Best Bluetooth Speakers Buying Guide: Welcome to TechRadar's expert round-up of the bluetooth speakers you can buy in 2019.
Bluetooth speakers are a great gadget to take to days at the beach, nights out by a bonfire and picnics at the park. However, that doesn't mean a great portable speaker isn't extremely useful to have on hand at home while you take a relaxing bath or work in the garden.
That means, for many of us, we need to find a Bluetooth speaker that'll see us through all kinds of occasions. Luckily, we've created a guide to help you find which portable, Bluetooth speaker is right for you.
All of our recommendations are based on our detailed audio reviews and our expert knowledge of the speaker space. So, if you’re looking for a new portable speaker, then stick with us and we’ll help you decide which device will be best for bringing an amped-up version of your music anywhere and everywhere to pair with your top smartphone.
If you’re worried you’ll have to pay a big premium for good quality audio, then think again. There are lots of options for great speakers that’ll cost as much as your weekly trip to the grocery store. The only problem when you’re choosing a new speaker is that there are so many good ones for you to pick from, which can be overwhelming.
We’re here to help. Here are some of our favorite, portable, audio companions that’ll let you pump out the tunes whether you’re in the garden, at the beach, on the slopes, camping, cooking or anywhere in-between.
[Update: Our list has undergone another update and we've added the new Sony SRS-XB501G party speaker to the #9 spot on our list. If you're looking for a powerful outdoor speaker for your next party, this Sony speaker has you covered.]
How to pick out the best Bluetooth speaker
There are so many speakers on the market, it can be difficult to figure out which Bluetooth speaker you need. Although it may seem like the choice is endless, there are plenty with unique selling points that'll suit your needs.
Some speakers are built with ultimate durability in mind, others are weather and waterproof for camping and tunes by the pool and some aren't fit for the outdoors and would look pretty inside your home instead.
If you're having trouble figuring out which speaker might be best for you, start by picturing where you're going to use it and find a speaker that matches that setting. That means if you're a beach person, 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. Battery life and sound quality are paramount for all speakers, and we've our best to take these in the utmost consideration when creating our list.
That said, here are 10 of our favorite Bluetooth wireless speakers, ranked by their price-to-performance ratio, that will surely work for you.
What are the best bluetooth speakers of 2019?
Which Bluetooth speaker should you buy?
Here are our top picks for the best Bluetooth speakers:
1. UE Boom 3
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
While we weren't as impressed with the UE Boom 3 as we were with its predecessor, this is still the best Bluetooth speaker money can buy in 2019. This is a speaker that can get loud and not distort at higher volumes; be light enough to carry on a camping trip but remain durable enough to tumble in a bag unprotected.
It's both water- and dust-proof, and now has a one-touch mix button that lets you pull up your favorite playlists without ever picking up your phone.
There are certainly more detailed speakers out there (see: Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin down below), but at a price that's relatively affordable to all, the UE Boom 3 hits all the right notes for the third year in a row.
Ultimate Ears now lets you customize your UE Boom 3, so you have even more options when it comes to color and pattern combinations.
Read the full review: UE Boom 3
2. Bose SoundLink Revolve
The best Bluetooth speaker runner-up
Weight: 1.5 pounds | Battery life: Up to 12 hours | Wireless range: 30 feet | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: N/A | NFC: No | Aux-in: Yes | USB charging: Yes
The Bose SoundLink Revolve is an excellent sound speaker for folks looking for true 360-degree sound. It’s great for sharing music during a party or for moving around the room without losing audio fidelity. However, the Bose SoundLink Mini II sounds slightly better and is slightly cheaper to boot.
On the debit side, it’s also not fully dust or waterproof so you’ll want to think twice before bringing the Revolve to the beach.
For half the price, the Wonderboom is a great speaker that is completely dust and waterproof and while it can’t match the audio fidelity or features of the Bose, it's still great for on-the-go listening. If bass is your game, the JBL Charge 3 is an excellent fully waterproof speaker that sounds great, but is big and heavy along with it.
Read the full review: Bose SoundLink Revolve
3. JBL Charge 4
A great speaker that also charges your phone
Weight: 2.12 pounds | Battery life: 20 hours | Wireless range: 30+ feet | Frequency response: 60Hz - 20kHz | Drivers: Two 1.7" drivers and two passive radiators | NFC: No | Bluetooth version: 4.2 | Aux-in: Yes | USB charging: Yes
For the money, the JBL Charge 4 is a definite no-brainer. For just $150 (£160, AU$200), you get a speaker that lasts all day, sounds great, can put up with all kinds of abuse, and tops your phone up in a pinch. Yes, there are better sounding speakers but you’ll have to spend much more money.
While the JBL Charge 4 only offers minor updates to the previous generation, it remains an excellent value in wireless speakers - and is one of the best waterproof speakers around.
Read the full review: JBL Charge 4
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: 1.1 pounds | 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: 0.93 pounds | 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. Tribit XSound Go
The best ultra-budget portable Bluetooth speaker
Weight: 0.8 pounds | Battery life: Up to 24 hours | Wireless range: N/A | Frequency response: 85 - 20,000 Hz | Drivers: 2 x 6W | NFC: No | Aux-in: No | USB charging: No
The Tribit XSound Go shouldn’t sound this good for the price, but it does. The speaker impressed with balanced sound, is near distortion-free at high volumes, and lasts and incredible 20+ hours of playtime at medium volume. Plus, the speaker is IPX7 water and dust resistant so it’ll put up with a day at the beach or pool without a problem. While its design may be forgettable, you won’t care once you hear how good the XSound Go sounds.
In terms of competition, you’ll have to spend a lot more for better sound quality. The UE Wonderboom is an excellent outdoor speaker, but will cost twice the money and doesn’t last as long as the Tribit. However, the UE Wonderboom does offer 360-degree sound and multi-speaker pairing if that matters to you. The JBL Flip 4 is also a good alternative if you want more bass emphasis and 360-degree sound but, if you're on a budget, you can't beat the XSound Go.
Read the full review: Tribit XSound Go
9. Sony SRS-XB501G
The ultimate party speaker with Google Assistant built right in
Weight: 6 lb 14 oz | Battery life: 12 hours | Wireless range: Approx. 98 ft | Frequency response: 20 - 20,000Hz | Drivers: 45mm | NFC: Yes | Aux-in: N/A | USB charging: No
The SRS-XB501G is a big speaker that offers a light show, tripod mount, big sound, and Google Assistant. This is a speaker that you can truly use on the go and in the home after a day of partying. On the go, the speaker is brilliant, playing loudly and for up to 16 hours. But at home, it’s dated design and average voice detection are compromises compared to dedicated home speakers.
Competitors like the LG PK7 sounds slightly better and has a light show that actually reacts to your music, however it doesn’t have the Google Assistant built in. If you’re looking for an actual portable speaker that you can fit in a bag that also supports Google Assistant, the JBL Link 20 is a good choice. Just don’t expect it to pump out as much bass or offer as wide of a soundstage.
To that end, the XB501G is a good all-around compromise that fills multiple purposes. It's not the best wireless speaker, nor the best smart speaker, but it's a solid entry in both categories and one of a select few to exist in both camps.
Read the full review: Sony SRS-XB501G
10. Denon Envaya (DSB-250BT)
The most durable Bluetooth speaker
Weight: 1.6 pounds | 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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