A tactical smartwatch is a specific type of useful smartwatch for outdoor activities, helping with tracking, GPS location, and much more. Since it has a high level of standards at the military-grade level, tactical watches are great for those who spend a lot of their free time in the great outdoors.
Check out our top 10 list to find out the best smartwatches to purchase this year.
Top 10 Tactical Smartwatches
Tactical smartwatches are among one of the best choices for those who are interested in mountaineering, exploring, or solo traveling. With numerous helpful features, such as navigational maps, health tracking, and smartphone compatibility, tactical smartwatches combine function and convenience.
Before you go to the store and buy the best watch for your needs, check out the top ten smartwatches currently on the market.
1. Garmin Instinct
The Garmin Instinct is a lower-priced option that provides similar benefits and functionalities as a more exercise watch. With valuable features like the intelligent GPS, long-lasting battery life, weather updates, water resistance, and fiber-reinforced polymer dial, this tactical watch is not only stylish, but long-lasting.
The main features you will love with the Garmin Instinct watch are the trackback features, Garmin Connect to others in the fitness community, and long-lasting battery life of 16 hours when in GPS mode. If you are frequently outside on long hikes or runs, having a watch with extended battery life is critical.
Garmin is a reliable company that has produced dozens of watches over the years. This tactical smartwatch offers GPS tracking in the water, safety features, heart rate accuracy, and premium features. However, the only reason users may consider going with something else for their purchase is the shorter battery life.
The Garmin Instinct comes in various colors that can work for your unique personality and style, coming in a bright yellow and more muted tones and shades. This watch contains multi-GNSS satellite support, outdoor sensors, smartphone compatibility, exclusive app, the 14-day battery life in smartwatch mode, and military-grade toughness.
The Garmin Instinct can keep you connected while on the go for your busy lifestyle. You never have to worry about not being able to send a text message or deliver emails with the Instinct. This watch features smart notification with your compatible smartphone, satellite communication for extra safety and remote connection options, and the ability to pair with dog tracking devices like the Astro or Alpha.
- Very comparable for all day use
- Lightweight to avoid any nagging or uncomfortable
- accurate GPS while on the go outside in the forest or in the city center
- Does not contain some of the more basic fitness and workout features
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2. Suunto 7
If you want to try something different and a little more unique than the typical smartwatch or Garmin, check out the Suunto 7. Although this watch is not as sleek and aesthetic looking as other choices that seem more like an Apple Watch in shape size, this watch is ideal for sport and athletic use.
With four buttons that make it easier to see your trail runs, workout stats, time, and notification on your screen, this is all you need. The touch buttons make everything fast, easy, and straightforward.
We love the durability and resistance of this watch. Instead of the Suunto 3 that can seem more fragile and less durable than the other options, the Suunto 7 is water-resistant up to 50 meters and extremely protective and resistant to scratches, falls, and snags on clothing items.
Not only is this watch durable and heavy-duty for onsite use, but the features of this smartwatch also make it one of the top choices for user use. The sensors are fast and accurate, making this a smart option for indoor and outdoor activities. For those who enjoy backpacking, remote trail running, and camping trips, check out the Suunto 7.
Lastly, the battery life of this watch is highly comparable to other top-of-the-line options. On battery saver mode, this watch can last a whopping 40 days without recharge. If you want to use this tactical smartwatch with your smartphone and for workout usage, then you can enjoy two days of charging-free use while on the go and talking with your friends.
- Features a more prominent display that is easy to see
- Durable for long-lasting use in harsh conditions
- Contains extensive health tracking and other apps
- Glitches when you are using multiple apps
- Battery life is short for smartwatch use
- Does not contain any external heart rate sensor support
3. Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar
The Garmin Fenix 7X comes from arguably the most well-known tactical smartwatch brand in the world – Garmin. This Fenix 7X has a larger dial making it easier to see the screen whether you’re sitting at your desk or trail running through the wilderness. Sometimes bigger screens and straps can make a watch feel bulky and clunky, but the Garmin Fenix 7x packs so much information onto the screen, it’s worth the added bulk.
