12 Best Bluetooth Speakers of 2018

best bluetooth speakers

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 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.

12 Best Bluetooth speakers you can buy in 2018

JBL Charge 3

Best waterproof Bluetooth speaker

jbl charge 3 - 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 3. 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 3 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 3 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 3 delivers not only music but also phone calls from up to three 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 3 is also crisp and really loud. JBL Charge 3 price is around $100-$150.

Pros:

  • waterproof
  • 20-hour battery life
  • charges other devices
  • links up with other JBL Bluetooth speakers
Cons:

  • some distorts at high volumes

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Bose SoundLink Revolve+

Best Bose Bluetooth speaker

bose soundlink revolve+
This compact all in one device is sure to fit into any setting inside the home and offers a good range of connection and features to be ideal for outside as well. Summer lovers and party goers will like this speaker for its size and portability.

Pros:

  • Good size and reasonably portable
  • Strong aluminum body, giving it better strength and protection
  • Water resistant
  • Up to 16 hours battery life
  • You can connect multiple speakers to play the same music
  • Siri and Google Now capability
  • Optional AUX port and micro-B USB charger
Cons:

  • Not waterproof, so it can only handle the occasional, accidental showering of water
  • Expensive
  • Can fill a room from the center, but bass is partially lost
  • No Wi-Fi integration

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UE Boom 2

Best Bluetooth speaker with 360-degree sound

ue boom 2 - Best Bluetooth speaker with 360-degree sound
UE Boom 2 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 during 15 hours. Still, it can vary depending on the selected settings and conditions. And even after, its discharging you won’t need to wait for a long time in order to reanimate a battery. UE Boom 2 needs only 2,5 hours of charging.

Secondly, like JBL Charge 3 this Bluetooth speaker is also waterproof. It can be plunged into the water up to 1m for about half an hour. Moreover, UE Boom 2 is dirt-proof as well as shockproof.

There is an option of NFC technology due to which you can pair NFC-compatible devices with a simple tap. And 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 2 can be wirelessly connected to the second UE speaker with Double Up in order to amplify high-energy beats. The price of this Bluetooth speaker corresponds to its features – $250.

Pros:

  • 15-hour battery life
  • quick 2,5-hour recharging
  • waterproof
  • 2 simultaneous connections
  • 33m of streaming range
  • 360-degree sound
Cons:

  • high price
  • some distorts at high volumes

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Creative Sound Blaster Roar 2

Best budget Bluetooth speaker

creative sound blaster roar 2 - Best budget Bluetooth speaker
Another wireless speaker which has entered our list of best Bluetooth speakers is Creative Sound Blaster Roar 2. Stylish and compact, it is not only compatible with Bluetooth-enabled devices but also supports NFC option which makes pairing process even easier.

This portable speaker has also a standard 3.5 mm auxiliary input. Furthermore, Creative Sound Blaster Roar 2 can work as an external sound card for your PC. There is a micro SD slot to play audio files as well. Besides, this speaker has a built-in microphone for speakerphone calls.

Still, Creative Sound Blaster Roar 2 is not perfect. Its main drawback is battery life. This portable speaker can offer only 8 hours and if to compare it with the previous models with 15 or even 20-hour battery life, this one isn’t impressive at all.

However, this wireless speaker has an option of quick charging as it has an AC adapter. The point is that it is able to charge the speaker only in 2.5 hours. There is also the other option, namely charging via micro USB. By the way, Creative Sound Blaster Roar 2 has one more built-in full-sized USB Type-A port which enables keeping mobile devices charged by means of the Roar 2’s 6000 mAh battery.

Pros:

  • micro SD slot
  • NFC
  • AC adapter
  • charges with micro USB
  • great sound
Cons:

  • 8-hour battery life
  • no water or drop resistance

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JBL Flip 4

Best Bluetooth speaker under $100

jbl flip 4 - Best Bluetooth speaker under 100
It’s one of the best cheap portable speakers which will cost you less than $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 4 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 4 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 4 has a rechargeable 3000 mAh battery and it takes about three 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 4 is cheap, compact and at the same time loud.

Pros:

  • splash-proof
  • low price
  • sound quality
  • charges with micro USB
Cons:

  • battery life (8-10 hours)
  • no playback controls

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Anker SoundCore 2

Best Bluetooth speaker with long stamina

anker soundcore 2 - Best Bluetooth speaker with long stamina
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 2 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 more than several drops.

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 2 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.

If there is a need to connect devices which do not support Bluetooth function it won’t be a problem. For such occasions, Anker SoundCore 2 has an AUX input.

The most astonishing thing about this wireless speaker is its battery life. Anker SoundCore has broken all records as it is able to deliver music up to 24 hours! It does seem to be something incredible, especially for such a low price.

