Best Smartwatches for Women

These models from Apple, Fitbit, and others are less bulky and offer more color options and features

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Apple Watch Series 7 Photo: Apple

Many of the nearly 50 smartwatches in CR’s ratings do a great job with all kinds of functions—accurately counting steps, easily pairing with a phone, monitoring your health, and letting you keep track of text messages and voice calls. They work well regardless of your gender.

But some women find that many smartwatches are sized uncomfortably large for them, with substantial cases that are 47mm or even bigger and feel clumsy on their wrists. A loose fit can also affect the accuracy of heart-rate and pulse oxygen sensors.

We’ve combed through our ratings to find smartwatch models that should work better for women with narrow wrists. A number of our picks also provide more diverse design choices, which could appeal to people of any gender who want more stylish watches.

More on Smartwatches

In addition to features, fit, and style, which watch is best for you also depends on your smartphone. If you rely on an iPhone, you might consider an Apple Watch since you can use many of the same apps you’re using on your phone, although other smartphone options will work for you, too. And when it comes to Android phones, for example, Samsung’s watches have additional functionality when used with the company’s own phones. Other smartwatches, like Fitbit’s, make sense if you like and use one of the company’s fitness trackers and store data on the associated app.

All of these smartwatches have been evaluated by Consumer Reports’ expert testers. They’ve reviewed scores of models over the years, evaluating their ease of use, their performance in tracking steps and heart rate, their ability to withstand water and scratches, and much more.

As always, these devices were purchased for our labs through the usual retail channels. No freebies for us.

Apple Watch Series 7

Which Apple watch model is best for you? That depends in large part on how you plan to wear it.

If you’ll use your Apple Watch primarily as a fitness tool—with design options as an afterthought—consider the straightforward Apple Watch SE, which comes in two case sizes, a 44-mm and a smaller 40-mm version. This watch functions nearly the same as the Series 7 described below but costs around $200 less, going for $225 or so.

If you’re looking for a design that will also work in business or social settings, the Apple Watch Series 7, which comes in a 45-mm and 41-mm case size, could be a better choice.

The basic Series 7 features an aluminum case that comes in several colors, from an elegant deep green to a bold red. It’s also available with a posh stainless steel case in both silver and gold with the option of a Milanese loop mesh band. And if you want to push the boundaries of style even further, Apple sells a variety of Hermes-edition models with luxurious single and double loop straps—and price tags to match. You can quickly swap your spendy leather strap for a silicone band for a trip to the gym.

Both Apple watches get high ratings from our testers for basics such as ease of use, step counting, and heart-rate tracking. All Apple Watches offer a built-in mic and speaker for taking phone calls, built-in GPS for tracking distance workouts, and oodles of apps to help you customize your device, including a Cycle Tracking app that can help you track menstrual cycles from your watch. All Apple Watches can also make distress phone calls to your emergency contacts, and have a fall-detection feature that can call for help if you fall while running or crash on your bike.

The Series 7 also includes a blood oxygen sensor that helps with sleep tracking.

The one drawback to all Apple Watch models is the limited battery life. They’re good for about 18 hours on a charge, which means you’ll be plugging in your watch every day.

Samsung Galaxy Watch4

Samsung’s latest smartwatch is aimed squarely at people who use its smartphones. The Galaxy Watch4 comes in a 40-mm size that could appeal to many women. (We didn’t test the smaller model in our labs, but we expect its performance to be similar to the larger model’s, which we did evaluate.)

The Watch4’s bright, round AMOLED display can showcase a variety of interesting watch faces and also has a mic and speaker for handling phone calls, as well as fall detection and SOS calling.

The Galaxy Watch4 offers a robust suite of health and fitness functions, including a blood oxygen sensor, ECG monitoring (which could detect irregularities in heart rhythm), and even a sensor that’s supposed to estimate body fat.

But if your Android smartphone isn’t made by Samsung, you won’t be able to tap the Watch4’s full capabilities, including the fitness features, like menstrual tracking, found under the Samsung Health umbrella. Another drawback: The Samsung Galaxy Watch4’s claimed battery life of two days is also short compared to some of its competitors’.

Fossil Gen 6

Unlike other smartwatch brands, Fossil comes right out and sells separate women’s and men’s versions of its Gen 6 smartwatch.

The Fossil Gen 6, which works with Android phones and iPhones, features stand-alone GPS, which helps runners and cyclists track their workouts, and a blood oxygen sensor that may improve sleep tracking. The Gen 6 provides the rather basic Google Fit suite of health and fitness apps, which makes it a less-than-great fitness tracker. (We tested a 44mm version of the watch, but expect the smaller 42mm version to work equally well.)

The women’s models offer significantly different styling from the men’s versions, with stainless steel cases in rose gold, gunmetal, or silver, some with a decorative bezel. Band choices include a blush-colored silicone strap and mesh and link-style stainless steel bracelets in a finish that matches the case.

For the moment, the Gen 6 uses Google’s older Wear OS2 operating system, but later in 2022 it’s slotted to get Google’s Wear OS3 operating system, which supports apps like Google Maps and YouTube in a slicker, smartphonelike interface. The Fossil Gen 6’s claimed battery life is only a day, which is relatively short.

Fitbit Versa 3

If you have a Fitbit fitness tracker and use the associated smartphone app, you’re likely to feel at home with the inexpensive and versatile Versa 3. The model works with Android phones and iPhones (although iPhone users may still prefer the more seamless interaction with an Apple Watch). Its color display is larger than the company’s fitness trackers, which makes it easier to see the results of your workouts without opening your phone.

The Versa 3 has built-in GPS, which allows you to go for a run or ride without taking your smartphone along, plus a blood oxygen sensor, which enhances its sleep tracking capabilities. It also has a mic and a speaker that allow you to take calls via a Bluetooth connection to your smartphone. Our testers found the Versa 3 to be a solid performer when it comes to counting steps and tracking heart rate.

In terms of styling, the Versa 3 is a smartwatch that looks and feels a bit more like a fitness tracker than the other options on this list. For some folks, that might mean it’s not your first choice for an important meeting or evening out, although it comes in a pink clay/soft gold color combination in addition to basic black. The Versa 3 also lacks the stress-tracking features found on Fitbit’s higher-end Sense smartwatch.


Allen St. John

I believe that technology has the power to change our lives—for better or for worse. That's why I’ve spent my life reporting and writing about it for outlets of all sorts, from newspapers (such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times) to magazines (Popular Mechanics and Rolling Stone) and even my own books ("Newton’s Football" and "Clapton’s Guitar"). For me, there's no better way to spend a day than talking to a bunch of experts about an important subject and then writing a story that'll help others be smarter and better informed.