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The madness of the year 2020 has proved just how integral a part in our society nurses play. If it wasn’t for their amazing effort and care, the world would be in a much worse place than it is right now. As a way of saying thank you, I have prepared a list of best smartwatches for nurses to take on 2020 – and beyond.
Apart from just being a great human aid to patients, there are many other things nurses do during their shift. Recording medical history, regular monitoring of patient’s health, administering medications are just a few of many responsibilities. Any equipment that would make the shift a bit easier to deal with is worth its weight in gold. And since I know a thing or two about watches, I thought a great wearable device is something the heroes without capes would embrace.
There are many articles on the web about the best watches for nurses and most of them cover great products. The fact is, though, the majority of regular wristwatches won’t be an improvement on a timepiece that most nurses already own. Smartwatches, on the other hand, bring many helpful features that can make a day at a hospital easier to handle and less stressful.
Taking into consideration a rich list of features, stylish design and budget-friendliness, I selected the top 3 smart watches for nurses currently on offer. If none of them caters to your taste, you will find alternative choices further down the article.
Best Smartwatches for Nurses (Top 3 Reviewed)
Apple Watch 5 Review
If someone asks “what is the best Apple watch for a nurse?”, the answer is always the same: the latest one. With each release, Apple smartwatches come with more and more amenities that even the most demanding watch dorks will appreciate.
As great as the new Apple Watch is, it’s only fair to mention right away that you need to be an iPhone user to use it. One of the very few drawbacks of Apple watches is that they don’t work with Android devices. And unfortunately, it doesn’t look like changing anytime soon. If you don’t own an iPhone and don’t plan on getting one, you can skip to the next product.
Looks-wise, Apple watches stand out from most other smartwatches with their rectangular cases. Some people love it, some not so much. Being an Apple Watch owner myself, I belong to the first group.
Depending on your own preferences, you can opt for any of the following cases: stainless steel, aluminum, titanium and ceramic. The latter two are exclusively available with Series 5, having been omitted from the previous releases.
Prices vary depending on the case selection and so does the display glass. Watches with aluminum cases come with iON glass, whereas the more expensive stainless steel, titanium and ceramic cases include an ultra scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. The good news is, no matter which one pick, it should withstand anything a day at a hospital throws its way.
Apple Watch series is known for being super design-flexible. You can combine different elements and create a watch that reflects your personality and style. The selection of watch bands, or as Apple calls them, “loops”, is huge. You can pick anything from a sports band to more elegant leather or Milanese loops. Color variations are endless. Just like the list of apps and useful features this device offers.
The two that top the list are the heart-rate monitor and sleep quality tracker. Monitoring your own well-being is just as important as caring for others and both of these apps will help you do that.
Being frequently in rush, you will also appreciate the fact that Series 5 allows you to read and answer all text messages and calls without reaching for your phone. The newest Apple Watch is also the first one that offers the Always-On Display mode. No more weird wrist acrobatics to check time!
One of the most essential Apple Watch features is that it can work as a standalone mobile device. If you get the cellular version of the product, you will be able to leave your iPhone at home and still perform most of the essential tasks from your wrist.
Since the nature of your job means frequent contact with fluids, the watch being 50m water-resistant is extremely essential, too.
Many Apple Watch users think the battery life could be longer. On average, you can expect the watch to run for about 18 hours. In other words, you won’t escape charging it every day.
Should the price of the newest Apple model ask too much of your budget, older releases (Apple Watch Series 3 or Apple Watch Series 4) are also worth considering. They might not be as feature-rich as the newest model but still, they are probably a better option for an iPhone user than any WearOS smartwatches on the market. On the other hand, getting Apple Watch Series 2 or the first one might feel a bit archaic.
If you’d like to learn even more about what this smartwatch has to offer, read my in-depth Apple Watch Series 5 review.
Ticwatch E Review
When looking for low-cost alternatives, I tried to find products that didn’t go far beyond the $150 mark. There were many but the one that stood out for me in terms of features and user reviews was Ticwatch E Shadow (also known as Ticwatch Express). Hence, it’s my top budget pick, and at the same time, the best smartwatch under $150 a nurse can get.
This particular smartwatch was released in 2017 by a Chinese tech mogul Mobvoi. Since then, it has been enjoying hot reviews across the globe for its rich list of features available at a moderate price. Let’s see what the fuss is all about, then.
