The 10 Best Smartwatches of 2020

Finally, watches can do more than just keep track of time

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The Rundown
"The Apple Watch Series 6 combines an attractive design, great specs, and a set of impressive new features like bloody oxygen measurment and ECG."
Runner-Up, Best Overall:
Samsung Galaxy Watch3 at Amazon
"The Watch3 has the distinct advantage of playing nicely with both Android and iOS."
Best Fitness Tracking:
Fitbit Versa 3 at Amazon
"It only takes 12 minutes to power up for a full day of battery life."
"The more affordable Apple Watch SE retains most of the key features of the Series 6 and doesn't compromise on style."
Runner-Up, Best Fitness Tracking:
Fitbit Versa 2 at Amazon
"The Fitbit Versa 2 hits almost all of the same notes as the newer Fitbit Versa 3, which could leave you wondering whether or not to make an upgrade. If you’re looking for a few deciding factors, though, you’ll find them."
"From high speed water sports to trail running, golfing, bouldering, skiing, and even gym sessions too, the Fenix 6 comes with a tracking feature for that."
Best for Active Samsung Users:
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 at Amazon
"The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 is a great choice for fitness-oriented Samsung users who want many of the same assets the Apple Watch offers."
"It can last between 2-30 days in mixed-use mode and two days in Smart Mode when using fitness apps for at least 30 minutes a day."
"The Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch is a wearable that design-conscious shoppers will appreciate."
Best for Minimalists:
Skagen Skagen Falster 3 at Amazon
"If you’re looking for a streamlined smartwatch with some fitness-tracking finesse, the updated Skagen Falster 3 has a lot to like."

The best smartwatches tell time but also serve as a convenient extension of your smartphone. While you probably keep your mobile device close, it’s healthy and convenient to have some separation. And many smartwatches function as standalone devices that check many of the same boxes your smartphone does—music player, contactless payment convenience, and fitness tracking—with an extra level of ease and no need for a spare hand or pocket.

The smartwatch market overlaps with the best fitness trackers that offer fewer “smart” features for a focus on fitness metrics. But if you’re looking for true all-in-one versatility from your wearable, a smartwatch is a savvy investment for switching from work to leisure. Rather than swap your work or professional watch, many smartwatches come with numerous bands that can transition from the gym to the boardroom and vice versa.

And while many smartwatch customers will appreciate some degree of fitness tracking, it’s not difficult to find a model that matches your priorities and activity level. If fitness tracking is a nice-to-have feature, but 4G connectivity and texting from your watch is more important, there’s a smartwatch to fill those demands. 

Explore the best intelligent wearable for your lifestyle by browsing this list of the best smartwatches from big names in the game, including Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, and Garmin.

Best Overall: Apple Watch Series 6

What We Like
  • Blood oxygen sensor

  • ECG app

  • Useful set of sleep and activity tracking features

  • Attractive design and strap options

  • U1 chip for better connectivity

What We Don't Like
  • Fairly expensive

The Apple Watch Series 6 is the newest iteration of Apple's flagship smartwatch line and it comes with all the refinements and enhancements you'd expect from a next-gen device. The design appears similar, with the squarish glass display, but you get a brighter 1.78-inch OLED screen that can hit 1000 nits of maximum brightness. Aside from that, you're looking at a familiar design with a rotating crown and touchscreen for navigation and plenty of swappable strap options.

The most interesting new features that come with the Series 6 is the blood oxygen sensor that lets you take readings of your oxygen levels. It's able to use a mix of infrared sensors and photodiodes to compensate for skin color and measure oxygen levels from 70 to 100 percent. Another cool new feature is the ECG app, allowing the Apple Watch to generate an electrocardiogram waveform in 30 seconds. It can potentially detect heart irregularities including issues like atrial fibrillation.

