Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

Apple Bands (Fluoroelastomer) vs 3rd Party (Silicone)

MichaelMidnight

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 20, 2008
314
59
Los Angeles
Hey All!

I'm a newly convert to the Apple Watch, and I'm loving it. Loving it to the point that I'm going crazy for wanting bands left and right. But my main question that I'm wondering is, what's the main difference between the Apple Watch sport bands that are made from Fluoroelastomer and are $50 versus the 3rd party ones from say Amazon that are cheaper but made from Silicone? Does one pick up lint more than the other? Better in water? Last longer?

Thanks for any thoughts on this matter!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sunny1990

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
34,613
35,992
Hey All!

I'm a newly convert to the Apple Watch, and I'm loving it. Loving it to the point that I'm going crazy for wanting bands left and right. But my main question that I'm wondering is, what's the main difference between the Apple Watch sport bands that are made from Fluoroelastomer and are $50 versus the 3rd party ones from say Amazon that are cheaper but made from Silicone? Does one pick up lint more than the other? Better in water? Last longer?

Thanks for any thoughts on this matter!


Fluoroelastomer comes from the two words "fluorinated" and "elastomer". Fluoroelastomers are famous for their durability resistance to heat, oils, solvents and fuels. They are often used for fuel-distribution systems or for high-quality lab gloves. It is not a material that will stretch out easily, get damaged by extreme heats, or get deformed by being excessively sweat on. It is also much less prone to induce any allergic reactions than, for example, latex."

Where as rubber, doesn't have the consistency and durability as Flueroastamer does. Flueroastamer easily is the preference For fitness for reasons stated above
 
Comment

Ixidor

macrumors regular
Mar 22, 2016
161
116
As far as sports bands are concerned, I bought one third party knock off Nike band and absolutely hated it. It had a very strong smell and felt very flimsy. As for Apple's official sport bands, I never had any issues with those.

Third party knockoffs always compromise on something (which is why the prices are cheap) so it is a matter of how much of these compromises you can tolerate.

Personally, I bought lots of third party knockoff bands because they were cheap and I wanted different styles. But since I wear the watch everyday, these "compromises" continually bug me. Eventually, I started buying official Apple Watch bands. I never felt that the official bands were a waste of money because I still wear them to this day.

Since then however, I've stopped wearing most of the third party bands that I bought previously, so ironically, despite being cheaper, the third party bands were the ones that were a huge waste of money.

This applies to knock offs where they try to imitate Apple bands at a cheap price. Doesn't apply to genuine third party manufacturers that sell original designs. Most of those have excellent quality.
 
Comment

dwfaust

macrumors 604
Jul 3, 2011
6,653
7,485
I have a couple of each. In my experience, the silicone bands do, in fact, pick up more lint than the Apple fluorelastimer bands - by a large degree. Also, I find the silicone bands to be substantially softer and and they tend to be more stretchy... As far as comfort, I really don't have a preference... both fit well and neither allows the sweaty buildup between the band and my wrist dissipate very well.

Now that it's summer-type weather in the Sonoran desert, I wear only the woven nylon bands or my Milanese loop.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: bruinsrme
Comment

CarlJ

macrumors 603
Feb 23, 2004
5,096
8,558
San Diego, CA, USA
The Apple ones are expensive. The Apple ones are uniformly very good. The knockoffs are cheaper, but there's not a lot of uniformity - they vary from "pretty good" all the way to "mediocre" and you frequently can't tell what you're getting, as the sellers will all tell you their bands are great, and many knockoff sellers will use Apple's pictures of the Apple bands, rather than pictures of what they'll actually send you. And the seller you bought from two months ago may or may not still be there (and selling the same product) two months from now. Some folks here and/or on Amazon reviews will tell you that (at least some of) the knockoffs are "just like" Apple's bands, but you'll find people have widely differing definitions of the concept of "equal" (all the way from "roughly the same size and shape" all the way up to "precisely identical down to the subatomic level").

I tend to think of it as, one part of what you're buying by paying the higher price for the Apple bands is to remove that variability from the equation.

Try a knockoff or two, but expect that: a) you may not like them as much, and b) the sample you take may not be representative (if you do hit one you like you might not be able to get more just like it). Or skip the hassle and stick with the more expensive Apple bands. It's kind of a personality test question - are you one to enjoy the thrill of the hunt for a bargain?