From a design point of view, it looks pretty ordinary. The watch case is made from plastic, whereas the band is all silicone. The good news is that both of these materials are quite durable and a breeze to clean.
The round OLED dial is scratch-resistant itself although getting an additional layer of protection for it won’t do any harm. Just like in the case of the Apple product, Ticwatch E comes with the AOD feature. It’s great as checking the time should always be possible without any button-pushing or funny wrist movements. Depending on the day and occasion, you can select from hundreds of free watch faces to suit the mood.
There’s one aspect in which Ticwatch holds a slight advantage over a much more expensive Apple Watch. Namely, it’s compatible with both Android and iOS devices. I’d love to say “take note, Apple!” but the reality is, you won’t enjoy the whole beauty of this watch if you are an iPhone user. Sure, it’s possible to connect the devices but it works just so much smoother with Android. Also, answering calls isn’t possible with an iPhone.
Amongst others, Ticwatch E comes with a built-in GPS that allows you to track your fitness endeavors. The activity tracker includes data such as speed, distance traveled and calories burned. Everyday feature a nurse will definitely find useful is the heart rate monitor.
According to Mobvoi, the average battery life of the smartwatch is somewhere around 48 hours. Should you make the purchase, you will find half of that is probably closer to the truth – especially if you plan on using the AOD display mode. Still, it seems just a bit more efficient in this aspect than the Apple watch.
One thing that Ticwatch E could be a lot better at is the water-resistance. The IP67 standard offered by the model is one of the lowest possible, allowing only occasional splashes (ie. while washing hands or kayaking). Swimming is definitely not recommended.
Fossil Smartwatch Review (Gen 5)
In my opinion, the two brands currently producing the most stylish smartwatches are Fossil and Michael Kors. I had a really tough time picking which one to go with before finally opting for the former. The best-looking smartwatch I could imagine on a nurse’s wrist right now is the Fossil Gen 5.
It’s hard to argue that this watch stands out from the other top picks in terms of the looks. Apart from providing awesome smartwatch experience, it also looks incredibly neat.
The version of the Gen 5 smartwatch I picked here is rose gold and fully made from stainless steel. There are, however, other color variations to select from. You can also get a model with a different strap material (ie. leather or silicone). Similarly to the previous two picks, Fossil Gen 5 offers hundreds of different watch faces you can use for free.
The great news is that, similarly to Apple Watch, all the bands are interchangeable. You can get one for each day of the week if you need to! Considering the nature of your job, I’d recommend anything but leather straps which are a nightmare to clean.
Similarly to the TicWatch model above, Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch works with both iOS and Android devices. You won’t notice that huge a difference in terms of features and comfort of use – whether you own an iPhone or an Android. Most importantly, Gen 5 is the first WearOS smartwatch that allows you to answer calls from your iPhone.
When it comes to other features that need mentioning here, Fossil Gen 5 allows all-day activity tracking with the Google Fit app. Crucially, the heart rate sensor in this model is much more battery-efficient than in the previous series.
And since we are talking about the battery, with Fossil Gen 5 you can expect about 24 hours of use with most of the apps running (including the AOD). Also, this series introduced new battery-saving modes that can prolong the lifespan even by 300%.
Last but not least, any contact with fluids while wearing the watch during your shift shouldn’t bother you. Gen 5 is water-resistant up to 30m which is a considerable improvement on the previously-discussed TicWatch smartwatch.
If the unthinkable happens and, for whatever reason, none of the top 3 nurse smartwatches appeal to you, don’t worry. Below I have listed 2 additional models worth having a look at.
Ticwatch Pro Review
If the best budget smartwatch on the list, Ticwatch E, doesn’t offer enough for your liking, make room for Ticwatch Pro. The version I’m describing here is Pro 4G/LTE which to date is Mobvoi’s proudest release.
So what does this model have that Ticwatch E doesn’t? Well, the most striking difference between both is that Ticwatch Pro can function as a standalone device. TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE is in fact one of the first Wear OS smartwatches to have allowed users the freedom of cellular. In other words, apart from being able to use the watch via Bluetooth connection with your phone, you can also use it as a separate cellular device. The model comes with a preloaded Verizon SIM card and unfortunately, it doesn’t support any other networks just yet.