Every other feature you've gotten used to is present, including sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, notifications, music storage, activity tracking, built-in GPS, and more. One other new addition is the U1 chip that should improve connectivity with iPhones.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Watch3

What We Like
  • Android and iOS compatibility

  • Rotating bezel

  • New fitness features

What We Don't Like
  • Too big for smaller wrists

The Samsung Galaxy Watch3 improves upon its popular design and reputation with a few welcome changes, including a slimmer overall build. While it is noticeable, it will still be too big for smaller-wristed shoppers—even the smaller 41-millimeter band. For the majority of users, though, size shouldn’t be an issue. And design assets like the returning physical rotating bezel that allows you to cycle through your favorite apps and your choice of over 50,000 different watch faces—though you’ll have to pay to access many of them—offer appealing customization and style. The Watch3 also sports a premium leather band, which helps it transition from a workout to a dressier setting more easily than some models. 

Many reviewers have remarked at the overlap with the Apple Watch, but the Watch3 has the distinct advantage of playing nicely with both Android and iOS, which gives it an edge over its Apple competitor. The Samsung Galaxy Watch3 also rises to the occasion to go to toe with the Apple 5 Series by adding an array of fitness- and health-oriented features such as SpO2 and VO2 Max to monitor blood oxygen levels, a fall-detection tool to keep you safe during workouts, and a built-in running coach tool that provides a detailed analysis after a workout. 

You’ll get all of the usual smart functionality from this device such as text and email notifications and Spotify streaming over Wi-Fi. But if you have a Galaxy phone and opt for the LTE version of this watch, your life is made even easier right out of the box with standalone calling and texting freedom and seamless app syncing.

Best Fitness Tracking: Fitbit Versa 3

What We Like
  • Six+ days of battery life

  • Built-in GPS

  • Many health features

What We Don't Like
  • No Siri support

  • Spotify controls but no stored playback

The latest version of the Versa model comes with a handful of noteworthy upgrades and returning features. Offering six-plus days of battery life, the Fitbit Versa 3 comes with a considerable boost of longevity over the Fitbit Versa 2. Unlike the prior version, this model also delivers quick-charging, which is great because the Versa 3 also comes with built-in GPS for tracking runs and outdoor workouts. In GPS mode, the Versa 3 can keep up for 12 hours before requiring a charge. It only takes 12 minutes to power up for a full day of battery life or 40 minutes to fully charge, though, so you won’t be waylaid for long. 

Like its predecessor, the Versa 3 is jam-packed with helpful health and fitness tracking tools that Fitbit is known for: 24/7 heart rate monitoring, menstrual cycle tracking, activity zones, and intensity mapping, and it’s safe to take in the pool too. The Versa 3 is also compatible with voice assistants such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, but not Siri. And while you can listen to your favorite workout playlists with the Versa 3, only Pandora and Deezer playlists are storable on the device. Spotify interactions are limited to volume and track controls only.

Best Value: Apple Watch SE

What We Like
  • Attractive design and straps

  • Good specs

  • Supports fitness, sleep, and period tracking

  • Has most features of Series 6

What We Don't Like
  • Lacks bloody oxygen measurement and ECG

  • Fewer design options than Series 6

The Apple Watch SE is for those who want most of the features that come with the Series 6 but are leery about the price. On their face, the SE looks awfully similar to the Series 6 with its square OLED display, 1000 nits brightness, rotating crown for navigation, and colorful strap options. Where they differ primarily, is the Series 6 uses a newer chipset with sensors that can measure blood oxygen levels and ECG. The SE lacks both of these features, and also the U1 chip that helps spatial awareness and connectivity with your phone.

But if you're willing to make these two sacrifices, the Apple Watch SE will get you almost everything the Series 6 does. It supports automatic workout detection, onboard music, Siri voice commands, sleep tracking, period tracking, fall detection, GPS, and more. The best part is, it'll cost you almost $100 less, making it great value for everything you get.

