One of the latest advancements in useable tech, smartwatches take the functionality of smartphones and distills them down to a quick one-look watch interface.
Smartwatches can show you your text messages without digging your phone out of your purse, allow you to enter purchases into your favorite budgeting app and can even track your steps while you’re on the go.
You’ll find smartwatches made by tech giants like Apple and Samsung to top-name designers like Tag Heuer and Fossil. Everyone seems to be hopping on the smartwatch train. While smartphones may have begun as an expensive extravagance, there are now plenty of quality models available on the market.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite budget smartwatches, along with some tips to help you find your next favorite.
Quick Look – The Best Cheap Smartwatches You Can Get Right Now
- Best Overall: TicWatch Pro – Get it now
- Best for iOS/iPhone: Apple Watch Series 3 – Get it now
- Best for Android: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active – Get it now
- Best for Fitness: Fitbit Versa – Get it now
- Best Waterproof: MyKronoz ZeTime – Get it now
- Best Black: Ticwatch S – Get it now
- Best Leather: Fossil Men’s Gen 4 Explorist – Get it now
- Best for Under $100: Amazfit Bip – Get it now
- Best for Under $50: FITZ Curved Touch Screen Smart Watch – Get it now
Specs to Look for in a Great Smartwatch
Many smartwatches sacrifice quality for price, so look for these specs and characteristics before you spend your money.
You should never buy a smartwatch without first confirming that it’ll work with your phone. Just like your smartphone and your computer have an operating system, your smartwatch also has an OS that’s only compatible with certain devices.
By far the most common OS for smartwatches is the Android platform, but some devices (like the Apple Watch) only work with Apple smartphones. Some smartwatches work with both iOS and Android devices but limit compatible features with the non-native OS.
If you’re looking for a smartwatch that’s compatible with a less common OS (like the Windows platform or Linux’s PureOS) triple-check that the device is universally compatible before you invest.
Bright Display Face
The best smartwatches feature colorful LED displays that are easy to see and read even in low light. Some smartwatch makers have even taken their display a step forward with OLED lights, the brightest and most vivid display features available.
Look for a watch that features colors and text that’s easily viewable, especially if you’re looking for a more advanced watch that will run apps.
If you don’t live alone, how will you be able to tell which smartwatch belongs to your roommates or family? The best smartwatches offer customization and personalization options. From vivid cases to interchangeable rubber and silicone wristbands, there is an endless number of options and choices that you can use to make your smartwatch uniquely yours.
You should also be able to customize your alert preferences. Any smartwatch will tell you when you’ve got a text message or you’ve set an alarm, but you should also be able to program your smartwatch to alert you to social media activity or fitness goals.
Your smartwatch should also make these features easy to disable if you have a meeting, phone call or important event you need to focus on.
Strong Battery Life
Unlike a smartphone, most smartwatches use specialty chargers that aren’t as available as cell phone chargers — so look for a watch that has a battery that can last throughout the day.
If you want the most low-cost option and you value battery life, you’re better off choosing a smartwatch with buttons instead of a touch-screen face.
While touch-screen faces are convenient, they also drain most of the watch’s battery life. If a long-lasting battery is on the top of your list of concerns, look for a smartwatch that skips the touch-screen surface and uses easy-to-maneuver buttons instead.
A Quality Band
Your smartwatch’s band is arguably as important as the face itself. If you buy a watch with a clunky, difficult-to-clasp or uncomfortable band, you’ll be less inclined to use it.
Look for a smartwatch that offers a number of band sizes and options so you can easily find the best fit for your wrist.
Our Top Picks for Budget Smartwatches
We’ve rounded up some of the best and most affordable smartwatches that don’t sacrifice quality for price. Each option is available on Amazon and can be shipped straight to your door.
Best Overall: TicWatch Pro
- Who it’s for: Smartwatch enthusiasts who want the latest tech without breaking the bank.
- Price: $249.99
The TicWatch Pro is a unique offering from Google that works on both Android and iOS devices. A surprisingly comprehensive watch with a low price tag, the TicWatch features access to thousands of apps from the Google Play store, each of which has been specially formatted or reformatted to fit the smaller face of the watch.
The TicWatch features one of the longest-lasting batteries on the market. Manufacturers claim that thanks to the watch’s automatic power-saving mode, a single charge can last anywhere from 2 to 30 days. Powerful, functional and great for users of any OS, the TicWatch Pro is a top choice for savvy smartphone shoppers.
Best for iOS/iPhone: Apple Watch Series 3
- Who it’s for: Anyone looking for a comprehensive, comfortable smartwatch for under $250 and who also own an Apple device.
