The best Swim Watches

LISTING ORDER >> I have tried to list the best & most popular swimming watches first. Obsolete products are listed towards the END

NOTE >> There are TWO watches that I must bring your attention NOT reviewed on this website. The Garmin Swim watch and the Poolmate range of dedicated swimming watches. Please take a minute to view these two great swim watches from these links - Garmin Swim & Poolmate Swim watches with this Pool Mate 2 being the most popular.

Multisport Watches with Swim-Metrics

All the sport watches listed below feature internal accelerometers that can be used to measure swimming performance. With this range of watches you can expect to get swim-metric data including number of lengths, swim speed, strokes per minute and swimming efficiency. Some of these watches can also be used for OPEN WATER swimming, making use of both the accelerometer and the built-in GPS unit.

Heart Rate Data from the Swim?

Extracting Heart Rate data while swimming isn't so straight forward. The older Polar models, like the FT series provide heart rate in the swimming pool as they use ANALOGUE HR signal. HOWEVER, anything that uses DIGITAL signal from HR belt to watch, whether Bluetooth, ANT or other, will NOT work, the digital signal refuses to travel in the water.

Solved - HR swim data

The solution to this problem can be found here with the Suunto Ambit3/Spartan range, the Polar V800 and the Garmin Forerunner 920XT. The Polar uses BOTH transmission methods to get around the problem. Digital HR broadcasts when on the land and Analogue heart rate when in the water. The Garmin SWIM strap and Suunto Smart belt store the HR data in the STRAP then sends it to the watch unit when you are out of the water.

QUICK SHOP >> If you trust my judgement and want to the best swimming watches at the lowest price please click the buttons below ....

Under £100 swimming watchunder £120 the best value swimming watchUnder £200 an all round sports watch with swimming metricsThe best sports watch with detailed swim-metrics

  • Optional Chest Strap style heart rate sensor
    Heart Rate is taken directly from the wrist
    Heart Rate Zone training featured on this model
    Calculates calories burnt feedback
    Activity Tracker - set a daily activity target
    Monitor your sleep quality and duration
    Counts steps / pedometer functionality
    Swim-metrics eg. efficiency, lengths, avg speed per length
    Smartphone Connectivity supported by training Apps
    Receive smartphone notifications eg. call, text & email
    Race Pacer - set desired Distance versus Time goal
    Cadence - provides wireless pedal cadence from optional sensors
    Features Digital Compass
    Built-in GPS is used to monitor speed and distance
    Back Home - GPS function to get you back to start
    Altitude feedback from either GPS or Barometric sensors

    Garmin Vivoactive HR

    ** TOP 3 ALL ROUNDER **

    Garmin's intelligent smartwatch with an emphasis on fitness. Key features are a built-in GPS & heart rate sensor (no need for chest strap). Smartphone notifications and alerts from compatible iOs and Android devices. If you like smartphone technology, partake in one or more sports and you also want to increase your daily activity then the Vivoactive HR could be for you ....

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  • Heart Rate is taken directly from the wrist
    Heart Rate Zone training featured on this model
    Calculates calories burnt feedback
    Activity Tracker - set a daily activity target
    Monitor your sleep quality and duration
    Counts steps / pedometer functionality
    Swim-metrics eg. efficiency, lengths, avg speed per length
    Smartphone Connectivity supported by training Apps
    Receive smartphone notifications eg. call, text & email
    Virtual Pacer - race against a previously stored track
    Cadence - provides wireless pedal cadence from optional sensors
    Features Digital Compass
    Built-in GPS is used to monitor speed and distance
    Back Home - GPS function to get you back to start

    TomTom Spark 3

    ** TOP 3 ALL ROUNDER **

    The TomTom Runner 3 (Spark 3) adds route exploration to the Runner 2 model. With all the same functions that made the Runner 2 one of my favourite GPS running watches the Spark3 features built-in heart rate sensor, 24/7 activity tracker, sleep monitor and internal memory for music storage ....

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  • Optional Chest Strap style heart rate sensor
    Heart Rate is taken directly from the wrist
    Heart Rate Zone training featured on this model
    Calculates calories burnt feedback
    Activity Tracker - set a daily activity target
    Monitor your sleep quality and duration
    Counts steps / pedometer functionality
    Get feedback on recovery progression
    Calculates Training Load to prevent over-training
    Swim-metrics eg. efficiency, lengths, avg speed per length
    Smartphone Connectivity supported by training Apps
    Receive smartphone notifications eg. call, text & email
    MultiSport Support - multiple sports in one session
    Virtual Pacer - race against a previously stored track
    Race Pacer - set desired Distance versus Time goal
    Power - compatible with optional Power sensors
    Cadence - provides wireless pedal cadence from optional sensors
    Built-in GPS is used to monitor speed and distance
    Altitude feedback from either GPS or Barometric sensors

    Garmin Forerunner 735XT

    ** TOP 3 for TRIATHLON **

    The Garmin Forerunner 735XT utilises their Elevate off the wrist heart rate sensors. The Forerunner 735XT is aimed at TRIATHLETES who want some level of freedom from their heart rate monitor chest strap. This strapless heart rate model features all the performance metrics of the 920XT like Running Dynamics, VO2 predictor and optional Power monitoring ....

