The best smartwatches for every style and budget

The best smartwatches do more than tell the time, here we share our top picks

three of the best smartwatches on peach background
(Image credit: Future)

The best smartwatches do more than just tell the time. Here we round up the top models on the market right now to help you find the best smartwatch for you.

Much like choosing the best fitness tracker, finding a smartwatch to suit your needs is no mean feat. Over the years, tech companies have invested in their smartwatch offerings to bring us bigger, better, cleverer, and stylish models. But, what exactly is a smartwatch? In short, a smartwatch is a watch, fitness tracker, and phone all in one. You can use it to monitor your heart health, track your workouts, answer calls and reply to text messages, pay for shopping via contactless and so much more. 

Smartwatches are a versatile piece of tech, so it's unsurprising this product often comes with an expensive price tag if you're investing in models from tech leaders like Apple and Samsung. The good news is there are some budget-friendly smartwatches on the market right now too, with impressive features for half the price. 

How we tested the best smartwatches

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Testing a range of brands, including premium and budget options, we tried each smartwatch over several weeks using all the features it offered. 

We weighed up the pros and cons of each smartwatch and considered: 

  • Design—if you're wearing your smartwatch every day, you'll want a device with a long-lasting battery life that re-charges quickly. An easy-to-use watch is also key—you want to make sure it's easy to navigate, whether you're pausing your workout during a sweaty HIIT class or using contactless payment while juggling shopping bags at the grocery store. Thankfully, long gone are the days of bulky fitness trackers, today's watches are much more stylish and there are plenty of on-trend options among our top picks. 
  • Features—if you're investing in an expensive smartwatch you'll want a device that can do it all. We assessed the features each of our top picks had on offer, from fitness and sleep tracking to music streaming and phone call-making abilities. It's worth keeping in mind that depending on the device's operating system, some watches are only compatible with certain smartphones, or have features that can only be accessed on Android. 
  • Budget—there's no denying smartwatches are expensive and usually around the $100—$500 (£80—-£400) mark. There are lots of brilliant mid-priced options, so don't feel like you need to spend hundreds to get the best.

The best smartwatches as chosen by our experts 

Garmin Venu 2S fitness tracker

(Image credit: Garmin)

1. Garmin Venu 2S

The best smartwatch overall

Specifications

Watch dimensions: 40.4mm x 40.4mm x 12.1 mm
Battery lasts: Up to 11 days
Water-resistant: Up to 50m
Compatible: All smartphones
Available colors: Stainless steel, light gold, silver stainless steel, rose gold
RRP: $399.99/£349.99

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to set up and use 
+
A huge variety of features 
+
Stylish design 
+
GPS 

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive 
-
Only Android users can respond to texts on the watch face

Garmin is an industry leader when it comes to smartwatches and fitness trackers, so it's no surprise the Garmin Venu 2S came out top in our tests. Easy to set up and even easier to use, this smartwatch ticks all the boxes. It offers a huge variety of features, a range of stylish colors, and a sleek modern design with a large screen. It'll help you look and feel your best, while also hitting your health & fitness goals. 

The smartwatch gives a great overall picture of your health, too. It tracks key stats around heart rate, respiration, and blood oxygen saturation. It also tracks energy levels with a body battery estimate and prompts you to take a well-needed break when stress levels spike. You can monitor your sleep, receive phone notifications to the watch face, go wallet-free with Garmin Pay, and set up safety features with an emergency contact for peace of mind. When working out, the Venu 2S is a great companion. Choose between on-screen animated Garmin workouts (which we loved for time-poor days) or track your own activities, from HIIT treadmill workouts to swimming. 

While it's expensive if you have the budget to splash out on this pick we highly recommend it. However, it's worth noting only Android users can respond to texts via the watch face. All other users will receive notifications, but won't be able to respond to them—which, could be a deal-breaker if this feature is a must-have for you.   

Apple Watch Series 5

(Image credit: Apple)

2. Apple Watch Series 5 GPS

The best premium smartwatch

Specifications

Watch dimensions: 40mm and 44mm available
Battery lasts: Up to 18 hours
Water-resistant: Up to 50m
Compatible: iPhones only
Available colors: Gray, silver, gold
RRP: $349.99/£319

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic user experience
+
Range of features including GPS
+
ECG monitor 
+
Intelligent safety features 

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Only compatible with iPhone

The Apple Watch is often considered the king of fitness watches and, with an amazing range of features, there’s no doubt it offers almost everything you could want from such a device. We found the Apple Watch Series 5 very easy to set up and use. The design, as with all Apple products, is pretty swish and undoubtedly lovely to look at. It's available in three sleek colors, with an endless amount of strap options out there. 

