It’s that time of year again where you may be searching for the best gift for a loved one, and our holiday buyers guide on smartwatches can help you narrow down the options.
There are a ton of smartwatches out there these days, so our holiday gift guide is set up to filter out any that you should just skip. That way you can avoid wasting time searching and spend more time on other things.
A smartwatch is a great holiday gift because they can do a lot for the user, and the best ones do the job well. Whether you’re looking to improve your health and wellness, or stay connected to notifications and other features, many of the current smartwatches out there offer all that.
One thing to keep in mind is that this holiday gift guide is in addition to our Best Smartwatches guide. Which is updated monthly so if you don’t find something on here that you like, you may find it over there.
|Smartwatch||Cost||Where To Buy|
|Samsung Galaxy Watch 3||From $399||Amazon, B&H, Best Buy|
|Zepp E||$249.99||Amazon, B&H|
|Fossil Gen 5||$295||Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Target|
|Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2||From $249||Amazon, B&H, Walmart, Best Buy|
|Apple Watch Series 6||From $374.98||Amazon, B&H, Best Buy|
|Garmin Fenix 6||From $590||Amazon, B&H, Walmart, Best Buy|
|Fitbit Sense||$329.95||Amazon, B&H, Best Buy, Adorama|
|Garmin Vivoactive 4||From $278.99||Amazon, B&H|
|Withings Steel HR Sport||$199||Amazon|
|Fitbit Versa 3||$229.95||Amazon, B&H, Best Buy, Adorama|
|Apple Watch SE||From $269.99||Amazon, B&H, Best Buy|
|Suunto 7||$463||Amazon, B&H, Best Buy|
Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 3 is one of the latest smartwatches on this list, having launched a little earlier in the year, specifically at the tail end of the Summer.
It’s one of the best smartwatches out there right now and was an easy pick for our holiday gift guide. To start, it’s got the ever-useful rotating bezel that allows you to control navigation of the watch UI.
This is extremely useful for cutting down the amount of fingerprints and smudges you get on the display. As you only have to tap the screen when you need to select something.
The watch comes in both Bluetooth and LTE models. So you can get one that requires a connection to your phone or one that can connect to the internet all by itself. Both versions come with a large AMOLED display and two crown buttons, Spotify integration, built-in GPS, a heart rate sensor, and a Blood Oxygen Saturation sensor.
This is also Samsung’s first smartwatch to come with an ECG. It comes in 41mm and 45mm sizes, and straps can be swapped out accordingly so long as they fit the size of the watch.
The Zepp E is a bit more simplistic than the Galaxy Watch 3 but it still offers many useful features that any wearer would be glad to have.
One of those is the stress monitoring. Though it wasn’t available right at launch, this is a feature to expect through a software update that will help you stay aware of your stress levels during certain activities. Like exercise.
It’s also got a heart rate sensor, different watch face options, smartphone notifications and more. It comes in various colors too including Polar Night Black, Onyx Black, Moon Gray, and Ice Blue.
You can even monitor your sleep and blood oxygen saturation. As for battery life, it will last up to 7 days in a single charge. That does however depend on what features you use as some will drain the battery faster.
The watch comes with 11 sport modes to track exercise activities and it has a 5ATM water resistance rating too. Overall, a great smartwatch for someone who doesn’t want to spend more than the $249.99 this watch costs.
The lightweight design doesn’t hurt either.
Fossil Gen 5
Fossil actually offers a few different variations of the Gen 5, each one catering to specific styles for men and women. This one in particular is the Carlyle with a brown leather strap and a black case, but some variations come with metal bands instead of leather straps.
Some also come in smaller sizes with rose gold coloring. You get the idea. Fossil is offering one of its newer Wear OS smartwatches in a multitude of styles to match different tastes.
As this is Wear OS-powered, you get full compatibility with Google apps like Google Pay, the Play Store, Google Maps, Google Assistant, Google Fit and others.
You can also install apps like Uber if you use it, and the watch app will show you alerts of when your ride is near. It can also track your heart rate, as well as a number of different sport activities like running, cycling and more.
If you need built-in GPS, it has that too, along with a 3ATM water resistance rating. It has a 24+ hour battery life, so you will probably need to charge it nightly, but that’s one of the tradeoffs with a smartwatch that runs Wear OS and has all these features.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
We called the Galaxy Watch Active 2 one of the best smartwatches out there and said it was the only one you should consider buying, which is why it was selected for our gift guide. At the time of our review, it certainly was the only smartwatch we felt you should consider buying.
