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Top 10 Running Watches with Music of 2021 | Garmin, COROS, Polar, & Suunto

If your motivational tunes are a running must-have, we've put together the top 10 running watches with music from brands like Garmin, COROS , Polar, and Suunto.

But what about the Apple Watch 6 or the Fitbit Versa 3 and Sense, you ask? Well, yes, these smartwatches play music, but they didn't make the cut on this list because they simply can't compete on the running watch end of it.

Topping the list, you'll find GPS running watches that can handle a playlist as long as an ultra-marathon, along with all the features you need to train for one.

Whatever victory you're chasing, if you want music with you, we're confident you'll find the perfect running watch with music here!  

Find Your Stride in Our List of Best Running Watches with Music

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The fēnix 6 Pro blows every watch on this list out of the water (or off the trial) with its ability to store up to 2,000 songs on watch. And it leaves most of them in the dust when it comes to performance metrics, navigation, and more. All this, of course, is reflected in the $650+ price tag.

Heave your heaviest playlist into your fēnix 6 Pro by simply uploading from services like Spotify®, Deezer, and Amazon Music, and listen through headphones with BLUETOOTH® technology. No phone needed!

For runners, treat yourself to the best Garmin performance metrics, including running dynamics, heat- and altitude-adjusted VO2 max, trail run V02 max, recovery advisor, training status and load, and more! Get run-specific activity profiles for track and trail runs, and even an ultrarun profile.

For triathletes and cross-trainers, there's so much here to take advantage of. An obscene amount of activity profiles that range from cycling to swimming to XC skiing. Plan for anything with topo maps, road and trail maps, preloaded ski resort, and golf course maps. And always be able to integrate trainers, power meters, and third-party platforms like Strava and TrainerRoad with Bluetooth, ANT+, and Wi-Fi connectivity. Plus, use all the advanced health monitoring like Body Battery, Pulse Ox, advanced sleep insights, and more!

If you're about going the distance and then some, the fēnix 6 Pro is your running watch with music. Put a 2,000-song playlist in it. Get outstanding connectivity and navigation tools (multi-GNSS, ABC sensors, maps) out of it. Chase your goals with the pinnacle of performance, planning, and training features. And love this ultimate sport watch that offers lasting, customizable battery life: Up to 14 days in smartwatch, 48 days in battery saver mode, 36 hours in GPS, 10 hours in GPS+music, 72 hours in max battery GPS mode, and 28 day in expedition GPS activity mode—wow!

The only possible downsides to this ultimate GPS running watch: the size of the price and the wearable itself. The fēnix 6 Pro has a 1.3" display and weighs 83g—could be a bit too bulky for some runners. Others will prefer a larger screen to eye their stats at a glance.

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2. Garmin Forerunner 245 Music Running Watch — Most Affordable

Garmin totally baby-beared it with this running watch with music. For the runner who wants both beats and performance metrics on watch without dropping $500 or more—the Forerunner 245 is juuuuuuust right.

As a more affordable option, the Forerunner 245 only stores up to 500 songs, which for many runners is more than plenty. Just download your must-have workout tunes from your Spotify, Deezer, or Amazon account and go.

Additionally, at $300 less than the fēnix 6 Pro, you still get a nice chunk of running metrics with the 245, including VO2 Max, Race Predictor, PacePro, Recovery Advisor, Training Status, and Training Load. And for health, factor in wrist-based heart rate, Body Battery energy monitor, Pulse Ox, and advanced sleep monitoring.

You won't get as many activity profiles as with the fēnix 6 Pro or the Forerunner 945 (e.g., skiing, stand up paddleboarding, golfing, etc.), but you will get a rich mix of running, cycling, swimming, and gym workout profiles.

While you will have multi-GNSS (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo satellite imagery access) for advanced tracking, and a compass and accelerometer, you won't have the barometric altimeter for elevation metrics. Even though it is not preloaded with all the maps that come with the fēnix 6 Pro and 945, the 245 still offers some highly useful navigation tools like point-to-point and back to start.  

At this price range, this Garmin Forerunner does not have the compatibility to integrate power meters or third-party platforms like Strava.  

Battery life, while not as robust as the fēnix 6 Pro, is still impressive for a mid-range sport watch: Up to 7 days in smartwatch, 6 hours in GPS+music, and 24 hours in GPS without music.

While this running watch is not for serious marathon and triathlon training, it's definitely got the music and sport features to motivate serious daily pavement pounders, trail runners, and workout hounds!

3. Garmin Forerunner 945/945 LTE — Best Running Watch with Music for Triathletes

Tune in to your determination and leave your phone at home with the Forerunner 945 or super-connected 945 LTE. This one's for all you marathoners and triathletes out there who rely on their motivational playlist and advanced training features for the win.

So what makes this watch different than the fēnix 6 Pro or the Forerunner 245? Well, it's more feature-rich than the 245, and while it has nearly all the same feature-heft as the fēnix 6 Pro, it's got a lighter and sleeker build, catering a bit more to those athletes who may want less bulk on their wrist.

