Top Smartwatches For Working Out 2019: The 8 Best Wearable Tech and Fitness Trackers For The Gym

By Nader Qudimat
Last Updated November 2, 2019
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BEST OVERALL

  • Onboard storage for offline music playback
  • Stylish and customizable
  • Near perfect fitness tracking sensors

BEST PREMIUM CHOICE

  • Automatic rep counting
  • Sturdy and strong design
  • Long lasting battery

From the hardest hitting to the aggressive, this strongest pre workout guide has it all. Forget your smartphone…

A smartwatch can offer so much more and with how portable it is, it's one of the best pieces of tech you can have for the gym.

If you want to go completely wireless and take full advantage of smart wearables, then you’ll like the tech we’re recommending below.

Most of these wearables have onboard storage so if you want to go completely wireless, then you can use Bluetooth headphones and have absolutely nothing in your pockets or wires to worry about.

The convenience of a smartwatch is undeniably strong, no matter what your gym goals are.

Since it sits on your wrist, not on your arm, waist, or anywhere, it won’t get in the way of your workouts.

Most of the wearables we’re recommending below aren’t specifically made for bodybuilding but they can still be taken advantage as they are not only great workout trackers but can keep history of your training, heart rate and other useful metrics.

But if you need something that’ll measure strength and physical activity then you’ll appreciate something like GymWatch or Atlas Wristband.

Both wearables have major weaknesses that do not make them recommendable.

The concept is neat, but we're still a few years before we see accurate rep counting from smart wearables.

Very few companies make smart wear specifically designed for weightlifting and the ones available now have mixed reviews.

You’ll end up being frustrated as you look for the perfect tracker for your workouts because there’s no such product yet.

And the ones that exist, are a little bit of a hassle to set up and just makes it too much “tech” to have to carry around in the gym.

Using a universal sensor with a universal app isn’t sufficient for tracking exercises.

What's the solution?

Having something like the Gear S3 Frontier with it’s built-in workout tracker or the Under Armor Record app, is great for general workout tracking.

A smartwatch like Samsung’s can track different types of workouts, from cardiovascular to weight lifting though it doesn’t track any specific metric for weight lifting (reps, sets, etc).

Either a paper and pen or an app to manually insert reps and sets for each exercise is the best way to track progress.

Check out these smartwatches that you can use for the gym….

Top Smartwatches For Lifting

Although there are many smartwatches on the market, all made with a variety of features, there seems to be a gap.

That gap is watches and trackers that are made for strength and lifting.

Atlas Wristband 2 is the company's 2nd attempt at making a band that is suppose to track reps and exercises.

But unfortunately we're not at a point where we can say there are any watches that can hold up to being the best smart wearable for strength training.

Currently wearables that claim to be bodybuilding trackers come with a lot of flaws that make them not worth investing in just yet.

The Atlas Wristband claims to learn new exercises while tracking and detecting exercises automatically.

But it's accuracy is flawed and even if you're lucky enough to get it to work, the battery life wears out quickly.

For now, we can't recommend this watch. Hold off and wait as technology improves and sensors get better at tracking exercises.

PROS

  • Made for strength and crossfit training

CONS

  • Poor tracking for exercises and reps
  • Short battery life

Sometimes it’s better to go the old fashioned way.

With Smartwatches, you need to invest a bit of time to learn and get used to it but with an old fashioned watch like this Casio G-Shock Classic, it only takes a button to start the timer and you’re ready to smash your workouts.

This watch is super durable as it’s shock proof and can be used while swimming as it’s 200 meters water resistant.

The only thing that this watch is missing is activity tracking, like heart rate sensors and all of the metrics that smartwatches can keep track of but otherwise, this watch is perfect for any lifter looking to keep track of time without getting distracted.

There’s many versions and types of G-Shock watches out there but this being squared and compact, it is less likely to get in the way of your lifts.

The price is super affordable so if you don’t fancy a smartwatch but need something basic, this will go a long way and the best part is that you won’t need to charge or change the batteries for years at a time.

PROS

  • Powerful formula for energy and focus
  • Fully disclosed formula
  • Energy comes on slow and elevates

CONS

  • Magnitude Life Sciences doesn't display ingredients

FitBit Versa 2 is improved for lighter weight, battery life and an option to keep the display on.

