Best fitness watch 2024

To athletes, the best fitness watches give you training metrics, tons of health and sleep data, and excellent battery life. To more casual users, though, the best fitness smartwatches strike a balance, syncing with your phone and adding the apps and tools that a typical fitness band can't. 

In other words, choosing the best fitness watch is subjective. Our buying guide will try to point you to smartwatches with fitness tools, fitness watches that pack in some decent smarts, and those few that strike the right balance. 

Starting with the excellent Garmin Venu 3, these are the best fitness watches available today.

At a glance

Best overall

Widgets view on the Garmin Venu 3 showing steps, intensity minutes, and heart rate

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)
The best fitness watch

Specifications

Display: 1.2- (390x390) or 1.4-inch (454x454) AMOLED touch
Materials: Polymer case, steel bezel
Protection: 5ATM, Gorilla Glass 3
Tracking: All-Systems GNSS
Sensors: HRM; ECG; Skin Temp; Pulse Ox (SpO2); accelerometer; ambient light sensor; barometric altimeter; compass; gyroscope
Connectivity: NFC, Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi
Smarts: Music (8GB), Bluetooth calling, voice assistant passthrough
Weight: 40–47g

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous 1.2- or 1.4-inch AMOLED
+
Up to 14 days of battery life
+
All-systems GPS, HRM, SpO2, music
+
Built-in mic and speaker
+
Sleep Coaching and wheelchair mode

Reasons to avoid

-
Pretty expensive
-
Garmin watches aren't the "smartest"

Many of the best Garmin watches could take a spot on this list; they all offer a slightly different spin on the same core fitness software we love that helps runners, cyclists, swimmers, gymgoers, and other athletes plan their training and track their progress. 

Of these, we're highlighting the Venu 3 because it's the closest Garmin comes to a mainstream smartwatch. Aside from a sleeker and lighter design that's comfortable for any sport, the Venu 3 has a built-in mic and speaker for Bluetooth calls and voice assistant commands, plus Spotify playlists or NFC tap-to-pay. 

For health tracking, you have continuous heart rate, blood oxygen (SpO2), and HRV stress data, plus nighttime skin temperature data and spot ECG readings for AFib. The Venu 3 uses this data for an enhanced Body Battery score that tells you what's making you tired and how well you're bouncing back, plus a Sleep Coach that guides you on improving your sleep quality. 

On the fitness side, your Venu 3 will tell you how many hours you need to recover after a workout, plus a "Workout benefit" summary telling you if your fitness level improved as a result of a workout — ensuring you don't overtrain. You can also make custom workouts from a list of thousands of exercise types, with animations on your wrist showing you the proper form. 

Our Venu 3 review called the watch a "tightrope walk between casual smarts and serious fitness," and for good reason. It doesn't have the app ecosystem of an Apple or Galaxy Watch, but the two-week battery life, better GPS satellite accuracy, more reliable heart rate data, and Garmin Coach tools will help you where a mainstream smartwatch would fall short. 

Best fitness smartwatch

Close-up on Pixel Watch 2 sitting on keyboard

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)
Best fitness smartwatch

Specifications

Display: 1.2-inch (450x450) AMOLED touch
Materials: Aluminum
Protection: 5ATM/ IP68, Gorilla Glass 5
Tracking: GPS
Sensors: Accelerometer, altimeter, ambient light, cEDA, compass, ECG, gyroscope, magnetometer, optical heart rate, skin temperature, SpO2
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, NFC, 4G LTE (optional)
Smarts: Storage (32GB), Bluetooth calling, Google Assistant, Wear OS 4 apps, 2GB RAM
Weight: 31g (w/out strap)

Reasons to buy

+
Ultra-fast Wear OS 4
+
Fitbit integration w/ 6-mo free trial
+
Comfortable and gorgeous design
+
Revamped HRM with multiple LEDs and photodiodes

Reasons to avoid

-
Only 24-hour battery
-
Only comes in 1.2-inch size
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Eventual Fitbit Premium cost

As we said above, there's a subtle distinction between fitness watches and smartwatches with fitness tools like the Pixel Watch 2. It only lasts a day due to the powerful performance with 2GB of memory, but Wear OS 4 gives it tools that a Garmin watch couldn't dream of accessing. 

More importantly, Google essentially made the Pixel Watch 2 a Fitbit. It has the same health sensors as the Fitbit Sense 2, like continuous body response (cEDA) for stress, skin temp and SpO2 at night, and passive AFib readings for heart health. You get six months of Fitbit Premium for in-depth health reports, but you can still see day-by-day data once the trial expires. 

