For decades wristwatches have been considered a necessary tool for everyday modern life but as technology gets more affordable some people are left asking if smartwatches have rendered watches obsolete.
Smartwatches have replaced watches for some people, especially those who are into fitness and sports. Smartwatch brands have raised the bar with every new release – packing more features into these small wrist-worn gadgets. Many newer smartwatches cost a few hundred dollars and flagship watches from top brands are several hundred, and of the most expensive smartwatches are fetching mind-boggling luxury prices.
The good news is that most of the major smartwatch brands offer affordable entry-level models. These are the less expensive models from some of the most well-respected brands on the market, you can also save money by buying an older generation watch model (i.e. save $100 or more getting an older series Apple Watch instead of the latest and greatest).
While you won’t get as many features or the same build quality compared to flagship models, these inexpensive options still offer quality and more features than we could have imagined just years ago but at a much more affordable price. Just to be clear, while we use the word “cheap“, these are by no means crappy quality. We’re referring to price and value based on the quality and features.
Here are our top dozen picks:
Best Cheap Smartwatches
Amazfit Bip U
The Amazfit brand, which has been around since 2016, has received numerous awards on design and innovation and is known for specializing in affordable smartwatches for fitness, sports, and outdoor use.
One of the brand’s most popular products is the Amazfit Bip U Health Fitness Smartwatch. This device has a 1.43-inch colored screen, and essential smartwatch features such as a heart rate (runs for 24 hours) and sleep monitor, sports modes that allow the user to record fitness data (such as calories burned, speed, distance), and stress monitor. There are over 50 watch faces to choose from, and the battery life can reach up to nine days.
The watch also has the PAI Health Assessment System, which is a health evaluation program that translates health information (ie. heart rate) into numerical values, allowing the user to see an evaluation based on their health data.
It also has the BioTracker TM 2 feature, a biological optical tracking sensor that measures blood-oxygen saturation, which allows the wearer to understand different physical states.
Huawei Watch GT
While the brand is known for its phones and other electronic devices, Huawei smartwatches are also gaining popularity for their feature-rich watches that sell at a fraction of the price.
The Huawei Watch GT is available in two sizes: 46mm and 42mm. The case is black stainless steel, with a wide array of strap choices. The watch display is powered by AMOLED touchscreen technology. The watch can be connected via Bluetooth, but no WiFi. The water resistance is up to 50m.
This watch is excellent for running and outdoor adventures. It has Scientific Coaching technology, which has running training courses for training, It has real-time heart rate monitoring technology, as well as support by 3 Satellite Positioning Systems (GPS, GLONASS, and GALILEO).
It also has multi-sport modes, and the Huawei TruSleep™ 2.0, which can read sleep and provide potential suggestions that will help with proper sleep.
Apple Watch Series 3
Apple continues to be one of the leading smartwatch brands and has some of today’s best smartwatch technologies. The latest Apple Watch is Series 6 which at the time of publishing costs $399-$499 making it far too expensive for this list.
However, if you are looking for design, quality and user-friendliness you’d expect from Apple but do not have the budget for the latest and greatest model, the older model is still a good choice at a discounted price.
The Apple Watch Series 3 is a bit smaller than the current Series 6 or the Apple Watch SE—42mm or 38mm case size. This model has GPS, Retina display, and high and low heart rate notifications. While the newer Apple watch models have evolved over time, the older generation watches are still packed with excellent features.
The watch is splash, swim, and surf-proof, and has a workout tracker that allows the wearer to see progress in exercise and see how much they move and stand. Other health features include heart health notifications, workout metrics, and sleep tracker. The watch can also be connected to the Apple Wallet, Apple Music, and Maps. Check out all of the features here.
Fitbit Versa Lite Edition
Fitbit is another popular brand that offers smartwatches with activity trackers. This one’s not just for runners, but anyone who would like to track the distance of their walk, and the number of calories burned.
The Fitbit Versa Lite Edition watch is an everyday smartwatch with a user-friendly, one-button design. Packed with health and fitness features, this watch has a touch screen color LCD and two wrist sizes (small and large).
Some of the main health features include a 24/7 heart tracker, sleep and activity tracker, and cardio score. There are also wellness features like breathing sessions and resting heart rate, as well as reminders for the wearer to move if they had been idle for too long.
This watch can receive smartphone notifications and can sync with both iOS and Android devices, where the Fitbit dashboard can be accessed. For a complete list of features, check out the Fitbit page here.
Garmin Forerunner 35
Garmin has a wide range of smartwatches in different price ranges and functions, so it could sometimes get difficult to choose. If you are looking for something simple yet packed with features you’ll need for training, this is one of the best models to consider.
The Garmin Forerunner 35 is a watch for those who like running. This model may not have the more complicated features of higher-end Garmin watches (like a multisport feature), but it promises to deliver all the essentials. It’s a GPS that allows the wearer to track routes, and record how fast one runs, and there’s a heart rate monitoring feature that runs 24/7.
This device also has an all-day activity tracker that counts calories and steps, and have connected features such as smart notifications, music, and automatic uploads to Garmin Connect.
The watch is water-resistant to 50m and has a battery life of up to 9 days (smartwatch mode) and 13 hours (GPS mode).
Amazfit Bip S
This is another Amazfit model, but is slightly pricier than the Bip U. The Amazfit Bip S has a slightly taller size than the Bip U, and has a longer battery life (the Bip U can last up to nine days, while the Bip S is estimated to last up to 40 days.
