Choosing a fitness gadget is a responsible task, especially for swimmers. Often, they can’t purchase a tracker because they are not quite sure in the device reliability. I’ve studied the most popular models of waterproof trackers and made my own top-list for you.
First of all, I’ll tell you about the shape of tracker. In my previous review “Classification of fitness trackers” I’ve already written that activity trackers in a form of bracelet are right for swimming. It’s true: A fitness bracelet can register the turning movements of arms at swimming and, consequently, determine the distance overcome more accurately. So, this form is the best to choose.
What are the requirements for swimming fitness trackers?
- Reliable fastening (no one wants to drown one’s tracker).
- Good water resistance class – at least IP67, but IP68 is better (it is a full water resistance, the device can work in a submerged mode). Maximal existing level – IP69 (the protection against still deeper immersion), but fitness trackers like that are not yet available.
- The functionality of device or application necessary for swimming and compatible.
Here is the Top 5 list. We studied sales ratings of Amazon.com - as it is the biggest and the most trusted internet-market in the world. We gives here very approximate prices (as you know there are always sales and special prices on Amazon.com. Please, check the current price).
5 best activity trackers for swimming from $20 to $150
Xiaomi Mi Band Smart Bracelet
Pros of tracker:
- A budget price – only $23;
- Water resistance class – IP67;
- Holds charge for about 30 days;
- Xiaomi band monitors the amount of steps, distance;
- Has a vibrating feature for incoming calls;
- After exercising it is possible to enter the training details into the device, choosing swimming as the kind of loading, and then get the specified information;
- Reliable fastening, different wristlets.
Cons of gadget:
– Limited functionality (e.g., the pulse monitor is absent) and somewhat raw soft, but the manufacturers promise to improve.
Customers wrote: “I've been swimming with it, showered with it, bathed my son, played with him in his water pool and table and it has been fine”. They also noted that it can be used as a good enough sleep tracker, too, because it monitors your sleep and has a vibrating alarm - you may set three separate alarm times. Many of them say that it will vibrate for text messages, too, but called them “a great fitness tracker” all the same.
This fitness tracker is good for swimming. And cheap - while using Xiaomi Mi Band you will see what other functions you really need, and then start to look for more upgraded device.
Misfit Shine Activity & Sleep Monitor
Pros of Misfit Shine:
- Water resistance class – IP68
- Replaceable battery lasts up to 6 months
- Different kinds of fastening (one can wear it as clip, bracelet, pendant, or simply attach it to one’s clothes or uniform with the help of a magnet).
Warning! Don’t have the device attached to your swimsuit during a swim as you risk losing it - use a bracelet!
- A wide range of colors of the main tracker’s part, i.e. a “tablet” and wristlets.
- It suits women more as it is too small for a man’s hand. It is even called the most glamorous tracker. Rejoice, girls! :)
- Misfit Shine monitors the distance being swum, steps, pulse - a good routine set.
I didn’t find any cons (besides of price for someone) of Misfit Shine as a swimming activity tracker and customers from Amazon.com agree with it. They say it is truly waterproof tracker compared with Fitbits fitness trackers: “This is kind of a big deal to me because I’ve had so many Fitbits die on me because they were definitely NOT waterproof as they claimed to be” – also read other 3,319 customer reviews on Amazon.com. We recommend it for swimmers especially for women for its beautiful design and waterproof class.
Also read: Fitbit fitness trackers comparison
Polar Loop Activity Tracker
Pros of tracker:
- Water resistance class – WR20 (you can dive with it at 20 meters under water). It’s great for diving - It proved by divers: “I have free-dived to 30 feet deep & it still works. It survives my daily shower and weekly lap swims.”
- Rechargeable battery life is 5 days in continuous use (don’t forget that this activity tracker has a LED-display – it’s a good feature for the band).
- You can use Polar Loop for running and fitness, as well as swimming. By the way, it is especially accurate and helpful at breaststroke swimming.
- Secure clasp.
Cons of Polar Loop:
- No pulse monitor
- Water flow may turn on/off the bracelet. One experienced user recommends: First, take a tape, cut off the small piece and coil it into a ball. Then fasten this little ball using tape to the touch button right of the display – done!
- The compatibility with older versions of Android is bad.
- It is a very hardy thing, since it’s suitable for even diving.
Price: from 67$
Runtastic Orbit Fitness & Sleep Tracker
Pros of Runtastic Orbit:
- Sufficient water resistance: Although manufacturer promises that Orbit class is WR100 it is not intended for diving.
- Rechargeable battery life is 5-6 days.
- Changeable wristlet provided
- Distance meter
- Synchronization with Runtastic application, but you also may use it without smartphone - good for people with old mobile phones.
Cons of tracker:
- No pulse monitor.
I like Runtastic Orbit because it has different ways of fastening (bracelet and clip). As a conclusion, I will quote one guy from college's swim team review: “The biggest issue is that the Orbit counts my strokes as steps. Swimming is a high-energy sport; swimming fast freestyle for two hours daily burns many more calories than walking for that same amount of time. So I am considering looking for a new fitness tracker that is more focused on swimming. Despite my problems, however, more casual swimmers could definitely use it in the water and get good results. However, if you're looking for a serious swimming calorie/stroke/lap tracker, don't go for the Orbit”.
Garmin Swim Watch
When I saw a Garmin Swim Watch for the first time, it occurred to me: “Well, somebody has taken care of swimmers!” Indeed! At last, a special smart watch distinguishing swimming styles and monitoring movements was created. Since this device is capricious, you should make friends with it first.
Pros of Swim Watch:
- High water resistance level – WR50 (works up to 50 meters under water)
- Replaceable battery life is about 1 year.
- Counting of rowing movements and measuring of distance time: Track every length, number of strokes, monitors swim time vs. rest time.
Cons of Garmin watch:
- No pulse monitor
- At irregular, unsure and chaotic movements a three-dimensional accelerometer may fix them, as well as distances being swum incorrectly, and confuse swimming styles. Using this device, you have to control the rightness of your swimming movements.
Not all users of Garmin Swim Watch are professional swimmers but this unit can be a good friend for anybody who wants to swim better. Customers added: “One new metric included with the watch is your SWOLF score. SWOLF is the swim golf score and is calculated by adding the time to swim a length and the number of strokes for that length”. They noted that this metric help them to increase their efficiency of swimming much.
As you have already understood, not every fitness-tracker suits for diving - though it may be quite good for sea or swimming-pool. Moreover, a fitness-tracker characterized as “waterproof” may turn out to be quite unsuitable for swimming. In the majority of cases, this characteristic means that you may wash your hands or walk in rain wearing this tracker, and that’s all.
Anyway, this is you who will decide - and can determine your own needs and circumstances of fitness tracker using. I can only recommend you to choose tested models, pay attention to recommendations of experienced users, and read our articles!