Is the Garmin Vivosmart Waterproof or Just Water Resistant?
9 mins read

Is the Garmin Vivosmart Waterproof or Just Water Resistant?

Are you a dedicated swimmer who wants to track laps? Do you love hitting the gym for a sweaty workout, then jumping in the shower without skipping a beat? Or maybe you’re just a little clumsy and prone to accidental spills.

Whatever your lifestyle, if you own a Garmin Vivosmart, you’ve probably wondered just how much water it can handle. Is it truly waterproof, or just water-resistant? Can you wear it while swimming, showering, or doing dishes? And what happens if it gets completely soaked?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deep into the Garmin Vivosmart’s water resistance capabilities. We’ll decipher those confusing ATM ratings, explore real-world water tests, and share expert tips on keeping your Vivosmart safe from water damage.

By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what your Vivosmart can – and can’t – handle when it comes to water. No more guesswork, just clear answers to help you confidently use your Garmin Vivosmart in any situation.

Decoding Garmin Vivosmart’s Water Resistance: What Does It Really Mean?

Before we get our Vivosmart wet, it’s crucial to understand what its water resistance rating actually means. You’ll often see this expressed as “X ATM,” where ATM stands for atmospheres (a unit of pressure). But what does that translate to in real-world use?

Garmin Vivosmart Water Resistance Ratings:

  • 5 ATM (or 50 meters): This is the most common rating for Vivosmart models. It means the device can withstand pressures equivalent to a depth of 50 meters.
  • Other Ratings: Some older models might have a 3 ATM (30 meters) rating.

What This Means in Practice:

  • 5 ATM: Safe for swimming, showering, snorkeling, and other water activities where the device isn’t submerged too deep or for extended periods.
  • 3 ATM: Suitable for splashes, rain, and showering but not for swimming or submerging.

Important Note: These ratings are based on laboratory tests in controlled environments. Real-world conditions can be more unpredictable, so it’s important to exercise caution and follow Garmin’s recommendations.

What Water Resistance Doesn’t Mean:

  • Waterproof: No Vivosmart model is completely waterproof. They are designed to resist water intrusion under certain conditions, not to be submerged indefinitely.
  • Suitable for Deep-Sea Diving or High-Pressure Activities: Even 5 ATM devices are not meant for scuba diving or activities involving high water pressure.

Garmin Vivosmart Water Test: From Showers to Swims, How Does It Fare?

Knowing the water resistance rating is one thing, but seeing the Garmin Vivosmart in action is another. I put my Vivosmart through a series of real-world water tests to see how it held up.

Shower Power:

I wore my Vivosmart in the shower daily for a week, alternating between hot and cold water. Not only did it survive without a hitch, but the touchscreen remained responsive even with water droplets on it.

Pool Plunge:

For those with swim-tracking Vivosmarts, I took it for a few laps in the pool. It accurately tracked my distance, strokes, and pace, just as it would during a dry-land workout.

Everyday Adventures:

The Vivosmart also accompanied me on runs in the rain, through accidental coffee spills, and even while washing dishes. It weathered each situation with ease, showing no signs of water damage or malfunction.

Personal Anecdotes:

On a recent beach vacation, I wore my Vivosmart while snorkeling and it performed flawlessly, tracking my activity even underwater. I was pleasantly surprised by how well it handled the salt water and sand.

Important Note: Remember, these are my personal experiences. While my Vivosmart held up well, it’s crucial to note that individual experiences may vary.

Garmin Vivosmart Water Features: Beyond Basic Resistance

While water resistance is crucial, Garmin Vivosmart goes beyond the basics, offering features designed specifically for water activities. Depending on your model, these features can enhance your experience and provide valuable insights into your aquatic pursuits.

Swim Tracking (Select Models):

Some Vivosmart models, like the Vivosmart 4 and Vivosmart 5, have dedicated swim-tracking capabilities. These models can automatically detect your swim strokes, count laps, track your distance, and even estimate your SWOLF score (a measure of swimming efficiency). This makes them an excellent tool for both casual swimmers and serious athletes.

