Apple Watch Series 5 is here, and with that comes one big question. Which band will you pair with Apple’s latest wearable? While first-party options deliver a high-end fit and finish, the price can also be somewhat jarring with rates topping $500. Thankfully Series 5 continues to support all previously-released bands, straps, and loops, making it a better time than ever to go the third-party route and save some extra cash. Wading through the extensive inventory available in 2019 can be difficult, and that’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive guide of the best Apple Watch Series 5 bands below.
Starting with Apple’s official Series 5 Watch Bands
While you’ll find the best value elsewhere, Apple has a seriously impressive stable of Apple Watch Series 5 bands that cannot be ignored. Sport bands and loops continue to start at $49 which you’ll find below to be rather pricey in comparison to third-party offerings which can be yo for as little as $5 on Amazon. A wide range of colors, including (Product)RED and Nike, highlights the selection of silicone sport bands for $49. The same price goes for Apple’s sport loop bands, which has seen an impressive expansion of available colors since it was first introduced years back. See the entire selection here for $49, which includes the Pride Edition Sport Loop.
Perhaps the best value in Apple’s stable of Series 5 Watch bands comes way of the leather loop. Following September’s keynote event, it was reduced from a salty $149 to $99, which seems to be an appropriate blend of value and build quality. The 33% price drop makes this a rather no-brainer if you’re going the leather route and want to steer clear of PU materials that are known to degrade over time. Available in three colors, including black, Meyer Lemon, and Saddle Brown. Milanese Loop sits at the same $99 price tag with a selection of various colors, as well.
Going above $100 gets into the high-end of Apple’s official offerings. The Modern Buckle comes in various finishes for $149 followed by Hermès straps from $339 and up. Apple’s much-maligned Space Black Link Bracelet tops out at $449.
Sport bands offer the best value
Going with a silicone sport band offers the best value, as well as the peace of mind that your colors won’t fade away in a few weeks. Amazon has a large selection of colors starting at $5, including recreations of Apple’s basic silicone band and the popular Nike options.
BRG has been making suitable and budget-friendly silicone bands since the beginning with several different colors available across each size. An optional bumper case is also included which, before you leave a comment, take a moment to note that it is removable and is helpful if you’re ever a potentially scratch-prone situation.
Are you looking for a sport loop band? Hilimny blends an excellent price point with a vast selection of colors. Again, you’ll notice some build quality differences of course, but for a fraction of the cost it’s worth the risk, and you can swap out bands regularly to avoid any excess wear.
Getting into the more premium options in this category brings us to Nomad, which offers mid-range pricing at $40 and up. We’ve found them to be a quality middle ground between budget brands and Apple’s official offerings. While the prices are more in line with first-party bands, subtle differences in stylings make Nomad’s inventory worth a look.
Going above Apple’s official sport bands for a more premium option takes us to the Catalyst waterproof silicone strap and case. While you’ll pay a higher price tag here, up to 100-meters of water protection with the included case makes this a particularly intriguing option. Of course, the latest Apple Watches are swimproof on its own, but this case takes things to a whole new level.
Leather galore amongst the best Apple Watch Series 5 bands
There are two schools of thought for those trying to escape Apple’s higher-priced leather Series 5 watch bands. The best Series 5 budget option comes in nearly 15 different colors, including more traditional shades like brown, black, and gray. There are also more unique offerings like blue, red, and pink. Of course, with a budget price tag comes equally low-cost materials, which may not stand the test of time. But overall, ratings are solid here.
Stepping up to more premium offerings brings us to third-party manufacturers like Pad & Quill. They’ve been cranking out quality options crafted out of high-end materials for some time now with prices from $80 across several different styles. So whether you’re looking something more unique like the Lowry Cuff or basic like the Pilot’s Band, Pad & Quill has you covered.
Of course, other veterans in this category also have you covered with their mix of high-end stylings and wallet-friendly prices. We’d be remiss not to include Nomad’s selection of leather options in our best Apple Watch Series 5 band roundup along with Grovemade and This is Ground who was a selection we’ve previously enjoyed in our hands-on review.
Recreating the Hermès look
There are plenty of options out there for those looking to recreate the Hermès look without spending hundreds of dollars. Prices via Amazon start at around $15 for cuff-style bands, but like the budget leather options mentioned above, be wary of the long-term build quality issues that may crop up. Check out the entire selection of available bands here for more ideas if you’re looking to show off Hermès style without breaking the bank.
What are your thoughts on Apple Watch band pricing? There’s certainly something to be said for going the first-party route when considering both build quality and long-term material concerns. However, it’s tough to beat some of the third-party offerings on the market today, and at those prices, you can easily pick up multiple bands for the cost of something direct from Apple. Let us know your plans in the comments below and if we missed any of the best Apple Watch Series 5 bands out there.