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The Apple Watch keeps getting better, but that doesn't mean finding the perfect match for you is easy. Whether you need durability, cellular features, or just plain affordability, we have the best Apple Watch recommendations for you.

UPDATE: 10/05/2023

We've reviewed our recommendations and are confident these are still the best Apple Watches you can buy.

What to Look For in an Apple Watch in 2023

The Apple Watch is much more than a timepiece with a screen instead of dials. When the smartwatch first debuted, it might have been just a novel gadget that could show the time and buzz you with notifications, but the Apple Watch has come a long way since then. These days, the Apple Watch is a fitness tracking device, a GPS beacon, and a way to ensure you never miss out on an important message. It's also a flexible fashion accessory.

All models of the Apple Watch are waterproof, so you can even wear them while swimming. The latest models like the Series 9 even include features like an FDA-approved ECG monitor and a blood oxygen sensor to monitor your vitals. The Apple Watch is simply hard to beat in smartwatch technology.

Earlier Apple Watch models played it fairly safe with finish and color options, but now you can get the newest Apple Watch in various finishes and colors. You can accessorize with a variety of Apple Watch bands, as well.

Now that you know what you're looking at, let's get into the best Apple Watches you can buy today.

How-To Geek's product recommendations come from the same team of experts that have helped people fix their gadgets over one billion times. We only recommend the best products based on our research and expertise. We never accept payment to endorse or review a product. Read More »

Best Apple Watch Overall: Apple Watch Series 9

apple watch series 9



✓ Apple S9 processor

✗ Find iPhone feature is limited to iPhone 15

✓ Siri access on-device

✗ No real design improvements

✓ Bright and vivid display

✓ Double-tap gesture

While the Apple Watch Series 9 is not Apple's flagship smartwatch in 2023, it does most of the boxes for most users. Despite the Apple Watch Ultra 2 taking the crown as the ultimate Apple Watch, you will need to fork out at least an additional $400 for the pleasure, making it a hard recommendation for many.

The Series 9 might look similar to the Series 8, but under the hood, a few things have changed. One thing that hasn't, however, is the starting price of $399 for the GPS-only model. But, as you feast your eyes on the Series 9, you'll be pleasantly surprised by a few things, such as the display's max brightness of 2000 nits, outdoing the Series 8 already.

With a new S9 processor and U2 ultrawide-band chip, the Apple Watch Series 9 allows you to double-tap your index finger and thumb to answer calls, launch widgets, and so on. Pretty nifty!

No further improvements have been made to the Series 8's temperature sensor and fall/crash detection. Similarly, battery life lasts up to 18 hours, or 36 hours in low power mode.

There's not much to shout about in terms of the differences between the Apple Watch Series 8 and Series 9, however, if you don't already have an Apple Watch and are considering purchasing one, the Series 9 is the way to go.

Encompassing all the watch's favorite features from the previous series, the Apple Watch Series 9 boasts an awesome new double-tap feature, brilliantly bright and vivid always-on display, and offline Siri access.

Apple Watch Series 9
Best Apple Watch Overall

The Apple Watch Series 9 boasts a new S9 chip, a brighter and more vivid always-on display and Apple's double-tap gesture. Now it's easier than ever to answer calls and use your smartwatch as you enjoy the finer things in life.

Best Budget Apple Watch: Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen)

Grid app drawer on the Apple Watch SE 2022
Justin Duino / How-To Geek



✓ Affordable and cheaper than the original Watch SE

✗ No always-on display

✓ Includes the same S8 chip as Series 8 and Watch Ultra

✗ Lacks dust resistance

✗ No ECG or Blood Oxygen apps

The Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen) is not only an upgrade over its previous generation but also replaces the Series 3 as the cheapest smartwatch in the company's portfolio, making it a no-brainer if you want an affordable Apple Watch. But that doesn't mean the new Watch SE is a slacker.

The 2022 model packs the same S8 chip as the more expensive Series 8 and Watch Ultra, so you get the same snappy performance. The new chip also makes the smartwatch futureproof, so you won't need to upgrade for at least a few years unless you want to.

Still available in 40mm and 44mm versions, the Watch SE (2nd Gen) looks the same as its predecessor, but Apple has redesigned the back to color-match the aluminum case. Plus, the smartwatch includes new accelerometer and gyroscope sensors to offer the Crash Detection feature like the other new Apple Watch models.

The smartwatch is also great for essential health and fitness tracking. You get all-day activity tracking, sleep tracking, and heart-rate monitoring. The watchOS 9 handles the software duties and brings almost all the newly introduced bells and whistles, including updated Workout and Compass apps, more insights into your sleep, and a new Medications experience.

Unfortunately, while the Watch SE (2nd Gen) offers a lot of what's available in the Series 8, it lacks an always-on display, ECG app, ability to monitor blood oxygen saturation, dust resistance, and temperature sensors, among the significant features.

However, if these features are not a deal-breaker for you, it's an excellent option for an iPhone owner looking for their first smartwatch or a budget pick. Moreover, the Watch SE (2nd Gen) launch price is $30 less than its predecessor, making it a better value for money and an enticing purchase.

Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen, 40mm)
Best Budget Apple Watch
$191 $249 Save $58

From the same chip as the Series 8 to the lower price than its predecessor, the newest Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen) has a lot going for it.

