If music is like second air for you and you can’t spend a day without your favorite tunes then welcome to our list of the best Bluetooth speakers.
A high-end speaker will fill the space around you with high-energy beats and it will make your leisure time much brighter. Its portable design will turn it into your reliable companion while going on a picnic, holding pool or tailgate parties.
How to Choose the Best Bluetooth Speakers
If you are an avid music fan, then you will know better than anyone that the music you play is only as good as the tool you use to play it, meaning that quite often, we fork over large sums of money to get the best speakers that money can buy; but are we shopping blindly by going for the biggest, or the most well-known? Well, never fear, for this article is here for you to be able to weigh up the pros and cons of your potential new buy, so you know exactly what you are getting, and whether it’s right for you!
One big deciding factor in the smartphone era is connectivity, as everything nowadays is designed with the idea of advancing in technology, wireless capabilities being one of the newest trends seen in modern devices across the board. This makes the rise of wireless speakers unsurprising, yet exciting nonetheless and this is what this article aims to focus on, but we will be paying tribute to the classic wired set-up as well for all the hardcore traditionalists.
As these wireless devices have evolved, they have gone from somewhat a novelty item; sometimes lasting only long enough for a few songs, or perhaps having that horrible “tinny” sound that poor speakers tend to emit; to something which could easily replace many day-to-day speakers.
With this evolution, however, comes all the mind-bending jargon and specs that make the picking process more complicated than necessary for someone who doesn’t deal in speakers. So, this summary will be breaking down the commonly used jargon in this introduction, as well as giving some key features to keep in mind for when you start browsing, before going through some of the biggest competitors out there.
This is simply one of the main connection methods for a wireless speaker. This just means that two devices (or sometimes more) are connected without any wires, allowing to transfer data from one device to another (to Bluetooth speakers in our case).
If you have an NFC (Near Field Communication) enabled phone, this makes your job even easier, as you don’t have to turn on Bluetooth, or search for any devices; you simply put your phone near the speaker and it will allow to seamlessly start playing a song.
The downside to Bluetooth and NFC over Wi-Fi is the range of connectivity. While some companies boast large connective ranges, in truth, they often don’t quite live up to it; add some walls in between your speakers and your device, and the signal is even less reliable.
This is where Wi-Fi fills the gap. By connecting your device to your home Wi-Fi and by doing the same with your speakers, you are able to play your audio crisply and clearly from anywhere you can access your Wi-Fi. Bluetooth still has its advantages though and works well in apartments or away from the home, it’s just down to what your needs are.
Airplay is an Apple products feature, which allows you to either share your whole screen or just the audio of your device with any nearby compatible televisions and speakers. It works in a similar way to Bluetooth, in terms of range and the process of connection, so really it is down to preference.
Or “Digital Living Network Alliance” is the commercial sharing platform for household devices. In effect, this is the same as Apple Airplay but is compatible with Android and other types of devices. One thing to note is this isn’t just a piece of software to download, it is either built-in or it’s not.
Size and weight
This is fairly self-explanatory and is really only worth considering if you are either looking for your speaker to fit into a certain space, if you want it to be as discreet as possible, or if you are looking for a portable speaker device; regardless of your reasons, it’s something to keep in mind.
This is probably only more of a concern if you are looking for a portable speaker; as if it is being carried around, it is more likely to be dropped. However, this could also be useful to note in general to gauge the predictable lifespan of your product (even with PC speakers); if it is well built with good materials, it may be worth the investment.
This could also be particularly appealing to those of you with young children, clumsy dogs or attention seeking cats; if they knock your expensive speakers over, are your confident they will survive the fall?
The material it is made of can also have an effect on the sounds produced and the overall quality of treble and bass. Wood, for example, is strong but has pore-like seams between the grains, allowing for more vibration, giving a more ‘acoustic’ feel to your music. This, however, isn’t always ideal for music with a lot of bass, as the extra vibrations can allow for distortion to certain frequencies in lower-end, wooden speakers.
A strong, sturdy metal case or even a tempered, rigid plastic, will allow for bass without the distortion, but it can lead to an overly clean and precise sound, and if you want a rustic vibe to the music you listen to, you won’t get it.
A feature which is becoming more and more prominent in technology these days is their smart functions. This can simply mean something which makes things easier to go between devices, with interesting new functions (think NFC) but it can also mean that it is a device which doubles as one for its standard use, and two for an additional useful feature.
