We hope that you love our articles and find them useful and informative! In full transparency, we may collect a small commission (at no cost to you!) when you click on some of the links in this post. These funds allow us to keep the site up and continue to write great articles.

The Best Running Watches with Music in 2021

 

If you love to run, there’s a good chance you like listening to some good music while you exercise! GPS watches and smartwatches are loaded with all the different features and stats they provide. How do you choose which is best for you?

Many of the watches listed below share many of the features most people expect to see on a GPS running watch. This includes step tracking, time/speed/distance when running, and heart rate monitoring.

Here are some of the best running watches with music. These watches will help you listen to your favorite music while maintaining all the great functions you expect on a running watch.

We’ve broken the list into two parts. The first section are GPS running watches with music storage and playback. The second section are smartwatches that play music, but require you to carry a phone with you while you run.


Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

Garmin fenix 6 Pro

 

  • Tracks tons of activities
  • Music storage and playback
  • Awesome battery
Check Price

 

Garmin vivoactive 4

 

  • Music storage and streams Spotify
  • Good for thin wrists
  • Nice battery
Check Price

 

Amazfit Stratos 3

 

  • Budget priced
  • Music storage and playback
  • Stylish design
Check Price

Best Overall

1. fenix 6S Pro, 6 Pro, 6X Pro

Garmin’s fenix watches provide a ton of features in an attractive package that looks great in the office as well as on the road. The latest version – the fenix 6 – comes in a range of sizes, styles, and features. It’s our top pick for a Garmin with music.

For listening to music, the fenix 6 is the best out there. You can store up to 1,000 songs on the watch. Listen on the go without a phone or play and control music on your phone directly with the watch. Download playlists from Spotify and other services directly to the watch so you can listen phone-free.

But make sure you purchase the fenix 6 Pro versions. The non-pro fenix 6s don’t have music storage and playback.

On the non-music side, the fenix 6 watches are some of the most robust GPS watches around. Track and monitor a ton of activities from running to cycling to swimming to hiking, skiing, and paddle sports. Wrist heart rate is standard on all models. Contactless payments are included to pay wirelessly at stores.

They also display topo and street maps or upload pre-routed courses. There are 32GB of storage to preload maps. The watch comes loaded with the popular maps (there’s an extra cost to download additional).

With the latest upgrade comes improved battery life. 6-15 hours in GPS and music-playing mode (depending on which version of the fenix you go with). You’ll get 9-21 days during non-GPS use.

The fenix 6 series of watches tracks elevation using a barometer and GPS. Garmin has integrated a lot of neat ways to track climbing with the ClimbPro app. This splits up various elevation climbs throughout your activity. It also keeps time, total distance, elevation, vertical speed, and average elevation grade displayed on the watch during your workout.

For runners, the fenix 6 tracks advanced metrics if you wear Garmin’s running dynamics pod. Track overall running power as well as cadence, vertical oscillation (how much you bounce up and down) to improve your running form.

New to the fenix line is customizable battery settings. Get improved battery performance by adjusting features mid-activity for longer use per charge.

There are a couple downsides to the fenix 6. First is price. The fenix watches are expensive. You do get a ton of features, but it comes at a cost. Second is weight. The fenix is a fairly heavy watch compared to other models. The smallest version, the fenix 6S, sits better on smaller wrists, but it’s still fairly substantial.

Overall, if you are interested in an awesome watch with music, the fenix 6 line of watches are the best available right now.

PROS:

  • Built-in GPS and altimeter
  • Improved connectivity with Bluetooth headphones
  • Music storage and streaming services
  • Tons of training features for a variety of activities

CONS:

  • Very pricey
  • Heavy and bulky
 

Top Smartwatch with Spotify

2. Garmin vivoactive 4, 4S, and Venu

Garmin’s vivoactive 4/4S/Venu watch series are all-purpose GPS smartwatches for running and general fitness. At about half the price of the fenix, it’s a nice alternative – and they still play music and have many running features.

The vivoactive 4 comes in a few different styles. The base model vivoactive 4 has a high-res display – it’s also bigger than the earlier version. The vivoactive 4S is a tad smaller, ideal for runners with thin wrists. And the slightly more expensive Venu has an AMOLED screen that’s crisp and clear. 

From a feature perspective, these watches are exactly the same. They vary in size, screen resolution, price, and battery. The 4S lasts about 5 hours in GPS mode with music. The vivoactive 4 and Venu have 6 hours in music mode. 

