Long gone are the days of Bluetooth being used for sending MP3 files to each other, now it is fully integrated into our mobiles, cameras, and home setups. Its enduring power signaled that despite the advancement of Wi-FI, Bluetooth speakers are a must-have for any music lover.
A scroll through Amazon will tell you that there are so many Bluetooth speakers available. All the latest devices compete to be known as the best Bluetooth speaker, but what does this even involve? It is easy to get lost in the talk of drivers and mid-tones (what even is a smart device?) especially with the dizzying array of choice. This guide will help you navigate your way around all the tech jargon and infinite models to find the ideal Bluetooth speaker for you.
The Best Bluetooth Speakers You Can Buy
1. Sonos Move
Sonos have been a firmly dominant competitor in the audio market with smart speakers for every occasion. The household name has finally delivered its answer to the best Bluetooth speaker with the Sonos Move. Perfect for both the indoors and outside, the Sonos Move gives all the benefits of your indoors smart speaker whilst having the ability to be portable.
As expected, the sound quality is unrivaled with crystal clear vocals and reverberating rich bass. If we get down to the technical nitty-gritty, it comes with two Class-D digital amplifiers, a tweeter, and a mid-woofer perfectly integrated into the Sonos’ cabinet. This produces a rich soundscape that you’ll never be disappointed with, whether you’re out on the road or cozied up at home. The Sonos Move’s professional and sleek design makes it a centerpiece of your room.
It doesn’t stop with just delivering unbelievable audio quality, it is also full to the brim with useful features when connected to WiFi. True to the brand’s usual smart features, the Sonos Move works with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It also features AutoPlay technology, where the speaker self-adjusts its EQ for perfectly balanced sound for its surroundings. No matter what space you are in, the Sonos Move works to create the optimum audio experience.
- Variety of smart features such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice assistants and the Auto Trueplay system.
- IP56 rated durability against sand or dust and could withstand an accidental drop in the pool.
- Unrivaled sound quality with huge volume capacity and clarity.
- At 6.6lbs the Sonos Move is heavier than a lot of portable speakers.
- At the higher end of the price range for a portable speaker due to the array of features
2. UE Boom 3
The Ultimate Ears Boom 3 is designed to keep up with you wherever you go, with its rugged durableness and ultra-portable design. As the third model in their Boom speakers series, UE opted for a conical 360 degrees shape to project better sound throughout the space. It produces shockingly powerful bass and only occasionally loses clarity with vocals, but for such a small speaker it is capable of seriously impressive sound.
The Boom 3 is one of the best portable speakers, being easy to carry around and made of durable materials With an IP67 rating, it is a waterproof Bluetooth speaker that can also withstand dust and sand. For those poolside parties, it can float and be submerged underwater for up to 30 minutes. The Boom 3 is a small and lightweight speaker but Ultimate Ears doesn’t sacrifice its sturdiness, battery life, or excellent sound for this.
- Powerful sound capabilities; the huge 90 decibels output is comparable to a larger product.
- Very durable with an IP67 rating and tight weave design.
- Works with Ultimate Ears Megaboom app allowing you to adjust EQ and connect with other UE products.
- It can lose clarity in the audio output at points.
- Not a huge difference in features between Boom 3 and its predecessor Boom 2.
3. JBL Flip 5
JBL has a rich history when it comes to creating powerful audio devices. The JBL Flip 5 is a masterclass in how to make a speaker lightweight and durable but also maintain stellar audio performance. With 12 hours of battery life, you can comfortably take this out for the day without worrying about the charge.
The IPX7 rating also promises the freedom to take the JBL Flip 5 wherever you want without fear. Whether it’s an impromptu trip to the beach or getting caught out in a storm, the fabric outing and rubber housing keeps it safe. This rugged speaker is one of the best devices for hardiness out there. This all comes with the additional benefits of 11 different color choices, an easily portable shape, and an impressive 20W driver size.
- IP rating makes it extremely durable and suitable for traveling or being outside.
- Can connect to multiple JBL speakers via PartyBoost to create stereo sound or creating a party environment.
- There is no wired connection due to no aux-in jack.
- Simplicity leads to fewer smart features for your home.
4 . Bose Portable Home Speaker
2020 has marked the advent of everyone (and their mother) owning a smart speaker since Amazon’s Alexa debut. The Bose Portable Home Speaker offers the convenience of Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa alongside an offline Bluetooth connection. So when you’re at home you can have beautiful sound alongside a plethora of features to make your home a little smarter and more convenient. When you have no Wi-Fi then you have a reliable Bluetooth connection to keep everything running. The actual speaker boasts a 12 hours battery life and a lightweight design, coming in at just over 2lbs.
Bose emphasizes the importance of this being both a portable speaker and a home speaker and doesn’t compromise either aspect. This is one of the best Bluetooth speakers for those who want both!
