We've tested some of the best smartwatches for every wrist, phone and budget.
Lexy SavvidesPrincipal Video Producer
Lexy is an on-air presenter and award-winning producer who covers consumer tech, including the latest smartphones, wearables and emerging trends like assistive robotics. She's won two Gold Telly Awards for her video series Beta Test. Prior to her career at CNET, she was a magazine editor, radio announcer and DJ. Lexy is based in San Francisco.
ExpertiseWearables, smartwatches, mobile phones, photography, health tech, assistive roboticsCredentials
The convenience of a good smartwatch is hard to beat. And there are plenty of devices to choose from beyond the better-known options like the Apple Watch and Samsung's Galaxy Watch. The best smartwatch for you will depend on the type of phone you have, your spending limit and which health and fitness tracking features are most important to you.
Most smartwatches provide basic exercise tracking comparable to most fitness trackers. But the best ones should also include advanced features such as heart-rate monitoring, sleep tracking and GPS tracking, along with the ability to show phone notifications on your wrist. Many also support contactless payments, while others have LTE or cellular connectivity, which allow you to actually leave your phone at home.
If you're looking for the best smartwatch 2023 has to offer, read on. We've rounded up the top smartwatches you can buy right now based on function, price and compatibility. It's also worth considering the best time of year to buy a smartwatch. Apple and Samsung typically release new models in late summer and fall. You can also usually find compelling deals around shopping events like Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day.
What is the best smartwatch right now?
That depends on whether you have an iPhone or Android phone. For most iPhone users, that's the $399 Apple Watch Series 9. It has a bright display, two sizes and the option to buy an LTE version so you can leave your phone at home and still be able to take calls and messages on the watch. The $799 Apple Watch Ultra 2 is the best choice if you need a tougher watch with dedicated sports and safety features for athletes, plus an even brighter screen than the Series 9.
For Android users, the best smartwatch is the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6. It is the first watch to run the newest version of Wear OS that promises closer integration with Google apps like Gmail, improvements to overall battery life and two size options.
This list is updated periodically with new reviews of the best smartwatch options. For more buying advice, check out our guide to how to buy a smartwatch.
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is Apple's best smartwatch, with a tough titanium construction and Action button to quickly start workouts or launch apps. It has the brightest screen of any Apple Watch at a maximum of 3,000 nits which makes it incredibly easy to see when adventuring in the great outdoors. For adventurers and athletes, it also has a built-in siren for safety and dual-band GPS for accurately tracking your route. LTE is also onboard so you can venture out without a phone and still stay connected.
Though it's designed to be an outdoors watch, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is still a fantastic all-round smartwatch. Inside is the same S9 chip as found on the Apple Watch Series 9 which supports gestures like Double Tap and allows the watch to process Siri commands on-device. This means you can use Siri without being online and later in the year you'll be able to ask the voice assistant for health data. Like earlier Apple Watches, the Ultra 2 also comes withAa blood oxygen sensor, electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) app, fall detection and emergency SOS. The battery also lasts at least twice as long as all other Apple Watch models. But it's only compatible with the iPhone, so if you have an Android phone, you'll want to look at another option on this list.
The Apple Watch Series 9 might not be as adventure-focused as the Apple Watch Ultra 2, but it still features a dust- and crack-resistant design, a temperature, blood oxygen and ECG sensor and comes in 41 and 45mm sizes. You can also choose a cellular or LTE model that lets you take calls and answer messages from your wrist without your phone, although that does cost extra.
It has the S9 chip to support the Double Tap gesture so you can pinch your thumb and forefinger together to control the watch when you can't reach it with the other hand. Like the Ultra 2, the Series 9 also has on-device Siri and faster processing times than earlier Apple Watches. Battery life generally lasts 18 hours with typical use, less than many of its competitors.
Samsung's Galaxy Watch 6 is the best Android watch for most people. Both the Galaxy Watch 6 and 6 Classic have incredibly bright screens that hit a maximum 2,000 nits, so seeing your watch in all lighting conditions is easy.
All the flagship features you would expect are included: an ECG, blood oxygen, body composition and temperature sensors. Note you do need a Galaxy phone to use the ECG, but all the other features work seamlessly with other Android phones. Like the Apple Watch Series 9, you'll need to charge the Galaxy Watch 6 every day, especially if you want to track sleep.
Last year's Galaxy Watch 5 Pro remains in the lineup if you need the best battery life of any Galaxy Watch, lasting up to three days on a charge.
Garmin makes plenty of great smartwatches for fitness enthusiasts, but they don't always have that many smart features. The Venu 2 hybrid smartwatch offers the best of both worlds. You can respond to notifications from the watch with quick replies, use contactless payments with Garmin Pay and store music from apps like Spotify. The bright AMOLED circular screen is easy to see outdoors and the battery lasts for 5 days or more.
The Venu 2 Plus offers all the same features, but includes a speaker and microphone for taking quick calls from your wrist when your phone is in range, or talking to your voice assistant. Garmin has recently announced the Venu 3 which we will review soon and update this list accordingly.
Google's first Pixel Watch wants to tackle the Apple Watch head-on. For the most part, it succeeds thanks to a sleek, curved design and a range of health sensors including an ECG app and blood oxygen tracking. It has a suite of fitness tracking features and analysis through the Fitbit app and accurate heart rate tracking. Google also updates the watch with new software features over time.
Beware that the battery isn't as strong as with the other options on this list, and you will likely find yourself charging this watch every day, especially if you like to do outdoor GPS workouts and track your sleep. It's also only available in one 41mm size.
If you've never owned an Apple Watch, this is the one to get. The second-gen Apple Watch SE is a cheaper alternative to the Series 9 but has plenty of the same great features including crash detection, heart-rate monitoring and water-resistance. It misses out on health sensors like ECG, blood oxygen and temperature sensing like the Series 9, but the most notable difference between the two is that the SE doesn't have an always-on display or the Double Tap gesture.
The Versa 3 is compatible with both iOS and Android phones and lets you choose between Alexa or Google Assistant as your go-to voice assistant. It doesn't offer all the apps and smart features as some of its competitors, but it's a well-rounded smartwatch with plenty of health and fitness features to keep you on track like onboard GPS and live heart rate zone notifications. It has the best sleep tracking feature on this list and even gives you health features including a breakout of your SpO2 and body temperature data overnight (Fitbit Premium users). There's a newer version, the Fitbit Versa 4, but we haven't fully reviewed that watch yet so stay tuned.
The second-generation Garmin Epix features a tough titanium construction and a laundry list of features athletes want, including extensive mapping capabilities. It also has a bright AMOLED display which sets it apart from a multitude of other sports watches, including Garmin's own Fenix line, that often use transflective displays. The Epix 2 also has great battery life considering its size and feature set, lasting almost a week under regular conditions.
But it doesn't have LTE capabilities or an ECG app. Considering this is the most expensive watch on this list at $1,000, that might be a big drawback. Garmin has a newer version of this watch called the Epix Pro, which we haven't fully reviewed yet.
Polar's Grit X Pro is an outdoor watch for adventure seekers. The rugged design can withstand the elements as it's water-resistant to 100 meters and has a sapphire glass watch face that's scratch-resistant. With onboard maps, turn-by-turn navigation and overnight recovery tools, you can determine if you're ready to take on that workout. This is much more a sports watch than a smartwatch, but it can still get notifications from your phone, control music playback and has 24/7 heart rate monitoring.
The touchscreen is less responsive than other watches on this list -- it's transflective rather than AMOLED -- but you can get away with using button controls.