Smartwatches are undoubtedly great set of devices and everyone now loves to have one of them around their wrists because of the enormous benefits they provide from health tracking, to reminders, GPS tracking and more.
Over the years, we’ve seen a rise in smartwatches made specifically for sporting activities like running with inbuilt music capabilities which solves the problem of having to take your smartphone everywhere if you need continuous music playback.
If you landed on this article because you were searching for the best smartwatches with independent music playback capabilities, then you are on the right page as I have taken a look at over 30 smartwatches in the market right now and compiled this list of top 10 best smartwatches for music.
Can’t read further? Below is a short table containing my top 5 picks on the best smartwatches for music right now.
Things To Look Out For When Choosing A Smartwatch For Music
Before choosing a smartwatch primarily for music, there are some factors to consider to ensure you choose the right one.
Below is a list of some things to consider before hitting that purchase button.
If you’re going to be using your smartwatch primarily for music playback, then battery life is the major thing to consider when getting one. Using music streaming services like Spotify, Deezer, Apple music and even offline music playback continuously for a long period of time will greatly reduce the normal battery life of any smartwatch so this is something to be aware of.
2) Onboard Storage
Playing music directly from any smartwatch requires onboard storage and less storage means you won’t be able to store a lot of music files on the watch.
Thankfully, most modern smartwatches now come with just enough onboard storage space as you would expect so this isn’t much of a problem anymore, still, it’s good practice to purchase a smartwatch with higher internal storage space if you’re getting a smartwatch primarily for music playback.
3) Supported Music Streaming Services
Smartwatches and wearable tech in general are advancing everyday with newer features being added on every release of a new smartwatch.
Music streaming services are not left out of this advancement as most top music streaming providers around the world like Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, Pandora and more are now showing active interests in expanding their music streaming services to smartwatches.
If you’re someone who is used to a particularly music streaming service like Spotify for example, you should make sure any smartwatch you’re getting supports the platform out of the box for easy integration with your account. Same goes for other platforms like Deezer, Apple Music and the likes.
Most smartwatches on the list below support music services like Spotify and Deezer out of the box while Apple Music is still only available on Apple Watches.
4) Fitness Tracking Features
I mostly use my smartwatch for music when running or doing other activities where I don’t like to have my phone with me and if you’re getting a smartwatch with music, there is a possibility that you might be using the feature mostly when doing some outdoor activities and this is where fitness tracking comes in.
Having a smartwatch that can track some of your fitness activities like steps, heart rate, calories burned and even sleep is very important and can help you monitor your overall health and let you know when there is something wrong.
Top 10 Best Smartwatches For Music In 2021 (Offline music storage, Spotify, Dezzer & Apple Music)
Below are my top picks on the best smartwatches for music right now in 2021. Here, I will be writing a short but well detailed review of each smartwatch alongside reasons why and why not to buy them.
1) Apple Watch Series 6 (or SE)
The Apple Watch Series 6 is the latest model of the Apple Watch and one of the best smartwatches around. Like the slightly older Apple Watch Series 5, the Series 6 comes with most features we expect from smartwatches + some major improvements and newer features like the blood oxygen monitor and family setup.
It is also currently my top pick on the best smartwatches for music right now and if you need a smartwatch to stream music directly from your wrist, the Apple Watch Series 6 can do that just perfectly. The watch works with top music streaming services including Apple’s own Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, Deezer and more.
An Apple Music subscriber? Then you can sync your playlists with the Apple Watch Series 6 easily without any issues once the watch is connected to your iPhone. Users of the cellular version of the Apple Watch Series 6 can also stream music and podcasts directly from Apple Music directly on the watch.
Unlike Apple Music and Pandora which work independently on Apple Watches and offer offline support, Dezzer and Spotify apps on the Apple Watch are essentially extensions of their apps which are already installed on your iPhone and don’t work when the two devices aren’t paired.
You can use the Spotify app on your Apple Watch to control the music playing on your phone but you can’t stream songs directly from them even if cellular connectivity is enabled on the watch. Same goes for Deezer.
We are hoping Spotify and Dezzer ship independent streaming and offline music support in future versions of their apps for watchOS, but for now, they merely serve as a music playback control for your iPhone.
Music aside, the Apple Watch Series 6 is also a fitness tracking monster on its own. With the watch, you can track your heart rate continuously, take ECGs, measure blood oxygen, calories burned, track sleep and more.
On its downsides, the Apple Watch Series 6 still lags in the area of battery life and when compared to the older Apple Watch Series 5 which was released last year, there is no noticeable upgrade in terms of battery life.
The Apple Watch Series 6 is also an expensive high end smartwatch so if you’re on a budget, this smartwatch may not be for you. Thankfully this time around, Apple released a budget (and cheaper) version of the Apple Watch which is the Apple Watch SE. It comes with all the features I mentioned earlier except the blood oxygen detector and ECG.
