Apple Watch Series 6 was officially announced recently alongside a new, lower-priced, Apple Watch SE. Of course, Apple is still shipping a band with purchase and is still charging $49 or more for a replacement or alternative style. So in true 9to5 fashion, we’re here to show you the best third-party Apple Watch Series 6 bands. Thankfully, the slug hasn’t changed on this year’s models, so the latest Watches will continue to work with all watch bands on the market. With a boatload of options on the market, it can be difficult to wade through a variety of styles. Below you’ll find all of our top picks starting at just $5 and going up from there.
Starting with Apple’s official Series 6 Watch Bands
While you’ll find the best value elsewhere, Apple has a seriously impressive stable of Apple Watch Series 6 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 yours 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 6 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. Don’t forget about Apple’s new Solo Loops, either.
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 their own, but this case takes things to a whole new level.
Are you interested in a Pride-style band? Particularly the one Nike is now shipping? Well, you might consider checking out this third-party alternative we recently reviewed as part of our Tested with 9to5Toys series. It’s a fraction of the cost of a pricier alternative and certainly looks close in style.
Plenty of leather option in the best Apple Watch Series 6 bands
There are two schools of thought for those trying to escape Apple’s higher-priced leather Series 6 watch bands. The best Series 6 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. Nomad also has a nice selection of leather bands that we recently featured in another Tested with 9to5Toys 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.
Of course, there’s still plenty of drama surrounding Apple Watch band pricing here in the United States. What are your thoughts on Apple’s pricing scheme? There’s certainly an opportunity to lower prices, even by 20% and Apple would assuredly still enjoy a solid margin.
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