- With the 360 degrees speakers design, it gives out a well-balanced sound wherever in the house you are.
- Capable of more powerful sound than competitors such as JBL’s Flip 5.
- No 3.5mm aux jack for wired connection.
- With a rating of IP54, it is only splash-proof so not suitable for pools or the beach.
5 . Anker Soundcore Flare 2 Bluetooth Speaker
If there was ever a Bluetooth speaker made for a party, it would be Anker Soundcore Flare 2. Using PartyCast technology it is possible to link 100+ Flare 2 portable speakers if you ever want to attempt your very own Project X style event. It also doubles as your very own light show with multi-colored led lights on the speaker. Using the Soundcore app you can adjust the led lights with a choice of six lighting modes. This is the best choice for those pool parties or by the beach with its high level of water resistance. However, Anker Soundcore ensures that the Flare 2 sounds just as good as it looks with BassUp technology, a custom-designed DSP chip, and dual bass radiators.
- Hugely multi-faceted at a lower price point with application with the customizable led lights as a fun aesthetic addition.
- IPX7 waterproof protection build makes it great for outdoor locations.
- When at higher volume levels, there may be slight vocal distortion.
- Battery life is quite average at 12 hours of playtime.
6 . Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
Yet another model from Ultimate Ears, the UE Wonderboom 2 is a great mid-range option for those who want durability, mobility, and clear sound. At IP67 this is waterproof, dustproof, and can float! This is truly suited for outdoor adventurers and can survive plenty of bumps due to the superb build quality. This comes with 13 hours of battery life to stick by you through all your adventures.
For such a small speaker, it also produces a surprisingly impressive sound. Around 80 to 90 decibels is where it is loud enough to be heard easily without sacrificing any of that important clarity. This is plenty of power coming from a speaker that weighs under a pound! Just in case you’re not convinced, UE developed an Outdoor Boost button just to increase bass and clarity for the outside.
- UE Wonderboom 2 is great value coming in at around $100 with 13 hours of battery life.
- Impressive output considering the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 is so lightweight.
- No aux-in means solely Bluetooth use which can drain battery life quickly.
- No visual battery life indication on the device or your connected phone.
7 . Ultimate Ears Megaboom
We have a couple of Ultimate Ears speakers on this list so far but with the Megaboom, they truly threw down the gauntlet and laid their claim to the best Bluetooth speaker. This is the best Bluetooth speaker for creating unapologetically loud excellent sound. The deep heart-pounding bass dominates the space, as well as having a strikingly bold aesthetic.
Additionally, it is rated IPX7 which is poolside levels of water-resistance. This unit is super durable whilst being under 2lbs and boasts 20 hours of battery life. To cement its position as the ultimate party Bluetooth speaker you can use the app to unlock additional elements such as a musical alarm and a fully customizable 5-band EQ.
- 20 hours of battery life is far above average (the UE Megaboom can go for nearly a whole 24 hours!).
- The best Bluetooth speaker for creating loud, clear, and powerful sound.
- There is no Amazon Alexa voice control function.
- At a higher price point than other speakers due to size and power.
8 . Sony Portable Extra Bass Wireless Speakers (SRS-XB23)
These Sony portable wireless speakers have received vast amounts of attention for the great specs at such a low price. The handy design boasts of its mobility, with minimal weight and a convenient strap for you to hang it using a carabiner. This ultra-portable Bluetooth speaker offers great sound for those on a budget with an X-Balanced Speaker and two passive radiators. This hidden gem is even available in a variety of attractive colors such as Coral Red, Olive Green, Light Blue, Taupe, and Black.
- The IP67 rating signifies that it is extremely durable for the outdoors.
- The dual passive radiators leads to clear bass and minimal distortion.
- Has a lower peak volume than other devices in its range.
- Unclear battery life indication means you’re unsure how much battery is left.
9 . Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 2nd Gen
The Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 is the grown-up of all these speakers. It’s no surprise from a brand with a reputation for consistency and efficiency. The sleek design with a unique slim and spherical shape is highly visually appealing, whilst being easy to carry around.
It also delivers a fantastically balanced sound that allows each song to really be heard. It definitely is one of the best Bluetooth speakers for smaller social gatherings, as it allows the sound to fully flourish but for larger occasions, it has stereo pairing support. With 18 hours of battery life, you won’t have to worry about stopping your playlists anytime soon.
This classy affair also has some nifty tech treats up its sleeve such as the integrated Amazon Alexa voice assistant despite being a Bluetooth-only device. Using your connected smartphone you can still deploy Alexa with its range of useful offerings.
- Better than average battery life at 18 hours of playtime.
- Highly portable choice due to spherical shape.
- Not as durable as some other options so may suit more indoors protected locations.
