The Best Smart Watches for Any Budget: A Buying Guide

Jean Bentley
·5 min read

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Smart watches have evolved from glorified pedometers to sophisticated electronic devices that can send emails and texts, track your heartbeat, blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, and yes, your steps. The Apple Watch remains outside many people’s price ranges — the base price for the latest model is $249, or $1,249 if you opt for the Hermes version — but there are plenty of smart watches that can deliver the same metrics for significantly less. (Of course, that’ll be without Apple’s seamless device compatibility, but if you’re not a Mac person you don’t care about that anyway).

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We’ve rounded up a selection of smart watches that range from basic fitness trackers to mini cell phones, with a few traditional watches that include heart rate monitors and more. We’ve only included ones with Amazon user ratings of four stars and up; with such a wide array of products on the market, why bother with anything less?

Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS + Cellular)

Apple Watches are imminently customizable, from the color of the watch case to the style of band (and that’s not even counting the features), so if this doesn’t suit your aesthetic you can click through above to choose from plenty of other options. This one’s a GPS + Cellular model that lets you call, text, and get directions without your phone, and can measure your blood oxygen with an all-new sensor and app, check your heart rhythm with the ECG app, and track your daily activity and see your trends in the Fitness app on your iPhone.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

Not a Mac person? The Samsung Galaxy smart watch is now on its third iteration, and comes with advanced health monitoring, fitness tracking, and smartphone functionality. It’s customizable, connects to Bluetooth, and allows easy sharing of data to your health care providers. (If you want to spend a little less, the second and first generation models are available at lower price points.)

Fitbit Versa 2

If the fitness stats are what you’re looking for, then this Fitbit model will give you everything you need. Not only will you get your health metrics, but you’ll also be able to use the built-in Alexa for certain smart-home capabilities, the Spotify app for listening to music while you work out, and more than 20 goal-based exercise modes.

Letsfit Smart Watch

If an Apple Watch is way out of your budget, the latest version of Letsfit’s smart watch can also monitor blood oxygen saturation and monitor your heart rate, all inside its IP68 waterproof case. This one’s compatible with both Android and iPhone, so you can get your messages and calls, control music, set a timer, plus track all your fitness metrics. Right now it only comes in black, but if you’d like a fun color you can get the older version (minus the blood oxygen monitoring) for around the same price here.

Virmee VT3 Lite Fitness Tracker

One of the cheapest but best-rated options out there — it’s got a universal five-star rating from more than 200 users — this will also track your heart rate, sleep quality, workout data, and more. It’s compatible with Android and iPhone.

MuGo Smart Watch

Another high-rated and well-priced option, this is also a clear and intuitive multifunctional smartwatch that comes with its own app, downloadable in your app store of choice, that will allow you to receive messages and control your camera in addition to tracking your own fitness metrics. It’s IP67 waterproof and two hours of charging will give you around seven days of normal usage and 30 days of standby.

Michael Kors Access Gen 5 Bradshaw Smartwatch

This isn’t just a traditional-looking Michael Kors watch — it has a stylish metal band, but it’s powered with Google technology and includes a speaker, heart rate, GPS, NFC, and smartphone notifications. It comes in several different metals and finishes, so you can choose the look you want.

Fossil Men’s Gen 5E 44mm Stainless Steel Touchscreen Smartwatch

Fossil’s smart watch option can not only track the standard fitness and health metrics and perform some of your most essential smartphone functions, but you can also use it for contactless payments. The future is here, people.

Willful Smart Watch

Another budget-friendly option with high ratings, this smart watch is compatible with most smartphones running iOS 8.0 and Android 4.4 and above. It, too, has an app that allows you to perform some of your smartphone’s functionality as well as track your fitness metrics.

YAMAY Smart Watch

If you’re looking for a less boxy, more attractive option, this round touch-screen is also customizable (depending on the band you choose), and compatible with iOs 9.0 and Android 5.0 and above. Track all your metrics, get your incoming messages, and more all in this more traditional-looking model (which is IP68 waterproof and has a standard seven-day battery life).

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