Can You Change Your Smartwatch Strap?

Apple Watches
Stephen Lam/Getty Images News/Getty Images

One of the strong points of smartwatches is their ability to be customized. And while a lot of the customization happens on the software side, with the ability to swap in unique digital watch faces, you can change the hardware to your liking as well. Since the release of the first Apple Watch and its numerous associated wristbands, we’ve seen what a huge difference a strap can make — just compare the rubberized Sports Band with the Milanese Loop and you’ll see what we mean. 

Maybe you didn’t realize you had different strap options when you bought your smartwatch, or perhaps your taste has simply changed. In any case, whether you’re rocking an Apple Watch Series 1, 2 or 3 or another wrist-bound wearable, you have options if you’re looking to upgrade your smartwatch wrist strap. 

Check to See if Your Smartwatch Is Compatible With All Bands

Step one on your road to a new smartwatch band should be doing a bit of research to see if you can indeed swap out the strap. If you’re content to purchase another, standalone band from the smartwatch manufacturer, you should be good to. But if you have your heart set on a certain strap sold by a third party, you need to make sure that your watch will be compatible. Most smartwatches will need a strap that’s 22mm wide. That measurement refers to the distance between the holes on the watch where the spring bar fits in.

We’ll go through each of the major smartwatches to give you an idea of what each one allows for in terms of swapping out straps. 

Pebble

Pebble has standard 22mm watch band, so you can customize the watch with any other 22mm strap. (You can find plenty of options on Amazon.) You’ll need a small screwdriver to make the switch.

Pebble’s fancier sibling, Pebble Steel, doesn’t work with just any old band. Its 22mm watch strap is custom, so you’re limited to the leather and metal bands sold by Pebble. (And keep in mind that Pebble is no longer selling products itself since announcing that it was shuttering as an independent entity back in late 2016. So your options will definitely more limited now than they would have been previously.) To swap one out for the other, you need a small screwdriver (1.5mm or less).

Wear OS

There are several smartwatches running Google’s Wear OS (formerly Android Wear) software, and many of them can work with third-party watch straps. There are even some official watch strap partners for Wear OS devices, including E3 Motorcycles, Worn & Wound and Clockwork Synergy. Additionally, the MODE "snap and swap" watch bands are available directly through the Google Store and are compatible with Wear OS watches from ASUS and Huawei.

Google says most Wear OS watches use the industry-standard 22mm bands, so pretty much any watch strap should work. That means owners of the Moto 360, LG G Watch, ASUS ZenWatch and more can get creative with their wearables. Just do some Googling and/or some browsing on Amazon, and you'll soon be rocking a more personalized smartwatch.

Apple Watch

Especially since more versions of the smartwatch have been released, there are many Apple Watch bands to choose from, including options in various sizes and materials. That said, there are several reasons why you might want to consider a third-party band. Maybe you want to purchase the entry-level model and buy another band elsewhere to cut down on cost, or maybe none of Apple’s options appeal to you. 

Luckily, there are several Kickstarter campaigns promising to offer other watch bands to Apple Watch owners. Moreover, Apple’s launched an official third-party accessory program that will share design guidelines with companies looking to make their own straps. One option currently available is the Monowear store, which offers a number of options priced under $100.

Another option is available via Casetify; if you want a more customized strap, check out this site where you can upload photos from Instagram and Facebook to create a personalized band.