How to Get the Right Fit
If your watch’s fit is too tight, you’ll see evidence of some kind—imprints, usually, but you may even notice abrasion marks if your watch is especially tight. Your circulation may also be impaired, and there’s a possibility that your wrists will start to sweat, so you need to loosen the strap right away.
Obviously you can take this too far the other way, though. It is possible to lose your watch because you’ve loosened the band too much, so pay attention to how much play you have.
To evaluate the tightness of the fit, you can use what’s called the pencil (or finger) test. Try to slide a pencil (or your finger) between the strap and the inside of your wrist. If you can fit it comfortably with little or no wiggle room, that’s the result you’re after.
How to Get a Great Fitting Smartwatch Band
In a perfect universe, smartwatch bands should be like silent partners, referees and offensive linemen—i.e., if you don’t notice them, that means they’re probably doing their job properly.
If they’re not, though, having a smartwatch band that isn’t doing its job can be a serious pain. It can lead to discomfort if it’s too tight, and you can actually lose your watch if it’s too loose.
There are also some issues that come into play beyond comfort. These include style, look and feel and cost, and while they may not be at the top of your shopping list when it comes to buying a great smartphone, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get serious consideration.
So let’s give them that. What follows is a brief breakdown of everything you need to consider when it comes to your smartwatch band, along with a couple of suggestions if you have problems.
Smartwatch Band Possibilities
One of the great things about smartwatches is the style possibilities they offer. There are plenty of watch faces in whatever app you use on your smartwatch, and the good news is that there are plenty of bands to go with whatever look you’re after.
But there are some issues that come into play when you choose your smartwatch as it relates to the band.
First and foremost, you need to know your OS—if you’re an Android type, most watches are standardized, with lugs that allow you to use whatever band you want, which means you’ll have access to plenty of style choices. If you’re wearing an Apple smartwatch, though, you’ll need to use an adapter unless the band is custom-built for an Apple watch.
Either way, you’ll need to look up the lug size of your watch. It needs to match the width of your strap, and many smartwatches are actually built larger than traditional watches to house the bigger batteries needed to power them.
The most common lug size is 22 mm, but many watches come in slightly smaller at 20 mm. Make sure whatever strap you’re considering can handle that lug size, and these numbers should be readily available for your watch with a simple search.
Once you’ve found a match, you may still need a tool to get the fit right, especially if you get a metal band. Specifically, you’ll be using a spring bar tool, and if you’re planning on going with any metal bands you may actually want to purchase a full link removal kit.
With some smartwatches, you don’t have to mess around with any of this. They rely on a quick-release feature, which means there’s a little catch lever to detach the watch. Quick-release smartwatches do tend to be a little more expensive, but for some people the extra money is worth it and then some.
The Leather Option
When it comes to materials, leather and metal bands are the two frontrunners. But leather bands can vary greatly in quality—some leather is stitched together or glued, plus there are softer and rougher varieties, and some leather bands offer extra padding for both comfort and style.
You can get a variety of looks and comfort levels, and the good news is that these different bands are fairly cheap if you want to accumulate a number of style possibilities.
You can even get quick-release leather bands, which represent the best of both worlds for those with a strong preference for leather.
If you’ve got your heart set on a metal band for your smartwatch, it’s time to don your shopping thinking cap.
Some metal smartwatch bands are actually labeled as “bracelets,” which is a yellow flag that you may be dealing with something that’s a bit pricier. The first thing to decide if you run into this is to go with a metal band that’s specifically matched to the smartwatch and approved by the manufacturer.
This obviously limits your choices, but some third-party metal bands may not fit the curvature and design features of your specific watch, so there may be a hunt-and-peck search involved if you’re going the third-party route.
There are cheaper smartwatch options out there, and if you’re a diligent shopper you may be able to find one that works perfectly for you.
The preferred off-brands here come from companies like amBand, but some of these will feel flimsy, and you may even be one of those unfortunate souls who buy a discount band that falls apart within days of use.
We’ve given you plenty of useful information about your smartwatch band, but the key to the process is to narrow your needs and match them up with your budget. There are plenty of good choices out there, so you should be able to find something that provides your ultimate level of fit and comfort.