Unlike the prior vivoactive 3 – which required an upgraded model for music – the vivoactive 4 series all come with music built-in. They can store up to 500 songs for phone-free listening. Play and control the music directly from the watch to your wireless headphones. Right now you can download and stream songs Spotify and Amazon Music.

The vivoactive 4 series is water-resistant up to 50m, so you can run in the rain and go for a swim! It even tracks swim strokes, distance, and speed.

Like the fenix 6, the vivoactive 4 tracks wrist heart rate, even underwater. You can also make contactless payments with Garmin Pay.

This watch uses heart rate to track your level of cardio fitness. Then you can compare how fit you are with others in your age group and gender in the app. It also measures stress and recovery throughout the day. Enjoy over 15 preloaded GPS and indoor sport profiles from swimming, running, snowboarding and much more.

Like many of these watches, the vivoactive 4 monitors steps, creates daily step goals, and tracks sleep. It can be worn on either wrist – the button on the side of the watch can be switched to the inside or outside of the watch, depending on which wrist you wear it on.

PROS:

  • Streams Spotify and Amazon Music
  • Waterproof
  • Great battery life
  • Lots of built-in fitness profiles

CONS:

  • Not as many running features as other watches
 

Best Value Garmin

3. Garmin Forerunner 645

The Forerunner 645 is Garmin’s high-end running watch. It was also their first watch with music storage capabilities.

Similar to the Forerunner 245, there is enough room for 500 songs on the watch. There’s also the option to store podcasts and audiobooks. If you have iHeartRadio or Spotify, you can download playlists to the watch as well. Control and play music from the watch to wireless headphones.

Also like the 245, the Forerunner 645 has wrist heart rate. It tracks runs, counts steps, and has an easy to read display.

So what makes this watch different from the Forereunner 245?

The biggest difference is the barometric altimeter that’s included on the 645. This provides accurate elevation data. You’ll get an elevation profile, the total ascent/descent of your climbs, and your vertical speed. The barometer also means the watch can count flights of stairs when used as an activity tracker.

The 645 tracks more activities than the Forerunner 245. These include skiing, snowboarding, and paddling activities like rowing, SUP, and kayaking. And if you are into Strava, the 645 shows segments live in real-time and lets you use the Beacon function, which lets others track you (via Strava) during your runs.

Finally, the Forerunner 645 comes with Garmin Pay for contact-less payments on the go.

There are fairly decent mapping capabilities on the Forerunner 645. These aren’t real maps like what you’ll find on the fenix 6 series. But it does display a basic breadcrumb map. Use this to track your run or upload routes to the watch. You’ll get some basic point-to-point navigation help as well.

Retailing at $450 (for the music version), this is a nice option thanks to its slim and lightweight design. Bands can be easily interchanged. This is a good watch if you want some extensive running features, but prefer a lighter, slightly less expensive watch than the fenix 6.

PROS:

  • Waterproof to 50m
  • Great running features
  • Lightweight design with clear display

CONS:

  • Running features may be too complicated for some runners
 

Top Garmin Music Watch

4. Garmin Forerunner 245

If you want a more robust running watch than the vivoactive 3, but aren’t quite ready to shell out the big bucks for the Forerunner 645, the Garmin Forerunner 245 might just hit that sweet spot you’re looking for.

The Forerunner 245 is a strong stand-alone GPS watch designed specifically for runners. There are many features new to this mid-range watch that had only been available on more expensive models in the past. This includes improved navigation functions like a bread crumb map, point-to-point navigation, and TracBack – a feature that leads you back to your starting location in the event you get lost.

The 245 is compatible with Garmin’s Running Pod. This device tracks metrics related to running form, allowing you to work on your form as you run. You also get Training Status, Load, and Effect. These features use heart rate data combined with GPS activity to determine how well you are training.

Like Garmin’s other music capable GPS watches, the Forerunner 245 stores up to 500 songs. Skip, pause, adjust the volume directly from the watch. Upload songs from Spotify and listen sans-phone during your run. Want more? Bring your phone, stream music from that device, and control playback right from the watch.

Other new features include swim tracking, both in open water and pools. In cycling mode, the Forerunner 245 works with more accessories like the Varia Vision, Radar, and Lights. Best of all battery life has more than doubled with 24 hours in GPS mode (vs 11 in the older Forerunner 235).

Still, you might be wondering why the Forerunner 245 is more expensive than the vivoactive 3, which also tracks a ton of activities. The difference is that the 245 has more runner-specific features. On top of navigation, the Running Pod, Training Load, there is also the virtual partner. This allows you to stay at a specific pace. You see how far behind or ahead you are by your relation to the virtual person on the watch.

