Young boy energetically gesturing with smartwatch

How to choose a smart watch suitable for all ages

Published 23rd December 2022
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Did you know that smart watches aren’t just for young adults, the tech-savvy or the super athletic? Smart watches now come with so many different functions, features and price ranges, that there’s a device suitable for everyone. It’s easier than you think to find the perfect smart watch for kids, or pick a suitable smart watch for senior citizens.

But how do you know which is the best smart watch for any age? Whilst investing in an expensive designer brand such as an Apple Watch or a Samsung Galaxy Watch might seem a bit much for a child, or buying a top-of-the-range fitness band for your great gran might seem inappropriate, there are plenty of smart watches that are perfect for all ages.

How to choose a smart watch for kids

Buying a smart watch is a great way to encourage kids to stay active and to introduce them to their first gadget. But you may have some doubts about buying a kids smart watch, including safety concerns.

But when you understand how these products are designed it’s easy to choose the right smart watch for kids.

Are smart watches safe for kids?

Yes, smart watches can be safe for kids. But you should buy a smart watch made specifically for children to be sure of this. Kids’ smart watches are designed to be age-appropriate and do not include all the same features as adult or senior smart watches.

Some kids’ smart watches have GPS features so that you can keep an eye on your child’s location, even when they’re not with you. If you don't want to use GPS tracking, you can turn this feature off from the watch's settings menu, or find a kids smart watch that doesn't have a GPS chip.

Similar to GPS tracking, you can also set safety boundaries for your child. That way, if they move beyond a set safety zone, you will be notified immediately. This feature needs a GPS chip that's turned on to work.

Many kids’ smart watches also offer SOS functions. In an emergency, or if your child feels uncertain or unsafe, they can activate the SOS feature on their smart watch. This will immediately alert you (or any contact you choose when setting up the watch) to say that your child needs your help.

What features do kids’ smart watches have?

Kids’ smart watches offer a range of child-friendly features, including:

  • Games (including learning games)
  • Cameras for taking photos, videos and selfies
  • Music player
  • Pedometer for measuring steps
  • Customisation of watch faces
  • GPS tracking
  • Sleep monitoring
  • Reminder apps
  • SOS feature

There is a wide variety of features available across different kids’ smart watches. To help you choose the right device, it’s worth considering which functions you are happy for your child to access.

The benefits of buying a kids’ smart watch

Aside from the obvious joy your child may experience from owning a smart watch, there are several benefits of buying a smart watch for kids:

Encourage good habits: From setting reminders of chores to tracking activity, smart watches for kids can help encourage good habits and an active lifestyle.

Contact your child without a smartphone: Buying your child a smart watch is a good compromise if you’re not ready for them to own their own smartphone yet. Instead, you can stay in touch via call and messaging functions on their smart watch.

Keep track of your child: Many kids’ smart watches offer GPS tracking, meaning you can keep an eye on their whereabouts for peace of mind.

SOS features provide safety: Kids can activate the SOS function of their smart watch to alert a parent or guardian of any worry or safety concern they may have.

There are plenty of kids’ smart watches that have a variety of functions and are suitable for all ages at OnBuy.

How to choose a smart watch for teenagers

The right smart watch for a teenager won't be the same as the right smart watch for a younger child. Where safety features and accessibility is a big factor for choosing the right kids' smart watch, teenagers are more likely to be interested in the look of the watch itself, along with available social media and fitness functions.

What smart watch features do teenagers want?

  • Social media: Many smart watches offer social media notifications and compatibility, which may appeal to the 90% of teens that use social media.
  • Audio and music functions: Teens may seek smart watches that can play music or sync with apps such as Spotify.
  • Fitness features: With the rise of fitness inspiration on social media and a general awareness of health, teenagers are likely to want their smart watch to track fitness.
  • Designer smart watch: Having a designer watch with a recognisable brand name may be important to teenagers, or so their smart watch syncs efficiently with their smartphone.

How to choose a smart watch for adults

Adults have the widest choice of suitable smart watches to buy. Choosing a smart watch for an adult mainly depends on which benefits you wish to gain from your device.

