Best Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra bands for any style and budget

Shop now From $5

Following the reveals at Apple’s Far Out event earlier in the month, both the new Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra wearables are now available for purchase. While Apple is delivering more band customization options than ever out of the box, being able to mix up the look and style with some more affordable alternatives can go a long way. So, we’re rounding up all of the best Apple Watch band recommendations for Series 8 and Ultra models starting at just $5.

Apple Watch Series 8 arrives with the same size bands as previous generations. There are still the same 41mm and 45mm screen sizes as before, meaning all your existing bands will work with the latest wearables. That also opens up Apple’s latest to working with the widest selection of bands to date, including both official and third-party styles.

Starting with Apple’s official Series 8 Watch bands

Before we dive in to cover all of the more affordable offerings on the market, it’s a good idea to see just what Apple brings to the table for its Series 8 wearables. This year has seen quite a few new styles arrive ahead of the new wearable, making for one of the most expansive collections out there. There are five main offerings in the lineup, starting with the classic Sport bands.

These popular offerings are likely what will come with your Apple Watch Series 8 out of the box, but there are also plenty of different styles for you to mix and match. Available in both silicone and nylon offerings, Apple’s watch bands – priced at at $49 each – offer plenty of different colors to pair with whichever style of the new Apple Watch you picked up. There are also more unique accessories in the collection like (Product)RED, Nike+ Editions, and the Pride bands. And don’t forget about Apple’s new Solo Loops

Those willing to pay a bit more can bring home an even more premium look to their Apple Watch Series 8. Available in three colors – including black, Meyer Lemon, and more – the $99 Leather Link bands have unique designs that match the expected premium materials to complete your wearable. At that same going rate, the unique Milanese Loops sit at $99 in whichever color you pick and swap the leather out for a heftier and more stylish metal band with magnetic adjustment.

And, if you want an even more elegant build, the Link Bracelet is as high end as Apple goes with an adjustable build that comes in either space black or silver designs. Bringing the unique stainless steel build with custom butterfly closure to your Apple Watch Series 8 will cost you $449.

Sport bands offer the best value

As is the case year after year, Apple Watch sport bands remain the best value in the space. Not only are they the most affordable form factor out there thanks to the silicone builds, but they’re also ideal for everyday wear and use overnight with the comfortable designs. You’ll find pricing starting at $5, including everything from your typical design that has been with the Apple Watch since day one to recreations of the Solo Loop and even more fitness-worthy styles that mimic the Nike+ form.

Alongside the more entry-level offerings that are available in droves at Amazon, plenty of well-known brands have delivered their own take on the sport band. A personal favorite is the Nomad Sport Bands, which were recently updated in several new colors to go alongside the Apple Watch Series 8.

These are comprised of an FKM fluoroelastomer rubber and are covered in a microtexture coat to pair with the unique notched design. There’s also an aluminum pin latch system that’s every bit as premium as Apple’s in-house alternatives. While these aren’t as affordable as some of the lesser-known brands, the $59.95 price tag is an easy recommendation.

Speaking of Nomad, the brand also makes our favorite Apple Watch Series 8 band on the more stylish front of a metal link offering. Apple’s own models have long been some of the worst offenders when it comes to high prices, which is where the metal bands from Nomad come into play. Available in both stainless steel and titanium offerings, these are every bit as premium as the wears they pair with. 

On top of being able to pick which material, there are silver and black colorways available on either offering. Each one has a redesigned magnetic clasp as well as an adjustable link design. The $149.95 starting prices are certainly higher than other bands on the market but will still let you elevate the look of your wearable at a more modest price than Apple’s in-house offerings. Our hands-on review provides some additional insight. 

If you’d rather just go with a more affordable offering to pair with your Apple Watch Series 8, Amazon has quite the selection for you. With pricing under $20, you’ll find various styles and colorways available. 

Our favorite leather styles

There are two schools of thought for those trying to escape Apple’s higher-priced leather Series 8 watch bands. The best Series 8 budget option comes in nearly 15 different colors at the $13 price point, 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 for 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. Nomad also has a nice selection of leather bands that we have featured in another Tested with 9to5Toys review in the past.

Apple Watch Ultra bands deliver more rugged builds


Apple also just introduced a new high-end wearable geared towards more rugged applications. The new Apple Watch Ultra arrives as the largest wearable yet thanks to a 49mm casing, but it still manages to support the same bands as the other latest wearables. The smaller 41mm sizes above aren’t going to be compatible, but any of the 45mm bands above will fit right in.

Apple at launch has three different form-factors of in-house bands to start, with the most unique easily falling to the Ocean Band. This $99 offering comes in three different colors and packs a unique molded design that adjusts with a titanium buckle. It fittingly lives up to its name with a design made for use in water sports, but also complements the rugged look of the Ultra with yellow, midnight, and white colorways.

Also at the $99 price point, the Apple Watch Ultra Trail Loop comes in three different colors and leverages a double-layer nylon weave for an ultra-adjustable design. The built-in pull tab lets you quickly adjust the velcro on the fly and should make this one of the more comfortable options from the official band lineup. And, taking a similar route as that last model, the new Alpine Loop also uses a fabric design but with a titanium G-hook that helps keep things secured on your wrist. It isn’t as adjustable as the Trail Loop but has an even more distinct design in one of the three colorways at the $99 price point.

While not made directly by Apple, Nomad delivers some of the best bands on the market and the offerings made for Apple Watch Ultra are no exception. Just released earlier in September, the new Sport Strap comes with a slick orange design that pairs a rugged build with lightweight FKM fluoroelastomer rubber that has molded interior ventilation channels.

There are also some much more affordable takes on the signature Apple Watch Ultra bands, like this Alpine Loop-style model for $18 at Amazon. It comes in one of four colors and looks to imitate the design of the official model, just without the same attention to detail. There’s also this even more affordable Ocean-style band which sells for $11 at Amazon and comes in 10 different styles. This surely won’t be quite as well made as the in-house styles from Apple, but the savings very well might speak for themselves.

FTC: 9to5Toys is reader supported, we may earn income on affiliate links

Subscribe to the 9to5Toys YouTube Channel for all of the latest videos, reviews, and more!

Load more...
Show More Comments