The Best Running Watches with Music in 2020

Natalie Cecconi
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If you love to run you'll love a good running watch, as it gives you extra motivation to keep going.

A good watch will track your progress, distance, time and pace and display your vital stats on the screen as you run.

You can also use a GPS watch to store locations and routes and pre-download them.

I've listed my top 10 fast GPS watches in this guide. If you are looking for a quality GPS watch, here are the things you need to consider before buying one of these top watches:

  • Wrist or armband;
  • Strap type;
  • Storage capacity;
  • Battery life;
  • Display type;
  • Built-in heart rate monitor;

Waterproof.

NameCategoryProduct
Garmin 010-02172-11 Vivoactive 4SBest Overall
Garmin 010-02172-11 Vivoactive 4S
Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness SmartwatchBudget Pick
Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch
Garmin 010-02158-01 Fenix 6 ProUpgrade Pick
Garmin 010-02158-01 Fenix 6 Pro

1. Garmin 010-02172-11 Vivoactive 4S

Our rating: 9 / 10


Garmin 010-02172-11 Vivoactive 4S

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Pros:

  • Has a crisp color display
  • Accurate GPS tracking
  • Has an interval watch that’s great for training
  • Tracks your fitness progress
  • The smartwatch’s interface allows you to download apps and widgets to your watch
  • Waterproof up to 50 meters
  • Has a long battery life
  • Includes an in-app feature that allows you to race against other Connect IQ users
  • Comes with a built-in heart rate monitor
  • Water resistant with a front lens made from Corning GOR (Glass Oxide Reinforced) glass material

Cons:

  • Strap doesn’t come with a buckle
  • The watch’s buttons don’t feel firm
  • The display is reflective, which means you might have some issues seeing it outside
  • Charging cable is on the slow side of things
  • Battery life isn’t very long, but you can still give this smartwatch a try

The Garmin 010-02172-11 Vivoactive 4 is a GPS enabled watch that’s built for activity. It comes with a number of handy features that integrate with your day-to-day activity and allows you to track your stats.

2. Garmin 010-02158-01 Fenix 6 Pro

Our rating: 9 / 10


Garmin 010-02158-01 Fenix 6 Pro

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Pros:

  • Small and lightweight
  • Solidly built
  • Best GPS function that is backed by accurate maps
  • Highly-customizable interface
  • The watch vibrates to indicate your pace
  • Includes heart rate monitor and foot pod
  • Compatible with Strava and other running apps

Cons:

  • The design is not for everyone
  • You can also wear it as a standard watch
  • Disconnected from everyday activities

The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro features music storage in its 8 GB built-in, not to mention it can carry up to 1000 songs. The Fenix 6 is ideal for those looking to explore the farthest frontiers in sports and recreation with the highest level of technology.

It has an excellent battery life – up to 30 hours in GPS mode and 12 hours in GPS + Music. The Fenix 6 is very lightweight and compact – it weighs around 5.5 ounces, which makes it great for long distance runs and hiking. The display is based on sunlight-visible, colorful screens that make it easier to read even in harsh conditions.

It’s also the only running watch that you can wear as a standard watch as well. Garmin Connect make it easy to track your progress and share your accomplishments with your friends and family.

3. Garmin 010-02120-20 Forerunner 245 Music

Our rating: 9 / 10


Garmin 010-02120-20 Forerunner 245 Music

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Pros:

  • Color and design
  • Music and notifications
  • Works for swimming
  • Comprehensive running applications
  • Battery life

Cons:

  • A bit heavy
  • The button feel is a bit mushy
  • Doesn’t fold

The best running watches are those that combine crucial running features with the ability to play music from your phone. The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music, GPS Running Smartwatch with Music and Advanced Dynamics is solid choice and it comes in black and silver. It has a black/white display, a touchscreen interface, and is waterproof.

The Garmin Forerunner 245 is equipped with the Garmin Elevate heart rate technology, GPS, and GLONASS system, and Vivoactive 3 Music also monitors your fitness level. Moreover, it has the ability to receive notifications and allows you to make and receive phone calls.

The Forerunner 245 also has in-built music storage and you can also use streaming services like iHeart and Pandora…The watch also keeps track on all your activity with the auto-tracking mode, and even indicates when you’ve been sitting for too long.

