gathers helpful data, the battery life has improved, and Fitbit Pay is now a standard feature. Let's not forget about the convenience of having Amazon Alexa on the wrist. If you want to save money on a wearable, you can also find a built-in SpO2 sensor on the Versa and the Versa Lite.

Pros:

  • Unique squircle design
  • On-screen workouts
  • 5-day battery life
  • Heart-rate monitoring
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Amazon Alexa and Fitbit Pay

Cons:

  • Lacks onboard GPS
  • App selection needs work
  • Installing bands is difficult

Best Value

Fitbit Versa 2

It doesn't get any better

The Versa 2 offers some neat improvements, like longer battery life, Amazon Alexa, and Fitbit Pay as a standard feature.

Best Battery: Garmin Vivoactive 4

Garmin Vivoactive 4Source: Garmin

The Vivoactive 4 is one of the newest releases from Garmin. You'll be able to choose between a 40mm and 45mm model. The larger version comes with an extra day of battery life for a whopping total of eight days on a charge. Keep in mind though it'll last for only six hours in GPS mode with music. As far as the features go, you'll enjoy onboard GPS, 5 ATM water resistance, hydration/sleep/stress tracking, and heart-rate monitoring, music storage, and Garmin Pay. You also have the wrist-based Pulse Ox sensor that gauges your blood oxygen saturation throughout the day and as you sleep to show how well your body is absorbing oxygen.

There aren't too many things to complain about with the Vivoactive 4. If you opt for the larger 45mm model, you'll only have the choice of slate or silver. As stylish as the watch might be, it still has the standard transflective display that's found on most Garmin wearables. At this price point, it would also have been nice to see a higher quality display.

Pros:

  • Onboard GPS
  • Up to eight-day battery life
  • Garmin Pay
  • Excellent health/fitness features
  • Hydration/sleep/stress tracking
  • 5 ATM water resistance

Cons:

  • 45 mm has fewer color choices
  • Display could be better
  • Expensive

Best Battery

Garmin Vivoactive 4

A stunning watch that does it all

Want a stylish watch that offers plenty of perks? The Vivoactive 4 is ideal with GPS, Garmin Pay, music storage, and more.

Best for Outdoor Enthusiasts: Garmin Fenix 6

Garmin Fenix 6 Source: Garmin

The Fenix 6 Series is yet another powerhouse from Garmin that's loaded with features. This one is geared toward outdoor athletes who need all of the help they can get. The standard model is still a giant at 47mm. As you might've guessed, the higher up to ladder you go of the Fenix 6 Series, the more expensive the models will get. Battery life can also vary, but you can expect it to last up 14 days in smartwatch mode with the standard model. When you're in basic GPS mode, it should last 36 hours. You get more information from the Pulse Ox sensor with an advanced running watch like this. It's used for both altitude acclimation and sleep monitoring and lets you know how well your body is absorbing oxygen.

This watch isn't for the faint of heart. It's large and in charge — quite literally. You'll have GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo, which ensures accuracy and allows you to track in more challenging environments. The obvious downside here is the steep price tag. Most ordinary people wouldn't think twice about spending this much on a watch. However, you don't buy a watch like this for ordinary tracking. The Fenix 6 is built for the outdoor enthusiast who spends most of their time adventuring and exploring. If that's you, then you can't go wrong with this watch.

Pros:

  • Advanced GPS tracking
  • 10 ATM water resistance
  • Military-grad durability
  • Outstanding battery life
  • Heart-rate monitoring
  • Garmin Pay

Cons:

  • Too pricey for most people
  • Huge and not for stylish folks
  • Not many new features from predecessor

Best for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Garmin Fenix 6

For true adventurers

Outdoor enthusiasts will surely appreciate the Garmin Fenix 6 for its advanced GPS support and multiple activity profiles.

