Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about ourreview process here.We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.The RundownBest Overall:IQShield LiQuidSkin at Amazon"IQShield is one of the best-known brands for phone and screen protection, and its LiquidSkin screen protector is a top choice with smartwatch wearers."Runner-up, Best Overall:ArmorSuit MilitaryShield at Amazon"UV protection prevents the film from yellowing over time, and it is laser cut to ensure it fits your screen completely as it should"Best from ZAGG:InvisibleShield HD Clear Screen Protector for Apple Watch Series 4 and 5 40mm - Clear at Amazon"Built-in technology assists with self-healing small scrapes, and it's a great all-rounder to protect your fragile investment."Best Film Protector/Best Multipack:RinoGear RinoSkin Shield Apple Watch 44mm Screen Protector at Amazon"It comes in a pack of six, so you'll have plenty of extras in case you need them."Best for Reducing Glare:IQ Shield Matte at Amazon"The outer layer of the IQ Shield Matte has a protective layer to resist fingerprints and smudges."Best Protection, Apple Watch Edges:Spigen Rugged Armor Watch Case at Amazon"This case is a top choice for those wanting extra protection you'd only get from a film or glass protector, and the smooth rubber is pleasing to touch."Best Shell Screen Protector:Smiling Case at Amazon"It provides complete peace of mind for all the delicate parts of your phone, covering the screen and sides with a one-piece cover made from high-quality TPU plastic."Best Splurge:ZAGG - InvisibleShield Glass + 360 at Best Buy"Zagg's InvisibleShield Glass+ 360 combines tempered glass with a bumper case for the ultimate protection."
Smartwatches are a pretty expensive proposition, so finding the best Apple Watch screen protector is a smart investment. The best protectors in this category not only protect your watch from scratches and nicks, they can also shield it from harmful UV light that can damage or yellow the screen.
Our top pick from IQShield, LiQuidSkin at Amazon, is a great example that does both. It blends seamlessly with your screen, and can be used on your smartphone as well. Though the application is a little tedious, the resultant protection is well worth a few minutes of your time, and LiQuidSkin won't interfere with touch sensitivity whatsoever. It's the best Apple Watch screen protector, and a great complement to the best Apple Watch accessories.
Best Overall:IQShield LiQuidSkin Apple Watch Series 4/5 Screen ProtectorBuy on AmazonWhat We Like
Blends in naturally with your watch
Anti-scratch technologyWhat We Don't Like
Tedious wet application
IQShield is one of the best-known brands for phone and screen protection, and its LiquidSkin screen protector is a top choice with smartwatch wearers. Its LiQuidSkin Apple Watch Series 4/5 Screen Protector, the best Apple Watch screen protector out now, blends in seamlessly with your phone screen and allows for full touch control of your screen with no discernible lag.
Thanks to UV protection, the screen protector isn't likely to yellow over time. Anti-scratch technology protects it from minor nicks. Safeguard your watch without hampering its appearance using this practical and unobtrusive screen protector. Keep in mind, though, that the wet application means the application process is cumbersome even if the results are worth the effort.The 9 Best Apple Watch Bands of 2021
Runner-up, Best Overall:ArmorSuit Apple Watch 44mm Screen Protector + Black Carbon Fiber Skin ProtectorBuy on AmazonBuy on Armorsuit.comWhat We Like
Guards against scrapes and bumps
UV protection keeps it from yellowing over timeWhat We Don't Like
Only one screen protector included in the kit
Application can be a bit tricky and tedious
The ArmorSuit MilitaryShield is one of our top choices for screen protection. Its incredibly clear and resilient film will protect your watch screen from fingerprints, scratches, and bumps. UV protection prevents the film from yellowing over time, and it is laser cut to ensure it fits your screen completely as it should.
ArmorSuit claims to have self-healing technology, meaning it can repair minor scratches by itself. While you can't expect miracles, the glowingly positive reviews for the product speak for themselves. Backed by a lifetime warranty, if purchased from an official outlet, this screen protector keeps your screen safe and allows for crystal clear visibility.
Putting it on can be tedious, but the MilitaryShield works well if all instructions are followed. Note, all products reviews here are available in both the 40mm and 44mm size, designed to fit Apple Watch Series 4 & 5.
Best from ZAGG:InvisibleShield HD Clear Screen Protector for Apple Watch Series 4 and 5 40mm - ClearBuy on AmazonBuy on Best BuyBuy on Zagg.comWhat We Like
Effective and easy to install
High definition film ensures the screen protector doesn't interfere with responsivenessWhat We Don't Like
Edges can occasionally peel up after prolonged use
Zagg's Invisible Shield HD Clear is an effective and easy-to-install screen protector. High definition clarity means your screen remains as easy to read and touch as if there were nothing on it, and it's effective against scrapes, bumps, or drops. Built-in technology assists with self-healing small scrapes, and it's a great all-rounder to protect your fragile investment. It feels like glass to the touch but is actually a durable and resistant film.
That said, the edges can occasionally start to peel over time, and only one screen protector is included in the pack.
Best Film Protector/Best Multipack:RinoGear RinoSkin Shield Apple Watch 44mm Screen ProtectorBuy on AmazonWhat We Like
High-quality, inexpensive screen protection
Performs well in tough conditionsWhat We Don't Like
Time-consuming application process
The RinoSkin Shield is one of the best Apple Watch screen protectors for those on a budget, with reliable screen protection you might only expect from a more expensive product. Made from a tough, translucent film, the RinoSkin Shield has undergone extensive testing from athletes and hikers, ensuring it performs well under tough conditions. It comes in a pack of six, so you'll have plenty of extras in case you need them.
