Apple smartly (though quietly) ditched the Apple Watch’s original overt association with luxury fashion not long after launch, but you can still catch a whiff of it when browsing for bands on Apple’s own site. They start at $49, and a well-crafted strap of leather from Hermès can end up costing almost as much as the device itself.
There’s no need to spend that kind of cash. You’ll find a host of quality Apple Watch bands on other sites, and many of them are just as good as what Apple offers, but for a fraction of the price. Below, we’ve collected our favorite bands that cost $30 or less. We’ll continually update it as we receive more.
Keep in mind, too, that Apple lets you easily switch bands between similar sizes of Apple Watch regardless of series. In other words, any 44 or 42mm band will fit all Apple Watches of those sizes, and the same goes for 38 and 40mm bands.
JETech Stainless Steel Metal Band
Highlights: JETech’s band looks and feels as though it should cost around $10, but on Amazon it tends to range from $16 to $20. As with most metal bands, you’ll likely have to do some adjustments with the included tool before it fits right (unless your wrists are huge), but it’s a fairly simple process—provided you’re patient. The only real drawback? If you want a silver band instead of black, it’s only available for the 38 and 40mm models.
Marge Plus Genuine Leather Band
Highlights: You might think there would be a ton of drawbacks with a $13 leather Apple Watch band, but as it turns out, this band from Marge Plus has a lot to offer. It’s made from genuine leather (and looks and feels like it), and it even boasts a generous 18-month warranty. It’s lightweight, comfortable, sweat-resistant, and durable—you’ll hardle notice it on your wrists. If that’s not impressive enough for you, it also comes in a whopping 13 different colors.
Ruoqini Stainless Steel Loop
Highlights: Few styles of watch band manage to evoke both elegance and toughness quite so well as the Milanese Loop, which is basically a long strip of chain mail that you pull through a slot. You keep the slack in place with a magnet, resulting in one of the most precise fits you can expect from a watch band.
If you bought one of the models Apple sells, you might think they were made out of mithril. Ruoqini’s, though, is a stainless steel band that costs only $11.99. A word of caution, though: Ruoqini’s product photos suggests its band closes with a clasp, but the product description and the actual model we received prove that isn’t the case. (And that’s arguably as a good thing, too, as a magnet is the superior design for a Milanese loop). So, buyer beware— that’s always one of the drawbacks of less expensive items.
Epic Active Silicone Band
Tefeca Elastic Apple Watch Bands
Tefeca has a novel approach: these $25 Elastic Apple Watch bands have no closure. You just slide them on. It’s important to order the right size, and at first the watch felt a little loose, but the band held it in place beautifully. We love the bright patterns, but they come in a few solids too, and the soft, stretchy bands are perhaps the most comfortable we’ve ever worn.
Maison + Cour Silicone Sport Band
These Maison + Cour bands are made of food-grade silicone that doesn’t smell weird or itch—they feel just like Apple’s Sport Bands, but they cost $15 each, and you can get a complete set of all eight colors for $45 (MSRP).
The only catch is that you have to pick S/M or M/L as well as 38mm or 44mm, so if you’re splitting the multipack with a friend you better have the same size wrists as well as the same size watch. The fashionable colors look great: pink sand, cobalt blue, rose red, soft white, fog, midnight blue, ultra violet, and black.
Heydey Silicone Band
Highlights: When it comes to Apple Watch bands, you can’t get much simpler or cheaper than Heyday’s water-resistant silicone band. Most of Heydey’s 14 bands just have a regular metal clasp, but the pink, lavender, lilac, blue, bright green varieties should come with gold clasps. That’s about all there is to it, but that may be all you need.