First off, the 945 can store up to 1,000 songs on board—twice as much as the 245, but only half as much as the fēnix 6 Pro. Onboarding your tunes plays out in the same way as the others through services like Spotify®, Deezer, and Amazon Music.

The Forerunner 945 features are basically the same as the fēnix 6 Pro with a few exceptions. With the bulk of the fēnix 6 Pro comes more storage space (hence more song storage) and battery life. The Forerunner 945 battery life offers up to 2 weeks in smartwatch, up to 10 hours in GPS+music, and up to 36 hours in GPS mode. The 945 does not have the battery saver or expedition GPS mode of the fēnix 6 Pro.

It also does not have some of the more unique activity profiles, like for surfing, bouldering, tactical, or jumpmaster. The fēnix 6 Pro also has more advanced golf features like slope compensation and has a military grade rating.

However, something the Forerunner 945 offers that no other Garmin can is the LTE option. This is especially useful for endurance runners who are often gone for long periods of time in a variety of environments. The Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE's connectivity (requires subscription) lets you stay safe and connected with Assistance Plus, Incident Detection, and LiveTrack features.

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4. Garmin Forerunner 745 Running & Triathlon Watch with Music

A close second to the Forerunner 945, the Forerunner 745 has nearly all of the features of the 945 and stores up to 500 songs. So basically, if the Forerunner 245 and 945 had a baby, this would be it. It makes a marathon/triathlon watch out of the 245 for $150 more, but still comes in less $100 less than the 945 standard model.

And that's where a real appreciation of Garmin GPS smartwatches for runners comes in. They really know how to bull's-eye a sport-specific watch for every level of active lifestyle for every budget.

The Forerunner 745 has the same music storage as the 245, storing up to 500 songs on watch through services like Spotify®, Deezer, and Amazon Music. And it has nearly the same battery life: Up to 7 days in smartwatch and 6 hours in GPS+music. There's a slight difference with it comes to GPS without music mode. It gets 16 hours in regular GPS (8 hours less than the 245), but it has an UltraTrac mode that provides up to 21 hours.

Beyond these features, the 745 is nearly identical to the 945 in training and health-monitoring features, with a few exceptions, which are as follows:

  • The 745 does not offer respiration rate during exercise like the 945 and the fēnix 6 Pro.
  • It doesn't offer any golfing features.
  • It doesn't have any preloaded maps; although it does have all the navigation features of the 945 and fēnix 6 Pro.

And that's it. The only downside to this watch, that is otherwise perfect for runners training for marathons and triathlons is the battery life, which oddly, is slightly less than the Forerunner 245.

5. COROS VERTIX 2 Ultimate Adventure Watch with Music

This monster outdoor endurance watch, is loaded with ultra-helpful features for serious trail runners, cyclists, hikers, and rock climbers. And it made the list because it's the first COROS watch to offer music on watch with its massive storage capacity. But there's a few things you should know.

First, the good stuff. The COROS VERTIX 2 battery life is extreme—even for COROS—which will earn it a check with endurance and extreme sport athletes. Here's what it looks like:

  • Up to 60 days in watch mode (compared to 45 days in the original VERTIX)
  • Up to 140 hours in Standard Full GPS (GPS/QZSS) (compared to 60 hours in the original)
  • Up to 240 hours in UltraMax GPS mode (compared to 150 in the original)
  • Up to 50 hours in All Systems + Dual Frequency On

This brings us to the next brow-raising feature: impressively improved GPS tracking. Access all 5 major satellite systems—GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou, and QZSS—with Dual Frequency satellite communication. This was previously only available in aviation products and means that whether you're deep in tall buildings, forest cover, or rock walls, you'll get the best GPS plotting available on a GPS watch.

Runners will also get advanced training analytics; interval, triathlon, and multisport training; recovery time; and sleep monitoring. Not to mention specifics like winter sports mode, mountain climb mode, and acclimation mode.

Now for the music side of things. You will get internal storage and Bluetooth headphone connectivity for offline listening, but storage is in the form of MP3s onto your watch from your computer. No music service like Spotify is available.

Lastly, triathletes should be aware that there is no ANT+ on the COROS VERTIX 2. So, if a smart trainer is a part of your training program, along with third-party platforms like Zwift/Trainer road, you will not have the connectivity for both.

For obvious reasons, this incredible beast of a GPS sport watch is a little lower on our running watch with music list.

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6. Garmin Venu 2/2S Multisport Smartwatch with Music

While the Venu 2/2S does not have the most robust running features, it will dazzle you with its capacity for 650 songs on watch and its gorgeous AMOLED display. It's the perfect watch and price point for runners who are content with basic running and activity profiles and a substantial playlist of their favorite workout jams.

As with the other Garmins, you can easily stream or download music onto your Venu 2 through Spotify®, Deezer, or Amazon Music. Connect your headphones through Bluetooth and access up to 650 tunes on watch.

