Depending on your needs, the category of Bluetooth speakers can feel quite specialised. These multipurpose gadgets occupy a space between your home audio system and your cell phone (which likely has decent built-in speakers all on its own). Instead of requiring a complex, expensive speaker system, Bluetooth speakers offer a compact, inconspicuous solution to increase the loudness and richness of the music you wish to listen to.
The Bluetooth speaker market has expanded significantly in recent years, including options like waterproof, adventure-safe gadgets that you can take to the beach or simple smart speakers that look great on your bookshelf. You’ll discover a couple excellent options from each of those categories in this roundup at a range of different price ranges.
- Rich and full sound
- Sleek, classy style
- Friendly controls with voice functionality and an app
- Pretty expensive
- There isn’t much native app support.
- Possibly louder
Bose dominates the premium audio market, especially with customers who want fantastic sound without worrying about it. Fair enough, Bose doesn’t offer stunning audiophile quality or even minute detail. The Home Speaker 500 does offer a contemporary smart speaker experience with nearly flawless audio quality. The Home Speaker 500 is a gadget that will appear at home in your office on the kitchen counter. It takes up less than a square foot of space and is available in a sophisticated white or a sleek black hue.
Bluetooth 4.2 is used for connection, which is competent but isn’t nearly as fluid as Bluetooth 5.0. Although Bose’s use of the term “wall-to-wall” doesn’t reveal much about the technical details, it does convey the impression that the company is attempting to deliver rich, potent sound. The device’s touch controls are simple to use and even have six preset buttons for calling up previous listening sessions.
The speaker has built-in voice assistants that you can use to operate it, and if you want to customize your experience further, you can also utilize the Bose app. If you prefer Apple Airplay, the speaker supports it because it can connect to Wi-Fi. Additionally, the colorful built-in LCD offers some excellent visual touch points when listening to music. Although the speaker costs roughly $300 and doesn’t have many native app integrations, it is still a good option based only on appearance and sound quality.
2. JBL Charge 4
- Strong, bass-heavy sound
- Power bank capability and excellent battery life
- There are ten colors available.
- Straightforward on-board controls
- Sometimes, sound can seem a little murky
- Quite heavy for everyday use
JBL is a complete audio company, especially in the market for portable Bluetooth speakers. In many ways, the JBL Charge 4 is the company’s premier portable speaker. This is because it has many of the same capabilities as the Flip series but also doubles as a power bank, hence the name “Charge.” When ultimately charged, that 7500mAh battery provides roughly 20 hours of playback; however, it’s crucial to note that this number will probably decrease if you frequently charge your phone or listen to loud music.
Even more so considering the small, the sound quality is rather good. Its length is around 8.5 inches. On either end of the cylindrical speaker, JBL has installed its “passive bass radiators,” which are essentially just two rubbery subwoofer ports that move and pulse in time with your music. The speakers from JBL are always very loud, and this one is no exception. JBL completes the package with IPX7 water resistance (ideal for beach days) and an incredible ten color variations, including outlandish choices like fluorescent mint green or mustard yellow.
- Balanced, precise audio
- Premium build and design standards
- A long battery life
- Quite costly
- Big and hefty
- The least potent portable speaker
The Beoplay A1 portable speaker from Bang & Olufsen tries to take the eponymous design language of the luxury audio company and scale it down to a portable size. Even though the speaker is slightly larger than a typical household smoke detector and is approximately 2 inches thick, it still feels very hefty, even if it fits neatly into a backpack. However, the use of premium materials and the brushed surface (B&O refers to it as “pearl-blasted aluminum”), together with a strap that resembles leather, do give the speaker a premium feel.
Even IP67 dust and water resistance are present to safeguard the gadget. Of course, the sound quality is perhaps more of an issue at a $250 price point than it would be for speakers that cost under $100. Manufacturers of high-end portable speakers prioritize balance and detail over volume and bass. This is unquestionably the situation. Although it isn’t the loudest, the 360-directional playback gives the speaker the impression of being louder than it is. The speaker has two 30W Class D speakers with a frequency response that ranges from 55 to 22,000Hz. Eighteen hours of battery life, Bluetooth 5.1, and voice assistant features are all included.
- Exceptional price
- Superior battery life
- High-quality audio and durability
- The controls are awkward.
- The audio is not very detailed.
- Rubber feet often come off.
One of the portable speakers in this category with the highest sales is the Soundcore 2. And it makes sense because Anker produced a fantastic product for $30. This little rectangular powerhouse, which comes in black, blue, or red, produces a surprisingly powerful 12W volume. It is supported by Bluetooth 5’s capable connectivity and rugged, robust construction. With an IPX7 classification, that design is also reasonably water-resistant, making it ideal for outdoor use.
