There are lots of ways to organize our busy lives these days — from planners to apps to meticulously organized spreadsheets — but it turns out that some of the best smartwatches out there can actually help you do just that. With a variety of innovative features that allow you to set reminders, keep tabs on important health markers, and have Alexa update you on the news or add to your grocery list, you can easily become more efficient without ever having to color-code your schedule or miss a text again.
Smartwatches these days are not only great for adults looking to do yoga or cultivate a mindfulness practice (though some models can help with that!), there are also options for younger users as well. On this list, we’ve included our go-to choice for kids, which offers fun, built-in and age-appropriate activities for little ones as young as 6. So, if you’re looking to kick off the new year with a renewed focus, consider adding some of these best smartwatches to your list.
How We Picked the Best Smartwatches
To come up with our list of best smartwatches, we looked at a wide variety of options — some 20 different styles, models, and brands. That included options for different ages, whether it was adults or kids, as well as for different interests, like those who might want a more basic model and those who might want something that’s more fashion-forward. We also made sure to evaluate, and then include, smartwatches that work for both Android and iOS users, with a nod to other tech-forward options like contactless payment.
We also paid close attention to the numerous features offered, making sure they were varied and innovative. For instance, what type of tracking options does the smartwatch include (sleep? stress? skin temp?) and what activities is it great for, as well as features like call and text notifications, photography capabilities, and more. Lastly, we looked at the size of the watch case, extras included (like subscription trials) and customization options.
The Best Smartwatches: Reviews & Recommendations
Best Smartwatch Overall: Apple Watch Series 7
Why It Made the Cut: The newest Apple Watch available, the Apple Watch Series 7 really goes above and beyond, offering all the great features of a smartwatch, from the screen size to the fitness options making it our choice for the best smartwatch overall.
— Works with iOS
— Customizable case and band styles
— 45mm and 41mm cases available
— Screen size is double that of the Series 3
— Tracks new workouts, like Tai Chi
— Water resistant
— Not compatible with Android
Out only since October, the newest Apple Watch, the Series 7, ticks all the boxes and has all you could want in a smartwatch — and then some. (On the Samsung side of things, consider one of their newest models, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic). Let’s start with the health and fitness features available on the Series 7. There’s sleep tracking, an electrical heart sensor, and the “Reflect” feature in their Mindfulness app. Plus, it’s water resistant, so you can use it while swimming and the Series 7 can also track workouts like tai chi and Pilates.
We also love the fact that you can customize so much of the look of this smartwatch — from the case material and color to the band style. From a specs perspective, the screen on this model is much bigger than in the past, more than doubling from the Series 3, which debuted in 2017. The other features, like not easily attracting dust, offer peace of mind when it comes to daily use. Also great? The keyboard, call and messaging notifications, and of course, all the app access also round out the experience. Read a full review of the Apple Watch Series 7.
Best Fitness Smartwatch: Fitbit Sense
Why It Made the Cut: If fitness is your focus, then this new Fitbit model definitely delivers, with multiple exercise modes, tons of health tracking features (stress check, breathing rate, and so on), and even a downloadable Wellness Report.
— Works with Android and iOS
— Available in 3 colors
— 40mm case
— A 6-month Fitbit Premium membership comes with your purchase
— Comes with small and large bands included
— Has GPS, Alexa, Google Assistant and Fitbit Pay
— Only new users can access the included Fitbit Premium membership deal
When we recently rounded up our favorite fitness trackers, the Fitbit Sense beat out the rest — and that makes it our choice for the best fitness smartwatch here. The newest in Fitbit’s arsenal, this smartwatch really does have all the features you could want to keep up with your workouts. Some examples? There are more than 20 exercise modes to choose from, a built-in GPS — key for outdoor workouts — and it can be worn while swimming. The watch will track your heart rate while you’re working out, and it’ll even notify you when you’ve hit your target rate.
The numerous ways it keeps tabs on your health is also pretty innovative. That includes everything from your blood oxygen levels to menstrual health and breathing rate. It’s also a boon for those looking to streamline their sleep, with both sleep zones and Smart Wake, to let you know your optimal wake time. We also love the other health markers you can note, like stress and mood. There’s also the ability to make calls and get notifications and it comes in three different colors with two band sizes included. Read a full review of the Fitbit Sense.
Best Smartwatch for Women: Michael Kors Gen 6
Why it Made the Cut: As the best smartwatch for women, this stylish stainless steel smartwatch — available in multiple styles, including rose gold, gold and with pavé links — offers everything from sleep and activity tracking to call options.
— Works with both Android and iOS
— Fast-charging battery
— 44mm case
— Lots of fitness tracking options, including blood oxygen levels
— Can make calls using Bluetooth
— Hands-free payment option
— You can’t change the band
Ok, so here’s the thing: Women can wear any smartwatch out there, with case size being probably the biggest distinguisher between them. (As a comparison, the Garmin Lily has a 34mm case, while the Garmin Vivoactive 4S has a 40mm.) But for women who are looking for something that looks more like an accessory than a typical smartwatch, the new Michael Kors Gen 6 fits the bill.
Available in four different styles — two of which include pavé links — this stainless steel touchscreen watch boasts a 44mm case, is water resistant, and has a superfast charging time. There are many great features offered as well, such as fitness, sleep, and blood oxygen level tracking, as well as GPS. Plus, not only can you get text, phone, and social media notifications, you can also take calls using Bluetooth, use Google Assistant and more.
Best Smartwatch for Kids: Little Tikes Tobi 2 Robot Smartwatch
Why It Made the Cut: A smartwatch that looks like a robot? Sign us up — or at least, our kids, who’ll love the fun and interactive features, from the selfie-camera to the many games.