The Pixel Watch 2 is a much more reliable fitness watch than the original Pixel Watch. Along with the new Fitbit sensors, it has a new multi-path heart rate monitor that's "40% more accurate" than before. The switch from stainless steel to aluminum casing makes it more comfortable for workouts. 

Lastly, instead of an outdated Exynos chip, the Pixel Watch 2 has a Snapdragon W5 processor that is "noticeably snappier compared to its predecessor" according to our Pixel Watch 2 review. We get the sense that this watch will stand the test of time longer than the original, with many more Wear OS updates to come. 

As a fitness watch in general, the Pixel Watch 2 has seven automatic workout activities like running and cycling. During a running activity, you can use Heart Rate Zone Coaching and Pace Training to help you stay within your training or race targets. And it has the same 40 workout types as most Fitbits. If you don't care for Fitbit, you can choose another Wear OS fitness app instead, giving you more flexibility. 

Best budget fitness watch

Post-workout heart rate zones on the COROS PACE 3

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)
Best budget fitness watch

Specifications

Display: 1.2-inch (240 x 240) MIP LCD touch
Materials: Polymer
Protection: 5ATM, Gorilla Glass
Tracking: Dual-frequency GPS
Sensors: HRM, optical pulse oximeter, barometric altimeter, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, temperature, wear detection
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi 2.4GHz/5GHz
Smarts: Music storage (4GB)
Weight: 30g (nylon) or 38g (silicone)

Reasons to buy

+
Dual-band GPS tracking
+
24-day battery life
+
EvoLab training guidance
+
Regularly receives new feature updates
+
Lightweight and affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
No NFC, ECG
-
Band can be hard to fit

We called the PACE 3 the "best affordable running watch of 2023" in our review and we doubt any fitness watch will supplant it. COROS may not be as well known as Garmin, but it's a brand that manages to pack some incredible training tools into watches that aren't quite as rugged but cost half as much. 

For outdoor athletes, you get some of the most accurate GPS tracking on the market, giving you trustworthy data that the PACE 3 uses to judge your post-workout training load, effect, and recovery time. There's even a running test that helps determine your current VO2 Max level if you're fairly new to training and need help.

One of the coolest things about COROS in general is how it pushes out new software across all of its watches, not just the expensive ones. In just the last few months, COROS has added HRV-based stress tracking, a wellness check feature, custom workouts, personalized marathon training plans, turn-by-turn nap navigation, and a running form analysis tool to the PACE 3. We can expect even more tools to come in the ensuing months. 

Best of all, it weighs less with a band than most smartwatches weigh without a band. The band itself can be a little uncomfortable to fit and hard to swap out, but on the whole, this is a fitness watch you'll barely notice while running. 

If you're looking for a cheap fitness tracker that's perhaps better balanced, you can look to brands like Amazfit that put more emphasis on traditional smarts like voice assistants. But for serious, frugal athletes, the COROS PACE 3 is where we recommend you start and end your search. 

Best fitness smartwatch for battery

An inactivity warning that it's "Time to get moving!" on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)
Best for battery and power

Specifications

Display: 1.4-inch (450×450) AMOLED touch
Materials: Titanium
Protection: 5ATM, Sapphire glass
Tracking: GPS
Sensors: HR, ECG, BIA, skin temp, accelerometer, barometer, gyro, geomagnetic, light
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4+5GHz, NFC, LTE (optional)
Smarts: Storage (32GB), Bluetooth calling, Google Assistant/Bixby, Wear OS 4 apps, 1.5GB RAM
Weight: 46.5g (w/out strap)

Reasons to buy

+
Most of the same perks as Galaxy Watch 6
+
3-day battery life
+
1.4-inch display
+
Titanium case with elevated bezel
+
GPX maps and trackback feature

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy, thick design
-
Expensive
-
The Watch 7 Pro is coming

A common theme with most of our favorite fitness smartwatches is that they don't have the best battery life. Some do better than others, but the fact is that most will need daily charging if you regularly use GPS tracking. The exception is the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. It's a souped-up version of the Watch 5 with a massive battery that lasts 80 hours, or up to 20 while using GPS. 

The good news is that the device lived up to Samsung's estimates in our Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review. It'll last 3+ days with continuous heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring as well as sleep tracking, even taking some light GPS tracking into account. If you add tools like AOD, always-listening assistant, or music storage, it comes closer to 20-30 hours. 

