If you need a portable device or are planning to stay in one location, are looking for daisy-chaining or a boombox, find the wireless speaker.
Bluetooth speakers help us hear the music wherever we go. Whether it’s listening to Mozart’s classical pieces or the newest BTS song 10 times in a row, you shouldn’t have to enjoy your classics with a speaker and a cupholder on your phone. But how do you know which ones are the best with so many great Bluetooth speakers to choose from?
Perhaps you’re an outdoor person who wants a robust speaker for all that hiking or is searching for something to kickstart a whole-home audio system. Regardless, there are plenty to choose from on Amazon.
Yet it’s not only the style of the speaker that matters, but who’s behind the speaker. There are plenty of companies that make Bluetooth speakers, but there are only the ones that get to the top. These are among the best Bluetooth speakers you can find on Amazon right now, from Sony to Bose. (Furthermore, if you’re on the lookout for a Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Prime Day deal, it’s helpful to find out which options are the best so you’ll know what to purchase when the sales start).
The XB10 Portable Speaker is first available from Sony. It is the sort of Bluetooth speaker you want to test if you look at the smaller end of the spectrum. At this scale, this speaker is capable of striking a nice balance between size and power compared to other speakers, particularly as a single channel speaker. The improved bass output is one way that’s known, which can still be a question mark for small speakers. And you’ll certainly get your money’s worth with a 16-hour lifetime on the battery and waterproof capabilities.
- Good overall audio
- Water-resistant design
- Can link with another XB10 speaker
- Bass could be better
- Easily attracts dust
- Can occasionally suffer distortion
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Although the XB10 and XB30 offer more personal contact, you also want something that fits in larger environments and, most importantly, louder ones. It is here that the GTKXB90 comes in. The GTKXB90 is certainly for Sony’s speakers on a bigger scale. Due to three tweeters and two subwoofers, it provides the best acoustic and bass performance for that. But don’t let the size dissuade you, a portable speaker is still there. Aside from blasting music, it features an input and chaining microphone which makes it perfect for presentations. The battery will last some 16 hours for you.
- Deep, powerful audio
- Excellent bass
- Long battery for the size
- Size can be an issue
- Not water resistant
One of the smaller Bluetooth speakers of JBL, the JBL Clip 2 is. Nonetheless, this does not mean JBL has skimped on functionality.
Clip 2 is one of the most robust speakers out there, thanks to body construction. Not only is it safe, but it will supply the components to ensure it passes certain regular trials. It can also be daisy-chained to bump up the sound with another Clip 2. And with 8-hour battery life, anything from day-long walks to your bike ride into the office will help pass the time.
- Solid audio output
- Water-resistant design
- Easily portable
- Built-in 3.5mm cable for physical connection
- Low bass output
- Speaker only has to skip forward button
- Shorter battery life compared to other speakers
Depending on what you’re talking about, the phrase “bigger is better” can get very hit or miss. That can become even more inconsistent when it comes to speakers. That said when it comes to the JBL Flip 4 the term rings true.
Flip 4 delivers a bigger and improved version of the speaker for Clip 2. The body is equally durable, making it ideal for group beach trips. It bumps the battery life up to 12 hours to make it through a long day out. The biggest improvement, however, is in chaining the speaker. The Flip 4 supports JBL Connect+, making up to 100 JBL speakers even with Connect+. Despite 79% of Amazon users rating the five-star Flip 4, it is certainly a premium product.
- Well-rounded audio performance
- Can connect two smart devices
- No navigation buttons
- Battery life is shorter compared to other speakers
JBL ‘s third proposal falls into the largest end of the continuum. That’s the boombox from JBL and it definitely lives up to the name. You will take the party anywhere you go with it.
For a battery life of 24 hours, what you need to think about is providing the music to keep everyone happy. Fortunately, the Boombox is adjustable to deliver the right setting audio. Move between indoor and outdoor modes, so the audio isn’t distracting that way. Besides that, it has main apps like the JBL Connect+ to connect with other JBL speakers and get things going very well.
- Strong general performance
- Surprisingly portable
- Price tag
One way UE has found its place on the market is through a product like the WONDERBOOM. Although it may be small, it does pack power from the best of both approaches into that small body.
Now you might be wondering, “What’s the best of both approaches?” Basically, with the battery and sound quality on par with Sony speakers, it offers comparable longevity to JBL speakers. And similar to those, the extra oomph can be combined with a second WONDERBOOM. The added advantage for Bluetooth is the 100-foot range so compatibility shouldn’t be a concern. It’s certainly proven to be a common and reliable speaker with 74 percent of Amazon users awarding it five stars.
- Plenty of power for the size
- Can suffer distortion
If you are looking to scale up from the WONDERBOOM but need nothing big, UE has plenty of other choices. BOOM 2 is one of the more common choices.
The Connectivity options are the best thing with UE BOOM 2. This is thanks to the Ultimate Ears App, which enables the BOOM 2 to be synchronized with another 150 UE speakers still use the device. In addition, BOOM 2 also features the integration of Siri and Google Now which makes voice controls on BOOM 2.
And with 71 percent of Amazon users rating the BOOM 2 at five stars, it shows how effective UE was in carving out a spot in this room.
