Fitbit VS Garmin For Swimming: Which Is Best?




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We will try and compare the products of Fitbit and Garmin to determine which brand has produced the best models most suited for swimming.

Both brands have an exceptionally proven name in the fitness wearable industry; however, it is not possible to make something that is suited to everyone’s needs.

Some watches are more suited to a less intense workout, some may not contain GPS tracking, others just seem a little ugly to wear.

Here is an article on my website that you must read, its about Fitbit Vs Garmin Sleep Tracking Accuracy – Review Of 2023.

So, while both the brands have some classics for us to use, it is up to us to decide which brand and which model is the ideal for our usage. Today, we look at some of the best models from both the brands suited to swimming.

The Battle Of The Giants – Fitbit VS Garmin For Swimming

The wearable market can be really tough to understand. There can be a massive range of products, you simply cannot understand most of the things and while your demand seems to be very simple, the specs can be tough to understand, especially if you are new to this.

Once you buy and start using your product, you realize that those specs could have been quite useful! So, is it not better to actually find the right product before you invest in it than regret later? I’ll just go ahead and assume you agree with me.

There is a large number of brands, but the two at the very top of the ladder are Fitbit and Garmin. While Fitbit is one of the most popular wearable brands on the planet, it operates on a larger level, like Apple.

Their target market is not tailored only to athletes, the style of those watches caters to everyone, but mostly the target is casual usage. Garmin appeals mostly to athletes.

This is because of its ability to cover HIIT and more accurate lap counting which casual workouts do not require. That is the case with Apple, as well, their products are usually not ideal for HIIT.

Comparison Table – Fitbit vs. Garmin For Swimming

Swim Length TrackingYesYes
Duration TrackingYesYes
Pace/Speed TrackingYesYes
Stroke Type TrackingYesYes
Stroke Type SupportedFreestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke, ButterflyAlmost All Types
Swimming EfficiencyNoYes
Water Resistance5 ATM (50m)5 ATM (50m)
Timed Sets FeatureNoYes
Logging Drills FeatureNoYes
Online Share/AnalysisNoYes
Water Lock SystemYesNo
Suitability for UseOpen Water/PoolOpen Water + Pool

Features Of Fitbit For Swimming

Fitbit mainly includes standard programs for swimming without special features. Likewise, you can’t go deep water swimming due to its 50m restriction. However, you can still turn on the swimming mode to track swim length, distance, duration, and pace.

Different versions of Fitbit require distinct activating mechanisms for the mode. The latest ones have automated tracking with a built-in water-locking system. It supports backstroke, freestyle, breaststroke, and butterfly but recommends freestyle for accuracy.

Features Of Garmin For Swimming

Garmin is more focused on swimming metrics than Fitbit to some extent. The brand has a dedicated Garmin Swim for water-related activities within 50m limits. Additional features like online analysis, data sharing, timed sets, and logging drills are available.

Wireless upload to Garmin Connect will store the relevant data for further use. Furthermore, there’s no particular preference for your swimming type with Garmin devices. Some are good for open water and pools, whereas others are only good for regular pools.

Top 3 Best Fitbit Watch For Swimming

Almost all popular Fitbit smartwatches support standard swimming features. But some special options are superior to others, considering all essential factors. Let’s take a look at the best Fitbit smartwatches for swimming activities.

1. Fitbit Charge 5

The advanced Charge 5 connects your physique with the mind by monitoring sleep, activities, and stress. It’s also a great wearable to manage your swimming sessions to shape your health. You’ll receive a six-month free premium membership with the purchase.

The membership will let you enjoy advanced features to analyze your metrics. Also, it comes with fully automated tracking and water-locking features while you’re on the water. You need to enter the pool length using the Exercise app to start tracking metrics.

2. Fitbit Inspire HR

This is the cheapest option among the latest arrivals of swimwear fitness trackers. This replaces the old Fitbit Flex 2 which came without the display. The added display is obviously a massive advantage as it allows you to check your workout.

The Inspire HR is quite accurate in recording the swim duration, the distance you cover during your workout in the pool, as well as, lengths completed, the pace with which you are moving.

This follows on the path of the Flex 2 and is for the cheaper side of the market. It also has the automatic recognition feature of the exercise.

This seems to be quite appealing, especially, for the price with which it comes. The Inspire HR is perfect for pool tracking and is not advised for open water tracking.

