Smartwatches are slowly but surely getting smarter and more useful, transitioning from “why do I need this?” devices to ones that make you wonder how you ever lived without them. And crucially they’re doing all that while also dropping in price – at least at the budget end of the market.
Yes, you can still spend big bucks if you opt for an Apple Watch 5 or some of the other very best smartwatches. But many Wear OS watches as well as those running other, lesser-used operating systems, can be a bit of a bargain.
We’ve aimed only to highlight smartwatches that cost under around $150 / £150 here, and for that amount of money you can still often get GPS, NFC, heart rate monitors, decent battery life, and all the smarts you could really expect from a tiny screen on your wrist.
There are usually some compromises, be it in terms of specs or build quality, but if you know what features most matter to you, there’s likely to be a watch that offers them at a reasonable price.
And to help you find it we’ve listed all of the best budget smartwatches below. Our ranking includes specs, pros, cons, and a brief overview of each, so you can see whether they sound right for you. And if you’re interested in any, make sure to click through to our full review for a more in-depth look at them.
- Looking for a bargain? Here's our guide to the best smartwatch deals
- Don't want a smartwatch after all? The best cheap fitness trackers
- Or perhaps you specifically want to run? The best cheap running watches
You've probably already heard of the Fitbit Versa in your search for a new smartwatch, but did you know the company now has a less feature-rich and therefore more affordable version of it? It's called the Fitbit Versa Lite, and it's now our best cheap smartwatch.
It isn't the most comprehensive smartwatch experience as notifications are limited, you can't listen to music and there's no contactless payment tech, but all of that said, if you're looking for an attractive timepiece that tracks your workouts as well as offering a few basic smartwatch features this may suit you.
Before you buy the Fitbit Versa Lite, we'd recommend checking prices for the Fitbit Versa. In some markets it has cost a similar amount to the Lite, and if you can get the original watch you'll get additional features such as music and swim tracking too.
If not, the Fitbit Versa Lite is a great companion if you're looking for a fitness focused smartwatch.
Read our full Fitbit Versa Lite review
The TicWatch E2 isn't a phenomenal upgrade upon the TicWatch E, but it will offer a waterproof design and better battery life for a similar price to the original watch.
The design of this watch hasn't been improved much, so it still doesn't feel particularly premium on your wrist but it's still a good looking piece of tech that we're happy to wear at all times of day.
You'll get around two days of battery life from the watch, there's GPS built-in and swim tracking as well if you like to take your devices into the pool for a dip.
One of the biggest frustrations is the lack of NFC which means you can't use Google Pay on the watch, but you do get all of the rest of the benefits of Wear OS here. That's something nothing else on this list offers.
Read our full TicWatch E2 review
OK, this isn't the most inventive smartwatch you're going to find to buy in 2020, 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
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
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
- Ready to spend a little more? Here's our guide to the best smartwatches
Photo illustration: TechRadar; Mobvoi; Amazfit; Garmin
Source: TechRadar - All the latest technology news
By: James Peckham