You can apply the RinoSkin Shield using a wet process, which works well to prevent air bubbles or peeling, albeit at a snail's pace. Patience is a virtue, but if you follow the instructions clearly and take your time, you'll be left with a dependable and high-quality screen protector. If you wear your watch while playing sports or going on hikes, it's a compelling option.Top Alternatives to the Apple Watch
Best for Reducing Glare:IQ Shield Matte Apple Watch 44mmBuy on AmazonWhat We Like
Backed by a lifetime warranty
Matte design reduces screen glareWhat We Don't Like
Edges tend to peel over time
If screen glare is a concern, consider the IQ Shield Matte. Effective at reducing screen glare, its matte design comes in handy if you're often on your phone outdoors or in the bright sun. Moreover, this budget-friendly option uses durable film to protect your fragile screen against scrapes, drops, or bumps.
The outer layer of the IQ Shield Matte has a protective layer to resist fingerprints and smudges. While it's an economical choice for protection, some users have reported that the edges start to peel up over time. But with six included in the pack, you'll have plenty of replacements if needed. Using a wet kit, the application, works well enough, though it is a bit too complex for its own good.
Best Protection, Apple Watch Edges:Spigen Rugged Armor Watch CaseBuy on AmazonBuy on Spigen.comWhat We Like
Soft rubber casing shields against bumps and scrapes
Easy to pop on and offWhat We Don't Like
Adds bulk, making it tricky to use with sport bands
Should clear screen protectors not appeal to you, consider the Spigen Rugged Armor instead. This soft rubber case wraps securely around your watch screen, providing reliable protection against bumps and scratches. It comes in a matte finish, and its raised bezels improve its defenses. While it's more of a case than a full screen protector, you can add a regular screen protector for enhanced coverage.
This case is a top choice for those wanting extra protection you'd only get from a film or glass protector, and the smooth rubber is pleasing to touch. However, it does add bulk to the watch, and some users have reported that it can be tough to wear sport velcro watchbands alongside it. The"Rugged Armor"branding on the front of the case might be offputting to minimalists, but it's worth a look, especially for those who frequently find themselves bumping against sharp edges and hard surfaces with their watch.
Best Shell Screen Protector:Smiling Case for Apple Watch Series 4 & Series 5 40mmBuy on AmazonWhat We Like
One-piece case easily snaps on and off, providing complete coverage of the screen and sides of the watch
Provides more protection than just a screen protectorWhat We Don't Like
Humidity can sometimes get between the watch and the case, problematic for frequent gym-goers
The Smiling Case is more than just a screen protector. It provides complete peace of mind for all the delicate parts of your phone, covering the screen and sides with a one-piece cover made from high-quality TPU plastic. Application is much easier than with traditional screen protectors, as it easily snaps on and off and wraps around the back to make sure it remains in place.
If you're worried about banging or knocking your fragile watch against household objects, desk ornaments, or gym equipment from day to day, you won't regret snapping this up. It's thin enough so that it doesn't take away from the beauty of the watch on its own. While it's suited for everyday use, humidity and moisture can sometimes get trapped between the watch and the case, so it may not be the best choice for frequent athletes or gym-goers.
Best Splurge:ZAGG - InvisibleShield Glass + 360Buy on Best BuyBuy on Zagg.comWhat We Like
Protects without sacrificing form
Easy applicationWhat We Don't Like
Sensitive to cracks, may need frequent replacement
Zagg's InvisibleShield Glass+ 360 combines tempered glass with a bumper case for the ultimate protection. Available in several colors, the bumper provides additional safeguards to the edges and curves of the watch, without impeding its functionality.
It has an oil-resistant finish, designed to keep annoying fingerprint marks at bay, and it's designed to absorb shocks and impacts. The application process is straightforward with the help of the included Apply Tray, and it helps lend security without adding too much bulk to your Apple Watch. Due to its high price tag, however, it may stretch the budget.The 9 Best Apple Watch Accessories of 2021Final Verdict
The easy to answer to"what's the best Apple Watch screen protector"? It's IQShield's LiQuidSkin, perfect for avoiding scratches and sun damage. For the best film option, RinoSkin is the way to go.
About Our Trusted Experts
Katie Dundas is a writer and journalist with a passion for technology, particularly in relation to cameras, drones, fitness, and travel. She has written for Business Insider, Travel Trend, Matador Network, and Much Better Adventures.
Can a screen protector be removed once it has been applied?While some screen protectors can be easily removed or reapplied if you need to replace or readjust them, some models that use liquid applicators can become quite indelible once they've been affixed to your device.
Does my Apple Watch really need a screen protector?If you're using the newer model of Apple watches with the stainless steel body, a screen protector likely won't be necessary. These newer models come equipped with sapphire crystal glass and are extremely resistant to scratches and other abrasions. However, if you have one of the older, aluminum Apple Watches, you may want to invest in one. The glass on these models is still quite strong but is still capable of accumulating its fair share of dings and scratches over time.
Isn't my screen covered under my warranty, can I just send in my watch to have its screen replaced?The old adage"an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"definitely applies here. While scratches are covered under an Apple Watches warranty, they'll only replace a screen twice under the AppleCare warranty, and that will still run you around $70. Once you've exhausted that route, you may find yourself paying as much as $200 for an out-of-warranty repair. For comparison, even the most expensive screen protectors will only cost you about $30.