Overall, the Apple Watch Series 6 is an all round smartwatch and a good bargain if you’re in the Apple ecosystem. It is a little bit on the high side in terms of pricing, but its many useful features justifies the price.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is Samsung’s flagship smartwatch and the latest Galaxy watch in the market right now. If you don’t use an iPhone, then this is the best smartwatch to get for music. No doubt about that!
It works well with Spotify and also offers offline music playback via its inbuilt music player app. You can transfer music files from your smartphone to the Galaxy Watch 3 with the Galaxy Wearable app available on Android & iOS.
If you get a cellular version of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, then you can stream songs directly from the watch via Spotify without any issues. The watch also comes with 8GB of onboard storage for storing music files and offline Spotify playlists.
On its fitness features, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 comes with major fitness tracking upgrades and newer features when compared to the older Galaxy Watch models. The watch allows you to take ECGs, measure heart rate continuously, track steps, track sleep, fall detection and more.
The only issue I noticed while testing out the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is poor (or average) battery life and this is an issue with feature packed smartwatches like this. On average, I was able to get around 19+ hours of battery life before it needed to be recharged.
Another issue is that there is no Apple Music app or support for Apple Music on the watch so if you’re an iPhone user with an active Apple Music subscription, you might want to go for one of the Apple Watches mentioned on this list.
Overall, I would say the Samsung Galaxy Watch is an ideal alternative to the Apple Watch Series 6 and other Apple Watch models like the SE and Series 5. It offers superb support for offline music and works well with Spotify out of the box.
Garmin is known for making durable and good looking sport smartwatches and it is no surprise that a smartwatch from Garmin is on this list of the best watches for music.
The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music may not be the most stylish smartwatch out there, but at its price tag, it is probably the best sport and fitness focused smartwatch you can get with music support!
It works with top music platforms like Spotify & Deezer + enough space to store up to 500 songs directly on the watch. Playing music offline requires you to transfer some of your music files to the watch or sync Ppotify and Deezer playlists for offline listening.
To get rolling, all you need to do is fire up the Deezer or Spotify application on the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music and pair the watch with any wireless headphone or earbuds of your choice and you’re ready to go.
Music aside, the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is an impressive all round sports watch and a top choice for runners. On its fitness tracking features, you will be able to track fitness activities like heart rate, steps, Vo2max, body energy, calories burned and more.
There are also multiple sport modes which come preinstalled on the watch and these sport modes are there to help you get more accurate fitness data on specific sporting activities.
Battery life is also pretty decent on this watch and you will be getting around 7 days of battery life if you use it without GPS. With GPS, the battery lasts for around 1 to 2 days depending on which other features are used continuously.
Overall, the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is an excellent sport watch offered at a decent price. If you need a dedicated sport/running watch for music, the this should be your best bet.
The Apple Watch Series 5 is a slightly older model of the Apple Watch and a great smartwatch for music.
There are no major changes in terms of music playback when the Series 5 is compared to the recently released Apple Watch Series 6 so if you’re on a limited budget, you can consider getting this watch instead of the Series 6.
Spotify, Deezer, Pandora and Apple Music all work just as expected on the Apple Watch Series 5 but it is important to know that offline music streaming on the Apple Watch is only available via Apple Music and Pandora for now.
Spotify & Deezer apps on the Apple Watch only serve as a remote control for music playback on your iPhone so you will have to be connected to your iPhone at all times to use them. There is also no direct online streaming on the watch with Spotify or Deezer.
Music aside, the Apple Watch Series 5 just like the newer Apple Watch Series 6 is also an incredible fitness focused smartwatch. With the watch, you can take ECGs, monitor your heart rate continuously, track steps, set daily exercising goals and more.
Overall, the Apple Watch Series 5 is an incredible all rounder when it comes to smartwatches and if you can’t get the newer series 6 which was released just recently, I highly recommend considering getting this one. Bear in mind that the watch only works with iPhones.
The Garmin vivoactive 4 is the second Garmin smartwatch on this list and an excellent sports watch which gives you a good value for your buck.
It features some noticeable upgrades when compared to the older Garmin vivoactive 3. Firstly, Garmin added offline music playback support as well as support for offline synced playlists on Spotify, Amazon Music & Deezer. There is currently no support for Apple Music or Pandora for now.
Adding music on the watch is as easy as dragging and dropping from your computer to the watch via the Garmin Express™ application on your computer. Playing music offline on Spotify, Amazon Music and Deezer requires a premium subscription on both platforms.
Music aside, the new Garmin vivoactive 4 also comes with loads of other features. You’ll get to see your latest notifications directly on the watch when paired with your smartphone, montori your heart rate continuously, track steps, track sleep, make contactless payments via Garmin Pay and more.
