Best Apple Watch 2022

Apple Watch Ultra
(Image credit: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore)

After the launch of the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch Ultra, and the Apple Watch SE 2 (2022), the question of the best Apple Watch is getting much more interesting.

After throwing on the Apple Watch Ultra, and testing the Apple Watch Series 8, we are picking the Series 8 as the best overall Apple Watch. However, the Apple Watch Ultra and Apple Watch SE round out the Apple Watch lineup nicely, meaning there is a perfect model for just about everyone. 

Best overall: Apple Watch Series 8

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Apple Watch Series 7 Workout (Image credit: Apple)

Apple Watch Series 8

The perfect Apple Watch for most people at the best price.

Reasons to buy

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Available in Stainless Steel
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Same processor as the Ultra
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Temperature sensor
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Fall detection
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ECG & Sp02 monitors
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Crash Detection

Reasons to avoid

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Apple Watch SE is cheaper
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Tethered to iPhone
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18-hour battery life

The Apple Watch Series 8 (opens in new tab) features an always-on altimeter and a blood oxygen monitor (Sp02), much like the Series 7 did, but this newer model does include Crash Detection and a temperature sensor. The former is a feature that will automatically detect if you're in a severe car crash. Even though not much has changed with the Apple Watch Series 8, the aluminum-bodied is our pick best all-around model because of the price and feature set.

It doesn't have cellular, but from our experience with all Apple Watch models, the average user doesn't need cellular (we almost always bring our phones with us anyway). It's positioned as the Apple Watch that everyone can use without costing as much as one with more advanced features (or materials). Plus, thanks to the advancements in watchOS 9 (opens in new tab), you can push it to 36 hours of battery life if you don't mind sacrificing some of its functionality.

Just like its predecessor, you can get it in a 41mm or 45mm case; it has all the health features you want and can track many different workouts. Plus, The Series 8 is now the only Apple Watch model you can get in the stainless steel finish, as the titanium finish is reserved for only the Ultra, and the Apple watch SE is only aluminum.

If you just stick with the aluminum model, it really is the best value for the best price. That's why it's our top pick.  

Best for most people: Apple Watch Series 7

(Image credit: Stephen Warwick / iMore)

Apple Watch Series 7

Last year's model is really worth it if you can find a discount

Reasons to buy

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Basically the same as the Series 8
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Cheaper with discounts
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Fall detection
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ECG & Sp02 monitors

Reasons to avoid

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Stock is running out
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No Temperature sensor
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Missing Crash Detection

While we know the Apple Watch Series 8 is replacing it, as long as you can find the Series 7 (opens in new tab), we actually think this is the best option for most people.

The Series 7 is super similar to the Series 8, only missing the temperature sensor and Crash Detection. Thanks to watchOS 9, Low Power Mode and all the fitness tracking improvements in the software are available on the Apple Watch Series 7 too.

Same form factor, 99% of the same features, and it's available for even cheaper thanks to the fact that it's getting discontinued. Of course, that means it will only be the best for most people while it's still available. So, if you're in market for a new one, act fast. 

Best budget option: Apple Watch SE (2022)

Apple Watch SE Workout (Image credit: Apple)

The Apple Watch SE (2022) is a fantastic value for anyone who is sure not to overspend on their tech. While we know it misses some of the best health features from the Series 8, like the blood oxygen monitor or ECG monitor, the $249 price tag of the Apple Watch SE just can't be beaten.

It has a heart rate monitor, emergency SOS alert, Fall Detection, an always-on altimeter, and it is getting all the goodies that come along with watchOS 9. It also has the same processor chip as the Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra, meaning it does not lack power or speed. You'll get the same great experience navigating watchOS from your wrist.  

Additionally, the Apple Watch SE (2022) is perfect if you plan on using Family Setup (opens in new tab) to give your kid or perhaps an older relative Apple Watch. And, while you can't get it in any other finishes than aluminum, you can get it in either a 40mm or 44mm case, and you can add cellular for a bit of extra money as well. The SE is a great option if you're looking for a first step into the Apple Watch ecosystem or just want to spend as little as possible.

Apple Watch SE (2022)

The least expensive Apple Watch you can buy

Reasons to buy

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Most features for the price
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Same processor as Series 8 and Ultra
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Cheapest Apple Watch available

Reasons to avoid

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No Sp02 monitor
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No ECG monitor

Best for adventurers: Apple Watch Ultra

(Image credit: Joe Wituschek)

Apple Watch Ultra

The Apple Watch you take exploring

Reasons to buy

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Untethered from iPhone
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Big 49mm case
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Extremely durable
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Dive up to 40 meter
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Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive
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Additional monthly cellular cost

It was hard not to be impressed with the Apple Watch Ultra (opens in new tab) when Apple revealed it. The new rugged design is distinct yet still pretty chic compared to some of the other extreme sports-focused smartwatches on the market. What's even better is it's pretty competitively priced at $799, too, which is nice to see.

iMore's own Bryan M Wolfe has completely fallen in love with the Apple Watch Ultra since he strapped it on his wrist — he even thinks more people will like it than even Apple has let on.

"Having tested my Apple Watch Ultra for a few weeks, I've noticed something shocking – it doesn't feel nearly as exclusive as Apple's initial video presentation might have you believe. It's correct to say the Apple Watch Ultra isn't for everyone. And yet, I'm more than comfortable recommending it to the 99% of the people in the world who don't ocean dive, climb mountains, or whatever else hardcore athletes and other adventurers do regularly."

Of course, that doesn't mean that you should ignore all the crazy exploring you can get up to with the Apple Watch Ultra. The exclusive aerospace-grade titanium 49mm case design is rugged and extremely light. In addition, it's the first Apple Watch with raised edges that protects its flat sapphire front crystal from edge impacts. Those edges might take some getting used to, but there's no doubt it protects the screen super well.

On top of everything the Apple Watch Series 8 offers, the Apple Watch Ultra has plenty of features the Series 8 doesn't, including an 86-decibel Siren function, precision dual-frequency (L1 and L5) GPS, depth gauge and water temperature sensor, dive computer app, dual speakers, and a three-mic array with beamforming. It's also tested to be able to withstand -4° to 130° F (-20° to 55° C), meaning it can handle anything mother nature throw at you. Add in the 36-hour battery life, which can be pushed to 60 hours with Low Power Mode and other options coming eventually, and you have a fantastic Apple Watch for those weekend warriors. 

The Apple Watch lineup is stacked

The Apple Watch lineup is in the best position it has ever been in, and finally, it encompasses something for everyone.

You have the tried and true Apple Watch Series 8 with all the health features you want and plenty of options (including some ultra-stylish and expensive Hermes choices) that many people will be happy with. The Apple Watch SE offers a ton of value to anyone who is looking to save a little cash but not skimps out on the fitness tracking capabilities of their smartwatch. And, of course, the Apple Watch Ultra is the pinnacle of what the Apple Watch can be, allowing you to take it with you literally to the top of mountains or the middle of a desert.