The best Bluetooth headphones and speakers for Garmin watches 4

Over the past months I’ve purchased several Bluethooth headphones and Bluethooth speakers and paired them with my Garmin Fenix 5x Plus
top row: Skullcandy, Trekz, Plantronics. Bottom Row: Samsung, Polk

top row: Skullcandy, Trekz, Plantronics.
bottom Row: Samsung, Polk

What you read in this article is which sets work best for my use cases (long distance running, hiking and a bit of cycling). I’ve listed the devices in the order of how much I like them.

Recommended headphones and speakers

Plantronics Backbeat Fit
This is the headphone that I like and use the most, it’s my go to unit when running a single marathon.

  • the very best audio experience of all my Bluetooth headphones
  • very lightweight
  • flexible (you can easily fold it and put in your pocket when you are tired of listening to music)
  • long battery life ~6 hours
  • although this is an in ear headphone only a part of your ear canal is covered, so if you listen on low volume you can also still hear your environment very well and even converse with people running next to you)
  • ear plugs don’t fall out

  • There are very occasional audio dropouts when walking and wearing the Garmin watch on the left wrist (I don’t experience audio dropouts whilst running/cycling). Workaround: wear the watch on the right wrist so that the distance is shorter to the receiver that’s on the right side of the headphone.

Purchase Plantronics Backbeat Fit on Amazon: (EUR)
Samsung Level Box Slim
I use this Bluetooth speaker (in my back pocket) whenever I go biking or hiking.

  • portable
  • Very (very!) good quality with a rich sound
  • great to use when in company as you can enjoy the same music together
  • very long battery life (>10h)
  • perfect for hiking and biking

  • No backclip
  • a mini speaker, but it’s not so small (14cm x 7.5cm x 2cm)
  • on the heavy side (240g)
  • a bit heavy and not straightforward (need a running tight with a big pocket) to take along while running
Purchase Samsung Level Box on Amazon: (EUR)
Aftershokz Trekz Titanium
I use these Bluetooth headphones when I run inside the city (which I don’t do that often as I prefer running in nature).

  • you can hear the environment around you the very best from all my headphones (even on higher volume). If you run a lot in high traffic areas and your safety is important to you, then this should be the major selling point for this unit.
  • bone conduction: on higher volumes you feel the unit trembling on your bones. On the lowest volume you don’t feel this. (I typically put all my headphones on lowest volume as I like to run and hike for many hours)
  • lightweight
  • long battery life (longest I’ve run with it was 4 hours and the unit was still going strong)
  • I wear glasses and was a bit scared that the bone conduction part that sits behind the ear would conflict with the glasses, but there’s no issue at all with this combination

  • as the speaker sits slightly before your ear the music experience is less intense
  • because the speaker is not in ear the audio quality is less (still very acceptable, but without a doubt the least from all my headphones)
  • not flexible, when you’re tired of listening to music you can’t reduce the size of the unit so it’s harder to put away in your pocket.
  • I’ve had a few occasions that I got a stiff neck when running with these headphones, presumably because the back of the unit sits a few centimeters behind my head and limits the neck movement a bit. Likely only an issue when you run with it for many hours…
Purchase Aftershokz Trekz Titanium on Amazon: (EUR)
Skullcandy method wireless
This is my go to unit when running several marathons on consecutive days (as the moments you don’t want to hear music increase when doing multi-day events).

  • definitely one of the best features of this headphone is that there is no need to put the unit in your pocket: this headphone has a collar which sits in your neck, when you’re tired of listening to music you can just let the earplugs dangle without fear of losing your headphones…
  • no one says you have to put both plugs in your ears, when I want to hear the environment or am talking to a person running next to me
  • good audio quality (in-between the audio quality of the Plantronics and the Trekz)
  • lightweight
  • long battery life (>5hours)
  • Update August 12th: I had to send back two units because they broke down with the same problem (unable to charge, unable to power on), my current (third unit) is working great so far and this has actually become my preferred unit as I see myself picking up this headset the more and more often as I really like being able to listen to music with just 1 ear…
  • the ear plugs cover your complete ear canal so if you wear both plugs simultaneously you don’t hear the environment around you very well
  • Update August 12th: on the first 2 versions I had problems with ear plugs falling out sometimes, I’m no longer having this issue with this 3rd replacement.
  • When listening for many hours (3+ in my case) your ears can start feeling wet because of the build up of sweat behind the ear plug. (Usually I listen with 1 plug, so I just switch ears to resolve)
Purchase Skullcandy Method Wireless on Amazon: (EUR)

Not recommended headphones and speakers

Polk Boom Bit
I use this Bluetooth speaker on short runs, I wouldn’t recommend the device to people who like to exercise more than 1 hour. (In order to maximize battery life set the speaker to the lowest volume and in order for to hear anything when playing on the lowest volume clip the speaker on your shoulder right under your ear)

  • small (3cm x 7cm x 1cm)
  • very lightweight (36g)
  • has a backclip to clip on your t-shirt
  • ok audio quality
  • this could be the perfect running companion as you hear the environment around you and there’s no irritation about plugs in your ears… but 1 hour battery life is usually too short for me. I hope that future versions will have longer battery life!
  • very short battery life (even on the lowest volume) (~1 hour)
Purchase Polk Boom Bit on Amazon: (EUR)
I hope that my user experience has helped you to decide which Bluetooth headphones or Bluetooth speaker could be the best fit for your training profile. In case you have any questions feel free to ask below!


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4 thoughts on “The best Bluetooth headphones and speakers for Garmin watches

  1. Reply garmin 645 music Aug 29,2019 18:49

    Hi the Polk Boom Bit wont pair up with Garmin 645 music

    • Reply Peter Jan 19,2020 13:00

      Try to factory reset your polk boom bit (hold + and – symbol simultaneously for 8 seconds). Factory resetting your 645 could help too.

  2. Reply Mike Dec 16,2019 15:05

    Skullcandy method wireless

    IT Reseller/dealer with over 20 years in experience.
    The winner is the Skullcandy method wireless IF only they would last longer than a few months. Most of them die from one day to another in warranty time.
    One of the largest Switzerland Distributors for Enduser and Wholesale (IT/EC) did a full invoice refund after we returned the first Skullcandy which stopped working after 4 months.

    The forums are full with tips like hitting it hard on the table to get it back working (Smart idea with a LIPO battery inside. At the end, you burn down your home because of that).

    The fact that a dealer gets a refund without any further questions shows that they have so many defects and have to refund the Wholesaler. They will destroy the material and not even send it back to the importer.

    The device was perfect but if 50% dies after a few months you simply cannot sell or use it. It was the only Bluetooth Headset, which we got running pairing with the SAMSUNG Sport 6000 watch.

    Greetings from Switzerland

    • Reply Peter Jan 19,2020 12:55

      I can feel your pain Mike. As I mentioned I also had to send back two. My 3rd replacement unit is working great though (and I really love the headset).

      One thing I do keep in mind is to always use the original Skullcandy cable to charge the unit and ONLY charge the unit on a computer and not on a wallplug (I didn’t always use the original cable with the first 2 units I broke and suspect that overcharging with non-original cable could be the cause of breakdown)

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