4. Garmin 010-02174-11 Vivoactive 4

Our rating: 9 / 10


Garmin 010-02174-11 Vivoactive 4

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Pros:

  • Great battery life (5-7 days)
  • Great display
  • Lots of storage
  • Bluetooth enabled
  • Lots of sports modes
  • Water resistance
  • Appropriate for both athletes and non-athletes
  • Sports profiles
  • Indoor walk/run detection
  • Incoming call and text notifications

Cons:

  • Annoying syncing issues
  • Non-removable band
  • No true tap-and-pay support
  • Doesn’t track history to see progress
  • Stuck on Fitbit (except for watch faces)

(Certified Refurbished)

This is the Garmin 010-02174-11 Vivoactive 4, which is why it comes on our list of the best running watches with music for 2019. It comes with “music that moves you” and it has a great set of features. It boasts the longest battery life on a Garmin smartwatch. With improved strength and design, this watch is a great all-around wearable.

5. Garmin 010-02173-11 Venu

Our rating: 9 / 10


Garmin 010-02173-11 Venu

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Pros:

  • The combination of the activity tracker and heart-rate monitor means that this watch is more than just a sports watch
  • The touchscreen is a great deal bigger than you’d find on most running watches
  • It’s waterproof enough to be used in the pool
  • The vibration alerts are a welcome addition
  • The ability to store hundreds of songs is a handy feature
  • The downloadable software to the Garmin watch means that the calculations are more accurate
  • It’s made to be used in the gym, pool, and the outside area.

Cons:

  • The watch can be a little too big for some people.
  • The instructions are not the easiest to follow
  • The music feature can be a bit difficult to use
  • There is a big delay in the GPS detection
  • For those looking for a more basic model, the Garmin vivosmart HR is a great alternative

This running watch is one of the most affordable and reasonably-priced GPS sports watches on the market today. It comes in a variety of different colors; while black is the most common, it is also available in green and red.

One of the main draws about this watch is that it has a touchscreen display, so it makes navigation much easier than just using buttons. This is the single most expensive GPS watch available on the market today.

6. Garmin 010-01863-20 Forerunner 645 Music

Our rating: 8 / 10


Garmin 010-01863-20 Forerunner 645 Music

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Pros:

  • Best in-class music storage capacity
  • Athletic performance tracking
  • Great battery life
  • Super-slim profile is attractive and comfortable
  • Accurate GPS for running, cycling, and swimming
  • Display is OLED and readable in all lights
  • Heart-rate monitor is in the wrist and accurate
  • WiFi and Bluetooth functions

Cons:

  • Some users have reported slow syncing
  • The 24/7 heart-rate does not have enough data points to be accurate
  • Some users have reported issues with the watch locking up requiring a reset

(Black)

The Garmin 010-01863-20 Forerunner 645 Music, GPS running watch is the best and most top-of-the-line watch from Garmin. It comes with a 6-month touchscreen-compatible warranty.

The Garmin 645 Music comes with a large display and a glove enabled touchscreen. It also has a lot of helpful Garmin features such as ‘Adidas’, ‘Weather’, and ‘Fitness Dynamics’.

7. Garmin 010-02063-00 Forerunner 945

Our rating: 8 / 10


Garmin 010-02063-00 Forerunner 945

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Pros:

  • Provides advanced tracking
  • GPS and GLONASS support
  • Garmin Pay contactless payment solution
  • Has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Sweat and rain resistant
  • Comfortable design that has a wrist-based heart rat
  • Has up to 20 hours of battery life
  • Vibration alerts that allow you to train without your phone
  • Can store up to 500 songs and supports wireless headphones
  • Supports Strava Live Segments

Cons:

  • Only comes with preloaded Strava segments
  • Not a touchscreen display
  • Heart rate functionality requires pairing with a chest strap

The Garmin 945 cannot be beat in the mid-range segment when it comes to the best running watches with music. It is very accurate and provides a lot of customization for athletic training.

It is GPS and GLONASS capable. That means it’s truly a versatile device and you don’t need any subscription to run with it. It comes with features like Garmin Pay contactless payment solution and up to 500 songs for wireless playback.

This wearable also comes with a wrist based heart rate monitor. It has a lot of tracking features and an ability to provide vibration alerts. You can also change the watch band with ease.

8. Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch

Our rating: 8 / 10


Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch

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9. Samsung Gear Sport Smartwatch

Our rating: 7 / 10


Samsung Gear Sport Smartwatch

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Pros:

  • Straightforward and easy to navigate interface
  • Up to 4GB of internal storage to save songs
  • GPS and GLONASS integrated in the Gear Sport
  • Built-in heart rate monitor
  • Good battery life
  • Intuitive touch interface

Cons:

  • UI is not as easy to use as it is on the Apple Watch
  • Can only be used with Samsung phones; can’t be used without a smartphone
  • The battery is not user-replaceable

With so many smartwatches on the market, it's hard to find the perfect model. Some have features that you don't need or want, while other models don't have the features that you do need or want.

That's why we were so excited to review the Samsung Gear Sport, which offers just about everything you need and nothing you don't. This makes the Gear Sport one of the smartest smartwatches on the market.