Even though the Galaxy Watch 6 has arrived since then, the Watch 5 Pro still has an exclusive fitness tool: downloadable GPX Routes for running, hiking, and cycling. Even if we like the Watch 6 Classic for its physical bezel, the Watch 5 Pro has the benefit of better battery and a more lightweight and sturdy titanium case, along with Sapphire Glass. 

Overall, the Watch 6 Classic vs. Watch 5 Pro is a surprisingly tough battle. Because Samsung brought the Watch 6's new Wear OS 4 tools to its last-gen watches, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is still worth buying today. And the Pro gives you a huge battery buffer so that you know it'll rarely die on you. If you can live with the weight, the Pro may be the best Android fitness smartwatch available. 

The main reason to hold off? With the Galaxy Watch 7 on the horizon — and rumors that Samsung will switch back to the Watch 7 Pro this year — you may want to wait for whatever new fitness tricks Samsung comes up with this year. Samsung has revealed a new "My Vitality Score" coming this summer that's similar to Fitbit's Daily Readiness Score, which should make whichever Galaxy Watch you buy much more useful for fitness. 

Best for health tracking

Fitbit Sense 2 stress tracking

(Image credit: Android Central)
Best fitness watch for health tracking

Specifications

Display: 1.58-inch (336x336) AMOLED touch
Materials: Aluminum
Protection: 5ATM, Gorilla Glass
Tracking: GPS only
Sensors: Multi-path HR, SpO2, ECG, cEDA, skin temp, accelerometer, altimeter, ambient light, gyroscope
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, NFC
Smarts: Fitbit Premium, Google Maps
Weight: 37.6g

Reasons to buy

+
Sleek, slim design
+
Six days of battery life
+
Built-in mic and speaker
+
Google Maps/ Wallet
+
HRM, SpO2, cEDA, ECG, temperature

Reasons to avoid

-
No Google Assistant
-
No music storage
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Fitbit Premium required
-
Short GPS tracking life

Compared to the original Sense, which struck a delicate balance between fitness and smartwatch tools, the Fitbit Sense 2 leans more onto the fitness side of the smartwatch spectrum. That's why we have the Pixel Watch 2 listed above it. But the Sense 2 is more affordable, works for iOS and Android users, and will last more reliably for days instead of hours. 

The Fitbit Sense 2 may not have Google Assistant, music storage, or limited third-party apps anymore. But thanks to the Google acquisition of Fitbit, it does have Google Wallet and Google Maps; the latter is especially exciting to help guide you during runs or bike rides towards your destination. It also has a mic and speaker for taking Bluetooth calls or speaking to a smart assistant like Alexa or Siri.

Our Fitbit Sense 2 reviewer noted that despite the "baffling" cutbacks in smart features, he appreciated the new and improved interface that's a light version of Wear OS, with a new physical button for selecting widgets that's so much more reliable than last gen's capacitive touch button. The AMOLED display remains bright and readable, too.

It also lasts across six days of battery life with regular use, though it's only rated to last 5 hours with GPS tracking. That makes it hard to recommend for "serious" athletes compared to a Garmin watch, but should be plenty for casual fitness tracking and beats the Pixel Watch 2 easily.

Best all-around alternative

TicWatch Pro 5 in sunflowers

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)
Best all-around alternative

Specifications

Display: 1.43-inch (466x466) AMOLED touch + ultra low-power
Materials: Metal/aluminum, nylon with fiberglass
Protection: 5ATM, Gorilla Glass, MIL-STD-810H
Tracking: GPS only
Sensors: HR, SpO2, skin temp, accelerometer, ambient light, barometer, compass, gyro, off-body sensor
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 2.4GHz
Smarts: Storage (32GB), 2GB RAM, Wear OS 3 apps, Bluetooth calling
Weight: 44.3g (w/out strap)

Reasons to buy

+
Qualcomm Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 performance
+
Powerful 628mAh battery w/ Essential Mode
+
HRM, SpO2, skin temp
+
Military-grade durability
+
Reliable rotating crown

Reasons to avoid

-
Too large for some wrists
-
No Google Assistant yet

The Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 doesn't necessarily "win" in any fitness category, but it does very well in all of the various categories where Google, Samsung, and Garmin excel. We decided it's worth including here, especially if you're intrigued by the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro but want something a bit newer, faster, and more affordable. 

Similar to the excellent TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS, the TicWatch Pro 5 has a massive battery, MIL-STD-810G rating, and a dual-layer display that enables a low-powered "Essential Mode." But it added a top-tier Snapdragon Wear chip with twice the RAM, quadruple the storage, and a new temperature sensor.