- Solid audio performance
- Rugged body design
- Daisy-chaining to other BOOM 2 speakers
- Tap controls can be spotty
- Price can be a turnoff
The first example of Bose ‘s quality is the SoundLink Micro. As the name states, it is on the smaller side — but that doesn’t mean its strength or functionality is small too.
When it comes to sound quality, bose speakers usually deliver, so the sound shouldn’t be a concern. It also features improved voice integration, as it can work with devices such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. And the Bose Connect app, unlike previous speakers, allows the Micro to link up with any compatible Bose speaker, and not restrict it to the same speaker.
- Excellent performance
- Compatible with Google Home and Amazon Alexa
- Expensive for the size
Bose’s SoundLink Revolve is a larger version of the aforementioned little speaker. Bose does a decent job of incorporating the same features across all available Bluetooth speakers. So once you know what you are getting with one, it’s just a matter of how big you want to go. That said, the SoundLink Revolve definitely steps it up from the sound quality of the Micro, with 360-degree sound.
- Excellent 360 audio
- Voice assistant ready
- Average battery life
One area in which Bose can distinguish itself from other brands in home audio. Currently, thanks to the SoundTouch series, Bose is a trustworthy brand when it comes to whole-home audio and the SoundTouch 20 is an excellent starting point.
The SoundTouch 20, unlike the other Bluetooth speakers on this list, is not intended as a portable speaker. Yet this speaker is not intended to be for that. Without a Bluetooth connection, it can connect to WiFi, allowing direct access to services like Pandora and Spotify. Integration with Echo devices also exists, which enables multi-room access from one speaker. And if you want to expand the device it will work with other SoundTouch speakers in tandem.
- Excellent audio performance
- Can join the whole-home audio network
- Selection of music apps and services
- Smart home compatible
- Not portable
- Not many music services past big names like iTunes and Spotify
What Kind of Speaker Do do You Want?
In addition to the kind of wireless communication, you need to think about what kind of speaker you want. Smaller, battery-powered speakers (usually Bluetooth) are useful, since you can take them anywhere, but they don’t get very loud. Generally, larger speakers offer more full-bodied sound and richer bass, but they can be more expensive and often not portable.
In addition to single speakers, you can also find stereo pairs that are equipped for desktop computers and home theater speaker systems such as soundbars, sound plates, and home theater boxes. Clearly these speakers are not portable at all, but if you want a central sound system for your living room or office they are probably your best option.
To be portable, a speaker needs to be both compact and light enough to bring around comfortably, and fitted with a battery so that it can operate without being plugged in. Of course, “small” and “light” are related; tiny carabiner speakers allow you to clip them onto your backpack and take them on hikes, whereas much larger and heavier speakers can only be intended to be taken from room to room in your home.
Bluetooth speakers are usually portable, but must not be. If a Bluetooth speaker is too large to bring around comfortably or has no charge, then it will not be portable.
Since Wi-Fi speakers rely on a separate network to allow multi-speaker and multi-room audio playback, they ‘re rarely portable. After all, portability doesn’t matter if you need to link to the hotspot in your house. There are exceptions, however, because if they have batteries, Wi-Fi speakers can still be portable, because hopefully, your phone will create an ad-hoc Wi-Fi network.
Not all portable speakers are made for outdoor use or use by the pool. Rugged speakers can withstand, and keep going, splashes, dunks, drops, and gunk. However, if you try that with the non-rugged speakers on this list you will find yourself with a brick rather than an audio device. Seek speakers with IPX ratings and water and shock resistance guarantees if you want to take them around to the beach, the lake, the slopes, or the sewers. Our IP rating guide discusses what those numbers mean, so you will know if your speaker will manage to get dunked in the tub, or whether it can simply remain intact in a light drizzle.
Bluetooth Audio Quality
Audio quality is paramount when portability is at the top of your priority list. Many speakers offer nothing in the way of functionality but deliver top-notch audio. Big bass is not for everyone, but it should be able to reproduce accurately low frequencies without distorting at high volumes unless your speaker is small. Clarity is more important than sheer power and when shopping for a speaker you should aim for a balanced, clean sound. If you want a sound system that can drive a whole party instead of just filling out a small space, bear in mind the size of the speaker; usually, the bigger a speaker is, the louder it can be while still sounding fine.
Simply let voice assistants tell your speaker what to do, instead of looking at your smartphone. Initially, they were very limited, closed systems only available on first-party devices, such as Alexa on the Amazon Echo and Google Assistant on Google Home, but that’s changing steadily. Third-party speakers are increasingly adding some type of voice assistant, like Google Assistant or Alexa.
Speakers come at a wide array of rates. Nevertheless, don’t assume most money always buys the best overall product. Higher-end versions usually sound better but sometimes they lack the features you would expect for the price. The trick is to get the best sound at a price you can afford, alongside the features you like. Then, of course, you can read our impressions of every speaker if you want to know about all of that stuff.
We’ve personally reviewed hundreds of devices, and there are plenty of fantastic Bluetooth speakers we didn’t mention. The user feedback in the list of these 10 products is very good and worth paying for it.
We can connect with each other if you have a positive suggestion, you can email us or leave a message in the back.