The Forerunner 245 uses GPS to track runs, swimming, and bike rides. It comes with a built-in activity tracker to monitor steps and set daily step goals. And when your phone is nearby, receive texts and other alerts directly on the watch.

PROS:

  • Music storage and playback w/Spotify
  • Numerous running-specific features
  • GPS tracks runs, bike rides, swimming
  • Improved navigation features
  • Awesome battery

CONS:

  • No multisport for triathletes
  • Doesn’t track as many activities as the less pricey vivoactive 4
 

Best Apple Smartwatch For Music

5. Apple Watch Series 6

The Apple Watch is always a top pick for Apple users as well as our top smartwatch for music. So if you have an iPhone this may be a good fit for you.

There are two available models and two sizes for Series 6. One model has built-in GPS, and the other has LTE capability. Using LTE costs more per month, but allows for music streaming on the watch which is perfect for utilizing those extra fees. You can also store music on the watch, though it may use up a lot of storage space.

It comes in 40 and 44 mm sizes. The 40 mm size is better for smaller wrists.

Access Apple Music and Beats Radio right through Siri or tap through the watch’s menu. There aren’t pre-made playlists to browse, so make sure you get familiar with Apple Music if you haven’t used it before. You’ll also need a subscription for Apple Music.

The Apple watch brings your phone notifications to you to stay updated with your life while you work out. And there is a very convenient find-my-phone feature. When swimming, there is a screen-lock mode that will ensure the screen stays off during your swim, and when you’re finished the watch will eject water out of the speaker with vibration.

Apple Pay is installed as well for easy payment on the go. Again, if you have LTE version, you can use Siri to find out anything you need to know from the weather to current news, to changing your music.

Battery life is going to vary by how you use the watch. Cellular use and GPS will drain the battery quicker. Overall the battery life is adequate but not as good as Garmin’s and other GPS watches.

PROS:

  • Built-in GPS and altimeter
  • Waterproof up to 50m
  • Music streaming with LTE

CONS:

  • Short battery life
 

Best Fitness Watch with Music

6. Fitbit Versa 3

The Fitbit Versa 3 is a great choice for those who want a smartwatch that works with both Androids and iPhones, and has a solid battery life of about 6 days. Coming from Fitbit’s line of activity trackers, the Versa 3 is also our top pick if you want a fitness tracker with music. 

Like the Fitbit Sense, there is space to store up to 300 songs for offline listening. You can access Pandora and Deezer for offline playlists – or you can control Spotify on your phone via the watch.

But because the Versa 3 is a smartwatch, it isn’t as strong for running as other watches, although it does have GPS tracking. So it’s not an ideal watch for runners. But if you like Fitbits and want to stick with the brand, this is a good option.

Similar to the Sense but less expensive, this one has similar options for wrist straps and colors, tracks female health, and allows mobile payments.

The Versa 3 has Bluetooth capability so you can receive any phone notifications plus the ability to quick reply to texts.

Activities include over 20 exercise modes including running, biking, swimming, and weights, so you can enjoy plenty of stats in the Fitbit app while comparing to your active friends. It also tracks your cardio fitness level.

A high-res AMOLED screen completes the Versa 3.

PROS:

  • Good battery life
  • Music storage
  • Waterproof to 50m

CONS:

  • More fitness tracker than running watch
 

Best GPS Watch With Music

7. Garmin Forerunner 745

The Garmin Forerunner 745 is a step up from the popular Forerunner 645. That makes it an advanced running watch for both road runners and triathletes who need something comprehensive enough to track their stats but that also has music to motivate them when they need inspiration.

You can store around 500 songs on the watch itself. If you would prefer to keep the watch free of music, you can stream music with a third-party app on your phone and control it via your watch.

With your music playing, you can get 6 hours of battery if you aren’t using it for other functions at the same time. Other helpful safety features include Garmin Pay and impact detection, which alerts your emergency contact if there’s an accident.

You will get the full range of training stats and running dynamics, including VO2 max, sleep tracking, training effect feedback, recovery time calculator, and a useful race time predictor.

The watch needs to be fairly tight on your wrist for the heart rate monitor to ensure accuracy.

PROS:

  • Stream music with Amazon or Spotify
  • Track running dynamics
  • Daily workout suggestions
  • Body Battery Energy Monitoring

CONS:

  • Pricey
  • The heart rate monitor may not be accurate if the watch is slightly loose on your wrist
 

Top Android Smartwatch With Music

8. Samsung Gear Sport

Similar to other smartwatches out currently, the Gear Sport is a bit on the heavy side but looks like a regular watch. It provides easy menu navigation and has a battery life of over three days. The design while large, is attractive with replaceable watch bands and lots of well-designed custom watch faces.

