We meticulously tested, reviewed and ranked the best Apple Watch models to help you decide which one to get. In this guide, we not only listed all wearables worth buying from the Cupertino-based company, but we also compared them, allowing you to make the most informed decision.
If you've had your eye on an Apple Watch for a while, you're probably excited to get your hands on the new Apple Watch Series 8, which replaces the Series 7 as the best smartwatch around. But before you hit that buy button and burn all that cash, you might want to read our guide first to make sure the latest model is, in fact, the best Apple Watch option for you.
Best Apple Watch to buy right now
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Apple Watch Series 9
The Apple Watch Series 9 is the best Apple Watch right now. It has a brighter display, a faster microchip, gesture control, and offline Siri, making it a more competent wearable than the Series 8. Better still, it's even carbon-neutral certified in some strap and case material combinations.
From a physical appearance point of view, the Series 9 is very similar to the Series 8 and the Series 7 and comes in two case sizes, 41mm and 45mm. As usual, you can choose between LTE and non-LTE models, as well as aluminium and stainless steel case options. Straps are aplenty, both via Apple and third-party retailers.
What sets the Series 9 apart from the rest of the Apple Watches is the new processor, which makes the smartwatch perform tasks blisteringly fast. The Ultrawide Band microchip is also responsible for the Series 9's offline Siri and gesture control ability. It is truly a game-changer technology!
If you have a Series 6 or an even older model, we recommend getting the Series 9. It's a brilliant smartwatch.
Read our full Apple Watch Series 9 review.
Apple Watch Ultra 2
The second iteration of the Apple Watch Ultra is powered by the same Ultrawide Chip that makes the Series 9 our top choice. However, the Ultra 2 encases it in a rugged case, slaps a huge, extremely bright display on it, and crams in a ton of performance-ready features to make it the ultimate outdoor watch on Apple's stable.
The reason why it isn't our top choice for the best Apple Watch is that it hasn't got the mass appeal of the Series 9. Sure, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is better than the Series 9 in every conceivable way, but it only comes in one size, is more expensive, and offers features only active outdoor people will appreciate.
That said, some of these features are seriously impressive. The Ultra 2 has a freediving mode (the Ultra could only track scuba diving), and the operating altitude has also increased significantly. Plus, the Ultra 2 has the brightest ever Apple Watch display with a 3,000-nit maximum brightness.
Read our full Apple Watch Ultra 2 review.
Apple Watch Series 7
The Apple Watch Series 7 has now been replaced by the Apple Watch Series 8 and the Apple Watch Series 9, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't consider buying it. The Series 7 still has a big, beautiful screen and fast-charging capabilities, making it a more well-rounded smartwatch overall.
Naturally, there are areas it could still improve – in battery life and more nerdy activity tracking in particular – but if you can get a deal on the older Apple Watch and don't need the new temperature sensor on the Series 8 or the latest processor of the Series 9, this could be the Apple Watch for you.
Read our full Apple Watch Series 7 review.
Apple Watch Series 8
The Apple Watch Series 8 is a decent iteration of the Series 7 and adds some new features to the ever-expanding function portfolio of the mainline Apple Watch series. Thes include crash detection, medication logging, and Afib history – most of them are niche and doesn't really impact the everyday user experience.
The best thing about the Series 8 is the improved health and fitness features. It can be used for tracking sleep just as well as dedicated sleep trackers, and the new-and-improved workout metrics and views bring the watch ever so close to being used for running training. It has Track Running and Triathlon workout modes!
Should you buy the Apple Watch Series 8? If you have the Series 7, the answer is no. If you have any other Apple Watch or any other wearable in general, we'd recommend at least entertaining the idea of investing in Apple's latest non-rugged wearable. It's a premium smartwatch experience like no other.
Read our full Apple Watch Series 8 review.
Find out what the main differences between the Apple Watch Series 9 and Series 8 are here: Apple Watch Series 9 vs Apple Watch Series 8.
Apple Watch Ultra
The Apple Watch Ultra was a landmark wearable for Apple. It was the largest Apple Watch to date and also the one with the longest battery life. Granted, the latter is only 36 hours, but that's twice as long as the battery life of mainline Apple Watches.
The Ultra features a titanium case, a large AMOLED screen with a 2,000-nit maximum brightness, dedicated scuba diving mode, and unique training options (e.g. Precision Start). The smartwatch has a superb GPS and offers some outdoor-ready features, too.
Like its successor, the Apple Watch Ultra caters for a niche market than the Series 8; the watch launched alongside it. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but those who like the look and feel of rugged wearables such as the Garmin Fenix or Epix watches might want to check out the Ultra.
Read our full Apple Watch Ultra review.
Apple Watch SE (2022)
The Apple Watch SE (2022) is a fantastic little wearable. It might not change things up drastically from the original Apple Watch SE, but there are some upgrades, both hardware and software, which make the second iteration of Apple's affordable wearable all the more appealing.
