3 essential accessories for your new Apple Watch

Straps, bedside docks and travel chargers are must-have Apple Watch accessories

Apple Watch straps
(Image credit: Apple)

Just bought yourself a new Apple Watch? Well it’s time to pick up some accessories too. Apple itself sells a wide range of straps and other accessories like chargers, while for those looking for even more choice – or want to spend a little less – the third-party market is huge.

There are hundreds of choices when it comes to straps, bands and bracelets, and you can even fit the Apple Watch with industry-standard lugs for fitting absolutely any watch strap you like.

Then there are chargers, docks and stands, of which Apple sells a couple and other companies sell hundreds of diverse options. Fancy a stand that makes your Apple Watch look like a classic Mac computer? Sure, you can have that.

Here’s a quick look at the three essential categories of accessories for your Apple Watch.

Apple Watch OS8

(Image credit: Apple)

Straps and Bands

Apple offers a wide range of straps, from the rubber Solo Loop and canvas Braided Solo Loop, to leather options, steel options and even a range by luxury fashion brand Hermès. There’s a broad range of colours for many of these bands, and thanks to Apple’s universale fastening system they fit all generations of Watch (just make sure you select the right case size).

If you fancy something else, or are on a tighter budget, then Apple Watch straps from other companies can be bought for under £10.

Another option we’ve always liked is Meridio, which sells Watch straps made from Italian leather, plus canvas and vegan options. Pin & Buckle produces stylish, high-quality Watch straps made from leather and suede, with a number of colour and finish options to pick from.

An important detail to remember is the colour of the bars that fasten the strap to your watch. You’ll want to make sure those that come with the strap match the finish of your Apple Watch – the colour, but also the finish and the material, as aluminium lug bars won’t suit a stainless steel case. Also check the length of the strap, as some are offered in different lengths to suit wrists of all sizes.

Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock

(Image credit: Apple)

Bedside charger

The Apple Watch is one of the best wearables you can buy today, but being packed full of features means the battery can struggle to last more than one day. Officially, Apple suggests around 16 hours of life per day, so you’ll want to get into a daily charging routine – just like you probably do with your smartphone already.

Unless you want to check your sleep every night, we think the best option for refilling the battery is to get a bedside charger. The Apple Watch comes with a charging cable of its own, which connects magnetically to the rear of the case. But the cable is quite short and if you have a strap that doesn’t separate into two pieces (like a steel bracelet, for example) then it won’t rest flat on the charger. This looks messy and can attract scratches, especially on the stainless steel models of Watch.

Thankfully, just like straps, there are lots of bedside Apple Watch chargers to pick from. Apple sells the Magnetic Charging Dock, which can charge a Watch laid down flat or sat upright, enabling its nightstand mode to double as a bedside clock. But at £75 it’s quite an expensive way to charge your Apple Watch.

Many other – and more affordable – options come from quality accessory companies like Belkin, which sells a dual-position bedside charger like Apple’s for under £20. More expensive options let you charge an iPhone, AirPods and Apple Watch at the same time.

It is worth noting that some of these multi-device chargers include an embedded Watch charger, while cheaper options have a cut-out for you to feed your existing charge cable into. You should also pick your Watch charger based on whether you want to use its nightstand mode or not. This activates when the Watch is plugged into a charge and laid on its side, turning the display into a bedside clock.

Newdery Apple Watch charger

(Image credit: Newdery)

Travel charger

As is quickly becoming a theme with Watch accessories, Apple sells its own travel charger. But it’s expensive. Called the MagSafe Duo, this charger folds open to reveal wireless charging pads for both an Apple Watch and an iPhone. It’s a smart design that also includes a one-metre USB-C to Lightning cable, and will be perfect for many travellers, but at £129 it comes at a high price.

Thankfully, many other compact options exist at much lower prices. Several, like the one shown above by Newdery, fit an Apple Watch charger onto a USB stick, so the wearable can be charged directly from a USB-A port without a cable. That particular example costs around £14.

Another portable option we like is the Belkin Boost Charge Power Bank 2K, which is a portable battery designed specifically for the Apple Watch. Charge it up with a USB cable, then the 2,000mAh battery can provide a claimed extra 63 hours of battery life for your Apple Watch. This charger is priced at around £55.

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Alistair Charlton

Alistair is a freelance automotive and technology journalist. He has bylines on esteemed sites such as the BBC, Forbes, TechRadar, and of best of all, T3, where he covers topics ranging from classic cars and men's lifestyle, to smart home technology, phones, electric cars, autonomy, Swiss watches, and much more besides. He is an experienced journalist, writing news, features, interviews and product reviews. If that didn't make him busy enough, he is also the co-host of the AutoChat podcast.