Smartwatches are still a very new thing to a lot of people. You don’t absolutely need one to get through the day, and some of the best smartwatches are much too expensive for many folks out there. With that said, they are good for a lot of things. They can provide you with an easy way to get information, allow you to dismiss or reply to new messages without having to pull out your phone, and much more. These are the best smartwatches you can buy in 2021.
How to choose the right smartwatch for your needs
Many different factors go into making a great smartwatch. It needs to look good, feel comfortable, have a variety of apps to choose from, and it needs to receive regular software updates. Fitness tracking is also welcome, but many devices that prioritize smart features don’t excel in the fitness realm and vice versa. For this list of the best smartwatches, we focus mainly on devices that deliver a good software experience.
The best smartwatches
- The Apple Watch Series 6 is the best smartwatch you can buy. It’s customizable, receives regular updates, and it’s a fantastic fitness smartwatch.
- The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is the best smartwatch for Android. The hardware is fantastic, and there are plenty of ways to customize this watch.
- The Fitbit Versa 3 is the best Fitbit smartwatch. The Versa 3 is nearly the same thing as the pricier Fitbit Sense, only without a few extra sensors that you may not use anyway.
- The Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 is the best Wear OS smartwatch, thanks to its newer hardware and regular software updates.
- The Garmin Venu 2 is the best Garmin smartwatch. Garmin’s second smartwatch with an OLED display is a great smartwatch and an even better fitness watch.
- The Withings ScanWatch is the best hybrid smartwatch you can buy in 2021, thanks to its clinically validated AFib detection and all-around great health tracking suite.
Apple Watch Series 6: The best smartwatch you can buy
The Apple Watch Series 6 is the best smartwatch you can buy. It has unmatched first- and third-party app support, receives regular major software updates, and has tight integration with Apple’s messaging apps. It’s really the gold standard for what a smartwatch should be.
It’s also one heck of a fitness tracker. Heart rate monitoring is more accurate than other wrist-based heart rate sensors, and GPS performance is solid. We do think Apple’s new sleep tracking metrics are too basic, but you can always download a third-party sleep tracking app if you need it.
If you’re interested in the Apple Watch but don’t want to pay for the Series 6, check out the Apple Watch SE.
The best Apple Watch, at a price
- $349 at Amazon
- $349 at Best Buy
- $499 at Verizon
- $399 at Apple
- Premium design and accessories
- Big, bright screen with always-on display
- Stellar heart rate monitoring
- Accurate, reliable GPS
- Unmatched app support
- Sleep tracking is too basic
- Battery life could be better
- No third-party watch faces
Check out our full review to learn more about the Apple Watch Series 6.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 3: The best smartwatch for Android
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is one of the best smartwatches you can buy if you don’t use an iPhone. The hardware is top-notch, the rotating bezel is useful and intuitive, battery life is good, and has plenty of fitness- and health-tracking features.
Samsung’s GPS and heart rate sensors can be quite off at times, though, and those coming from a Wear OS or Apple Watch will likely find the lack of third-party apps to be a letdown.
The latest and greatest smartwatch from Samsung
- $249.99 at Amazon
- $249.99 at Samsung
- Rs29990 at Samsung
- $249.99 at Best Buy
- $249.00 at B&H
- $449.99 at Verizon
- $449.99 at AT&T
- Fantastic display and rotating bezel
- Thinner, lighter design
- Two-day battery life
- Advanced running metrics can be helpful
- Useful sleep tracking and insights
- GPS and HR sensors can be inaccurate
- No MST payments with Samsung Pay
- Big price increase over original Galaxy Watch
- The setup process for non-Samsung phones is a pain
- Third-party app support is lacking
Check out our full review to learn more about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3.
Fitbit Versa 3: The best Fitbit smartwatch for most people
The Fitbit Versa 3 is our pick for the best Fitbit smartwatch you can buy right now. It’s not the most technically advanced, but it’s the one most people should purchase when seeking out a new wearable.
We found that the Versa 3 strikes the right balance between smartwatch, fitness tracker, and advanced workout wearable. It has both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa built-in, Fitbit Pay support, and onboard music storage. It’s also an all-around fantastic fitness tracker and even boasts onboard GPS for runners and cyclists.
