Have you ever tried running a marathon with a smartphone strapped to your arm? Or perhaps, tried checking tide charts on your iPhone while kayaking in rough water? There is a good chance that it isn’t exactly the most comfortable or intuitive experience. Fortunately, there is no shortage of athletic watches that you can get.
So, do you really need the best athletic watches? Sports or athletic watches come in a diverse set of useful functions when compared to a decade ago. So much that you’ll be surprised at the things a good sports watch can do. But how does one determine the best watches for their athletic needs?
In this article, we will discuss some tips on how to shop for a timepiece for athletic and fitness purposes. On top of that, we have reviewed some of the most top-rated models that might just be worth your time and money. Let’s dive right to it!
Our Top Picks
|Product Name||Movement||Water Resistance||Display Type||Price|
|CakCity Digital Sports Watch||Digital||50 meters||LED||Check price on Amazon|
|Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch||Digital||No||LCD||Check price on Amazon|
|Casio W800H-1AV Classic Sport Watch||Quartz||100 meters||LED||Check price on Amazon|
|CakCity Waterproof Army Watch||Digital||50 meters||LED||Check price on Amazon|
|Fitbit Charge 2 Wristband||Digital||No||OLED||Check price on Amazon|
|Kashidun Athletic Watch||Quartz||30 meters||Analog||Check price on Amazon|
|Armitron Chronograph Watch||Quartz||100 meters||LCD||Check price on Amazon|
|Timex Expedition Watch||Quartz||100 meters||Digital||Check price on Amazon|
Things to Consider Before Buying
When buying athletic watches, you should take into account the following factors to make sure you end up with a watch that best fits your needs.
Easy to Read
How effective your watch is will depend on how easy it is to read what it actually tells you. The dial window should be clear; the digital or analog displays should also be readable. Some may plan to buy a watch with a bigger face to increase readability; this is not a good idea. The face should not be larger than the width of your wrist.
Backlighting is also critical. This enables you to read the displays even in the dark. You never know what time your training will end. This comes in handy even when using it for everyday use.
Alarm and Stopwatch
As an athlete, you need this feature, just as much as you need the watch. You need to schedule your training time and wake up at that exact time. Without an alarm, getting up would be no mean task. An alarm would also signal the end of a training session. This ensures you do not overwork yourself. As an added advantage, the alarm should be easy to set, be able to re-occur multiple times and show on the display that it is active.
Being able to time yourself can be helpful in your quest to becoming a champion. By timing how long you take to complete a lap around the track, you will be able to improve on what you could be doing wrong. This is only possible with the stopwatch feature.
As you practice, you are bound to get sweaty. The sweat would trickle onto the watch on your wrist. If the watch is not adapted to cope with drops of sweat, it will get faulty in no time.
Different watches have ranging water ratings. Choose the most appropriate rating based on the amount of water you will be exposed to. This rating is based on atmosphere (ATM), i.e., WR 5 ATM/50 meters/165 feet.
High-end athletic watches come with some unique features to make your training easier. There are watches capable of monitoring your vitals such as heart rate and calorie levels. Not to mention cardio activities.
All these features are meant to give you more control of your training. You will be able to know when you are underperforming or when you are about to overwhelm yourself. These watches may be expensive but will be worth your while.
As an athlete, you need a watch with a comfortable strap. It should not fall off easily and not be a nuisance on your wrist. You need to focus on your training and not some lousy strap. Rubber straps can be more comfortable than metallic ones.
Fortunately, many athletic watches offer replacement bands, which can be easily bought online. It should be a good investment so you can quickly replace your bands in case it succumbs to wear and tear.
Best Products on Today’s Market
Now that you know how to shop for athletic watches, let’s take a look at some of the top-rated timepieces that you can find online.
Price: Approx. $12
Weight: 1.6 ounces
Dimensions: 3.5 x 3.3 x 3.2 inches
Specific features: LED display, digital display, back-light, alarm, date, Taiwan IC chip, water resistant, imported PC case, sturdy structure, shock resistant, chronograph and transparent resin mirror.
Best use: Wrist watch, stopwatch, sports (indoor and outdoor)
Description: The CakCity Digital Sports Watch is a military style type of watch if you fancy such types. This watch boasts of some really amazing features. First of all, it is water resistant, shock resistant, has LED display and has a backlight that you can use in the dark.
