Best Apple Watches 2024: Which Apple Smartwatch Has the Right Health and Fitness Features for You?


Best Apple Watches
The Apple Watch Series is the world’s bestselling smartwatches. Here are our picks for the best Apple Watches!

The Apple Watch Series is one of the most popular wearable technologies that ever came out of Cupertino in the last 10 years. A lot of Apple fans use the smartwatch as a statement piece, but for health and fitness enthusiasts, there’s more to it than just being a treat to the spectator’s eyes. We use it day in, day out to track our steps, monitor our heart rate, and a host of other functionalities to help improve our health.

However, the device has evolved into a more useful health and fitness companion ever since the first Apple Watch was released in 2015. The most recent models have tons of advanced features incorporated into them, but they cost an arm and a leg. Having said that, you don’t really need to spend hundreds of dollars just to get the more expensive model. Here are the best Apple Watch models you can get to suit your needs and budget.

1. Apple Watch Series 9

Apple Watch Series 9 - Best Apple Watches
Apple Watch Series 9

Although there has been no major upgrade for the Apple Watch Series 9 except for the S8 chip, the smartwatch is a pretty robust option if you are switching from other brands or upgrading from the Apple Watch Series 7 and Apple’s older smartwatches. With the S8 chip, this smartwatch is faster and has way better overall performance than its predecessor This smartwatch introduces the double tap gesture which allows you to control your watch and smartphone using predetermined gestures.

Check out Apple Watch Series 9 on Amazon!

2. Apple Watch Ultra 2

Apple Watch Ultra 2 - Best Apple Watches
Apple Watch Ultra 2

If you’re looking for a durable outdoor smartwatch, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is one of the best options available. Designed for extreme sports and activities, the smartwatch has better health monitoring capabilities, especially when it comes to activity tracking and sleep monitoring. Its display has up to 3,000 knits, making it brighter and clearer under the bright sun. It’s certified to IPX6 standards, so it’s dust-resistant and water-resistant up to 100 meters. The smartwatch has also been tested to MIL-STD 810H1, which means it went through and surpassed over 30 testing situations, including extreme temperature, moisture, dust, and shock tests. The Apple Watch Ultra 2 has all the features of the Watch Series 9.

Check out Apple Watch Ultra 2 on Amazon!

3. Apple Watch Series 8

Apple Watch Series 8 - Best Apple Watches
Apple Watch Series 8

Released in 2022, the Apple Watch Series 8 is still an impressive smartwatch that you can get. If the current Apple Watch does not fit your budget, you can still enjoy some important functionalities, including blood oxygen monitoring, sleep tracking, and fall detection, crash detection, and emergency SOS capabilities, among other things. Again, the difference between the Watch Series 9 and 8 lies in the chip and native features (double tap gesture, on-device Siri, etc.).

Check out Apple Watch Series 8 on Amazon!

4. Apple Watch Ultra (1st Generation)

Apple Watch Ultra 1 - Best Apple Watches
Apple Watch Ultra 1

If the Watch Ultra 2 is too expensive for a reliable outdoor smartwatch, consider looking into the first-generation Watch Ultra. Released in 2022, you are not missing out on a lot of important features with this device. Features like running form, heart rate zones, dual-frequency GPS, compass waypoints, and safety features like fall detection and crash detection are present with the Watch Ultra. The 36-hour batter life is even the same. The only difference the successor has is its brighter screen and S9 chip.

Check out Apple Watch Ultra on Amazon!

5. Apple Watch SE 2

Apple Watch SE 2 - Best Apple Watches
Apple Watch SE 2

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly Apple Watch, the Apple Watch SE 2 is a great option. This mid-range smartwatch has everything you need to stay up to date with your health. It can track your activities, sleep, and heart rate zones. Plus, it also has fall detection, crash detection, and emergency SOS capabilities to ensure your safety first. The watch is water-resistant up to 50 meters too.

Check out Apple Watch SE 2 on Amazon!

