The 8 best smartwatches for iPhone

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image of three smartwatches

When you connect a smartwatch to your iPhone, you can check messages, track health metrics, listen to music, and more without ever having to actually look at your phone. The best smartwatches for iPhones are compatible with your phone’s operating system, and have the features you want at a price point that fits your budget.

The first thing to consider when choosing a watch is compatibility and, because they’re both made by Apple, iPhones are most compatible with Apple watches. One of the most important distinctions is that with an Apple watch, you can respond to texts, but with other watches, you can only read incoming texts. Apple watches will also integrate better with your iPhone in other ways, such as by having more compatible apps, while watches from other brands, like Androids, are more limited when it comes to apps.

That being said, some people still prefer smartwatches that aren’t made by Apple because they can have a longer battery life, unique fitness tracking capabilities, lower prices, and different styles. Some watches have more health tracking capabilities, such as ECG and 24-hour heart monitoring. Many watches also have different types of sports tracking modes, so you can track yourself while running, biking, swimming and more. If you do plan to take your watch in the water, just make sure to check the water-resistance first. Some watches have ISO ratings and some have IP ratings, but either way, the manufacturer should state clearly the depth to which the watch can be submerged, if at all. Before buying any smartwatch, it’s a good idea to check everything your watch can and cannot do, so you aren’t surprised later.

You’ll also want to see whether or not cellular data is available for your watch. If it is, you can connect it to your cell phone plan to use your watch as a standalone device, even when it’s nowhere near your phone.

Finally, consider the battery life of your watch. Most Apple watches have around 18 hours of battery life, while some watches, like the Samsung Galaxy 3, can last more than one day. There are also some watches that have battery-saving modes, allowing them to last for weeks on a single charge

From Apple watches to budget-friendly picks, here are the best smartwatches you can pair with your iPhone.

1. The best overall

  • Cellular available: yes
  • Size: 40, 44 millimeters
  • OS: watchOS

This Series 6 Apple Watch is not only a great pick for pairing with iPhones, but a top smartwatch overall. It has more functions than previous Apple watch models, including health features like a blood oxygen app and ECG monitoring. It also has an always-on retina display, so you don’t have to raise your watch to turn the screen on, and the screen size is 30% larger than the Series 3 Apple Watch. A fan favorite on Amazon, it has 36,000 five-star ratings. Since it’s an Apple product, you can use it for Apple pay, music, podcasts, Siri, and more — and you can use it to answer calls and respond to texts. It’s great for workouts too, and you can even take it swimming because it’s water-resistant up to 50 meters. It can last for around 18 hours on a single charge.

One fan raved: “I've had all of the models since the first one, and this one is hands down the best. The battery life is phenomenal. I can use it all day, sleep with it on, and still have over 25% left in the morning. Pop it on the charger for around 45-100 and have a full charge for the entire day. Screen brightness is much better, loudness of the speaker is much better. This is the first model I've been absolutely [pleased] with every aspect of it!”

  • Available colors: 8

2. The runner-up

  • Cellular available: yes
  • Size: 40, 44 millimeters
  • OS: watchOS

This Apple Watch SE may not have every feature that the Apple Watch Series 6 has, but it’s still a great choice, especially for those who are more interested in a good price than extensive health tracking features. The GPS version of this smartwatch costs under $300 and still allows you to take calls and respond to texts when you’re near your phone. The screen is available in both 40- and 44-millimeter sizes, which is 30% larger than the Series 3, and it has a high-quality retina display. While it can’t monitor ECG or blood oxygen levels, it can measure and alert you to irregular, high, and low heart rates. Like the Apple Watch Series 6 and all other Apple Watches, this one can fully integrate with your iPhone, so you can use Siri, Find My iPhone, Apple Pay, and more. It offers around 18 hours of battery life, and is water-resistant up to 50 meters.

One fan raved: “Okay so this is my second Apple Watch, I upgraded from the series 2. The watch looks beautiful as always. For the price, I had to go with this vs the series 6. If you can live without the always on display and the blood oxygen sensor then I recommend this watch! Also aftermarket watch bands are abundant on Amazon so you can add your own style!”

  • Available colors: 6

3. A $40 smartwatch with all the basic features

  • Cellular available: no
  • Size: 1.5 x 1.3 inches
  • OS: not listed

This Willful Smart Watch doesn’t have all the features of more expensive options, but it does have great exercise tracking and it costs under $50, making it a perfect pick for anyone who doesn’t want to pay for features they won’t use. This smartwatch has nine sports modes, including running, hiking, and yoga, and it can also record your daily activities by counting steps taken, miles walked, and more. It’s water-resistant too, with a rating of IP68, meaning it can be submerged, although it can’t track swimming data. It’s compatible with most iPhones and can connect to your device easily with Bluetooth 4.0 once you download the corresponding app. Another great aspect of this smartwatch is the battery life, which can last for seven days of normal use and 30 days of standby time.

One fan raved: “The best smart watch for my iPhone 8 Plus!!”

  • Available colors: 7

4. The editor’s pick

  • Cellular available: yes
  • Size: 1.6 inches
  • OS: not listed

A great alternative to an Apple Watch, this versatile Garmin smartwatch is both functional and stylish, with a classic round face that has a bright display. It has over 25 sports apps that help you track all the different ways you exercise, and it has preloaded workouts for a variety of activities, including yoga and HIIT. You can use it to track your health as well with the health snapshot and hydration tracking features. Beyond sports and health, this watch is a good choice for everyday use too because it has a great battery that can last for up to 10 days in smartwatch mode or seven hours in GPS mode. It can also notify you about incoming calls and texts, and can download up to 650 songs from Spotify, Amazon Music, or Deezer, which you can play through connected Bluetooth headphones. It’s also water-resistant up to 50 meters.