The digital display makes the reading of time as easy as possible. The digits are displayed in large dial numbers that you can easily see in the dark. To turn on the backlight at night, just press the LIGHT button and the time will be seen as if it were daytime.
This watch is made to appeal mostly to men, more so those interested in athletics. All the aforementioned features and the 24-hour time mode makes it fit for all your sporty needs and daily use as well. If you are an athlete, climber, fisher, you will find this watch extremely useful.
Besides keeping time, this watch has other uses too. It automatically shows the current date; it can be used as a stopwatch and alarm as well. Since this watch can withstand a water immersion of up to 50 m, you can swim and take a bath while you have it on.
You have to take care though when using it. When underwater, you are advised not to press any buttons and keep the watch away from hot water or steam in the event that the waterproof ring is damaged.
- Easy to use
- Water resistant
- Has backlight
- The chirping sound cannot be turned off
- Looks cheap
Related: As a sporting and athletic enthusiast and professional, there are a couple of other stuff that you need besides this athletic watch. A whistle is such a device you would need especially if you are a trainer. You need to indicate the start or stop of a lap by blowing a whistle. The Fox 40 Classic Whistle is one such device that comes in handy for this purpose.
Price: Approx. $196
Weight: 1.4 ounces
Dimensions: 8.8 x 1.8 x 0.4 inches
Specific features: Displays heart rate, onscreen workout instructions, compatible with your phone’s GPS, tracks your workout needs, fit for multi-sports uses, can be used to set weekly goals, battery life of up to 5 days, music control, heart rate monitoring and auto sleeps.
Best use: Running, biking, cardio
Description: The Fit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch is made to give you the freedom from having to keep track of all your workout goals. It does everything for you. It does all these rather impressively. You can set all the workout goals for the week, monitor the heart rate and monitor your recovery and sleeping time as well.
Heart rate monitoring is essential for determining how intense the workout is. You can then adjust if it becomes too much for your body to handle. This watch uses the PurePulse continuous technology to perform this task. This eliminates the need for chest straps as you exercise.
The SmartTrack technology allows you to automatically and effortlessly record workouts in the watch’s dashboard. All the runs you make during cross training, cardio and biking are recorded. You can then adjust your regime accordingly.
Do you always want to see how far you have run? Well, this watch gives that ability. The GPS can be synced with your phone to map your location using GPS. The phone displays all these.
Another feature to be happy about is the ability to determine how many calories you have burned so far, the number of stairs climbed and how long you have been active. You are also able to stay in touch with your calls, texts, calendar and any other notifications you may need.
If you are not sure of how to go about a particular workout, this watch gives you clear-cut stepwise instructions. You also get graphical representations of the same.
- Graphical representation of instructions
- 5 days battery life
- Music control option
- High-quality gorilla glass
- Accurate heart monitoring
- Not waterproof
- The GPS function is not inbuilt.
- The hexagonal shape in non-pleasing.
Related: You cannot find your favorite athletic watch? Well, there are a couple of other watches from the same Fitbit line of watches. The Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate Wristband is a smaller and cheaper alternative to the reviewed watch. If you feel the other watch is too cumbersome, you can always choose this one.
Price: Approx. $13
Weight: 1.12 ounces
Dimensions: 2 x 3 x 4.5 inches
Specific features: Water resistant, durable resin case, adjustable buckle, durable mineral window, customizable display, 12 and 24-hour formats, snoozable alarm, LED light, auto calendar and approx. 10 years of battery life.
Best use: Swimming, running, biking
Description: The Casio W800H-1AV Classic Sport Watch is a classic watch for staying right on schedule. The intuitive design allows athletes to use it easily. The resin case is durable; it has a resin bezel that is stationary and has a buckle cup that you can adjust to fit on your wrist.
The dial face is shielded from impacts by a durable mineral glass window. This watch digitally displays the time, the day and date. It features buttons for customizing the display, thereby suiting your needs.
Never worry about the watch getting into the water since it is waterproof up to a depth of approximately 330 feet. Beyond this, the quartz watch will not be able to function normally. The design has a rugged look that suits well most athletes.
Want it for everyday use? Sure, you can. This watch’s lithium-based battery guarantees a long battery life. It is cognizant of the nuisance of having to replace a run out battery.