Generally speaking, this is the same massive watch with a three-day battery life as its predecessor, only with far-superior Wear OS 3 software. We're still waiting for Mobvoi to add Google Assistant, but we can hope it arrives soon despite the company's update woes in recent years. 

Our TicWatch Pro 5 review praises the watch's "incredible performance" and "better than expected" health tracking across heart rate, blood oxygen, and skin temperature. Its fitness app calculates your VO2 Max and tells you how long to recover after a workout, something most smartwatches either lack or charge you for. But if you'd prefer, you have various third-party Wear OS apps to choose between.  

Overall, it's one of the best Android smartwatches out there, which makes it a tempting option for fitness fans who don't want to compromise on smarts or battery life. And it's both lighter and cheaper than the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. 

Best for runners

Post-run heart rate chart on the Garmin Forerunner 265

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)
Best fitness watch for runners

Specifications

Display: 1.1- (360x360) or 1.3-inch (416x416) AMOLED touch
Materials: Polymer
Protection: 5ATM, Gorilla Glass 3
Tracking: Dual-frequency GPS
Sensors: HRM, barometric altimeter, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, thermometer, ambient light sensor, SpO2
Connectivity: Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi, NFC
Smarts: Music (8GB)
Weight: 39-47g

Reasons to buy

+
All-systems GNSS/ dual-frequency GPS
+
12-day battery life
+
Gorgeous AMOLED display in two sizes
+
HRM, SpO2, NFC
+
Robust Forerunner fitness suite

Reasons to avoid

-
Basically no smartwatch features
-
Fairly expensive and heavy

Despite being the best running watch we've tested, the Garmin Forerunner 265 isn't what you'd call a smartwatch in the traditional sense. It has the same beautiful display and music storage apps as our top pick, the Venu 3; but it doesn't have a mic or speaker and has a less stylish plastic case instead of aluminum for the same price. 

Despite that, we're squeezing in a second Garmin watch on our best fitness watch list, simply because no other pick on this list gives runners, cyclists, or swimmers the detailed coaching and post-workout body analysis that the Forerunner 265 offers. And compared to the other great Garmin Forerunner models available, it's the rare model with an AMOLED that's actually readable for notifications, instead of the low-res, non-touch MIP displays most Garmin watches use.

Our Garmin Forerunner 265 review goes in-depth on the laundry list of features you get to help you before, during, and after a run. Where most lifestyle watches tell you to hit your daily targets without any context, the Forerunner 265 tracks your current fatigue and training load during the last week to tell you your current training readiness and adjust your automated daily suggested workout — or tell you not to work out at all — based on that capacity. After your run ends, you'll see how your aerobic and anaerobic fitness has improved, with a recommendation of how long to wait before your next run. 

If that sounds like a lot, believe it or not, I'm just scratching the surface! Unless you want to upgrade to the Forerunner 965 for full-color maps and real-time stamina tracking, the Forerunner 265 gives you the best fitness watch experience on the market today. It's much more specialized than the Venu 3, in exchange for losing the mic and speaker. 

Best for beginners

Amazfit GTR Mini smartwatch worn on a wrist, showcasing the UI.

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)
Best affordable fitness watch for beginners

Specifications

Display: 1.28-inch (416x416) AMOLED touch
Materials: Plastic case, steel bezel
Display: 5ATM, tempered glass
Tracking: GPS only
Sensors: HR, SpO2, accelerometer, ambient light, geomagnetic
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2
Smarts: PAI score, Zepp apps
Weight: 36.2g

Reasons to buy

+
Onboard 5-system GPS
+
Continuous HRM, SpO2, stress
+
Automatic workout detection
+
Bright AMOLED display
+
14-day/ 25-hour battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks third-party apps
-
No mic, speaker, NFC
-
No altimeter

If you're buying a fitness smartwatch for the first time, you might be a tad overwhelmed by how many options you have, not to mention the pro-level price tags. Luckily, several fitness watches cater to beginners and first-time users. You may not need a watch equipped with every fancy feature under the sun. That's where the Amazfit GTR Mini — which costs significantly less than every other pick on our list — comes in. 

Even though Zepp OS is fairly limited, it's very easy to use and understand, and its simplicity helps the watch last for two weeks per charge (or one with heavy use). While it has "120 sports modes" that encompass the full range of exercises and sports out there, there are seven core sports modes — running, cycling, walking, indoor walking, treadmill, rowing machine, and elliptical — that the GTR Mini can automatically detect. 

