Today's best smartwatch models can perform a ton of tricks, such as enabling you to search the internet with your voice, track your location with GPS or even monitor your heart rate to protect your overall health – with our without pairing to one of the best smartphones on the market.
We've tested the vast majority of the top-end wearables you can buy right now from the Apple Watch to Fitbits to Garmin watches to Tizen-sporting Samsung watches. There's also Wear OS (you may have known that in its previous incarnation called Android Wear) which is Google's own wearable operating system in the vein of Apple's watchOS – you’ll see it show up in a lot of these devices.
During our review process, we take into account the design, features, battery life, spec, price and more for each smartwatch, rank it against the competition and enter it into the list you'll find below.
Some of the high-end smartwatches might be reduced, especially older versions of recently-update devices – like the Apple Watch 3 or Apple Watch 4 – these may not be the latest models, but they're still great smartwatches in their own right. Below you'll find our full ranking of the very best smartwatches money can buy.
- Feeling active? Check out our Best Fitness Trackers
- We've also put together our guide to best Android Wear watches
Best smartwatch at a glance:
- Apple Watch 5
- Samsung Galaxy Watch
- Apple Watch 3
- Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
- Fitbit Versa 2
The Apple Watch continues to define the smartphone category and is the best smartwatch you can buy right now. It works seamlessly with Apple's phones, and it's well worth considering if you plan to stick with the iPhone range for at least a few years.
There aren't many huge upgrades over the Apple Watch 4, but the main change is it comes with an always-on display for the first time. That means you won't have to raise the watch to see your key stats, and instead it'll display most of the information you need on a dimmed screen.
The design is similar to the Apple Watch 4 – a look that we loved – so you'll get a larger display than earlier iterations of the device, and it comes in either 40mm or 44mm sizes.
All of the fitness features you'd expect come on this watch, and that includes a variety of top-end features such as the ECG monitor, GPS tracking, impressive heart rate monitoring and more.
If you're looking for the very best Apple Watch, this is it… it's just not our favorite smartwatch money can buy.
Read the full Apple Watch 5 review
One of the best smartwatches you can buy right now is the Samsung Galaxy Watch. Following on from the Gear S3 series and the Gear Sport in 2017, the Galaxy Watch is much improved.
We've tested out the larger 46mm version of the watch and it comes with a phenomenal four day battery life even when you're using it extensively. That's impressive considering a lot of other watches on this list last a day or so from a single charge.
The rotating bezel remains a highlight of navigating around the Tizen OS on the watch, and the interface is one of the easiest to pick up that we've seen on a smartwatch.
Apps available on the watch are more limited than Wear OS or watchOS 4 – two rival smartwatch operating systems – but it still offers the core basics and Samsung had provided a watch that's good at fitness as well as sporting a great design and lots more functionality too.
Read the full Samsung Galaxy Watch review
The Apple Watch 3 (or Apple Watch Series 3, if you're picky) was the best smartwatch but has recently been bumped off the top spot by the launch of Samsung Galaxy Watch and Apple Watch 5.
With its new much cheaper price point, the Apple Watch 3 offers all the smarts of the Watch 2 but with a longer battery life and faster speeds when flicking through apps. This is the right kind of upgrade on the best smartwatch in the world.
It's still water-resistant so you can swim with it and you won't have to worry about getting it wet in the rain when you're out for a jog. There's GPS onboard to make running that little bit easier plus it comes running the latest watchOS 4 software and will be updated to watchOS 5 later in the year.
Read the full Apple Watch 3 review
Samsung shrank the best parts of the the Galaxy Watch into this sportier smartwatch that's slimmer, lighter and, arguably, more comfortable – then released a second version months after the first that included a few coveted features, including a rotating digital bezel and LTE version.
Overall, not much has changed – which isn't a bad thing, as it's still a quality smartwatch at a decent price. Galaxy Watch Active 2 features a 1.2-inch 360 x 360 display that is bright and beautiful yet small enough to be strapped around your wrist than a lot of the other devices in this list.
It still comes sporting all of the top-end fitness features you'd expect from Samsung's Tizen watch range, with 39 workout modes, a heart rate and ECG sensor, and health app with stress and sleep monitoring.
While it's still more affordable than the leading Apple Watch, the price was bumped up from the original Watch Active, shrinking its value compared to the competition. It's certainly not a cheap smartwatch, but when compared to the original RRP of the Galaxy Watch you may prefer to opt for this version that's remarkably similar.
Read the full Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 review
The Fitbit Versa 2 is the latest part-smartwatch-part-fitness tracker from Fitbit, one of the most famous wearable companies about.
The Versa 2 brings a host of upgrades to the original Fitbit Versa, including an always-on display, Alexa integration, and a slightly smaller body.
However if the original Versa wasn't quite right for you, the Versa 2 may not be the best either, as it's still fundamentally the same device, and it lacks some of the trappings of different smartwatches, like GPS functions or offline Spotify.
But for general wearable fans, the Fitbit Versa 2 is a good option, and it's more affordable than some of the other options on this list too.
Read our full Fitbit Versa 2 review