This watch is multifunctional and can be used as an alarm and stopwatch. It has an auto calendar that has been programmed until 2099.
- Comfortable on the wrist
- Easy to use
- Good value for money.
- Has been reported to break down easily.
Related: Casio Watches are always available in numerous varieties. Most of these can come in handy for your athletic watches needs. They would still function just as the first one would. Another popular athletic watch is the Casio F91W Digital Sports Watch. It is cheaper than the W800H-1AV version but still just as popular.
Price: Approx. $12
Weight: 3.20 ounces
Dimensions: 10.1 x 0.5 x 1.8 inches
Specific features: Waterproof, shockproof, alarm, calendar, dual time, stopwatch, week and date, black light, large dial and silicone rubber band.
Best use: Surfing, running, climbing, general use and swimming
Description: The CakCity Waterproof Army Watch is a military grade 50 m waterproof athletic watch. It comes with an LED digital display on its large face. You do not have to strain to read the time or date. This watch adds more class to your sporty affair.
This watch is perfectly designed for all types of sports activities, whether indoors or outdoors. If in case you want it for just your daily non-sports use, it would work alright for you. Its waterproof nature means that you can have the watch on you when taking a shower or swimming.
This product is made from a hard and durable PC Material. The soft strap is comfortable and is environmentally friendly too. The watch uses imported lighting chip that you only have to press a button to activate. It makes reading the display a lot easier in the dark.
The transparent resin glass makes it easier to read the display. The material for making this glass is imported. During the assembly of the watch, this glass is sealed together with the case by a high-frequency machine. This improves the pressure resistance ability of the watch.
The digital electronic movement ensures very precise and accurate time display. When combined with the Taiwan IC chip and dependable battery, you get an assurance of performance. No more getting late for important training sessions, meetings and appointments just because you had a faulty watch.
- Comfortable strap
- Easy to use
- It is hard to read when swimming
- Does not show heart rates.
Related: Some folks may complain of the complexity of using this type of watch, though it is really easy to use. However, at almost the same price, you can get a much simpler athletic watch option. You can use the Aposon Digital Sports Watch. It has a large display, can be read in the dark and has a calendar.
Price: Approx. $148
Weight: 1.3 ounces
Dimensions: 10 x 0.9 x 0.5 inches
Specific features: Heart rate monitoring, texts, call and calendar notifications, sleep tracking, vibrating alarm, GPS enabled and calorie monitoring.
Best use: Running, hiking, basketball and yoga
Description: The Fitbit Charge 2 Wristband doubles up as a heart rate and fitness wristband. It gives you the ability to put all your exercises and motivation on your wrist. It will automatically track how much sleep you get, your heart rate, the amount of exercise you have and your level of fitness throughout the day.
This athletic watch features personalized exercise routines as you view all the relevant information in real time on the display. It also has a way of guiding your breathing when you are tense. This helps calm you down.
This amazing athletic watch can be synchronized with your smartphone to alert you in real time of the notifications on the OLED display if any. Your watch needs to be in a top-notch condition so that it gives you accurate stats all day. Always ensure that your wrist and the band is clean. You can do this by regularly cleaning your wrist and the band using water and rubbing alcohol. Do not use hand sanitizers though.
- Able to monitor heart rate
- Compatible with smartphones
- Calorie levels indication
- Real-time display of instructions
- It is not waterproof
- It is very costly
Related: Your Fitbit 2 may not always come with extra bands, but this should not stop you from acquiring others. You would use the other one when you have cleaned one of the bands. This ensures that the watch is in total sync with your body. One of the bracelets that are compatible with your Fitbit Charge 2 is the Bayite Replacement Strap. It has a magnet that fixes it to the display head of the watch.
Price: Approx. $24
Weight: 3.36 ounces
Dimensions: 9.9 x 1.7 x 0.4 inches
Specific features: Analog display, round face dial, quartz movement type, 12 hour-formats, lightweight, leather buckle with closure, chronograph functions, calendar, sapphire crystal protection and waterproof
Best use: Athletics, cycling, daily use
Description: The Kashidun Athletic Watch is scratch resistant due to its lens made from sapphire crystals and a stainless-steel case. This product has an exquisite, sleek and sporty design, well suited for men who are into sports.