The benefits of a smart watch for adults

When you're choosing a smart watch for yourself or another adult, you want to consider what you’ll use the device for. Are you interested in improving your health, fitness or losing weight? Do you want to extend your smartphone features? Or are you looking for a watch that means you don’t need to carry your smartphone with you for all activities?

Here’s some of the main benefits smart watches have to offer adults:

  • Fitness tracking: From fitness bands to high-functioning smart watches, most wearable devices will offer exercise tracking and tips.
  • Health monitoring: Smart watches provide a range of health features, such as heart rate monitoring and sleep management, which can help you meet your fitness goals.
  • Social media: Access notifications from your social media via your smart watch.
  • Mindfulness exercises: Many smart watches will encourage mindfulness activities to help improve wellbeing.
  • Paying for goods: Link your debit card to your smart watch for contactless payment in shops.
  • Extending smartphone functions: Smart watches often complement smartphones by offering message notifications, find my phone tracking and sharing phone apps.

You can learn more about these features by reading our blog about essential smart watch features. Once you are clear on which benefits you want from your smart watch, you’ll be able to narrow down your search when shopping online.

How to choose between a fitness band and a smart watch

At first glance, fitness bands and smart watches appear very similar. Both can offer fitness tracking, heart rate monitoring and simple notifications. But despite these overlaps, there are a few notable differences worth considering:

  • Smart watches often have bigger screens, whereas fitness bands are thinner.
  • Fitness bands may have a longer battery life.
  • Smart watches support smartphone functions, such as messaging notifications, call answering and card payments.
  • Fitness bands are often cheaper than smart watches.
  • In general, smart watches tend to have more advanced features than fitness bands.

How to choose a smart watches for seniors

As we’ve mentioned before, smart watches aren’t just about fitness tracking and social media compatibility. There are plenty of suitable smart watches for seniors that offer a variety of useful functions for the older generation.

Even though there isn’t a dedicated smart watch design for seniors, as there is with smart watches for kids, you can still choose the perfect device for the older generation. It’s just a matter of understanding the appropriate features.

Suitable features on smart watches for seniors

When it comes to purchasing a smart watch for a senior citizen, it’s not just about what the device can do (like the appealing features of kids’ watches) but how it can help manage an elderly person’s lifestyle.

Here are some important features to look out for:

  • SOS function: Similar to kids’ smart watches, you want your smart watch for seniors to offer an SOS function to call for help in the case of a fall or upset.
  • Fall detection: Some smart watches offer fall detection (including some Samsung Galaxy watches and Apple watches) that not only detects when a person has fallen, but can also be programmed to contact an emergency number or family member.
  • Water resistance or waterproof: For elderly folk, it can be easy to forget to take off your watch before washing hands or bathing. Having a waterproof smart watch will help prevent any accidental damage.
  • Voice activated assistants: Both Apple’s Siri and the Google Assistant can be invaluable on a smart watch for seniors. The hands-free access can help aid an elderly person’s use of their smart watch, especially if they have limited dexterity.
  • Heart rate monitoring: Some seniors may like to monitor their heart rate and track their health for peace of mind in between doctor appointments.

The most useful functions on smart watches for seniors are ones that offer accessibility, emergency support and are easy to use. If deteriorating eyesight is an issue for them, you'll want to ensure that their smart watch supports large format text. Dexterity can also be an issue, so easy to access buttons and structure is a must when choosing a smart watch for a senior person.

How to choose a smart watch for any age

The bottom line for choosing the right smart watch for seniors, kids, teenagers or adults is to consider the features you need. Kids’ smart watches come in fun designs and colours and offer functions (including safety features) that are child-friendly. In some ways, choosing the right smart watch for kids is the easiest.

Choosing the right smart watch for teenagers takes a bit more thought, but generally speaking, if the device offers social media, music and activity features, you’re on the right track.

Finding the right smart watch for an adult depends on the individual’s requirements, whether that’s fitness or health related, having smartphone compatibility or being able to pay for goods via contactless smart watch functions.

Finally, choosing the right smart watch for seniors is mainly dependent on accessibility features. Smart watches that have easy-to-use screens, buttons and voice commands are often the best choice.

If you're still not sure exactly which model to buy and want a little more advice, you can read our smart watches buying guide.

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