FWIW, I have a couple silicone sport band knockoffs that are meh, a perforated (Nike sport band) knockoff (from before Apple sold them separately) that's really pretty decent, and a _red_ leather loop knockoff that I'd say is perhaps 80% as good as my real black leather loop, even though it was one-fifth the price (I tend to put that one in the winning the lottery / getting struck by lightning category).
 
Last edited:
Comment

bluespark

macrumors 68020
Jul 11, 2009
2,106
2,366
Chicago
I have a couple of each. In my experience, the silicone bands do, in fact, pick up more lint than the Apple fluorelastimer bands - by a large degree. Also, I find the silicone bands to be substantially softer and and they tend to be more stretchy... As far as comfort, I really don't have a preference... both fit well and neither allows the sweaty buildup between the band and my wrist dissipate very well.

Now that it's summer-type weather in the Sonoran desert, I wear only the woven nylon bands or my Milanese loop.

This is the main factor for me. Watch bands are supposed to look good, and they won't if they are picking up tons of lint. Also, I like the stretch-resistance of Apple's bands and the sophistication of their color choices. For me, it's no contest in favor of Apple's bands, but maybe I'd feel differently if I used the Watch only for sports.
 
Comment

WarHeadz

macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2015
900
5,167
Long Beach, California
As far as sports bands are concerned, I bought one third party knock off Nike band and absolutely hated it. It had a very strong smell and felt very flimsy. As for Apple's official sport bands, I never had any issues with those.

Third party knockoffs always compromise on something (which is why the prices are cheap) so it is a matter of how much of these compromises you can tolerate.

Personally, I bought lots of third party knockoff bands because they were cheap and I wanted different styles. But since I wear the watch everyday, these "compromises" continually bug me. Eventually, I started buying official Apple Watch bands. I never felt that the official bands were a waste of money because I still wear them to this day.

Since then however, I've stopped wearing most of the third party bands that I bought previously, so ironically, despite being cheaper, the third party bands were the ones that were a huge waste of money.

This applies to knock offs where they try to imitate Apple bands at a cheap price. Doesn't apply to genuine third party manufacturers that sell original designs. Most of those have excellent quality.
I agree with this 100%.

OP, I have lots of sport bands. 6 knockoff ones, 3 genuine ones. The knockoffs end up sitting in a drawer and I wear the genuine ones daily. The silicone ones match the appearance of the genuine ones almost flawlessly, but they feel like crap and they do attract a lot of lint. I think they're fine if you just want a certain color to match one particular outfit and don't plan on wearing it more than once a month. For example, I wouldn't wear a yellow sport band enough to justify paying $50 for one from Apple, but very rarely I wear an outfit that the yellow band goes perfectly with and that's when the knockoff comes in use. For $5, sometimes its a nice option to have. I also keep a knockoff sport band in the glove compartment in my car as a backup just in case for some reason I have a band fail on me when I'm out.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bruinsrme
Comment

dgdosen

macrumors 68000
Dec 13, 2003
1,788
482
Seattle
As far as knockoffs - I'm finding they get shiny in uneven places pretty quickly... I'm pretty hard on the bands, but I do think the apple bands wear pretty evenly.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jxdawg and Mascots
Comment

broadbean

macrumors 6502a
Jun 10, 2007
780
326
I've read somewhere here there are knock-offs on Amazon that are of better quality, closer to Apple's Sport Band. Personally I doubt it, thinking there can't be too many factories churning these out.

I've bought a Yellow one, but while I like the colour, it's a great dust magnet. My original light green has held up pretty well since launch, and I've since added the Orange and the Black/Lime Nike band. I don't have many issues where the 3rd party stuff is metal or leather or nylon, just the silicone ones.

If everyone keeps saying how much Apple's huge margins are with their Sport Bands, I keep wondering why there aren't knock-offs that use the same fluoroelastomer as well.
 
Comment

CarlJ

macrumors 603
Feb 23, 2004
5,096
8,558
San Diego, CA, USA
The only issue with the 3rd party silicone bands is their attraction to dust. They get filthy rather quick.
Many of them are also thinner than the Apple ones (you may prefer, dislike, or not notice the affect); if this thinness extends into the bits that connect the band to the watch, it may not feel quite as secure.
 
