Smartwatches are amazing. They essentially take a number of key functions from your smartphone and smoosh them into a more portable, more convenient package.
Also, because you wear a watch over a major pulse point on the body, these devices are perfectly positioned to offer health and fitness monitoring functions.
But we’re not just here to extol the virtues of smartwatches. Rather, we want to explore a specific use-case for these modern wonders: that of the firefighter.
We will explore a few of the best smartwatches for the needs of these heroic men and women. But first, we think it’s best to look at the specific reasons a smartwatch is a great tool for firefighters.
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How Firefighters Can Benefit From Smartwatches
For a start, firefighters need to be able to communicate with each other, their station, and with other emergency personnel. For generations, walkie-talkies were essential gear for firefighters, and they still are. But a smartwatch is much lighter, easier to use, and can be used while leaving the hands free to do other things, (like rescuing people)! But that is only the beginning.
Smartwatches often also come with ECG and SPO2 sensors which monitor heart health and respiration. These are critical assets for someone rushing into a burning building while having to breathe through a respirator.
Finally, a smartwatch can help the team track the location of individual firefighters with GPS. Sure, other items can do that as well, but with these modern devices, you get all these abilities and more in a tidy package that fits on the wrist. It’s simply amazing!
Now, let’s look at some of today’s best smartwatches for these heroic first responders.
The 5 Best Smart Watches for Firefighters
The fact is there are a lot of good choices for firefighters. The best one for a given first responder might not be the best for the next. There are many roles a firefighter may take. Not every firefighter runs into flaming buildings. Some operate water cannons.
Others coordinate personnel and some firefighters fly planes that drop flame retardant on targets. Our apologies for the ones we missed. You are all as appreciated as you are essential. But the right smartwatch for a given firefighter will depend on her or his role, and preferences.
After much deliberation, we settled on the five outstanding models discussed below. We have not ranked them according to quality, value, or features, however. We feel it’s best for the professional firefighter to decide which of these products, if any, is best for their individual and professional needs.
The Garmin Instinct
The Instinct from Garmin is rugged and large but not quite in the realm of bulky. You can use a wide range of straps to find the perfect fit, and we feel it is one of the most durable smartwatches out there.
Garmin is known for its rugged and utilitarian tech products, and they may be uniquely well-positioned to deliver the kind of quality firefighters need. Because the company specializes in GPS tracking tech, the Instinct is likely to be a winner in this regard.
Garmin is also big in fitness tracking, which means their ECG and other health-related features may be especially precise.
The Fitbit Versa 2
The lightest watch on our list, the Fitbit Versa 2 is intended for use as a fitness aid. There is no GPS and no LTE support. Therefore, this item may be best for the firefighter who is going straight into a burning building and experiencing extreme exertion.
The Fitbit Versa 2 is all about tracking vitals and activity metrics, making it a great way to monitor the health of a firefighter in the thick of the action. With Fitbit Premium, you get the full package of fitness tracking tools.
Best of all, this product features what may be the best sleep tracking utility on the market. This could make it perfect for personnel who have to sleep at the station and get moving in double time.
The Samsung Gear Sport
Another fitness-oriented watch, the Gear Sport from Samsung is giving the Apple watches a run for their money. This model packs GPS capabilities in with telephone functions for a robust package.
It lacks LTE support in the absence of a smartphone pairing, meaning you have to carry your smartphone to use it as a phone. But it is the most waterproof smartwatch on our list, and that’s saying something.
It is also one of the most affordable smartwatches we have ever reviewed.
This smartwatch features long battery life, and low-power options to extend its longevity. That means, when the bell rings, this watch will be the most likely to be ready to go.
The Ticwatch Pro is tough, sleek, and offers all the fitness tracking capabilities you could want. It has an IP68 waterproofing rating, which is quite high.
It is one of the most popular smartwatches among those who like a utilitarian look.
The Apple Watch Series 3
The Apple 3 smartwatch might offer the best functionality to value ratio of any smartwatch. It lacks the utilitarian look firefighters might prefer, but it delivers in terms of performance.
It is fully water resistant up to 50 meters and offers 18 hours of battery life. It is comfortable, and offers both GPS and LTE support, making it a strong standalone choice.
One of the biggest selling points for this model is the ease of use. That’s a bonus for anyone, but it’s a major plus for a firefighter acting under pressure.
In conclusion, the best smartwatch for you or for the firefighter you love may not be a decision to take lightly- especially if it is to be used in the line of work. We encourage you to take this decision very seriously, especially when considering the health monitoring, GPS location, and communications features.
These capabilities should be robust, rely on top-quality systems and support, and should be accurate. All of the smartwatches we recommend here are an excellent value and very capable. But your needs may include variables that we, as laypersons, have failed to consider.