These days, there are some other great options. Like the Galaxy Watch 3 for example. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 is still a fantastic watch though, and it’s feature packed with useful stuff, making it still one of the best smartwatches and a perfect fit for our holiday gift guide.
While it doesn’t have the rotating bezel, it does have the touch bezel so you get a similar effect. It features a heart rate sensor too just like every other smartwatch on here.
One of the things that sets it apart from the Galaxy Watch 3 is the more minimalist design. If you prefer something that looks less like a traditional watch and has a slightly more sporty design to it, this is perfect for you. Plus, it’s around $150 less than the Galaxy Watch 3 yet you still get most of the same features.
Such as smartphone notifications, voice call capabilities if you get the LTE model (or you have a smartphone connected through Bluetooth), apps, Spotify integration, and Samsung Pay just to name a few.
Apple Watch Series 6
The latest and greatest smartwatch from Apple, the Series 6, comes with everything from voice call capabilities to simple heat rate tracking.
You can also get it with GPS and in two different sizes, which are 40mm and 44mm. The Series 6, like the Galaxy Watch 3, comes with an ECG monitor so you can measure your ECG using the companion app.
When it comes to the style the design of the Series 6 has stayed pretty much the same since the first Apple Watch. You aren’t going to come to this watch for the new and improved design. What you do want it for is the exceptional compatibility with iOS devices and the new features that Apple has baked into it.
The Series 6 is also 20% faster than the Series 5 according to Apple, which means a smoother user experience when navigating through menus and apps. Something which is never a bad thing on a smartwatch.
Like past versions, you can swap out the strap for something else that you like better. And customization options are one of the major strengths here.
Garmin Fenix 6
The Fenix 6 is the smartwatch that you pick if you want something that lets you take full advantage of your adventurous side. Garmin is big on GPS, and knows it well.
So you can bet that GPS is a big part of this watch. In fact there’s even a GPS mode and an expedition GPS activity mode, both of which provide wildly different amounts of battery life for the watch. The former for example gets 36 hours of battery life on a single charge. Meanwhile the latter will get up to 28 days of battery life. Which is an awfully long time to keep the watch going without needing to recharge it.
In total though it can last for up to 48 days if you use the battery saver watch mode. So if you really need it to last, that’s your ticket. The Fenix 6 features a rugged build, and offers things like smartphone notifications, Garmin Pay, GPS, GLONASS, heart rate tracking and Pulse Ox tracking.
It also features a 3-axis compass in case you get lost and need to find your way. There are multiple versions of this watch too. If you’re an outdoorsy type, this might be the best watch out of the bunch.
The Sense is the latest from Fitbit, and comes with just about everything you know and love from the brand in terms of features. Plus a few things that are new to the Fitbit ecosystem of devices.
For instance, the stress monitoring. While the Sense is not the only watch on this list to offer it, and there are some trackers that offer it now too, it’s still not a feature that you can find on wearables very often as it isn’t yet mainstream.
In addition to the stress monitoring the Sense will also be able to control your smart lights, thermostat, and any other smart home products you may have that are compatible with Amazon Alexa, because the Sense has Alexa built-in which means you can speak to it and give it commands.
Another new feature is the ECG app and sensor. Now anytime you feel like it you can have the Sense check your ECG levels. The Sense also offers built-in GPS for your outdoor excursions, multiple sport modes for automatically tracking your activity, and it even comes with 6 months free of Fitbit Premium if you’re a new Premium user.
The battery can last for up to 6+ days, which means you won’t have to charge it as often as some of the other watches. And quite honestly you might want a smartwatch that asks you to charge it less. Because that’s one less thing you have to worry about.
The Sense is an all-around fantastic device and one of the best smartwatches, and that’s precisely why we chose it for our holiday gift guide.
Garmin Vivoactive 4
Not everyone needs something as full-featured and specialized as the Fenix 6, but Garmin does make other excellent smartwtches, and one of the best ones is the Vivoactive 4 which easily has a spot on the gift guide.
It doesn’t cost quite as much as the Fenix 6, yet still retains some of the better features like Pulse Ox monitoring and GPS. It also has a really cool feature that lets you view animated workouts for your exercise routines. So if you’re a visual learner this could be pretty handy and help keep you on track.
