As the Apple Watch gets its long-awaited pricing and availability details today, millions of iPhone users — especially health-conscious people eying the entry-level Apple Watch Sport — will start making plans to preorder or line up for Apple’s new wearable. But the $349 price point means that many other people will keep using their iPhones during workouts and runs.
Today, I’ve rounded up some of the most affordable and best user-reviewed iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus armbands out there. The most basic option is only $10 with Amazon Prime shipping, while more protective solutions are in the $15 to $20 range. Some are complete standalone armbands, while others leverage your existing iPhone case for protection.
Do you want your iPhone armband to be fully sweatproof and weather-resistant, or is a basic lightweight alternative better for your needs? Here are some of the best choices…
Basic: The FRiEQ Armband for iPhone 6 ($10 Prime shipped) is an ultra-simple solution at a budget price. An adjustable arm strap wraps around your arm, attached to a slide-in frame that holds your iPhone 6 inside a supplied shell. You get zero sweat or weather resistance, and the iPhone 6 shell isn’t ultra-protective, but this armband is easy to wear and detach from your phone. It has a 4.7/5-star Amazon rating.
Moderate: AmaziPro’s Sports Armbands for iPhone 6 ($11 Prime shipped) and iPhone 6 Plus ($15 Prime shipped) aren’t much more expensive than the FRiEQ, but they offer a lot more protection – if you’re willing to give up the detachable shell feature. They happen to look a lot like classic Belkin iPhone armband designs, but sell at more reasonable prices. Made from a water-resistant neoprene material with a soft plastic face, they protect the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus’s entire body, and have a keyholder built into the adjustable Velcro strap. They can also be washed. Each has a 4.6/5-star Amazon rating.
Heavy-Duty: The idea behind Gear Beast’s Case-Compatible Sports Armband for iPhone 6 ($16 Prime shipped) is to let you keep your iPhone 6 inside of an ultra-protective case while it’s mounted on your arm. If you’re particularly concerned about the elements, your iPhone can go into an Otterbox Defender ($31 and up) with its own screen protection and covered ports, then into Gear Beast during workouts. While this isn’t the lightest-weight solution out there, the protection is solid. It has a 4/5-star Amazon rating, but the iPhone 6 Plus version isn’t as well-regarded.
If you have an iPhone 6 Plus and want to wear it on your arm while it’s still in a case, consider Tune Belt’s Armbands for iPhone 6 Plus instead. Tune Belt has been making neoprene armbands for a long time, and though they’re typically on the large size, they’re built to last. A version for $18 Prime shipped fits an iPhone 6 Plus inside a slim case; this version for $25 shipped fits an iPhone 6 Plus inside a larger Otterbox Defender (sold separately for $36 and up), and has an Amazon user rating of 4.7/5 stars.
All of these armbands qualify for free two-day shipping if you’re an Amazon Prime member, otherwise, you’ll need to hit a minimum $35 order before free shipping kicks in. Consider these Sony water-resistant workout headphones with three-button Apple remote and mic for $25, or other sports headphone options.
9to5Toys’ editors agree that Amazon Prime membership is an outstanding value: if you order a fair number of items online, you’ll easily more than cover the annual $99 membership cost within a short period of time, and get very fast shipping on all of your orders. Additional benefits include free streaming of Amazon Prime Instant Videos (including HBO shows), access to Prime Music, free lending of Kindle books, and unlimited cloud Photo storage. Try a free Amazon Prime trial here.