A key aspect of the Apple Watch that draws many customers in is the Move, Exercise, and Stand activity rings. The watch prompts you to 'close' the rings every day, by hitting your step and movement targets. We found it a great motivator to get up from our desks throughout the day. While the smartwatch also features built-in workouts and intelligent activity tracking, it's not all about fitness with this pick. You can get phone notifications straight to your watch face. The ECG monitor lets you check in with your heart, while the fall-detection feature will automatically call emergency services and your emergency contact if the watch detects you're unconscious—an incredibly smart feature.

The GPS abilities are great for keen runners and walkers. However, we did find using GPS drained the battery which only lasted one day and a half with this feature enabled. Comparing Series 5 with Series 3, the models are very similar—except for the ECG monitor, compass, and fall-detection feature in Series 5. While it's undeniably brilliant, the Series 5 is rather expensive, so if you aren't too fussed about missing out on these features, take a look at the Series 3 for a more purse-friendly price tag.

See our full Apple Watch Series 5 review

Huawei Watch GT

(Image credit: Currys/Huawei)

3. Huawei Watch GT 2e

The best budget smartwatch

Specifications

Watch dimensions : 53mm x 46.8mm x 10.8mm
Battery lasts: Two weeks (dependant on usage)
Water-resistant: Up to 50m
Available colors: Black, white, green and red
Compatible: with iPhone and Android (though some features do not work on iPhone)
RRP: $130/£79.99

Reasons to buy

+
Great sleep tracking
+
Brilliant battery life
+
Affordable
+
Large screen 

Reasons to avoid

-
Some features are missing for iPhone users
-
More complex to use 

A lightweight, affordable and durable smartwatch—what more could you want? We loved the large watch face of the Huawei Watch GT 2e, but it took us a little while to get familiar with the settings as it's more complex and less user-friendly than the other options we tested. 

The watch has built-in GPS, automatically picks up the type of exercise you're doing and the step count seemed accurate as we racked up the miles while Nordic walking. Plus, this model has some very impressive health metrics for such an affordable price tag. The Huawei smartwatch monitors oxygen levels, heart rate, workout effort, and recovery time. It offers excellent sleep data and comes with a personal fitness tracker you can tailor to help you hit your health and fitness goals. Another highlight of the Huawei Watch GT 2e is the battery life, which far outlasted some of the other devices tested, despite the same levels of usage with GPS enabled. 

While the smartwatch is totally compatible with Android devices, features such as the stress test and music storage aren't available on Apple devices. It's also worth noting the GT 2e can’t connect to other third-party apps, such as Strava and MapMyRun, so if you rely on those this may not be the watch for you. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch3

(Image credit: Samsung)

4. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

The best smartwatch for Android users

Specifications

Watch dimensions : 45mm and 41mm screens available
Battery lasts: 45mm 56 hours / 41mm 43 hours
Water-resistant: Up to 50m
Available colors: Black, silver, bronze
Compatible: iPhone 5 and up, and Android phones
RRP: $429.99/£349

Reasons to buy

+
Incredibly stylish
+
Very easy and intuitive to use
+
Compatible with a range of smartphones

Reasons to avoid

-
Leather straps and watch face uncomfortable to sleep with

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is stylish, with a leather strap and a large, circular clock face, reminiscent of a traditional watch. While the design is important, it's not all about style with this pick. The smartwatch has all the features you'd expect, and then some. Although it's compatible with iPhone 5 and up, we think it's the best smartwatch for Android users due to the operating system.

It tracks a range of workouts including walking, running, and swimming (it's waterproof up to 50m). And, there are 120 home workouts programs available to play via the app on your smartphone (ideal if you're in need of a new at-home workout routine). The watch intuitively turns on when you turn your wrist, so there’s no tapping or pushing buttons if you want to quickly glance at your stats while exercising. Other noteworthy features include heart rate tracking, blood oxygen and ECG monitoring, and stress level ratings. Like the Apple Watch, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 also has a fall-detection feature that will notify your emergency contact and share your location if you don’t move after a fall. It’s a feature that could be invaluable to an older person or those worried about running or walking alone. 

While we loved the look of the leather strap, we found it uncomfortable to wear during the night. This could mean you miss out on the sleep tracking features of this device, but you could replace it with one of the best sleep apps instead. 