The battery life doesn’t last as long as the Fenix 6 but it still last a lot longer than many of the watch options out there. If you’re using GPS mode it’s only up to 6 hours, but if you’re in smartwatch mode it’s up to 8 days. No Wear OS watch is going to offer that.
It has Spotify integration, letting you download your Spotify playlists and listen to music from the watch. The music feature supports more than just Spotify too, with Amazon Music and Deezer both being compatible.
Naturally is supports smartphone notifications, so you don’t miss important messages or calls, and it supports things like Garmin Pay just in case you need contactless payments. Plus, there’s multiple color options!
Withings Steel HR Sport
- Price: $199
- Where To Buy: Amazon
This is the perfect smartwatch for you if you want a smartwatch that is less of a smartwatch and more of a traditional watch. The Withings Steel HR Sport is a smartwatch, but it doesn’t appear to be one and it scraps a few things that you would consider to be requirements for calling it one.
It doesn’t have a touchscreen display. So there’s no interacting with applications or other features right on the watch. It does have a small display at the top though that can show you various types of information, like your heart rate.
It also offers smartphone notifications, where it’ll vibrate if you get an incoming call or message. So while you can’t read them on the watch, or reply from it, you’ll still know when they come in. So long as the phone is connected to the watch at that time.
Other features include sleep tracking, V02 max estimation, and a battery life that can last up to 25+ days in power saver mode, or 5 days in smartwatch mode. It does also offer some fitness tracking, and all of that data is captured and then shared with the companion app which is where you can see and interact with it.
Fitbit Versa 3
Next up is the Versa 3 from Fitbit, another one of the brand’s latest smartwatches that was announced and released a little bit earlier this year.
The Versa 3 like the Sense has Alexa built-in so you can control various smart home products, ask it questions, or just check the weather. Additional features include sleep and activity tracking with multiple activity modes, a 24/7 heart rate sensor, customizable clock faces, app support, built-in GPS, and much more.
One of the bigger features of the watch is the Active Zone Minutes. This is intended to give you an alert when it senses that you’ve increased your intensity in workouts or general exercise so that you get a picture of your effort.
Battery life is pretty long-lasting too, as you should be able to use this for at least 6 days before needing to recharge it. And, if you like fun colors there are a few options to choose from here. Again, like the Fitbit Sense the Fitbit Versa 3 is one of the best smartwatches and a great fit for our holiday gift guide.
It’s also a great fit for anyone that is already invested in the Fitbit ecosystem. If you’ve been using Fitbit trackers for a while, and want to step up to a smartwatch, this would be a really good option.
Apple Watch SE
The Apple Watch SE is another one of the best smartwatches on the market, and we put it on our holiday gift guide even though the Series 6 is already on here. The reason being is that the Watch SE carries many of the same features but it’s available at a noticeably lower price.
Since it retails for quite a bit less money, it’s a fantastic option for anyone that wants to be in the Apple ecosystem with their smartwatch but doesn’t want to spend as much.
The Apple Watch SE comes with the same familiar design, app compatibility, support for Apple Pay, and it’s even up to two times faster than the Apple Watch Series 3. It’s also swim proof, it can track our heart rate, and a large number of different workout activities.
Of course it also has smartphone notifications, and you can even read and respond to messages from the large retina touch display. Should you want to.
It doesn’t come with the ECG or the Blood Oxygen Saturation sensor, but it has just about everything else that the Series 6 offers. So you aren’t missing out on a whole lot, but you are spending less money while still getting mostly everything you want on this watch.
If there’s one Wear OS watch to get, it might be this one. Though a bit more expensive than something like the Fossil Gen 5, the Suunto 7 is one of the best smartwatches on our holiday gift guide and one of the best Wear OS watches you can get your hands on.
Because it’s Wear OS it has all of the same stuff that any other Wear OS watch has. That means Google Pay integration, Play Store access for downloadable apps, Google Assistant support so you can ask questions, respond to messages, and control smart home products, and a whole lot more.
What sets the Suunto 7 apart from other Wear OS watches is the superior GPS and the more than 70 sport modes that can automatically track your exercises. It also comes with offline maps and route navigation, and it even has heat maps so you can figure out which tracks to take on your path when out and about.
Battery life is up to 48 hours in smartwatch mode which is about a day longer than some Wear OS watches, or if you want to use the GPS it’ll last for up to 12 hours. You can grab the Suunto 7 in five different colors too. So if you don’t like the standard black, there are other more colorful options.