Smartwatches have developed into great gadget companions for your wrist. Despite their compact size, today’s smartwatches couple date and time displays with various notifications, fitness uses and additional apps – so it’s no wonder some might think you can’t get a good smartwatch without spending lots on it.
That’s not entirely true though. The affordable end of the market when it comes to smartwatches is limited, there’s no denying that, but there are also solid budget options out there that won’t disappoint you.
We’ve put together this guide on the best affordable smartwatches right now – just the good cheap buys, mind you – so unlike our best smartwatch guide this isn’t as fit to burst with the latest and greatest products.
Instead this is more of a selection of our favorite products we’ve tested from across the spectrum, but the aim here is to only recommend products that cost under £150 / $150.
Prices may vary over time, so you may see some of the prices in this list edge just above that. None of the devices on this list should hit extortionate levels though. Scroll down below for our selection of the best affordable devices you can strap to your wrist in 2018, ready to wear into 2019 and beyond.
1. TicWatch E
A fully-loaded Wear OS watch you’ve never heard of
OS: Wear OS | Compatibility: Android/iOS | Display: 1.4″ 400 x 400 OLED | Processor: MediaTek MT2601 | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 24h | Charging method: Magnetic connecting pin | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1
Accurate GPS and heart rate sensor
Design won’t suit everyone
Not-so-elegant charging method
This isn’t the cheapest device on the list, but it’s one of our absolute favorites. Sporting Wear OS software that’s compatible with both iOS and Android devices, this full blown smartwatch offers access to all of the Wear OS apps the Google Play Store has to offer.
There’s GPS as well as a heart rate sensor so it’s suitable as a basic fitness device, but it’s also suitable to wear day-to-day with a solid design that suits most occasions.
Don’t expect this to be the fastest, most powerful or have the longest battery life on a smartwatch. That said, it does everything quite well for an affordable price, making it our number one pick for best cheap smartwatch.
Read our full TicWatch E review
2. Amazfit Bip
Looks like an Apple Watch, but it’s not as smart
OS: Amazfit OS | Compatibility: Android/iOS | Display: 1.28″ 400 x 400 LCD | Processor: MediaTek N/A | Onboard storage: Just for fitness data | Battery duration: Up to 45 days | Charging method: Proprietary charger | IP rating: IP68 | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4
Excellent companion app
Auto-pause feature doesn’t work
OK, this isn’t the most inventive smartwatch you’re going to find to buy in 2018, but it is one of the cheapest. In fact, it may even be the most affordable watch that is actually worth buying.
It looks quite like an Apple Watch, but this device is a whopping six times cheaper than a top-end Apple Watch Series 4 when bought brand new.
It doesn’t do anywhere near as much as the Apple Watch, but it does sport some incredible battery life at 45 days and lots of features for cyclists and runners including a heart rate sensor.
Read our full Amazfit Bip review
3. Garmin Forerunner 30
A pared-back run tracker that packs in some serious features
OS: Garmin OS | Compatibility: Android/iOS | Display: 0.93″ 128 x 128 | Processor: N/A | Onboard storage: Just for fitness data | Battery duration: Up to 5 days | Charging method: Proprietary charger | IP rating: N/A (Garmin claims 5 ATM) | Connectivity: Bluetooth
Design isn’t incredible
The Garmin Forerunner 30 is the first dedicated fitness watch you’ll find on this list, and this is mostly built for runners. It’s a device you’ll want to wear if you’re big into your jogging, but it does have some features suitable for cyclists too.
It has GPS onboard, a heart rate monitor – that we found to be accurate in our testing – and a few other features that make is stand out as one of the most affordable running watches.
It has a VO2 Max monitor, which allows you to record your fitness level over time. That’s something that is usually reserved for top-end devices, and this is one of the cheapest devices to feature that.
There’s no touchscreen here to interact with the watch, but it does have a fantastic app that you’ll be using to control it.
Read the full Garmin Forerunner 30 review
4. Polar M200
Another running watch for your consideration
OS: Polar OS | Compatibility: Android/iOS | Display: 26mm diameter | Processor: N/A | Onboard storage: Just for fitness data | Battery duration: Up to 6 days | Charging method: Proprietary charger | IP rating: N/A (Polar claims water resistant) | Connectivity: Bluetooth
Good battery life
Not a premium design
The Polar M200 is one of the most affordable running watches money can buy and you’ll find it includes almost all of the fitness features you’ll want from a smartwatch.
We found the GPS could be a little slow at times, and the design isn’t as premium as some of the other devices we’ve seen from Polar, but apart this is a solid running watch with great battery life.
This won’t offer notifications and apps like some of the other devices on this list, but if fitness is the main aim for you the Polar M200 is an affordable choice that offers a variety of top features.
Read the full Polar M200 review
5. Fitbit Blaze
Looks like a smartwatch, acts like a fitness tracker
OS: Fitbit OS | Compatibility: Android/iOS | Display: Color LCD | Processor: N/A | Onboard storage: 7 days of fitness data | Battery duration: Up to 5 days | Charging method: Proprietary charger | IP rating: N/A (Fitbit claims water resistant) | Connectivity: Bluetooth
Excellent companion app
Auto-pause feature doesn’t work
OK, this one isn’t strictly a smartwatch. Again, like some of the watches above this, it won’t offer a full blown smartwatch experience and tries to be much more of a fitness tracker with a smartwatch look.
We decided to include it here though as the price has dropped in recent years, and it’s in the right price bracket. We prefer the Fitbit Versa, but it’s still a touch too expensive for us to refer to it as ‘cheap’.
The Fitbit Blaze may not be the best looking device, but it comes with a heart rate tracker and all the benefits of the Fitbit ecosystem. Just note this won’t run the same Fitbit apps you’ve seen on your friend’s Fitbit Versa or Fitbit Ionic.
This is a much more parred down experience, but it may suit you if you’re looking for a device that looks like a watch and offers notifications as well as some health tracking options too.
Read the full Fitbit Blaze review