5 Best Smartwatches for Music

If you love music, these are the smartwatches you need in your life! We recommend five of the best musically minded smartwatches in 2021.

man listening to music on a smartwatch

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Buying a smartwatch with music playback may sound straightforward, but there are so many options to choose from that you need to be sure you know what you're signing up for.

The good news is that we recommend five of the best smartwatches that play music down below.

We cover all the options available in 2021 and give our honest opinion on which ones to buy and which ones to avoid.

Our Recommended Smartwatches for Music

If you're in a hurry take a quick look at our recommended smartwatches for music in the table below.

Following the table, we review them all in more detail.

OUR TOP PICK

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

The latest offering from Samsung is not only an amazing music smartwatch but one of the best smartwatches overall.

Great Alternative

Garmin Venu 2 Smartwatch

A music playing smartwatch with more of a fitness flavor. Taking Garmin smartwatches to new levels of usability and functionality. Thoroughly recommended!

No.1 For Running

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music

A lightweight, low-profile smartwatch that's an awesome companion for runs and general exercise. Play music from your wrist on your next run. 


All of these smartwatches work with both Android and iPhones. However, iPhone users might want to check this watch out for a truly seamless experience.



OUR TOP PICK

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

When it comes to music, nothing does it better than the newest Galaxy Watch.

When it comes to finding the best smartwatch for music, you'll be hard-pressed to find anything better than the latest iteration of the Galaxy Watch from Samsung.

The truth is it's not only one of the best overall smartwatches on the market right now, but it's also the best music playing smartwatch.

With LTE internet capability you can stream music directly from your wrist or download it to be played offline.

There aren't many smartwatches on the market right now that will let you stream music so if this feature is important to you then we recommend this smartwatch 100%. 

A couple of things to note here though are that you'll need an additional data plan for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 LTE edition. This is a paid extra that is added to your cellphone data plan. You can read more about these types of smartwatches here.

The other thing to note is that streaming music from your smartwatch will drain your battery reasonably quickly. Especially if you use the in-built speakers to listen.

This leads us to the other cool thing about listening to music on this smartwatch. It has in-built speakers. Again, this is fairly uncommon for smartwatches because they're so small. It has to be said, they're not the greatest speakers in the world due to their size but it's great to have the option. The other way to listen to music is via Bluetooth headphones or speakers.

You can download and store music directly to the onboard memory (8GB in size) or use a streaming service like Spotify. You'll need a paid subscription for this to work though.


The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 also comes with a huge range of other features that will help you organize your life. The Tizen Store is ready for you to personalize your experience and offers lots of fitness tracking options, including the ability to automatically track your activity so that you do not need to set it before starting your regime.

It is even water-resistant so that you can take it in the pool or the shower without worrying about water damage. 

The watch comes in two size options so that you can select the style that suits your wrist the best, and the screen is very easy to read due to it’s clear and crisp brightness. Plus, it is able to work with most smartphones so that you can get it even if you don’t own a Samsung phone!

This really is a titan smartwatch that plays music better than the rest.

Pros
  • Stream music
  • Listen offline too
  • In-built speaker
  • Great all round watch
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Battery

Features

Battery

Ease of Use

Value

Summary:

The best music playing smartwatch on the market right now. It's not just a music specialist though. Arguably the best overall watch in 2021.

Key  Features:

  • Extensive fitness tracking
  • LTE edition takes calls
  • Stream & download music
  • Improved battery 

overall

4.5/5





Great Alternative

Garmin Venu 2

A gorgeous looking Garmin watch that's a joy to use? It sounds suspicious but the Venu 2 is a huge, welcome surprise.

The Garmin Venu 2 is the recent upgrade to the popular Venu watch. Garmin are well known for their fitness-based smartwatches but with the Venu 2 they are aiming for a more all-round, day to day watch.

The same great fitness features are present but the overall presentation is a bit more appealing, practical, and easier to use. Unusually for Garmin smartwatches, it features a large, bright, color AMOLED display.