For example, it has a built-in GPS and GLONASS system for accurate performance without cell connectivity. This is unlike the Apple Watch Series 3, which users have reported inaccurate GPS despite connecting to their phones. Having GPS on a smartwatch can be especially useful for runners, who can now compete in running races using their smartwatches.

10. Fitbit Ionic Watch

Our rating: 7 / 10


Fitbit Ionic Watch

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Pros:

  • Sleek design
  • Built-in GPS makes it easy to track your running route without having to carry a phone
  • Sleek and user-friendly Fitbit app
  • Great battery life – 7 days for moderate to heavy usage and up to 5 days for light usage

Cons:

  • A little heavy, weighing in at 42g
  • Slightly awkwardly large

The Fitbit Ionic Watch is a GPS enabled sports watch, with an aluminum body, a touchscreen, and a sedentary reminder.

The Ionic has the same clean and intuitive operating system on the app as other Fitbit products. It tracks your activity, monitors the quality of your sleep, allows you to set reminders for all manner of activities (like drinking water or exercising) and use at-a-glance access via the connected app and data fields to see how you’ve been doing.

It connects to your phone and all you need to do to sync up with your phone is to have them within 10 meters of each other. So if the Fitbit Ionic is in your pocket, it will sync when you open the app.

11. Apple Watch Series 5

Our rating: 6 / 10


Apple Watch Series 5

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Pros:

  • Excellent battery life
  • All-day fitness tracking
  • Integrated GPS
  • Low price
  • Love the fact that you can control the music on your phone through the watch
  • Great design

Cons:

  • The charge is not that strong
  • The software is annoying

The Apple Watch Series 5 is the latest generation of wearable Apple devices. This is a high-end, feature-packed fitness tracker that has a fully integrated GPS navigation system. It has a dual core processor and Apple´s S4 64-bit TrueClock chip. This means that the watch runs smoothly and efficiently without any lag or stuttering. This is a major improvement from the Series 4.

The Series 5 comes with a new EKG, which helps monitor your heart health. It starts recording a reading within 30 seconds of you placing your fingers on the digital crown. As you continue to monitor your heart rate the device compiles numerous values and displays the data for you on a graph.

This is especially important for people who exercise regularly. It enables them to make better decisions about their workout regimen and how much medication they need during exercise. The Series 5 has a ceramic back housing fused with a stainless steel bezel. It is packed with sensors and has a larger display than previous editions.

12. POLAR M600 Sport Watch Powered by Android Wear

Our rating: 4 / 10


POLAR M600 Sport Watch Powered by Android Wear

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Pros:

  • Great design
  • Supports Android Wear
  • Comfortable fabrics
  • Long-lasting battery

Cons:

  • No included heart rate monitor
  • Only available in a single colorway

The Polar M600 Sport Watch Powered by Android Wear is a unique model and one that stands out from the pack of smartwatches, activity trackers, and GPS watches. It has GPS and Sport Profiled algorithms that take care of exact distance, speed, and duration.

The M600 also includes a heart rate monitor to take care of your heart health as well as a barometer to keep track of changes in altitude. The GPS allows you to track your runs, but the absolute best part about this watch is that it is Android compatible! It supports all the Android Wear 2 features, so you can choose which apps to have running on your watch.

Another nice feature of the Polar M600 is that it is equipped with music support. This means that you can listen to songs on Spotify or Pandora and still track your workout… all without your phone in hand.

13. Amazfit Stratos Multisport Smartwatch

Our rating: 4 / 10


Amazfit Stratos Multisport Smartwatch

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Pros:

  • The smartwatch’s colors are customizable
  • You can track heart rate, calories, steps, and distance, among other metrics
  • The smartwatch automatically syncs with your phone
  • It has a built-in GPS
  • You can save up to 200 songs for free
  • You can customize notifications
  • You can set your target heart rate zones
  • It has a four-day battery life

Cons:

  • It’s a bit bulky
  • It’s a bit expensive
  • The fitness tracker isn’t highly accurate
  • It’s not water-resistant

The Amazfit Stratos Smartwatch is a fitness tracking smartwatch that you can wear all day and night with a 2 to 4 day battery. The Stratos offers robust fitness tracking options like VO2 max, heart rate, activity tracking, an accurate GPS and even sleep cycles, among others The smartwatch is designed for men and women and can track your fitness and daily activities.

The Stratos connects to your Android or Apple smartphone via Bluetooth 4.0 and automatically syncs activity data with the Amazfit smartphone app for iOS or Android. The Stratos comes with a USB cable for charging and 3 buttons for controlling music and receiving notifications.