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  • Optional Chest Strap style heart rate sensor
    Heart Rate Zone training featured on this model
    Calculates calories burnt feedback
    Activity Tracker - set a daily activity target
    Monitor your sleep quality and duration
    Counts steps / pedometer functionality
    Get feedback on recovery progression
    Calculates Training Load to prevent over-training
    Swim-metrics eg. efficiency, lengths, avg speed per length
    Smartphone Connectivity supported by training Apps
    Receive smartphone notifications eg. call, text & email
    MultiSport Support - multiple sports in one session
    Virtual Pacer - race against a previously stored track
    Race Pacer - set desired Distance versus Time goal
    Power - compatible with optional Power sensors
    Cadence - provides wireless pedal cadence from optional sensors
    Built-in GPS is used to monitor speed and distance
    Autorouting Feature - navigate from A to B without pre-planning
    Back Home - GPS function to get you back to start
    Altitude feedback from either GPS or Barometric sensors

    Polar V800

    ** TOP 3 for TRIATHLON **

    The Polar V800 for professional athletes & demanding amateurs, as used by World ITU champion Javier Gomez. The V800 combines your workout training load with your regular daily activities, giving you a true picture of your required recovery. The dual transmission Polar H7 HRM belt providing heart rate feedback while swimming. Optionally measures heart rate, cadence and power ....

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  • Optional Chest Strap style heart rate sensor
    Heart Rate Zone training featured on this model
    Calculates calories burnt feedback
    Monitor your sleep quality and duration
    Get feedback on recovery progression
    Calculates Training Load to prevent over-training
    Swim-metrics eg. efficiency, lengths, avg speed per length
    Smartphone Connectivity supported by training Apps
    Receive smartphone notifications eg. call, text & email
    MultiSport Support - multiple sports in one session
    Virtual Pacer - race against a previously stored track
    Power - compatible with optional Power sensors
    Cadence - provides wireless pedal cadence from optional sensors
    Built-in GPS is used to monitor speed and distance
    Back Home - GPS function to get you back to start
    Altitude feedback from either GPS or Barometric sensors

    Suunto Ambit3 Sport

    ** TOP 3 for TRIATHLON **

    REPLACED by Spartan Sport

    I still regard this product as a top performer. If you don't need the barometric weather functionality of the Ambit3 Peak, but you still want MultiSport support, consider the Ambit3 Sport. Available in several colours including blue, coral, black, white and sapphire. The Suunto Ambit3 Sport is the perfect watch for Triathlon  even though it's been sidelined by the Spartan....

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  • Optional Chest Strap style heart rate sensor
    Heart Rate Zone training featured on this model
    Calculates calories burnt feedback
    Activity Tracker - set a daily activity target
    Monitor your sleep quality and duration
    Counts steps / pedometer functionality
    Get feedback on recovery progression
    Calculates Training Load to prevent over-training
    Swim-metrics eg. efficiency, lengths, avg speed per length
    Smartphone Connectivity supported by training Apps
    Receive smartphone notifications eg. call, text & email
    MultiSport Support - multiple sports in one session
    Virtual Pacer - race against a previously stored track
    Race Pacer - set desired Distance versus Time goal
    Power - compatible with optional Power sensors
    Cadence - provides wireless pedal cadence from optional sensors
    Built-in GPS is used to monitor speed and distance
    Back Home - GPS function to get you back to start
    Altitude feedback from either GPS or Barometric sensors

    Garmin Forerunner 920XT

    The Forerunner 920XT is a true multisport GPS sports watch designed specifically for triathlon. When in the water measure distance, pace, stroke type/count and pool lengths. Drill logging and SWOLF score to measure swimming efficiency. Now with HRM-tri and HRM-swim belts for heart rate while swimming. On the bike you can monitor predicted VO2 max (with HRM strap and Vector pedals). Finishing with the run, you have access to advanced running dynamics, even a metronome to guide your running cadence ....