The Garmin vivoactive 4 comes with a really outstanding battery and Garmin claims the smartwatch can last for more than a week on a single charge. When using GPS tracking however, the battery life will be greatly reduced.
Overall, the Garmin vivoactive 4 is a good smartwatch to get if you need to play music on the go without the need for a smartphone. If you use Apple Music, then this will not be an ideal smartwatch for you as Apple Music isn’t supported (yet).
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is another impressive smartwatch that comes with its own dedicated Spotify app. Like the newer Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 supports both online and offline music playback out of the box.
Not a fan of Spotify? The Galaxy Watch Active 2 also has its own music player and you can transfer music files from your smartphone or computer to the watch easily via the Galaxy wearable app. Samsung has a comprehensive guide on how to do that easily and you can check it out here.
If you’re a premium Spotify subscriber, then you can also use your Spotify account on the watch to stream music or sync your playlists for offline playback. Direct online music streaming via Spotify requires LTE or a stable WiFi connection.
Other features available on the Galaxy Watch Active 2 include ECG support, heart rate tracking, notifications, sleep tracking, multiple sport modes and more.
On its battery life, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 didn’t really perform well. You would be getting around 3 days of battery life on average and this will be reduced to around 10 hours+ if you use GPS and stream music continuously.
Overall, this watch is an impressive device from Samsung and as usual, Samsung Galaxy Watches are some of the finest in the market. It is also a very lightweight and stylish looking watch too so that is a plus.
Garmin Forerunner line of smartwatches are the best for running, exercising and music playback so it is not a surprise that the Garmin Forerunner 645 is on this list of the best smartwatches for music.
Like the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music I talked about earlier, the Garmin Forerunner 645 also comes with an outstanding support for standalone music playback. Spotify, Deezer and iHeartRadio are supported out of the box.
You can also transfer music files from your PC or smartphone to the watch via the Garmin Express app. The Garmin Forerunner is capable of holding up to 500 songs or more on its onboard storage and you can play these songs directly on the watch without the need for a smartphone.
Playing music on this watch is as easy as launching the music app on the watch or any of the music streaming apps (Spotify or Deezer). The Garmin Forerunner 645 also works with a wide range of bluetooth enabled headphones so connectivity issues are very minimal or almost non-existent.
Music aside, the Garmin Forerunner 645 like most smartwatches in the Forerunner line of smartwatches also comes with loads of additional health features and more.
Some of these features include contactless payments via Garmin Pay, heart rate tracking, sleep tracking, smart notifications, VO2 Max data, personal trainers, multiple sport modes and more.
Overall, the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music is the ideal smartwatch for runners who need continuous music playback but cant afford to be with their smartphones all the time. It is not a budget smartwatch, but when compared to the cheaper Garmin Forerunner 245, the differences are very clear.
The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro is another interesting smartwatch from Garmin and a good smartwatch for music. The watch features a round always-on display with a rugged sophisticated design which makes it an ideal smartwatch for outdoor activities including running, camping, hiking and more.
Like other Garmin smartwatches on this list, the Garmin Fenix 6 pro is a good running watch and one of the best smartwatches for music playback. Music streaming services like Spotify, Deezer and online radio service – iHeartRadio are all pre-installed on the watch.
The watch’s inbuilt storage also has the ability to store up to 1000 songs and you can transfer music files from your PC to the watch via the Garmin Express app. Offline playback is also supported on Spotify, Deezer and iHeartRadio but you’ll be needing a premium subscription on these platforms to use it.
Music aside, thes Garmin Fenix 6 Pro is also an outstanding running watch with loads of extra fitness tracking features. Some available fitness tracking features include wrist-based heart rate monitoring, advanced sleep monitoring, blood oxygen monitoring and more.
There are also some features made specifically for runners and people who may need to use the watch for outdoor activities. Some of these features include TOPO maps, ski maps for over 2,000 worldwide ski resorts, continuous GPS monitoring, advanced training metrics and more.
Garmin also claims you would be getting around 2 weeks of battery juice on the watch when on normal smartwatch mode and a little under 24 hours of battery juice when using GPS + music playback continuously.
Overall, the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro is a high-end smartwatch targeted at runners and other outdoor exercisers who need an all round smartwatch which can be used for GPS tracking and continuous music playback without needing to carry their smartphones along.
It’s not the best smartwatch out there, but if you need a rugged running watch for music playback and GPS tracking, then you might want to consider getting this watch.
The Garmin Forerunner 945 is another smartwatch from the Garmin Forerunner series and is a good smartwatch for music.
