The best Apple Watch for you depends on what you’re looking for out of a smartwatch. Want an Apple Watch for exercise tracking? A watch that can mirror notifications from your iPhone? Or do you want a device that can save your life in certain emergencies?
Many Apple Watch models can do all of these things, but some do it better than others. Despite the limited visible differences between Apple’s annual updates, each Apple Watch generation has different perks that make it the best smartwatch every year. The best Apple Watch keeps getting better.
This is the case with the new Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch Ultra and Apple Watch SE (2022). This line of smartwatches has something for everyone, though it came at a cost — the original Apple Watch SE and 2017’s Apple Watch Series 3 are no longer available through Apple.
You may still be able to find these models, as well as the Apple Watch Series 7, with the best Apple Watch deals as retailers finish clearing out inventory, as well as the Apple Watch Series 6. Pre-owned models of Apple Watch Series 5 and earlier Apple Watch models may circulate online as people want to upgrade as well. However, watchOS software updates are only available for Series 4 devices and later.
You can see our guide on how to exchange your Apple Watch if you also want credit for your older model. See all the best Apple Watch models below.
The best Apple Watch you can buy today
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Apple Watch 8 is the best Apple Watch to date. It’s not a major upgrade over the Apple Watch Series 7 in terms of features, but it has the same great design and larger screen. The new between Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Series 7 is the skin temperature sensor that can inform cycle and fertility tracking as well as sleep tracking. The Series 8 also launched with the long-awaited Low Power Mode, which can extend the latest Apple Watch’s battery life to 36 hours. In addition, Apple Watch 8 has a new crash detection feature that utilizes improved motion sensors for instant help when you might need it most.
Otherwise, the Apple Watch Series 8 is a full-featured health tracker and communication tool. With watchOS 9, this smartwatch packs the latest and greatest of what the Apple Watch experience has to offer. Whether you want a smartwatch for working out, answering calls from your wrist, or using the best Apple Watch apps, this is the smartwatch for you.
Read our full Apple Watch 8 review.
The Apple Watch SE is a sort of hybrid device that pairs an older Apple Watch design with the Apple Watch Series 8 chipset. The $249 (AU$399) smartwatch doesn’t have all the Series 8’s features, but still stands out for its great fitness tracking and safety features. It also offers an LTE option, making it a good choice for those interested in trying out Family Setup.
When choosing between the Series 8 and SE, your ultimate decision will be whether you want to spend an extra $150 (AU$230) for a brighter display with an always-on option, an EKG and skin temperature monitor, and a larger screen. If these tools aren’t deal-breakers for you, SE is a highly suitable option for iPhone users. It even gets watchOS 9, the most updated Apple Watch software with a low power mode, fresh new watch faces, an upgraded workout interface, a redesigned compass tool, and the new Medicines app.
So for now, your decision comes down to Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Apple Watch SE (2022). Take a closer look at how they compare below.
Read our full Apple Watch SE (2022) review.
The Apple Watch Ultra is the best Apple Watch to buy if you’re a serious athlete. In addition to new watchOS driving features, the Ultra has an additional third button — The action button, which makes it a little easier to pause the watch, or to turn the watch on the go, a little easier with sweaty fingers or when you’re wearing gloves.
Its 49mm screen is huge, especially on small wrists, but it’s built for adventure. The frame is made of titanium with a lip around the screen to add more protection. The display is made of sapphire glass, and the watch has an increased water resistance of 100m. With up to 60 hours of battery life (in low power mode), it also has the endurance to match.
The Apple Watch Ultra is a serious smartwatch. It’s not for everyone, but at that point, it’s the Apple Watch some people may have been waiting for.
Read our full Apple Watch Ultra review.
How to choose the best Apple Watch for you
Choosing the best Apple Watch for you doesn’t have to be a difficult decision. In most cases, it will come down to the latest Apple Watch 8 vs. Apple Watch SE (2022). We’d recommend getting the Series 8 if you’ve got $399 (AU$629) to spend for its bigger screen. However, the Apple Watch SE may be a better option for first-time users.
Whichever you choose, you’ll benefit from the watchOS 9 software update, which means all three watches will have more features in common. Just be sure to review our Apple Watch guide so you know how to get the most out of your smartwatch.
Check out ours too Apple Watch Series 7 vs. Series 6 and Apple Watch Series 6 vs. Series 5 face-offs to see if a refurbished version of the discontinued model makes the most sense for you.
And if you’re still unsure which Apple Watch is best, or if the Apple Watch is the best smartwatch for you, take a look at our smartwatch buying guide. That includes our face-offs, which can help you decide if a fitness tracker from Fitbit is a better fit for your needs.
If your band has seen better days, be sure to check out how to clean an Apple Watch band as well.
Should you get an Apple Watch with LTE?
Select models of Apple Watch Series 7 and Apple Watch SE (2022) support the LTE service. LTE-capable models come at a $50 (AU$80) or $100 premium. The Apple Watch Ultra comes standard with LTE.
It’s important to know that the cost of unlinking your Apple Watch from your iPhone doesn’t end there. You must pay a monthly fee to your mobile carrier to support your watch’s hands-free features.
We still carry our iPhones with us everywhere, so we haven’t felt that LTE is a must for Apple Watch users yet. That said, as the Apple Watch becomes more autonomous, there may be more scenarios where it makes sense to leave your phone behind. There’s also a security benefit to having LTE – if your phone dies or gets lost, your Apple Watch can keep you in touch. It’s also helpful if you know how to use Apple Pay on Apple Watch.