The best Apple Watch bands: our pick of the great Apple wearable straps

Not content with being one of the best smartwatches money can buy, the Apple Watch has the best selection of official and third-party bands on the market. Paired with the choice in size and color of the watch itself, new Apple Watch bands can totally personalize the Apple Watch so it’s right for you.

It also means you can have several different straps that you can rotate depending on if you’re at work, the gym or at a fancy dinner. When the bands are so easy to switch over, you can change your look in seconds.

There is a huge selection of Apple Watch bands, from Apple’s many official offerings to a whole host of silicone, fabric and metal straps made to fit by other companies. There are even NATO-style straps here, though you can’t have an actual NATO strap as the material would cover the Watch’s heart rate sensor. 

The great thing about the Apple Watch is that despite the new design of the Apple Watch 4 and Apple Watch 5, older straps will still fit. The 38mm straps designed for the Apple Watch 1, 2 and 3 will fit the 40mm newer models, while the 42mm straps will fit the newer 44mm models.

New 40mm and 44mm straps are therefore backwards compatible with older 38mm and 42mm Apple Watches respectively. 

The versatility afforded by such a wide selection of straps is great, but it means there are far too many to choose from. That’s why we’ve picked our twelve favorites – there’s something for every taste here. 

These are products that we haven't had in our test labs, but based on our experts' opinion and knowledge of the most reputable brands around, we think these are worth looking at.

Our selections, ranked from cheapest to most expensive, takes into account online reviews, brand reputation, product capability or unique features, to help you pick through the maze of choices available to you.

Best Apple Watch bands and straps at a glance:

  1. Clockwork Synergy Classic NATO Band
  2. Casetify Printed Apple Watch Band
  3. Southern Straps Nylon Apple Watch Band
  4. Hoco Original Stainless Steel Strap Bracelet for Apple Watch
  5. UAG Active Watch Band
  6. Apple Nike Sport Band
  7. Apple Sport Band
  8. Apple Sport Loop
  9. Ullu Skinny Strap for Apple Watch
  10. Apple Leather Loop
  11. Apple Leather Modern Buckle
  12. Apple Milanese Loop
  13. Apple Link Bracelet band
  14. Hermès Fauve Barenia Leather Single Tour band

Best Apple Watch bands and straps

Best Apple Watch bands

Image credit: Clockwork Synergy

Pedants would argue that these aren’t NATO bands, because that describes a very particular kind of strap that runs under the watch itself, whereas these are two-part Apple Watch straps. But screw those guys! 

These NATO-a-likes look very much like the real thing and come in a range of designs clearly designed to cover all bases – so there’s a good old-fashioned US flag right next to a brightly colored Pride rainbow (although unlike Apple’s Pride band there’s no charity benefiting here), and plenty of other options too.

Best Apple Watch bands

Image credit: Casetify

Casetify’s printed bands are tons of fun, and probably cheaper than you might expect. Made from cruelty-free faux leather, the bands come in a dizzying variety of designs and colors from animal prints and bold florals to geometric patterns, emoji and flags.

There should be something here to suit all tastes and all kinds of looks: for example, there’s a beautiful black strap with dark red and grey florals that would go well with a nice frock, or you could relive the 1990s with fluorescent smiley faces.

Straps come in both watch sizes and you can choose between gold, black or silver fixings and buckles.

Best Apple Watch bands

Image credit: Southern Straps

You don’t get many Apple Watch straps offering a five-year warranty, but then you don’t get many Apple Watch straps made as beautifully as this.

Handmade in San Francisco from a single piece of nylon and with hardware that’s noticeably higher quality than the majority of similar products, these straps come in a variety of colors including NATO-style stripes in sober and fun colors.

There are 84 possible combinations – and they’re bigger than some: if you’ve got larger hands you’ll appreciate the fit of up to 25cm.

Fascinating fact: Southern Straps was the first company to put NATO-style straps on the Apple Watch without obscuring the heart rate sensor.

Best Apple Watch bands

Image credit: Hoco

If you like the look of Apple’s Stainless steel bands but also like being able to afford to eat, Hoco’s bands are an attractive and affordable alternative: this is around 1/10th of the price of Apple’s link bracelet.