It has music at its core and it's compatible with Spotify, Amazon Music, and Deezer streaming services. Be warned that you'll need a full paid subscription to the service you choose.

It doesn't allow streaming of music but instead you download the music you need using the Garmin Connect phone app. The onboard memory of 8GB stores around 700 songs.

Not being able to stream music can be seen as a bit of an inconvenience but it does save on battery. The downloading process is reasonably quick and easy. It's easiest to just import large playlists but you're free to pick and choose as you like.

There are no in-built speakers on the Venu 2 either. To listen to music on your smartwatch you need a Bluetooth connection to either headphones or speakers.

The overall presentation with the Venu 2 is gorgeous. The screen is sharp and well defined (unlike most Garmins!) and the use of animation in the fitness workouts is really cool. Thankfully, the beautiful 1.3" screen doesn't take a toll on the battery life either.

A whole eleven days is achievable in regular day to day mode. You can expect 8 hours under the most energy-intensive condition of GPS and music being used simultaneously. That doesn't sound a lot but it's really pretty good. Who works out for 8 hours anyway?

The Venu 2 is definitely a more accessible, all-round music smartwatch but it does still have fitness firmly at its core. It offers a wealth of fitness tracking options with analysis and coaching presented better than ever before. There are even animated workouts now.

Besides fitness tracking, you'll find a whole host of health, wellness, and sleep tracking features. The idea with the Venu 2 is to promote overall wellbeing and mindfulness and it does this really well.

If you want a music playing smartwatch that fits your active lifestyle then can't go wrong with this one. It's a big thumbs up from us!

Pros
  • Offline music playback
  • Extensive fitness tracking
  • Health monitoring
  • Smart notifications
Cons
  • Not as many features as the Samsung Galaxy watch
  • Fitness oriented

Features

Battery

Ease of Use

Value

Summary:

An awesome day to day watch from Garmin with a healthy dose of fitness/wellbeing features. 

Key  Features:

  • Beautiful display
  • Great interface
  • Solid battery

overall

4/5





No.1 for Running

Garmin Forerunner 235 Music

An awesome music playing running companion. Lightweight, low profile, and solid on battery life.


If you are an exercise fanatic and want a Bluetooth MP3 watch that plays all your favorite tunes, then the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is a great choice!

I own this watch and can personally vouch for it! I go running most nights and this watch paired with my Bose Bluetooth headphones is an awesome wireless combination that leaves me free of bulky phones.

If you need a smartwatch that plays music for workouts or long runs then you really can't beat this one.

You can play your favorite tunes via Spotify, Amazon, or Deezer, but be warned you will need an active paid subscription with one of these music streaming services.

One issue with this watch is that you will be unable to stream music directly. You must download the music that you want to listen to before you can actually listen to it. This involves selecting the specific songs you want to store and then transferring them to the watch via a wireless connection.

While this may be considered an inconvenience, it doesn't take long and the onboard memory is large enough to store many hours of music. Another big positive with this method of listening is that it is much better for your battery life. Though streaming music is the ideal scenario, it is a big drain on battery life. The Garmin Forerunner doesn't have this problem as music playback is all done "offline".

The in-built storage can hold +500 songs so loading music isn't something you'll need to do very often. I usually change up the music on my watch every month and it really isn't an inconvenience at all. Just select a few playlists or albums and then leave the music to transfer while it charges. I currently have 4 hours of podcasts and around 700 songs on my watch.



In addition to the music features, this smartwatch also offers a great training support package that not only monitors the work you have put in but helps you to understand if you are working too hard or not working hard enough.

Built for runners, this watch takes your safety seriously, and if you have a trip or fall, you will be able to use it to send your physical location to emergency services who can respond with support.

If you want a watch that does not need daily charging, then this device may be a perfect choice. It remains charged for seven days in smartwatch mode, but this will be reduced when you play music or use the GPS tracking option.

