May 14, 2021

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Are Garmin devices waterproof? Your guide to Garmin watches for swimming

6 min read

If you like to spend your exercise time on land and in the water, having a watch or fitness tracker that can survive a dip in the pool is likely to be something quite high up on your features wish list.

The good news is that if you’re casting your eye over a Garmin, the wearable maker does a pretty good job of making sure its collection of devices are fit for the water.

Whether that’s letting you it’s for weekly swim workouts or getting in the sea for some open water action, Garmin applies a water rating to all of its latest devices. These ratings dictate how water resistant or waterproof they are and what activities they’re actually most suitable for.

If you’re looking for the one that can really go the distance, we’ve detailed each watch and what they’re capable of when it’s time to grab your goggles.

Which Garmins are water resistant?

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What do Garmin’s water ratings mean?

Garmin notes on its website that it rigorously tests its devices to make sure they’re suitable for the kind of water-based activities they’re designed for. It also lists what each water rating means and determines what activities it can handle to make sure your wearable remains fully functioning after it’s had a watery encounter.

Those two water ratings feature an IP rating, or in the case of most of Garmin’s wearables these days, an ATM rating. When talking about IP, or Ingress Protection ratings, we’re referring to a standard created by the International Electrotechnical Commission. This commission is used to determine how well sealed electrical devices are to withstand moisture and things like dirt.

Some older, non-wearable Garmin devices include an IPX7 water rating. This is defined as something that is able to withstand incidental exposure to water up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. That means it’s something that’s good for splashes, rain, snow and showering. A device with an IPX6 rating is protected against powerful jets of water and is the kind of device suitable for a driving rain or outdoor use in rough sea conditions.

As we said, most Garmin watches and trackers adopt the ATM (atmosphere) water rating, which determines that it has been tested in laboratory to withstand static pressure for a short period of time at a certain depth.

So if you see a Garmin watch or tracker with a 5ATM or ‘Swim’ rating, this is something that able to withstand pressures equivalent to a depth of 50 meters. It doesn’t really mean that it’s suitable for diving at those depths, more being suitable for shallow water activities. That means splashes, rain, snow, showering, swimming, diving into water and even snorkelling.

A Garmin with a 10ATM water rating is defined as something that can withstand pressure to a depth of 100 meters, offering all the same situations where a 5ATM rated device is suitable as well as offer as well being a good fit for high-speed water sports.

Most Garmin wearables offer a 5ATM rating at the very least, or a 10ATM rating for something that’s designed to spend more time in the water. Garmin outlines what all of its water ratings mean on its website, if you’re still unsure.

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