Who Says a Great Smartwatch Has to Be Expensive?

Best Cheap Smartwatches

Who Says a Great Smartwatch Has to Be Expensive?

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Ever since Apple released its very first Apple Watch in 2015, smartwatch ownership has taken off… and it’s not just for the tech-obsessed anymore.

Fortunately for those of us who don’t want to drop upwards of $399 on the latest Apple model, the soaring popularity of smartwatches also means that we now have options. As the technology has advanced, smartwatches have continued to drop in price without sacrificing quality. In fact, now you can find sleek and slim options that not only boast the high-tech features you crave, but also look incredibly stylish upon your wrist. Some of them even look so similar to your classic timepiece that you’ll have to do a double-take to believe they’re actually as tech-forward as they are.

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Of course, style isn’t the real reason you want to get your hands on a smart watch (nor is simply telling the time, despite its name). Smartwatch shoppers expect to have a personal assistant, newscaster, health coach, camera and virtual wallet all wrapped up into one intelligent device perched atop their wrist. But with so many different models on the market — especially inexpensive ones — it can be difficult to know which one to choose.

What to Look for in a Cheap Smartwatch

  • Compatibility: First and foremost, if you want your smartwatch to actually do all those fancy things it’s supposed to, double-check that it will work with your smartphone. Some smartwatches only work with iPhones, while others are optimized for Android.
  • Battery life: Second, pay attention to its rated battery life. Nothing will turn your smartwatch into the most useless accessory faster than a crappy battery, especially if you’re on-the-go a lot and don’t have time to recharge it throughout the day. Generally, smartwatches with colorful LCD screens or AMOLED displays will have shorter battery lives than those with black-and-white displays or hybrid smartwatches (which look more like analog timepieces).
  • Wearability: You don’t want something that doesn’t fit your wrist well or that feels clunky. Another disaster waiting to happen is if it has a cheap clasp, band or buckle that will break on you easily. Look for a durable build, or at least a model that lets you replace the band if you need to.
  • Touchscreen size: Because of how small the screens can be, the inevitable inaccuracy of your taps can be frustrating, especially on some of the cheaper models. To avoid this, pick a smartwatch that has a user-friendly interface that allows you to scroll through menus and that is smart enough to know the difference between an accidental tap and a long press.
  • Features: If you’re getting your smartwatch to track health and fitness activity, it’s a good idea to prioritize one with a good heart rate sensor and GPS. Tracking sleep quality may be important to you too, as well as water resistance if you want to track your swims. Think about how you intend to use the watch and what kinds of data you want to collect about your health when considering the best smartwatch for your needs.

Keeping all of that in mind, here are our picks for the best cheap smartwatches you can buy right now.

Best Cheap Smartwatches

Best for Under $100

Amazfit Bip S Fitness Smartwatch

For the price, it’s hard to beat the AmazFit Bip S. While not as stylish as some of its more expensive competitors, it does have a lot of features, including water resistance, built-in GPS, exercise tracking, and heart rate monitoring. It also has a great battery life, lasting up to 40 days on one charge.

Promising review: “Always-visible display is nice; more like a ‘real’ watch where you don’t have to dance or gesture to see what time it is. Battery life has been one to two weeks, reasonable given that it charges in under two hours from less than 20%.” – Mr Apollo

$69 at Amazon.com

Best for Fitness Enthusiasts

Fitbit Versa 3

It’s comfortable to wear and super easy to read, thanks to its larger screen. But what makes this smartwatch great for any athlete is its built-in GPS for pace and distance tracking. It has a blood oxygen sensor to keep an eye on your levels while sleeping and a pretty good battery life — up to six days. It also supports Amazon Alexa, Fitbit Pay, and Spotify.

Promising review: “This is my first smart watch, but I love it so far… I love that it tracks my heart rate so that I get fitness feedback beyond how much I walk in a day… It also reminds me to move if I’m too sedentary at my desk job and has a smart alert that will wake me at the best point of my sleep cycle within a half hour of my desired wake-up time — which is huge for a groggy waker like me.” – Fitness-N-Music Man

$179.95 at Amazon.com

Best Design

Samsung Electronics Galaxy Watch 4

If you’re looking for a sleek, lightweight and comfortable smartwatch from a highly trusted brand, you won’t be disappointed with this one. It features advanced automatic workout tracking for everything from running to rowing to swimming, and even monitors your sleep quality and oxygen saturation levels. It also boasts accurate ECG monitoring to keep an eye on your heart health, and you can easily share your readings with your doctor.

Promising review: “I’m not a health nut, but the integration with Samsung Health is amazing. I do like to track my steps and sleep and this watch is awesome for that. For sleep, all I do is turn bedtime mode on and go to sleep. The watch does the rest: monitors blood oxygen and how well you slept… As far as battery life, it lasts at least all day long, usually longer. I use it moderately at work checking notifications, replying to messages and controlling my music… The touch bezel is good for turning volumes up and down and it works perfectly whenever I use it.” – Damien

$199.99 at Amazon.com

Best for the Classic Man

Fossil Men’s Collider Hybrid Smartwatch HR

With a chocolate brown leather strap and sleek monochromatic face, this smartwatch has all the style and craftsmanship of a classic timepiece with the functionality of a much more expensive smartwatch. While the classic hands track the time, you can simultaneously monitor everything from steps to heart rate to the day’s weather with a single glance. It’s also Bluetooth-enabled to sync with your smartphone’s notifications, calendar alerts, music controls, and much more with over two weeks of battery life on one charge.

