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If you’re shopping for the best smartwatches for nurses, you need to focus on a waterproof watch that can — at a minimum — withstand occasional exposure to water because nurses wash their hands frequently. Also think about the case size, since something oversized might feel too heavy, or cause you to constantly bump it into equipment and patients. You’ll also want to consider the functionality, and whether it offers hands-free support so that you don’t need to glance at your phone between patients. And finally, consider the battery life since longer shifts mean that you need a battery that can go longer between charges.
After considering all of the above and researching countless customer reviews, we nominated the Apple Watch Series 6 as our Top Pick. Keep reading to learn more about our selection criteria. Also, check out our guide to the best smartwatch on the market.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: The best smartwatch for nurses that own iPhones thanks to WiFi and cellular support, a 50-meter water resistance, and enhanced health metrics for a 360-degree view of everyday activities.
Considering that many people use the iPhone, we’re including the Apple Watch Series 6 as the best smartwatch for nurses. iPhone users who are searching for a smartwatch that supports phone and text are going to need to focus on Apple Watches. The Series 6 is the most current model from Apple as of the release of this guide. And we like that it’s available in both 40 and 44-millimeter cases. This product gives you more options if you have a smaller wrist and don’t want a watch that feels like it’s overpowering. You’ll also get the always-on retina display and a screen that’s 30% larger than the older Series 3 — which is still a popular model from Apple. We like that this pick tracks sleep and fitness along with enhanced health metrics such as continuous heart monitoring thanks to optical heart sensors to track pulse, blood oxygen levels, and even ECG readings through proprietary apps. Contactless payment is also supported through the proprietary Apple Pay to make purchases.
Even if you’re not much of a swimmer, the 50-meter water resistance ensures that you can safely expose the Series 6 to water throughout a day. With WiFi and cellular data support you can also assign a separate cell line to this watch and go completely hands-free on your next shift. For safety features, you’ll get fall detection that automatically triggers a notification to your emergency contacts. Other key features that you’ll like include Hand Off which allows you to open an app on your iPhone or iPad and then continue using it on your Apple Watch. However, the Apple Watch can only pair with Apple devices. And a common issue with Apple Watches in general — regardless of generation — is that they consistently score lower for battery life. The brand promises 18 hours of use on a single charge but most reviewers noted that 12 hours was more likely. And this was especially true if you use the smart features frequently. For the outdoorsy consumer, the best rugged smartwatch with incredible battery life is a great option as well.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: One of the best wallet-friendly smart watches for people who need limited smart support but are avid fitness fans thanks to four-day battery life, multiple sport profiles, and capacity for up to 300 songs.
The Fitbit Versa is a solid choice for anyone who wants to get into the smartwatch trend but isn’t interested in investing in some of the higher-priced options. It has a lot to love, is packed full of features, and is incredibly durable. The biggest breakout feature in our opinion is that the Fitbit Versa is one of a few fitness trackers that support internal storage for music. These smart watches can store more than 300 songs. But what we like best is that you’ll get a four-day battery range so that you can cover multiple shifts before it’s time to recharge your smartwatch. And the fact that you can quickly recharge the Versa in just two hours is pretty impressive too. Along with a 50-meter water resistance rating, the Fitbit Versa is OS-agnostic and can work with Apple and Android devices.
For smart support, the Versa supports notifications for calls, calendar updates, and texts. You’ll get access to 24/7 heart rate monitoring, activity, steps, sleep stages, calories burned, and floors climbed. You can also customize the screen with widgets. We also like that this product has 15 exercise modes and even GPS support for real-time tracking for distance, pace, and routes whether you’re running or walking. However, we did note that iPhone users may experience smart limitations for music playback through streaming apps or accessing the proprietary contactless payment app, Fitbit Pay. For Apple fans, the best smartwatches for iPhone is a great choice, too.
Award: BEST QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: A sleek smartwatch that runs on Google’s Wear OS that supports untethered GPS so you can leave your phone behind, and a wide array of watch faces makes this a great pick for many nurses.
If you like the idea of picking a watch with bands that are more traditional and less sporty, the Fossil Gen 4 Explorer HR is a great choice. This pick runs on Google’s Wear OS system. However, this is an OS-agnostic product as well and will pair with both Apple and Android devices. With the Wear OS interface, you’ll have an immersive experience for Google-backed apps such as Gmail, Google Assistant, Google Calendar, and even Google Pay or Google Play. However, some functionality will be limited for iPhone users.
You’ll get continuous heart rate tracking as well as fitness tracking for steps and select activity profiles. You’ll also have access to notifications for texts, calls, and calendar alerts. While this pick does have some water resistance, at 30 meters, it’s more suited for occasional exposure as opposed to swimming. Still, we do like that you can control and store music on the watch. And, although the primary battery range is listed as 24 hours, depending on the settings you select, you can extend that by two days and recharge in just one hour. For the elderly consumer, the best smartwatch for seniors that comes in a 41 and 45-millimeter case size is great.
