The best fitness watches of 2019

From the office to the gym, these are the best smartwatches for fitness

The best fitness watch you can slap on your wrist today is the Apple Watch Series 4. Digital Trends has come to the conclusion after testing dozens of smartwatches and fitness trackers — the latest Apple Watch is one of the few wearables to have ever received a perfect score in our review; it’s such a well-rounded device.

But there are other excellent options, from Fitbits to Garmins, and especially because the Apple Watch only works with people who own iPhone devices. We’ve rounded up several wearables here that blend the world of smartwatches and fitness trackers, if you’re someone who wants something from both worlds. You can check out our guide to the best fitness trackers if you want to focus on a wearable for the gym, or read our guide to the best smartwatches if fitness isn’t top of mind.

Best fitness watches at a glance:

The best fitness watch: Apple Watch Series 4

best apple watch faces series 4 liquid metal face
Liquid Metal Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends

Why you should buy this: It’s the world’s best selling watch and chock full of features.

Who’s it for: Users who want a fully featured smartwatch with plenty of fitness-oriented components.

Why we picked the Apple Watch Series 4

If you’re looking for the king of the smartwatches, you want the Apple Watch Series 4. When the Apple Watch first debuted, it was touted as a way to potentially replace your smartphone and while it’s not quite there yet, it definitely packs some power beneath its attractive square watch face. The curved glass is complemented by a bright and beautiful screen while the Digital Crown rotates seamlessly through messages, notifications, and applications.

Apple’s latest flagship features WatchOS 5 which provides more fitness functions than any previous iteration. A comprehensive system, it doesn’t skimp on the basics like step counting, calorie counting, and heart rate monitoring. It adds in an electrocardiogram that measures the electrical activity of a heartbeat to help diagnose heart disease and similar conditions.  There’s also a new competition mode for competing against friends and additional fitness modes that support yoga and hiking.

The Apple Watch Series 4 also is waterproof down to 50 meters while a barometric altimeter records changes in elevation — a coveted feature for hikers and mountaineers. This stunning package is complemented by reminders to move, while its 18 hours of battery life is enough to get you through a day or two of workouts before you need to recharge. The biggest downside is that the Apple Watch only works with iPhones.

Read our full Apple Watch Series 4 review

Most stylish: Fitbit Versa

fitbit versa full review 7
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: It’s the most stylish fitness smartwatch to date.

Who’s it for: Fitness enthusiasts who want something that looks as good as it performs.

Why we picked the Fitbit Versa

Not only is the Versa backed by the Fitbit name — the fitness tracker industry’s reigning giant — but it also serves as a stylish upgrade over its somewhat masculine-looking Ionic. Comfortable and lightweight, women especially will appreciate the “squircle” design and a smaller band, making it look better on slimmer wrists — it even pairs well with other wrist-worn accessories as well.

Its included Exercise application allows you to choose from running, swimming, biking, weights, interval training, the treadmill, or a full-body workout. For other sports, the companion Fitbit app offers many more workouts to download and sync to the smartwatch. With the Versa, you can easily track heart rate, distance traveled, time, calories, and steps. It even offers guided breathing sessions, a period tracker for women, and sleep tracking to keep you sharp outside of the gym. With Fitbit Coach, the Versa allows you to make use of your own personal trainer and power through guided workout routines.

The Versa offers four-plus days of battery life, the industry standard for most modern full-featured fitness trackers. The only downside is its lack of GPS, which means you need to carry your smartphone with you in order to accurately track distances.

Read our full Fitbit Versa review

Best for music: Garmin Forerunner 645 Music

Garmin Forerunner 645 Music review
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: Onboard music and GPS means you can leave your phone at home.

Who’s it for: Fitness enthusiasts who can’t exercise without their favorite music.

Why we picked the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music

The Garmin Forerunner 645 is capable of storing up to 500 songs and easily syncs with select music streaming services, including Spotify. Although the device comes with a hefty price tag, it delivers a powerful punch. Garmin packed the Forerunner 645 Music with sensors, including a real-time compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, thermometer, barometric altimeter, and the Garmin Elevate wrist heart rate monitor. During our own time spent with the wearable, we found it to still get an accurate heart rate reading with the band fixed less tightly on the wrist than other models, such as the Fitbit Ionic.