Promising review: “I am an analog watch person. I refused to give up actual watch hands and classic looks. I also refuse to be a slave to a nightly charging mandate, requiring me to take off my watch. However, I have longingly watched other smartwatch owners glance down at their wrist to view an unheard text notification, or check their heart rate… This watch provides me with the best of both worlds… The battery is great, and after 12 days of continuous wearing and use, it still shows nearly half charge remaining. I shower with it daily, and no water issues have arisen… If you have always wanted a real watch, with smartwatch features, this is it!” – Matt Miller

$199 at Amazon.com

Best for Multisport Athletes

Withings Steel HR Sport

Not everyone is ready to give up on the classic analog watch. At the same time, you need a smartwatch that can keep up with all of your varied activities. Fortunately, this hybrid delivers the best of both worlds with a smart but familiar watch face, automatic step counting, tracking for 30+ sports (with water resistance up to 50 meters), synced notifications from your smartphone, and up to 25 days of battery life per charge.

Promising review: “I’m an avid runner and routinely workout at least five times per week. The Withings HR Steel smart watch helps me keep track of my workouts to maintain my fitness schedule. I really like the heart rate monitor, pace tracker and GPS functions. Also, I intend to use the watch on several high-altitude hikes in Colorado to fully make the most of my outdoor adventures. The watch is user friendly and it was extremely simple to set up and sync with my mobile device. Highly recommended if you’re shopping for a smart watch.” – PB

$159.96 at Amazon.com

Best Watch Faces

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Smartwatch

While there is a newer model on the market, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 remains highly relevant and readily available (and, of course, is more affordable, to boot). This smartwatch is an excellent fitness tracker, coming preloaded with 15 sports apps, a built-in GPS to record distance and pace, and an accelerometer. It also monitors your sleep quality and stress levels, and it even comes with a contactless pay option. Best of all, you can easily switch things up with your choice of thousands of free watch faces — perfect for a unique feel.

Promising review: “Eight month check-in: I still love it! It tracks gym workouts, road workouts, yoga and more. I can track my sleep and heart rate when I’m stressed and so much more… I also downloaded a different watch face. I like that I can see everything in one place: time, date, HR, steps, battery life, and it even shows that I have one alarm set. I also like the app where I can see what I’ve done on the calendar view.” – CraftyMoose

$148.95 at Amazon.com

Best for Runners

Coros PACE 2 Premium GPS Sport Watch

If you’re looking for an affordable running watch, this particularly lightweight option is a top choice. It has outstanding battery life — up to 30 hours per charge — in GPS mode to keep tabs on all your runs, whether indoors or outdoors. It even has a “Track Mode” to eliminate those tricky GPS idiosyncrasies that occasionally pop up when running on a track. It’s also water-resistant up to 165 feet, syncs with your smartphone’s notifications, and has a customizable “night mode” display for enhanced visibility on your after-dark runs.

Promising review: “I am extremely impressed with this watch. The heart rate monitor and GPS are incredibly accurate. More importantly for me, it handles all triathlon sports as well as a true triathlon mode for races — all at about half the price of the next sports watch with that capability. It’s very lightweight, and the battery life is just incredible… In short, it’s as good or better than comparable Garmins, especially at this price point.” – CJ Schnier

$199 at Amazon.com

Best Hybrid

Withings Steel HR Hybrid

Like the other Withings watch on this list, this hybrid looks like the fashionable analog watch you know and love. However, it’s also quite smart thanks to its built-in heart rate monitor that tracks all day and night, as well as its automatic tracking of your daily steps, distance, and calories burned. It will also notify you of incoming calls, messages, and events coming up on your calendar  by syncing with your smartphone. Best of all, it’s waterproof, so you can wear it while swimming or in the shower without ruining it.

Promising review: “This is simply an extremely well-thought out, well-designed, well-executed and easy-to-use product… It does not have a bunch of superfluous hardcore features you will never use, but for me, it has all the features I will always use! Steps, calorie burn, sleep, heart-rate, discreet vibration for notifications/phone calls, and best of all: killer battery life… Hats off to the Nokia/Withings team for seeing the need for an elegant timepiece with fitness essentials, and for delivering a great-looking product with just the right balance of features/price that is not at all techy or clunky and pairs over Bluetooth seamlessly.” – Michael John Barnes

$143.96 at Amazon.com

Best Value

Fitbit Versa 2

While it doesn’t feature contactless payments, this is one of the most affordable smartwatches under $200 that will give you top-notch fitness features, including a nightly sleep score with personal insights based on heart rate, sleep time and restlessness. Its battery will last roughly six days without needing to be charged and it even has Amazon Alexa built in for easy voice control (including streaming music). You can also wear it in the shower and while swimming.

Promising review: “If you are looking for a fitness tracker that has incredible battery life, a fantastic app, and sleep tracking, there is no better product on the market… Fitbit really nailed the features that are important to me: fitness, battery life, sleep tracking, messages on wrist. Everything else I can handle on my phone, but it is nice that the features I care about are done so well on this watch. Also, it is really comfortable to wear; I never take it off. One other feature that I think is important is the always-on heart rate monitor, so I can quickly glance at what my heart rate is doing.” – FullSpeedFWD

$129.95 at Amazon.com

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