Award: BEST DISPLAY
WHY WE LIKE IT: The best smartwatch with a second hand for nurses that supports calls and texts, comes in two case sizes and features a vibrant always-on retina display touch screen that supports haptics.
To be clear, most smartwatches feature customizable faces that allow you to pick between a variety of analog and digital screens. But we like the Series 5 Apple Watch as the best smartwatch with a second hand because of the vibrant always-on retina display. The Series 5 is very similar to the Series 6 but is significantly cheaper since it’s an older Apple Watch model. You’ll like that this pick also features GPS, WiFi, and cellular support. So, this means you can make calls and texts, and even create a separate line for your watch through your mobile carrier for a truly hands-free experience. Other common Apple Watch features include tracking for, sleep, steps, ECG, and continuous heart rate monitoring. Likewise, fall detection, Emergency SOS, and an ABC sensor are included. You’ll like the choice between a 40- and 44-millimeter case and the durable included silicone strap.
The Series 5 watch supports Hand Off for mirroring apps between the iPhone or iPad and your Apple Watch. We also appreciated the haptic feedback for the display. But, as is common with Apple Watches, this product’s battery life is usually much less than the brand promises. Reviewers noted that the best way to get the most battery life was to disable the always-on retina display since aside from frequent calls and texts, the display was the next biggest drain on the battery. But professionals will love the best smartwatch for business that come equipped with added functionality.
Award: BEST FOR LARGER WRISTS
WHY WE LIKE IT: A 44-millimeter case that’s ideal for nurses with larger wrists while still having access to call and text support, and robust GPS functionality.
While nurses should prioritize smaller cases that won’t weigh down their wrists, there’s a caveat to this. If you have a larger wrist, a case that’s 40 millimeters or less might not be realistic. So, we like that the Series 4 Apple Watch comes with a 44-millimeter case. We also think that’s it’s ideal for people who have older iPhones because it’s compatible with the iPhone 5s and newer generations. However, you’ll need to confirm that your iPhone is running on iOS 12 for the watch to properly pair with it.
The Series 4 watch is GPS-supported but isn’t compatible with cellular data. However, you’ll still get support for calls and texts, you’ll just need for your iPhone to be within range. And along with fitness tracking, you’ll get a 50-meter water resistance rating. The vivid display also supports haptics on the touch screen. The only drawback beyond no cellular data support is the shorter battery life when compared with other smartwatches. Consider comparing this model to the best smartwatch with a camera that features WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity that functions without phone tethering.
Award: BEST FOR OLDER IPHONES
WHY WE LIKE IT: A great choice for nurses with older iPhones that comes in two case sizes, and supports internal storage with a swim-proof 50-meter water resistance rating.
For people with older iPhones, they’ll appreciate the Series 3 Apple Watch. This pick isn’t quite as feature-heavy as newer Apple Watch models but is a great starter option for someone who wants smart support but doesn’t want to face feature limitations with an OS-agnostic watch or the steeper price of newer Apple Watches. In particular, we like that this pick comes in two sizes, 38 and 42 millimeters. This product is ideal for people with smaller wrists as the 38-millimeter case won’t overwhelm your wrists. Although you don’t get cellular data support, this pick can make calls and texts.
Just like other Apple Watches, the Series 3 has similar battery range limitations. But we do like that you still get a 50-meter water resistance rating and eight gigabytes of internal storage. Although you don’t get an always-on retina display you have continuous heart rate monitoring along with tracking for steps, calories, sleep, and floors climbed. And you also have access to emergency SOS call support. And for fitness tracking, you have access to GPS support for steps, heart rate, and various motion modes with the best fitness smartwatch.
Award: BEST INTERNAL STORAGE
WHY WE LIKE IT: One of the best watches for nurses with storage for up to 500 songs, an eight-day battery range, more than 20 sport profiles, and a 50-meter water resistance rating.
Garmin smartwatches are a solid choice for anyone interested in investing in a smartwatch. We like that this brand is known for providing a wide array of features that make their watches seamlessly transition from work to play. The Garmin vivoactive 4 is one of the best watches for nurses because it combines a decent battery range with enhanced fitness and health tracking metrics — all with a choice of either a 40- and 45-millimeter case. Plus, this pick can pair with both Apple and Android devices.
We like the more than 20 preloaded fitness profiles for a variety of activities including pilates, cardio, strength, and yoga. And you’ll like that you can even access on-screen animations to ensure that you’re using the proper form. The fitness tracking aspect of this product covers steps, floors climbed, calories burned, distance traveled, intensity minutes, blood oxygen, continuous heart rate, respiration, hydration, women’s health, and sleep. There are incident detection and safety assistance support. And for smart features, you’ll get notifications for text, calendar updates, and phone calls. You can also store up to 500 songs on the watch and manage music controls. Android users can access text response and phone call rejection along with Garmin Pay. For cyclists, have a look at the best smartwatch for cycling that offers you enhanced safety features.