The design of the watch is a bit more sophisticated as well. Whereas TicWatch E is basically all-plastic, the Pro version comes with a more refined stainless steel bezel. The Corning Gorilla 3 glass used in the Pro model is also an improvement on the Electric Glass in the E model. Durability-wise, it’s simply better and that’s why the Pro model boasts a US Military Standard certified durability.
Apart from the more elaborate look, it also runs smoother. Thanks to the 1GB RAM memory, the risk of any freeze is a lot smaller than with Ticwatch E. Ticwatch Pro can also go longer without the need for recharging. With the Smart Mode, you can extend the battery life to up to 5 days. The ultra power-saving Essential Mode can allow for a full month of use.
What’s more? With Ticwatch Pro, you can use Google Pay for light-quick payments from your wrist. There’s also the proprietary TicSleep app which gives you a great insight into your sleep quality – so you can always be ready to serve others.
Last but not least, the IP68 water-resistance is a level up from what’s on offer with Ticwatch E. Hence, any risk of damaging the watch through contact with fluids during your shift is pretty much non-existent.
Samsung Smartwatch Review (Galaxy)
A list of best smartwatches for nurses wouldn’t feel right without a Samsung Galaxy Watch. Loved by millions of people valuing both style and functionality, it can surely prove to be a great servant for those working in nursing.
The Galaxy watch described here comes in two different case sizes and three different colors. For all nurses with slender wrists, there are two color options to pick from. Rose gold (which I’ve listed here) and black Samsung Galaxy models include 42mm cases. The third, black-silver model was designed with larger wrists in mind, boasting a 46mm case size.
All 3 Samsung Galaxy models come with stainless steel cases and a vast selection of silicone straps. You can choose from more than 10 different band colors to suit your own style and mood. The AMOLED display of the smartwatch is made from Corning Gorilla Glass which is absolutely fine durability-wise.
Just like Apple Watch 5, you can get the version of the smartwatch with or without the LTE support. Of course, models that come with the cellular radio for LTE connectivity cost more. At the same time, they bring the comfort of not having to rely on having your mobile phone with you all the time.
Similarly to any other WearOS smartwatch on this list, it connects with both Android and iOS devices. You can even make and receive phone calls from your wrist while connected to an iPhone which is hardly a given with WearOS wearables. Still, to explore the maximum potential of this awesome gear, it’s highly recommended to use it with an Android phone (a Samsung Galaxy smartphone would be perfect).
I’m glad to say that the Samsung Galaxy watch allows the Always-On-Display mode. With lots of free real-life watch faces to select from, you will be able to trick many people into thinking you are wearing a standard watch instead. To provide an even closer resemblance of a regular wristwatch, there’s an additional “ticking” feature that mimics the sounds of mechanical, automatic or Quartz-powered watches. Very cool idea indeed.
From other features that need pointing out here, the watch comes with a GPS. It makes tracking your fitness endeavors outside super easy. Needless to say, essential smartwatch features like heart rate monitor and sleep quality tracker are available, too. Additional apps that help with everyday stress-management and well-being remind you to keep moving or help you with dedicated breathing exercises.
If you own Samsung home appliances, your life is about to become even more simplified. Based on your daily activity and sleep patterns, Galaxy Watch will help you control appliances such as TV, air conditioner, or vacuum cleaner. All of this can be done through your own, personalized list of commands. On top of that, the watch allows smart payments from your wrists with Samsung Pay.
Considering it’s a smartwatch, the water-resistance up to 50m is really impressive. It will serve as a great protector against any damage caused by frequent contact with fluids at the hospital.
Battery-wise, the Galaxy Watch deserves all the praise coming its way, too. Depending on the version you go for, the battery size will differ. The battery in 42mm models is around 50% smaller than the one fuelling the 46mm smartwatch. Hence, you can expect the bigger Galaxy Watch to require less frequent charging. On average, with most of the apps enabled, you can expect the smartwatch to run for around 2 days. The power-saving mode can prolong that to even a full week.
Picking the Best Nurse Smartwatch: Buying Guide
I did my best to select smartwatches in such a way so they cater to different budgets and tastes. Even though you can’t really go wrong with any of the products feature-wise, there’s always a chance that they might not suit your style. And as we know, there’s no accounting for taste – we all like different stuff. To help you hunt for the right nurse smartwatch on your own, below I have listed all the essential features you should primarily look out for.
