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Aluminum vs. Stainless Steel Apple Watch buyers guide: What’s The Difference?

Buying an Apple Watch? Here’s the Apple watch buyers guide of what you need to know about the aluminum and stainless steel options.

apple watch buyers guide
apple watch buyers guide

The Apple watch SE and series 3 only come with an aluminum case option while the most-recent watches have the new option stainless steel case. Before purchasing the watch, you need to confirm what case you would pick.

Although the choice won’t affect the functionality or features, there are differences in weight, durability, and style to consider with each. Here’s what you need to know.

Aluminum vs. stainless steel Apple Watch buyer guide: The Differences

apple watch buyers guide
apple watch buyers guide

From a features perspective, Apple Watch Series 7 in either aluminum or stainless steel is identical. Either version, for example, can track your heart rate, including fitness tracking, and alert you to incoming messages. They also include available storage for onboard music and podcasts, and you can use the same third-party apps on all models. There are a few things to consider when choosing aluminum vs. stainless steel Apple Watch, like weight, material durability, and more. Below is a list of important details.


Apple Watch Aluminum Apple Watch Stainless Steel
Starting prices$399 (Series 7)
$279 (SE)
$179 (Series 3)
$599 (Series 7)
$1229 (Series 7 Hermés)
Color choicesMidnight
Starlight
Blue
Green
Product (RED)
Graphite
Silver
Gold
Weight32.0g (41mm)
38.8g (45mm)
42.3g (41mm)
51.5g (45mm)
Display materialIon-X strengthened glasssapphire crystal
Wi-Fi only versionsYesNo
Onboard storage size32GB32GB

As you can see, the differences between the aluminum and stainless steel Apple Watch Series 7 mostly come down to the materials used. Whether you’re talking about the casing or display, the stainless steel model offers better materials. The aluminum Apple Watch is a softer material, and the anodization could scratch or chip, as could its Ion-X-strengthened glass. The stainless steel Apple Watch is much, much harder. Still, stainless steel does have a drawback: Scratches are more noticeable than the aluminum version. These so-called microabrasions can appear on glossy stainless steel soon after you start wearing one, especially on the silver version.

Cellular abilities and color options

apple watch buyers guide
apple watch buyers guide

There’s also the issue of cellular abilities. All Apple Watches with stainless steel include GPS and cellular capabilities. The latter increases the watch’s price and, when the feature is activated, requires a monthly data plan. If you don’t care about cellular, you pay for it anyway, which is a waste. By contrast, with the aluminum models, Apple gives you a choice between GPS only and GPS plus cellular.

Btw, there is a stainless steel watch band that is perfect for the stainless steel Apple watch case.

The Apple Watch Series 7 aluminum model comes in five colors, including Midnight, Starlight, green, blue, and (PRODUCT)RED, while the stainless steel Apple Watch Series 7 comes in four colors, including silver, gold, Space Black, and graphite.

Which should you get?

You should get the aluminum Apple Watch if you are:

  • Into physical fitness, and you want the lightest Apple Watch you can get.
  • Going to be rough enough with it — or likely to lose it — and want the most affordable replacement option possible.
  • Not sure about Apple Watch and want to try it out at the lowest cost of entry.
  • Simply love the way the bead-blasted aluminum looks.
  • Want a variety of color options, including blue and (PRODUCT)RED.

You should get the stainless steel Apple Watch if you:

  • Love watches and want something with some heft.
  • Want something classic on the outside but ultra-modern within.
  • Need a watch made out of strong materials like stainless steel and sapphire crystal.
  • Prefer the “classic jewelry” look.

So which is better when choosing between aluminum vs. stainless steel Apple Watch? We think the aluminum model is best for most folks. If you’re overly worried about possible damage, get an AppleCare+ subscription for peace of mind. Besides, Nike+ only comes in aluminum, which is something to also consider. If you plan on keeping your watch for more than two years, the stainless steel model might be best.

No matter which Apple Watch model you buy, be sure to check out our picks for the best Apple Watch bands.

Apple Watch Aluminum: Stylish and practical

Experience all the great features of the Apple Watch for less. Choose from lots of beautiful colors, too.


Apple Watch Series 7 – stainless steel: Stylish choice

If you’re really worried about breaking your Apple Watch, this is the one to get. Still, watch out for those inevitable scratches!

Learn more about the Apple watch different case, check perfect apple watch bands for different apple watch case

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