Best for Casual Athletes: Fitbit Ionic

Fitbit IonicSource: Android Central

Perhaps you're familiar with the Fitbit ecosystem and that's what you're most comfortable with. The Fitbit Ionic isn't the newest watch on the block, but it's still a good option for those who want built-in GPS along with other perks like 5 ATM water resistance, five days of battery life, automatic exercise recognition, heart-rate monitoring, music storage, and more. It's perfect for tracking the basics, including activity, sleep, heart rate, pace, calories, and distance. It also comes with Fitbit Pay. This is yet another Fitbit smartwatch that has the SpO2 sensor for monitoring blood oxygen saturation.

If you're not concerned about having the latest and greatest watch on the market, you may not mind that the Fitbit Ionic is a few years old. You still get built-in GPS along with a standard fitness tracking suite, superior battery life, and some other highly sought-after features. The other thing you'll have to get past is the poor design. There's no way around it — this thing is just not pretty. It does have a high-resolution color touchscreen if that's any consolation for the outdated boxy design.

Pros:

  • Onboard GPS
  • Heart-rate monitoring
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Automatic exercise recognition
  • Five-day battery life
  • Music storage and Fitbit Pay

Cons:

  • Awkward unattractive design
  • Prone to scratches
  • Limited smartwatch functionality

Best for Casual Athletes

Fitbit Ionic

For exercise junkies

If you're a Fitbit fan seeking a GPS watch with stellar battery life, music storage, and Fitbit Pay, the Ionic is a great choice.

Best for Runners: Garmin Forerunner 945

Garmin Forerunner 945 Source: Garmin

Those who are constantly thinking about their next run need a reliable GPS running smartwatch, like the Forerunner 945, for example. You'll notice that this model pulls a few key features from many of Garmin's high-end wearables and packs them into one highly powerful package. You can expect two weeks of battery life in smartwatch mode and 10 hours in GPS mode with music. It might come in a slim and lightweight case, but it's still on the larger side at 47mm. It offers multi-sport tracking, updated training analysis, Garmin Pay, a built-in music player, and onboard GPS with full-color maps. Once again, Garmin has included the Pulse Ox sensor to track blood oxygen saturation levels, which supports advanced sleep monitoring and altitude acclimation.

If you're fine with a big watch, you won't mind the 47mm case. Some people prefer to have options, but the Forerunner 945 only comes in this one size. It's also one of the more expensive options on this list, but not without good reason. Whether you're going on a standard long-distance run or a more complex triathlon, there are no limits to what you can achieve. Keep in mind that for the full experience, you'll need to invest in the Running Dynamics Pod. This gives you additional data, like stride length, vertical oscillation, and ground contact time.

Pros:

  • Onboard GPS with full-color maps
  • Activity/sleep/stress tracking
  • Heart-rate monitoring
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Stellar battery life
  • Garmin Pay

Cons:

  • Only one size option
  • Too expensive for some
  • Running Dynamics Pod needed or additional data

Best for Runners

Garmin Forerunner 945

Run your heart out

If running is the name of your game, you'll love the Forerunner 945 for its advanced running metrics and GPS with full-color maps.

Bottom line

You can expect to see more watches coming out with SpO2 sensors, but all of these options are a good place to start. We've always been fond of the Garmin Forerunner 245 for its extensive tracking abilities, GPS, long battery life, and many other key features. The Pulse Ox sensor tracks blood oxygen saturation levels and helps provide more insightful sleep monitoring data, too. It's not outrageously priced, either, which is always a plus.

There are still cheaper options on this list depending on what your needs are. You can also go much bigger (and spend a lot more) if you're seeking a more ambitious smartwatch with more advanced features. Whatever the case is, all of these watches will be able to track your blood oxygen saturation levels.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Courtney Lynch is a freelance writer at Android Central. She's obsessed with all things health, fitness, and music. At any given time she can be found checking out the latest and greatest gadgets while simultaneously petting her dog and sipping iced coffee.

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