One of the main features of the Bip S that’s not in the Bip U is the high-precision Sony 28nm GPS, which is a new and improved version that performs better in factors like position accuracy and satellite search speed. This GPS is able to run continuously for 22 hours.
This watch is also powered by the Huami-PAI Health Assessment System, which allows the wearer to easily understand health records.
Measuring at 42mm, this model has a polycarbonate body and a silicone, skin-friendly strap. The screen is a Corning Gorilla 3 generation tempered glass, and the charging time is around 2 and a half hours. The watch is waterproof up to 50m.
The French brand Withings is known not only for activity-tracking smartwatches but also for other health devices like blood pressure monitors and smart sleep systems.
The Withings Move watch is a hybrid smartwatch that has an activity tracker for walking, running, swimming, sleeping, and others. This model has a different look and format than the rest of the watches you will see in this article because this one’s not a traditional smartwatch with a screen that’s constantly running, this has a much longer battery life—up to 18 months.
Learn more about hybrid smartwatches here.
The watch also has a free Health Mate app, where the smartwatch data can be found. The water resistance is up to 50m. You can also play around with the different straps—see all of the options here.
Amazfit GTS 2 Mini
“Mini size, max power” is how Amazfit describes the GTS 2 mini watch, a stylish ultra-slim model with an Always-on AMOLED display and a longer battery life.
This is a lightweight model with curved 2.5D glass. Packed with over 70 sports modes like cycling, swimming, the watch also allows the wearer to view their sports data on the Amazfit app.
The watch has a PAI Health Assessment System, which is calculated using heart rate data and other health information using an algorithm. With this, the wearer will be able to view a customized health analysis. There’s also the SpO2 and Stress Level Measurement, which can be used after every activity to get a better understanding of one’s condition (ie. stress level after a workout).
While the watch is unisex, it’s could be more attractive to female wearers, as it has a Female Cycle Tracking feature, which can predict the time and length of menstrual and fertile periods. This will allow for a better understanding of monthly cycles.
The watch, which has a 220mAh battery, boasts up to 14 days of battery life. It also has a 24-hour heart rate monitoring, and over 50 watch faces to choose from (you can also customize by uploading your own photo).
Polar has a wide range of fitness and training products that allows people of all fitness levels to improve their health, with devices that helps in rehabilitation, weight management, and other fitness activities. They have smartwatches for multisports, triathlons, running, cross-training, as well as heart rate sensors.
One of these is the Polar M200, a sports watch built for running and activity tracking. This model has a heart rate monitor–just wear the watch and you’re good to go (although the brand recommends using a heart rate chest device for other sports, for accuracy).
The watch includes the Running Program, which allows the wearer to choose among different distances, as well as a calorie count. All of these features can be accessed on your smartphone or desktop on Polar Flow, the brand’s training platform.
The watch has a 26mm display and is waterproof, making it suitable for swimming. The rechargeable battery can last up to six days.
Letsfit is a lesser-known sports and fitness company that produces a wide range of products for workouts—exercise equipment, weight training accessories, fitness trackers, and smartwatches.
One of the brand’s most popular models is the Letsfit smartwatch, a budget watch with all the essential fitness features like SpO2 blood oxygen measuring, heart rate monitor, sleep tracker, and 14 sports models.
The watch has a 1.4“ TFT LCD screen, with a battery life of up to seven days. It’s waterproof and can be submerged in water. Other essential featured include a route map and GPS, breathing training, music control, smart notifications, and customizable watch faces. Read our full review of the Letsfit smartwatch here.
If you are looking for one of the cheapest models currently on the market this may be worth a closer look – it also made this list of smartwatches under $50, we bought them all and tested them side-by-side.
Garmin vivofit jr. 2 – Kids Pick
The vívofit® jr. 2 is Garmin’s Smartwatch solution for kids, featuring different band designs and themes—Frozen 2, Disney Princess, Star Wars, and Spider-Man.
Aside from having fitness tracking features, the watch has fun activities. For every theme, there will be special features. The vívofit® jr. 2 has activities that unlock princess games and adventures featuring some of Disney’s most beloved characters: Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Mulan, and Rapunzel.
The watch is not just for the kids, parents can play a big part too. Using the Garmin Jr. App, parents set and view activities, chores, reminders, and sleep data after synching the watch (see all the compatible devices here). Using the app, parents can also assign tasks and chores, as well as give rewards.
One of the unique fitness features includes fun step challenges using the Toe-to-Toe app, where kids and their parents can sync with friends who also have the watch.
The watch also has what Garmin calls Collectible Gems–when the wearer meets daily activity goals, they get a reward of colorful “gems,” which they can use to go deeper into other adventures.
While this may not technically qualify as a smartwatch, it is an advanced fitness tracker for kids that gives some parental control and tracking beyond just standard fitness features making it a good cross-over device for kids before upgrading to something like the Garmin Forerunner 35 mentioned above. See more on Garmin.com
iConnect By Timex
Timex has a line of smartwatches called iConnect, featuring square and round models of different sizes (36mm, 37mm, and 42mm).
The iConnect by Timex Active watch, a square smartwatch with health and fitness features.
Some of the main features include a step and activity tracker and allows the wearer to monitor sleep activity and heart rate. Using the iConnect by Timex 2 app, the watch is compatible with both iOs (10.0 and above) and Android (6.0 and above).
This model, which has a lightweight design has activity and sleep trackers, sports mode features, and optical heart rate. By connecting the watch to a smartphone, the wearer will also be able to receive notifications such as social media sites and email.
The watch measures 37mm and has a resin case and strap. The watch is only splash-resistant, so it’s not suitable for swimming or water sports.