Looking for a smart watch that’s suitable for smaller wrists? Here are our favorite small smart watches.
Smart watches are ubiquitous. In a short time, they’ve gone from tech novelty to commonplace every-day-carry, and for good reason.
The leading models are almost as capable as smartphones. They’ve got apps, notifications, GPS, and cellular connectivity. They can also track your heart rate during workouts, and they have fully waterproof construction.
There’s no arguing that wearable tech can add real value to daily life. But are there any smart watch for small wrist options out there?
I set out to answer this question and review the top picks. Here are our favorite smart watches for small wrists.
Want the shortlist? Here are our top two picks…
Read on to see the complete list…
Here are the requirements for watches to meet our criteria for this list:
- Case diameter (or at least display size) of 40mm or less
- Smart capabilities: At least smart notifications
- Fitness capabilities: At least heart rate and GPS
- Models from reputable tech companies
Now, let’s discuss other smart watch small wrist features.
Small Size and Fit
Fit is everything. Putting a large watch on a small wrist will never look good. A simple rule of thumb for smaller wrists is to stick to a watch size of 40mm or smaller.
There are plenty of options in that range for a traditional non-smart watch. But it turns out the selection of wearable tech is narrow.
Most smart watches are big and chunky. This criteria narrowed the field dramatically.
I needed to draw some boundaries around what I meant by “smart.” Heart rate monitoring and GPS covers the minimum for recording workouts or sports.
These help track intensity, distances/times, routes, etc. In addition to fitness tracking, part of the convenience of a smart watch is pairing it with your smartphone. This way you get notifications on your wrist.
So, heart rate, GPS, and smart notifications were the minimum requirements.
The last point is maybe the most important. We’re talking about tech. Although style is absolutely a priority, we want products made by companies that specialize in tech, not fashion. It may seem dogmatic, but we’re focused on quality and usability first.
Best Smart Watches for Small Wrists
Here are our favorites…
1. Apple Watch SE (Gen 2)
Strictly speaking, the Apple Watch was the only full-stack flagship smart watch that offered a smaller size (38mm).
When I initially tested various smart watches, I used a 38mm series 3 LTE model with a Verizon data plan. With text and call ability, the LTE connectivity means your watch can act as a phone on its own. It doesn’t need to be within Bluetooth range of your actual phone.
That’s great for outdoor activities like biking or running when you don’t want to carry your phone. The watch is waterproof, making it ideal for near and in-water activities.
Apple is onto the series 5 now, but the smallest option for the 5 is actually a slightly larger case size, although it is also slightly thinner, which is nice.
The improvements between series 3, 4, and 5 are meaningful but incremental. The most notable are a larger display, more computing power, and the same battery life but with an “always on” display (which I’d consider disabling anyway.)
Either way, the build quality is great, and the design is smooth and cool. I found it to go well with casual or smart casual outfits.
Last year, Apple discontinued the Apple Watch Series 3 and replaced it with the Apple Watch SE. The SE features updated tech features of the Series 3. The most significant difference is that Apple no longer makes the 38mm case size. The smallest available size is 40mm.
Regardless of which watch you pick, the build quality is excellent, and the design is smooth and cool. I found it to go well with casual or smart casual outfits.
The Apple watch is popular because the whole ecosystem just works. Even tech guru Marques Brownlee wore an Apple Watch in an interview with Bill Gates. It also has the best selection of apps. My personal favorite is Strong. You can log a full weightlifting workout with this, and the Apple watch was the only smart watch I could do that with.
Apple Watch SE Versus Apple Watch Series 9
The newest model of the Apple Watch is the Series 9. There are vast improvements between the SE and the Series 9. For all intents and purposes, the SE is an affordable base model.
The most notable differences between the two are a larger display and more computing power. They both have the same battery life, but the Series 9 has an “always on” display (which I’d consider disabling anyway.)
The last noticeable difference is in the watch’s health capabilities. Both feature high and low heart rate, irregular rhythm, and low cardio fitness notifications. The Series 9 also has blood oxygen and ECG apps built in.
I feel the SE is a great value. You can go with a Series 9 and get a 41mm watch with all the improved tech it comes with.
2. Samsung Galaxy Watch
Previously, the smallest size Samsung offered their headliner Galaxy Watch was 42mm, and it was a bulky 42mm. As an alternative, Samsung offered the Galaxy Watch Active and Active2 with a 40mm case.
