Watches don’t just tell time anymore; they have gone smart. From tracking your steps to receiving everyday notifications, a smartwatch can help you keep an eye on your health with fitness tracking or stay better connected with your digital world.
But smartwatches can be expensive. Apple’s premier option, the Apple Watch Series 7, starts at $400 and can hit nearly $1,800. Luckily, we’ve got an eye on finances, and we know you do, too, so here are the best cheap smartwatch options to consider:
- Apple Watch SE ($249)
- Samsung Galaxy Watch4 ($199)
- Fitbit Versa 2 ($149)
- Garmin Forerunner 55 ($199)
- Amazfit Bip 3 Pro ($69)
What Is a Smartwatch?
Smartwatches are the next evolution of the old-fashioned timepiece, helping individuals keep time and stay connected. These are timepieces that the first digital watch in the early 1970s could only have dreamed of in science fiction stories.
With a smartwatch, you carry a miniaturized smartphone version on your wrist. Why would you want this? A smartwatch eliminates the need to grab your phone every time a notification or call comes through. Just glance at your wrist for information.
Smartwatches also enable you to customize your wrist timepiece with a new watch face every day (if that’s your style). Most devices also allow you to run miniaturized apps, so you can check the news or your Twitter timeline, or start your car without fishing out your phone.
A cheap smartwatch can also emphasize fitness, keeping an eye on parameters such as your daily step count and distance walked (fitness tracking). Some smartwatches can also monitor critical vitals, such as your heart’s beats per minute and rhythm.
The Best 5 Budget Smartwatches
|Smartwatch||Best For||Standout Feature||Battery Life||Price|
|Apple Watch SE||iPhone users||Works well with Apple devices and iMessage||Up to 36 hours||$249||SEE DETAILS|
|Samsung Galaxy Watch4||Android users||Works well with Android devices||Up to 40 hours||$199||SEE DETAILS|
|Fitbit Versa 2||Fitbit lovers||Integrates with Fitbit’s fitness service||Up to 3 days||$149||SEE DETAILS|
|Garmin Forerunner 55||Runners||Offers specialized fitness apps for runners||Up to 14 days||$199||SEE DETAILS|
|Amazfit Bip 3 Pro||Under $100||Costs less than $100, delivers a solid experience||Up to 14 days||$69||SEE DETAILS|
If you’re shopping for the best cheap smartwatch, we’ve got you covered with a few potential selections. We’ve selected the top option whether you prefer an iPhone or an Android.
We’ve also included cheap smartwatch selections for lovers of the Fitbit brand, exercise die-hards who need to track all their stats, and a solid option under $100.
Best for iPhone Users: Apple Watch SE ($249)
The Apple Watch SE is Apple’s most affordable smartwatch, starting at $249, and it’s the perfect companion for anyone with an iPhone. It’s a significantly cheaper option than Apple’s standard Apple Watch Series offerings.
You can receive notifications from your smartphone, track your daily health, use Apple Pay to pay without needing a credit card, start a workout or listen to your favorite tunes.
Regarding health features, Apple Watch SE has your back with notifications on high and low heart rates, irregular rhythm, cardio fitness and sleep tracking.
Apple Watch SE can detect when you take a hard fall or are involved in a severe car accident and automatically contact emergency services. A built-in GPS is also included for location assistance and mapping.
The SE is crafted from aluminum and available in three colors: Midnight, Starlight and silver. You can take your watch for a swim down to 50 meters if needed, and the battery life can extend up to 36 hours in low power mode.
If you wish to receive iMessage notifications and respond to them from your wrist, the Apple Watch is your only option. Other manufacturers are locked out of iMessage.
Best for Android Users: Samsung Galaxy Watch4 ($199)
Samsung’s Galaxy Watch4 is a cheap smartwatch for Android devices, giving the Apple Watch a run for its money. Starting at $199, it’s quite a bit less expensive than Apple’s most affordable offering and still provides a healthy dose of features.
