Best smartwatch 2024: Top picks for every budget

The best smartwatches I've tested are more advanced than ever. They're now everything in one: a comprehensive health and fitness tracker, digital wallet, and an extension of your smartphone, even if your smartphone is nowhere nearby. 

Several smartwatches I've reviewed recently can also measure your heart rate, detect elevations, and automatically connect you to emergency services if you have a fall. Electrocardiogram (ECG) and blood oxygen (SpO2) readings are perks of certain models, too.

That said, the best smartwatches go above and beyond, housing various features and apps while keeping up with your day-to-day needs. And of course, there's style: many smartwatches can be customized, from their straps to their faces, to fit your personality.

You can refer to my smartwatch buying guide for more tips on finding the ultimate wearable for you. Otherwise, see all my favorite smartwatches below.

Written by
Kate Kozuch
Written by
Kate Kozuch

My name is Kate and I oversee our guides to the best smartwatches, best Android smartwatches, best Apple Watches, best Samsung watches and more. This means I usually walk around like a cyborg with multiple devices on my wrists. I've been testing wearable tech for Tom's Guide for more than 5 years, documenting my experience on the site, on our YouTube channel and on my Instagram.

The quick list

Here's a quick overview of the best smartwatches you can buy right now based on my testing and reviews. In-depth analysis on each of the products can be found further down this page.

The best smartwatches you can buy today

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The best smartwatch overall

The best smartwatch overall

Specifications

Sizes: 41mm, 45mm
Battery Life (Rated): 18 hours
GPS: Yes
Swim-Proof: Yes
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
LTE: Optional
Mobile Payments: Apple Pay
Compatibility: iOS

Reasons to buy

+
Siri works offline
+
Double-tap gesture is awesome
+
New UWB chip helps find your phone
+
First carbon-neutral Apple device

Reasons to avoid

-
Find iPhone feature only works with iPhone 15

The Apple Watch 9 is the best Apple Watch yet, and the smartwatch I myself use on a daily basis. It’s not a major upgrade over the Apple Watch Series 8 in terms of features, but it does introduce some useful updates. What's new is the S9 processor, which is 25% more efficient before, powering a brighter 2,000 nit display and neat new double-tap gesture. The double-tap gesture makes it possible to navigate the watch one-handed, while a next-gen ultra-wideband chip helps you track down a misplaced iPhone more easily.

Latest news

Due to a patent dispute between Apple and Masimo, the Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 are banned from sale with the blood oxygen feature. That said, you can purchase them now and I'll update this story if that changes.

What's more, the Apple Watch Series 9 is one of Apple's first carbon-neutral certified devices. Using more recycled parts, less packaging, and coming with a 82% recycled yarn Sport Loop, the Series 9 takes a big step in an eco-conscious direction. I consider these kinds of efforts in my ratings.

Otherwise, the Apple Watch Series 9 is a full-featured health tracker and communications tool. With watchOS 10, this smartwatch packs the latest and greatest of what the Apple Watch experience has to offer. Whether you want a smartwatch for working out, answering calls from your wrist, or using the best Apple Watch apps, this is the best smartwatch for you. As long as you have an iPhone, of course.

Read our full Apple Watch 9 review.

The best Android smartwatch

The best smartwatch for Android

Specifications

Sizes: 40mm, 44mm
Battery Life (Rated): 40 hours
GPS: Yes
Swim-Proof: Yes
LTE: Optional
Mobile Payments: Samsung Pay

Reasons to buy

+
Slimmer display bezels
+
Improved interchangeable band mechanism
+
Satisfying physical bezel on Galaxy Watch 6 Classic

Reasons to avoid

-
Unimpressive battery life

The Galaxy Watch 6 is the best smartwatch for Android users thanks to design improvements, refreshed built-in apps and added health features. While Samsung's smartwatch lineup has received mostly iterative updates in past years, the Galaxy Watch 6 presents some truly substantial upgrades that prevailed in my testing.

In my opinion, Samsung continues to offer one of the most robust smartwatch collections on the market with not one, but two wearable devices every year. The Galaxy Watch 6 strikes a balance of sleek and sporty, while the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic elevates style with the fan-favorite physical rotating bezel. Larger displays and a new interchangeable band mechanism make for a more user-friendly design, too. My comparison of Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, with both tested side-by-side, can help you decide which is right for you.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 review.

The best smartwatch for Pixel

The best smartwatch for Pixel smartphones

Specifications

Sizes: 41mm
Battery Life (Rated): 24 hours
GPS: Yes
Swim-Proof: Yes
LTE: Optional
Mobile Payments: Google Wallet

Reasons to buy

+
Stress-detection sensor
+
Safety Check feature
+
Improved battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Big bezel
-
No wireless charger

The Google Pixel Watch 2 is the best smartwatch for Pixel phone users, and one of the most enjoyable watches I've worn from a reviewer's standpoint. A full collection of Google apps and fitness tracking powered by Fitbit’s platform make for a compelling smartwatch. In many ways, the Pixel Watch is the best of both worlds, pairing a top-notch Wear OS experience with Fitbit’s holistic health-tracking (which is further enhanced with a Fitbit Premium membership.) There are plenty of tools on-board for staying connected and getting active.

