The 5 Best Screen Protectors For Your Apple Watch

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Though Apple doesn't sell its own screen protectors or officially advise using one, it's natural to want to protect your definitely-not-inexpensive purchase. Modern screen protectors can look good and do their job without getting in your way, so there's no big downside to using one. 

For Apple Watches, there are three types of protection you can choose from. The first is a bumper case that protects the screen from smashing on impact and prevents scratches on the casing; the second is protecting the screen itself with a tempered glass protector, and the third is a two-in-one bumper case and screen protector.

The best type for you depends on what you do with your watch — do you wear it while doing labor-intensive work and lots of exercise, or are you a desk worker with indoor hobbies? Of course, you can choose to go all out on protection just because you want to, because you're particularly clumsy, or even because you like to resell your tech after use. Whatever your goals, the following five recommendations cover everything from waterproofing and ultimate protection to style and minimalism.

Belkin ScreenForce

The Belkin ScreenForce is a lightweight two-in-one bumper and screen protector. The sides are made of polycarbonate to protect your watch from scratches, and the screen protector is made of tempered glass with precision touch sensitivity. The idea is to make sure your screen looks as good as it does without the protector and responds just as well to touch inputs. An antimicrobial treatment also prevents discoloration and degradation so your screen protector stays looking good for longer.

The case is fairly small and thin and comes in either black or clear color options. When it's on the watch, it looks minimalist and sleek, retaining the original shape of the casing and staying out of the way of all the buttons and the charging area. The case is available in both 40mm and 45mm sizes and is compatible with Apple Watch Series 4 through 8 and the SE model. It's available on Amazon for around $25.

While the case provides both screen and bumper protection, it's not designed to take heavy damage. According to reviews on the official site, the screen may crack in extreme weather or with regular impacts, and humid areas or contact with water may cause moisture to get trapped between the screen and the protector. If you think you need something a bit more heavy-duty, you might be better off with one of the other options in this list.

Catalyst Active Defense Case + Sport Band

For more reliable protection from rain, dirt, drops, and shocks, the Catalyst Active Defense Case for the Apple Watch might be a good choice. The product is a case and a band in one, with no built-in screen protector. It is, however, compatible with standalone screen protectors, so your watch will still fit even with a tempered glass protector installed. Even without a screen protector, the case has raised edges to protect the digital crown and the screen from most bumps.

It's designed to survive a 10-foot drop, and both the casing and the band have breathable vents to keep you and your tech dry and comfortable. The case doesn't obstruct charging and all the buttons are accessible, so you only need to remove the case when you want to. Of course, in return for all the protection, you'll need to settle for a more rugged than sleek look. It's nothing extreme though, so if you're happy with the general look of a sports watch, you should be happy with this. The case comes in 41mm and 45mm sizes and is compatible with the Series 7 and Series 8 Apple Watch models. If you're interested, they sell for around $50 on Amazon.

Misxi Waterproof Screen Protector

The Misxi Screen Protector for Apple Watch is similar to the Belkin ScreenForce in looks but focuses on offering waterproof protection. While you can't use it for swimming, it is IP67 Waterproof Certified, so it'll give you a good level of water resistance during everyday activities.

Because the case is designed to protect your Apple Watch, there are situations where the case will break so that your watch doesn't — luckily, the Misxi Screen Protector comes as a pack of two. This way, if you have a near-fatal accident, you have a spare case ready to replace the old one. That makes it an appealing option for people who get into screen-cracking accidents a little too often since the two-pack costs under $11 on Amazon.

The cases come in a range of colors, including blue, pink, black, and transparent. It's also compatible with just about every model of Apple Watch, with a 40mm size for the Series 4, 5, 6, and SE, 41mm and 45mm sizes for the Series 7 and 8, and a 49mm size for the Apple Watch Ultra.

IQShield Screen Protector

If you're not interested in cases, the IQShield Screen Protector offers a sturdy yet almost invisible alternative. Compatible with the Series 7 and 8 Apple Watch models, this screen protector fits the exact size of your watch screen and doesn't affect the color or clarity. The package comes with six screen protectors, which is enough to quite possibly last the entire lifetime of your watch, as well as a squeegee, a microfiber cloth, and application instructions.

The IQSheild protectors are made up of four different layers, according to the company: a UV protective coat to stop the glass from yellowing, a thermoplastic urethane layer for transparency and elasticity, a protective layer for durability, and a layer of adhesive to keep it in place. Keep in mind, however, that this isn't a tempered glass screen protector, it's a TPU film screen protector.

The pack of six sells for about $10 on Amazon. The company also sells screen protectors for iPhones, so if you try them out for your Apple Watch and like them, you can get some matching protection for your phone as well.

Spigen Tempered Glass Screen Protector

If you have an Apple Watch Ultra, you need to be a little more careful when shopping for screen protectors since a lot of them don't come in the Ultra's 49mm size. Luckily for you, however, the search is over — the Spigen Tempered Glass Screen Protector is the right size, made of high-quality materials, and highly praised for its easy installation. The protector comes in two styles: one with a metal frame and one with just glass. The framed version comes in three colors: titanium to match your watch case, black, and orange. It's easy to install since you can just hold the metal frame and click it in place.

For the all-glass, no-frame version, the protector comes inside a special installation tool that clips onto your watch face and automatically gives you proper alignment. Once you've removed the tool, you can then use the squeegee to smooth out the air bubbles. The tempered glass is claimed to provide the same clarity and responsiveness as the bare screen. In the event that a particularly nasty bump or drop damages the protector, there's a spare waiting for you in the box. The two-pack sells on Amazon from $15 to $30.