The Galaxy Watch4 is a high-tech way to keep time while keeping an eye on your overall health. It features a built-in body composition analysis, electrocardiogram monitoring, fitness tracking, sleep tracking and a built-in GPS for maps.
Of course, the smartwatch can also be an extension of your existing Android smartphone. You can receive notifications, phone calls and text messages directly on your wrist.
Forged from aluminum, the Galaxy Watch4 is available in three case colors: black, silver and pink gold. We particularly love that, when you are ordering, Samsung allows you to choose from different band types, including leather, at no extra cost.
Samsung says the Galaxy Watch4 can obtain up to a 40-hour battery life per charge depending on usage. And yes, if needed, you can take your watch for a dip in the pool.
Best for Fitbit Lovers: Fitbit Versa 2 ($149)
Fitbit was one of the first companies to jump into the wearables game, offering a health and fitness tracker over a decade ago. The company still has a loyal customer base and now offers excellent smartwatches, including the Versa 2, starting at $149.
The Versa 2 can be a cheap smartwatch companion to your smartphone, giving you quick access to notifications, such as calls and texts, and the ability to control music. You can also use your Fitbit Versa 2 to pay for purchases wirelessly with a tap of your wrist.
Fitbit focuses on fitness, so it shouldn’t be surprising that the watch’s most vital strengths are its health functions.
With Versa 2, you can track your everyday activity in addition to your sleep. The watch also assists with 24/7 heart rate tracking, provides irregular heartbeat notifications and can monitor your nightly blood oxygen level (along with sleep tracking).
The Fitbit Versa 2 also offers an impressive battery life offering with an operating time of up to three days on a single charge.
The case is made from aluminum and comes in three strap-body color combos: Black/Carbon Aluminum, Stone/Mist Gray Aluminum and Petal/Copper Rose Aluminum. The case is not waterproof, and we don’t recommend swimming with it.
If your main focus is fitness tracking, you may want to check out the Fitbit Inspire 3 fitness tracker, which offers health features at less than $100.
Best for Runners: Garmin Forerunner 55 ($199)
If you see a hiking trail, an open field or a long winding road as an adventure, you’ll want to check out the Garmin Forerunner 55. It’s our top cheap smartwatch for runners on a budget — and not just because it has “runner” in its name.
Starting at $199, the Forerunner 55 offers functions like other cheap smartwatch models, including the ability to receive smartphone notifications and control your music. However, what makes Forerunner truly special is its inbuilt software.
Out of the box, the Garmin Forerunner 55 can track your run with a built-in GPS, provide a wrist-based heart rate, suggest workouts, provide cadence alerts, predict finish times and provide a recovery adviser for your cooldown between sessions.
If the Garmin’s running features aren’t enough, you can also enjoy tracking various workouts within the built-in sports apps or easily monitor your stress levels. Remember, mental health is just as important as physical health.
One thing you won’t need to worry about is your Garmin’s battery life. The Forerunner 55 can last up to two weeks on a single charge, perfect for those going off grid.
The watch features chemically strengthened glass and a thick silicone strap for durability. Garmin Forerunner 55 colors include white, black and aqua. The smartwatch features a 5 ATM water rating, allowing you to submerge up to 50 meters.
Best Under $100: Amazfit Bip 3 Pro ($69)
We didn’t imagine we could find a decent fully featured smartwatch for under $100, but we did. It’s the Amazfit Bip 3 Pro, and it is truly amazing for its price.
Please understand us: The Amazfit Bip 3 Pro isn’t blowing away the Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch anytime soon. Instead, it provides a solid cheap smartwatch experience at only $69, which is quite impressive.
The Bip 3 Pro features a sizable 1.69-inch screen and a design that stands above other cheap and bulky smartwatches we’ve found in this price bracket.
The standard smartphone companion apps are on board, including the ability to receive a call, SMS and app notifications. You can also use the watch to help trigger your smartphone camera for easy group shots.