The always-on display means you never have to fiddle with your watch to check your stats, including heart rate, stress, sleep, and pulse oximetry. There’s even an LED flashlight built-in for nighttime activities. Plus, the Garmin Fenix 7x includes preloaded topo maps to use with the built-in navigation sensors so you always know you’re on the right track.
The Garmin Fenix 7X is durable, reliable, and hard-wearing, even during harsh weather conditions and tough terrain. You will never have to worry about scratching your watch on a rock or tree branch, since this watch is highly resistant to drops, dings, scratches, and harsh weather. Its massive display and durable case are proven tough enough for the US Military in terms of shock, temperature, and water resistance.
This watch does not skimp on features or aesthetics. The 1.4-inch watch display is massive, but it still manages to look and feel perfectly wearable. The watch design is sporty and stylish, looking every bit as tough as it is. Sure, you could wear it with a nice suit, and it will certainly turn some heads if you do, but Garmin Fenix 7x looks much more at home in the gym or the great outdoors.
The digital display is loaded with helpful information, including real-time stamina reports, rounds, reps, intervals, and even a visual pace predictor that estimates your pace over a given distance based on your historical runs. And with the large screen, you’ll have no trouble running any of the pre-loaded sports apps.
Large screens often mean limited battery life, but that’s not the case with the Garmin Fenix 7x. In fact, this watch has built-in solar charging that extends the battery life to a whopping 37 days outdoors, or 122 hours in GPS mode. That’s over five days of tracking, monitoring, and navigating, which is almost unheard of.
- Very accurate heart rate for intense athletes
- Absolutely incredible battery life thanks to solar charging capability
- Tons of sensors to track everything from heart rate to elevation
- Preloaded sports apps and topo maps
- Definitely on the more expensive side, compared to other watches on this list.
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4. Amazfit T-Rex
The Amazfit T-Rex is one of the most popular products of Amazfit, a new and the-friendly company that is making other staples in the industry run for their money. Instead of solely looking at Garmin watches, consider browsing newer brands like Amazfit to find reliable, forward-thinking, and military-specific watches for tactical use.
These watches are specifically designed for outdoor use, sport use, and military purposes. For those who need a bigger tactical watch that can tick all of the required boxes, the T-Rex is a great starting point. The Amazfit T-Rex is a tactical smartwatch that passed 12 military-grade certifications, showing how it can hold its own in terms of features, design, durability, and navigation.
We also love the display of the new Amazfit T-REx watch. Compared to previous models, where the screen is a bit blurry and glitchy, the new 1.3” display is more aesthetic and easier to read than the past models.
Not only does the watch look appealing and attractive, but the Amazfit watch provides you with GPS for finding routes, a long battery life, dual satellite positioning, and waterproof to 50 meters, meaning you can wear it anywhere and everywhere without a worry.
We recommend checking out this navigational watch for sport and tactical use, as it contains 14 sport modes for both indoor and outdoor activities like walking, hiking, cycling, skiing, etc.
You don’t have to worry about your watch dying while you are on a long and arduous hike. This watch contains 20 hours of battery life on GPS, which is one of the longest-lasting options that you can find on the market today. Plus, when you don’t need to use GPS and satellite positioning, you can use this watch on battery saver mode for almost three weeks of consistent life.
- Very long-lasting battery life, even while using GPS mode
- Durable and long-lasting for use in various weather conditions
- Accurate GPS for confidence and reliability while finding directions on-the-go
- Best budget watch for those who want numerous features and durability
- Takes more time to connect with your smartphone than other options
- Does not contain as many basic health tracking features
5. Garmin Vivoactive 3
The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is one of the most popular and highest-selling options from Garmin. Featuring a highly accurate location and numerous other features that are attractive compared to the cost of different tactical smartwatches on the market, this durable and features-heavy option is suitable for those who want a high-performing option without breaking the bank.