Best Apple Watch with Cellular Service: Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen)

Apple Watch Series 8 being worn on a person's wrist
Tim Brookes / How-To Geek



✓ GPS and cellular options are affordable

✗ Lack of always-on display

✓ Lightweight and comfortable to wear

✗ No built-in ECG

✓ Decent battery life

The Apple Watch SE comes in two variations; GPS and cellular. The GPS version allows you to make calls and send messages as long as your iPhone is nearby. However, if you want to go out and be able to use certain features without your iPhone, you'll need to upgrade to the cellular version. This costs an additional $50 but is worth the added investment.

If you're searching for an affordable Apple Watch, regardless of which version you choose, the SE is a solid choice. Granted, it omits a few cool features like the built-in ECG app, double tap gesture, and always-on display, but it does boast crash detection, Family Setup, and up to 18 hours of battery life on normal use.

Apple Watch models with a cellular connection support the Family Setup feature. With this feature, you can set up the Apple Watch for a family member who doesn't own an iPhone. It's particularly helpful if you don't want to give your child an iPhone but want them to stay connected.

If you're a fitness enthusiast who wants to track metrics without lugging the bulk of an iPhone with you, the Apple Watch SE ensures you can make phone calls, stream music from Apple Music, and receive notifications without your iPhone.

Yes, there are more powerful Apple Watch models available with cellular, but if the functionality of cellular is what you need without all the added features, the Apple Watch SE is a budget-friendly option that is pretty snappy and will last you all day.

apple watch SE 1
Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen)
Best Apple Watch with Cellular Service
$191 $249 Save $58

The Apple Watch SE may not have all the features that some of the latest Apple Watch models boast, but it is affordable. Similarly, you can choose between GPS or cellular, offering you access to what you need without lugging around your iPhone.

Best Apple Watch for Durability: Apple Watch Ultra 2

apple watch ultra 2



✓ Titanium build

✗ Expensive

✓ Apple S9 processor

✗ Quite large and bulky

✓ Brightest Apple Watch display

✓ Built-in cellular

Outdoor adventurers must have a reliable and durable watch if it's going to stand the test of time. The Apple Watch Ultra 2 boasts 100m water resistance, is swimproof, can be taken on a recreational dive up to 40m, and can withstand high-speed water sports. Not to mention, it's made from titanium, so is the most durable Apple Watch you can get your hands on.

Apple claims the Ultra 2 has been tested against the MIL-STD-810H standard. The sapphire crystal is protected from edge impacts thanks to the rugged and corrosion-resistant case. With an IP6X dust-resistant rating, this Apple Watch is able to take a beating.

But underneath the hard exterior, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 features the biggest and brightest Apple Watch display yet. The always-on display at 3000 nits makes it the perfect companion for outdoor activities since the screen is easier to read in the sunlight. You can also customize the display to your heart's content, making sure you have everything you need at your fingertips.

Supporting Apple's double-tap gesture feature, you can easily interact with your smartwatch by double-tapping your index finger and thumb. This means you can answer calls, send messages, and pause timers. Things you might not want to stop for should you be out and about.

Feature a dual-frequency GPS system, you'll be able to accurately track your fitness metrics across a range of environments. Plus, there's access to plenty of new fitness features and compatibility with third-party accessories.

For the ultimate Apple Watch experience, look no further than the Apple Watch Ultra 2.

apple watch ultra 2
Apple Watch Ultra 2
Best Apple Watch for Durability

Built to last in all environments, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 comes draped in all of the latest Apple Watch features and is the most durable yet.

The Best Apple Watch Bands

Numerous Apple Watch Bands laying on a table
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

If you thought that picking an Apple Watch was difficult, just wait until you try to pick a band. While you've got a handful of models and finishes for the Apple Watch itself, there are too many types of bands in various color options to try and narrow down in this roundup.

Even limiting your options to those offered by Apple, you still need to choose between about seven or so different models. That's not even including all the third-party bands on the market!

But don't worry, you don't need to make this choice alone. For a little help narrowing down your options, look at our roundup of the best Apple Watch bands.


How do I reset my Apple Watch?

Resetting your Apple Watch is a useful process to know how to do in a pinch. See our guide on how to backup, wipe, and restore your Apple Watch for step-by-step instructions.

How do unpair my Apple Watch?

Ever wondered what the "i" icon on your Apple Watch does? You can use it to unpair your Apple Watch.

How do I turn off my Apple Watch?

Since you have an Apple Watch, you also have an iPhone. You can turn your Apple Watch off like you'd turn off your iPhone: using the side button.

Are Apple Watches waterproof?

While not completely waterproof, Apple Watches are water resistant. All Apple Watches can withstand sweat and light water like rain, but some (like the Apple Watch Ultra) can even be used in recreational scuba diving.

How do I change my Apple Watch band?

Swapping Apple Watch bands is pretty simple once you know your way around the wearable. Read our guide on how to change your Apple Watch band for more info.

How do I charge my Apple Watch?

Charging your Apple Watch looks largely the same as wirelessly charging your iPhone. Plug the USB end of your adaptor into a wall outlet or USB port, then stick your Apple Watch's back to the magnetic puck.