However, these modes will not be in constant use, so you can realistically expect to charge your watch every few days.

This watch won't be for everyone and it's certainly not a day to day smartwatch. There's no touchscreen and the interface could be seen as a bit bland and "clunky". However, this allows it to remain small, lightweight, and with long lasting battery - perfect for running.

Pros
  • Onboard music storage
  • Solid battery life
  • Lightweight & low profile
  • Great training metrics & analytics
Cons
  • Heavy focus on fitness
  • No touchscreen

Features

Battery

Ease of Use

Value

Summary:

Definitely worth a look for the runners out there. With a heavy focus on running/training, it's an awesome music playing fitness companion.

Key  Features:

  • Small & lightweight
  • Extensive fitness analysis
  • Spotify integration

overall

4/5





Best for iPhone Users

Apple Watch Series 6

Recent updates make this premium smartwatch a true music playing monster too.

The Apple Watch was always a bit finicky when it came to music. However, a recent software upgrade with Spotify has made things a lot more convenient. It has now become one of the ultimate smartwatches for podcasts and music.

It's the Apple Watch Series 6 cellular edition that offers the most when it comes to listening to music on your wrist. This model integrates with your cellphone data plan (an added expense) to provide a cellular LTE connection. This enables it to stream music (and make calls) independently of your phone.

This service used to be limited to Apple Music but has recently been opened up to premium Spotify subscribers too. You can even use Siri to control things.

Now, streaming music on a smartwatch is awesome but due to the current limitations on battery life it can be a bit of a drain. This means being able to play music offline from the onboard memory is sometimes a better option. This requires you to pre-download playlists. Thankfully, a recent upgrade means this is now possible with the Apple Watch Spotify smartwatch app too.

It has to be said, the Apple Watch Series 6 is expensive. The SE edition is the more competitively priced version that does pretty much the same minus the expensive ECG and blood oxygen hardware and last generation's chipset. That means it has the same music playing functionality as the Series 6 but without the price tag.

Pros
  • Stream & download music
  • Great app selection
  • Extensive health & fitness features
  • Awesome interface
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Minor battery life improvement

Features

Battery

Ease of Use

Value

Summary:

These upgrades make the Apple Watch just as good as the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 for playing music now. The choice really comes down to what phone you have. I'd stick with Apple if you're an iPhone user and go with Samsung if you use Android.

Key  Features:

  • Measures EKG & SpO2
  • Stream & download music
  • Spotify integration
  • Unrivalled user experience

overall

4.5/5





Fitbit Versa 3

This fitness oriented smartwatch that plays music is another great option for offline playback.


Fitbit has made a strong name for itself by releasing a range of fitness trackers that help you to live a healthy life. The Fitbit Versa is a smartwatch with music capabilities so that you can use it when you are out and about, connected to your headphones.

Similar to our top fitness pick, the Garmin Forerunner 245, this device requires you to download and store your music choices onto the watch as streaming is not possible.

This Fitbit works best with Deezer and Pandora streaming services (full subscription needed). For some reason, the Spotify integration now requires a paired phone at all times (it never used to). With Pandora and Deezer you are able to download and store music and podcasts on your watch.

The display screen is large, clear, and well defined. Fitbit presents statistics and menus in a bold and simple style. You simply scroll through to get to the section you want and then use the touchscreen to navigate from there. It comes with Amazon Alexa so that you have access to things like weather forecasts, alarms, and timers, as well as being able to control any smart devices that you have linked to your Amazon account. 



This watch will even help you to avoid living a sedentary life with hourly movement reminders. These reminders work to get you to walk around 250 steps per hour and help you to avoid any sedentary hours during your waking hours.

You can also track how many calories you have burned during the day to get an idea of how much exercise you need to do to get the balance right.

If you are keen to get a better understanding of your health, then the companion app is fantastic and will help you to understand your sleep, heart rate and helps you to track your weight and water intake.

You can even connect with friends who have a Fitbit device and compete with them on different fitness challenges. It is an all-around great value watch.

