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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

16 Models Considered
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1 Experts Interviewed
91 Consumers Consulted
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best women’s sports watches

Last Updated July 2019

Women's sport watches are designed to be worn during workouts and sports. They’re very durable, and some are water resistant or waterproof and can be worn while swimming. Women’s sport watches have the same features as men’s sport watches but differ primarily in the size of the watch face and band – they’re sized to fit a woman’s smaller wrists.

While watch features vary significantly depending on the brand and model, buyers will find solid options at every price point. From budget sport watches with simple functions like a stopwatch to watches with advanced technology like GPS, women’s sport watches come in a wide range of colors, sizes, and styles, so there’s one that’s just right for you.

We’ve compiled this shopping guide to help you as you shop. If you’re ready to buy a women’s sport watch, check out our top picks, too.

If you work out in bright sunlight, choose a sport watch with a face that minimizes glare.

Key considerations

Here are the main things to consider when shopping for a women’s sport watch:

Type

There are three main types of sport watch available: low-tech, high-tech, and lifestyle.

  • Low-tech sport watches: These are simple timepieces with a few extra functions like a backlight and stopwatch. Otherwise, low-tech watches are very limited in terms of features. The quality varies significantly from flimsy budget watches to extremely rugged high-end models.

  • High-tech sport watches: These include more features and are typically designed with a specific sport in mind, such as triathlon, running, or cycling. Packed with features, many of these watches have a rechargeable battery.

  • Lifestyle-oriented watches: These models look like regular watches but have fitness-specific features built in. The lower-priced watches may only count steps and offer some basic tracking, while others are capable of much more. These watches are best for those who are looking for a stylish timepiece for daily wear.
     

Battery

  • Coin cell: Many sports watches run off of coin cell batteries, which last at least a year. These batteries are easily replaced and require no charging. They’re usually used in sport watches with minimal features.

  • Rechargeable: Many higher-end sport watches have rechargeable batteries. The downside is that you need to plug in the watch frequently to power it up. If you don’t want to take a chance that your watch will die unexpectedly, there are some sport watches with backup solar power.
     

Size

Women’s sport watches typically have a smaller watch face and band than men’s models. If your wrist is larger than average, check the watch’s measurements before buying. Also search for a watch whose band can be adjusted or swapped out.

Tough and chic

The Casio Baby-G blends sporty and classic into a unique aesthetic. The watch offers some serious waterproofing (to 660 feet) and a host of basic features, including a backlight, world time, five separate alarms, and adjustable band. Thanks to its shockproof construction, this watch can stand up to most activities, too.

Women’s sport watch features

Design: Watch styles vary from super sporty to spare chic. Do you plan to wear the watch 24/7? Find one that matches your everyday style or complements with your work attire. Choose a watch with a display that you can read. Women’s watches have a smaller face than men's, but you shouldn’t be struggling to read the time at a glance. The button placement should be intuitive, and the buttons responsive.

Durability: Are you into backcountry hiking or climbing? Opt for a watch that is shockproof and dustproof with a sturdy casing that won’t crack or break in harsh conditions. If you love winter sports, check that your desired watch will keep functioning in extreme temperatures.

Water resistant/waterproof: If you swim laps every morning or often head to the beach, you’ll need a water-resistant or waterproof sport watch. Not a swimmer? Water resistance is still a crucial feature to consider if you want to wear your watch outside in the rain or in the shower without worrying about damage. Even sweat can damage a watch that isn’t water resistant. Note that if you’re a scuba diver, you need a watch that is specifically built for that activity.

GPS: Love to run? Choose a watch with GPS capabilities so that tracking your distance and speed is easy and automatic. A watch that’s capable of this type of tracking is typically designed for those who run, cycle, or swim, but other sports enthusiasts might want to track mileage, too. Just be sure your selected watch is compatible with your sport. For example, not all GPS watches are capable of tracking swimming in open water.