- It is a higher budget product for its specifications.
10 . Urbanista Brisbane Wireless Speaker
This offering from Urbanista is a great mid-range speaker that holds simplicity in its ethos. The design and features are both on the simpler side, meaning that you can listen to your tunes without the fuss of unnecessary buttons and applications.
The IPX5 rating offers enough water resistance so you can take it outside and not have to worry if it gets caught in the rain briefly. It is a portable speaker but it really flourishes best inside the home, with the simplistic scandi-chic design that would go perfectly on any bookcase. This sleek speaker is one of the best looking options on this list – the simplicity makes it an easy aesthetic addition. On either side of the speaker, there are two 10W drivers which creates a wide soundstage. Most importantly, the Urbanista Brisbane doesn’t sacrifice volume level for wireless listening. All of this audible capability comes in a sweet little 1.5lbs so you can carry it around wherever you need
- The aesthetically pleasing and simplistic design would suit most homes.
- It has 10 hours of rechargeable battery life which works well for days out.
- Offers great sound for a small, lightweight speaker.
- It is rated at IPX5 with the lack of protective materials, so the Urbanista Brisbane is less durable for the outside.
- Lack of specialist smart features such as Amazon Alexa or a dedicated application.
11. 1MORE Portable Wireless and Wired BT Speaker
1MORE has a solid reputation for great sounding and inexpensive headphones, and this is their offer to the world of wireless listening. The BT Speaker offers a wireless connection and also has a 3.5mm aux jack for wired playback. It also has a 12-hour battery life, you can feel at ease taking this outdoors, just make sure to avoid water as it can only manage splashes. At a great price, and for a speaker so small, the bass response is strikingly strong. This is best for those on a budget, who want something powerful for around $99.
- The 1MORE Portable Speaker is capable of impressive sound quality for a small-sized speaker.
- Compact shape that would both suit your household decor and be easy to carry around with you when traveling.
- Rated only IPX4 so it can only protect against splashes, so it may not be suitable for those wanting to take the speaker outdoors.
- When used at a high volume, the bass can begin to taper off.
Buyers’ Guide: Considerations for Buying Bluetooth Speakers
What is the point of investing hundreds of dollars in a speaker with crisp sound and thumping bass for your holiday if it’s too heavy to even get in your suitcase? Being able to move your speaker around with ease is one of the most important things to consider when deciding upon the best Bluetooth speaker for you. When you do your research you might realize that even though Sonos possess the best sound quality, the weight and difficulty to move it around might rule it out as the device for you. The best Bluetooth speaker for you might end up being from a range you never expected to use.
The best Bluetooth speaker for traveling will mean finding the balance of sound quality and mobility. When opting for a smaller or lightweight speaker, you don’t want to lose any of that valuable vocal clarity or the physical response of heavy bass. That being said, If you’re just wanting something for around the house that doesn’t have to rely on wired connections then something more inconvenient in size and weight could be worth for the crystalline music.
Bluetooth has been around for a couple of decades and has greatly developed over time. Speakers now use an updated version 4 of Bluetooth or Bluetooth 5.0. Whilst the difference numerically seems small, picking speakers for Bluetooth 4 rather than the latest version can impact you greatly.
The biggest advantage of a speaker that has the latest version of Bluetooth is its compatibility with smart home devices and that you can pair multiple phones up to one speaker, making it perfect for families or a shared house. This is a feature that will have a huge impact on listening to music with your friends, so keep it in mind when deciding on the best Bluetooth speaker would be for you.
Water and electricity famously do not mix. There was a time where the biggest nightmare was getting a splash of water over your electronics. Now, many products have developed into being waterproof to a certain degree. This is measured in the speaker’s IP rating, which stands for ‘Ingress Protection’ and simply means how well the speaker is protected from solid objects and liquids. To tell how waterproof your Bluetooth speaker is, you look at the IP and see what the second number is (which will be between 1-8). The higher the number, the more waterproof it is.
At IPX4 the speaker should be splash-proof and resistant to the odd spill. You won’t be at risk if it’s on the side of your kitchen and splash it from the sink, or if you want to take it for a picnic. It then goes up towards IPX7 which is where the speaker should be able to survive heavy rain or being immersed in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. This shows that you can bring the tunes with you wherever you go, whether that’s into the sea or through a storm!
The key is to check the manufacturer’s guidance on water resistance – you may even discover your speaker can float. This is increasingly common and is the best type of Bluetooth speaker for those who want speakers that can go wherever with no worries.
If you want a Bluetooth speaker capable of more than just streaming music then smart speakers also give access to virtual assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri (Echo, Home, Homepod). These require an internet connection but the voice commands can be incredibly useful for busy people or a fun opportunity to allow people to request to hear their favorite songs with ease.