There is a music player, and Spotify is supported! Search with your voice to find your favorite jam while exercising. Music can be streamed or download entire playlists from Spotify for listening offline with 4GB of storage.

It’s a good value for the price. It provides many fitness tracking options, including over 60 workouts that are guided by the watch. This one also has a built-in heart rate monitor and will automatically detect the activity you’re doing and begin collecting data if you forget to start manually. The data goes to the Samsung S Health app, but other apps are available, and more may be on the way.

There is integrated GPS for accurate tracking while you run.

But some of the other sensors might not be accurate enough for some serious sport enthusiasts – steps and calories burned may not be 100% correct. This watch might be better for someone looking for casual exercise. You can also track sleep as many of the other watches.

One other complaint about the Gear Sport is its lack of 3rd party apps. Hopefully, this changes in the future. But it does have Spotify!

PROS:

  • Waterproof to 50m, including saltwater
  • Calorie tracking without extra apps
  • Built-in GPS
  • Up to four days of battery life
  • Spotify integration

CONS:

  • Poor voice recognition
  • Heart rate monitor may experience some bugs
 

Best Fitbit with Music

9. Fitbit Sense

The Sense is Fitbit’s premium GPS smartwatch. It has a sleek design, a battery that can last up to 6 days, and a GPS battery life of about 12 hours.

This watch not only tracks runs and counts steps. But it comes with quite a few extra features including female health-tracking, mobile payments, and downloadable apps.

This is also a Fitbit that plays music. With good storage space, the Sense can store up to 300 songs. Stream Pandora and Deezer off-line without your phone when you have a paid subscription.

The Sense tracks wrist heart rate as well as time/pace/distance while running with GPS. As a true Fitbit, it excels as monitoring steps, sleep, plus resting heart rate.

If you stop while on your run, the watch detects this, pauses, and starts back up for you so you can stay focused on your activity. If you forget to set your activity, there is an automatic workout detection that will choose the right workout for you and begin collecting data.

Like the two Garmin’s we’ve reviewed, the Sense can make contactless payments and displays phone notifications.

The Sense is a slim, light watch. It has a clear, high-resolution display. The touch screen is tough and durable, made with Corning Gorilla Glass.

PROS:

  • Music storage and Pandora streaming
  • Waterproof
  • Long battery life

CONS:

  • Not as strong for running and other activities as a Garmin
 

Best Value Music Watch

10. Amazfit Stratos 3

You may never have heard of the Amazfit Stratos. It’s made by Humai Technology, so it’s not one of the big names in smartwatches. It does have some useful features, including the ability to save music onto its onboard memory.

With 4GB of storage, you can save approximately 1000 songs onto the watch and leave your phone at home when you run. There is no compatibility with music-streaming apps, but when you have this much onboard space, do you really need to stream music?

As well as great musical capabilities, the watch also has a Biotracker optical sensor that offers highly accurate 24-hour heart rate monitoring. It will warn you when your heart rate is getting too high as well, which is a nice safety feature. On occasion, the HRM may lose signal and you’ll need to reboot the watch.

It also has a fully-functional GPS capability. You can choose to combine any two of the global positioning systems that it supports—GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, and BEIDOU—for faster and more accurate positioning and tracking.

Choose from over 80 sports modes to cover any type of exercise you choose to do. In Smart mode, which is fully functional, you can get up to 7 days out of the battery. If you need more, Ultra Endurance mode will give you 14 days of battery life.

PROS:

  • Standalone music playback
  • 80-sports modes
  • Decent battery
  • Biotracker

CONS:

  • You may have to reboot the watch when it stops tracking your heart rate to get it working again
  • Questionable durability
 

Best Garmin for Triathletes

11. Garmin Forerunner 945

If you are a triathlete rather than a straight-up runner, you should consider the Garmin Forerunner 945. This robust multisport watch from Garmin is their best GPS watch with music designed for triathletes.

It’s not that different from the fenix 6, but has a thinner profile making it easier to remove a wetsuit during a tri. It’s also a step above the Forerunner 745 if you want more robust tri-specific features and data.

On the music front, it stores up to 1000 songs including music uploaded from Spotify. Control playback and volume directly on the watch. For triathletes, it has multisport which allows you to switch between swimming, cycling, and running within the same workout.

Like past versions of this watch, it tracks pool and open water swimming including distance, pace, stroke count, and laps (in the pool). While cycling, it is compatible with Garmin’s numerous accessories like a power meter and Varia Radar, Vision, and Lights.