Runner-Up, Best Fitness Tracking: Fitbit Versa 2

What We Like
  • Battery lasts for 4+ days

  • Built-in Amazon Alexa

  • Wealth of health tools

What We Don't Like
  • No onboard GPS

  • Text reply on Android phones only

The Fitbit Versa 2 hits almost all of the same notes as the newer Fitbit Versa 3, which could leave you wondering whether or not to make an upgrade. If you’re looking for a few deciding factors, though, you’ll find them. The Fitbit Versa 2 doesn’t offer onboard GPS, which means you’ll need to stow your smartphone during every workout. And you won’t get any fast-charging convenience or the same battery life. But four-plus days of longevity isn’t shabby, and you’ll get the most out of each charge if you disable the always-on display.

Health and fitness-tracking features are the bread and butter of the Fitbit brand, and according to our reviewer, the Versa 2 delivers on all the desired fronts. During the day, it tracks heart rate and activity, calorie burn, and calculates a cardio fitness score to help users track fitness progress. It also serves as a dedicated sleep tracker with insights on light, deep, and REM sleep and offers guided breathing exercises when you need to slow down.

On top of this impressive arsenal of fitness-tracking assets, the Versa 2 comes with numerous sought-after smart features that simplify daily routines. These include connecting wirelessly to headphones, storing credit and debit card info for fast contactless pay, and smartphone notifications and replies on Android phones. Amazon Alexa is built right in as well, and you can store and play Deezer and Pandora playlists and control Spotify tunes when your phone is nearby.

What you get is a superlative fitness wearable with some added options that make it feel closer to a smartwatch.” – Jason Schneider, Product Tester

Best GPS: Garmin fēnix 6 Pro Solar

What We Like
  • Solar charging

  • Extremely sporty

  • Topo maps and turn-by-turn navigation

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Bulky

To say that the Garmin Fenix 6 is feature-rich is an understatement. This rugged smartwatch is made for adventure and nearly any sport you can think of. From high-speed water sports to trail running, golfing, bouldering, skiing, and even gym sessions too, the Fenix 6 comes with a tracking feature for that. As proof of its trail-ready grit, this device has a 10 ATM waterproof rating (good for diving 100 meters and high-speed water sports) and is military-grade thermal shockproof. All of this ruggedness does pose a bit of a fit issue for users with more petite wrists. But since this product does require a hefty investment, it’s worth considering the small “S” version that offers a more manageable fit at 42 millimeters versus 47 and 51 millimeters.

In addition to a lengthy fitness and sports tracking feature list, one big-ticket item is GPS prowess. In GPS mode, Garmin says this watch is good for up to 40 hours when getting a boost from the sun. If you’re not able to get out every day to benefit from solar charging, you can count on two weeks in smartwatch mode. But this multi-sport smartwatch is best utilized outside and the mapping features are game for even the most off-the-beaten path workouts. If you like to go old school, the Expedition mode uses the least amount of battery while intermittently capturing GPS, and for dynamic guidance, topographical maps, point-to-point routing, and turn-by-turn navigation will keep you on track and back to base camp or wherever you want to be with little trouble.

And as a smartwatch, the Fenix 6 is capable of storing up to 2,000 songs, Garmin contactless pay, safety, and accident tracking, and provides access to an extensive library of watch faces and apps via the Connect IQ store.

Best for Active Samsung Users: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2

What We Like
  • Touch bezel

  • More accurate heart-rate tracking

  • Spotify playlist storage

What We Don't Like
  • Limited number of apps

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 is a great choice for fitness-oriented Samsung users who want many of the same assets the Apple Watch offers. The Active2 continues to offer the comfortable and close fit from the previous model and adds on a feature that many users requested: a bezel. While the bezel isn’t a physical one like on the Samsung Galaxy Watch3, it’s touch-activated and simulates the same rotating motion of a physical dial. 

Other new perks include the improvement of the heart rate monitoring system. The Active2 now features eight sensors and a new curved design that better captures heart rate at all times—and issues alerts if readings look too low or high. There’s also talk of an ECG feature just like on the Apple Watch, but it’s yet to be released in the U.S.

