Best waterproof fitness tracker?
April 27, 2016 6:04 PM   Subscribe

Which waterproof fitness tracker should I get for my mom? Most important things are walking and swimming. Price is open. Any recommendations are welcome. Thanks!
posted by ancient star to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What are you trying to track? I've taken my Apple Watch into the ocean and pools and it has lived to tell the tale. I really like it.
posted by Night_owl at 6:28 PM on April 27, 2016

Response by poster: It's for my mom, and she does water aerobics and a small amount of swimming. Although I'm a little hesitant to get her the Apple Watch for swimming (since it's not warranted for it), I did tell her about it. I know lots of people have used it for that successfully, but she wouldn't be able to replace it if something happened and I'd feel really bad if something did happen. I would totally welcome people's Apple Watch swimming anecdata. I'm an Apple Watch user, but I don't swim.
posted by ancient star at 6:37 PM on April 27, 2016

Garmin VivoFit2 and ViviSmart HR trackers are fairly recent, relatively easy to use when set up, and not too expensive for what you are getting. Compared to the FitBit I used to use, I actually prefer it and have never had an issue whether wearing it in hot tubs, pools, the ocean, or any other place that would test the limits of its waterproofing.
posted by Nackt at 7:39 PM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: It also should be dead simple to use, and sync-able with the iPhone, so she can see her steps all in one place.
posted by ancient star at 8:04 PM on April 27, 2016

How important is swimming tracking? Most fitness trackers can't track anything related to swimming (FitBits aren't even waterproof). And honestly many have deficiencies with normal walking / movement tracking, but that's a systemic problem.

If you can compromise on swimming/water aerobics, I'd highly recommend the Garmin Vivofit2 - it's getting replaced by the Vivofit3 which in some ways is worse, plus you may be able to get the Vivofit2 cheaply. Things which are great about it:

- it's wrist-based, not clip-to-clothes-based, so you are much less likely to lose it in the washing machine or forget to put it on your sleeping clothes for sleep tracking
- the display is always on, you don't have to press a button or anything, so you're more aware of your idleness / progress towards your goal
- the display shows actual numbers that you can read and not abstract lights
- it has an idle tracker which tells you if you haven't moved in 30 min or more with a big bad red bar on the screen
- dynamic step goals are reasonable
- the battery life is a YEAR! you can't leave it on the charger and forget about it, I've had mine for 10 months, there's no charging port cover to deal with
- no touch screen which gets accidental presses
- relatively small


- it doesn't have heart rate tracking, but most trackers do a bad job of that anyway and it makes wearing the tracker more uncomfortable and requires constant charging
- the one-button UI is fiddly for anything more complicated than switching screens
- the timed activity tracking is useless
- the phone app is a bit confusing
- it's kind of homely, but you can buy overpriced plastic straps to dress it up
posted by meowzilla at 9:54 PM on April 27, 2016

Best answer: Check up the Misfit Shine. It is waterproof and tracks swimming.
posted by tman99 at 5:41 AM on April 28, 2016

I was just checking out sport watches on this site and noticed that the Vivoactive and Vivoactive HR have quite a few swimming specific features like stroke metrics and distance tracking, in addition to the standard activity tracker features like walking. The link goes to the comparison between the Vivoactive and the Vivoactive HR (HR stands for heart rate, it's the newest version of the watch with a built in optical heart rate monitor). You can also compare features with other sports watches (select them above and click compare now). At the bottom of the specifications there's a link to a super comprehensive review of both watches. It's possible that this is a bit overkill, since you say she only does a small amount of swimming, but you might like it anyway.
posted by blub at 12:04 PM on April 28, 2016

Response by poster: Thank you, everyone! She really liked the Misfit Shine (2) fitness tracker, so we went with that one!
posted by ancient star at 5:31 PM on April 28, 2016

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