But there’s some room for improvement: the thick bezels and singular size option will still deter some users in terms of design. Luckily, an improved battery life compared to the original Pixel Watch makes up for it. Plus, I love the reassurance offered by the new Safety Check feature that shares your location with emergency contacts when you might need their help most.

Read our full Google Pixel Watch 2 review.

The best value smartwatch

The best smartwatch value for iPhone users

Specifications

Sizes: 40mm, 44mm
Battery Life (Rated): 18 hours
GPS: Yes
Swim-Proof: Yes
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
LTE: Optional
Mobile Payments: Apple Pay
Compatibility: iOS

Reasons to buy

+
Lower price than previous Apple Watch SE
+
Color-matched bottom case
+
Same chipset as Apple Watch Series 8

Reasons to avoid

-
No always-on display
-

The Apple Watch SE is kind of a hybrid device, pairing an older Apple Watch design with the Apple Watch Series 8's chipset. The $249 smartwatch doesn't have all the Series 8's features, but still stands out for its great fitness tracking and safety features. It also offers an LTE option, making it a good choice for those interested in trying out Family Setup.

When choosing between the Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Apple Watch SE (2022), your ultimate decision will be if you want to spend an extra $150 for a brighter display with an always-on option, an ECG monitor and skin-temperature, and a bigger display. If those tools aren't deal-breakers for you, the SE is a highly capable option for iPhone users. It even gets watchOS 9, the most up-to-date Apple Watch software with low power mode, fresh new watch faces, an upgraded workout interface, a redesigned compass tool and the new Medications app.

Read our full Apple Watch SE (2022) review.

The best Fitbit smartwatch

The best smartwatch from Fitbit

Specifications

Sizes: 40mm
Battery Life (Rated): 6 days
GPS: Yes
Swim-Proof: Yes
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
LTE: No
Mobile Payments: Fitbit Pay, Google Pay
Compatibility: iOS, Android

Reasons to buy

+
Proactive stress management with cEDA
+
Comfortable design
+
Robust fitness and health tracking with Fitbit Premiums

Reasons to avoid

-
No third party apps

Compared to the original Fitbit Sense, the Sense 2 features an upgraded design, interface and EDA sensor, making for Fitbit's most holistic smartwatch yet. Thanks to advanced health analysis and deep integration with Fitbit Premium, the $299 Sense 2 also sustains an edge in fitness-tracking over many of the best smartwatches  on this list.

An update to the stress-detecting EDA (electrodermal activity) sensor plays a large role in the device’s success: now called cEDA ('c' for continuous,) the sensor monitors stress levels or heightened responses throughout the day, prompting the user to take action on mood monitoring with Body Response notifications. However, added support for Google Wallet and Google Maps, while useful upgrades, won’t be available for the Fitbit Sense 2 at launch. There’s oddly no third-party app support, either. Still, for a smartwatch that helps you get in touch with how you feel, the Sense 2 succeeds.

Read our full Fitbit Sense 2 review.

The best fitness-tracking smartwatch

The best fitness-tracking smartwatch

Specifications

Sizes: 41mm, 45mm
Battery Life (Rated): 14 days
GPS: Yes
Swim-Proof: Yes
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
LTE: No
Mobile Payments: Garmin Pay
Compatibility: iOS, Android

Reasons to buy

+
Intuitive sleep and workout advice
+
Borrows features from high-end Garmin watches
+
Up to 14 days of battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Not enough third-party apps

The Garmin Venu 3 is one of the best Garmin watches that’s both a capable workout companion and stylish lifestyle device. The $449 Garmin Venu 3 maintains Garmin’s reputation for thorough fitness tracking and accurate GPS, while having the smarts of mirrored notifications and an on-wrist voice assistant.

Though Garmin still lacks a large third-party app store and continues to steer clear of LTE support, nap-tracking and a new sleep coach work on tracking your rest while daily summaries offer behavioral insights. An abundance of sport profiles, added Recovery Time suggestions, and on-watch interval creation keep you tuned into your activity, too. What's more with a 14-hour battery life, you rarely need to stress about keeping the Garmin Venu 3 charged.

Read our full Garmin Venu 3 review.

The best smartwatch for safety

The best smartwatch for safety and sports

Specifications

Sizes: 49mm
Heart Rate: Yes
GPS: Yes
LTE: Optional
Battery Life: 36 hours
Swim-Proof: Yes
Mobile Payments: Apple Pay

Reasons to buy

+
Best battery life of any Apple Watch
+
Action Button
+
Emergency siren

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life doesn’t compare with competitors

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is the best smartwatch to buy if you're a serious athlete or prioritize safety features on your wrist. For me personally, it's the later that stands out. In addition to excellent watchOS running features, the Ultra has an extra third button — the Action Button, which comes in handy for workouts but also serves as a quick way to access safety features, such as Emergency SOS and the Apple Watch Ultra's Siren which is a huge difference between Apple Watch Series 9 vs. Apple Watch Ultra 2.

