The latest models in the Apple Watch lineup have been out for a few months. The Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 both boast plenty of cool features and upgrades over the previous generation--including the more powerful S9 chip and a brighter display, plus more new features.

So if you've been struggling to decide between the two, we get it. Keep reading for a breakdown of the best features of each smartwatch to help you decide which one to get--or whether you might do better with a cheaper Apple Watch alternative

Apple Watch 9 gives you more hands-free functionality during workouts


The most impressive upgrade coming with the Apple Watch 9 is probably Siri Health. This will make starting your workouts and getting status updates along the way a breeze. Instead of navigating the watch screen, just say "Siri, start an outdoor run workout" or "Siri, start a yoga workout." Your new watch will immediately start tracking the activity, even when you're not connected to Wi-Fi or a cellular network.

You can also ask Siri for updates during a session like what your current heart rate is or how much distance you've covered so far. With this voice command functionality, you won't have to stop or slow down to look at your watch when you want to check your stats. Finally, you can log health data with Siri, too. Log your latest weight check in, the start of your period, or when you've taken your medication all via voice command.

When you pair Siri Health with the new Double Tap feature, mid-workout watch navigation is easier than ever. Double Tap is a new gesture you can use to interact with your watch without having to touch the screen. Simply tap your index and thumb finger together twice in a row--hence "double tap"--and the Apple Watch 9 will answer or end a call, start or stop a timer, play or pause your music or whatever else you need it to do.

It also ranks as one of the best heart rate monitors thanks to its accurate heart rate tracking. The smartwatch tracks other essential metrics, too, including blood oxygen levels, body temperature and more for a clear picture of how hard your body is working during each exercise. Plus, it's crack-resistant and swim-proof so you can wear it confidently no matter what your workout involves.

This makes it a great choice for people who need to interact with their watch during workouts to check stats or start and stop timers. The hands-free functionality will seriously improve your HIIT workout experience so you can accurately log your activity without having to fuss with your watch.

It's also a great option for the multi-taskers. If you tend to squeeze in your exercise during the workday, for example, the ability to answer calls or reply to emails without having to stop your workout is a game changer.

Our favorite features of the Apple Watch Series 9:

  • Siri Health turns Siri into your built-in fitness trainer, letting you start or stop workouts, check your health stats, and more with voice commands on your watch, with no Wi-Fi required.
  • The new double tap gesture lets you control any active app on your watch by double tapping your finger and thumb so you don't have to stop or slow down to navigate your watch.
  • The improved dictation is up to 25% more accurate so you can reply to texts, email and more while you work out.
  • You can take an ECG anytime.
  • The Apple Fitness+ app (three months free) offers new ways to train and gives deeper metrics into your body's performance.
  • Use Apple Wallet on the go so you can step out for a run without your phone.

The Apple Watch 9 is available for purchase at major retailers now. We found the best price right now at Amazon.

Get the 41mm Apple Watch 9 at Amazon for $329 (reduced from $399)

$329 and up

Get the 45mm Apple Watch 9 at Amazon for $359 (reduced from $429)

$359 and up at Amazon

Apple Watch Ultra 2 is one of the best multi-sport smartwatches


The new Apple Watch Ultra 2 (49 mm) also got the Siri Health voice command features and the double tap gesture. Then it adds a few more cool upgrades on top of those. Aside from the brighter screen (3,000 nits!), one of our favorite upgrades is the customizable watch face.

Modular Ultra, the watch face on the new Ultra, lets you customize which metrics and performance data are displayed on your watch. Each widget on the face can be customized to display whichever data you need so you don't have to toggle between screens anymore. Everything you need to check is on one screen.

It also boasts improved depth and altitude tolerance. Dive down as far as 100 meters (about 325 feet) or scale mountains as high as 9,000 meters (about 29,500 feet) above sea level. Since the tallest peak on earth is Mount Everest's 8,848-meter peak, that means you can take this to the top of literally any mountain on the planet.

The new built-in Depth app logs your dives and lets you review your most recent sessions on the watch. From your phone, you can see your complete dive history, complete with GPS pinpointed entry point.

The rugged and powerful Apple Watch Ultra 2 is on par with a Garmin smartwatch in terms of quality and durability. This makes it a great pick for hikers, divers and anyone else who needs a smartwatch that can stand up to all your adventures.

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is on sale at Amazon for $749 (reduced from $799).

Our favorite features of the Apple Watch Ultra 2:

  • Siri Health lets you access pretty much every fitness-related feature via voice command so your hands (and attention) are free to stick to your workout.
  • The double tap gesture gives you even more hands-free functionality to control your watch without having to touch or look at the screen.
  • The Modular Ultra watch face lets you customize which metrics are displayed so you can see all the data you care about on one screen
  • With a peak brightness of 3,000 nits, the Ultra 2 is Apple's brightest watch yet and perfect for seeing your watch even in the brightest sunlight.
$749 at Amazon

Save $110 on the Apple Watch 8 on clearance


If you don't really need that hands-free functionality, the launch of the Apple Watch 9 is the perfect opportunity to save on the older Apple Watch 8 (2022).  The previous generation is still packed with tons of great fitness features like the ability to track heart rate, blood oxygen levels and temperature. And it still gets regular updates.

It can track all the same health metrics and activities as the Apple Watch 9, just without the robust voice command features of the new Siri Health or the handy Double Tap gesture. It's also durable, with IPX6-rated dust resistance and water resistant to 50 meters.

The best part of all? You can get the Apple Watch 8 for as low as $289 at Walmart while it's on clearance. 

Get the 41mm Apple Watch 8 at Walmart for $289 (reduced from $399)

$289 at Walmart

Get the 45mm Apple Watch 8 at Walmart for $319 (reduced from $429)

$319 at Walmart