5 Things To Consider When Buying A Swimming Watch

A swimming watch is a necessary tool for swimmers who would like to measure their performance while training. The common swim metrics you would want to know is your swim distance, pace, stroke type identification, stroke count, and swimming efficiency (swolf). Like any other sports instruments, choosing the best swimming watch depends on what features you want it to have as well how much you’re willing to spend for it.

If you’re out in the market for a swimming watch, here are the five things you need to consider.

1.) Where do you usually swim?

Pool Only

If you’ll only be using the watch in a pool, the following watches would be great. These swim watches use an internal accelerometer instead of GPS to determine your stroke type, and lengths/laps. When you use these watches in swim mode, you will need to specify the pool length you’ll be training on.

  • Garmin Swim
  • Garmin vivoactive
  • TomTom Spark
  • TomTom Spark Cardio
  • TomTom Multisport
  • TomTom Multisport Cardio

Pool and Open Water

If you’ll be using the watch in both pool and openwater, you will need a watch that has GPS. The following multisport watches use GPS technology to determine your pace, distance and location while out swimming in large bodies of water like rivers, lakes, and oceans. These watches are usually recommended for triathletes.

  • Garmin Forerunner 920XT
  • Garmin fenix 3
  • Suunto Ambit3 Sport, Peak, and Vertical

2.) Do you plan to use it for activities other than swimming?

Swimming Only

The Garmin Swim watch is one of the best watch designed exclusively for swimming. This means that it satisfies most swimmers’ required comfort, accuracy, user-friendliness and the value of information. You can also set the Garmin Swim to regular watch mode so you can use it as your daily watch.

Swimming and other sports

In addition to swim mode, the following multisport GPS watches can be used for running, cycling, and other sports.

  • Garmin vivoactive
  • Garmin Forerunner 920XT
  • Garmin fenix 3
  • Suunto Ambit3 Sport, Peak, and Vertical
  • TomTom Spark
  • TomTom Spark Cardio
  • TomTom Multisport
  • TomTom Multisport Cardio

Swimming and daily activity tracking

The multisport GPS watches below can be used for different sports such as running and biking, and can also monitor your daily steps, distance, calories, and sleep.

  • Garmin vivoactive
  • Garmin Forerunner 920XT
  • Garmin fenix 3
  • TomTom Spark
  • TomTom Spark Cardio

3.) Would you like to track your heart rate while swimming?

While the TomTom Spark Cardio and Multisport Cardio have a built-in heart rate monitor, this feature is disabled when them in swimming mode. If you want to track your heart rate while swimming, you would need to use swim watches which can be paired with a compatible chest-strap that can track your heart rate underwater. Below are a few of them.

  • Garmin Forerunner 920XT and fenix 3 can be paired with the HRM-Tri™ or HRM-Swim™
  • Suunto Ambit3 Sport, Ambit3 Peak, and Ambit3 Vertical can be paired with the Suunto Smart Sensor

4.) Do you like to pair it with your smartphone to receive notifications?

The watches below lets you receive email, text and other alerts when paired with a compatible smartphone.

  • Garmin vivoactive
  • Garmin Forerunner 920XT
  • Garmin fenix 3
  • Suunto Ambit3 Sport, Peak, and Vertical

5.) How would prefer to transfer your swimming data?

Transferring your swim data should be quick and easy. The swim watches below allow you to wirelessly transfer your swim data from your watch to your computer with either via ANT+ connectivity, USB, Bluetooth Smart, or Wifi.

ANT+® wireless technology

  • Garmin Swim

USB or Bluetooth Smart

  • Garmin Vivoactive
  • Suunto Ambit3 Sport, Peak, and Vertical
  • TomTom Spark
  • TomTom Spark Cardio
  • TomTom Multisport
  • TomTom Multisport Cardio

USB, Bluetooth Smart, or WiFi

  • Garmin Forerunner 920XT
  • Garmin fenix 3

Physical Specifications Comparison

Garmin Swim

Display resolution, WxH: 55 x 31 pixels

Weight: 1.4 oz (40.0 g)

Battery life: 1 year – CR2032 (user replaceable)

Water rating: 5 ATM

Garmin Vivoactive

Display resolution, WxH: 205 x 148 pixels

Weight: 38.0 g (1.34 oz)

Battery life: Up to 3 weeks (10 hours in GPS mode)

Water rating: 5 ATM

Garmin Forerunner 920XT

Display resolution, WxH: 205 x 148 pixels

Weight: 2.1 oz (61 g)

Battery life: Up to 40 hours in UltraTrac mode; up to 24 hours in training mode; up to 4 months in watch mode

Water rating: 5 ATM

Garmin Fenix 3

Display resolution, WxH: 218 x 218 pixels

Weight: Silver/Dark: 2.9 oz (82 g)

Battery life: Up to 50 hours in UltraTrac mode; up to 20 hours in GPS training mode; up to 6 weeks in watch mode

Water rating: 10 ATM

Suunto Ambit3 Sport

Display resolution, WxH: 128 x 128 pixels

Weight: 80 g (Coral); 86 g (Sapphire)

Battery life: 14 days (15h battery with 5 sec-GPS accuracy)

Water rating: 5 ATM

Suunto Ambit3 Peak

Display resolution, WxH: 128 x 128 pixels

Weight: 89 g (Black); 92 g (Sapphire)

Battery life: 30 days (30h battery with 5 sec-GPS accuracy)

Water rating: 10 ATM

Suunto Ambit3 Vertical

Display resolution, WxH: 128 x 128 pixels

Weight: 74 g

Battery life: 14 days (15h battery with 5 sec-GPS accuracy)

Water rating: 10 ATM

TomTom Spark

Display resolution, WxH: 144 x 168 pixels

Weight: 49 g

Battery life: Activity tracking: up to 3 weeks, GPS: up to 11 hours

Water rating: 5 ATM

TomTom Spark Cardio

Display resolution, WxH: 144 x 168 pixels

Weight: 50 g

Battery life: Activity tracking: up to 3 weeks, GPS: up to 11 hours, GPS + Heart Rate: up to 9 hours

Water rating: 5 ATM

TomTom Multisport

Display resolution, WxH: 144 x 168 pixels

Weight: 50 g

Battery life: Up to 10 hours (GPS Mode)

Water rating: 5 ATM

TomTom Multisport Cardio

Display resolution, WxH: 144 x 168 pixels

Weight: 63 g

Battery life: Up to 8 hours (GPS+HR), up to 10 hours (GPS)

Water rating: 5 ATM

Source by Joseph Pasamonte


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