Its 49mm screen is huge while the entire watch built for adventure. The bezel is made from titanium, with a lip around the screen to add more protection. The display is made from sapphire glass, and the watch has an increased water resistance of 100m. With up to 60 hours of battery life (in low power mode), it also has the stamina to keep up with me for multiple days. It's still not the best battery life option compared to Garmin's sports watches, but it's better than any other Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch Ultra is a serious smartwatch. I found it's not for everyone, but depending on your needs, it could strike the right balance. 

Read our full Apple Watch Ultra 2 review.

The best smartwatch for runners

The best smartwatch for runners

Specifications

Sizes: 42mm, 46mm
Heart Rate: Yes
GPS: Yes
LTE: No
Battery Life: 24 hours with GPS
Swim-Proof: Yes
Mobile Payments: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Two sizes available
+
Bright, beautiful AMOLED screen
+
Accurate GPS

Reasons to avoid

-
Not a ton of "smart" features

Our pick for the best running watch is the Garmin Forerunner 265. This lightweight device gives you everything you’d want in a running watch, from accurate tracking to music controls to the ability to create custom workouts, for the price of an Apple Watch. The device also offers access to Garmin’s wide range of training metrics, which help you not only plan workouts but also recovery time.

During testing, my colleague found the Garmin Forerunner 265's beautiful AMOLED display to be bright and easy to read, even in direct sunlight. It also has a touchscreen, which makes it easy to navigate around the watch. The battery is long enough to last through a few workouts, even with music playing. 

 he Forerunner 265 has inherited some of the more advanced health features usually reserved for Garmin’s more expensive running watches. It also now has the ability to track multisport training sessions in the triathlon mode, and Garmin's Training Readiness Score. It's a fantastic improvement on an already fantastic watch, and a great buy for all levels of runner. 

Read our Garmin Forerunner 265 review 

The best smartwatch for step counting

The best smartwatch for step counting

Specifications

Sizes: 40mm
Battery Life (Rated): 6 days
GPS: Yes
Swim-Proof: Yes
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
LTE: No
Mobile Payments: Fitbit Pay, Google Pay
Compatibility: iOS, Android

Reasons to buy

+
Great, slim-profile design
+
Accurate step counting
+
Good battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Trouble with heart rate accuracy
-
No third-party apps

The Fitbit Versa 4 is the best smartwatch for step tracking based on my testing. I will say it's not the best smartwatch for fitness tracking overall, as it struggles to provide accurate heart rate readings. But if you're looking for something that will get you moving with hourly step reminders and alerts when you've reached your daily goal, this smartwatch is a great choice.

Not only that, the Versa 4 a lovely-looking smartwatch with a slim profile and sleek metallic finishes. It looks very similar to the Fitbit Sense 2, yes, but this is the better choice if you're on a tighter budget or aren't as interested in stress-tracking. The Versa 4 still has reliable sleep-tracking and other perks available via Fitbit Premium.

Read our full Fitbit Versa 4 review.

How to pick the best smartwatch for you

When looking at the best smartwatches for you, you're somewhat limited by the smartphone you own. If you want an Apple Watch, for instance, you'll need to have an iPhone. And while Wear OS watches work with both Android and iPhones, you get far less functionality when not connected to an Android device. There are plenty of differences between Apple Watch vs. Fitbit  and Apple Watch vs. Garmin as well.

Samsung's smartwatches offer the greatest in terms of cross-functionality, but even here, Android phone owners will get more in terms of replies to notifications and the ability to make and receive phone calls. 

After that, when picking a smartwatch, you also want to get one that fits your wrist comfortably. Those with smaller wrists may find larger smartwatches — ones with case sizes larger than 44mm — to be too bulky and cumbersome to wear. If you need features like cycle or pregnancy tracking, you might find our list of the best smartwatches for women helpful, too. 

Similarly, you want to find a smartwatch that fits your style. Although the Apple Watch is limited to one shape, you can purchase it in different finishes. Samsung's smartwatches offer a little more choice, while Wear OS watches, which are made by a number of companies including Fossil, Tag Heuer, Diesel, and others, give you many more options when it comes to their design.  Does your smartwatch come with a metal strap? Here's how to remove a link from a watch

And if you need smartwatches for certain fitness goals. see our guides to the best running watches and best GPS watches. You also might be better suited for one of the best fitness trackers instead.

How we test the best smartwatches

My team and I test every new smartwatch to gauge its design and comfort. If it’s not stylish and comfortable enough to get you from an early morning workout to the office to a night out, you probably won’t wear it every day. Most smartwatches are also fitness trackers, so we put all of its sensors to the test, from step counts to heart rate to GPS (when applicable).

We install apps and use them to see if the device’s app store is robust enough to elevate it to smartwatch status. If the watch has built-in LTE, we test cellular connectivity and call quality to make sure the device can actually stand on its own without a smartphone nearby.

And we measure battery life using everyday scenarios — including workouts, using apps, and getting notifications — to make sure you can get through an entire day without needing to charge up.

For more smartwatch tips, see our smartwatch buying guide.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.