Pros
  • Extensive fitness tracking
  • Solid battery
  • Bright AMOLED screen
Cons
  • Android only notification replies
  • Sometimes slow to sync

Summary: The Versa 3 is a great all rounder with a health and fitness focus. Extensive sleep and fitness tracking are highlights alongside battery life that's best in class.




AmazFit Stratos 3

A durable fitness tracking smartwatch that's available at a great price.


The Amazfit Stratos 3 is a smartwatch with music storage that allows you to download music and store it directly on the watch. Unfortunately, you are unable to stream music to this device and will need to spend time selecting the songs that you want to play before making use of it.

However, when everything has been downloaded, you can start to enjoy the range of features that come with this device.

It offers over 80 different sports modes so that you can accurately track your exercise and see the progress you are making, including swimming, as this device is water-resistant. It has been designed for professional sportsmen and women and boasts incredible accuracy when it comes to tracking your efforts.

One of the key design features is four navigational buttons that make it easier to get to what you want when you are shaking and sweaty after an intense workout.

It is made from stainless steel and has a black silicone strap that makes it comfortable to wear even when you are in the gym. The face is 46mm wide so that you can see all your information on the crisp screen without any difficulty.



The design of the screen makes it easy to read in all conditions so that you can exercise outside and still keep tabs on your efforts.

There are various battery modes to help you get the most from every charge, and even when you have GPS in use and music playing, you can still expect around 70 hours of power until you need to charge!

Pros
  • Multiple satellite positioning systems
  • Solid battery
  • Standalone music playback
Cons
  • Not the best interface
  • No AMOLED display

Summary: A solid smartwatch for music that allows standalone music playback. A decent "budget" alternative.



smartwatch playing music


Buyer’s Guide: Essential Features

Now you have an idea of the best smartwatches that play music, you may need some further information on the special features to look out for.

In this guide, we make sure you know everything there is to know about playing music or podcasts on a smartwatch.

The 2 Different Ways to Listen to Music on a Smartwatch

When it comes to listening to your music, you will find that there are two ways that you can do this. 

Each has their positive and negative points so it's important that you understand what they offer.

The first option is to stream music directly to your smartwatch from an app like Spotify; you select the song you want and choose the speaker you want it to play from, and it will then begin to play directly from your smartwatch.

This option is only possible if you have a smartwatch that has its own eSIM card and is able to use an LTE connection to connect to the internet (like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 recommended above).

The smartwatch uses an extended data plan that is added to your cellphone plan. That means you need to factor in the extra monthly cost.

The second option is to download songs from your smartphone directly to your smartwatch with music storage, where you can then play them when it suits you. The obvious inconvenience here is that you need to plan ahead and download music to play offline. You're also limited to the onboard memory of your smartwatch.

Obviously, streaming music directly from your wrist is the more convenient option but the downside here is that it will eat up your battery life more quickly. If you add the fact that you will be playing the music through in-built speakers or Bluetooth connected headphones then you can have quite an energy intensive process.

man listening to music on his smartwatch

Speakers or Headphones?

The next really important thing you should consider is whether the smartwatch music player you are considering has in-built speakers or whether it uses headphones to deliver the audio to your ears.

If you are looking for a model with in-built speakers, then you may have noticed that there are not many models to choose from. The reason for this is that they are notoriously difficult to get a high-quality sound from, and the models that do offer it tend to come with warning reviews.

It is not typically recommended that you buy a smartwatch with in-built speakers specifically for listening to music. They're great for making calls and decent for spoken word like podcasts but not amazing for listening to music on your smartwatch.

If you are leaning towards getting a smartwatch that utilizes Bluetooth to send audio directly to your headphones or speakers, then just be aware that Bluetooth can drain your battery a bit faster. 

Recommended: Need a durable watch for adventures in the great outdoors? Don't miss our guide to the most rugged smartwatches on the market.