- Price: $229.00
The Apple Watch Series 3 might be a generation out of date, but it retains the essence of the quintessential smartwatch that started the craze.
The Apple Watch Series 3 does everything that a smartwatch should — you can read and send text messages, check up on social media, track your workouts and more.
Alerts are clear and easily viewable from the Series 3’s 38mm display screen. You can even take the watch swimming in a pool without
Best for Android: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
- Who it’s for: Android users looking for a comfortable, affordable smartwatch for fitness and everyday life.
- Price: $198.98
Unlike Apple users, those who prefer the Android OS have their choice of smartwatches — so they can afford to be a little pickier when it comes to selecting a watch. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is one of the most affordable options from the Samsung line and features a crisp, clear display face.
The watch features expert-level fitness tracking and automatically detects over 6 exercises. The app allows you to input over 39 more. You can even sync your Android device and select from hundreds of special watch-based apps from the Google Play Store. Equally as useful at the office and the gym, the Galaxy Watch Active is an affordable alternative to higher-priced Android devices.
Best for Fitness: Fitbit Versa
- Who it’s for: Fitness and exercise buffs who want to save money by getting a smartwatch custom-built for workouts.
- Price: $199.92
There are fewer bigger names in fitness than Fitbit — and the Versa model combines everything that smartwatch enthusiasts loved about previous models and added some fun new features.
The Fitbit Versa allows you to track your workouts and activity 24/7 whether you want to see how many calories you’re burning or check up on how many hours of REM sleep you got last night.
The watch allows you to store over 300 songs and send text messages. Though the Versa doesn’t offer much functionality outside of the fitness realm, its focus on health leaves this model from Fitbit at the top of the workout market.
Best Waterproof: MyKronoz ZeTime
- Who it’s for: Smartwatch users who need a little more waterproofing capabilities than just for standard shallow swimming.
- Price: $119.90
Most smartwatches can handle a little water — from accidental water exposure to light swimming, it’s uncommon to see a smartwatch that’s totally hydrophobic.
However, the MyKronoz ZeTime is a durable masterpiece, able to withstand depths of up to 50 meters — that’s over 165 feet of deep-sea diving. It offers a slim, modern design and boasts up to 3 days of battery life on a single charge.
It offers a unique hybrid model that features both a display screen and clock hands. Though some users have complained about the bugginess of the ZeTime’s music app, users who need serious waterproofing may find the sacrifice worth it.
Best Black: Ticwatch S
- Who it’s for: Professional users who want to wear their watch to work and also the gym.
- Price: $159.99
Another offering from the TicWatch family, the TicWatch S features a modern black design that can easily blend in with professional wear as well as fitness clothing. Unlike some other smartwatches, the TicWatch S doesn’t feature a unique design.
Instead, it favors classic black screens, black bands
Best Leather: Fossil Men’s Gen 4 Explorist
- Who it’s for: Smartwatch users who don’t want to sacrifice fashion for functionality.
- Price: $246.76
The Fossil Explorist is a high-end designer model, that features sturdy leather bands in three unique colors. But don’t let the classy design of the watch fool you — it’s also a surprisingly powerful tool.
The Explorist offers heart rate tracking, one-touch pay through Google Pay, easy customization and a full range of Google Assistant functionality that you can activate with your voice. As stylish as it is useful,
Best for Under $100: Amazfit Bip
- Who it’s for: Price-conscious users who want the look and feel of an Apple Watch without the price tag.
- Price: $79.99
The AmazFit Bip features a sleek and sophisticated design that mimics the design of the Apple Watch for less than $100. It features a 30-day battery life, heart rate monitor and comfortable design with bands in 4 unique colors.
Finding a replacement is easy through Amazon’s store or outside vendors on sites like eBay. Though the Bip doesn’t allow you to respond to notifications through the watch, its full line of compatibility mimics the features of other top-quality smartwatches at a fraction of the price.
Best for Under $50: FITZ Curved Touch Screen Smart Watch
- Who it’s for: Users who want to dip their toes into the world of smartwatches without investing too much in fancy features or name brands.
- Price: $17.99
The FITZ Smart Watch is a very low-power watch. It can only perform the most basic smartwatch functions, including calorie counting, viewing push notifications from social media sites like Twitter and a vibrating alarm clock.
The device is a great introduction to the world of smartwatches, and at less than $20, anyone can afford to give it a shot before investing in an Apple or Google product.
Getting Started With a Smartwatch
The word smartwatch is no longer synonymous with expensive. It’s never been easier to find a low-cost smartwatch that offers a ton of functions and the great look of high-end models.
However, there are a large number of low-function smartwatches on the market that try to trick consumers by mimicking the design of Apple or Samsung models. Make sure you read plenty of reviews before you make your decision.