The Versa 3 is also cheaper than the Fitbit Sense, Fitbit’s other flagship smartwatch. We found that the extra sensors in the Sense likely aren’t useful enough to most people to warrant a big price increase, making the Versa 3 our top pick overall.
Probably the best smartwatch for most Android users
- $229.99 at Amazon
- $229.99 at Fitbit
- $229.99 at Best Buy
- Decent battery life
- Pretty accurate health tracking
- Built-in GPS
- Google Assistant and Alexa support
- Speaker with phone call support
- Good price
- Very small app library
- Onboard music limited to two services
- The capacitive button isn’t ideal
- Proprietary charging cable
Check out our full review to learn more about the Fitbit Versa 3.
Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3: The best Wear OS smartwatch
Mobvoi’s new TicWatch Pro 3 is the first smartwatch with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Wear 4100 chipset. This, coupled with 1GB of RAM, makes for overall good performance and stellar battery life.
While some of the materials seem a little cheap, the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 is still our pick for the best Wear OS watch you can buy. It’s still a little lower on our best smartwatch list, though, because Wear OS isn’t our favorite smartwatch OS. Read more in our Wear OS buyer’s guide.
- $299 at Amazon
- $299 at Mobvoi
- Great battery life
- Zippy performance
- Dual display is ace
- Improved design
- Accurate heart rate sensor
- Dire companion app
- Wear OS needs a refresh
- Inaccurate sleep and fitness tracking
- Cheap strap
- Less durable than previous models
Check out our full review to learn more about the TicWatch Pro 3.
Garmin Venu 2: The best Garmin smartwatch
The Garmin Venu 2 is the company’s best smartwatch. It upgrades the original Garmin Venu in many ways, especially in terms of software and health-tracking features.
Garmin completely revamped the software experience for the Venu 2. It now showcases the watch’s crisp OLED display with its vibrant colors on nearly every data page. The Venu 2 also carries over many of the original Venu’s great smartwatch features, including message replies (Android only), Garmin Pay support, and even more onboard music storage than before.
It’s not cheap — no Garmin watch is — but we feel the Garmin Venu 2 is a big step in the right direction for Garmin’s smartwatch ambitions.
Garmin’s new mid-range multisport watch
- $399.99 at Amazon
- $399.99 at Garmin
- $399.99 at Walmart
- Now comes in two sizes
- Crisp AMOLED display
- Accurate fitness, sleep, and health tracking
- Excellent GPS accuracy
- Health Snapshot is useful
- More music storage
- Battery life can be finicky
- Uneven heart rate sensor data
- High price tag
Check out our full review to learn more about the Garmin Venu 2.
Withings ScanWatch: The best hybrid smartwatch
The Withings ScanWatch is our pick for the best hybrid smartwatch you can buy. Its been clinically validated to notify users of signs of AFib and overnight breathing disturbances. It has an ECG, pulse oximeter for SpO2 readings, connected GPS, and a fairly accurate heart rate sensor, too.
On-device navigation isn’t the greatest (let’s be honest, what hybrid smartwatch gets this part right?), but the small OLED display is good enough for basic functions. Add to that month-long battery life, fantastic build quality, and all-around great sleep tracking, and you have yourself a winner.
Just one problem: the Withings ScanWatch still isn’t FDA-approved in the US, so be sure to check Withings’ website to see if it’s available in your region.
- £249.99 at Amazon
- £208.29 at Withings
- Premium, classy design
- Long-lasting battery
- Health Mate app is well-designed and easy to use
- Potentially lifesaving and easy-to-use ECG monitor
- Clinically validated AFib and breathing disturbance notifications
- Fantastic sleep tracking
- Small display limits smart features
- Few advanced fitness features or insights
Check out our full review to learn more about the Withings ScanWatch.
Why you should trust the editor
Not only does Jimmy Westenberg love wearables, but he also loves helping people find the right devices to suit their needs. He’s been our resident fitness reviewer at Android Authority since 2016, and in that time, has reviewed dozens of fitness products and other wearables.
Through his rigorous testing of fitness products and deep knowledge of health devices and services, you can rest assured knowing Jimmy will give you honest recommendations. Looking for more brand-specific recommendations? Check out the following guides:
- Xiaomi Mi Watch review: Solid fitness tracking on the cheap
- The best smartwatch deals we could find
- The best Fitbit fitness trackers and smartwatches
- The most common Fitbit problems and how to fix them