While smartwatches are typically cheaper than smartphones, they’re still often pricey devices, with the likes of the Apple Watch 5 retailing for upwards of $399 / £399 / AU$649.
To some extent these prices should be no surprise, with many smart wearables packing in GPS, NFC, heart rate monitors, speedy performance and even an ECG (electrocardiogram), not to mention an often premium design.
But that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on a smartwatch, because – as with smartphones – there’s also an ever growing number of budget options, many of which still pack in a lot of the main specs and features listed above.
You will typically have to make some compromises, and the selection isn’t as large on a limited budget, but there are still some top options, the best of which we’ve highlighted below.
We’ve aimed only to highlight smartwatches that cost under $150 / £150 here, and only good ones. Prices may fluctuate over time, and at points may exceed the figure above, but all of these watches should always have what we’d consider an affordable price.
So scroll down for our selection and get ready to give your wrist an upgrade – without giving your bank balance too much of a downgrade.
1. Fitbit Versa Lite
Like a Fitbit Versa, but lighter on features
OS: Fitbit OS | Compatibility: Android 5+, iOS 10+ | Display: 1.34″ 300 x 300 | Processor: N/A | Onboard storage: N/A | Battery duration: Around four days | Charging method: Magnetic connecting pin | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: N/A
Cheaper than other Fitbits
Small and comfortable design
No Fitbit Pay
No onboard storage for music
You’ve probably already heard of the Fitbit Versa in your search for a new smartwatch, but did you know the company now has a less feature-rich and therefore more affordable version of it? It’s called the Fitbit Versa Lite, and it’s now our best cheap smartwatch.
It isn’t the most comprehensive smartwatch experience as notifications are limited, you can’t listen to music and there’s no contactless payment tech, but all of that said, if you’re looking for an attractive timepiece that tracks your workouts as well as offering a few basic smartwatch features this may suit you.
Before you buy the Fitbit Versa Lite, we’d recommend checking prices for the Fitbit Versa. In some markets it has cost a similar amount to the Lite, and if you can get the original watch you’ll get additional features such as music and swim tracking too.
If not, the Fitbit Versa Lite is a great companion if you’re looking for a fitness focused smartwatch.
Read our full Fitbit Versa Lite review
2. TicWatch E2
Basically the only great cheap Wear OS watch
OS: Wear OS | Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS 8+ | Display: 1.39″ 400 x 400 OLED | Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100 | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Around 48h | Charging method: Magnetic connecting pin | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1
Easily two day battery life
No NFC for payments
The TicWatch E2 isn’t a phenomenal upgrade upon the TicWatch E, but it will offer a waterproof design and better battery life for a similar price to the original watch.
The design of this watch hasn’t been improved much, so it still doesn’t feel particularly premium on your wrist but it’s still a good looking piece of tech that we’re happy to wear at all times of day.
You’ll get around two days of battery life from the watch, there’s GPS built-in and swim tracking as well if you like to take your devices into the pool for a dip.
One of the biggest frustrations is the lack of NFC which means you can’t use Google Pay on the watch, but you do get all of the rest of the benefits of Wear OS here. That’s something nothing else on this list offers.
Read our full TicWatch E2 review
3. Amazfit Bip
Looks like an Apple Watch, but it’s not as smart
OS: Amazfit OS | Compatibility: Android/iOS | Display: 1.28″ 400 x 400 LCD | Processor: MediaTek N/A | Onboard storage: Just for fitness data | Battery duration: Up to 45 days | Charging method: Proprietary charger | IP rating: IP68 | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4
Excellent companion app
Auto-pause feature doesn’t work
OK, this isn’t the most inventive smartwatch you’re going to find to buy in 2019, but it is one of the cheapest. In fact, it may even be the most affordable watch that is actually worth buying.
It looks quite like an Apple Watch, but this device is a whopping six times cheaper than a top-end Apple Watch Series 4 when bought brand new.
It doesn’t do anywhere near as much as the Apple Watch, but it does sport some incredible battery life at 45 days and lots of features for cyclists and runners including a heart rate sensor.
Read our full Amazfit Bip review
4. Garmin Forerunner 30
A pared-back run tracker that packs in some serious features
OS: Garmin OS | Compatibility: Android/iOS | Display: 0.93″ 128 x 128 | Processor: N/A | Onboard storage: Just for fitness data | Battery duration: Up to 5 days | Charging method: Proprietary charger | IP rating: N/A (Garmin claims 5 ATM) | Connectivity: Bluetooth
Design isn’t incredible
The Garmin Forerunner 30 is the first dedicated fitness watch you’ll find on this list, and this is mostly built for runners. It’s a device you’ll want to wear if you’re big into your jogging, but it does have some features suitable for cyclists too.
It has GPS onboard, a heart rate monitor – that we found to be accurate in our testing – and a few other features that make is stand out as one of the most affordable running watches.
It has a VO2 Max monitor, which allows you to record your fitness level over time. That’s something that is usually reserved for top-end devices, and this is one of the cheapest devices to feature that.
There’s no touchscreen here to interact with the watch, but it does have a fantastic app that you’ll be using to control it.
Read the full Garmin Forerunner 30 review
5. Polar M200
Another running watch for your consideration
OS: Polar OS | Compatibility: Android/iOS | Display: 26mm diameter | Processor: N/A | Onboard storage: Just for fitness data | Battery duration: Up to 6 days | Charging method: Proprietary charger | IP rating: N/A (Polar claims water resistant) | Connectivity: Bluetooth
Good battery life
Not a premium design
The Polar M200 is one of the most affordable running watches money can buy and you’ll find it includes almost all of the fitness features you’ll want from a smartwatch.
We found the GPS could be a little slow at times, and the design isn’t as premium as some of the other devices we’ve seen from Polar, but apart this is a solid running watch with great battery life.
This won’t offer notifications and apps like some of the other devices on this list, but if fitness is the main aim for you the Polar M200 is an affordable choice that offers a variety of top features.
Read the full Polar M200 review
Photo illustration: TechRadar; Mobvoi; Amazfit; Garmin