— Takes photos and video
— Parental controls available
— Battery lasts up to 5 days
— Stores thousands of photos
— Includes multiple fitness features
— Comes in multiple colors
— Tweens will likely be too old for this one
The Tobi 2 Smartwatch from Little Tikes is the best smartwatch for kids, providing the fun of a toy with some of the more kid-friendly features of a traditional smartwatch. That includes a step tracker, an “augmented reality” Walk n’ Wonder game, and learning games — as well as the usual suspects like an alarm clock, timer, and calculator. We think kids will especially love the camera capabilities of this smartwatch, which can take videos and photos—they can even put stickers like sunglasses on their selfies — and stores upwards of 3,000 photos. (How many will be of the same shot remains to be seen!)
The watch, which has a rechargeable battery and can connect to WIFI, comes in purple, red, and black (you can only buy the black on Amazon), with pink and blue available in a different model, the Tobi Robot Smartwatch. You may also want to consider snagging one for a sibling or BFF, since it can sync with other Tobi 2 Robot smartwatches, giving kids the chance to play games together. Geared towards kids 6 and older, this smartwatch is ideal for the mid-elementary school crowd, since it might be too toy-like for tweens and middle schoolers. Speaking of younger kids, parents can also put parameters on things like screen time.
Best Cheap Smartwatch: AGPTEK IP68 Smartwatch
Why it Made the Cut: At just a fraction of the price of other smartwatches, this version covers all the basics — from sleep and heart rate monitor to camera and message alerts.
— Works with both Android and iOS
— Battery lasts up to 10 days
— 33mm case
— Includes 8 different fitness modes
— Sleep and 24/7 heart rate monitors
— Available in black, pink and blue
— Doesn’t have some of the more flashier features of pricier smartwatches
No doubt, there are smartwatches with lots of features — including some of this very list — but if you are new to smartwatches and not sure how much you’ll use it or just want something simpler, then consider the best cheap smartwatch, the AGPTEK IP68. It hits all the most important notes: Fitness-wise, it comes with eight different modes, including yoga, biking, running, and hiking, as well as with a heart-rate monitor and a sleep monitor.
We particularly love that this watch works with both Samsung and iOS and that, though you aren’t able to respond to calls or texts, you can be pinged when one comes through. Other fun features? There’s a built-in camera and you can customize the watch face. It’s also waterproof, though the manufacturer notes that you shouldn’t actually submerge it in water. We also appreciate that this version is slimmer than others, but if you prefer something with a bigger face, consider the 43mm version of this watch, which also includes some additional features, like a few more fitness modes and an HD screen.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Smartwatch
There are a variety of things to keep in mind before you add a new smartwatch to your cart. Here’s a rundown of some of the most important:
User of the Smartwatch
Like with any other tech item, this is likely one of the most important things to think about ahead of time. For instance, if you’re buying a smartwatch for your child, you might not want to go with a more sophisticated choice, but opt for something that offers activities and features that are appropriate (and useful, let’s be honest!) for kids, while also including parental control options for you. If it’s someone’s first time using a smartwatch and you’re not sure how much it will be utilized, you could start with a simpler model that offers some key features without the higher price tag.
When You’ll Use It
We have friends that only take out their smartwatch when they’re heading to the gym or outside for a workout. If that’s the case, you may be able to go with a less expensive option that just covers the basics. If, instead, you plan to wear it all the time and want to keep track of everything from your sleep to oxygen levels to your daily schedule, that’s when one of the heavy hitters might be a better fit.
Some smartwatches are single-system compatible, which means they only work with Android or Apple’s iOS system. We’ve made it a point to include options on this list that work with both (or, in the case of the kid smartwatch, don’t need a phone at all!) Equally as important, note if the smartwatch you go with will work with the software version you have — so for instance, the Fitbit Sense only works with Apple iOS 12.2 and above and Android OS 8.0 and above. Also, check out whether the smartwatch comes with any trial subscription services for new users, like Fitbit Premium or Apple+ Fitness.
Q: How much does a smartwatch cost?
The cost of a smartwatch can really vary. On average, you can expect to pay somewhere between $200-$300 — though again, it really depends what you’re looking for. There are some basic versions, like the inexpensive AGPTEK IP68 Smartwatch on this list, that will run you under $100, but still include some great features. Other models, like the Apple Watch Series 7, start at about $400, with the Fitbit Sense and Michael Kors Gen 6 smartwatches hitting more middle of the road at under $300.
Q: Which watch is best for sleep tracking?
The best watch for sleep tracking really depends — and there are lots of smartwatches that keep tabs on your shut eye. In fact, all the watches we’ve ranked here, with the exception of the child-friendly version, do so. From this list in particular, we love the sleep tracking features of the Fitbit, which lets you know all the sleep zones you’re in (REM, light and the like), as well as offering cool features like snore detection, Smart Wake (to let you know an optimal time to get up) and even lets you put the watch into Sleep Mode so no notifications wake you.
Q: Which is better, Fitbit or Garmin?
It’s hard to say whether Fitbit or Garmin is better, and which you choose will largely depend on the style you like best and which of the features most resonate with you. For instance, on our list of best fitness trackers, we loved the Garmin Venu 2s for its style options, the more than two dozen workout modes and Garmin Coach for training, as well as its ability to receive text and call notification options. We also think the Fitbit Sense, which is at a slightly lower price point, shines with its numerous built-in options, like Alexa, and the many details it offers, like the downloadable Wellness Report.
Final Thoughts on the Best Smartwatch
Smartwatches are great for so many reasons — and we love how they allow you to keep tabs on all parts of your life, from your health to your daily schedule, so that busy days feel less overwhelming. And now, with so many options for different ages and interests, choosing a smartwatch to help you do that is easier than ever.
Related: Always on the go? Check out the best laptop backpacks to protect your tech.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.