14. TomTom Adventurer GPS Multisport Watch

Our rating: 4 / 10


TomTom Adventurer GPS Multisport Watch

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15. Tomtom Spark 3

Our rating: 4 / 10


Tomtom Spark 3

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Pros:

  • It tracks your route, time, distance, pace, calories burnt
  • Gives accurate info about heart rate and other workout statistics
  • Tracks multiple sports like walking and running
  • GPS makes it easy to track exactly where you run
  • Water resistant
  • Built-in music player
  • Built in personal coaching
  • Monitor to measure the quality of your sleep
  • Comes with an ultra-long battery life of 15 hours
  • Offers guided workouts, heart rate monitor to track your heart rate

Cons:

  • The interface is a bit bulky and difficult to use
  • Comes with no screen brightness settings
  • Activity tracking is not the most accurate
  • Does not support the use of third party apps
  • Comes with a big price tag

The Tomtom Spark 3 is a GPS enabled wearable fitness companion that tracks your daily activity and even your sleep. It features a built-in Music player so you can listen to music while you workout. You can also pair it with an additional heart-rate monitor and set goals with the built-in personal coach.

It tracks your cardio exercise, distance, speed, pace, cadence, burned calories, and training effect. You can see your progress time and time again during the day with the automatic activity tracker.

16. LG Watch Sport Unlocked GSM

Our rating: 4 / 10


LG Watch Sport Unlocked GSM

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The LG Watch Sport is the flagship Android smartwatch of 2017 and one of the most feature-packed sports watches you can buy today. This 5.9-inch Android 4.2.2 smartwatch is made out of durable materials like plastic, steel, and rubber.

The watch’s 1.38-inch, 480 x 480 pixel-resolution display is covered with a plastic (instead of a sapphire) which makes it less scratch-proof, but at least it’s responsive.

This smartwatch runs Android Wear 2.0—. the latest version of Google’s wearable operating system – and it’s compatible with all recent Android phones. That’s one of the primary reasons why so many people are buying it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best running watch with music?

The iPod Nano is an amazing MP3 player but that is exactly all it is good for. So if you are looking for a lightweight device for both listening and tracking your workout, you can’t beat the Apple Watch or the Garmin Fenix.

Of course, you have to use each device for its intended purpose but once you get that right, the Apple Watch, for instance, is a wonderful device for tracking your runs.

There is no denying that the Apple Watch is a cool wearable device. Its fluidity in functions such as glancing at vital health stats, crossing off your daily activities, and connecting with your social circle are incredible.

It’s also made it possible for runners to upload their workouts on the go, check their speed, distance, and duration, as well as their heart rate stat, and other vital information.

And all of that is done without ever wrecking your smartphone.

What is the best running watch 2020?

There are plenty of good watches out there suitable for runners of all varying intensity levels. One that frequently tops many lists is the Garmin Forerunner 235; it's light, stylish, and extremely easy to use.

If you're more of a quantified self-tracker, the Garmin 935 and Apple Watch will certainly appeal to you.

If you're looking for something less tech-heavy, there have been some great improvements in the design of standard running watches this year, so take a look at the Moov Now, TomTom Spark 3, and Polar M430 for some excellent high-end options.

For those with a specific need from their watch, there are plenty of competitors to choose from.

Is there a fitness watch that plays music?

When it comes to fitness watches, they can do more than just tell you the time. In fact, many of them are loaded with apps that help you with your fitness goals and know just how far you have to go toward achieving them.

Music is a common convenience that fitness watches offer. But not all of them have it. There are a few variations of fitness watch that can play music, and some that can even have a dedicated speaker to stream your music via Bluetooth.

Here are our top picks for a fitness watch that plays music.

Which watch can play music without phone?

The best running watch with music is Garmin Forerunner 735XT. This excellent watch comes with a built-in music player. With it, you can download offline playlists from iHeartRadio. With the help of Garmin Express or Garmin Connect Mobile, you can add music to the watch for free.

Also, the watch offers the navigation function. If you wonder where the closest running route is, you can use the Garmin Connect app to search for running routes in your area. In addition, the watch is IPX7 waterproof rated, which means it is shower friendly

Conclusion

The main reason you’d want an affordable watch with music is running but there’s so many other features to consider besides music. Here are the most important ones that you should keep in mind.

Is GPS really essential?

If yes, how accurate is the GPS?

Can I make phone calls if I need to?

Can it be used as a daily fitness tracker for other activities?

Is the battery replaceable?

How is the app for the watch?

Is the watch face too small to read?

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Garmin 010-02172-11 Vivoactive 4SBest Overall
Garmin 010-02172-11 Vivoactive 4S
Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness SmartwatchBudget Pick
Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch
Garmin 010-02158-01 Fenix 6 ProUpgrade Pick
Garmin 010-02158-01 Fenix 6 Pro