Although Garmin hasn’t adopted a touchscreen like its Apple and Fitbit competitors, its five buttons around the watch face are still easy to use. A traditional circular face will appeal to many and its 1.2-inch diameter looks great on small or large wrists. The Forerunner 645 is especially useful to runners, featuring stride length, cadence, vertical ratio, ground contact time, and balance readings.

Its companion Garmin Connect app makes it easy for you to collect and utilize all your fitness data while also offering a Challenge tab which allows you to create challenges with your friends. Perhaps its best feature is the built-in GPS which means you won’t have to tote around a bulky smartphone. Featuring seven days of battery life as a smartwatch or five days with music and GPS active, there is not much to dislike about the Forerunner 645 Music.

Read our full Garmin Forerunner 645 Music review

Best for outdoors: Garmin Fenix 5X Plus

Fenix 5 Plus
Kelly Hodgkins/Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: It’s designed for outdoor enthusiasts with the most accurate and detailed GPS mapping to date.

Who’s it for: Fitness enthusiasts who love to exercise outdoors.

Why we picked the Garmin Fenix 5X Plus

Its larger size may not appeal to everyone but the Garmin Fenix 5X Plus never fails to deliver in terms of features or function. The Fenix’s improved screen resolution makes for a face that’s easy to see, which is helpful for reading the full-color topographic maps that are included on the watch.

What’s really impressive is the technology under the hood. Garmin includes profiles for a wide variety of sports including running, cycling, and swimming but also snowboarding, skiing, rowing, and golf. The device is full of sensors including a barometric altimeter, a temperature sensor, and even a pulse oximeter for altitude acclimation. Pairing the Fenix with a smartphone lets you experience standard smartwatch features including seeing notifications and text messages.

The Garmin Fenix 5X Plus stands out from the crowd on account of its navigational abilities highlighted by full-color GPS topographic mapping — directly from your wrist. It lets you view roads, lakes, trails, and mountains complemented by the capacity to search for local points of interest including restaurants, stores, and gas stations.

For runners, this means having access to the instantaneous creation of round-trip routes. When you’re out mountain biking, hiking, or kayaking, you’ll never need to worry about getting lost again, either — even in places without cell service. Add nearly two weeks of battery life and a rugged design and you’ve got a smartwatch made for the outdoors that’s well worth its price tag.

Read our full Garmin Fenix 5X Plus review

Best for long distances: Suunto 9 Baro

Suunto 9 Smartwatch
Kelly Hodgkins/Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: It’s a quality smartwatch with outstanding battery life.

Who’s it for: Outdoor enthusiasts who run or hike long distances.

Why we picked the Suunto 9 Baro

The standout feature of the Suunto 9 is its battery life and management tools. Using Ultra mode, you can expect to get almost 120 hours of battery life. The watch also has an intelligent battery mode that uses your exercise history to monitor your battery life so you never run out of juice in the middle of a workout. When you start an exercise, the watch will calculate the amount of battery you have remaining and will monitor it as it starts draining. If it detects you will run out of juice, the watch will prompt you to switch to a low-power mode to ensure you record your entire activity.

Suunto Baro 9 has a circular watch face with a touchscreen for easy navigation and robust style that is not too rugged. Suunto designed the 9 Baro to be used for a variety of indoor and outdoor sports including running, swimming, cycling, gym training, hiking, and more. During any of these activities, the watch will measure your pace, cadence, distance, elevation and more. It also tracks how well you sleep and syncs all this data to the Suunto app which keeps you up to date every day of the week.

Read our full Suunto 9 review

Best for training: Coros Pace

coros pace review button
Kelly Hodgkins/Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: It’s an affordable smartwatch with great battery life and ample fitness tracking.

Who’s it for: Fitness enthusiasts who want a watch dedicated to running, swimming and biking.

Why we picked the Coros Pace

The Coros Pace is one of the cheaper smartwatch options on this list, but it has plenty to offer in terms of fitness features. The circular watch face displays all the information you need and doesn’t overload you with extra fluff. Battery life is outstanding allowing you to charge the watch once every seven to 10 days when training regularly and almost a month when using it only for its smartwatch features.