The affordable smartwatch does it well when it comes to fitness but it isn't perfect since it doesn't have GPS or offline Spotify playback.

Smartwatches that are around the same price have both of these missing features, but there are some things that the Versa 2 is good at.

For fitness tracking FitBit is known to be one of the best for its accuracy.

It can record activities automatically and exercise routines can be selected from the app on the watch.

But to use the SmartTrack technology, you'll need to have your phone paired and connected.

For a smartwatch, the Versa 2 isn't the best choice but for fitness and activity tracking, Versa 2 is perfect.

Compared to the original, this version is much faster and smoother.

PROS

  • Fast and flawless processor
  • Bright and big display
  • Long lasting battery (1 week)

CONS

  • Changing straps is a chore

When it comes to smartwatches, it's hard to find something that works for multiple sports.

Polar Vantage M is made for the serious athlete with it's features being top notch without being too expensive.

This stylish watch has a look that makes it more expensive than it is and it holds up well, making it perfect for the hardcore lifter.

The display shines when it's indoors but in sunlight, it can be hard to read without struggling with it.

The Vantage M does it well when it comes to tracking specific things in sports, but it doesn't try to be everything which makes it perfect if you're looking for a smartwatch with accurate sensors.

The weak point about this watch is it isn't a great watch to wear outside of sports.

Otherwise, it's a great tool to measure activities.

PROS

  • Strong battery life
  • Good GPS features
  • High value with an affordable price

CONS

  • None

Samsung Fit2 Pro smart wearable has it all…

An on-board music player, heart rate sensor, Spotify, rep counting even and an amoled screen to show it all off.

The Gear Fit2 Pro is made for the gym, but not much outside of it.

If you’re looking for something that isn’t exactly a smartwatch but still has nearly the same features as one, the Gear Fit2 pro is the perfect fit for you.

It has a long AMOLED display that makes is very easy to view and read even in the brightest conditions.

It is about 20 grams lighter than the Gear S3 Frontier (though the frontier is still very comfortable!), and features 4gb of internal storage, used for storing music so you could pair it with your wireless headphones and leave your phone behind.

Like Frontier, this can be taken for a swim and can be submerged, unlike the Fit2 (non-pro version).

If swimming with your smartwear isn’t important, and just want something for the gym and possibly for the complete “smartwatch” package, then you’ll get more for your buck with the Frontier, otherwise the Fit2 is great as a fitness device.

According to most users though, you do not want to take this under water as it doesn't seem to be waterproof, or there are some issues with a big number of units.

PROS

  • Excellent design and stylish
  • Works well with Apple and Android
  • Can play Spotify offline

Everyone knows Apple has some advanced tech and their gadgets are mostly impressive (sorry iPhone fans, I only really like their smartwatch).

The Apple Watch is a must have, even if you’re an Android user, this watch can be used as a standalone and is better suited for Instagram and other applications than most Android watches.

That’s not why this watch is made for the lifting life though.

It has a number of features built into it which allows you to track your steps, heart rate, and much more.

You can leave your phone behind and the Apple Watch will be your wallet (Apple Pay) and your MP3 player (6gb of storage after the OS).

Spotify can be installed on this watch so you don’t even need to store any music with the option of streaming music.

Now you may be wondering what the difference is between the 1st, 2nd and 3rd series of Apple Watches…
There’s a big jump between 1 and 2, but between 2 and 3, there’s not much too much to get excited about unless you need both GPS and Cellular features.

Apple Watch Series 1 is splash proof, features a 450nits OLED Retina Display (all 3 generations have Ion-X Glass for screen protection).

The 2nd generation has GPS (no cellular), it’s also waterproof, has a ceramic back (instead of composite back) and like the 3rd generation it features a 1000nits OLED Retina Display.

The 3rd generation does have cellular but it won’t have its own phone number and you’ll have to pay 10 dollars a month, which is basically just an extension to your existing phone number so this might be useless for most people unless you’d want to use your Apple Watch for phone calls without your iPhone nearby (yes you need an iPhone).

The Samsung Gear S3 Frontier (cellular edition) does however allow you to have your own phone number with your watch, if that’s important to you.

