Best Bluetooth Speakers Buying Guide: Welcome to TechRadar's round-up of the bluetooth speakers you can buy in 2018.
Even if you're lucky enough to have a dedicated AV cabinet and a speaker system to rival some of the biggest and best stadiums across the globe, there are still going to be plenty of times when you need a portable, reliable and durable Bluetooth speaker.
Whether you're looking for a speaker to take on your next adventure that'll need to be waterproof and drop-proof, a portable powerhouse that's capable of bringing the bass to an outdoor party or something small and compact that'll fit in your carry-on, we've collected together some of the best Bluetooth speaker options available to buy now.
Of course there are some compromises to the form factor, like limited battery life and a drop in audio quality - but, when it comes to convenience and price, Bluetooth speakers can't be beaten.
Your only problem is there's too much choice. So to help you decide which speaker to buy, here are some of our favorite possible portable audio companions for the beach, camping or on-the-go listening.
[Update: Black Friday is fast approaching, and any one of these Bluetooth speakers could be heavily discounted - if you want to get your hands on a great deal, follow our Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals article, for up-to-the-minute deals news.]
How to pick out the best Bluetooth speaker
With so much choice it's no huge surprise that the question we've been asked time and time again when it comes to Bluetooth speakers is: How do I pick out the best one for me?
Well, although it may seem like the choice is endless, there are plenty with unique selling points. Some are rugged. Some are stylish. Some are weatherproof and some aren't fit for the outdoors.
If you're having problems figuring out what speaker might work for you, start by picturing where you're going to use it and find a speaker that matches that setting. If you're a beach person, that means water- and dust-proofing are key. If you're a party person, you might want the ability to connect two speakers together or a speaker with multi-point pairing that allows multiple devices to connect at a time. We'll break down these features for you below to help you find a speaker that first for your unique lifestyle.
However, regardless of what features you want from your speaker, its imperative that it has a decent battery life and good level of sound quality. There's no point in having a device packed full of features if its battery dies quickly and it sounds rubbish. All of our picks fulfill these two requirements, so when you're picking from this list you can afford to focus more on features.
Whatever your budget and whatever your needs, here are 10 outstanding Bluetooth wireless speakers, ranked by their price-to-performance ratio, that will surely work for you.
What are the best bluetooth speakers of 2018?
Which Bluetooth speaker should you buy?
Here are our top picks for the best Bluetooth speakers:
1. UE Boom 2
The best Bluetooth speaker
Weight: 1.2 pounds | Battery life: 15 hours | Wireless range: 30+ feet | Frequency response: 90Hz-20kHz | Drivers: Two 1.75" drivers and two 1.75" x 3" passive radiators | NFC: Yes | Aux-in: Yes USB charging: Yes
This sequel to the UE Boom nails everything a Bluetooth speaker should be. It's loud, yet detailed. Portable, but still incredibly durable. Plus, even better, the addition of waterproofing turns what used to be the best Bluetooth speaker around for most occasions into the best one for every occasion.
If you're deep in the search for your next –, or first – Bluetooth speaker, you can stop looking now. (But if you're looking for a little more power, the Megaboom – also from UE – is a great choice, too.)
Read the full review: UE Boom 2
2. Fugoo Style
The best Bluetooth speaker runner-up
Weight: 1 pound | Battery life: Up to 40 hours | Wireless range: 30+ feet | Frequency response: 60Hz -20kHz | Drivers: Two 28mm neodymium tweeters, two 39mm neodymium aluminum domed mid/woofers, two 43mm x 54mm passive radiators | NFC: No | Aux-in: Yes | USB charging: Yes
Meet one of the Bluetooth speaker market's best-kept secrets. The Fugoo comes in your choice of jacket style (Style, Tough, or Sport), but no matter which one you choose, this speaker is just as suited for the elements as it is your coffee table.
Despite its small size, this option offers surprisingly good sound performance and, get this, up to 40 hours of battery life when listening at medium volume. We were able to get nearly 20 hours out of it at a high volume.
Read the full review: Fugoo
3. JBL Charge 3
A great speaker that also charges your phone
Weight: 1.76 pounds | Battery life: 20 hours | Wireless range: 30+ feet | Frequency response: 65Hz - 20kHz | Drivers: Two 1.7" drivers and two passive radiators | NFC: No | Bluetooth version: 3.0 | Aux-in: Yes | USB charging: Yes
As a package, the JBL Charge 3 offers a compelling set of features and excellent sound quality to boot. It punches well above its weight, playing loudly and distortion-free.
The Charge line of speakers have been on our shortlist of recommendations for a long time thanks to the way they combine great sound quality with the ability to charge your devices over USB.
The latest iteration maintains JBL's dominance in the portable Bluetooth speaker market.
Read the full review: JBL Charge 3
4. Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless
The best high-end Bluetooth speaker
Weight: 14 pounds | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | Frequency response: 44Hz - 28kHz | Drivers: Two 25W tweeters, two 25W mid-range drivers, one 50W subwoofer | NFC: No | Bluetooth version: 4.1 | Aux-in: Yes | USB charging: No
The new Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless is a beautiful piece of design. It's a solid, reassuringly weighty wireless speaker delivering on all the B&W audio heritage which the British audio maestro has been building up throughout its lifetime: The sound is clear and natural, delivering room-filling audio with seriously punchy mid-range, and dynamic, controlled bass.
Its price might put a bit of a damper on your wallet, but if you have audiophile tastes that extend into the portable speaker space, the Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless is the only speaker you should be considering.
