Best waterproof fitness trackers: Keep counting steps in a downpour

Once upon a time, fitness trackers were extremely vulnerable to the elements – which was unfortunate for something designed to be worn in all weather conditions. I know I’m not alone in sending the clip-on Fitbit One through the washing machine, either.

Nowadays, the majority of fitness trackers have some kind of waterproofing. The degree varies from one tracker to the next, but almost all will withstand a bit of sweat or a splash of water, and plenty of them can be taken in the shower, bath or swimming pool without worry.

Still, to be absolutely safe, below are the best waterproof fitness trackers we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing. But first, a little bit of extra information…

How to find the right waterproof fitness tracker for you

How waterproof is waterproof?

You may be familiar with IP ratings. These are standards drawn up by the International Electrotechnical Commission that define how protected any electronic device is from dust, dirt, sand and fresh water.

The letters “IP” are followed by two numbers, and the first refers to solids. It’s almost always six, which is the top rating: “Protection from contact with harmful dust.” The second number is “moisture protection” and this runs from one to eight. For waterproof wearables, you definitely want an eight: “protected from immersion in water with a depth of more than 1 metre”. In other words IP68.

All the devices in the list below promise to be waterproof to depths of up to 50 metres.

What about ocean swimming?

You’ll notice the above only refers to “fresh water” – that means that an IP68 rating on its own doesn’t guarantee protection against other liquids like coffee, beer, lemonade or salt water – which could be a problem if you want to swim in the ocean.

The moral here is to specifically check what the product you’re interested in says about swimming. Fitbit’s help page, for example, specifically highlights six trackers as being swimproof in lakes, pools and oceans of up to 50 metres.

Apple, meanwhile, warns users that “water resistance isn’t a permanent condition and may diminish over time,” and adds that it would not recommend “exposing Apple Watch to soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and perfumes as they can negatively affect water seals and acoustic membranes.” Some, like Garmin’s Vivosport tell you to rinse devices in fresh water after exposure to chlorine or salt water.

In short: check with the manufacturer before taking your waterproof fitness tracker into the ocean.

Does waterproof mean it’ll track swims?

You’d have thought so, but “not necessarily” is the answer. Again, it’s best to look this up. While both the Fitbit Versa and Versa Lite are waterproof up to 50 metres, only the Versa actually track swims.

What about smartwatches?

While the line between fitness trackers and smartwatches is becoming increasingly blurry, we’ve kept the list below to fitness bands and hybrid watches for simplicity’s sake. However the same rules above apply to smartwatches, so keep an eye on IP number, salt water protection and swim tracking if those things are important to you.

Best waterproof fitness trackers

1. Fitbit Inspire HR – Fitbit’s best waterproof tracker

Price: £90 | Buy now from Amazon

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