How Tight Should a Fitness Watch Be?

Last Updated on 07/02/2023

How Tight Should a Fitness Watch Be

How tight should a fitness watch be? In this short guide, we share three simple tips on how tight a fitness watch should be. This includes Apple, Samsung, Garmin, and Fitbit watches, as well as all other brands that use very similar devices to take readings. You will learn what happens if you wear your fitness watch too tight and where the optimum place to wear it on your wrist is for accurate readings.

Smartwatches are amazing for providing data about your day and how your body functions. You can learn so much after just 1 month of using one and quickly change things to ensure you are living a healthy life and getting enough sleep. A common question for first-time wearers is how tight a fitness watch should be, and it is a great question.

How Tight Should a Fitness Watch Be While Exercising?

Fitness watches should be tight enough to have good contact with your wrist without being too tight to restrict blood flow to your hand. To ensure the most accurate data, you should tighten your fitness tracker enough to stop it from sliding over the bony nub on your wrist, as this may reduce proper contact.

Your fitness watch should be tighter when exercising, but once you finish your session, you can loosen it a bit if it feels better. You definitely don’t want it loose enough so the watch can spin around to face the inside. But you also want a little movement up and down your wrist so it doesn’t feel too restrictive.

How Tight Should a Smart Watch Be During the Day?

A smartwatch should be tight enough to stay facing upward on your wrist with about an inch of movement up and down your arm. The best way to ensure the right tightness for a smartwatch on your wrist is to take an educated guess and then test it. Make sure you can’t spin the watch face around 360 degrees and that it doesn’t travel up your arm more than an inch.

You know it will be tight enough when you wear it all day without having to mess with it at all. If it seems to get tight around your wrist somewhat frequently, then try taking it down a notch.

Some smartwatches, like the apple watch, are available with different-sized straps for small or larger wrists, which significantly helps. The sweet spot to aim for is not too tight or loose.

Should a Fitness Watch Be Tight for Measuring Heart Rate

Should a Fitness Watch Be Tight for Measuring Heart Rate?

The way fitness trackers and smartwatches measure your heart rate is by using something called photoplethysmography (PPG). Small LED sensors on the inside of the watch measure change in blood flow to calculate your heart rate per minute. It doesn’t use the movement of your veins to measure pulse as a doctor would with their finger and a wristwatch.

This is why you don’t have to wear your fitness watch too tight to measure your heart rate, even while sitting still. The sensors on the back of your fitness watch should still be touching your skin to ensure an accurate reading.

How Tight Should You Wear a Fitness Watch in Bed?

How tight should a fitness watch be? There is no need to change the tightness of a fitness watch during sleep. How you wear it throughout the day is perfectly tight enough to track your sleep also.

I find that fitness watches often slide up my arm as I sleep and always end up feeling tight by the time I have woken up. This is fine. It ensures I get a good reading, and it never causes an issue for me. But I always wake up with the watch strap imprinted on my skin.

Should You Wear Your Fitness Watch Facing Inward?

You might think that wearing a fitness watch facing inwards would provide more accurate data, but according to most of the big manufacturers, it doesn’t. Just because you take a pulse using your finger on someone’s wrist doesn’t mean that smartwatches work the same way. As mentioned above, fitness trackers measure changes in blood flow and do not rely on the pulse generated by your veins.

Tightening a fitness watch strap

Different Types of Fitness Watch Straps

There are four main types of straps you typically find on fitness watches, all of which has their benefit. Here is a brief explanation of how each type :


Rubber-type straps are the most common type of fitness watch strap and use the standard pin and hole adjustable fastening. Rubber is the best for fitness watches because it is lightweight, waterproof, easy to clean, durable, unlikely to rub during activities, and comfortable.


Fabric is also lightweight and comfortable and perhaps more secure than rubber. But the fabric is heavy if wet, retains odors, and often relies on velcro, which weakens if wet.


Metal looks the coolest, but it is also the heaviest. Like rubber, it is easy to clean and very durable, but the clasps are much less reliable when doing outdoor activities.


Leather is probably the least suitable material to use for a fitness watch strap because it doesn’t perform well in wet, hot, and sweaty situations. Not many fitness watches are available with leather straps, which is for a good reason.

how tight a smart watch should be for fitness

Fitness Tracker Watch Strap Tightness

Different brands of fitness watches have different types of watch bands. Here is how each of them should fit:

How Tight Should an Apple Watch Be?

You can get two different sizes of apple watch straps with the newest Series 8/Ultra and above. So the best thing to do is measure your wrist and order the appropriate size. This will make it easier to make small adjustments for smaller wrists and more secure for larger wrists to have more strap than you need.

Apple Watch Ultra [GPS + Cellular 49mm] Smart Watch w/Rugged Titanium Case & Green Alpine Loop Medium. Fitness Tracker, Precision GPS, Action Button, Extra-Long Battery Life, Brighter Retina Display

How Tight Should a Garmin Watch Be?

Garmin watch straps are very similar to those on Casio outdoor watches. You simply tighten your watch so that it feels comfortable and won’t slide around too much, and then insert the buckle tongue through the appropriate adjustment whole. The extra length of watch strap material is then secured using what’s called a free loop.

You can also get lots of aftermarket watch straps for most Garmins watches which are made from fabric, leather, or metal. For me though, the original Garmin rubber straps work just fine.

Garmin fenix 7 Sapphire Solar, adventure smartwatch, with Solar Charging Capabilities, rugged outdoor watch with GPS, touchscreen, health and wellness features, black DLC titanium with black band

How Tight Should a Fitbit Watch Be?

Fitbit watches should be tight enough to maintain close contact with your skin, even during a heavy workout. You don’t want a Fitbit to be so tight that it causes discomfort, but a close fit provides more accurate data.

Tighten it so much that you can just about fit another finger between your wrist and the fitness watch strap.

You can choose between a rubber strap as standard, or some of their models can be upgraded to a velcro strap as well as many other aftermarket straps.

We hope this guide on how tight should a fitness watch be has helped you with your new watch.

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This article has been written and/or edited by Andrew N. 20+ years of hiking, mountaineering, and camping experience, with access to all the latest outdoor gear.

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