Well, there are a million Apple Watch bands out there from the incredibly expensive Roo ones that literally cost $2. I decided to buy an assortment based on the reviews out there and tell you that a $99 Apple band is really worth it.
The main surprise is that the big standard Apple bands are actually quite a good deal. They fit and don’t break but there are some surprises. I can’t remember all the sources I used but Wirecutter was one of them
The main issue with these third-party bands is that they will just break in a month. What’s nice is that Apple really made it easy to change bands. And the third ones do seem to have decent tolerances. So here’s a use review for a bunch of bands. Note that in many cases the really expensive bands are just marked-up knockoffs so you do better just getting on Alibaba or Temu than believing the hype. So from west to best
As an aside, I tried ordering from Alibaba but my orders kept getting canceled because the vendors were fraudulent so beware, but here in order is my recommendations for the best bands for the money. Amazingly, even though the Apple bands are expensive, in many cases they are really worth it, so my search continues
- Apple Sport Band. Hat tip to Peter on this one, but who would have thought this $49 piece of cloth would be so nice? I got the (Product)Red version which looks great.
- Apple Solo Loop Band. Another ridiculous $49 band, but I got this one in a very tight size 5 which actually works great on the Apple Watch Series 7 but is too tight on the Apple Watch Ultra, so the sizing is tricky, it makes more sense to go to the Apple Store to try and buy these. But for my slender writs, the Size 6 works for the Ultra and the Size 5 for the regular 45mm. The new Olive color is really great.
- Apple Midnight Sport Band. At $49 ridiculously expensive but it’s comfortable and when the little pin broke Apple gave me a new one. So surprisingly good and I have to say if I’m in a hurry you can’t really lose. It is plastic, but feels great.
- Aopigavi 4-pack Ocean Bands. These are actually very close to the look of the Apple version at 4 for $24 but is no longer available. Probably the best deal which shows how price doesn’t really correlate with quality in the murky world of Apple Watch bands. Note that if you are not going over the side of a boat, your wrist definitely gets sweaty underneath. You can't beat the price.
- Mifa Modern Idea Leather. This band is $20 from Amazon and is pretty stiff and shiny but has been durable so far. Not bad looking either. There are times when leather just looks nice.
- STIROLL Slim leather. A $11 knockoff. The style is nice but the leather is pretty stiff and doesn't look that polished, still very usable.
- Arae Stetchy. Way less elegant than the solo bands this is $7 and just nylon stretchy with a tightening mechanism. It looks particularly nice but unlike the fake solo loops, I can tighten it as the material stretches. It's basically a knock-off of the Sport Band, but way less nice and durable
- Buckle and Band Lond Luxury. A whopping $88. I liked this band quite a bit until the ping fell out. It uses a standard recess pin system like traditional watches. And like traditionally the pin fell out after about a month. So not worth it. I sent a note to them but no reply. If you are getting an Apple Watch band avoid those that have the pin mechanism! I ended up getting a replacement pin set from Amazon for $6 because the band looks nice and I want to see if it holds up..
- Solo loop strap compatible. I got a few of these thinking I was size 7 going to size 6 and it is still too loose. They are no longer on sale but beware or since they are cheap just size down and get two different sizes.
Watch Screen protector and cases
Ok while these watches are right I still regret not keeping my series 3 case because things do scratch:
- TAURI 2 Pack Hard Case. This works well for the Apple Watch Ultra. It’s one piece and it does collect moisture underneath for us very clear and its easy to pop off.
- Goton Waterproof. Just $11 and very durable. The main issue is that the flexible plastic does discolor after a while. Unlike the TAURI, this doesn't see to gather water underneath.
- LK [6 Pack] Screen Protector. OK, don’t get the pieces of plastic. The tempered glass is just way clearer
- YMHML tempered glass. This looked nice but the glass is so thin it cracked in a few months. $8.
Finally, if you are going to have many straps the Zero Mass stackable band storage case works well at $25. I'm sure there are cheaper ones out there, but it's. nice to support a maker. You can store between 12-24 bands depending on whether you have them folded out or doubled. I like mine open so I can see them all