Featuring over 15 indoor sports apps, you can wear this watch to your gym either before or after work and enjoy tracking your health stats. The Vivoactive provides body feedback and reliable statistics that make it easy for you to track your workouts and recovery. Seeing how your body, heart rates, and breathing responds to exercise can help provide insight into the best types of exercise for your needs.
Not to mention, if you enjoy switching up your exercise routine and trying something new, then you can purchase items with the contactless payment option that this Garmin features. In addition to the basic features, you can purchase low-priced apps and features for additional benefits of the watch.
The versatility of this watch makes it usable for both indoor-related sports and outdoor-use due to the tracking, navigational features, and smartphone compatibility. Since there are so many tracking features possibilities, such as indoor and outdoor sport options, you can use this in any environment with confidence the durability can handle water, scratches, and dust.
- Features built-in sports apps for both indoor and outdoor use
- Stylish and aesthetic use for wearing to the gym and to work
- Garmin Connect app increases reliability and functionality
- Features numerous graphical skins for personalization
- Does not contain advanced metrics for more accurate tracking
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6. Suunto 5
The Suunto 5 is another smartwatch and tactical watch from Suunto that rings in at the top of its class. For a mid-range watch, the Suunto 5 has enough features to categorize it as a high-quality and high-end option – but for a much lower price point. With a lightweight construction and durable body, it combines the best of both worlds – wearing comfort with long-term durability for multi-season use.
You will not lack any additional or necessary features for tactical or smartwatches. With GPS to find out where you are and where you want to go, ABC sensors (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass), weather updates, and altitude measurements, you never have to worry about the weather, where you are headed, and your precise location.
The exterior material of the watch is stainless steel and mineral glass, making it a long-lasting and stylish smart tactical watch that will not succumb to any scratches, heat, or dust. In addition, you can use this watch in differing weather conditions, such as up to 50 meters deep submerged in water or torrential downpours in the mountains.
It is not just the exterior that is nice with this watch. Inside of this tactical smartwatch, we love the various indoor and outdoor activity trackers, personalizing and adding customized workouts and exercises, VO2 max tracker, and analysis of calories burned, sleeping, and distance covered each day during your workouts and during your everyday life.
The Suunto 5 is better than other more pricier options without sacrificing function. With the lower price point and the long-lasting battery life, there is no reason not to choose this watch as one of your first smartwatches.
- Very accurate GPS for both indoor and outdoor use
- Accurate elevation while hiking and doing winter sports in the mountains
- Features a 5 button design for increased functionality and ease of use
- The screen is smaller and does not contain a touch-screen for added compatibility
- Limited to only using the Suunto app for upgrades
7. Casio G-Shock GBDH1000-1A7
This tactical smartwatch from Casio is one of our top choices on the market today — and here is why. For those who are into rugged outdoor sports, such as sailing in the open water, snowboarding down rugged mountain faces, hiking alone in the wilderness, or doing extreme sports on steep slopes, the sporty Casio G-Shock can provide with all of the durability and style.
This watch is specifically designed for outdoor use, extreme weather, and long-term use. The stainless steel 55 millimeter case is shock resistant and water resistant up to 200 meters, and the mineral glass protection keeps the watch face intact. Whether you’re climbing up a rock face, skiing down a slope, or free diving in underwater caves, your Casio G-Shock is up to the task.
With five sensors in the watch, you can gather important data that can help you improve your analysis of your daily life. Featuring magnetic, thermo, and pressure sensors, you can analyze the current statistics of your environment, GPS precise tracking, and compass bearing, ensuring you never get lost while you are out in the world alone.
We also love the Automatic time adjustment on the watch. The automatic time adjustment receives incoming GPS signals and automatically changes the time without you having to do a thing.
Not only is this watch suitable for extreme outdoor use and interesting athletics, but this G-SHOCK Watch is also extremely suitable for fitness use, in the gym, or out in the world. The Casio G-SHOCK watch measures important body stats, such as blood flow, heart rate, blood pressure, skin temperature, and other statistics that provides insight into how you are feeling in your daily life and the process of recovering from your workouts.
