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Do You Need a Screen Protector for Your Apple Watch?

If you’re worried that you’ll scratch up the screen on your Apple Watch, you can easily buy and install a screen protector for it. But should you be worried about it in the first place?

I know a lot of people who have been in the market for an Apple Watch, but have backed out because they’re worried the screen would get scratched up fairly easily based on daily use—it’s easy for a watch to bump against various objects and scuff it up.

Depending on what model of Apple Watch you have, the display glass may be more durable than other models.

Some Apple Watch Models Have Sapphire Crystal Displays

With the newer Series 4 Apple Watch (as well as some previous generations), the stainless steel model comes with display glass made out of sapphire crystal, which sounds more like marketing fluff, but it’s actually a really nice feature if you’re paranoid about scratching up the screen.

Sapphire crystal glass is made from the sapphire gemstone, which is the third-hardest material on earth behind diamond and moissanite, so it’s incredibly resistant to scratches. Or at least it should be.

JerryRigEverything, a YouTube channel dedicated to performing durability tests on consumer electronics, performed a scratch test on a Series 3 Apple Watch with a sapphire crystal screen and discovered that it wasn’t quite as scratch resistant as it could be, noting that the sapphire wasn’t as pure as the Tissot watch he was comparing it to, which also has sapphire crystal glass.

Granted, it was still more scratch resistant than the inferior glass on cheaper Apple Watch models, but not by much. It’s possible that Apple has made some improvements with its sapphire glass in the Series 4 Apple Watch, though.

You’re Probably Better Off with a Screen Protector

On entry-level Apple Watches with the aluminum body, the screen is just made out of regular glass, or “Ion-X” glass as Apple likes to call it—it’s no more scratch resistant than a typical smartphone display.

If you have one of these and are paranoid about scratching it up, then a screen protector will give you some cheap and easy peace of mind for sure.

How cheap? You can get a pack of screen protectors for a little over $10, and they should last you for quite a while. Just make sure you get the correct size for your Apple Watch. This six pack is $11 and is compatible with both 38mm and 40mm Apple Watches. They’re also available for 42mm and 44mm models at the same price. Want to go beyond a simple protector and protect the case too? Check out our roundup of great Apple Watch protection solutions.

Craig Lloyd Craig Lloyd
Craig Lloyd is a gadget expert with nearly ten years of professional writing experience. His work has been published by iFixit, Lifehacker, Digital Trends, SlashGear, and GottaBeMobile. Read Full Bio »