As you’d expect it’s not quite up to Apple standards – the dark ones still have edges where the original metal is peeking through and their finish is prone to scratching – and while there’s a link removal tool to get the right fit the process is really quite fiddly.

But it’s nice on and it both looks and feels better than similar-looking but cheaper competitors.

Best Apple Watch bands

If you’re the outdoorsy type then this is the strap for you. Available in orange, black and camo and made of a high strength nylon weave, it’s the perfect Watch band for the active lifestyle.

Compatible with all Apple Watch series of both sizes, the look is finished off with a big stainless steel buckle. It isn’t the most subtle of straps but if you dig the look then this will make a great wrist addition. 

Best Apple Watch bands

Image credit: Apple

The official Apple/Nike Sport Band has the toughness and design simplicity of the normal Sport Band, but it also has those compression-molded perforations – or what we like to call "holes”.

Those holes make a big difference to the long-term comfort of the Apple Watch because they enable your skin to breathe under the strap.

The range of colors isn’t quite as exhaustive as for the normal Sport Band and some, like the Black/Volt one, are a little loud for wearing outside the gym, but there are still some subtle shades such as Teal Tint, Smokey Mauve and Spruce Fog.

Best Apple Watch bands

Image credit: Apple

If you’d rather not have a band full of holes the original Sport band remains an excellent all-rounder.

It’s pricey because Apple, but it’s also made of nicer materials than the knock-offs you’ll find on certain auction sites – and that means you’re not going to end up with odd things happening to your skin after a few hours of wear.

It’s available in fifteen colors to suit most outfits and there’s a charity-helping Product Red version too. You don’t need to worry about getting the right size, either: you get S/M and M/L straps in the same box.

Best Apple Watch bands

Image credit: Apple

Yes, it’s another official Apple strap and that means official Apple money – but we’ve found Apple’s nylon bands to be really hard-wearing and comfortable. The Sport Loop is made from double-layer nylon and has a clever design on the skin side that uses larger loops for cushioning and breathability.

Because it’s a sports design the colors can be on the bright side, but the Cerulean, Product Red and Pink Sand versions are a bit more subtle and there are some suitably sober blacks and greys too. It’s a useful option for fans of NATO straps who don’t want to cover their Apple Watch’s sensors.

Best Apple Watch bands

Image credit: Ullu

Here’s a slightly cheaper alternative to Apple’s leather bands. Ullu’s Skinny Strap is made from good quality Italian leather and comes in eleven colors, all of which have been hand-colored – although unfortunately the lugs and buckles only come in stainless steel.

Because it’s real leather it will get more interesting over time as the leather ages, and that means no two straps will ever be the same. If the Skinny Straps seem a little too thin, Ullu also makes a padded version that uses the same kind of leather, comes in a similar range of colors and costs the same.

A pricey official strap but an excellent one, the Apple Leather Loop comes in yellow, brown or black. Its party trick is its clever segmented magnetic closure that means you can get a precise and comfortable fit every time. 

This is the Watch band to buy if you like wearing your Apple Watch to formal events or for work and feel a standard rubber one isn’t quite the right look. That’s what you get with leather that;s hand made in Arzignano, Italy.

Note though that this strap is only a 44mm option – so it’ll only fit the larger 44mm Apple Watch 4 and 5 and only the 42mm Apple Watch 1, 2 and 3. 

Best Apple Watch bands

Image credit: Apple

At $ 149/£149 they’re hardly cheap, but Apple’s leather Modern Buckle options are genuinely beautiful and are so much cheaper than the Apple/Hermes options. 

The Modern Buckle is a smooth leather with a large rectangular buckle that echoes the shape of the Watch itself, and Apple keeps different colors in stock depending on the season.

It's a great option if you want an official leather band from Apple with a non-magnetic design. 

Best Apple Watch bands

Image Credit: Apple

Possibly the most sought-after Apple Watch band, the attention that the Milanese Loop band receives is warranted.

At a similar price to the Leather Band, owners can get their feet wet with a cool-to-the-touch stainless steel band that ekes elegance and simplicity in its design.

You'll know at first glance if this band is for you, and if it is, you can choose between traditional silver and black options.