Although the rubberized outside shell increases durability, pushing the controls can be difficult. The 24 hours of battery life—which easily outperforms most other speakers in the class—is arguably the most impressive aspect of this device. Additionally, because it costs around half as much as mid-tier speakers and even less when compared to premium brands, buying this speaker is essentially a no-brainer for anyone who needs a portable speaker they can grab and go without breaking the bank.
- Good value
- Vibrant sound
- With a stylish carabiner clip
- Hefty and thick
- The sound quality could be improved.
Functionality, portability, and passably loud sound are all combined in JBL’s Clip line to provide an intriguing Bluetooth speaker option. However, considering its low price, excellent build quality, and trusted JBL sound quality, we’re awarding it our top rank for affordability. Let’s explore the real reasons behind that .Although the enclosure is tiny, a reasonably significant speaker driver occupies most of the construction. Thus the playback has plenty of power and bass. JBL fits a 1000mAh battery within the device, which it claims will allow for around 10 hours of playback on a single charge.
If you are loudly playing music, your results may differ, but that is to be expected. The battery life is adequate but not exceptional in either case. The design, which offers about ten color options and a distinctive carabiner-style clip, is arguably the other most intriguing feature. This function makes it possible to attach the speaker to a backpack or keychain, making it ideal for listening while traveling.
The speaker will endure the weather thanks to its IPX7 water resistance. Overall, this is a good product for the price. The device is a little too big for genuinely portable use, and the sound could be more robust if there were more of a ported design.
6. JBL Flip 5
- Fantastic, strong sound
- Outstanding IPX7 durability
- Several color options
- Reducing the battery life
- Quite costly
- Heavy and quite clumsy
The JBL Flip range is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think about portable Bluetooth speakers as a category. For several reasons, The Flip 5 is one of our favorite entries in the market. First, this thing can pump some full sounds thanks to its 20W power and reasonably hefty 44mm primary driver. It also has JBL’s renowned pulsing bass ports on either end of the cylinder, making it an excellent playback device.
Despite the 4,800mAh battery being present, the battery life is just about 12 hours, much less than we had hoped. The construction quality comes next. It isn’t the lightest speaker available, weighing well over a pound, but that weight results from its rugged construction. This speaker can endure being banged around in a bag and will survive modest drops thanks to the solid and rubberized bumpers on either side. The speaker grill has a mesh covering over a rigid shell.
Because of its IPX7 rating and the fact that it feels remarkably tightly sealed, this speaker earns our top water resistance designation. Holding the speaker in your hand reveals how dense and protected it is. The $120 price tag is hard to swallow when you don’t fall into the luxury end of the features spectrum. However, if longevity and sound quality are your primary requirements, the cost might be justified.
7. JBL Pulse 4
- The functionality of an impressive, bright light display
- Rich, full audio quality
- Excellent sturdiness
- Massive and hefty
- Mediocre battery life
- Little more pricey than typical non-light show speakers
The JBL Pulse 4 is one of the most distinctive-looking Bluetooth speaker options. It isn’t just a Bluetooth speaker, which is why. Although they aren’t quite as large as the drivers featured in JBL’s Flip and Charge lines, the foundation of the design includes multi-directional firing speakers that deliver enough power.
Plenty of low-end assistance is provided by the pulsating bass vents on the end of the cylinder. It is on par with the other portable speakers in JBL’s line thanks to the IPX7 water resistance, and you can pair it with other speakers from the same line thanks to JBL Connect+ compatibility.
But the use of light is where this speaker shines (figuratively). Rows of RGB LED lights are located below an opaque plastic shell that covers the remainder of the chassis. These lights pulse, move, and transform to the beat of your music, creating a stunningly adaptable light show that follows you. Pair the speaker with the JBL app to select your preferred light patterns.
Even when no music is playing, you can leave the speaker on as a night light or color feature. The battery life does suffer when employing the lighting features, but it may be worse with 12 hours of playback. The enormous speaker is challenging to categorize as “portable” due to its weight and ungainly design.” Overall though, this is a physically and acoustically fantastic device.
The most crucial decision you must make when selecting your ideal Bluetooth speaker is whether you prefer something genuinely portable or one that integrates better into your house. Because of this, we gave the Bose Home Speaker 500 our top spot. It’s difficult to match its rich sound quality and easy integration into your home music listening as far as intelligent Bluetooth speakers are concerned. The JBL Charge 4 is our runner-up because it provides the best portability thanks to its rich, robust sound, outstanding water resistance, and even the ability to charge additional devices while in use. In other words, your choice of speaker will entirely depend on how and where you want to utilize it.