Runners get VO2 Max, activity profiles for running, indoor track, and treadmill. Track your progress with GPS-based distance, time, and pace, as well as cadence that provides real-time number of steps per minute. Enjoy run workouts, and the Venu 2/2S is also foot pod capable.

Additionally, enjoy golfing, cycling, and swimming features, and easy-to-follow, animated cardio, strength, yoga, Pilates, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts—and download more from the Garmin Connect app.

For health monitoring, you'll get the new Health Snapshot widget allows you to log a 2-minute session to record key stats, including heart rate, heart rate variability, Pulse Ox, respiration, and stress. Generate a report with those stats via the Garmin Connect app to share with your doctor, trainer, or friends. You also get the latest update of the Garmin Elevate heart rate sensor, which has improved the sleep tracking function.

Additionally, this smartwatch offers safety and connectivity features like LiveTrack, Incident Detection, smart notifications, and Garmin Pay—all on your wrist!

7. Garmin Venu Sq Music Fitness GPS Watch

In essence, the Venu Sq Music fitness smartwatch is the Venu 2/2S without all the pizzazz. As the name implies, it offers phone-free, on-watch music—but only up to 500 songs.

Also, the Venu Sq does not have the brilliant AMOLED display of the Venu 2 series. And while it has most of the running, workout, and health features, it is without a few that a regular runner may or may not want. These include:

  • Sleep score insights (although it does have advanced sleep monitoring)
  • Health Snapshot
  • Fitness Age (not on watch, but available in the app)
  • It doesn't have the latest generation 4 Elevate heart rate monitor
  • It doesn't have a barometric altimeter, so you can't get the floors climbed stat
  • You will not get on-screen workout animations or on-screen muscle maps

And those are the differences. Basically, if you're looking for a running watch with music with that offers basic running features, excellent health monitoring, advanced multi-GNSS tracking, rich smartwatch features, and ample song storage—your decision will come down to added extra and price. In a nutshell, is $150 more for 250 more songs, a gorgeous AMOLED display, on-screen workouts, some health monitoring upgrades, and floors climbed worth it? It's a personal choice.

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8. Polar Vantage V2 Outdoor Fitness Watch with Music Controls

As far as running watches go, the premium Polar Vantage V2 would hands down be further up the list. But as for music side of it, it's not the most convenient wearable for runners.

The Vantage V2 allows you to control volume, pause, and switch up songs on your watch—using either the lovely touchscreen or the watch buttons. However, you must have your phone paired to the device and with you on your run.

From a purely running watch perspective, the Vantage V2 is the ultimate tool for tapping into personalized smart training. Not only will you get Polar's trademark heart rate monitoring on wrist, this GPS running watch gives you features like Running Performance Test, Cycling Performance Test, and Training Load Pro for personalized stats, info on your power zones, and how much you're straining your body.

This runners watch is also about knowing the optimal time to workout and when to rest with features like Recovery Pro, Nightly Recharge, and Leg Recovery Test.

Plus, get a lot more out of this watch, including 40-100 hours of continuous training battery life and the Polar Flow app that offers super comprehensive training, planning, and analysis tools. 

9. Polar Vantage M2 GPS Running Watch with Music Controls

Again, another great running watch from Polar that focuses on personalized data and adaptive training—but doesn't have the onboard music storage. You can control music on your phone from the training display, the watch face, or both.

To use the music controls on the Vantage M2, you'll need to have the Polar Flow app running on your phone, and it also needs to be paired with your watch. The music controls setting becomes visible after pairing your watch with your phone via the app.

As far as running features go, this mid-range priced watch offers some high-end features like Polar Running Program, Training Load Pro, and Nightly Recharge. FitSpark training guide offers you different types of daily workouts to choose from that match your recovery, fitness level, and training history.

You'll also get advanced wrist-based heart rate, smart notifications, and access to the Polar Flow app where you can keep a running diary, analyze your stats, and make your next plan of attack!

The Polar Vantage M2 battery life gets up to 40 hours in training mode (GPS and wrist-based heart rate) or up to 7 days in smartwatch mode with continuous heart rate tracking. Multiple power saving options are available.

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10. Suunto 9 Baro Ultra-Endurance GPS Watch with Music Controls

Our final entry, Suunto 9 Baro, is another example of an excellent, highly useful running watch that can control music on your phone, but can't store it and let you go phone free. You'll be able to adjust volume, pause, and skip tracks from your wrist.

It's possible Suunto used the space and power to provide the serious battery life on this puppy. It's intelligent battery life system can get you up to 7 days of continuous GPS tracking—hello endurance runners and extreme adventurers!

This ultra GPS watch's running features are rich, including, running pace, Suunto FuseSpeed, Running Power with Stryd speed, foot pod calibration, lap comparison, average max lap pace in real time, Ghost Runner, snap to route accurate marathon pacing, and more.

Plus, a watch-load of training functions, blood oxygen level, heart rate metrics, and premium navigation and GPS tracking that accesses multiple satellite systems for accuracy in the most challenging environments.

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