Health features are surprisingly present, including a blood-oxygen saturation measurement, along with the ability to track your heart rate and sleep cycle. The Bip 3 Pro offers 60-plus sport modes to help track your next run, cycle, sail or other workouts.
You should give the Amazfit Bip 3 Pro a shot if you’re on a tight budget. The waterproof case comes in three color options: black, pink and cream. Battery life is up to 14 days, according to the manufacturer.
Features to Look for in a Smartwatch
With so many options on the market, shopping for a cheap smartwatch can feel a bit daunting. But we are here to help. These are the top features you should look out for when purchasing:
Health is an excellent reason to grab a cheap smartwatch. Most smartwatches offer fitness features that allow you to track your daily steps and heart rate, but some take it a step further.
More advanced smartwatch models offer heart rate rhythm tracking to help detect potential complications such as Afib, along with the capacity to take an ECG anywhere. Sleep tracking is also popular to ensure you’re counting the most sheep possible.
Garmin is one brand that excels with fitness tracking, offering tools for athletes to track the most subtle details of their runs and push themselves to the max.
When you purchase a smartwatch, you buy into an ecosystem like a smartphone. You should consider the available accessories on the market for your watch. As an example, the Apple Watch has no shortage of cases and bands.
Additionally, you’ll want to consider what apps are available on the budget smartwatch you are purchasing. Some watches, such as the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch, give you access to entire stores of apps. Others will provide only a few built-in apps.
Buying a smartwatch that matches your smartphone, such as an Apple Watch for an iPhone or a Galaxy Watch for a Galaxy Android phone, will likely provide the smoothest experience. In particular, you can receive iMessage notifications only on Apple Watch.
A smartwatch isn’t the same as most other technology — you’ll be wearing this piece of tech directly on your body. Be sure to select a design that speaks to you and something you wouldn’t mind wearing daily.
Smartwatches are also generally offered in multiple sizes, so pick the option that you feel would be most comfortable on your wrist. Wearables such as smartwatches are a unique aspect that combines the worlds of technology and fashion.
Smartwatches generally have battery lives similar to smartphones, so you will want to charge them up each night. However, when shopping, keep an eye out for the advertised battery life, as less expensive watches may skimp on the time.
Some watches, such as the Apple Watch Series 7, also include fast charging technology to top up your battery in record time. This feature may benefit those using the watch at night for sleep tracking and who need a quick charge in the morning before work.
How We Picked the Best Budget Smartwatches
Our selection process includes in-depth market research and hands-on testing time with select cheap smartwatch devices. This combination of methods provides a balanced testing method that enables us to deliver the best recommendations to our readers.
For selecting the best budget smartwatches, we examined the top features buyers should remember when shopping: fitness, ecosystem, design and battery life. We then compared these features against a budget of no more than $250.
Our selection offers the best smartwatches for iOS and Android, as well as alternatives for individuals focusing on fitness and pure savings.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Is the Best Budget Smartwatch?
If you have a low budget, we recommend checking out the Amazfit Bip 3 Pro. It provides a solid smartwatch experience for less than $100. Using the watch, you can track your everyday steps and heart rate, receive notifications from your smartphone and even go for a swim.
What Are the Top Five Smartwatches?
In our roundup of the best budget smartwatch offerings, these top five options reign supreme:
- Apple Watch SE ($249)
- Samsung Galaxy Watch4 ($199)
- Fitbit Versa 2 ($149)
- Garmin Forerunner 55 ($199)
- Amazfit Bip 3 Pro ($69)
Is It Worth Getting a Smartwatch?
Smartwatches aren’t necessary, but they can benefit those who prefer to receive notifications and call alerts without the need to fish for their smartphone. Some buyers choose to purchase smartwatches to stay on top of their health and receive fitness guidance to live healthier lives.
Michael Archambault is a senior writer with Codetic specializing in technology.