As an added fitness-tracking motivator, the Active2 now also includes swimming on its list of seven automatically tracked workouts. And other health-focused apps for tracking sleep and guided breathing round out the experience. While the fitness app integrations include big names like Strava and MyFitness Pal, the broader selection of third-party apps from the Tizen store continue to be a bit limited. If you’re a premium Spotify subscriber, though, you’ll be able to store playlists to your device and even forego Bluetooth headphones since the Active2 has a built-in speaker. If you have a Samsung phone, you have the advantage of WPC Qi wireless device-to-device charging functionality, which allows you to place the watch directly on your smartphone for a battery boost.

"The screen is colorful, sharp, and more entertaining than it has a right to be. If I lived my life in Android, buying the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 would be a no-brainer." — Lance Ulanoff, EIC

Best Battery: TicWatch Pro 2020 Fitness Smartwatch

What We Like
  • Battery can last up to 30 days

  • Google Pay supported

  • Numerous fitness-tracking features

What We Don't Like
  • Need to download separate sleep-tracking app

  • Heavier than previous model

If you want a long-lasting smartwatch, the Wear OS-operated Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 2020 is an excellent option. It can last between 2-30 days in mixed-use mode and two days in Smart Mode when using fitness apps for at least 30 minutes a day. This mode also keeps the AMOLED display engaged and Bluetooth on, unlike Essential Mode, which reveals the monochrome display over the AMOLED. In this battery-extending mode, the date and time and basic fitness metrics such as steps and heart rate are available—and you’ll get a solid five days of usage before charging up again. If you stick with Smart Mode, you’ll get up to 5 hours of music playback, and if you play music while using the built-in GPS, you can still rely on 3.5 hours of use. But don’t count on venturing out with just your smartwatch: you’ll need your phone to stream music from Spotify. 

Like the previous model, the Pro 2020 supports contactless pay via Google Pay, Google Assistant, and a military durability rating of 810G, but it’s actually heavier at 58.5 grams without the strap, versus 47.4 grams in the 2018 version. It’s also limited by some Wear OS quirks. One of the most obvious is that since there’s no built-in sleep-tracking feature, you’ll need to download the TicSleep app from the Play Store and then log in to your Mobvoi account to start tracking it.

Best Value: Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle

What We Like
  • Sleek design

  • Built-in Google Assistant

  • Water resistant to 98 feet

  • Rapid charging possible

What We Don't Like
  • Not great at fitness tracking

The Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch is a wearable that design-conscious shoppers will appreciate. It’s available in leather, silicone, and stainless steel band options including rose gold and blush leather hues. While it appeals to the wearer who wants a smartwatch that fits any daily wardrobe choice, don’t expect it to offer stellar fitness tracking accuracy. It does feature a built-in heart-rate monitor and you can swim with it in water 98 feet deep, but the readouts in the Google Fit app have been met with mixed reactions from users. 

Still, it’s handy for built-in GPS tracking and general health and fitness stats such as steps taken, inactivity, heart rate, and calories burned, which means it can help motivate you to keep moving. The built-in speaker is another function that lends to everyday convenience. Use Google Assistant voice commands to check the weather or set your smart thermostat to a comfortable temperature. Other daily-use conveniences include Google Pay integration so you can skip fumbling for your wallet at checkout, the ability to receive Bluetooth phone calls as long as your phone is nearby, and 8GB of storage for music. This model also offers improved battery life over the previous generation with three battery modes and a quick-charging function that brings your watch to 80 percent in just one hour.

Best for Minimalists: Skagen Falster 3

What We Like
  • Sleek, upscale look

  • Comes with rapid charger

  • Swim-proof

  • Untethered GPS

What We Don't Like
  • Wear OS limitations

If you’re looking for a streamlined smartwatch with some fitness-tracking finesse, the updated Skagen Falster 3 has a lot to like. This model features improved battery life over the previous generation and will get you through a full day of activity before requiring a charge. Even if that’s not incredibly long, this wearable comes with a rapid charger to restore the battery to 80 percent in just 50 minutes. The Falster 3 is also incredibly sleek with stainless steel mesh and silicone band options for daily wearability.