Coros designed the Pace for triathlon training so it only supports running, biking, and swimming. What it does track, it tracks with detail so you can analyze pace, cadence, heart rate zones, fitness level, and the overall training effect of each activity. You can monitor each activity individually or use the dedicated triathlon mode to track all three activities in one workout. It’s capable of tracking your sleep as well as monitoring your training load so you can increase your fitness without overdoing it.

With the Pace, Coros developed a high-quality product meant to rival bigger name brands and at this price, it’s certainly hit the mark. The only feature missing is navigation. If you want the ability to pre-load routes and follow a breadcrumb to your destination, then you should look at the Coros Apex which has the core features of the Pace with the addition of breadcrumb navigation.

Read our full Coros Pace review

Deals

Amazon cuts price on the Samsung Gear Sport smartwatch by a whopping 40%

In the market for a fashionable and powerful smartwatch that fits your active lifestyle? You're in luck, as Amazon is currently offering the Samsung Gear Sport at a massive 40% discount.
Deals

Fitbit Versa and Samsung Gear fitness smartwatches get big Amazon price cuts

Some of the best options can get pretty pricey, but with smartwatch discounts on the Fitbit Versa and Samsung Gear Sport, they are really quite affordable right now. You can save up to $125 on a new fitness watch.
Wearables

Samsung's $99 Galaxy Fit fitness tracker is now available in the U.S.

Looking for a new fitness buddy? Samsung just launched the Galaxy Watch Active and the Galaxy Fit, two new wearables with a raft of fitness-focused features that'll keep you moving and get you down to the gym.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for June 2019

Smartwatches make life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. If you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, here are the best smartwatch deals for June 2019.
Deals

Amazon’s Father’s Day sale cuts $150 off Garmin’s Fenix 5X Sapphire smartwatch

There are great fitness smartwatch deals across the web ahead of Father's Day, especially on some of the high-end models like the Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire. For fitness junky Dads, Garmin's top of the line smartwatch is a great choice.
Deals

Need to reduce dentist visits? Philips’ Sonicare electric toothbrush is $30 off

If you’re looking to improve your oral hygiene and save a few dollars along the way, Amazon is currently offering the Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 Plaque Control for only $40.
Product Review

Samsung's $99 fitness tracker takes on Fitbit. Can it keep pace?

Samsung’s going toe-to-toe against Fitbit’s Inspire HR with its own $99 fitness tracker -- the Galaxy Fit. It also has a heart rate monitor, can automatically detect six workouts, and has a battery that can last for days.
Deals

Before buying an Apple Watch, check out this cheap smartwatch under $100

Not looking to spend hundreds of dollars on a smartwatch? You might want to consider this little-known but well-reviewed cheap smartwatch from Amazfit called the Bip. It's on sale on Amazon, and you can have it in one day if you're a Prime…
Emerging Tech

A medical superglue alternative is made from Chinese giant salamander goo

Forget medical superglue! Harvard researchers have discovered a special natural adhesive that's able to seal up wounds, made from goo excreted from the skin of Chinese giant salamanders.
Emerging Tech

Custom 3D-printed heads let doctors practice delicate brain procedures

Radiotherapists who operate to remove brain tumors could benefit from being able to practice on specific patients ahead of time. Thanks to customized 3D-printed heads, now they can!
Health & Fitness

Stop waking up groggy every morning. Snooze smarter with the best sleep gadgets

Do you snore? Toss and turn? Alternate between extremely hot and extremely cold body temperatures at night? A deluge of smart sleep technology on the market aims to help you get a better night of shut-eye.
Emerging Tech

This lifesaving wearable could diagnose strokes more accurately

A new breakthrough wearable device uses two light measurement techniques to track the body's blood circulation — and accurately predict deadly strokes in the process. Here's how it works.
Deals

The 10 best computer reading glasses to help reduce eye strain

Eye strain, headaches, and dry eyes are all side effects of too much exposure to blue light and screen glare. Get yourself a pair of computer reading glasses to help relieve the discomfort.
Outdoors

The best smart helmets are full of cool tech, and totally worth the messy hair

Helmets might be a haircut's worst nightmare, but they're constantly evolving, and have undergone a 21st-century makeover. No matter your sport, here are the best smart helmets currently on the market.