Editor’s note: “I never thought I’d be a smartwatch person, but this one changed my mind! I’m so obsessed with the sleep tracking function that I’ve actually started to get competitive with myself about improving the quality of my sleep — and it’s made a huge difference in my energy levels. I also love the nuanced fitness tracking, and the fact that there’s a specific mode for rock climbing. Even though I can’t respond to texts from my iPhone, I like being able to see incoming messages and notifications.” — Carina Finn

  • Available colors: 14

5. The fan-favorite Fitbit

  • Cellular available: yes
  • Size: 1.34 inches
  • OS: Fitbit OS

This inexpensive smartwatch is hugely popular on Amazon with over 85,000 five-star ratings. Like most Fitbit models, this one has great fitness tracking features, including the ability to set goals for over 15 exercises, real-time distance and pace tracking, and step and floor counting. It can also be used to track heart rate, oxygen saturation, and menstrual health, and it has a built-in stress management feature with guided breathing sessions to help you relax throughout your day. Another reason this Fitbit is a great choice is that it has a long battery life, lasting up to six days on a single charge. When you’re not working out, you can use this Fitbit to get notified about texts and calls, track your sleep, use the built-in Amazon Alexa, and more. It’s also water-resistant up to 50 meters.

One fan raved: “Easy to pair with my iPhone and install. This was an ideal replacement for my current Fitbit Watch. It has more functions than my Fitbit Blaze. It was easy to install and was ready for immediate use after pairing, programming and charging. It can be alternated with my current Fitbit Blaze.

  • Available colors: 6

6. The best Samsung Watch

  • Cellular available: yes
  • Size: 41, 45 millimeters
  • OS: Tizen OS

The Galaxy Watch 3 has a stylish design, a sleek frame, and tons of advanced features. Like previous Samsung Galaxy models, it has a physical rotating bezel as well as a touch screen for easy navigation. This watch’s many health-focused features include heart rate monitoring, stress tracking, ECG, and even a hand-washing reminder. It can be used for tracking exercise, too, with seven built-in workouts and personalized run coaching. It’s compatible with iPhones 5 and above with iOS 9.0 and above and, like with other non-Apple smartwatches, you can be notified about texts and calls on the Galaxy 3, then reply to them with your iPhone. It has an IP68 water-resistance rating, which means it can handle dust and dirt, and can be submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for a maximum of 30 minutes. The battery lasts for around two days, and you can choose from over 50,000 face options and interchangeable bands to customize the look.

One fan raved: “I get so many compliments on this watch, I love that I can show it off with the always on display. I manage to get 3 days or so with a single charge and it works surprisingly well with iPhone too when I switched from my Samsung. Speakers are loud and it’s very responsive. Also, it’s a lot more scratch resistant than my Apple Watch series 3 was [...]”

7. A sports-focused watch that’s under $130

  • Cellular available: no
  • Size: not listed
  • OS: Fitbit OS

This budget-friendly Fitbit is the perfect pick for anyone who wants an exercise smartwatch at a great price that still offers an array of fitness tracking features. It has over 20 goal-based exercise modes, so you track your progress and push yourself during workouts, and it can be used for swimming and other water sports as it’s water-resistant up to 50 meters. Cellular data is not available for this watch, but it does have built-in GPS to allow you to watch your pace and distance while you run, bike, and hike. Once you’re done working out, keep this Fitbit on to monitor your health with features like heart rate tracking, sleep tracking, and nightly SpO2 averages and ranges. Even though it’s designed for exercise, it can notify you to texts and calls too, so you can stay connected while you’re on the go. And when you are on the move, you won’t have to worry about recharging this watch often because the battery lasts for up to seven days or up to five hours when using the GPS mode.

One fan raved: “Love this watch. I’m 68 and purchased an Apple Watch, but I didn’t need or want all the bells and whistles. This tracks my steps without having my phone nearby! That is the best part. Also, vibrates when phone or text message is coming through.”

  • Available colors: 3
  • Available editions: 2

8. The best battery life

  • Cellular available: no
  • Size: 1.39 Inches
  • OS: Wear OS by Google

If you dread having another device you need to charge every night, then the Ticwatch Pro 3 is the perfect smartwatch for you. It has up to 72 hours of battery life in smart mode, or 45 days in essential mode. One of the ways this watch conserves battery is with a unique dual-layer display, which uses both a bright AMOLED display and a power-saving backlit TN display. It also has a variety of features, including an IP68 water-resistance rating, multiple sports modes, and built-in GPS for better exercise tracking. You can also monitor your health with the 24-hour heart rate tracking, sleep tracking, and stress monitoring. It will feel and look great on your wrist as well, as it is 28% lighter than previous models and has over 1,000 available watch faces.

One fan raved: “I am using the watch with the Iphone 10. It took a couple of days to figure out how to get some of the stuff working on the Iphone but besides that, I love it. Works great and the stuff I needed to know was very simple so maybe work on the instructions. The battery is great but I have [everything] tracking me 24 hours (Sleep, Heart, Blood oxygen [...]) a day so I still have to put a charge to it everyday and a half. Very [impressed] and love all the watch faces.”

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