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  • Optional Chest Strap style heart rate sensor
    Heart Rate Zone training featured on this model
    Calculates calories burnt feedback
    Activity Tracker - set a daily activity target
    Monitor your sleep quality and duration
    Counts steps / pedometer functionality
    Get feedback on recovery progression
    Calculates Training Load to prevent over-training
    Swim-metrics eg. efficiency, lengths, avg speed per length
    Smartphone Connectivity supported by training Apps
    Receive smartphone notifications eg. call, text & email
    MultiSport Support - multiple sports in one session
    Power - compatible with optional Power sensors
    Cadence - provides wireless pedal cadence from optional sensors
    Features Digital Compass
    Built-in GPS is used to monitor speed and distance
    Back Home - GPS function to get you back to start
    Altitude feedback from either GPS or Barometric sensors

    Suunto Spartan Sport

    The Suunto Spartan Sport replaces the Ambit3 Sport and Ambit3 Run. Water resistant to 100 meters and featuring a tough high colour touch screen with great visibility in direct sunlight. The Spartan Sport is aimed at multisport GPS adventure racers. Those undertaking FULL Ironman Distance should consider the Suunto Spartan Ultra with 18 hours battery life ....

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  • Optional Chest Strap style heart rate sensor
    Heart Rate is taken directly from the wrist
    Heart Rate Zone training featured on this model
    Calculates calories burnt feedback
    Activity Tracker - set a daily activity target
    Monitor your sleep quality and duration
    Counts steps / pedometer functionality
    Get feedback on recovery progression
    Calculates Training Load to prevent over-training
    Swim-metrics eg. efficiency, lengths, avg speed per length
    Smartphone Connectivity supported by training Apps
    Receive smartphone notifications eg. call, text & email
    MultiSport Support - multiple sports in one session
    Virtual Pacer - race against a previously stored track
    Race Pacer - set desired Distance versus Time goal
    Power - compatible with optional Power sensors
    Cadence - provides wireless pedal cadence from optional sensors
    Features Digital Compass
    Built-in GPS is used to monitor speed and distance
    Autorouting Feature - navigate from A to B without pre-planning
    Back Home - GPS function to get you back to start
    Altitude feedback from either GPS or Barometric sensors

    Garmin Fenix3 HR

    The Fenix range have the perfect balance of fitness, navigation and tech / connected functionality to satisfy most outdoor racers, explorers and performance athletes. The Fenix 3 Sapphire HR is a stylish, yet exceptional robust, GPS sports watch that can withstand harsh environments being water rated down to 100m. Featuring Garmin Elevate off the wrist heart rate, no need for a chest strap ....

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  • Optional Chest Strap style heart rate sensor
    Heart Rate Zone training featured on this model
    Calculates calories burnt feedback
    Activity Tracker - set a daily activity target
    Monitor your sleep quality and duration
    Counts steps / pedometer functionality
    Get feedback on recovery progression
    Calculates Training Load to prevent over-training
    Swim-metrics eg. efficiency, lengths, avg speed per length
    Smartphone Connectivity supported by training Apps
    Receive smartphone notifications eg. call, text & email
    MultiSport Support - multiple sports in one session
    Power - compatible with optional Power sensors
    Features Digital Compass
    Built-in GPS is used to monitor speed and distance
    Autorouting Feature - navigate from A to B without pre-planning
    Back Home - GPS function to get you back to start
    Altitude feedback from either GPS or Barometric sensors

    Suunto Spartan Ultra

    The best GPS outdoor adventure / ABC /multisport watch of 2015/2016 was the Suunto Ambit3 Peak. That has now been replaced with the Suunto Spartan Ultra with high colour touchscreen display. Like the slightly less functional Spartan Sport the Ultra is a top quality GPS multisport watch designed with ULTRA Triathlon and other ultra endurance events in mind ....

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  • Heart Rate is taken directly from the wrist
    Heart Rate Zone training featured on this model
    Calculates calories burnt feedback
    Swim-metrics eg. efficiency, lengths, avg speed per length
    Smartphone Connectivity supported by training Apps
    Virtual Pacer - race against a previously stored track
    Cadence - provides wireless pedal cadence from optional sensors
    Built-in GPS is used to monitor speed and distance

    MultiSport Cardio

    REPLACED by Spark 3

    Superseded by the Runner 2 Cardio (Spark) this TomTom MultiSport Cardio is still a highly recommended GPS sports watch with BUILT-IN heart rate sensors for anyone who runs, bike, swims and gyms. The newer models include 24/7 activity trackers and, in some models, an internal music store to keep your favourite 500 training tunes (required Bluetooth headphones) ....