Even the most active athlete isn’t on the run all the time, and your smartwatch still needs to be useful in your everyday life. When you’re not at the gym or out in the wilderness, the Casio G-Shock’s Bluetooth capabilities give you access to your messages, calendar, and more, right on your home screen.
At home, you can use your preferred health tracking app to integrate the data from your Casio G-Shock. Track your sleep, stress level, and more using the data from your smartwatch so you can make informed decisions about your health and fitness routines.
- Very rugged for extreme durability during outdoor use thanks to heavy-duty stainless steel 55 millimeter case
- Bold, sporty colors are sharp and stylish
- Solar battery charging extends battery life
- Comfortable for all-day use
- Limited activity functions – no hiking, cycling, etc.
- Information can be hard to read on the screen
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8. Garmin Tactix Delta
With a name like “Delta,” you know that this tactical smartwatch has to be up to the toughest of extreme activities. Featuring a full-color topographical map that can help you find your precise location no matter where you are, this GPS smartwatch is essential for those who demand nothing less than perfect location accuracy.
Some so-called “tactical” smartwatches aren’t much more than a fitness tracker, but the Garmin Tactix Delta is a watch for truly intense activities. The always-on display helps you see your most critical data at a glance without slowing down, and the ABC (altimeter, barometer, compass) sensors are perfect for helping you plan every move.
Plus, the Garmin Tactix watch has tactical special features, making this a perfect watch for tactical and military use, such as the waypoint projection, GPS formatting, and pre-loaded tactical activities. The on-screen map is so precise, you can see federal and public lands boundary lines in bright, bold color.
The Garmin Tactix Delta goes even further. It relies on multiple global satellite systems for pinpoint accuracy, allows you to sync your location with others, and saves remote waypoint positions to help you navigate on the go. Jumpmaster Mode even detects high-altitude release points to help you get to where you’re going on the ground.
When you’re out in the field, you need your watch to be tough, but it needs to be stylish back at home, too. The Garmin Tactix Delta watch is sleek AND functional. We like the rugged black Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) coated steel bezel, metal rear cover, and stainless steel buttons, making it possible to wear this watch with both stylish and sport clothes.
What separates the Garmin Tactix Delta smartwatch from other smartwatches and fitness trackers is its array of security features. A built-in killswitch wipes all user data with the (intentional) press of a button, and stealth mode blocks all Bluetooth, GPS, and other location data to keep your whereabouts private.
At night, you can switch the Garmin Tactix Delta to Night Vision mode, which turns off the standard lights, making your data visible through night vision goggles. These kinds of tactical advantages are unique and well worth the cost of this powerful watch.
- Solar charging feature extends battery life to multiple weeks
- Accurate satellite-based navigation system
- Powerful security features for the tactical professional
- Tons of customizable watch skins for personalization
- Even the base model is pricey, with more features available on more expensive models
9. G-Shock GPR B1000 Rangeman
The G-Shock GPR B1000 Rangeman is a tactical smartwatch that works well for GPS navigation, saving and tacking point data, smartphone compatibility, and manually creating routes to follow in your watch. The triple ABC sensor is not only a draw that makes this a more popular watch, but it works well for getting your bearings while in the wild.
Since this watch can save track and point data, you can remember where you have hiked in the past, where you have explored, and where you want to visit in the future. Plus, this watch is tech-friendly and feature-heavy, making it possible to use Bluetooth to connect with your smartphone and update your data on the G-Shock Connected app.
The GPR B1000 contains two different charging systems, making it a smart choice for those who do a lot of off-grid living and backpacking. Since you will not be able to use a plug-in wall outlet every time to charge your watch, you can use a solar charging system to add some juice to your watch and stay connected.
Some of the best parts about this tactical smartwatch are the comfortable strap, carbon fiber reinforcement for added durability, recharging attachment, easy-to-use onboard menu, and lack of requirement of phone connectivity for use.