The best example we can give, which also fits the article, are home speakers which are also equipped with voice commands and functions, such as Amazon Alexa. This generally means that you don’t need to press buttons to change songs, or that you can take a phone call through your speakers, but in the case of Alexa, Siri and Google Now ready devices, you can set reminders, search the web, send messages, etc. all by just using your voice.
Multiroom is a fun feature which is becoming more and more popular as speakers come out each year. It does what it says on the tin, if you have multiple speakers of the same brand, you can play the same song simultaneously through multiple speakers (potentially in multiple rooms).
This is generally done through an app which is developed by the speaker brand, but occasionally this can be done, simply by having two of the same brand and same model speakers.
Goes without saying, if you want something truly wireless and portable, you are going to want something with a decent battery life. One key thing to think about with this is that when companies say that their speakers last 16 hours on a single charge, they generally mean at low to medium volume.
If you are using your speakers at full blast, then you can expect to see some, sometimes vastly, shorter lifespans. In this article, we used the times that have been stated by users who have tested them at full volume continuously.
Any well-seasoned music enthusiast will tell you that music and sound come out at different frequencies and can perform differently between these differing pitches. These are generally categorized as Highs, Middles, and Lows. If you play around with your equalizer on any audio equipment, you can isolate each of these levels and hear them individually; sound quality, however, is the general concept of how the device sounds as a complete sound.
Really this is down to personal taste and the level of precise sound quality you want, if music is part of your job, for example, this may be a big factor, whereas if you are just looking for some speakers to play some music while you read in the evening, for example, this may not matter so much.
This is a feature which, again, has gained more recognition as a sought-after trait in recent years. This doesn’t mean physically taking it underwater and listening to your favorite playlist whilst swimming under the surface, but instead, that general splashing and poor weather, won’t affect your device.
This is particularly good for pool parties, outdoor events or even if it is just installed in a building with sprinklers fitted; if they go off, at least you won’t have to fork out cash to replace everything.
Best Bluetooth Speakers
JBL Charge 4
The Best Waterproof Bluetooth speaker
Simple in use and at the same time multifunctional – these are probably the first words which come to mind when you see JBL Charge 4. This Bluetooth speaker would be a nice choice for those who love listening to music outdoors as it’s not afraid of rain or any other sources of water like pools or lakes. JBL Charge 4 is waterproof, so you can be sure that music won’t leave you after the first raindrops on the speaker.
This portable speaker isn’t the most compact one you can find nowadays, but it has a range of features which compensate this little drawback. And the first one is its battery life. Thanks to its rechargeable Li-ion battery JBL Charge 4 is able to provide you with 20-hour music marathon. Besides, this wireless speaker can share its battery life via USB with your cell phone, charging it when necessary.
JBL Charge 4 delivers not only music but also phone calls from smartphones, tablets or laptops. It can be connected wirelessly from a distance. The only condition is to have a Bluetooth-enabled device.
There is also a built-in microphone which enables hands-free calls which have clear sound due to the noise and echo-cancelling speakerphone. Consequently, music delivered by JBL Charge 4 is also crisp and really loud.
- 20-hour battery life
- charges other devices
- links up with other JBL Bluetooth speakers
- some distorts at high volumes
Impressive Sound and Portability
Bose doesn’t fool around when it comes to sound quality! But they also know how to create a portable speaker that is both durable and good-looking. Not to mention, the sound is crystal clear, loud, and rich, and there won’t be any interruptions due to the 30ft range.
Due to its shape, the SoundLink Revolve+ can deliver a 360° sound experience which makes it the perfect party companion. The aluminum body makes it lightweight and water-resistant with IPX4 rating, and the controls are easy to reach (placed at the top).
You can also use the Bose speaker in the car, at home, or at work, like a phone speaker or to give instructions to Siri or Google Assistant. The Revolve+ can go up to 16 hours of constant use and it can be connected to another Revolve speaker for more power.
- Lightweight & durable body
- 360° sound experience
- Great sound richness and power
- Can be paired with other speakers
- Can be used as a speakerphone
- You can control it using the Bose Connect app
- A bit on the expensive side
- It doesn’t sync if you use the AUX input
- The app is basic
- It looks like a lantern
UE Boom 3
Best Bluetooth speaker with 360-degree sound
UE Boom 3 is a hefty wireless speaker which has a number of features to impress you with. Firstly, this speaker has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery which is able to deliver music non-stop for 15 hours. Still, it can vary depending on the selected settings and conditions. You can even buy POWER UP charging dock to charge UE Boom 3 wirelessly.