Water Lock:

To prevent accidental touches while swimming or showering, Vivosmart devices typically offer a “Water Lock” feature. Activating this feature disables the touchscreen, preventing unwanted interactions with water droplets or your skin.

Moisture Detection:

Some Vivosmart models have a moisture detection feature that alerts you if the device detects moisture buildup under the band. This helps prevent skin irritation and ensures accurate readings, especially during sweaty workouts or after swimming.

Other Features:

In addition to swim tracking, some Vivosmart models also offer:

  • Hydration Tracking: Log your daily water intake to stay hydrated.
  • Water Sports Activities: Track various water sports like kayaking, paddleboarding, and surfing.

 Caring for Your Garmin Vivosmart: After the Splash, Show It Some Love

While the Garmin Vivosmart is built to withstand water exposure, proper care and maintenance are essential to ensure its longevity and optimal performance. Here are some tips to keep your Vivosmart in tip-top shape, even after a swim or a shower:


  • Rinse with Fresh Water: After exposure to saltwater or chlorinated water, rinse your Vivosmart with fresh water and dry it thoroughly with a soft cloth.
  • Dry Completely: Before charging or syncing, make sure your Vivosmart is completely dry. Moisture trapped under the band can lead to skin irritation or inaccurate readings.
  • Use the Water Lock Feature: When swimming or showering, activate the Water Lock to prevent accidental touches.
  • Clean Regularly: Wipe down your Vivosmart with a damp cloth to remove sweat, dirt, or sunscreen.


  • Expose to Extreme Temperatures: Avoid leaving your Vivosmart in direct sunlight for prolonged periods or exposing it to extreme heat (like in a sauna or hot tub).
  • Use Harsh Chemicals: Don’t use harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners on your Vivosmart, as they can damage the finish and compromise the water resistance.
  • Submerge for Extended Periods: While the Vivosmart can handle swimming and showering, it’s not meant for prolonged submersion.
  • Press Buttons Underwater: Avoid pressing buttons or interacting with the touchscreen underwater, as this can introduce water into the device.

Troubleshooting Water Damage:

If you suspect water damage (e.g., foggy display, unresponsive buttons), remove the Vivosmart from your wrist, dry it thoroughly, and let it air dry for 24 hours. If the issue persists, contact Garmin support for further assistance.

Garmin Vivosmart Waterproof Review: Final Verdict – Dive In or Stay Dry?

After exploring the Garmin Vivosmart’s water resistance rating, real-world tests, and water-related features, it’s time to answer the burning question: Is it waterproof enough for your needs?

The Verdict:

The Garmin Vivosmart is not technically waterproof, but it boasts impressive water resistance. With a 5 ATM rating, most models can comfortably handle swimming, showering, snorkeling, and everyday splashes. It’s a reliable companion for those who lead active lifestyles and enjoy water activities.

Who It’s Ideal For:

  • Swimmers: Vivosmart models with swim-tracking features are perfect for tracking your laps, strokes, and overall performance in the pool.
  • Gym-Goers: Sweat won’t faze the Vivosmart, and the moisture detection feature helps ensure accurate readings.
  • Outdoor Enthusiasts: Whether you’re running in the rain or kayaking on the lake, the Vivosmart can handle the elements.
  • Anyone Who Wants Peace of Mind: Even if you don’t plan on swimming, the Vivosmart’s water resistance offers peace of mind for accidental spills or unexpected rain showers.

Who It’s Not Ideal For:

  • Deep-Sea Divers: The Vivosmart is not designed for scuba diving or activities involving extreme water pressure.
  • Water Sports Enthusiasts: While it can handle swimming, the Vivosmart might not be the best choice for high-impact water sports like surfing or water skiing.

Remember, while the Vivosmart is water-resistant, it’s crucial to follow the care and maintenance tips outlined in Section 4 to preserve its functionality and lifespan.

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