Our Amazfit GTR Mini reviewer praised the watch for how much it can accomplish and for its beautiful AMOLED display. Its 326ppi matches a lot of the other picks on this list, and the 36g weight (with strap) makes it so much more comfortable for both daily wear and sleep tracking. 

You can upgrade to the Amazfit T-Rex Ultra or Amazfit Cheetah Pro for higher-quality fitness tools, including the Zepp Coach AI that'll guide your fitness routine. Of the two, the Cheetah Pro does have a mic and speaker for Bluetooth calling and the Alexa assistant, making it a decent smartwatch option. But these pricier watches have stiff competition in the $300–$400 range; if you want the essentials in a more affordable package, the GTR Mini stands alone.

Best for iPhone users

Changing the number of stand alerts on the Apple Watch Ultra 2

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

9. Apple Watch Ultra 2

Honorable mention: Best fitness smartwatch for iPhone users

Specifications

Display: 1.92-inch (502x410) AMOLED touch
Materials: Titanium
Protection: IP6X, WR100, EN13319, MIL-STD 810H, Sapphire crystal
Tracking: Dual-frequency GPS
Sensors: HR, SpO2, ECG, skin/water temp, depth gauge, accelerometer, altimeter, ambient light, compass, gyroscope
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi 4, UWB, NFC, LTE
Smarts: Storage (64GB), watchOS 10 apps, Bluetooth calling, Siri,
Weight: 61.4g (w/out strap)

Reasons to buy

+
1.9-inch, 3,000-nit display
+
Military-grade protection and premium materials
+
Double battery life of most smartwatches
+
Dual-frequency GPS tracking
+
HRM, SpO2, ECG, temperature, LTE, UWB

Reasons to avoid

-
Absurdly expensive
-
Too heavy, bulky for some

As an Android-focused site, we don't typically focus as much on Apple devices that our readers can't use. But we have to give credit where it's due, and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 deserves athletes' attention despite its exorbitant price tag and short battery life. If you're an iPhone owner and have the money, this watch gives you the best of both worlds: Apple's watchOS smarts and plenty of fitness tools. 

The watch itself has a titanium case, sapphire glass display with 3,000 nits of brightness, MIL-STD-810H protection, 10ATM water resistance with protection for "high-speed water sports" and diving, a rotating crown and two buttons for tactile feedback during workouts, and a ton of health sensors for an in-depth look at your health. It can last 12 hours with GPS tracking or 36 hours with regular use.

As for software, the last two updates (watchOS 9 and 10) added tons of useful fitness-tracking data and watch faces. You can see your heart rate activity zones, elevation, running power, stride length, vertical oscillation, and more on your wrist during runs, while cyclists can connect to Bluetooth accessories for cadence or power metrics.

Our colleagues at iMore praised the Apple Watch Ultra 2 as "an elite outdoor smartwatch with the adventurer in mind" in their review. We've actually tested the Ultra 2 for ourselves, and have been generally very impressed with it! It did well in our recent elevation tracking test, for instance. You might be able to make do with the Series 9, but the Ultra 2 is hard to turn down if you can afford it. 

Best fitness watch: How to decide

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The ultimate fitness smartwatch comes with numerous sporting and workout modes that can be applied to the real world, comprehensive health, and workout tracking functionalities. It provides valuable feedback and analytics that you can benefit from. It is important to get a wearable with a heart rate monitor, along with as many other sensors as you need for health, sleep, and stress tracking. 

Bonus features such as Google Pay and third-party apps are nice, but they aren't entirely essential. You need your smartwatch to be a portable health and fitness trainer for your fitness needs. The best fitness smartwatch will help you on your journey, aid you in your workouts, and track your progress.

We feel confident that the Garmin Venu 3 is the best fitness watch for most athletes. You have a little bit of everything, including an attractive design, solid fitness features, and a few extra smartwatch perks. But it sits closer to the fitness side of things than the "smart" side, even with its mic/speaker and music storage. A Galaxy or Apple Watch will serve you better if you need fitness tools but don't want to make them the focus of your watch.

On the other hand, you'll want to turn to Garmin, Fitbit, Polar, or another fitness-focused brand if that's your number one priority. These watches may not have superfluous battery-draining apps. Still, they'll actively guide your training with recommendations for today's workout and subsequent recovery time. In contrast, a lifestyle watch will simply tell you to close your rings every day with little other guidance. 

Your preferences are your own, but whichever way you lean, these picks should guide you toward a healthier body or your next PR.