Best Apple Watch bands

 Image Credit: Apple 

OK, now we're getting up there in price. Apple offers up its brushed stainless steel Link Bracelet, but it isn't going to be cheap.

Build materials aside, this couldn't be any more different than the Milanese Loop. Rocking a look akin to high-end analog watches, the Link Bracelet possesses a sophisticated sheen that the others don't.

Equipped with a watch tool, you can customize the size to perfectly fit your wrist and if silver doesn't suit you, it's also available in black. Paired with the Apple Watch, this is probably one of the slickest bands you can make your own.

Best Apple Watch bands

Image Credit: Apple 

One look at the name and you know this is going to be pricey. For your money, you're getting industry-leading Hermès design in a band, complete with master-class fabric stitching and leather quality that's unparalleled in the vast batch of Apple Watch bands available. 

It might cost a lot, but if you're a watch aficionado, there's not substitute for quality.

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Best fitness tracker 2020: the top 10 activity bands on the planet

If you're after the best fitness tracker as we enter a fresh new year, then you're in luck: we've got all the best fitness wearables rounded up here, all of them able to help you get the data you need to stick to your resolutions.

Think of these options like an electronic watchdog for your health, putting a finger on your pulse, constantly measuring your vitals, checking your quality of sleep, counting your steps and (most of the time) even more. 

Some folks even call them smart bracelets, mostly because activity bands now look as good as traditional jewelry, but they're also so light you'll barely notice them on your wrist.

Before you go any further, know that we aren't evaluating all the highest-end tech wristwear in this list. For that you'll want our best smartwatch guide, which includes top-end products like the Apple Watch 5, Fossil Sport and Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

You also won't find the Fitbit Ionic, Fitbit Versa or Fitbit Versa Lite here either, which, despite their brand name, are all smartwatches and are priced accordingly – although they do feature on our best Fitbit guide.

Right now this guide is designed to show you the best of the best that your money will get you. We'll show you how each ranks in terms of stand-out features, specs, price, design, the quality of the software you'll be using on your phone and much more.  

Fitbit Charge 3

More refined than the Fitbit Charge 2, the Charge 3 is one of the company's most accomplished devices. It has a more lightweight design than the last-gen, and it looks better on your wrist. It's our number one all-round fitness tracker since the price has dropped slightly recently, and it offers a lot of insight into your overall health.

The display is bigger and clearer than a lot of other fitness trackers on this list, but it's still a black and white screen.

There's no onboard GPS, like some other trackers on this list have, but it's waterproof and offers a full fitness suite including a heart rate tracker. You can track GPS by pairing your phone with the tracker too.

You have to spend a bit extra on this than other fitness trackers you can buy in this same list, but if you enjoy the whole Fitbit app and experience and would also like access to notifications and Fitbit's fantastic sleep tracking, you'll want to opt for this as it's one of the company's best trackers ever.

Read our Fitbit Charge 3 review

Garmin Vivosmart 4

Our highest ranked Garmin product in the best fitness tracker list is also one of the most accomplished in its range of health bands.

This device isn't made for serious athletes like a variety of other products from the Garmin brand, but instead this is for those who want to be able to track the odd bit of exercise and have an attractive band to do it.

The screen is bigger on this version than other Garmin products, and it has a battery that should last you around a week depending on how much exercise you'll be doing.

There's also an innovative feature called body battery that helps you learn when exactly is the best time to exercise depending on how much energy you have. This is great for those who are just as interested in their recovery and general wellbeing as they are clocking up the miles. 

Read the full Garmin Vivosmart 4 review

Huawei Band 3 Pro

Taking over from the Huawei Band 2 Pro is the Huawei Band 3 Pro. This is one of the best fitness trackers you can buy if you're on a strict budget, and it has some amazing features considering how much it costs.

The Band 3 Pro comes with GPS onboard, it has a water resistant design (which means you can take it swimming) and there's a 0.95-inch color screen to display all of your stats on your wrist.

We've found the heart rate monitor to be accurate, and while the GPS could be quicker at locking on we also found it to be precise. If you're looking for an affordable entry-level device for your first foray into the world of fitness tracking, this is a great place to start.

Read our Huawei Band 3 Pro review

Fitbit Inspire HR

This isn't the most capable fitness tracker in our best of list, but it does a lot considering its price and you'll get access to all of Fitbit's top-end services. 