But otherwise, the Apple Watch Series 1 (or 0) is perfect for bodybuilding, it has a great selection of apps and a beautiful display that’ll be easy to view in the gym.

PROS

  • Super lightweight
  • Looks hi-tech
  • Apply Pay can replace wallet for the gym

CONS

  • Expensive

When it comes to fitness, Garmin are a go-to and for lifting, the Forerunner (like Viviactive3 Fenix 3, and Vivosmart) work well for lifting since it has rep counting and works with Garmin Connect.

It's not the best watch for cardio but if you're doing multiple sports, from strength training to cycling and hiking then this watch is perfect as it's packed with sensors and features.

It can track reps done by weight training and even bodyweight exercises and lets you edit rep counts, and it detects when a set is over if you take a break.

Similar to the Fenix 3, it has all the same features except it’s packed into a smaller package.

With the sleek design and quality build, the Garmin Forerunner 935 is an excellent watch but comes with a high price tag.

PROS

  • Best choice for overall fitness and strength training
  • Automatic strength exercise detection
  • Heart rate sensor works grerat
  • Counts calorie burned

CONS

  • Rep counting is a hit or miss

One look at the Frontier and you'd mistake it for a regular watch.

This is a bigger than average watch that is not only feature rich but looks great on the wrist with an always-on feature that makes it look like an authentic watch.

With features like NFC, activity tracking, heart rate monitor, and GPS, you'll find all kinds of uses for this high class looking watch.

It comes with 4gb of space but only about 1.8gb is available for use, which is most likely because of the Tizen rather than Android Wear.

And Tizen may just be a little behind Android Wear in terms of apps but it has all the basics that you need.

For the gym, you’ve got a couple options to track your workouts, from Under Armor Record to the default Samsung Health app, they’ll both track heart rate, calories burned and all the essentials throughout your workout.

The bands are changeable so this watch can look great for any occasion, even formal.

We like the red and black bands as the red looks good in the gym and everyday use and black is great for all formal occasions.

You can leave your phone behind and use this watch as it has plenty of space for music to be stored on it, and even better it can be your credit card as you can use it.

Battery life is amazing for a smartwatch, it can last up to 1.5 to 2 days on realistic use (with workout tracking, etc), although Samsung promises 3 days but we've never achieved that.

Overall this watch will meet all your everyday needs, from being an mp3 player to tracking your heart rate and day to day activities.

Use Bluetooth headphones to get an truly wireless experience in the gym.

If you live in the states, you can get the LTE version which allows you to use an sim card and make phone calls without being connected to your phone.

The Gear S3 is for you if you don’t need a huge selection of apps but need something with the perfect hardware (Samsung is constantly improving their software however so the software and selection of apps are always improving).

PROS

  • Best smartwatch interface
  • Perfect performance with no hiccups
  • Bright and clear OLED display
  • Looks like a modern watch
  • Can play music without phone

CONS

  • Works best with Android
  • Tizen is limited for app selection
  • Exercise tracking isn't accurate

Best Heart Rate Monitors

Heart rate on smart wearables can be a hit or miss.

With chest straps paired with your smartwatch or phone, you'll have flawless readings and a more accurate way to measure intensity.

For the serious athlete, this is a must and it's recommended.

However, smartwatches are improving with heart rate sensors so it isn't completely necessary.

Heart rate monitors are easy to find, but the good ones are harder.

Luckily, Polar h10 has set the gold standards for heart rate trackers.

This HR monitor doesn't only have onboard memory, but it also has a strong battery life, and one of the best accuraracy we've seen so far.

From the previous version, the Polar H10 improves in design and it can work for months before requiring a battery change.

It's so comfortable to wear that it's easy to forget that you're wearing it.

If you have a smartwatch, you can install the app to connect to the heart rate monitor, leaving you to your sports without requiring your phone.

Or you can use the strap and leave your phone behind as the strap can record the stats into its onboard memory.

When it comes to the best, Polar H10 is easily in the top spot for heart rate monitors.

And since heart rate sensors on the wrist isn't as accurate as a chest strap, this makes it a perfect combination when used with a smartwatch.

PROS

  • Comfortable and lightweight, easily forgotten if worn
  • Waterproof
  • Highly accurate readings

CONS

  • Common features on app aren't free

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