Read the full review: Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless
5. Bose SoundLink Mini II
The best mid-range speaker
Weight: 1.5 pounds | Dimensions: 2 x 7.1 x 2.3 inches (H x W x D) | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Wireless range: 30 ft (10 m) | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: N/A | NFC: No | Bluetooth version: N/A | Aux-in: Yes | USB charging: No
The Bose SoundLink Mini II is relatively ancient, having been released in June 2015. However, writing off the SoundLink Mini II because of its age would be a mistake, as it remains one of the best sounding wireless speakers.
That said, it punches way above what its size would suggest, producing deep bass, sparkling highs and a lush midrange. While most wireless speakers sound OK, the Mini II proves that small speakers don’t need to compromise on sound, and other Bose conveniences like a charging pad.
Read the full review: Bose SoundLink Mini II
6. Anker Soundcore Flare
The best budget Bluetooth speaker
Weight: 18.7 ounces | Battery life: 12 hours | Wireless range: 20m / 66ft | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: 2 x 1.75" Full Range + 2 x Passive Radiator | NFC: No | Aux-in: Yes | Bluetooth version: 4.2 | Weatherproofing: Yes-IPX7 | Charges devices over USB: No
Anker has a history of making excellent budget wireless speakers. While we weren’t entirely impressed with the Anker SoundCore 2’s sound, we couldn’t be too mad since the speaker was so affordable.
So what happens if you can stretch your budget? For around $20 more you get the Anker Soundcore Flare, an excellent waterproof Bluetooth speaker that can stand toe-to-toe with the competition.
The Soundcore Flare is an amazing value in the sub-$100 wireless speaker segment. Competitors like the UE Wonderboom (listed above) give the Flare a run for its money in terms of build quality but we give the Flare the slight edge with sound quality. We recommend the Flare for anyone looking for a wireless speaker that can do it all without breaking the bank.
Read the full review: Anker Soundcore Flare
7. UE Wonderboom
The best outdoor speaker
Weight: 425g | Dimensions: 102 x 93.5mm (H x D) | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Wireless range: 100 ft (33 m) | Frequency response: 80 Hz – 20 kHz | Drivers: two 40 mm active drivers and two 46.1mm x 65.2mm passive radiators | NFC: No | Bluetooth version: N/A | Aux-in: No | USB charging: No
When someone asks us for a recommendation for a waterproof speaker, the UE Roll 2 was always on the top of our list. We loved the Roll 2’s unique form factor, 50-foot wireless range and, obviously, it sounded good, too. Where it was lacking was in the bass department. Logitech, UE’s parent company, has fixed the Roll 2’s lack of bass by creating the appropriately named UE Wonderboom.
In our eyes, the UE Wonderboom bests the Roll 2 in just about every way –except for the Roll 2’s handy bungee cord. Still, ignoring that, if you’re looking for one of the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers on the market today, it’s hard to do better than the UE Wonderboom.
Read the full review: UE Wonderboom
8. Bang and Olufsen Beoplay P2
The best lightweight Bluetooth speaker
Weight: 275 g (9.7 oz) | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Wireless range: N/A | Frequency response: 68 Hz - 21.000Hz | Drivers: 2 x 15W class D for woofer and tweeter (2 x 50W peak power) | NFC: No | Aux-in: No | USB charging: No
B&O created a hit with the Beoplay P2. It’s a well-designed speaker that’s extremely easy to use, has a well-built companion app, and it sounds great. On top of that, the speaker is ultra-portable without compromising on much bass content. Sure, you could get something a little bigger (and stereo) for the same price, but at this size the sound quality justifies the price. The smart gestures are a nice touch too, although we wouldn’t buy the device solely for that reason.
Read the full review: B&O Beoplay P2
9. Marshall Kilburn II
Small and mighty
Weight: 2.5kg | Battery life: 20+ hours | Wireless range: N/A | Frequency response: 52 - 20,000Hz | Drivers: N/A | NFC: No | Aux-in: Yes | USB charging: No
Marshall’s Kilburn II is a fantastic update to its bestselling predecessor, with a stunning retro amp-inspired design and a well-rounded sound. While the bass can be a little muddy at times, it’s excellent for playing guitar music, and its portability means the Kilburn II is great for taking on the road - although it is fairly heavy.
It's rugged design stands out from other Bluetooth speakers on the market, and rock fans will like its heritage design - but if you're all about the minimalist look, the Kilburn II probably isn't for you
Read the full review: Marshall Kilburn II review
10. Denon Envaya (DSB-250BT)
The most durable Bluetooth speaker
Weight: 0.75 Kg | Dimensions: 209 x 74 x 77mm (W x D x H) | Battery life: 13 hours | Wireless range: 30m (100ft) | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: 2 x 40mm Full Range Driver, 1 x 53x135mm Passive Radiator | NFC: No | Aux-in: Yes | Bluetooth version: N/A | Weatherproofing: Yes | Charges devices over USB: No
The newest speaker in the Denon Envaya line is one of the first speakers to absolutely blow us away in 2018. It offers powerful, room-filling sound that will sound great to most ears, plus comes with an IP67 rating, make it both dust and waterproof. It's also built like a tank, making it one of the most durable speakers we've ever laid our hands on.
Despite a nearly flawless performance, the Envaya isn't perfect: While sound quaity is full, powerful and rich, it doesn’t have the treble bite some like and the buttons located along the side can feel stiff and difficult to operate. These are ultimately minor complaints, however, and the Denon Envaya remains a great Bluetooth speaker – easily one of the best you can buy this year.
Read the full review: Denon Envaya (DSB-250BT)
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