6. Apple Watch 7

Apple Watch Series 7 - Best Apple Watches
Apple Watch Series 7

The Apple Watch 7 is the latest smartwatch in the series released in September 2021, which has the most functionalities. A brand-new piece costs around $339 (~€333) which is a bit pricey for a piece of wearable tech. But if you have the budget, go for it. The Apple Watch 7 houses an electrocardiogram (ECG) for monitoring heart activities and a blood oxygen (Sp02) sensor. Its third-generation optical heart sensor allows for more accurate heart rate tracking, while the fall detection feature comes extra handy if you are active, especially in the outdoors.

Check Out Apple Watch 7 on Amazon!

7. Apple Watch 6

Apple Watch Series 6 - Best Apple Smartwatches
Apple Watch Series 6

Released in September 2020, the Apple Watch 6 is pretty much like its successor, the Apple Watch 7. It rocks an ECG, a blood oxygen sensor, a third-generation optical heart sensor, and a fall detection capability into the bargain. The most notable difference is only the screen display. The price of Apple Watch 6 starts at $210 (~€206).

Check Out Apple Watch 6 on Amazon!

8. Apple Watch SE (1st Generation)

Apple Watch SE (1st generation) - Best Apple Watches
Apple Watch SE (1st generation)

Debuted in September 2020, the Apple Watch SE is a more affordable smartwatch which retails for $188 (~€184), less than half the price of the Apple Watch 7. The Apple Watch SE is suitable for those who only need the core health and fitness and watch functionalities. It does not have the fall detection capability of the Apple Watch 6 and 7, their optical heart sensor as well as their bigger screen size. The Apple Watch SE does have the second-generation optical heart sensor and an electrical heart sensor. Not bad at all!

Check Out Apple Watch SE on Amazon!

9. Apple Watch 5

Apple Watch Series 5 - Best Apple Smartwatches
Apple Watch Series 5

The Apple Watch 5 is a decent model released in September 2019. It has an ECG like the Apple Watch 6 and 7, fall detection ability as well as an electrical heart sensor. It’s using a second-generation optical heart sensor like the Apple Watch SE. This model retails for $279 (~€274).

Check out Apple Watch 5 on Amazon!

10. Apple Watch 4

Apple Watch Series 4 - Best Apple Smartwatches
Apple Watch Series 4

The Apple Watch 4 is pretty much like its successor. Released in September 2018, the model is armed with an ECG, electrical sensor, a second-generation optical heart sensor, and the fall detection feature. The obvious difference lies in the electronics inside. You can get the Apple Watch 4 for $183 (~€180).

Check out Apple Watch 4 on Amazon!

Apple Watch Series Comparison Chart

This quick comparison chart shows the Apple Watch models head to head based on their health and activity features. After having found the model with the right combo of health tracking capability, you can move on choosing the most suitable display size, cellular connection, memory capacity, color, and so on.

One of the common health and fitness features you can find among all Apple Watch Series models mentioned above include the ability to send notifications when the user experiences low and high heart rates as well as irregular heart rhytms. Sleep tracking capabilities for Apple Watch 3 and later is available in watchOS 9, though very limited. They have GPS, altimeter, emergency SOS, and international emergency calling (except for the Apple Watch 3).

Overall, the health and fitness functionalities of the Apple Watch models don’t have much of a difference. The Apple Watch 6 and 7 have almost the same functionalities and sensors, while 4 and 5 share common things too. That said, you should consider looking at other things as well that make these models differ, including screen display and size, cellular capability, memory capacity, and more.

Apple Watch Alternatives

Apple Watch might be the most advanced and admired wearable for a health and fitness companion. However, it’s not a fit for every budget. There are more affordable , high-quality smartwatch alternatives though. One of them is Fitbit, the iconic brand that has been making great activity tracking wearables since 2009. Read our Fitbit comparison – it compares four Fitbit devices which we think cover the most user requirements with flying colors while retailing for less than Apple Watch!

Garmin has an endless portfolio of robust, high-quality, good looking watches, which could offer a perfect Apple Watch alternative for those outdoors savvy, active users. Our two recent blogs give a quick overview of five Garmin smartwatches and the best Garmin fitness trackers that have a ton of health, fitness, and activity features and could easily substitute an Apple Watch!

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