Fitbit Versa 3 in pink

(Image credit: Fitbit)

5. Fitbit Versa 3

The best Fitbit smartwatch

Specifications

Watch dimensions: 40.48mm x 40.48mm
Battery lasts: Up to 6 days
Water-resistant: Up to 50m
Compatible: Apple iOS 13 or higher / Android OS 8.0 or higher
Available colors: Black, midnight, pink clay, thistle, olive
RRP: $229.95/£199.99

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use 
+
Great for all fitness levels 
+
Compatible with most smartphones
+
Variety of features 

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than other Fitbits

The best Fitbits have been worn by fitness lovers for years, and it's not hard to see why. The smartwatches and fitness trackers are constantly being updated with new and improved features, but are still super user-friendly and great for all fitness levels. With a Fitbit on your wrist, your life is about to get a whole lot easier. Not only will it give you a boost of workout motivation, providing you with on-screen workouts and detailed activity stats in the Fitbit App. But, it's also got Fitbit Pay for contactless payments, music streaming abilities, and it tracks a variety of health metrics.

When testing the Fitbit Versa 3, we felt motivated and inspired to take control of our health and fitness goals. Available in five trendy colors, the model has a large watch face and displays the date, time, step count, heart rate, and estimate of calories burned. Using the touchscreen, you can swipe to access other features from exercise tracking to music streaming. Without GPS enabled the battery lasted for almost a week, but when using the GPS it drained quickly and needed charging within a few days. It's a more expensive Fitbit in comparison to the rest of the brand's offering. To see detailed sleep and oxygen saturation monitoring stats, you'll need to sign up for subscription service Fitbit Premium via the Fitbit App. Plus, if you want to reply to texts via your wrist you'll need to pair with an Android device and have your smartphone nearby. 

Garmin Forerunner

(Image credit: Garmin)

5. Garmin Forerunner 55

The best smartwatch for runners

Specifications

Watch dimensions: 42mm x 42mm x 11.6 mm
Battery lasts: 2 weeks or 20 hours with GPS on
Water-resistant : Up to 50m
Compatible: Most smartphones
Available colors: Black, white, aqua, grey
RRP : $200/£180

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use with a bright screen
+
Accurate GPS 
+
On-screen coaching 
+
Great for runners interested in diving deep into stats

Reasons to avoid

-
It isn’t a touchscreen, making navigation a little harder
-
No interchangeable wristbands

Finding a smartwatch that's convenient for day-to-day use but can also accurately track your workouts is key for any runner. Cue—Garmin Forerunner 55. The easy-to-use smartwatch is comfortable and lightweight with a big and bright watch face that makes checking stats during workouts easier than ever. The Garmin Coach and PacePro technology provide expert training plans and pace guidance, while cadence alerts let you know when you've gone outside your target range. We also love the Race Predictor which helps us set goals by combining data from previous workouts. 

As well as accurately tracking runs, the Forerunner 55 tracks a range of activities from yoga for beginners to ab workouts for runners. It also monitors heart rate, steps, calories burned, respiration rate, energy levels, and stress levels. It doesn't have Garmin Pay, but the Forerunner 55 does deliver email, text, and phone notifications to your watch face, allows you to control music streaming from your smartphone and you can set up emergency contacts with incident detection features. Via the Garmin Connect app, you can track your menstrual cycle and access exercises and nutrition education, too. It's not the most stylish smartwatch on the market, but if you're a keen runner looking for a watch you can wear all the time, it's a fantastic option. 

Purple Fossil Smartwatch against white background

(Image credit: Fossil)

6. Fossil Gen 6 Smartwatch

The most stylish smartwatch

Specifications

Watch dimensions : N/A
Battery lasts: 24 hours (depending on usage)
Water-resistant : Up to 30 meters
Compatible : All smartphones
Available colors: Rose Gold Stainless Steel, Gunmetal Stainless Steel, Purple Silicone
RRP: $299/£279

Reasons to buy

+
Stylish 
+
Variety of features 
+
Take and make calls on any smartphone

Reasons to avoid

-
Short battery life 
-
Only waterproof up to 30 meters 

As far as smartwatches go, the Fossil Gen 6 are some of the most stylish out there. As well as being available in rose gold stainless steel, gunmetal stainless steel and purple silicone, the brand sells interchangeable silicone straps in a range of other colors that can be bought as an extra. 

Powered with Wear OS by Google, the Fossil Gen 6 is compatible with iOS and Android devices. It's got a large touchscreen face, with the addition of two push buttons and a rotating home button—similar to a traditional watch. It has a variety of features and tracks a range of metrics, from steps and sleep to heart rate and SPO2 levels. As well as helping you monitor your health and fitness, the smartwatch has lots of preloaded apps to make your day run a little smoother—think Agenda, Google Maps, and Google Pay for contactless payments. You can also take calls and make calls from your smartwatch screen when connected to your smartphone. 

We found the Fossil Gen 6 charged pretty quickly (in around 30 minutes), however when we used features like music streaming and GPS it drained the battery and required charging around once a day.