Award: BEST FOR CALLS AND TEXTS
WHY WE LIKE IT: The best smartwatch for doctors and nurses who use Android phones thanks to native call and text support, robust GPS tracking, more than 39 preloaded workout profiles, and two case sizes.
Samsung smartwatches are always a smart choice for Android users. This is why we’re nominating the Samsung Galaxy Watch as the best smartwatch for doctors and nurses with Android phones — even if they’re not from Samsung. The Galaxy Watch can be paired with an iPhone, but to get the most use out of it, you’re better off if you’re an Android user. Key smart functions such as Samsung Pay or Google Play don’t always play well with Apple iOS. For Android users, the Galaxy Watch can create a truly hands-free experience.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch provides call and text support and is available in a wide array of finishes, even though we’re highlighting this rose gold model. While the brand promises a four-day battery life, your actual mileage will depend on how often you rely on smart features such as calls, texts, and music streaming. Still, the Samsung Galaxy Watch has a 50-meter water resistance rating and is incredibly durable since it passed the MIL-STD-810G durability tests including for dust resistance. You’ll also get access to Samsung’s proprietary voice assistant, Bixby, and fine-tuned GPS support for fitness tracking and data recording. And if you’re an athlete who trains, we recommend the best smartwatch for running that features accurate tracking.
Award: BEST BATTERY LIFE
WHY WE LIKE IT: A smartwatch that can run for 30 days on a single charge with layered display technology and built-in GPS support makes this a smart pick for nurses who love to hit the trails in their off time.
For nurses that despise the idea of having to charge their smartwatch every night, the TicWatch Pro is the perfect solution to your problems. This watch can run for up to 30 days on a single charge depending on your settings. In Essential Mode, you’ll get 30 days and in Smart Mode which incorporates GPS usage, you’ll get two days before needing to recharge. The TicWatch Pro is powered by Google Wear OS. This Bluetooth-enabled watch can pair with both iPhones and Androids. But keep in mind that some smart functionality can be limited on iPhones specifically for features like Google Pay and Google Play.
Another interesting note is that you can also set your watch to auto-switch the battery mode out of Smart Mode. When this setting is enabled, the Essential Mode is triggered at a certain point and the battery life is extended for up to five days. The TicWatch Pro uses GPS to not only track routes but pace and distance when you’re running. The fitness tracker also logs steps, continuous heart rate monitoring, and calories. While you can use Google Play, Android users also have access to streaming media such as Spotify and social media like Facebook Messenger. For your young ones, consider purchasing the best smartwatch for kids that features a dial pad that can be disabled through the parental controls app on your cell phone.
Award: BEST FOR CONNECTED HOMES
WHY WE LIKE IT: A smartwatch that can connect with smart appliances, giving you the freedom to prep your home before you end your shift, along with call and text support and a 50-meter water resistance rating.
For people who love the idea of a smart home, the Samsung Gear Sport is a great option. Along with the common features you expect from a smartwatch, this pick can also be used to control smart appliances in your home through the Samsung Connect app and voice commands. And this is a nice convenience since, after a long shift, the last thing you want is to come home to a house that’s too hot or cold, or with all the lights off in your home. Since this is a Samsung watch, it’s an excellent pick for Android users since it supports calls and texts and works seamlessly with Android devices.
The Gear Sport relies on GPS with GLONASS integration for more robust tracking and navigation support. We like that this is another 50-meter water-resistant watch. Key fitness metrics include steps, continuous heart rate monitoring, sleep, and more. You’ll also get access to Samsung Pay and countless apps including Spotify and Uber. however, while Samsung promises a multi-day battery, many negative reviews center around the poor battery life that in some cases barely survived 24 hours before needing to be recharged. Another option with great water resistance features is the best hybrid smartwatch.
For nurses, picking a smartwatch is as much about design as it is about function. To create our guide for the best smartwatch, we looked at the following key features — water resistance, fitness and health metrics, size, functionality, and battery life. All of our picks were water-resistant, but we did note that while most offered a 50-meter rating, there was one with a 30-meter rating.
Fitness and health metrics can vary widely depending on which stats are most important to you. At a minimum, most watches track heart rate, steps, calories, distance, and sleep. But for more fitness-focused people, they’ll want to look for watches that offer more enhanced details such as active versus resting heart rate or specific pace and stride details if you’re a runner. We also considered the watch size. You don’t want a clunky watch. So, we looked at a range of sizes from 38 to 45 millimeters to fit a wider array of nurses and wrist sizes.
Next, we thought about functionality. For some people, being on their phone all day is going to be a problem — especially if they work in a busy hospital or medical facility. So, we did prioritize watches that supported a true hands-free smartphone replacement. As a result, you’ll see that our guide is focused on smartwatches from Samsung and Apple since these two are the primary brands that support calls and texts. We also looked at whether a watch face could be changed to an analog model with a second hand since, for many nurses, this is still important.
And finally, we considered battery life. Considering that many nurses work long shifts, a watch that can’t make it through a 10-hour day isn’t realistic. So, we focused on watches that at least ran for 12 hours but included several that offered multi-day battery ranges.