The Apple Watch is pricey, and so are the official bands for sale in the Apple Store. While Apple tries to tightly control its ecosystem, thankfully there’s little it can do about third-party manufacturers creating cheap replacement watch straps (or homemade Apple Watch charging stands).
That means you can grab a fancy metal loop or alternative funky colored band for a fraction of the price Apple charges. Since it’s so easy to swap one strap for another, you can amass a collection of bands (and replace your worn ones) without breaking the bank.
So here are some solid third-party Apple Watch band ideas to jazz up your wearable.
Got a New Apple Watch Series 4?
Good news! The larger Apple Watch Series 4 is backwards-compatible with the old 38mm and 42mm watch bands seen on the older models. Just remember that if you’re buying a band for the new 40mm model, you’ll want to buy a 38mm band. If you’re buying for the new 44mm model, you’ll want to opt for a 42mm band.
That means all these bands should be compatible with the brand-new Apple Watch, provided you make sure you’re buying the right size. Once you’ve got the right band, you can get on with customizing your Watch experience with different faces too.
Got a black band and fancy something a little more colorful? Maybe you couldn’t match your favorite Apple Watch finish and silicone band in the Apple Store. For a fraction of the price that Apple charges, why not grab a few replacement iGK silicone bands instead?
These silicone bands are sweat and water-resistant, and made of soft, flexible, and lightweight silicone that shouldn’t irritate your skin. According to the item reviews, the bands are true to the color depicted in the images and excellent quality for the price paid. However, the silicone is a little thicker than Apple’s bands and not quite as flexible.
These AdMaster bands are perfect for anyone who bought a regular Apple Watch but loves the Nike+ band look. They’re a little flimsier than the official Nike+ band, but what do you expect for this price point? Overall, reviewers are very satisfied, noting great value for money compared to the $50 original.
AdMaster makes these bands in a range of colors. Choose anything from a contrasting black and green or black and white to more the subtle white/light pink and darker black/obsidian variants.
If you’re looking for a colorful nylon band, you have tons of choices. This VATI band comes in a dizzying array of 31 colors, including a few designs that mimic the official bands on the Apple Store.
Both 38mm and 42mm bands are available, each with a Velcro clasp (rated for 500 tears) to keep the bands lightweight and free of nickel or other cheap metals. You’ll get the usual one-year warranty direct from the manufacturer.
Crafted from high-quality stainless steel, this Oittm band features a double folding button for 42mm (or 44mm Series 4) watches. It’s available in four finishes: bright silver, bright black, regular silver, and space gray. Each looks like it was crafted for Apple Watch business professionals, if that suits you.
It’s easy to install, and you can adjust the band to fit your wrists from 5.5 inches to 8 inches using the included link removal tool. There’s a 30-day money back guarantee, and a year’s warranty—plus the durable stainless finish should make it more secure than some of the cheaper bands on the market.
If you want your watch band to be secure, stylish, and functional, then the FireLine Paracord ticks the boxes. Paracord is three times stronger than regular nylon, and you can unravel each strap to provide over 10 feet of cord for emergency use.
The band also includes laser-engraved stainless steel clasps to keep the cord secured to your wrist. FireLine’s Paracord band is available in three finishes (black, urban camo, and firefighter tan). It might just be the perfect band for Apple Watch explorers who love to travel.
If you find the regular silicone bands for sale a little boring, Floraler’s colorful jazzy designs might be more appealing. Despite the name, they’re not all floral (though there are a few floral designs available), with five distinct flavors to choose from.
Reviews are glowing, though don’t expect out-of-this-world quality at such a cheap price point. The bands are made from silicone with elastomeric coating, available in both 38mm and 42mm sizes.
The Milanese loop is a timeless watch strap design, and this one from Penom looks just as good as any other. The band features a magnetic clasp, allowing you to adjust the size when you first put it on.
Verified customer feedback is excellent, with users noting the quality of the design, the strength of the magnet, and the fancy Apple-esque packaging as highlights. You have three finishes to choose from: black, silver, and rose gold.
Because one Milanese loop is never enough, this Misker model puts a distinctly colorful spin on the design with its range of stainless steel mesh bands available in both 38mm and 42mm sizes. Like the Penom above, reviewers are happy with the quality of the band and the strength of the magnetic clasp.
The obvious standout is the “colorful” design which features a gradient effect. But the band is also available in red, purple, and blue, among the other usual options.
The Rockvee stainless steel bracelet band is unique in that it’s quite a bit thinner than the Apple Watch itself, providing a more elegant way of showing your wearable off in a fancy restaurant. It comes in four finishes: black, silver, gold, and rose gold.
Reviewers note that the band is lightweight and well-built, though the links (which you can remove with the included tool) are quite large. You also get an 18-month warranty from the manufacturer, which in many countries is longer than the warranty Apple provides with the watch.
Though sometimes impractical, there’s no denying that wooden watch straps look great. This AYIBEN strap is one of the most expensive third-party straps we came across, owing to its hardwood finish and stainless steel connector.
Like similar metal straps, the AYIBEN comes with a link removal tool. You can pick up 42mm versions in maple, sandalwood, and walnut, plus a 38mm version in walnut only. Remember that though wood is hypoallergenic, the straps aren’t waterproof—so it isn’t the best choice for everyday use.
Carterjett’s silicone bands are pricier than most, and as a result enjoy excellent reviews and customer feedback. They’re tough, secure, and available in ten different styles.
By far the most interesting finish is glow-in-the-dark, which is perfect if you frequently have trouble finding your own wrist. But who needs a good reason to have a glow-in-the-dark watch strap? The slightly off-white finish looks great in the day, and glows luminescent green at night provided you “charge” it under a light first.
And remember to give your wearable a good cleaning before strapping on a new band like this. Here are some tips to help you clean your Apple Watch safely.
Affordable Watch Bands for an Expensive Watch
Remember: when you buy a third-party accessory, the quality might not live up to what you’re replacing. In some instances, these cheaper bands will be of inferior quality. They may break sooner than Apple’s own, and that could result in damage (or even loss) to your Watch.
But on the upside, they’re considerably cheaper than the $50 or more Apple asks for first-party bands. If you buy a couple and rotate them regularly, they might even last longer than your Watch. And provided Apple keeps the same connectors on the next big Watch redesign, you’ll be able to use them in the future too.
If you’re new to the device, make sure you use these hidden Apple Watch features and familiarize yourself with these seven killer Apple Watch tricks. For entertainment, check out these fun Apple Watch games.