As a nurse, you know best that there’s no escaping being in regular contact with water and other fluids. On a regular day at the hospital, you probably wash your hands every few minutes.
Whereas nowadays most standard wristwatches have some level of water-resistance, it’s hardly a given with smartwatches. And that is why it should be one of the first metrics you check for while browsing for smartwatches for nurses online.
If you are buying the smartwatch solely for the purpose of using it during your shift, even the IP67 water-resistance will do. It’s enough to protect your watch against splashes from water that can happen during the aforementioned handwashing. If, on the other hand, you’d like to be able to use the device to track your activity during swimming, you should aim for a higher water-resistance. In such a case, go for at least 50ATM (50m).
If you are about to invest your hard-earned money in a smartwatch, it should serve you for years. The fear of damage in the form of a cracked dial window or hard-to-get-rid-of stains is one of the most common reasons why people are reluctant to go for anything but an inexpensive option.
The truth is, if you are aware of what band, case and glass material is the hardest to break, you can get a smartwatch for life without breaking the bank.
Stainless steel, silicone and resin cases are your best bets. You can opt for more expensive options like titanium but any of the ones mentioned here will be enough.
As far as watch bands are concerned, any of the material types mentioned above is also absolutely fine. One type I’d advise you not to get is a leather strap. I get it, they look neat and elegant. But at the same time, they are most prone to damage and stains – especially while in frequent contact with fluids. If you really like the look of leather straps, pick a watch that allows you to rotate the bands. All smartwatches mentioned in this article have interchangeable straps so that should make it easier for you.
Watch dial is probably the most precious and hardest-to-replace part of a smartwatch. Hence, you should make sure the watch you are about to buy comes with durable glass. Consider smartwatches that come with either of the following: iON glass, Corning Gorilla Glass, mineral crystal or sapphire crystal. The latter is the most scratch-resistant, and thus most expensive, but any of these should do the job.
First things first: just make sure the watch is compatible with your mobile phone. Most smartwatches you will find online work perfectly fine with iPhones and Androids but as we know, Apple Watches don’t.
Also, the fact is you might never experience the full potential of a given smartwatch if the operating system doesn’t match with that of your phone. Hence, I advise iPhone users to go for Apple Watches and people with Android smartphones to go for WearOS devices.
For the smartwatch to be considered suitable for a nurse, it should definitely come with:
- heart rate monitor – an essential part of all smartwatches. It helps you get insight into your own well-being during the day. With a reliable heart rate tracking, you can learn which activities help you with your stress-management and which evoke it the most.
- sleep quality tracker – the importance of a proper rest simply can’t be downplayed. This feature helps you monitor the quality of your sleep, as well as gives you tips on how to improve it. Stay fresh for those that need and count on you!
- GPS – a fully-functioning GPS can make a huge difference. Not only does it allow you to find the way to a selected destination without reaching for your mobile phone but it also provides an in-depth look into your fitness endeavors, such as distance traveled, average pace, etc.
- AOD – the Always-On-Display is an integral part of most smartwatches coming out these days. And rightly so – a smartwatch should first and foremost feel like an actual watch. Therefore, it must allow you to check the time without having to push any buttons or make funny wrist movements. Consider it as a must-have feature!
On top of all the features mentioned above, make sure the smartwatch allows for reading messages and answering calls. A large selection of free watch faces suiting different occasions would be great as well.
How you exploit your smartwatch will have great bearing on how long it works without plugging in. It’s only natural for us to want to use as many cool apps as possible. And it’s our divine right to do so (especially if we spend a good amount of money on it). This is why the battery lifespan should be one of the most important metrics you have a glance at.
As a rule of thumb, consider only smartwatches that ensure at least 18 hours of use with most of the apps enabled. By most of the apps, I mean AOD, round-the-clock heart rate & activity monitoring, calorie counter, etc. You need to at least be able to get through your day without having to worry about running out of gas.
What’s also important when it comes to batteries is the availability of power-saving modes. When you are on the road or busy working double shifts, you might not have the time to recharge your smartwatch. And that’s when the battery-saving modes come in handy. Some of the nurse smartwatches on this list can work for more than 7 days and that’s what you should aim for in general.