This smartwatch doesn’t just look stylish, it also offers the versatility you want in a smartwatch with Google Assistant and contactless pay, plus the added perk of a swim-proof build with untethered GPS. Go ahead and leave your phone at home while you swim laps or jog. Although, if you’re expecting a call, you’ll still want to bring that along so you can answer mid-workout. 

While the analytics you’ll see in the complementary Google Fit app should be considered more as ballpark insights rather than highly accurate metrics, there’s still value in that for those who mostly want encouragement to stay active. You’ll also get the usual step tracking, heart-rate monitoring, and smartphone notifications.

Final Verdict

The Apple Watch Series 6 is our top pick for best smartwatches. While you need an iPhone to use it, it’s hard to beat the long list of health and tech features that many competing models strive to match. If you’re an Android user, the Samsung Active Watch3 offers a more streamlined build than before and comes with desirable health features, some of which overlap with the Series 6.

About Our Trusted Experts

Yoona Wagener has reviewed numerous smartwatches and fitness trackers for Lifewire from brands such as Garmin, Withings, and Samsung. As an avid runner, she’s a big fan of models like the Garmin Forerunner 35 and Garmin Venu for their dependable built-in GPS and run-tracking accuracy.

Jason Schneider has a decade of experience covering tech and writing for media companies. He specializes in reviewing audio equipment, but has also tested a variety of other devices including smartwatches, laptops, and fitness trackers. He liked the standalone functionality of the Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 4G and the health tracking features of the Fitbit Versa 2.

Lance Ulanoff is the EIC of Lifewire with 30 years' experience as a technology journalist and editor. He specializes in reviewing Apple products and praised the Apple Watch Series 5 for its excellent suite of fitness tracking features.

What to Look for in Smartwatches: 

Operating system compatibility: There’s little sense in investing in a smartwatch that doesn’t work with your smartphone. While most smartwatch operating systems including Wear OS and Tizen are compatible across operating systems, some—like the Apple Watch—require a dedicated device. Others simply function more optimally with a certain OS. Samsung watches, for example, work with iPhones and a variety of Android devices, but are really unlocked when used with a Samsung smartphone.

Fit and style: If you want a wearable that transitions well, smartwatches can flex to fit your schedule. While many models favor a silicone band that’s friendly to sweat, you can purchase alternate styles and fabrics such as leather and swap them out as needed. Smartwatch faces are another design aspect to consider when purchasing a wearable for your lifestyle. Maybe you want a device that plays the part of an analog watch with an always-on display. If you don’t mind the look of a fitness-centric smartwatch, the size of the face and strap width could be keys for finding an ideal middle ground between sporty and versatile.

Battery life: Most smartwatches are built to get you through at least one full day of work and workouts, if not a few. It’s not atypical to recharge a smartwatch battery every few days, though most people will prefer a device that lasts closer to five days on a single charge. But battery longevity really depends on how you use your wearable. If you’re the adventurous type who’s always on the move, you’re better served finding a device that has some big battery chops. Additional services such as cellular connectivity, music streaming, health-tracking features, and an always-on display can put added stress on battery levels. 

Fitness tracking: Smartwatches cover a wide net of “smart” services, from smart notifications alerting you to texts and emails to being able to directly respond and make phone calls, streaming and storing music, and contactless payment convenience. But the other big part of the smartwatch equation is fitness tracking. There are many models that can provide a helpful nudge in the right direction. Otherwise, if you want an all-in-one smartwatch and fitness tracker, you’ll want to look for more specialized models that offer advanced performance tracking, precise GPS, and multisport or dedicated support for your specific sport.