New safety features automatically alert friends and family with a text and email if the Forerunner 945 senses you’ve been in a bike crash. You can trigger this manually as well if you find yourself needing assistance.

Besides running, cycling, and swimming, the 945 also tracks hiking, skiing, and paddling sports like kayak, canoe, and rowing – it even tracks golf (yes, golf!). With Garmin’s running pod or heart rate chest straps, it monitors metrics related to running form . It also has robust training load metrics that give you an idea of how effective your workouts are plus how well your overall fitness is improving. Real street and topo maps help you navigate during your workouts.

And if you ever find yourself in dire need of buying something – and you happen to have left your wallet at home – use Garmin Pay to shop stuff on the go with contact-less paying.

Did we mention the battery? Don’t worry about frequent charging – the Forerunner 945 has 36 hours in GPS mode and up to 10 hours with music.

PROS:

  • Music storage and playback w/Spotify
  • Multisport watch for triathletes
  • Awesome battery life
  • Real street and topo maps
  • Thin, lightweight design

CONS:

  • Expensive
  • Might have too many features for some runners
 

Best Sportwatch with Music

12. LG Watch Sport

Like the Apple watch, you can opt for LTE cell service if you pay an additional monthly fee. This watch is on the bigger side and might not be suitable for small wrists.

There is 4GB of storage space for music. With the LTE connectivity, you can stream all you want. Or you can download music via Google Play for on-the-go music without your phone.

The Sport is somewhat water resistant but is not made for swimming. The wristbands can be taken off but are not replaceable as LG built antennas into them. It will also function more fully if you own an Android phone, so you can take advantage of Google Assistant and Android Pay.

With a variety of fitness apps to choose from, the Sport is best for running and biking. While the GPS is handy and allows for leaving your phone at home, it might be a little shaky in areas with tall buildings or trees (as expected for most GPS systems.)

This watch is very well rounded with great features for fitness tracking as well as other smartwatch “extras”, a fast processor and quality screen. There is a heart rate monitor built-in as well as a SIM card tray. Receive phone notifications and read them comfortably on the large screen.

PROS:

  • Built-in GPS
  • 4GB storage space for music

CONS:

  • Short battery life (less than two days)
  • Large and heavy
 

Best Suunto with Music

13. Suunto 7

If you’ve been a fan of Suunto and are looking to upgrade to a watch with good music capabilities, then the Suunto 7 could be the one for you.

This touchscreen watch is compatible with both Android and Apple phones so anyone can use it. But Suunto uses Google WearOS for this smartwatch, so you may get the most benefit if you’re a Google user.

It’s important to note that you can’t store music on this watch, although you can stream music via apps like Spotify if you download them onto the watch through the Google Play Store.

The best way to use the music function on the Suunto 7 is to pair it to your phone and control your music through your watch. You can leave your phone alone while you workout, leave it in your pocket while you run, or even leave it in another room if you’re working out from home.

The latest features on the 7 include a battery-saving GPS mode that allows you to get more time out of your watch, route navigation, offline maps, more than 70 sports modes to choose from, and a customizable always-on watch face.

PROS:

  • Control your music from your watch
  • 70+ sports modes
  • Battery-saving GPS mode
  • Connects to third parties like Strava, GoogleFit

CONS:

  • The battery may not last for longer than a day, depending on the features you’re using
 

Best Polar Watch with Music

14. Polar Vantage V2

The Vantage V2 is Polar’s top of the line sports watch ideal for running, cycling, swimming, and many other activities. Featuring Polar’s powerful heart rate monitoring, the watch also includes a strong battery, training and recovery feedback, and – of course – music control and playback.

Music capabilities include controlling volume, pausing, and switching songs. This is done by touchscreen when setting up before you run and with watch buttons while you are running. The downside here is you need your phone with you when listening. The Vantage V2 doesn’t have music storage like some of the other watches we’ve looked at.

The Vantage V2 is large and might not work well for small wrists. It has replaceable wristbands to change up the color. It has a round shape that is more fitness-oriented than fashionable. But this could speak towards better accuracy of the heart rate monitor since it has a large sensor.

This watch is Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capable, with the ability to connect an external Bluetooth chest heart rate monitor. The watch comes with a huge list of activities that can be tracked including CrossFit and weightlifting. But running and multisport tend to be the focus for this one, providing accurate time, speed, distance, and swim metrics.

PROS:

  • Fully featured multisport watch
  • Waterproof
  • Great battery life
  • Strong heart rate monitoring

CONS:

  • Expensive, especially for watch without music storage
 
The Wired Runner