- The exterior is heavy duty and durable
- Features dust and mud-resistant materials and structure
- 33 hours of battery life on a wireless charge of just 5 hours
- Aesthetic is not suitable for office and sport use
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10. Garmin Forerunner 245
The Garmin Forerunner smartwatch is an advanced sports watch model that will not break the bank or put you in thousands over your budget. It’s perfect for the athlete who needs more specialized data than a standard fitness tracker, but not necessarily all the advanced tactical field data. The Garmin Forerunner gives you just the features you need at just the right price.
The slim, stylish Garmin Forerunner features a streamlined black bezel and textured black wristband that looks good on almost anybody’s wrist due to the slim design and compact shape. With a slimmer wristband and smaller watch face than other watches on this list, you will love the style of this watch for use during workdays and sporting events.
The Garmin Forerunner smartwatch is not only feature-heavy and durable, but it looks good too. It comes in several color options and the simple color display shows your notifications, maps, and details on the watch face clearly.
Lastly, we love the slimmer design and more compact shape than other tactical watches. Most slimmer smartwatches compromise on data to save space, but the Garmin Forerunner still gives you all the information you need to track, plan, and strategize your runs.
The Garmin Forerunner may not have all the advanced field features that other tactical smartwatches may have, but it’s perfect for advanced athletes who want to use performance data to train harder. This watch tracks advanced running dynamics, such as stride length, vertical ratio, and ground contact time balance to help you improve your form and speed. You won’t find that in a military smartwatch.
- Comfortable for all-day use
- Stylish design goes from home to work to the gym
- Bright screen that is easy to see
- Functional apps to help you improve your training tactics
- Mostly for runners; not much data for other sports
Tactical Smartwatch Buying Guide
Before you can purchase the best tactical smartwatch for your specific needs, you need to know what you are looking for. Balancing durability, comfort, and other features with your unique tactical needs is key to making the best buying decision.
The thing that separates a tactical smartwatch from a regular smartwatch is its durability. While one in five Americans use a fitness tracker, they’re not all up to the challenge of adventurous outdoor sports and other activities.
You want to find a watch that can withstand harsh weather, rugged terrain, and everyday use. Some watches are water-resistant up to a certain depth, or shock resistant up to a certain drop height, while others have special glass to protect the face from shattering. Check the specs of each watch carefully to make sure it’s up to your intended use.
Likewise, don’t waste money on features you don’t need. If all you’re doing is tracking your runs to see your progress over time, you don’t need expensive security features like a killswitch or skydiving navigation.
Water vs. Weather Resistance
Another feature to consider when looking for a tactical smartwatch is water resistance, which comes in two main categories: weatherproof and water-resistant. A weatherproof smartwatch can withstand high amounts of rain and snow without getting damaged, while a water-resistant one has protection against mold precipitation or light bouts of snow.
Just because a watch is durable doesn’t mean it has to be uncomfortable. You want to find a watch that can fit against your wrist nicely, does not impede your hand movement, and does not dig into your skin. Metal bands are attractive but can pinch the skin, especially during sports and outdoor activities. Silicone bands provide the ideal balance between comfort and durability.
The last feature to consider when purchasing a tactical smartwatch is to check out the battery life. Battery life is essential for not worrying about your watch dying while you are on the move. If you need to use your GPS while mountaineering or in a new city on your own, then finding a smartwatch that has long-lasting GPS battery life is essential.
If you are more interested in your watch for basic health tracking and battery saver use, then finding a tactical smartwatch with a long-lasting battery saver mode is essential for optimal use.
Finding a tactical smartwatch that meets your needs is essential to long-term functionality, durability, and effectiveness. You can find the best tactical smartwatch by analyzing the price, durability, accuracy, battery life, and features to choose an option that works for both indoor and outdoor use. Whether you’re looking for comfort, app compatibility, or data tracking, there is a tactical smart watch that will fit your needs.