Secondly, like JBL Charge 4 this Bluetooth speaker is also waterproof. It can be put into the water up to 1m for about half an hour. Moreover, UE Boom 3 is dirt-proof as well as shockproof.
If you need to connect your MP3 player to the speaker then just make a use of 3.5mm audio output.
UE Boom 2 can be paired to 8 Bluetooth-enabled devices and supports 2 simultaneous connections. Note that its mobile range of play is up to 33m, i.e. 100ft! Its two 45mm drivers and two 45mm x 80mm passive radiators produce powerful 360-degree sound.
By the by, UE Boom 3 can be wirelessly connected to the second UE Boom or MegaBoom (actually you can connect it to 150 other speakers) to provide ultimate listening experience.
- 15-hour battery life
- quick 2,5-hour recharging
- 150 simultaneous connections
- 360-degree sound
- some distorts at high volumes
The Smart Speaker You’ve Been Looking For
Since we live in the era of smart speakers, why not combine the amazing audio technology of a powerful speaker and the intelligence of Alexa?
Sonos did just that with their Move speaker and managed to create a beautiful, durable, and easy-to-use smart speaker that’s perfect for home and office. The sound quality is brilliant and the speaker accepts WiFi and Bluetooth connections.
It’s also powered by a rechargeable battery so you can move it around your space. The initial setup only takes a few minutes, after which the speaker can be controlled with your phone (via an app) or voice.
Alexa is built-in to the speaker, so you can ask her for the news, weather, and more. It’s also a nice way to search for your favorite music online (no more browsing for that song that’s stuck in your brain.
The Move speaker can last for about 10h of continuous use on one charge. Also, it can be charged using the delivered base or a compatible USB-C charger. And, since it has an IP56 durability rating, you can take it outside. It’s also built like a tank and it can resist a few bumps and drops due to its hard-wearing, shock-resistant case.
- Beautiful & sleek design
- Well-balanced sound
- It accepts WiFi & BT
- Built-in Alexa feature
- Good battery life
- Can be used indoors and outdoors
- It’s quite pricey
JBL Flip 5
The Best Bluetooth speaker under $100
It’s one of the best cheap portable speakers which will cost you around $100. Its Bluetooth 4.2 interface enables pairing with any devices (laptops, phones or tablets), which supports this function. It can be also linked wirelessly to multiple JBL Connect-enabled speakers together to amplify the sound. Note that there is a JBL Connect – a free app for iOS and Android devices.
What is more, it also belongs to the category of splash-proof wireless speakers. JBL Flip 5 has a fabric as well as rubber housing which allows playing music at the pool or beach parties. Its Bluetooth technology provides a typical streaming range of 33ft (10m).
JBL Flip 5 has a built-in noise and echo canceling speakerphone. The sound of this speaker is clear and rather loud if to take into account its compact size. There are also dual external bass radiators for low-frequency bass tones.
This Bluetooth speaker has an average battery life which reaches up to 12 hours. Note that with a maximum sound you can pump only about 8 hours. But if you change the settings then you get 2 extra hours. Of course, it’s not something to be proud of but for such price it’s even more than enough.
JBL Flip 5 has a rechargeable 4,800 mAh battery and it takes about two and a half hours to fully recharge. By the by, this speaker has light indicators which help to show the battery level. In a nutshell, JBL Flip 5 is cheap, compact and at the same time loud.
- low price
- sound quality
- charges with micro USB
- no playback controls
Anker Soundcore Motion B
The Best Budget Bluetooth Speaker
It’s probably the cheapest wireless speaker on our list with a price of less than $50. But if you have certain doubts concerning the quality of this speaker for such price, leave them. Anker Soundcore Motion B is really good and its price isn’t the only advantage for sure.
This Bluetooth speaker is made of soft plastic and a grille. Its design is quite simple and there is nothing special about it at all. Besides, plastic tends to attract fingerprints what in the course of time makes a speaker look not very attractive. Thus, keep in mind that you will need to do regular wiping. We can also say that such corpus isn’t likely to survive hard drops (though it’s durability is improved compared to previous versions). Motion B is also IPX7 waterproof.