Pros:

  • 24-hour battery life
  • low price
Cons:

  • highs are somewhat harsh
  • soft plastic isn’t durable and attracts fingerprints

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Bose SoundLink Color 2

Best compact Bluetooth speaker

bose soundlink color 2
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.

Pros:

  • charges with micro USB
  • great sound
  • water resistant
Cons:

  • 8-hour battery life

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Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 4

Stylish Scandinavian speaker you can take your calls on

harman kardon onyx studio 4
This elegant dome-shaped speaker gives a lovely surrounding sound that can comfortably fill a room. It has lots of great high-tech features as well, so it really is a design for the gadget enthusiast in the family.

Pros:

  • Well balanced audio can fill a room well
  • Has a built-in microphone with echo and noise cancellation
  • Siri and Google Now capability
  • Smart Bluetooth can pair up to two devices at once
  • Can connect with up to 100 other speakers through HK Connect+
  • Sturdy build
  • Elegant design
  • Good Value for price
Cons:

  • Only around 6-8 hours battery life
  • Not ideally portable, more for use in the home or office
  • On some very high levels of bass it can become a little distorted

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Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM

The barrel-shaped speaker that will give you more boom for your buck

ultimate ears wonderboom
This cute barrel-shaped speaker is surprisingly powerful and versatile. A must-have for its portability and very good connection range, and also kinder to your wallet than other brands boasting the same.

Pros:

  • Compact design, truly portable
  • Waterproof
  • Can connect with another WONDERBOOM without the need for an app
  • Surprisingly loud for its size, with a good bass
  • Great connectivity of up to 80 feet before connectivity issues
Cons:

  • No audio jack input
  • The overall sound isn’t ground-breaking, but it gets the job done.

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Sonos One

Future thinking Sonos, paired with Alexa; a fantastic collaboration

sonos one
This cute and stylish box of joy works perfectly with Alexa and all her functions. For its size and portability, it has plenty of power behind its sound. Its ease of use and simplicity means that it can fit into any household with any owner comfortably.

Pros:

  • Brilliant sound quality
  • Sleek and stylish design
  • Easy to use
  • Offers multiroom functionality with another Sonos One Speaker
  • Alexa compatible
Cons:

  • No speaker mount options
  • Won’t pair with other models, despite similar appearances and functions

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B&O PLAY Beolit 17

The speaker that just keeps on bringing those summer picnic vibes, all day long

b&o play beolit 17
This almost picnic basket shaped speaker has everything you would want to, well, bring it to a picnic. It has a gorgeously well-balanced sound, yet is super portable with a very long-lasting battery.

Pros:

  • Multidirectional speakers with well-balanced sound
  • Portable
  • Sturdy design
  • Power-saving sleep mode
  • 24-hour battery life
  • Surprisingly loud
Cons:

  • Heavy for its size
  • Can make some songs sound a little distorted
  • Expensive

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Marshall Kilburn

Best Bluetooth speaker for bass

marshall kilburn - Best Bluetooth speaker for bass
This portable speaker allows wireless pairing with all Bluetooth-enabled devices and its aptX technology makes this process quite easy.

Marshall Kilburn is one of those speakers which produce high-grade sound. It offers rich cross-spectrum sound with a bass-reflex system that creates booming low-end tones. Its classic D amplifier delivers 40W of power and its 4200Hz crossover enables custom sound. Marshall Kilburn has also got an easily control playback which allows you 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 listening session is quite impressive.

Marshall Kilburn is light to carry and has a nice vintage styled engineering. It’s an example of classic Marshall design with a vintage-looking front fret, gold-coloured 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 absence of water resistance and high price. There isn’t an option of USB charges too.

Pros:

  • 20-hour battery life
  • great sound
  • stylish
Cons:

  • high price
  • no USB charges
  • no water resistance

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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.

Bluetooth

This is simply one of the main connection methods for a wireless speaker. This just means that two devices (or sometimes more) are connected with waves of frequency, allowing media and entertainment to be able to be played as if connected.

NFC

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 tap your phone to the speaker and it will seamlessly start playing a song from where you left off.

Wi-Fi

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

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.

DLNA

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; so only commit to a speaker purchase if you are certain your devices have DLNA available.

Size and weight

This is fairly self-explanatory and is really only worth considering if you are either looking for your speakers to fit into a certain space, if you want your surround sound system 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.

Durability

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; 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.

For extra bass, 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, which if you want a rustic vibe to the music you listen to, you won’t get.

Smart

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

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 (we will see this with the WONDERBOOM later).

Battery life

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, it has used the times that have been stated by users who have tested them at full volume continuously.

Sound Quality

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.

Water Resistance

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.

4 Comments

  1. Brandon August 30, 2017
    • The Tech Lounge Staff The Tech Lounge Staff August 31, 2017
  2. Speaker March 13, 2018
    • The Tech Lounge Staff The Tech Lounge Staff March 26, 2018

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