Best Watches for Firefighters

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The number one thing that firefighters are always battling is time. Whether it be the drive to the emergency or the downtime of the patient. Maybe even fighting that golden hour for that trauma patient.

To aid a firefighter in this battle they need a solid watch that’s reliable and durable. In high stress situations timelines are often skewed due to adrenaline dumps. So keeping track of time is a must.

Whether your counting seconds or minutes, timing is everything. Here are the best watches  firefighters and what those watches need to have to do the job. If you are short for time, here is the top recommended watch for Firefighters <Garmin Instinct on Amazon>.

Also check out this great collection of flashlights for first responders, we break down the options and select the best flashlights for the job.

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Here are the top watches for Firefighters

All around winner for durability and price

The Garmin Instinct is a personal favorite of mine that has some advanced features for on and off the job but not a full smart watch. The watch has bluetooth capabilities for fitness tracking and notifications but is not required to be connected to a smart phone to function to its full capabilities.

The watch has built in GPS through Glonass and Galileo satellites which once again does not require being hooked into another smart phone for it to track your movement. 

Another great feature is the watch has a built in heart monitor. That means you can truly see the effects of adrenaline and how your body reacts to those high stress situations (and high doses of caffeine). 

Of course this watch has a much needed timer feature to keep track of intervals on those thorough medical treatment situations. On top of that it has a 14 day battery life on “smart watch mode”

Now im not a big advocate for smart watches but with this minimum features of a smart watch its ideal for getting notifications from your loved ones at home without looking at your phone.

Added Bonus… since firefighting and fitness go hand in hand, this watch is the perfect fitness tracker for running, hiking, biking and swimming. 

The best budget option

If your looking for a straight digital watch that will keep time and take a beating look no further than the G Shock DW9052. G Shock has a reputation for making some of the toughest watches on market and this one is no exception. You won’t find any fancy sensors or analytics for this watch.

It simply tells time and has the basic stop watch capabilities. Perfect for the minimalist lifestyle. Making this a great value and honestly if it happens to get lost on the job, another purchase isn’t so hard to swallow. I highly recommend if this is a gift, that you pair it with the budget multi tool option for a complete set.

Sometimes this watch is listed higher, but if you find it under 50 dollars, it’s a real steal.

The last watch you’ll ever buy

Okay, time to break out the big dog. Now this doesn’t have smart watch features or GPS but don’t let that fool you. The Rangerman is built for the outdoors and is perfect if you moonlight for USAR or wilderness rescue.

The G Shock Rangerman has triple sensors of temperature, barometer and altimeter it really helps you keep track of the elements in real time. All that and you never have to worry about a recharge or battery swap due to solar charging capabilities. It’s perfect for counting respirations when you need to use your stethoscope for listening to lung sounds.

Oh and the icing on the cake is the subtle red accents. It’s classic, but also a homeage to the firefighter lifestyle. With all that and backed with a G shock warranty, its a watch that can last most if not all of your career.  ( and don’t come at me if your a 40 year salty dog, Lord knows you’ve been through some watches)

Here’s what to look for in a Firefighter Approved Watch

While the features of a watch are subjective for each individual firefighter there are a couple of things that a watch should have to really utilize as a tool for the job.

First things first, watches are best used outside of bunker gear situations. Not sure about you, but it’s practically impossible to check a watch in a fire.

So a watch isn’t truly needed while working a fire. Useful sure, but not needed. What is needed, is a solid flashlight that can keep you safe.

Now outside of the gear on those extreme medical and trauma calls that’s when it shines. For medical care of a patient, we are in a constant race against the clock and time keeping is essential.

A digital timer

This is so helpful to comply with CPR standards, dosing frequency of medications and keeping track of on scene times to get the patient to a higher level of care. 

Solid water resistance

Chance are you are not going to remember to take off your watch when your about to pull hose to put out a fire or even more specific if you are on a water rescue situation. So having a high rated water resistant watch is ideal.

As with other water resistant items, it’s good to have a budget backup knife in case your’s gets wet on the job and starts to rust.

Shock resistant

Truly this just means a rugged watch that can take a beating. Because this job is extremely demanding and thats everything from maintaining your truck to breaching a concrete wall. So you have to have a watch that can take some serious abuse. 

Battery life

I think this is something that is not taken into account after enough. These days watches are becoming more and more high tech with some really cool features. But those features come at a cost and that cost is battery life.

Remember often times shifts are 24 hours or more so you don’t want to have to charge your watch in the middle of work. I’m a huge advocate of solar charging capabilities but oftentimes that can cost more but it can be worth it.


Now there is a heavy market for rugged watches out there but don’t be fooled by fancy titles or bad ass graphics. Do some serious research to allocate the perfect gear that won’t fail you when it counts the most.

Need a list of the best EDC for firefighters?

Will firefighters be needed in the future?

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