It fell short of the top-of-the-line smart watches by not offering full text and call capabilities. Nor did it have LTE availability. Luckily, Samsung took note of these shortcomings, discontinued the Active series and offered the Galaxy Watch in the 40mm range.
There are technological differences between the two options. However, if you’re on a budget, the Watch4 is perfectly fine. Both watches share the same connectivity, physical user interface, aluminum material, and durability standards.
The Watch6 contains all of the Watch4 features but has a slightly longer battery life, additional health features, blood oxygen and skin temperature sensors, and a bigger memory.
Both watches have Bluetooth connectivity (but you must keep your phone nearby). Or, purchase it with LTE for an additional cost and leave your phone at home. The Watch4 will run you about $170, while the Watch6 has a steeper price tag of $300.
3. Garmin Forerunner 45S
In Garmin’s crowded lineup of options is a 40mm smart watch called the Forerunner 45S, and they market it as a runner’s watch.
Garmin has a good handle on the sports tech market. But, as an overall smart watch, the Forerunner 45S claims the lowest specs in this lineup.
It has smart notifications when paired with your phone, but beyond that, you’re looking at just heart rate and GPS. The display is low resolution and non-touch. Even the construction is a significant step below the others.
But the lacking specs don’t tell the whole story. The Forerunner 45S may not compete well as a general smart watch, but it’s not trying to.
“Garmin specializes in producing quality products that are hyper-focused on sports. The Garmin Forerunner 45S is a purpose-built serious runner’s watch.”
I’m not a serious runner, so I handed it over to my triathlete girlfriend. She picked up on several things that made this watch great for runners.
First are the physical buttons. It turns out that using a tiny touchscreen is difficult and annoying on a run. It’s even worse if it’s cold out and you’re running in gloves. The buttons are more accessible and reliable.
Second is the information displayed. Serious runners aren’t concerned with calories burned. They’re looking for pace, time splits, and other stats.
Finally, the always-on display is more practical than turning your wrist or tapping the screen.
So, while you can certainly use the Apple and Samsung smartwatches on runs, the Garmin is markedly better at it.
4. Fitbit Inspire HR
You might be surprised not to see Fitbit in the official lineup. Fitbit has no smaller option that fits all of our criteria.
The Inspire HR is a solid budget option for a very basic fitness tracker.
Previously we hoped that Google’s acquisition of the company would open the door to more fit options. However, as of late 2023, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
5. Fitbit Luxe
The Fitbit Luxe is stylish and feature-packed. It’s a perfect compromise for someone who wants jewelry-quality style, robust fitness tracking capabilities, and smartwatch functionality in one device.
The Luxe’s slim design, polished stainless steel case, and multiple band options set it apart from the other picks. It features a five-day battery, daily readiness scores, and numerous connectivity options. The Luxe is just as capable of a smart device as any other smart watch.
Fitbit primarily markets the Luxe toward women with many of its colors and band styles. However, the black graphite and stainless steel coloring are also suitable for guys with smaller wrists.
6. Fitbit Inspire 3
Reliable, affordable, simple, and slim, the Fitbit Inspire 3 is ideal for anyone in the market for a health tracker who also wants a handful of smart watch features.
Equipped with the Fitbit app, it can keep track of everything from your activity levels to sleep quality, food logging, and more.
At under 100 dollars, the Inspire 3 is a great way to get started using a small smart watch. Its ultra-lightweight silicone band guarantees a comfortable and barely noticeable wear. Even if you’re not accustomed to wearing a standard wristwatch.
7. Withings Scanwatch 38MM
While many smart watches offer basic health and fitness tracking, few are as highly certified as the Withings Scanwatch.
Withings equips the Scanwatch with a clinically validated electrocardiogram and SpO2 sensor. Therefore, it’s fully capable of delivering the in-depth health data desired by amateur and professional athletes alike.
Aside from its top-of-the-line functionality, the Scanwatch has one of the widest ranges of styles and colors to choose from. You can choose from six cases and twenty bands to mix and match to produce a staggering number of looks.
This personalization makes this an excellent choice for anyone looking for a more fashion-forward small smart watch.
8. Withings Steel HR 36MM
Take a quick glance; you might not realize that the Withings Steel HR watch displays a digital face. Its stainless steel case gives it a sense of weight and heft that plays so well with the digital clock face. You might think it’s a real, physical display.
