The best cheap smartwatch 2023: Great wearable tech that won't cost the earth

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REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
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REASONS TO AVOID
One of the best cheap smartwatches against a yellow background
(Image credit: TechRadar / Fitbit)

The best cheap smartwatch models allow you to track your health and fitness from your wrist, and aren't as prohibitive in terms of price as the premium models. Some of them are a couple of years old but still run just as well, while others sacrifice certain features to bring the price down to manageable levels. However, just because they're economical that doesn't mean they're not capable of seeing you through your wellness journey.

The best smartwatches – like the Apple Watch Ultra – may offer more functionality, but not all of us need all the extra features. The Ultra has a siren for attracting attention, a brometer and altimeter, next-level GPS and can function in extreme temperatures. If you're just looking to do a 10K around your local park, a cheap watch will serve you just as well. Unless you're aiming to take regular ECGs, train for an ultramarathon, or spend your days hiking in the wilderness, you don't really need a top-end wearable. 

You may be tempted by a Google Pixel Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, but the best cheap smartwatches below will do the job just as well. Many of these budget smartwatches can come with vital features like GPS, heart rate monitoring, or a beautiful, responsive screen as well, although at lower price points, you do have to pick and choose which features matter most, as they won't all be featured on a single device.

We've tested most smartwatches on the market so we know a thing or two about what makes a good one tick, even if it's a budget model. Take a look at our picks of the best cheap smartwatches below, including some of the best Android smartwatches and smartwatches for iPhones.

The best cheap smartwatch 2023

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Image of the new Apple Watch SE 2

(Image credit: TechRadar)
The best cheap smartwatch designed by Apple

Specifications

OS: Watch OS 9
Compatibility: iOS
Display: (40mm) 1.53 inches 324 x 394 px. (44mm) 1.78 inches 368 x 448 px
Processor: S8
Onboard storage: 32GB
Battery duration: 18 hours
Charging method: Magnetic charger to USB-C
IP rating: WR50
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3, GPS + Cellular models available

Reasons to buy

+
Typical slick Apple Watch looks
+
GPS enabled
+
New car crash detection
+
Latest watch OS

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than most on the list
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No ECG
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No always-on screen

Even though it's more expensive than most of the cheap entries on this list, as the cheapest watch in Apple's stable, this is the best option for iPhone users looking for a future-proof fitness watch that doesn't cost a bomb. It's 'nylon-infused' at the back, ensuring it's partially made of fabric to cut down on weight ( the new 40mm Apple Watch SE is about 13% lighter than the previous version, and 18% lighter than the 41mm Series 8) .and cost. 

The screen is still as tough as ever though, and it's got the same excellent watch OS 9 as it's more premium contemporaries, so on-wrist running power, vertical oscillation and other key metrics for runners (which even Garmin can't do without a HRM yet) make this one of the best cheap smartwatches for runners. Other fitness stuff includes stroke counts for keen swimmers and the ability to close your rings with movement, whether that's in the great outdoors or using Apple Fitness+, which you also get access to. 

You get additional health benefits including crash detection, which can register impacts and automatically notify emergency services in case of an accident. It comes in two sizes in both GPs and GPS+Cellular, depending on your needs. 

Read our in-depth Apple Watch SE2 review

Fitbit Versa 2

(Image credit: Future)
The best cheap smartwatch for general fitness

Specifications

OS: Fitbit OS
Compatibility: Android, iOS
Display: 1.37in 300 x 300
Processor: N/A
Onboard storage: 2.5GB
Battery duration: Around five days
Charging method: Magnetic connecting pin
IP rating: WR50
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi

Reasons to buy

+
Improved lightweight design
+
Always-on display option
+
Good battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks GPS
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No offline Spotify playback

The Fitbit Versa 2 is proof that affordable smartwatches can rival some of the premium models. Even if it's an older smartwatch at this point, having been succeeded by Versa 3 in 2020 and Versa 4 in 2022, it's still one of the best cheap smartwatches, thanks to its plethora of great features that budget-minded fitness enthusiasts can appreciate.

We found the Versa 2 to be a near-perfect fitness tracker during our testing. It boasts a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for even non-beginners to simply focus on the activity at hand instead of trying to figure out where to go to record their workouts. Even if you forget, it’s smart enough to log any activity 20 minutes or longer as exercise. 

Having Alexa is a nice perk, although we did find the feature to be inconsistent during testing. In addition, there’s no GPS so you need to have your phone with you to accurately record location and distance-based information whenever you’re hiking or going on a run. However, even we bring our phones with us during hikes and runs so this isn’t much of a downside really.

Read our in-depth Fitbit Versa 2 review

An Amazfit Bip U Pro on someone's wrist

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh )
The best cheap smartwatch with GPS under $100

Specifications

OS: RTOS
Compatibility: Android 5+, iOS 10+
Display: 1.43in 320 x 302
Processor: N/A
Onboard storage: N/A
Battery duration: five days
Charging method: Magnetic connecting pin
IP rating: 5 ATM
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0

Reasons to buy

+
Built-in GPS
+
Fitness and tracking features
+
Precise sleep tracking

Reasons to avoid

-
App sync issue
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Notification management

Amazfit Bip U Pro is the best cheap smartwatch if you're limited to that under-$100 price range. The brand is known for its reliable and well-built affordable smartwatches, so you can count on one of their bestsellers to see you through your daily activity tracking needs.