Its buttons are blended into the plastic corpus what sometimes requires extra clicks. There is also the small LED light on the front of the speaker. Its flash is blue during pairing and connecting process. If its color changes to red, it’s a signal of the low battery.
Anker Soundcore Motion B has Bluetooth 4.2 which provides the streaming range of about 66ft (18.2m). Still, bear in mind that if you reach 40ft there is a chance of stuttering and skipping. But this happens only if there are walls. On the whole, its sound quality is fine. You will get good lows as well as mids, but when it comes to the high end you can hear slight harshness at max volume, though it isn’t so bad indeed.
Soundcore Motion B doesn’t provide 24 hours of playtime as it’s predecessor (only 12) but it’s twice louder so that’s probably where the power went.
- low price
- highs are somewhat harsh
Best compact Bluetooth speaker
Bose SoundLink Color has an average set of options for quite a reasonable price and this make it one of the most universal speakers for users with different demands and budgets.
Bose SoundLink Color can be paired virtually with any Bluetooth-enabled device, including phones, tablets and laptops. It also supports NFC pairing and can be connected wirelessly to a device from up to 30ft (9m) away. Still, there is also an option of wired connectivity, as this portable speaker has Universal Micro-B USB 3.5mm port.
It will be suitable for any events including outdoor gatherings, beach parties, meetings at the poolside, etc. The fact is that this Bluetooth speaker is water resistant. It’s rugged and soft-touch silicone design won’t allow light rain or accidentally spilled beer spoil your evening leaving you without music.
There is also a built-in microphone for calls. Having this portable speaker you can easily answer calls on speakerphone. Besides, you can skip tracks and switch between connected devices just with the press of a button.
Bose SoundLink Color has voice prompts to help you pair devices. This speaker remembers last 8 devices which have been used recently. That is why reconnections are much easier. There is also free Bose Connect app. It helps to connect and switch between devices. This app is also responsible for unlocking future product features in order to give you access to product tips and personalize your settings. It provides software updates as well.
This Bluetooth speaker has a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery which can offer no more that 8 hours of constant music streaming.
- charges with micro USB
- great sound
- water resistant
- 8-hour battery life
Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 5
A Portable & Iconic Design Piece
Who said Bluetooth speakers couldn’t look modern and elegant? The Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 5 features a curvy design, premium fabric cover, and an aluminum handle for a bit of extra style and portability.
On the technical side, the speaker boasts 8 hours of playtime, wireless dual sound, and 50W power (with a frequency between 50Hz and 20kHz). It features Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity, which means it will connect with most mobile devices on the market to stream high-quality music whenever you want.
Sound quality is perfect for modern music, as it delivers a room-filling experience backed up by chest-thumping frequencies. However, audiophiles may find it a bit lacking in terms of clarity and warmth. This is because there are only one woofer and one tweeter to deal with the entire musical specter. As a result, some notes are lost in translation (so to speak), but this doesn’t take away from the overall level of quality.
- Modern & slick design
- Highly portable
- Long battery life
- Good bass and volume
- Ideal for regular music listeners
- Good value for the money
- Only one woofer and one tweeter
- Not for audiophiles
Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2
Surprisingly Funny & Loud
Marketed as the ultimate speaker for when you want to have fun, the WONDERBOOM comes in a wide range of vivid colors. It is dust and water (IPX7 rating) proof – you can use while taking a shower.
Due to the compact and roundish body, the speaker is extra portable and provides the user with a 360° sound experience. Even more, it can be easily paired with another WONDERBOOM 2 to get more sound power.
The battery should hold for up to 13 hours and the BT range is about 100ft. The controls are easy to understand and use, and you don’t need an app to organize the music or adjust the sound. Just connect and play!
- The design is fun & vivid
- Extremely portable & lightweight
- Drop and waterproof
- Good sound quality
- Can be paired with another speaker
- Great price
- It doesn’t indicate low battery
Sonos One (Gen 2)
A Smart Speaker with Great Sound
The Sonos One is built for your ultimate comfort at home or at the office. The speaker is integrated with Amazon Alexa and accepts all voice controls that work with this assistant. So, you no longer have to lose time or disrupt your activity to activate the device, change playlists or find the right song.
