Virtually every smartwatch owner has had that moment of exasperated frustration when we bang our watch screen against a wall or a chair. A good screen protector can help with that. While the new Apple Watch Series 9 already boasts a fairly scratch-resistant screen, employing a sapphire-crystal glass that you often find in Rolex and other luxury watches, it doesn’t guarantee complete scratch-safety.
Fortunately for Apple Watch owners, shopping for a screen protector is pretty easy. Apple Watch Series 9 watches are 41mm and 45mm, so all you have to do is find the corresponding size protector and some products make it even easier with installation tools to make it a true no-fuss process from application to protection.
ZPIAR / Pocket-lint
ZPIAR Apple Watch screen protector
Best protector overall
The Zpiar tempered glass screen protector is as good a place to start as any. Each purchase comes with two, so you get a do-over if you mess one up. It also comes with a border frame for a sleeker look. It comes in both 41mm and 45mm sizes. It may take a few attempts to get all the bubbles out, but it’ll feel great once it’s on there properly.
GadgetShieldz / Pocket-lint
GadgetShieldz Apple Watch screen protector
Best thin protector
$5 $10 Save $5
GadgetShieldz is a good second choice and one of the best soft screen protectors for the Apple Watch Series 9. Don’t let the product name fool you, Apple Watch Series 8 screen protectors do work on the Series 9. This one comes in 41mm and 45mm sizes and comes in a two-pack in case something goes wrong. It’s about as thin as a screen protector gets, so be careful during installation.
Spigen / Pocket-lint
Spigen Tough Armor Designed for Apple Watch
Best rugged screen protector
The Spigen Tough Armor is an Apple Watch case that has a built-in screen protector. The case and screen protector add additional full-body protection against scrapes, bumps, and drops. Curiously, the 45mm is on Amazon while the 41mm is on Spigen’s official website. Aside from that, you’re getting excellent protection from whatever may smack your Apple Watch Series 9.
YMHML / Pocket-lint
YMHML iPhone 15 Plus Screen Protector 3 Pack
Best soft film screen protector
The Ymhl soft film for the Apple Watch Series 9 is a great soft film protector with a border, coming with a nifty applicator tool for easier installation. You may still get bubbles, but it’ll be less likely if you’re following the instructions. This one comes in both 41mm and 45mm variants, and comes at a budget-friendly price. It’s a solid overall choice, and you get three of them per pack.
YMHML / Pocket-lint
YMHML Screen Protector for Apple Watch
Best tempered glass screen protector
The Ymhml tempered glass screen protectors are just as good as its soft siblings, fitting the Apple Watch Series 9 just fine, and you get two of them in case one gets messed up. The protector also boasts an oleophobic coating to resist fingerprints and uses a wet installation process, so you can try it a few times in the event of bubbles.
IQShield / Pocket-lint
IQShield matte screen protector
Best matte screen protector
Matte screen protectors are something a bit different. as they’re not as clear as other types, but they provide a unique texture that some people really like. The IQShield Matte Screen Protector is about your only good option in this space. It reduces glare, has an anti-dust coating, and it still provides protection against scratches. It’ll look a little more beat up over time, but that’s true of any matte screen protector.
Cuteey / Pocket-lint
Cuteey Apple Watch privacy screen protector
Best privacy screen protector
The Cuteey Privacy Screen Protector hides your Apple Watch Series 9 screen from potential peekers. It’s visible when you’re looking right at the watch, but becomes much more difficult to see at an angle. Each purchase comes with two cases and there are options for 41mm and 45mm sizes. It also comes in five colors to match your Apple Watch. And if you want some personalization, the 45mm size offers multicolored five pack options.
Otterbox / Pocket-lint
OtterBox Eclipse Case for Apple Watch
Best case with built-in screen protector
The OtterBox Eclipse Case is a case with a built-in screen protector. It’s much like the Spigen Tough Armor where it offers more protection than a standard screen protector while also still having one. This one comes in several colors, although some colors are only available on OtterBox’s website. As a case, it’s functional and still allows for wireless charging. It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty, which is nice given the pricey tag.
Best Apple Watch Series 9 screen protectors: Which one is best for you?
First, it comes down to preference. If you prefer glass, then any of the glass screen protectors listed above will do a good job. Those who enjoy softer screen protectors have their choice of a few options above as well. The only time it gets super specific is if you want something special, like the IQShield matte screen protector or the Cuteey privacy screen protector.
In general, we think the Ymhml soft screen protectors are a good pick for beginners since it has an applicator tool that’ll help you get it on there more easily. All screen protectors are precision cut to fit the device they’re designed for, so the application will require precision no matter which one you choose.
How should I prepare my Apple Watch Series 9 for screen protector installation?
The installation of all screen protectors is about the same. You’ll first want to remove any oil, dirt, fingerprints, and residues from your Apple Watch screen. Clean it and wipe it down as you normally would. A nifty trick is using a sticker to pull up any small granules of dust that a cloth might leave behind. Those dust specs can cause bubbles even if your installation is otherwise perfect.
From there, simply follow the instructions from the screen protector manufacturer. The vast majority of them have instructions either in written or video format. Some are dry installs where you just plop the screen protector on there and others are wet installs where an adhesive liquid is applied first. If you mess up, remove the screen protector and try again.
Does Apple recommend a screen protector for Apple Watches?
No, Apple has complete faith in its sapphire-glass screens. You can still add one. It won’t void your warranty or anything like that. Apple simply doesn’t think you need one.
Should I get a case with a built-in screen protector or a standalone screen protector for my Apple Watch?
That’s a great question. It’s mostly a matter of preference. Cases with built-in screen protectors add more protection to the Apple Watch itself, but the screen protector won’t be as flush and flawless as a properly applied screen protector. It’s ultimately up to you and what you want to do.