You’ve been diligent about working out all winter long, but it’s not the same as getting out in the warm sunshine and getting in those calisthenics, trail runs, and bike rides. Sure, you can do all of your workouts inside, but what fun would that be? Exercising outdoors is downright therapeutic, and you don’t have to wear a mask while you’re at it. If you can incorporate a state-of-the-art and feature-rich smartwatch in the process, all the more reason to get outside and get active. The right fitness tools are great motivators. Moreover, a data-capturing rugged smartwatch will help you track progress and stay on course.
What kind of features should you look for when shopping for a rugged smartwatch for your summer workouts? Well, the ideal smartwatch for summer workouts certainly has more than just a heart-rate sensor, step and calorie counting, and GPS. These days, smartwatches offer so much more, and the feature sets are astounding. Blood oxygen levels, biometric sensors, high-precision heart rate monitoring, solar charging, you name it. While there are plenty of fitness-minded smartwatches out there, it’s important to find one that’s built to withstand the rigors of working out. Here are our choices for the best rugged smartwatches for your summer workout.
Best Smartwatches for a Summer Workout
Garmin fēnix 7 Sapphire Solar Edition
The Garmin fēnix 7 is one of the best in the business and not just because it’s built like an M1 Abrams tank. Sure, the robust 47mm fiber-reinforced polymer case is strong and also gets capped off by a grade 5 titanium bezel and a scratch-resistant premium sapphire crystal. The Sapphire Solar Edition also has the advantage of using the sun’s energy to power it, bumping smartwatch usage from 18 days to 22 days and 57 days to 173 days in Battery Saver model. In addition to the normal time/date/alarm/stopwatch functions, the fēnix 7 Sapphire Solar Edition boasts GPS, accelerometer, altimieter, constant heart rate, resting heart rate, abnormal heart rate alerts, pulse oximeter, just to name a few. Built-in Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi, 2,000-song capacity, and numerous programmed workouts to keep you going all summer long.
Suunto 9 Baro
If you don’t want to pay for solar charging functionality but you don’t want battery life anxiety for long bouts of endurance workouts, the Baro 9 can put your fears to rest. It provides up to 7 days of continuous exercise tracking, so you’ll run out of juice before it does. The 9 Baro is also tough enough to take almost everything you can throw at it thanks to a titanium bezel, sapphire glass, an abrasion-resistant textile strap, and military standard 810H testing. It monitors calorie consumption, calorie burn and heart rate, steps, stress and recovery, navigation, route-planning, terrain and satellite maps, and ETA, among others. Track all of your workouts, health, and sleep with the Suunto app, and also check in on the weather, appointments, email, altitude, temperature and pressure, storm tracks, and even post workouts to social media. Ample workout choices from running, cycling, and swimming to multisports means you can change things up and keep track of it all.
Amazfit T-Rex Pro
Don’t let the sub-$200 price tag of the T-Rex Pro fool you. This thing is packed with features and built to go the distance. The T-Rex Pro has 100 meters of water-resistance, 70°C heat resistance, -40°C cold resistance, 240 hours of humidity resistance, and 96 hours of salt spray resistance. It offers a whopping 18 days of battery life in power save mode and 9 days of heavy usage. The AMOLED display is crisp and stays in Always On mode for turn-of-the-wrist viewing of important data. It tracks blood-oxygen saturation, real-time heart rate, sleep, weather, altitude, calories burned, distance traveled, and it even has 100 sports modes. Notifications for texts, calls, alarms, and calendar events ensure you don’t miss anything while you’re out on the trail. The accompanying Zepp smartphone app syncs with the T-Rex Pro and puts all of your relevant data at your fingertips.
Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra
The TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra runs midpack here and presents a solid case for the affordable rugged smartwatch. Its strengths are its long-wear comfort and its 47mm case constructed with stainless steel, high-strength nylon, and fiberglass. We also love the fact that it’s one of the few rugged smartwatches that uses super-tough Corning Gorilla Glass. It runs on Wear OS by Google via a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 Platform and a dual-processor system, and it goes wireless via Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi. The Pro 3 Ultra includes GPS, barometer, accelerometer, heart rate sensor, IHB/AFib detection, fatigue assessment, sleep tracking, blood oxygen saturation, and over 100 workout modes, a mere sampling of its comprehensive fitness features.
Polar Fitness Grit X Pro
The Grit X Pro is Polar’s toughest smartwatch, and it has the guts to prove it. The Grit X Pro has military-grade 810G standards, 100-meter water resistance, the upgrade of sapphire glass from the original Grit X, and up to 40 hours of heavy use with GPS and heart rate tracking running continuously. It also features a compass, barometric altimeter, turn-by-turn GPS aided by multiple satellites, intelligent overnight recovery measurement, sleep monitoring, calorie expenditure, multiple fitness tests, as well as the brilliant FitSpark recommended workout feature and the unique FuelWise that makes sure you’ve taken in enough carbs for the workout on hand.
Garmin Forerunner 255
You don’t have to pay almost a grand for a great Garmin because the new Forerunner 255, its most recent release, is one of its best. Although its primary focus is running, hence the name, the Forerunner 255 can track numerous cardio and strength workouts. At 45mm in diameter, it also happens to be more of a midsizer for those with smaller wrists. The case is still tough thanks to fiber-reinforced polymer and Corning Gorilla 3 glass. While its maximum 14-hour run time with GPS and heart rate running, it still boasts up to 14 days in smartwatch-only mode. It monitors calories, distance, floors, steps, sleep, pulse ox, workout intensity, just to name a few, and the Garmin Connect app and optional Connect IQ widget maximize the Forerunner 255’s truly expansive feature set, as well as keep track of your daily office and home workloads.
Casio G-SHOCK Move HBD1000
If you’re going to punish your smartwatch, you want legendary G-Shock toughness that’s been proven for years. The new GBH1000 G-SHOCK Move watch is as tough as its digital and ana-digi brethren but equipped with prime workout tech such as a heart rate monitor, GPS, optical sensor for heart rate, bearing, altitude/barometric pressure, temperature sensors, and an accelerometer for step counting. It also tracks data such as distance, speed, pace, and even VO2max. It pairs with the G-SHOCK Move app to create and manage workouts and to custom configure the watch. It also powers up via solar charging and can run 14 hours straight on full usage.
Apple Watch “Explorer” Edition
While there aren’t many details about the ruggedized Apple Watch Series 8, we do know the Cupertino tech juggernaut is looking to get more market share in the tough smartwatch game. Supposedly, the Explorer Edition will be tantamount to the Casio G-Shock in terms of shock resistance and protection, but it will still come infused with Apple Watch fitness and health tracking that has made it a favorite in the smartwatch market. The casing should set it apart from the rest of the Apple Watch pact with impact resistance and a tougher strap. Also rumored is the addition of a body temperature sensor that should provide additional health and fitness data to the world’s most popular smartwatch.