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Android Central
Android Central
Michael L Hicks

Instead of buying a watch for Black Friday, stock up on watch bands instead

Google Pixel Watch 2 hands-on.

Before, during, and after Black Friday, you can save hundreds on a new, high-quality smartwatch. But the best way to save money, one most sites won't tell you, is to fight the impulse to snatch up those Black Friday watch deals in the first place, no matter how "cheap" they are!

Instead, Black Friday is a great time to splurge on a handful of watch bands, giving your "old" watch a stylish facelift and making it more comfortable to boot. 

As the site's Wearables editor, I've rounded up some great early Black Friday watch deals that'll save you hundreds on watches I'd actually recommend. But the fact is, most watches these days have durable hardware and enough software support to last for years, longer than the cheap silicone band that came in the box. And the only way to save hundreds on a watch is to spend hundreds first. 

With watch bands, you can find packs of affordable options on any given day, like the Lerobo 6-pack above. But during Black Friday specifically, most of our favorites are typically discounted, including the pricier bands from popular brands made of the finest materials. 

Now's the time to make a list of watch bands you want, then stock up on the day itself! Here's what I suggest you start planning your Black Friday watch band blowout. 

Buy a watch band for every occasion

When I polled my Android Central colleagues on what kind of watch bands they preferred, the general consensus was that they used nylon for comfort and indoor workouts (aka weights), silicone with breathable holes for sweaty outdoor or gym workouts, leather for casual or daily wear, and metal for "fancier moments."

For folks who choose one band or wear whatever came in the box, this might sound a bit bougie; it's easier to wear multiple bands when companies give them out to journalists like candy, hoping we'll recommend them in our round-ups. But the fact is, most mainstream watches have quick-release designs that are tailor-made for this kind of watch band customization. 

Even if you only prefer a single kind of watch band — I mostly wear breathable silicone for runs — you should still stock up and be ready to swap. We all know that we should technically clean our watch bands once a week, at least...but this scientific study found that 95% of watch bands are infested with bacteria. Best to be honest and admit that swapping bands entirely at a regular cadence is the more realistic way to stay sanitary. 

Bands like Samsung's Hybrid Eco-Leather strap are comfortable and high quality, but also expensive even when they're 20% off. And some of our other favorites like the Spigen Modern Fit are cheaper but currently full price. 

That's why it makes sense to have a list ahead of November 24. You'll probably see tens of thousands of Black Friday watch band deals on the day itself, all off-brand Amazon bands with absurd names like ZKSLDKSAA. A lot of the high-quality options will get lost in the shuffle, which is why you should have some direct links saved to a wishlist or Google doc so you can click through them in five minutes instead of deal-spelunking for hours.

Find the right band for your brand

I always appreciate brands that stick to the universal Quick Release standard, so you can carry bands over from one watch to the next regardless of who made it. If you're stuck using proprietary watch bands, though, the next best thing is to hope that they last from one generation to the next. 

For example, Pixel Watch bands and Pixel Watch 2 bands are interchangeable, as are Fitbit Charge 5 and 6 bands. It gives you hope that you can stock up on these straps and keep them if you upgrade your watch a year or two down the line. 

Garmin, one of my favorite running brands, makes you use a spring bar to remove its bands and charges an obscene amount for its QuickFit replacements that make swapping them easier. If you can accept the hassle of swapping in third-party bands, you can find some solid options in place of their usual silicone bands. 

Sometimes, your best bet for first-party bands is to go directly to the company's website. Fitbit's accessories page shows deals on almost all of its watch bands, both for the smartwatches and the fitness trackers. For example, if you want the best Fitbit Charge 6 bands, from sporty silicone to leather or woven nylon, now's a good time to get the official options that typically cost too much. 

As I said, I can't possibly recommend all the watch bands out there. There are too many proprietary watches, band materials, specialized brands with their own websites, and so on to consider. 

You may want to choose a specific type like these fantastic Barton Galaxy Watch bands, and hope that they're among the Black Friday watch band deals available, but there's truly no guarantee. That's why you should make a thorough list ahead of time so you're not disappointed. 

The good thing about watch bands is that you can never have too many, so there's no harm in stocking up on cheaper alternatives until the best options get a discount. 

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