The Fitbit Inspire HR unsurprisingly offers a heart rate tracker alongside a variety of other fitness tracking capabilities. 

It isn't as capable as the Fitbit Charge 3 as it lacks swim tracking or Fitbit Pay integration, but that's understandable as this is much cheaper.

It features a slimmer and more comfortable design than a lot of other trackers you can buy, so if you're after a Fitbit that won't be heavy on your wrist you may want to consider the Inspire HR as your next fitness band.

Read the full Fitbit Inspire HR review

Garmin Vivosport

It's not as stylish as most of the Fitbit products, but there's a reason the Garmin Vivosport appears in this list before products from the latter company. 

This is cheaper than most Fitbit products and it comes with GPS built-in too. We found the Vivosport offers a solid seven days battery life from a single charge, even when using the GPS features.

Although it's waterproof, it won't track your swimming easily but the Vivosport excels for other kinds of workouts and is great for tracking your jogging and cycling. Plus we found the heart rate tracker to be accurate too.

Read our full Garmin Vivosport review

Honor Band 5

The Honor Band 5 was a serious step up from the Band 4, with improved fitness features in many areas, as well as a color touchscreen to view all your information on.

One of the most useful features is the sleep tracking, that gives you advice to maximise your sleep time, as well as simply monitoring it like many other fitness trackers do.

The Honor Band 5 is also one of the most affordable fitness trackers on the market, so if you want an exercise monitor or sleep counter that isn't also a bank-breaker, this is where to look.

Read our full Honor Band 5 review

Xiaomi Mi Band 4

The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 is run-of-the-mill affordable fitness tracker, in that it has a slimline design, a smallish color screen with a capacitive button, and a selection of workouts to track. 

It has a few great perks for fitness buffs though, like its 20-day battery life, useful heart rate monitor and easy-to-view screen, so if you're looking for a new heart rate monitor there are far worse devices you can buy.

Read our full Xiaomi Mi Band 4 review

Amazfit Bip

This may look more like a smartwatch than any of the other devices on this list, but as it runs its own software and has a very big focus on fitness we've decided to include it in our list of the best fitness trackers.

The Amazfit Bip design has been influenced by the Apple Watch (there's no denying that) and it comes packed with tons of features including GPS, an accurate heart rate tracker, multi-sport tracking, sleep tracking and VO2 Max features too.

If you're looking for a more watch-like design than everything else on this list, the Bip will be up your street. It's lightweight too and other highlights include the always-on display and strong battery life that should last around a month depending on your usage. 

Read the full Amazfit Bip review

Garmin Vivofit 4

The Garmin Vivofit 4 is one of the best fitness trackers the company has ever created, and that now means it sits in this prestigious list alongside some other fantastic tracking products.

We particularly like the super-long battery life of the Vivofit 4, which means you won't need to recharge your device for a whole year. That means you can wear it all day, then all night for sleep tracking and not have to worry about recharging it.

You'll miss out on phone notifications by buying this tracker, but you do get the benefit of an always-on color display, accurate fitness tracking features – just note these are more limited than some other trackers on this list – as well as access to an in-depth app to break down your stats on your smartphone.

Read the full Garmin Vivofit 4 review

Moov Now

Although it may be a few years old, the Moov Now is still one of our favorite fitness bands. It's cheap, offers everything you'll want in an everyday tracker and there's a phenomenal six month long battery life.

The Moov Now isn't just designed for step tracking though – it comes with boxing and rep-based training, as well as a swimming mode on top of run coaching and sleep monitoring features. That's a lot to get stuck in with.

You won't get GPS or some of the more complex fitness tracking features that others on this list offer, but if you're looking for a great everyday tracker that doesn't cost a lot of money the Moov Now will suit you perfectly.

Read the full Moov Now review

Best fitness tracker at a glance

  1. Fitbit Charge
  2. Garmin Vivosmart 4
  3. Huawei Band 4 Pro
  4. Fitbit Inspire HR
  5. Garmin Vivosport
  6. Honor Band 5
  7. Xiaomi Mi Band 4
  8. Amazfit Bip
  9. Garmin Vivofit 4
  10. Moov Now

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