Comment

MacGizmo

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2003
1,789
1,084
Arizona
I just ordered a handful of $12-$14 bands off Amazon. Total $49. I'll be happy if I get a year out of them. But my expectations are low, so I won't be too disappointed if they suck.
 
Comment

dalericg

macrumors newbie
Mar 4, 2012
13
7
Many of them are also thinner than the Apple ones (you may prefer, dislike, or not notice the affect); if this thinness extends into the bits that connect the band to the watch, it may not feel quite as secure.
 
Comment

WarHeadz

macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2015
900
5,167
Long Beach, California
Last edited:
Comment

MacGizmo

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2003
1,789
1,084
Arizona
Well I'm past the return period. And I would like to try the ones you linked to, but I refuse to use eBay for anything. Ever. Luckily, the ones I got are holding up great after a month. I'm not having any issues some mentioned in the comments on Amazon about being "lint collectors" and whatnot.

I'm going to keep an eye open for that brand you linked to though. If they ever appear on a site other than eBay, I'll grab a few.

My distain for eBay stems from a sale of a camera years ago. I sent the camera, but the guy (who signed for it, the stupid idiot) claimed he never received it and I didn't get my money right away. It took nearly that entire month to argue and send (several times) scans of the signature verification to eBay. So while I finally got my money, it was such a mental drain on me that I just won't ever use them again.
 
Comment

WarHeadz

macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2015
900
5,167
Long Beach, California
Well I'm past the return period. And I would like to try the ones you linked to, but I refuse to use eBay for anything. Ever. Luckily, the ones I got are holding up great after a month. I'm not having any issues some mentioned in the comments on Amazon about being "lint collectors" and whatnot.

I'm going to keep an eye open for that brand you linked to though. If they ever appear on a site other than eBay, I'll grab a few.

My distain for eBay stems from a sale of a camera years ago. I sent the camera, but the guy (who signed for it, the stupid idiot) claimed he never received it and I didn't get my money right away. It took nearly that entire month to argue and send (several times) scans of the signature verification to eBay. So while I finally got my money, it was such a mental drain on me that I just won't ever use them again.
Oh I will never sell on there. Screw that, all my used iPhone, iPad, and Watch sales go through Swappa. However, as a buyer you always have the upper hand on eBay, I wouldn't hesitate to buy from them.
 
Comment

Rlb222

macrumors newbie
Mar 18, 2018
2
1
I think that now in 2018, there are good, reputable companies that make decent sport, or sport active bands of silicone (silicon) that are quite good, but you won’t find any silicon band as good as Apple’s bands made with fluoroelastamer because of its properties well-stated earlier in this thread. Bands by Epicbands.com and several other companies I have purchased have proven to be very substantial, non-lint collecting or color-fading, they don’t stretch and are equally soft and are as well made as Apple’s—as well made as can be using silicone.

There always will be cheap knockoffs that sell for $5.00-$10.00 that are just that, cheap! Don’t buy them and expect to get an Apple equivalent. But for the most part, those that sell for $15-25 will be carefully made and will be of good quality. But irrespective of the quality of the manufacture, silicone is not fluroelastamer.
 
Comment

bruinsrme

macrumors 604
Oct 26, 2008
6,606
2,352
At one time I recommended knockoffs. Strongly recommended as the apple ones were crazy expensive.

Then I realized I was turning to the small number of genuine apple bands.

One day I wore a blue and white knockoff Nike band. The band broke and gravity pulled the ceramic to the carpet.

That band went into the trash. That evening I pulled all the knock off silicone bands out of my 35 band collection and all went into the trash.

Reasons
Failure of that one band.
Fit and feel of the knock offs in general
Other bands displayed wear around the holes.
They attract dirt and lint like a black sweater does with golden lab fur.

The sport loop knock offs, well my opinion of those is they suck. The sellers on amazon respond quickly and do care about customer satisfaction. But they’re peddling mediocre products.

I have well over 20 Apple bands gathered over the 3 years.
Also have a couple leather clock work synergy bands.

People like the knock offs. My preference when it comes to the sport and sport loop; is to stick with Apple.
 
  • Like
Reactions: twanj and broadbean
Comment

MacGizmo

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2003
1,789
1,084
Arizona
Just reporting back that the bands I purchased in June of 2017 are still holding up quite well, barring one Nike ripoff band that split.

They are definitely not nearly as good as Apple's bands, but for the price I can't complain at all.
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.