Finding the best smartwatch in 2022 seems like looking for a needle in a haystack. Beyond the pricey Apple Watch, there are so many options offering the same features, fitness tools and similar watch faces, trying to find the perfect smartwatch for you can be challenging. While some are just smartwatch-shaped fitness trackers, the smartwatches mentioned here are the best ones to buy right now.
One of the ways to narrow down your search is to remember that you have to find a smartwatch that's compatible with your smartphone. Some smartwatches only work with iPhones, while others only work with Android.
But that only scratches the surface. Most smartwatches should include additional features like heart-rate monitoring, activity tracking, sleep tracking, GPS tracking and smartphone notifications on your wrist. Many of the best smartwatches also support contactless payments and others have LTE or cellular connectivity, so you really can leave your phone at home.
We've rounded up the top smartwatches you can buy in 2022 based on function, price and compatibility to help you decide which is the best smartwatch for you. This list is updated periodically with new reviews of the best smartwatch options.
The Apple Watch Ultra is a souped-up Apple Watch Series 8, but comes with a tough titanium construction, larger 49mm case size and new Action button to quickly start workouts or launch apps. It has an incredibly bright screen, able to reach a maximum of 2,000 nits which makes it incredibly easy to see when adventuring in the great outdoors. 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.
While many of its key hardware and software features are aimed towards adventurers and athletes, it's still a fantastic all-round smartwatch. The microphones help reduce wind noise during calls and you get all the same health and fitness tracking features found on other Apple Watches, including a 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 iPhone, so if you have an Android phone, you'll want to look at another option on this list.
The Apple Watch Series 8 might not be as adventure-focused as the Apple Watch Ultra, but it still features a dust- and crack-resistant design, a 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 also has a new temperature sensor that can be used for applications like ovulation tracking. But battery life generally lasts 18 hours with typical use, less than many of its competitors.
The Garmin name has long been synonymous with fitness tracking, but many of the company's earlier watches haven't exactly looked or felt that "smart." The Venu 2 has a sleek, round design with a bright screen that's easy to see in direct sunlight. It's also compatible with Android and iOS, has great in-depth fitness features like comprehensive workout tracking, a body battery that tells you if you should push yourself to workout or take a rest day, plus women's health tracking. It can also take blood oxygen levels and the battery will last several days with moderate use.
The downside is that it doesn't have as many smart features as other watches on this list, including no LTE or cellular connectivity. If you want a speaker and mic onboard to talk to your voice assistant or answer quick calls on your wrist while your phone is in range, take a look at the newer $450 Garmin Venu 2 Plus. It only comes in one 43mm size but shares all the same features with the original Venu 2 and 2S.
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.
Beware that the battery isn't as strong as 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.
Samsung's Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro are among the best Wear OS watches you can get right now. They have longer-lasting batteries than last year's Galaxy Watch 4 models and plenty of great fitness tracking features. Google apps including YouTube Music, the Google Assistant and Google Maps are available, with many more apps accessible through the Play Store. You do need a Galaxy phone to use the ECG, but all the other features work seamlessly with other Android phones.
But the new temperature sensor isn't active yet, and both watches miss out on the classic physical rotating bezel, one of the signature features of Samsung's Galaxy Watch and Gear watches from years past.
If you've never owned an Apple Watch, this is the one to get. The second-generation Apple Watch SE is a cheaper alternative to the Series 8 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 8, but the most notable difference between the two is that the SE doesn't have an always-on display. But you might not miss it if you've never had this smartwatch feature.
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.
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.