This is a huge thing to consider if you are getting a Bluetooth speaker to have your dream smart home, with a more efficient lifestyle. Some Bluetooth speaker models don’t have access to Amazon Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant at all, so if having a virtual assistant available to you at all points is important then keep this in mind.
One speaker may not give that oomph you were looking for. One of the greatest benefits of wireless tech like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi upon the sonic experience has been the ability to have your audio playing through multiple speakers in different rooms at the same time. This can be via WiFi on specialist Apple or Google or through Bluetooth on products such as the JBL Flip 5 with their PartyBoost function.
This is perfect for parties or just having that optimum home set up. With certain Bluetooth speakers, you can have your perfect playlist playing as you step from the living room into the kitchen. It really doesn’t get more luxurious than that!
Just in case you thought you’d miss someone repeatedly begging you to pass them the aux cord, many of the best Bluetooth speakers still have the aux-in feature. Aux-in is also referred to as a line-in socket and it basically allows you to connect your speaker to any audio source via a cable. Why get rid of a classic aspect of listening to music with your friends and family?
Having an aux cable can be essential for some people as it gives you the option of both wired and wireless audio: the best of both worlds. Just maybe tell that friend who likes trash that your new speaker doesn’t have an aux cable.
1 . What should I look for in a Bluetooth speaker?
With so many to choose from, whittling down the best Bluetooth speaker is no easy feat. There are a few things you’ll want to consider when shopping that’ll help narrow down the huge market.
Wired, wireless, or both? With this, you’ll need to consider aspects such as aux functionality or whether you want the possibility to take hands-free calls. Your device should support your lifestyle. Most of the best Bluetooth speakers will offer a mixture of both wired and wireless functions.
Special functionality? Maybe a device with a voice assistant is the best Bluetooth speaker for you. If you plan to use your speaker in your backyard, it could be useful to have Google Assistant’s or Alexa’s powers available. You can change the track using your voice, rather than controlling the media through your phone. Maybe even just utilize it to check the weather before you leave the house?
Where will you use it? It’s tough figuring out what the best Bluetooth speaker is for you but the easiest method to decide upon your priorities is by picturing where and how you plan to utilize it. If you’re a bit more of a beach person, then ensuring the speaker is water and dust-proof is your main concern. Whereas, if you’re the life of the party and want a speaker to match, you might want to focus on the sound. This can include amplifying it or being able to connect two or more speakers.
General considerations such as battery life, sound quality, and overall design goes for all speakers, regardless of your intention with it. For example, no matter how durable it is, if it loses battery life within a couple of hours then it’s useless for traveling.
Answering these questions, and taking a look through this list of what we think the best Bluetooth speaker is, picking the right one is a simple task.
2 . What is the loudest portable Bluetooth speaker?
The best Bluetooth speaker for making the loudest noise possible whilst by the beach or pool is the Ultimate Ears Megaboom. We believe it to be the best Bluetooth speaker as it delivers richer bass and balanced treble than most others. The party speaker is 2lbs worth of pure sonic power!
If you are searching for something capable of serious noise, whilst maintaining crystal clear sonic quality then this is undoubtedly the best Bluetooth speaker for you.
3 . What is the best sounding small Bluetooth speaker?
For the best Bluetooth speaker that is petite but still offers great sound, Ultimate Ears yet again has our top pick with the UE Wonderboom 2. Weighing less than a pound, the UE Wonderboom 2 packs a punch when it comes to the performance department. With a small 4-inch cylinder, it is still capable of producing rich bass and treble. For when you want party mode, the UE Wonderboom 2 can reach volumes up to almost 100 decibels. The reason why this is our best Bluetooth speaker in terms of being small but powerful rests in the fact it can comfortably reach these high decibels without distorting the sound at all.
4 . Is it worth buying a Bluetooth speaker?
If you’ve made it this far in your hunt for the best Bluetooth speaker available in 2021, I think you’ll need little convincing as to why Bluetooth speakers are worth buying – but let me tell you why anyway.
The enduring quality of Bluetooth lies in its reliable nature. If you want to be able to listen to music out loud, without hearing it struggle through your phone or having to rely on Wi-Fi for music, then Bluetooth is the best path forward. Listen anywhere with no disruption!
Even if you don’t envision yourself leaving the house with your device much, Bluetooth connectivity allows you to have your favorite albums playing without worrying that the WiFi might play up. One of the best functions of a Bluetooth speaker is buying two of them and connecting them up together. This pairing offers flawless stereo sound around your household. This is a benefit for not just audiophiles but movie lovers also. You can recreate the cinema sensation at home with a stereo sound set up and just your Netflix account.
So the question really isn’t whether it’s worth buying one (hello, have a read, it definitely is!). The ultimate question is which one do you get.