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.
Will Apple release the second generation of the Apple Watch Ultra? Will the Apple Watch Series 9 include a new chip? What else will be revealed on 12 September at the annual Apple event? We don't have to wait for too long now. Make sure you check back in after the announcements (which we'll cover) for the reviews of the latest Apple Watch models.
Best Apple Watch to buy right now
Why you can trust T3 Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
The Apple Watch Series 7 has now been replaced by the Apple Watch Series 8, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't consider buying it. The Series 7 still has a big, beautiful screen and fast-charging capabilities. Apart from that, there wasn't much change from its predecessor.
We found the new changes make the Apple Watch more convenient to use, which, combined with all the smart features and health/fitness options, makes the Apple Watch Series 7 one of the best smartwatches around. We also found the bigger screen gives you more flexibility for which size you might choose and makes it easier to read and accurately tap buttons on-screen.
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, then this could be the Apple Watch for you.
Read our full Apple Watch Series 7 review.
The Apple Watch Series 8 builds on this and further refines what makes the Apple Watch the best smartwatch. However, some new features, such as crash detection, medication logging, Afib history, etc., are either niche or don't add much to the everyday user experience. We thoroughly enjoyed using the Apple Watch Series 8 – the watch is as sleek as it's always been and more keenly priced than the Apple Watch Ultra (listed below).
What we appreciate the most are the improved health and fitness features. The Apple Watch Series 8 can be used for tracking sleep just as well as 'proper' sleep trackers, and the new-and-improved workout metrics and views bring the watch ever so close to being used for running training. It even has Track Running and Triathlon workout modes now!
Should you buy the Apple Watch Series 8? If you have the Series 7, the answer is a definitive 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.
The Apple Watch Ultra could also be considered the best Apple Watch, especially if you prioritise battery life and have very specific requirements for your smartwatch. The Ultra was announced alongside the Series 8 but introduced a new bold design and a wide range of features to rival Garmin and Polar.
It features a ruggedised titanium case with chunky hardware features that can be used when wearing gloves. The display is larger than the standard model at 49mm; it's also flat and protected by a lip on the case. Call quality is also better thanks to three built-in microphones, GPS is more accurate with the addition of new frequencies and an improved algorithm, and it's more water resistant than any previous Apple Watch models.
So, in many ways, this is the best Apple Watch out there, but you have to ask, do you need all of these extra features? We suspect most people won't, so that's why we think the Apple Watch Series 8 is better for most people.
Read our full Apple Watch Ultra review.
The corners Apple had to cut to keep the price of the Apple Watch SE 2 low are more than forgivable. As a whole, the changes and updates might not feel significant, but there are some upgrades, both hardware and software, which make the second iteration of Apple's affordable wearable all the more appealing.
Let's not forget that the Apple Watch SE 2 is cheaper than its predecessor while providing more features – this never happens on the wearable market or elsewhere!
Who's the Apple Watch SE 2 for? We'd recommend it to people who prefer to get their money's worth and seek long-term value. The Apple Watch SE range is on a by-yearly release cadence, meaning your SE will go out of date, so to speak, slower. Plus, Apple tend to support their wearables with software updates years after their release, which should give people more peace of mind.
One thing to remember is that the Apple Watch SE 2 isn't as capable as mainline Apple Watches, which shouldn't come as a surprise, but it's worth emphasising. The Apple Watch SE 2 is more suited for passive activity tracking, like Fitbits, as its GNSS isn't as accurate, and the wearable also lacks specific sensors. If you're an iPhone user looking for a sleek fitness tracker-cum-smartwatch, the Apple Watch SE 2 is your best bet.
Read our full Apple Watch SE 2 review.
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.
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.
The Apple Watch Series 5 was another step of Apple's relentless pace at the head of the smartwatch pack. The model takes everything that made the Apple Watch Series 4 so good, sprinkles on a few extra features, and then replaces the previous model with this superior one.
The stand-out new feature is an always-on screen, which means you don't have to raise your wrist for the screen to show something: it will still show your watch face or workout at all times, just dimmed. And with a few other features to hand, plus new software, it's a small but notable upgrade over the Apple Watch Series 4.
Read our full Apple Watch Series 5 review.
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.
The biggest updates were beneath the watch’s shiny exterior. The Series 4 featured an upgraded S4 chip, which makes it twice as fast as its predecessor, while an inbuilt speaker is 50% louder, providing better audio quality for Siri and Walkie-Talkie functions. All these little changes, including a more efficient display, mean the watch has up to 18 hours of battery life on a single charge, according to the company (although we've found this is an underestimation).
As well as its looks and hi-tech spec, the Series 4 also included a number of new health and fitness capabilities. On the back, the optical heart sensor present in the first three iterations has been upgraded. It can now even do ECGs thanks to the electrical heart sensor. It lets you check your heart rate and notifies you if it’s above or below your specified threshold, and there’s Fall Detection and Emergency SOS, which could prove handy for more vulnerable users.
Like the Series 3 before it, the new watch is water resistant to 50 metres, but it has a cool new function that allows it to eject water from the speaker with a burst of sound. There's no denying that the Apple Watch Series 4 was a fantastic upgrade for the series, but, of course, now it's been succeeded by even more capable models, it's now difficult to recommend.
Read our full Apple Watch Series 4 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 7. It's not the latest iteration of the most popular wearable in the world, but it offers an excellent value-for-money option for those who haven't updated since the Apple Watch Series 5. The Apple Watch Series 7 features a stunning design and a bright always-on display. You only really miss out on the temperature sensor compared to the latest model, the Apple Watch Series 8.