Speakers and headphones

Battery Life

Playing music from your smartwatch is one of the more energy-intensive features on it.

If you go for a streaming option, then you will be using your internet connection to send or download the music to the watch, and it is this action that drains the battery faster.

The other battery drainer is the Bluetooth connection you will need to maintain in order to listen to your music through your smartwatch accessories. So when you combine this with internet usage, you can start to understand why the battery drains quicker than when you do not play music.

When you start looking at smartwatch models, it is therefore very important to look for an option that offers a high-quality battery, and that charges quickly and easily so that you are not left without your device when you need it the most.

smartwatch with long battery

Selecting a Streaming Service

Once you have decided on the type of smartwatch you want, then you will need to consider what streaming service it offers. With Spotify, Deezer, Amazon, Apple, Pandora, and many others on the market, you'll need to do your homework on which one suits you best.

They all offer pretty much the same thing but they offer a slightly different range of choice. Also, check the quality of the music that you can listen to. And, I mean the quality of the sound not the musicianship! If you're a bit of a music geek then you'll be looking for a higher bitrate. Something above 320 kbps is ideal.

I personally use Spotify and have done for years now. I'm probably slightly biased but I love it.

Recommended: Find out which smartwatch is best for Spotify in our guide.

An important point to consider here is the ongoing cost. You'll need a premium streaming account that incurs a monthly or annual fee. If you're adding a data plan to a smartwatch too then that's a sizeable monthly cost. 
Spotify on Fitbit

Extra Features

While streaming is a huge part of purchasing the best smartwatch for music, you will also need to take the time to consider what other features your watch will offer. Take a moment to read through the common features so that you can research and purchase with confidence.

Fitness Tracking

Many smartwatches offer a range of fitness tracking capabilities and will provide you with feedback after you have exercised. Common tracking features include running, steps, and gym workouts.

You can even get smartwatches that are waterproof to track your swimming and ones that automatically recognize your exercise so that you never forget to track.

When it comes to understanding your workout efforts, most smartwatches will give you instant feedback on how long you were exercising and how far you traveled so that you can compare it to previous workouts. Many will also track your personal bests so that you are always up to date on what you need to beat.

Health and Wellbeing

Apart from looking for a watch that plays music, you should also consider how your latest purchase will be able to help with your health and wellbeing. Many smartwatches offer heart rate monitoring, breathing focus, and some even offer an ECG option so that you can monitor your heart more closely than ever before.

Many smartwatches offer health tracking apps and will work with your data to help you design a plan that suits your fitness needs. Take the time to decide what you want your new watch to track and then use your list to find the right model for you.

Lifestyle Support

In a similar style to the health and fitness trackers you can get, there are also smartwatches that offer a range of different lifestyle apps to help you manage your day. From calendars to notes and even reminders, you can find smartwatches that offer a great range of things to help you live a more organized life.

In a world that requires so much, it is great to have a watch that can help you remain on track. However, there is such a difference in what is on offer that you need to take the time to look at what you are getting from any device that interests you.

Notifications, Calls, and Messages

Getting your notifications direct to your wrist is a great way of staying up to date on what is happening in the world, and with news apps, messages, and calls all able to notify you, you will never feel out of the loop again.

Many smartwatches are enabled to take calls and respond to messages so that you do not need to take your phone out of your pocket when you are out and about. It also means that you can be informed without needing to disrupt a meeting or appointment as you can even read your messages on your wrist.

Taking the time to decide what you want from your smartwatch music player will help you to ensure that you end up with the best device for your lifestyle. Remember to do your research and shop around before you part with any money; that way, you are more likely to find a device that fits perfectly.


About the Author Jamie

Jamie has a background in physics and electronics and has always been interested in technological innovation. Since getting a Garmin Forerunner 220 way back in 2014, he's been obsessed with smartwatches, in particular running/exercise watches. He's our "go-to" guy for these! He's currently wearing a Garmin 645 Music but can't wait to try the Venu 2 out in an upcoming review.

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