Are you constantly in contact with splashes of water? Then this watch is well suited for you. It is capable of resisting water penetration up to a depth of 30 meters (99 feet). This means that you should not worry about having it on you when swimming or taking a bath.
The product is made with a leather strap that can be buckled. This ensures comfort on your wrist as you workout or take laps around and prevents it from falling off in the process. Even though it is analog, you still get the calendar function when you have this watch. The dates can be quickly set by turning the crown.
There are 3 subdials that will provide you with all the functions that you may need. Illumination watches usually use a lot of power. This watch is none of those. It, therefore, consumes less battery power, making it last longer.
- Longer lasting battery life
- Shock resistant
- Looks classy
- Stops randomly at times
Related: Owning a Kashidun watch for your athletics needs can be a lot of fun. Although you can still use it for your daily needs, it would not be such a bad idea to have another watch for your casual needs. The classy Casual Quart Analog Kashidum watch is one watch that could be worth having a look at. It is classy, lightweight and is waterproof up to 30 meters too.
Price: Approx. $18
Weight: 0.6 ounces
Dimensions: 3.7 x 2.6 x 3,5 inches
Specific features: Rubber casing, LCD display, chronograph, oval shape, backlight, alarm, calendar, acrylic dial window, stopwatch, digital display and 100 meters of water resistance.
Best use: Swimming, athletics, hiking, surfing
Description: The Armitron Women’s Chronograph Watch is designed specifically for ladies. It has a resin case, 25 mm thick and an acrylic dial window. These features prevent it from cracking under pressure as you go deep swimming. Do not scuba dive with it though.
The slim design is quite appealing. Combine this with an oval shaped casing and you have an aesthetically appealing watch. It offers amazing features and capabilities too. It is able to indicate the time, day, date and even shows the seconds. Do not let its simple appearance fool you; this watch can also be used as a chronograph.
The resin band has a buckle for closure. This firmly fixes it on your wrist as you go running in rugged terrain while being comfortable at the same time.
- Does not get damaged even if gets wet
- Highly water resistant.
- Awful instructions for setting up.
- Manual setting of time zones.
Related: You love oval shaped watches? There are not many of them out there though. The Casio FE10-1A Classic Digital Watch is a worthy alternative if you miss this watch at your nearest stores. It is water resistant and has the same black resin casing, though thicker, quartz movement, digital display, silver-tone bezel and an illuminated dial window.
Price: Approx. $27
Weight: 3.2 ounces
Dimensions: 9.6 x 7.8 x 3.4 inches
Specific features: Resin strap, stopwatch, alarm, compass, buckle closure, indiglo light-up, water resistant, acrylic dial window
Best use: Swimming, snorkeling, athletics
Description: The Timex Expedition Watch is a classic digital watch designed for active outdoor and rigorous activities. The rugged design is quite complimentary to your normal wear. The watch features a resin casing that is large, has a dark gray ring and a resin strap that can be fastened with a buckle.
When it comes to keeping time, the watch boasts of a 100-hour chronograph with lap split options. There is also a 99-lap counter and a 24-hour timer. There is another type where the time zone is indicated.
To ensure you do not miss your important meetings and sessions, this watch has an inbuilt alarm with daily or weekend options. That is not all though; it is water resistant too. You can use this watch as you swim or surf just as long as you do not exceed the 100 meters depth limit. The 12 mm x 8 inches strap ensures the watch stays on your wrist, and comfort too.
- Non-slip strap
- Dual time zones
- Large display
- Sturdy case
- Easy to program
- Screen cracks easily
- Tends to fail after 2 years
Related: Your watch breaking down can be really of inconvenience. It worsens if you are unable to repair it in time for your next training session and the watch repair guy has closed for the weekend. You can avoid this though by owning your own repair tools. You can become a watch whisperer with the Vastar Watch Repair Tool Kit.
We arrive at the end of our product reviews. Hopefully you have found a watch that will meet your athletic and fitness needs. As an athlete, it is important to manage your training sessions properly.
It could be the difference between winning that race or beating that last lap. You need to know how long it takes you to go a mile or a lap. Monitoring your vitals is critical too.
So what do you think of the athletic watches we have reviewed? Do you have a timepiece that you can swear by for your sports and fitness needs? Let us know in the comments!