Which is the best Apple Watch to buy in 2020? With the Apple Watch 5, a $199 Apple Watch 3 and multiple sizes, connectivity options, and special editions to choose from it is a daunting decision to make. The new Titanium and Ceramic options make this even harder.
Apple sells two main Apple Watch models on its website, with size and connectivity options as well as many special editions and options. Once you pick your model, you can even pick the band you want with it this year. We’ll help you narrow this down and decide which Apple Watch you should buy in 2020.
- Should I Buy the Apple Watch 5 or Apple Watch 3?
- Aluminum, Steel, Titanium, or Ceramic Apple Watch?
- What Size Apple Watch Do I Want?
- Do I Need LTE Connectivity?
- Do I Want a Special Edition?
- Do I need AppleCare+ on the Apple Watch?
When you break it down like this, it makes a tough decision much easier to figure out. We’ll break down each of these sections further to help you decide. We also walk through the reasons to buy the Apple Watch 5 and the reasons not to.
What Apple Watch is the Best to Buy in 2020?
Ultimately the Apple Watch 5 is the best model to buy in 2020. If you want the most flexibility buy the LTE model. If you want an extra watch face, buy the Nike+ edition or Hermes edition. For most users, the aluminum Apple Watch is a better option as it is cheaper, lighter, and more resistant to scratches.
The Apple Watch 5 is double the price of the Apple Watch 3, but it packs in a ton of features that will not come to the Apple Watch 3 and it’s going to get software support for a longer period. You can buy an Apple Watch 4 at many stores, but ultimately going with the Series 5 or Series 3 may be more cost-effective.
The Apple Watch size that you buy mostly depends on your wrist and how big of a screen you want. The features are the same, so this is a very personal choice.
If you want to leave your iPhone at home and be able to make calls, send texts, and stream Apple Music, you need to buy the Apple Watch with LTE. If you’ll have your iPhone with you 99% of the time, you can skip LTE and save $100 and monthly fees.
If you want special watch faces or bands, you can buy the Hermes or Nike+ Apple Watch 5 models. This is another personal choice. The Hermes models are much more expensive, but the Nike+ Apple Watch models are the same as the standard and include an extra watch face.
Should I Buy the Apple Watch 5 or Apple Watch 3?
If you want a bigger screen, the ability to take an ECG, fall detection, better speakers, the new compass, and the always-on Retina Display, you should buy the Apple Watch 5.
If you want most of the best Apple Watch features, software support for years and you don’t need the latest and greatest, the Apple Watch 3 is still a very good device, and it’s a deal starting at $199, and an even bigger deal on sale. Here’s why you should buy the Apple Watch 3 in 2020. All the best Apple Watch bands work on all models.
With both models, you get Hey Siri, and Siri will talk to you. You can swim with either of these and you can get LTE with either of them.
- Buy the Apple Watch 5 if you want the best health features, a bigger always-on screen, and want to keep your watch for a long time.
- Buy the Apple Watch 3 if you want to save money without waiting for deals and you don’t need the advanced health features.
- Always-On Retina display
- 30% larger screen
- ECG app
Should I Buy the Aluminum Apple Watch or Stainless Steel Model?
After you decide on which Apple Watch Series to buy, you need to decide what material you want. Apple Sells the Apple Watch in aluminum, Stainless Steel, Titanium, and Ceramic.
Most people will want to buy the aluminum Apple Watch because it is cheaper, lighter, and less likely to get scratched with use. This is the option I recommend to most buyers and that I bought for the Apple Watch 5.
If you want one of the higher-end luxury looks, opt for the stainless steel model. This is what you get with Hermes, or with the Milanese and stainless steel bands. You can buy most of these bands separately and attach them to the aluminum model.
The Titanium Apple Watch 5 is available in silver and black, and it looks amazing. Ultimately this will cost you more with a starting price of double the Apple Watch 5 in aluminum. If you can afford it, this is a cool option that should resist scratches better than stainless steel.
Ceramic pushes the price of the Apple Watch 5 over $1,000, but it looks awesome. If you need scratch-resistant, a cool white finish and you have the cash, it’s a nice option.
- Buy the aluminum Apple Watch to save money and because it doesn’t damage easily.
- Buy the stainless steel Apple Watch for an upscale look.
- Buy the Titanium or Ceramic Apple Watch to flex and upgrade the style.
What Size Apple Watch Do I Want?
The Apple Watch is available in four sizes across the Apple Watch 3 and Apple Watch 5 models. The Apple Watch Series 3 comes in 38mm and 42mm. The Apple Watch Series 5 comes in 40mm and 44 mm.
Overall the smaller sizes and the larger sizes are pretty close in size. This is the most personal choice for the Apple Watch. The larger model features a bigger screen and slightly better battery life, but the bigger physical size makes it unwieldy for smaller wrists.
You can try on the current Apple Watch sizes and get a general feel for which size you want. Keep in mind this is not a clear-cut decision as it also plays into the styles you can pick with the Hermes Apple Watch Edition.
I choose the larger Apple Watch 5, while my wife opts for the smaller Apple Watch model.
Do I Need LTE Connectivity?
Most users do not need the Apple Watch with LTE. This is a feature that lets you leave your iPhone at home and still take calls, send texts, stream Apple Music, and use other apps that need the Internet.
I purchased the Apple Watch 3 with LTE, but I only used the LTE connection a few times. I’ve gone back and forth, and while I originally wasn’t going to switch to Apple Music to use it on my Apple Watch, now that I am walking and trying to run more, I am planning to switch to Apple Music and to buy my new Apple Watch with LTE.
If you want to leave your iPhone at home and stay connected, spend $100 more up-front to get the LTE model, and $10 more per month on service.
- Buy GPS if you typically have your iPhone with you.
- Buy GPS + LTE if you want to be able to use the Apple Watch without your iPhone.
Do I Want a Special Edition?
The last decision is one of the easiest, and you probably already know if you want one.
The Nike+ Apple Watch is the same price as the standard model. You get a special band and an exclusive watch face.
The Hermes Apple Watch collection includes special watch faces and a range of high-end fashionable bands.
Do I Need AppleCare+ for the Apple Watch?
- Retina display
- Optical heart sensor
- Stores music, podcasts, and audiobooks
AppleCare+ for the Apple Watch is $49 for the Series 3 and $79 for the Series 5. This covers accidental damage and extends your warranty. I’ve purchased it for some models and skipped it for others.
If you are buying the Apple Watch 5, and you are very active or are using it in a rough work environment, this is a good option and might be better than getting a case or screen protector. You still need to pay a deductible to get it fixed, but it’s cheaper than buying a new Apple Watch.
On the Apple Watch 3, this is $49 which is 25% of the price of the watch. I’d be very tempted to skip this and just deal with the repair cost or buying a replacement unless I am super rough on my gadgets. You can pay $2.49 a month or this if you buy through Apple.
Neither of these options covers loss or theft. If you get an LTE model, your carrier may allow you to get Apple Watch insurance.
Last update on 2020-12-15. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API
This article may contain affiliate links. Click here for more details.