Most smartwatches absolutely allow you to change the strap or band on the smartwatch. This is a neat feature since you can customize the look of your smartwatch for the occasion or if you get bored with how it looks like.
Which smartwatches allow changing the strap?
If you are still looking for a smartwatch and it’s important for you to know if it has interchangeable straps then keep reading to find out which manufacturers have taken this customization aspect into account.
Most watches have a standard lug that is designed to accommodate any watch band of the proper width. The good thing about the standard lug fitting is that straps will fit traditional and smartwatches. Lug widths vary between 16mm and 24mm.
Many smartwatches will need a strap that’s 22mm wide. This measurement refers to the distance between the holes on the watch where the spring bar fits in. Other smartwatches have wider straps or might also have proprietary fittings like the Apple Watch.
Common smartwatch lug widths
Bartonwatchbands.com has this great table which makes it easy to check strap widths of some of the more common smartwatches.
You could also find the correct strap width by:
Checking for markings on the underside of your current strap
Measure the width using a metric ruler
Searching online for the specs of your watch model
Garmin Smartwatch straps
Generally, Garmin’s smartwatches have changeable bands and unlike Apple, you can fit standard straps on them which is great since there is a larger selection.
You can check the strap size on the Garmin web page. For example, the popular Garmin Vivoactive 3 and Forerunner 645 have 20 mm, Industry standard quick release bands. The Garmin Fenix 5 lineup uses quick fit bands in different sizes 20mm, 22mm or 26mm depending on the model.
Garmin sells straps or bands but you will save a lot by looking for some on Amazon or AliExpress.
For example, the Garmin Fenix 5 stainless steel quick fit bracelet in the Yooside Aliexpress store looks awesome.
Garmin Vivoactive 3 bands
I just bought a Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music smartwatch. It comes with a silicone band so that’s great for sports but I would prefer something else for other occasions. I looked on AliExpress and found a black (matching my black Vivoactive 3) stainless steel strap which is 20mm wide and has quick release pins like the original Garmin band.
The manufacturer of the band is unknown to me. The one I found is sold under the Zenheo brand name, but I have seen other brand names with the same pictures. It’s available in different colors so you can choose one that fits your smartwatch.
The picture is of the band, but the watch in the picture isn’t exactly a Vivoactive 3. Looks good and the price was under 9 USD so I decided to order one. If you want a closer look at this strap, have a look at the video in the chapter about resizing the band.
Check current pricing on AliExpress for the Zenheo 20mm stainless steel bracelet.
Apple Watch bands
Apple luckily made the straps changeable. Unfortunately, you can’t use regular straps but they need to be designed for Apple. This sounds exactly like what Apple would do.
Make sure that you use a band that corresponds to your Apple Watch case size. Note that you can only use bands that are designed for Apple Watch Series 1, 2, 3 or 4. They fit all the series at least as long as the sizes are compatible. Bands for 38mm and 40mm cases are compatible with each other, and bands for 42mm and 44mm cases are compatible with each other.
The straps made by Apple cost around 50$ to 150$ but luckily there are many other manufacturers that you can buy straps from for around 5$ to 15$.
For example, this stainless steel Milanese Loop Band has been very popular (Check prices on Aliexpress).
Fitbit Ionic, Versa and Charge 3 are the main models to consider currently.
Ionic has two detachable bands (top and bottom) that you can replace with accessory bands. To remove and replace a band you need to turn the device over and press on the metal latch. For Fitbit Charge 2 and 3, the bands are also detachable with a latch.
Versa has similarly detachable bands but instead of a metal latch, there is a quick release lever.
Usually, smartwatches come with a sporty looking strap and the first customization I like to make is to get a bracelet I could wear to make the watch look more like a luxury watch I could wear for business occasions. So, therefore, the stainless steel bracelets like this one for the Versa (Check pricing on Aliexpress) are especially appealing to me.
There are many smartwatches running Google’s Wear OS software, and many of them can be worn with third-party watch straps.
Google says most Wear OS watches use the industry-standard 22mm bands, so pretty much any watch strap should work. For example, the Huawei Watch 2 Classic has a 22mm strap and the Huawei Watch 2 has a 20mm strap.
The LG Watch Sport is clearly an exception to this since it has antennas in the strap and they are not changeable.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch is available in two sizes: 46mm and 42mm. The larger one has a 22mm strap and the smaller one a 20mm strap. They can be easily changed if you use quick release bands. Samsung Gear S3 models have a standard 22mm strap.
Motorola has the Moto 360 line of smartwatches. The 2nd Generation model was released in 2015 and the 3rd Generation was expected in 2018 but hadn’t launched yet. The strap sizes are 16mm for the women’s model and 20/22mm for the men’s model depending on which model you have.
Where to buy straps for Smartwatches?
Most manufacturers of smartwatches also sell their own straps but they do come at a premium price. You can get good quality straps from Amazon or Aliexrpres that fit your device. Usually, the silicone, leather, and Nato style straps are sold as straps or bands and the stainless steel ones might be called bracelets.
Anyhow the best approach is to type in your device name in Amazon or AliExpress and you should find straps for your device. My preference is to check on Aliexpress since there is more selection and the prices are lower. Shipping time from AliExpress stores tends to be higher though. If it’s a less popular model you might need to check the manufacturer’s specs to see the width and find a replacement strap based on that.
How to change the strap on a Smartwatch
If your smartwatch has non-standard strap fittings like Apple Watch you will need to look online or from your manual. With the standard lug fitting, you might have quick release spring bars on the regular one which comes loose with a screwdriver.
If you like to switch it up often by changing bands each time for sports and work I would highly recommend buying only quick release straps.
The quick release straps are designed to be swapped in and out in a few seconds and without tools.
Simply insert one end of the spring bar into the lug and then slide the quick release lever with your finger.
Barton has a good selection of quick release straps but you can find plenty of options on Amazon and AliExpress as well.
NATO style straps have become increasingly popular and I can see why. There are a ton of colorful options and the breathable fabric is light on your hand and comfortable compared to the stainless steel bracelets or leather straps.
Insert spring bars into watch head, then thread band as shown. Using quick release spring bars with your NATO Style strap will make it easy to swap between this type of strap as well.
How to Adjust or Resize a Band
In the below video I demonstrate the process of adjusting the strap removing links. The video also shows how the quick release mechanism works.
Hi! I'm John and this is where I share my tech learnings. As a tech enthusiast and a smartwatch believer (I wear a Garmin smartwatch), I like to read about the newest trends and research new devices. On this blog, I share all the things I learn about smartwatches as I go.