Is the Apple Watch Stainless Steel Worth It?

The Apple Watch is a smartwatch made by Apple Inc. It connects to an iPhone without any wire and also helps to track health metrics and fitness. The watch enables communication and calendars on the wrist. There are several models of the Apple Watch, including stainless steel versions.

Is the Apple Watch stainless steel really worth the higher cost over aluminum models? This question arises for many looking to purchase the trendy smart timepiece. Is the Apple Watch stainless steel worth it? gets asked as shoppers weigh options. 

The stainless steel Apple Watch variants shine with a sleeker design. They utilize higher grade materials than the standard aluminum. But with double or triple the aluminum pricing, deciding the value of stainless boils down to individual preference and budget. Durability, aesthetics and resale value hold keys to answering is apple watch stainless steel worth it?

Stainless Steel vs Aluminum Differences

The stainless steel Apple Watch models utilize a harder, more corrosion-resistant 316L stainless steel. This makes them noticeably heavier than aluminum models. Stainless steel enjoys greater resistance to small scratches and scuffs from daily activities. Aluminum, being a softer metal, shows marking more easily.

Steel apple watches sport a ceramic back versus composite polymer on aluminum. This brings better signal connectivity. The external difference shows in the shinier, chrome-like sheen from steel versus the matte muted tone of aluminum. 

Cost Considerations of Stainless Steel  

Cost Considerations of Stainless

The entry 40mm aluminum Apple Watch SE starts at a reasonable $249. Compare this to $699 for the 40mm stainless steel Series 8 with nearly 3x the cost! The price gap narrows slightly on the larger 44mm size. Expect to pay nearly double for steel over the same-sized aluminum watch.

With Apple offering frequent upgrades to their watch OS and newer model releases, the premium paid for stainless must get weighed against longevity of use expectations. 

Improved Screen Durability

The Sapphire crystal screen of higher-end stainless steel watches better resists surface scratches from rubbing and bumps. Day-to-day activities become less likely to permanently mark the durable Sapphire glass face. The ion strengthened glass of aluminum watches still offers good protection that will suit most buyer’s needs.

For those desiring maximum display protection for rough, active use, the Sapphire crystal offers confidence the screen will remain pristine over years of wear. This matches the overall enhanced resilience that the stainless steel casing provides.

Enhanced Scratch Resistance 

The stainless steel used on Apple Watch delivers much higher scratch resistance than aluminum. Fine scratches and scuffs that readily show on aluminum models will be far less noticeable on stainless models from the same use. 

Even though classics like the aluminum Sport model feature anodization that boosts surface hardness, stainless steel ultimately withstands fine scratching better from keys, tools, brushes with hard surfaces etc. Stainless makes tiny surface scuffs less visible.

Comparison of Durability for Long Term Use

Stainless steel watches will better maintain their original sheen and sustain normal use with less visible wear versus aluminum over longer term ownership. The harder steel fends off an accumulation of fine surface scratches that progressively dull aluminum’s appearance.

While aluminum Apple Watches still offer excellent durability as an everyday timepiece, buyers planning for heavier long term usage or heirloom passing down of the watch will benefit more from stainless models. 

Evaluating the Resale Value 

Evaluating the Resale Value 

Stainless steel watches typically retain a higher resale value proportional to original sticker pricing versus aluminum. For those considering reselling their Apple Watch a couple years into use, they can expect a bigger return on the typically 1.5-2x original purchase price paid for stainless models over aluminum.

The wider price gap of pre-owned stainless Apple Watches, laser-cut stainless steel, can offset some of the heavy upfront premium paid. For buyers wanting to invest in a watch with better value sustainability, stainless delivers a great cost offset through resale.

Aesthetic Appeal of Stainless Steel

Aesthetics play a strong role in smartwatch selection. While both metal types offer sleek styling, many buyers simply favor the brighter, chrome-like lustre flowing from a stainless steel Apple Watch. The more muted, utilitarian matte tone of aluminum misses attractiveness marks for some buyers.

Personal taste rules when judging the better looking metal between steel and aluminum. But the shinier steel family of Apple Watches offers versatility to better match both everyday and more formal attire for multi-use appeal.

Additional AppleCare+ Coverage 

Every stainless steel Apple Watch purchase adds a complimentary one-year extension to the product’s standard AppleCare+ coverage. This stretches accident protection and reduced-cost repairs to a full three years from the original purchase date.

The extra year of AppleCare+ matches the intended longevity that the premium steel models deliver. For risk-averse buyers wanting maximum coverage duration on a pricy purchase, this sufficiently justifies the higher steel pricing.

Making the Personal Decision on Worth

The question is, is the Apple Watch stainless steel worth it? gets decided on personal choice factors. Budget plays an obvious role. But intended longevity of use, retainment of attractive looks, and predicted lifestyle roughness must get weighed. 

Buyers valuing resilience with improved scratch resistance and premium appeal will find their added investment warranted with stainless steel. More value-driven shoppers will discover aluminum Apple Watch savings to meet their needs at friendlier prices.


Is the durability much better with stainless models?

Yes, stainless steel Apple Watches are nearly 3 times harder than aluminum, resisting scratches, scuffs and general wear and tear over long term use.

Do stainless steel or aluminum watches hold resale value better? 

Apple Watch stainless steel models generally retain around 40-50% more resale value proportional to original purchase price versus aluminum watches when selling pre-owned.

Does stainless steel impact cell and WiFi signals at all?

No, stainless steel Apple Watches actually enable slightly better cellular and WiFi signals versus aluminum thanks to their ceramic back panels versus polymer composite.


For those who desire maximum scratch protection and classic luxury looks, the stainless steel Apple Watch gets easily justified. The harder steel fends off scuffs, keeps screens pristine, and retains a higher resale price. But for general iOS notification alerts, fitness tracking, and basic smartwatch needs, aluminum models supply everything at friendlier budget pricing. 

While resale values and long term pristine condition gets compromised, aluminum Apple Watches still promise years of unfaded performance for frugal shoppers. Personal preference and budget factors decide each buyer’s verdict on whether premium stainless models hold worthy value.

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