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  • Optional Chest Strap style heart rate sensor
    Heart Rate Zone training featured on this model
    Calculates calories burnt feedback
    Calculates Training Load to prevent over-training
    Swim-metrics eg. efficiency, lengths, avg speed per length
    MultiSport Support - multiple sports in one session
    Virtual Pacer - race against a previously stored track
    Race Pacer - set desired Distance versus Time goal
    Cadence - provides wireless pedal cadence from optional sensors
    Built-in GPS is used to monitor speed and distance
    Altitude feedback from either GPS or Barometric sensors

    Garmin Forerunner 910XT

    >> REPLACED by Forerunner 920XT

    The perfect all rounder? It certainly was when it came out as there wasn't much competition then. It has now been replaced by the Garmin Forerunner 920XT but it still offers great value for money. Many people still PREFER the real buttons instead of the 920XT's touchscreen. The Garmin Forerunner 910XT categorises multisport activities in one workout and can also log transition time in the process ....

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  • Optional Chest Strap style heart rate sensor
    Heart Rate Zone training featured on this model
    Calculates calories burnt feedback
    Activity Tracker - set a daily activity target
    Counts steps / pedometer functionality
    Swim-metrics eg. efficiency, lengths, avg speed per length
    Smartphone Connectivity supported by training Apps
    Virtual Pacer - race against a previously stored track
    Race Pacer - set desired Distance versus Time goal
    Cadence - provides wireless pedal cadence from optional sensors
    Built-in GPS is used to monitor speed and distance

    Garmin Vivoactive

    >> REPLACED by Vivoactive HR

    The Garmin Vívoactive combines Garmin fitness technology, such as built-in GPS, long battery life and a sunlight-readable display, in an ultra-thin smartwatch that lets users stay connected and achieve more. It's very hard to summarise what this smartwatch can do as it really does so much. Golfers will love it.. with over 38,000 courses to download .. however, also consider the Vivoactive HR with wrist based heart rate ....

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  • Optional Chest Strap style heart rate sensor
    Heart Rate Zone training featured on this model
    Calculates calories burnt feedback
    Get feedback on recovery progression
    Calculates Training Load to prevent over-training
    Swim-metrics eg. efficiency, lengths, avg speed per length
    Smartphone Connectivity supported by training Apps
    MultiSport Support - multiple sports in one session
    Race Pacer - set desired Distance versus Time goal
    Power - compatible with optional Power sensors
    Cadence - provides wireless pedal cadence from optional sensors
    Built-in GPS is used to monitor speed and distance
    Back Home - GPS function to get you back to start
    Altitude feedback from either GPS or Barometric sensors

    Suunto Ambit2 S

    REPLACED by Spartan Sport

    With features such as 12 hour GPS battery life, multisport mode, FREE downloadable APPS plus GPS navigation including back to start, the Ambit2 S is a perfect training partner for the outdoor exerciser who also competes in triathlon / multisport. Although replaced by the Ambit3 Sport and more recently the Spartan Sport the Ambit2 S still offers solid functionality for those NOT interested in smartphone connectivity or activity tracking ...

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  • Optional Chest Strap style heart rate sensor
    Heart Rate Zone training featured on this model
    Calculates calories burnt feedback
    Get feedback on recovery progression
    Calculates Training Load to prevent over-training
    Swim-metrics eg. efficiency, lengths, avg speed per length
    Race Pacer - set desired Distance versus Time goal
    Power - compatible with optional Power sensors
    Cadence - provides wireless pedal cadence from optional sensors
    Features Digital Compass
    Built-in GPS is used to monitor speed and distance
    Back Home - GPS function to get you back to start
    Altitude feedback from either GPS or Barometric sensors

    Suunto Ambit2 Sapphire

    REPLACED by Spartan Ultra

    Suunto Ambit2 Sapphire is the GPS sports watch for outdoor explorers & athletes who also want stunning good looks. A battery life of 24 hours with GPS, Ambit2 Sapphire is ready for any adventure. Although replaced by the Ambit3 Peak and more recently the Spartan Ultra the Ambit2 still offers solid functionality for those NOT interested in smartphone connectivity or activity tracking ....

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  • A Brief History…

    It all started in 1996. As a sports science student I wanted to promote the use of Heart Rate Monitors in exercise. The business went online in 1999. In 14 years we sold HRM's to over 300,000 customers.

    After a short retail back we're now back with the new online store selling ONLY Polar. We still offer impartial advice & test other heart rate monitor brands. Our aim however, is to introduce you to Polar's products as an alternative to Garmin, Fitbit, Suunto or TomTom.

    Get in Touch

    • Email

      info@heartratemonitor.co.uk

    • Phone (orders / support)

      (+44) 01485 505 000

    • Post

      7 Lincoln Square
      Hunstanton
      Norfolk
      PE36 6DW