Fitness-specific features: These features vary significantly depending on the type of watch in question. High-end GPS watches for runners may provide recovery time suggestions or built-in calendars. Even no-frills sport watches should have a few basic features, including a timer, stopwatch, and lap counter.

Backlight: For visibility at night, pick a watch that has a backlight that’s bright enough. Not all sport watches are equipped with this feature.

EXPERT TIP

Your watchband should fit snugly so it won’t fall off but not so tightly that you cut off the circulation. A watchband that’s too tight might cause a rash.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Adventure seekers might prefer a sport watch that tells you the barometric pressure and temperature.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Wear your morning alarm on your wrist. Pick a sport watch with an alarm function and save space on your nightstand.


Staff  | BestReviews

Women’s sport watch prices

Inexpensive

In addition to the time of day, sport watches that cost under $20 offer essential functions like a backlight, stopwatch, and timer. Most watches in this price category aren’t very durable, so they aren’t suitable for rugged activities.  Some are water resistant or waterproof, and the battery should last a while.

Mid-range

Between $20 and $100 you’ll find basic sport watches with more durable construction. You might also find some watches with activity-tracking functions. Expect to see a greater number of features on these watches, too.

Expensive

If you spend more than $100, the choice of features increases. GPS watches are on the pricier end of the cost spectrum. You’ll also find fancy activity trackers, stylish sport watches that can be worn to the office, and rugged timepieces ready for action and adventure.

Sleek and functional

For the female athlete on a budget, the Timex Marathon features a useful array of functions, including a stopwatch and the ability to program two time zones. The large display is easy to read at a glance. You don’t have to take off the watch to shower – It’s water resistant to 165 feet. And it comes in an array of attractive colors.

Tips

  • Check the materials in the watchbands as you shop. If you’re allergic to silicone or any other material, check to find out what each watchband is made of.

  • Choose digital or analog. Most sports watches have a digital display, but you might prefer a sleeker analog watch face if you wear your sport watch to the office.

  • Read the instruction manual. Get to know your watch before you use it. Some people go a long time without knowing what all the buttons and menus do. Figure out your watch quickly and you’ll get the most out of your timepiece.

  • Choose a watch that can store data. If you’re interested in tracking your progress, select a watch that can store data. Even a budget sport watch with a simple timer and lap function should have a limited memory for storing splits.

  • Clean your watchband periodically. This will prevent a buildup of bacteria.

Other products we considered

There are so many women’s sport watches to consider, we wanted to include a few additional suggestions that stand out from the rest. The Timex Ironman Essential 10 Mid-Size Watch pairs a simple design with no-frills functionality. The water-resistant watch has a ten-lap stopwatch memory, too. Next up is the Moulin Ladies Digital Jelly Watch, a very inexpensive sport watch with a chic design and attractive display. It has the basics, including a stopwatch and alarm. We’re particularly fond of the water-resistant Casio Women’s Quartz Resin Sport Watch because of its retro design. Finally, the analog Casio Women’s Dive Series Sport Watch features a trendy all-white design. It’s stylish but durable enough for an active lifestyle. You can swim with it, too.

Protect the watch face from nicks and scratches with a screen protector.

FAQ

Q. I’m an avid swimmer. What features should I look for in a sport watch?

A. Waterproofing is a necessity, of course. Also look for a watch with a sturdy strap. This is especially important if you’re training in open water.

Q. I seem to have an allergic reaction to my watch wristband. What’s going on?

A. You might be allergic to the strap material. It may also be that the strap is too tight. Take off the watch, clean the wristband and let it dry completely, and allow any rash to heal before putting the watch back on.

Q. I’m worried about my watch screen getting scratched. How can I protect it?

A. Buy a screen protector. If you can’t find one specific to your watch, get a smartphone screen protector and cut it to fit your watch face. A sports watch can last a long time if you take care of it properly.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Kyle
    Kyle
    Writer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Writer

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