Alongside its handsome, good looks, the Steel HR also offers a suite of health-tracking features. These features include heart rate monitoring, activity tracking, and sleep quality monitoring. And true to Withings’ style, it’s available in any combination of six different cases and twenty unique bands.
Overall, it’s an excellent fit for anyone reluctant to give up their classic wristwatch but still wants smart watch health tracking features.
9. Garmin Lily
“Classic enough to make a statement. Modern enough to keep you connected.” That’s how Garmin describes their latest version of the Lily watch. And I’d have to agree — it’s one of the most traditionally-styled takes on a smart watch that I’ve seen yet.
The real draw here comes from the Lily’s motion-activated switch from a patterned lens to a touch screen. It’s a spitting image of a classic wristwatch when wearing it at your side.
But with a quick flick of your wrist, it can display health monitoring data, calls, texts, and calendar reminders. All of this information is navigable via the watch’s touchscreen.
All that taken together is why I especially like wearing smart casual office attire with this smart watch.
10. Garmin Vivosmart 5
The Garmin Vivosmart 5 may not look entirely impressive on its surface. Especially with both price and appearance in the middle range of smart watches.
But thanks to Garmin’s attention to detail in their watches, the Vivosmart 5 is loaded with enough unique features. These features make it an attractive option for health-minded wearers.
The Vivosmart 5 tracks the usual suite of heart rate, sleep, and general activity tracking. However, it also tracks your stress levels by monitoring respiration and hydration.
That makes it an effective tool for keeping your total body health on track. Sync it with the Garmin Connect app. You’ll have access to information recorded in real time and displayed in useful graphs and charts.
11. Garmin Venu 2S
The Venu 2S is one of Garmin’s more fashion-forward smart watches. It fully leverages a slate stainless steel bezel and graphite case to create a sleek and sporty look.
But behind the Venu 2S’s appearance lies a host of smart features. And they’re all accessible via the watch’s touch screen. The watch has 25 pre-loaded fitness apps and Apple and Android compatibility. Therefore, it gives you everything you need to stay fit and connected day in and day out.
Another big draw for the Venu 2S is its extra battery life compared to other fashionable smart watches.
With up to 10 days of use in smart watch mode, it’s a very low-maintenance watch. It also takes 10 minutes of charging to restore a day of battery life in smart watch mode. That makes it great for the guy who’s always on the go.
12. Garmin Vivomove 3S
As the more sport-oriented version of Garmin’s Vivosmart, the Vivomove 3S retains the series’ range of case and band options. I think it does a great job of straddling the line between sporty and fashionable. It features a traditional analog watch design — with a digital twist.
All the usual fitness and health tracking suspects are present here. As well as smart notifications, a calendar view, and a handy timer and stopwatch function.
Are you looking for a traditional watch that seamlessly integrates smart features into a classic look? The Vivomove 3S is your best option.
Smart Watch For Small Wrist Comparisons
Specs are hard to compare because everyone has their own way of advertising them. And beyond that, specs never really tell the full story — software and design play a big role.
Still, we have some takeaways…
Apple vs. Android
Impassioned Apple vs. Android fans will take to their sides of the aisle quickly. But don’t jump to conclusions so fast. Consider this:
If you want the newest Galaxy Watch6, it will cost you $60 more than the Apple Watch SE at $299.
In terms of specs, they are similar, with slight differences. It truly comes down to compatibility. The Apple Watch SE integrates seamlessly with your other Apple devices if you’re an Apple user. The same goes for the Galaxy Watch and Android-based devices.
Just like with smartphones, this battle comes down to preference. The good news is both offer some great smart watches for small wrists.
Garmin vs. The Rest
The Garmin only makes sense for runners. Compared to the shiny industry leaders of the smart watch world, Garmin is like a trip back to the year 2000.
Everything about it is dated and lackluster. If I want a retro digital watch look, I’ll just go with a much cooler $15 Casio.
If you’re looking for an all-around smart watch, this is not for you. But if you’re training for a marathon, it is for you. After all, there’s a reason you see endurance athletes almost exclusively wearing Garmin watches.
Smart Watch for Small Wrist Wrapping Up
For now, good smart watch for small wrist picks are limited. Luckily, the leading brands have options.
Depending on your budget and personal preferences, Apple and Samsung have some great models that come in smaller sizes. They’re refined, good-looking, and high quality.
For the dedicated runner looking for a strict sports watch, the Garmin Forerunner is a capable and reasonably sized choice.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below!