And it is actually cheaper than its predecessor while providing more features – pretty good! If you crave that Apple Watch feeling but can't justify the price of the Apple Watch Series 7, Series 8 or Series 9, the Apple Watch SE (2022) offers an excellent alternative for not a lot of money.
Better still, the SE range is on a by-yearly release cadence, meaning your watch won't go out of date quite as quickly as other Apple Watches, so to speak, slower. Plus, Apple tends to support their wearables with software updates years after their release, which should give people more peace of mind.
Read our full Apple Watch SE 2 review.
Apple Watch Series 6
The Apple Watch Series 6 takes everything that was great about the Series 5 – stylish looks, great fitness features, potentially life-saving health tools, slick notifications and apps – and manages to improve on it. If you already have the Apple Watch Series 5, however, you can feel free to skip this model and go straight for the Series 7.
So what do you get in the Apple Watch Series 6? For a start, four colourways: graphite stainless steel, (PRODUCT) RED aluminium, gold stainless steel, and the blue aluminium that we reviewed. Then, in terms of features, you’ve got a blood oxygen monitoring option – otherwise known as SpO2 tech. This makes use of a new red light sensor that monitors the colour of the blood being reflected back and, thus, the level of oxygen in it.
The Series 6 also boasts Apple’s sixth-generation S6 chip, which unlocks a bunch of performance features. It's 20% faster than that in the Series 5 watch, bringing a 2.5x boost in always-on display brightness in daylight and an 18-hour battery, even with the demands of nightly SpO2 readings.
Read our full Apple Watch Series 6 review.
Apple Watch SE
The Apple Watch SE is a truly excellent smartwatch, there's no doubt about it. Where Apple has cut back for the more budget price, you won't notice it significantly in general use. It feels like a full Apple Watch experience, with all the advantages that bring in convenience, fitness tracking, and health and safety features… for iPhone users. As ever, Android users need not apply.
If you're looking at your first Apple Watch, the SE gets a really strong recommendation from us. For those who can spend the extra over the cost of the Apple Watch Series 3, you'll be very glad you did – it's better in every way, from screen to design to sensors to being more future-proofed thanks to its faster processor. It's also important to note that these translate into better health features, including more accurate heart sensing (important for detecting irregularities) and fall detection, which the Series 3 doesn't have.
If you're looking at upgrading an older Watch, the SE makes a great replacement for anything from the Series 3 (if you bought it at launch, especially) or earlier. Though the core of the experience is the same, we think it will still feel like a worthy upgrade, thanks to all the things we mentioned above.
Read our full Apple Watch SE review.
Apple Watch Series 7 Nike+ Edition
The Nike edition of the Apple Watch Series 7 has all the standard Series 7 software features, including the sports and health ones, but is a sporty iteration designed for gym enthusiasts and athletes. The big differences are the straps, exclusive Nike branding and watch faces
The Watch is described as 'the perfect running partner' for the Nike Run Club app, and the Nike Training Club app is optimised for the watch too. They include all the usual tracking features as well as a new audio-guided run every week with a curated soundtrack and 'custom cheers', while the training app has over 180 free workouts and notifications to provide workout recommendations to close your 'Exercise ring' (the colourful tracker) for the day. There are also special Nike watch face designs
The Nike Bounce watch face is new for this Series 7 Nike watch and can't be used on any other Apple Watch model. This makes it a little bit special, and it's actually pretty cool – the numbers wobble as you move your wrist or touch the screen. The Other Nike faces are great, too, if you plan to exercise regularly while wearing the watch.
Read our full Apple Watch Series 7 Nike+ Edition review.
How we test the best Apple Watch
We spend a lot of time reviewing the latest Apple Watch models, and, as such, are perfectly placed to judge the best Apple Watch model to spend your money on.
During our initial review period, we test out the very latest features announced by Apple. This might be a new health monitoring tool, a new fitness tracking mode, or how useful a new watch face is. We test everything in-depth, so if it's a new fitness feature, for example, we'll get our fitness editor to review it thoroughly.
All of these new features also get tested alongside everything a smartwatch should be classically good at, such as how bright and clear the display is, how reliable the smartphone connection is, how long the battery lasts, and how easy it is to surface useful information.
Once the initial review period is complete we'll publish a full review, give the Apple Watch a star rating, and add an abridged review to this guide.
We'll then continue to use the Apple Watch for the rest of the year, usually until a new model is released. This allows us to test how the battery life performs over time, gives us a chance to test software updates, and should uncover any bugs that weren't present during our initial review phase.
What is the best Apple Watch?
The best Apple Watch overall currently is the Apple Watch Series 9. Although it might look similar to its predecessor, it has a brighter AMOLED screen, a faster processor and exclusive features (e.g. Double Tap). It's a brilliant update that might convince even Series 8 users to upgrade.