Like other Garmin forerunner smartwatches on this list, the Garmin Forerunner 945 is an impressive running/triathlon watch which comes with almost everything you will be needing from a sports watch including music playback!
You can sync your carefully crafted playlist from any of the supported premium music streaming services including Spotify and Deezer directly with the Garmin Forerunner 945 from an Android or iOS smartphone easily. The watch also allows you to store up to 1000 songs directly on its onboard storage and it supports a wide range of Bluetooth earphones.
Music aside, the Garmin Forerunner is also a great fitness watch, lets not forget that. It comes with most of the popular fitness features you can find on sport watches like continuous heart rate monitoring, VO2 Max montoriing, workout/training plans, GPS tracking and more. The Garmin Forerunner 945 also features Garmin’s property contactless payment platform – Garmin Pay which allows you to make payments directly from your watch.
Other features include a smart notification system which shows your latest notifications directly on the watch, offline maps which integrates with the watch GPS, incident detection and more.
Garmin claims that you should be able to get around 2 weeks of battery life on this watch on normal smartwatch mode and around 10+ hours when using GPS + music and realistically, this is what you should be expecting. I was able to get around 11 hours of battery life when using the GPS and offline music playback for a very long time so Garmin unlike most manufacturers is almost always right about the battery life expectation in their descriptions.
Overall, the Garmin Forerunner 945 is a very impressive sports watch if you ask me and an ideal smartwatch for music. If you’re a runner or a triathlete, then I highly recommend this watch. It’s not so stylish, but it performs exceedingly well!
10) Fitbit Versa 2
The Fitbit Versa 2 is the only watch from Fitbit on this list and it is a great choice if you need a smartwatch primarily for music playback.
Although there is a newer version which is the Fitbit Versa 3, I added the Versa 2 instead of the newer version because the Versa 2 supports uploading your own music files directly to the watch onboard storage while I haven’t figured how this is done on the Versa 3 (if it is even possible).
You can control your Spotify app directly from the watch, play Deezer playlists directly on the watch, download Pandora stations as well as playing music directly from the onboard storage available on the watch. The onboard storage available on the Fitbit Versa 2 can hold up to 300 music files or slightly more.
Unfortunately, unlike most smartwatches on this list, the Fitbit Versa 2 does not support offline Spotify music streaming. Fitbit says: “The Spotify app on your watch doesn’t support offline music playback, so your paired phone must remain nearby with the Fitbit app running in the background and connected to the internet.” There is also no (known) support for Apple Music on the watch so if you’re tied to Apple Music, then consider getting one of the Apple Watches around (Apple Watch Series 6 recommended).
Music aside, Fitbit is known for coming up with interesting fitness features for it’s smartwatches and the Fitbit Versa 2 is no exception to this. Some fitness features available on this watch include continuous heart rate monitoring, steps tracking, sleep tracking (with sleep score), distance covered, calories burned, active hours and more.
On its battery life, I was able to get a little under 1 week of battery life on normal use. If you use music playback too often, always-on display and continuous heart rate monitoring, expect around 3 days of battery life or slightly less from the watch.
Overall, the Fitbit Versa 2 is also a good choice if you need a smartwatch mainly for music playback and fitness tracking. It works with both Android smartphones and iPhones so compatibility issues are almost non-existent.
Q: Are there any hybrid smartwatches with onboard music storage?
A: Honestly, no. I don’t think I have heard of any hybrid smartwatch with onboard music storage because that defeats the whole purpose of being a “hybrid” smartwatch.
Q: What is the cheapest smartwatch with music?
A: There are many smartwatches with music which I will consider “cheap”, but not all of them are reliable. The cheapest (and reliable) smartwatch with music on this list will be the Fitbit Versa 2 which costs just over $150.
Q: What is the best offline music player for smartwatches?
A: All smartwatches do not run on the same OS so it will be hard to say which offline music player is the best for smartwatches. Most of the time, the pre-installed music player on any smartwatch you purchase should be enough to play offline music files.
If you get a watch running on wearOS, watchOS or TizenOS, then there are a handful of music player apps on their respective stores you can try out.
Q: Can you download music to a smartwatch?
A: Yes, you can (in most smartwatches) but how to do it would work differ depending on the watch.
You can download music directly on some smartwatches while for others, you will need to download the music on your smartphone before transferring to the watch.
There you have it, my top picks on the best smartwatches for music playback (online streaming & offline) in 2021 and a summary of why I picked each one alongside some of the flaws i encountered while testing them.
Whether you need a smartwatch for direct online or offline playback or simply a remote for the music player on your smartphone, any of the smartwatches I outlined in the article should be enough to do those things just perfectly.
Some of these watches tend to be higher than others in terms of performance, others support direct online music streaming from your wrist so your individual preferences will be very crucial in choosing the right smartwatch to suit your needs.