The design is elegant, but nothing too special, and the controls are easily accessible. The speaker connects to your home WiFi and to other Sonos speakers in the house, giving you full access and complete control.
Alexa can hear you at a range of 25 to 30 ft if there’s nothing blocking the sound waves, and about 15-20ft if you’re around a corner. Overall, if you’re looking for a smart speaker that also delivers high-end sound quality, the Sonos One may be the right choice for you!
- Works with voice commands
- Elegant design
- Can be paired with other Sonos speakers
- You can control the settings using an app
- Great sound quality
- Multiroom audio
- Setup can be a bit of a hassle
- Connection issues
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay P6
Portable Sound with Elegance & Style
The cool thing about Beoplay P6, besides its amazing sound, is its uncanny design. The speaker is rectangular with rounded corners and has a leather strap you can use to carry it around. But the thing you’ll like the most is the pearl blasted aluminum, that feels great to touch and looks incredibly stylish.
Another feature that makes it quite a great acquisition is the One Touch button. Using the Beoplay app, you can customize this button to answer phone calls, power the device up, pause, or get in touch with your favorite voice assistant.
The Bluetooth connection is strong, the sound is crystal clear and rich, and the battery will last for about 16 hours. What more could you want?
- True 360 degrees sound
- One Touch button for a wide range of functionalities
- Incredible sound (55 – 20,000Hz range)
- Up to 16h battery
- The buttons are delicate & dent easily
- It’s a bit pricey
- Heavier than most BT speakers
- No WiFi functionality
Marshall Kilburn II
The Best Bluetooth Speaker for Bass
This portable speaker allows wireless pairing with all Bluetooth-enabled devices and its aptX technology makes the music sound crisp and clear.
Marshall Kilburn II offers rich cross-spectrum sound with a bass-reflex system that creates booming low-end tones. Marshall Kilburn II has also got an easily control playback which allows you to fine-tune the audio to suit your preferences.
Its built-in battery is able to provide you with 20-hour music pleasure. Obviously, such long-lasting battery is quite impressive. Also, this version of Kilburn in water-resistant.
Marshall Kilburn II is light to carry and has a nice vintage styled design. It’s an example of classic Marshall design with a vintage-looking front fret, metal details and an iconic script logo. There is also a leather strap for comfortable carrying what also makes this Bluetooth speaker look more stylish. It’s only cons are a high price and the absence of USB charging.
- 20-hour battery life
- great sound
- high price
- no USB charging
Anker Soundcore Flare
Great Affordable Bluetooth Speaker
If you’re looking for a loud and powerful BT speaker that doesn’t break the bank, have a look at Flare! The speaker’s look may not be the most attractive, but it’s what’s inside that matters. Inside, the device features dual drivers back-to-back and passive bass radiators for the best all-around sound experience.
The sound quality is great and, even though it’s not really that big, the speaker delivers amazing sound quality. Furthermore, you can connect two Flare speakers to create stereo sound delivery!
You can tell that the Flare was designed for parties by the LED halo of lights that synchronizes with the rhythm in a wide range of colors. Also, it is waterproof (IP67 rating), so it’s safe to use it by the pool.
- All-around sound experience
- Powerful bass
- Waterproof even when dropped in water
- 5 color themes and illumination patterns
- An app to tune up the music
- You can pair two speakers and they’ll remember it
- Battery drains faster at loud volumes
- You need two of them to really feel the bass
- The light show is not in sync with the rhythm
Perfect for Adventurers
This tiny speaker is waterproof (IPX7), drop resistant, and can be strapped on your backpack, your bike, or wherever you want. It comes in three different colors, which is a very nice touch.
While the speaker is compact, the sound it delivers it certainly isn’t! The audio is balanced and crisp, with a powerful bass and loud volume. This means you can take it outdoors and have a party without worrying about any damage to your phone. Speaking of parties, you can link two Micro together, and get stereo!
You can also use it as a speakerphone and to send voice commands to Siri or Google Now. It may be tiny, but it will hold for up to 6 hours of playtime, which is quite a lot!
Finally, you can use both Bluetooth and WiFi to connect to it. The range for wireless is about 30ft and the BT connection is just as strong.
- Compact & durable design
- Vivid colors
- Extremely portable
- Powerful & rich sound
- You can pair two speakers for stereo
- Up to 6h of playtime
- Great for outdoor use
- It may lose connection from time to time
- You need the app for pairing