This particular model is an improved version of the highly popular Bip U. And, for a budget smartwatch, it comes with several great features including built-in GPS for outdoor tracking and a voice assistant with Amazon Alexa integration. In fact, it’s one of few budget wearables to have GPS. Amazfit also didn’t just add it for the sake of having it. During our testing, we found that the GPS tracking on this watch works beautifully, giving accurate results.

That might be the most important addition to this update, but there are loads of others to mention as well. It’s got many fitness and health features such as heart rate, SpO2, sleep, and breathing tracking as well as more than 60 workouts and activities, plus a camera shutter.

Read our in-depth Amazfit Bip U Pro review

Garmin Forerunner 55

(Image credit: Future)
The best cheap smartwatch for runners

Specifications

OS: Garmin OS
Compatibility: Android 7+, iOS 13+
Display: 1.04in 208 x 208
Processor: N/A
Onboard storage: N/A
Battery duration: Up to 2 weeks
Charging method: USB-A
IP rating: 5 ATM
Connectivity: 2.4GHz Wireless

Reasons to buy

+
Workout suggestions
+
Recovery time suggestions
+
Well designed controls

Reasons to avoid

-
Relatively low-res display
-
No on-watch sleep widget

There are smartwatches, and there are smartwatches for running. And, the Garmin Forerunner 55 is the best cheap smartwatch for running you'll find on the market, undercutting the Apple Watch SE 2 on price and nearly equaling it in running features. It’s an entry-level model, setting you back for much less than other advanced running smartwatches, but it’s a thoughtfully-designed one that’s a step-up from a basic fitness tracker with a design that’s new-user-friendly.

During our tests, we found the new workout suggestions to be the most useful features, as they not only encourage beginners, but also expand their workout options and allow them to discover new ones. The recommended rest time at the end of a workout is fantastic as well. 

Of course, specifically for runners, it features Garmin’s brilliant on-board GPS. In our tests it established a lock extremely quickly and recorded a three-mile route to within a few yards. That’s on top of the other tools included specifically to help you become a better runner.

Read our in-depth Garmin Forerunner 55 review

Garmin Descent G1

(Image credit: Garmin)

5. Garmin Descent G1

The best cheap divers watch

Specifications

OS: Garmin OS
Compatibility: Android, iOS
Display: 0.9in 176 x 176
Processor: N/A
Onboard storage: N/A
Battery duration: Up to 48 days
Charging method: USB-A charging clip
IP rating: 10 ATM
Connectivity: Bluetooth, ANT+

Reasons to buy

+
Great as a lifestyle smartwatch with dive-specific features
+
Much more affordable than other options

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as powerful as dive computers
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Still pretty expensive if you’re just looking for a smartwatch

Although we haven’t reviewed the Garmin Descent G1 just yet, it’s a highly-recommended smartwatch for divers looking for a more affordable option. Dive watches aren’t cheap for good reason, but this one from Garmin offers budget-minded and beginner divers an option that’s almost half the price of its rivals while still boasting many dive-specific features.

That includes its display that’s crystal clear especially in dive mode, leak-proof buttons, and an up to 100m dive rating. There are several dive modes on hand as well, including apnea and apnea hunt mode as well as freedive modes. Meanwhile, the display will give you access to vital dive information such as a 3-axis compass, depth, deco-stop requirements, and residual nitrogen.

As this is more of a lifestyle-slash-dive smartwatch hybrid, you’ll find lifestyle-specific features as well like health monitoring, biometric tracking, and sleep monitoring. Best of all, it has a battery life of 25 hours (diving) and up to four months when used as just a smartwatch.

How to choose the best cheap smartwatch for you

Besides the price, it's important to check its compatibility with your phone, as some smartwatches aren't compatible with an iPhone, for example. There's also the battery life and the features. 

If you're a runner, it's important to get the best cheap smartwatch for running as it'll have running-specific features that others might not have. If you need to track your sleep, a longer battery life certainly important as you don't want to be charging twice a day.

Don't expect the latest Apple or Samsung flagships to be on the list, as those tend to sit at a much higher price point and out of people's reach if they're looking for a cheaper option. However, as we mentioned earlier, 'cheap' can be relative. A cheap regular smartwatch is going to be considerably more affordable than a budget smartwatch for divers. Keep that in mind when looking at your options.

How we test smartwatches

Although not every smartwatch on this list has been fully tested by us, our smartwatch experts have more than enough experience to know exactly what makes them tick and what makes an excellent choice. 

Those we have reviewed, however, we have put through their paces. To ensure that every cheap smartwatch gets fully tested in the real world, we use it as our own personal wearable for a week or so. We also perform a comprehensive sweep of its features – at least the most important ones, and varied usage over multiple days to give us a clear idea of how battery life performs. Once we have all the information we need, we compare it with its price tag to see if it's a great value and worth recommending to readers. 

Matt Evans
Fitness, Wellness, and Wearables Editor

Matt is TechRadar's expert on all things fitness, wellness and wearable tech. A former staffer at Men's Health, he holds a Master's Degree in journalism from Cardiff and has written for brands like Runner's World, Women's Health, Men's Fitness, LiveScience and Fit&Well on everything fitness tech, exercise, nutrition and mental wellbeing.


Matt's a keen runner, ex-kickboxer, not averse to the odd yoga flow, and insists everyone should stretch every morning. When he’s not training or writing about health and fitness, he can be found reading doorstop-thick fantasy books with lots of fictional maps in them.