The app is not very user-friendly. You will need to record the pool length for accurate results and you will need to wait for the tech to kick in, initially, but once it does, it should be perfect for your casual work out.

3. Fitbit Versa 2

Fitbit Versa 2 is one of the best fitness trackers, around. It is the most lightweight tracker you can wish to wear. The battery life is phenomenal, offering you more than four days of usage and it is extremely easy to use.

Versa 2 is really accurate at tracking the laps in a pool, this along with its ability to recognize in real-time all of your movements, are fantastic features to have.

The only con of this product is the fact that it has no GPS. This means it is not very suitable for open water tracking.

It is also said to be too simple for the enthusiast swimmers. However, that is the case with most of the Fitbit products as they cater only to the casual workouts.

Let’s talk about Garmin, now.

Before we start talking about my favorite models, let us view in this video by Garmin the ways that we can improve our swimming sessions tracking.

Top 3 Best Garmin Watch for Swimming

Exclusively fitness-oriented Garmin watches differ in features to track swimming stats. And you should focus on getting the most beneficial one for your active lifestyle. Take a deep dive into the best Garmin smartwatches for swimming.

1. Garmin Forerunner 245

Don’t take the name or fundamental features only for running activities with Garmin. Advanced training features with adaptive training plans are available for your use. Likewise, the versatile wearable can cover your standard swimming activities for a track.

Share your strokes, distance, duration, and speed throughout Garmin’s online community. Additional features are also available on the app without any premium charges. But you must ensure whether the watch can measure metrics in your pool/open water source.

2. Garmin Forerunner 935

The Garmin Forerunner 935 is one of the best swim watches of 2023. It is slightly on the heavier side; it weighs around 50 grams.

However, it comes with a built-in GPS tracker, and the battery timing is actually up to 24 hours, in GPS mode. That is nuts! Garmin has really outdone themselves with this one, right here.

It has a lot of advanced training insights. There are a number of built-in activities for swimming, proper work-outs, which cater to both, pool and open water.

It also contains a custom option for making your own work-outs. The accuracy of measuring strokes, detecting them, as well as, detecting lengths, distance, stroke and pace, everything, is absolutely impeccable with this masterpiece.

However, all these features are not normally appealing to the casual buyer, so Garmin targets the athletes, more so.

Another downside is probably the failure to add a heart monitor, in this as well. Lastly, it is quite expensive, so that seems to be one of the downsides, but as the function for this watch is quite advanced and it caters to a niche, it justifies its price tag, given the accuracy and reliability it brings!

3. Garmin Swim 2

This is the latest product Garmin has produced which caters to the swimming needs. Yes, it is slightly on the expensive side, but the features that it has, it clearly justifies its price tag, as well.

As the name suggests, it is purely meant for swimming and yes, it is definitely a massive upgrade on its predecessor, the Garmin Swim!

It has all the features of a swim watch, and has the heart rate monitor as well, which works perfectly during the workout, as well. Underwater heart rate monitoring was a challenge, but it seems like Swim 2 is the first one to address it.

However, the main highlight feature of this amazing product has to be the auto-rest. It is similar to the auto-pause for the walking/running feature, but this is something that appeals the most to athletes.

Advanced swimmers really want such features because this helps them track their laps as well as turns within the pool and when they have to make a turn at the wall.

The logging of laps is automatic, as well, so you can really focus solely on your run rather than focusing on the technology. The Swim 2 can also calculate SWOLF. That explains the efficiency of your swim routine, and to top it all off, this is not only for the pool swimmers.

It is perfect for even the open waters because of its GPS tracker and this shows the diversity that Garmin brings while solving the issues of two completely different kinds of workouts with one product.

To top it all off, it has a beautiful sleek look. You can either buy it in “slate” or “Whitestone”. Both the colors are very aesthetically pleasing and give off an extremely decent look. 

Garmin has really packed all the specs in a single product with this device. It is definitely expensive, but, as I said earlier, this is a product which you would want to pay big for. 


At the end of the day, it is down to your own usage which helps you determine the kind of fitness tracker you want. Fitbit products are ideally suited for the casual swimmers, while the athletes prefer Garmin. If you are an open water swimmer you would prefer one of the models that have a built-in GPS.

Also, some people prefer to swim with a light fitness band while others prefer a watch with a large screen that enables them to easily read stats while in the water.

Another post that will interest you is about the Best 10 Watches And Gadgets For Counting Swimming Laps In 2023.

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