JBL’s Flip series of Bluetooth speakers have held a place in our guide to the best portable speaker for a long time, and the company’s latest model continues in that tradition.
The JBL Flip 6 is an easy-to-use, rugged, and well-connected speaker that sounds great and is easily capable of filling a room with your favorite music - or soundtracking outdoor parties or poolside get-togethers.
An IP67 dust and water resistance rating means you can happily take the Flip 6 to the beach, while its dual passive radiators ensure that the speaker has enough low-end oomph to deliver powerful bass when you’re outside and there are no walls for the soundwaves to bounce from.
Compared to its predecessor, the JBL Flip 5, the Flip 6 is a subtle improvement upon an already excellent Bluetooth speaker. It’s more robust and better suited to the outdoors, it uses the most recent Bluetooth version, and there’s a solid step up in sound quality; otherwise, these speakers are very similar, and we’d recommend looking out for great deals on the Flip 5 if you want to save some money.
That’s not to say that we don’t think the JBL Flip 6 is worth buying. Quite the contrary; it’s an ideal Bluetooth speaker for first-time users thanks to its simple controls, impeccable connectivity, and straightforward accompanying app. Simplicity is the name of the game with the JBL Flip 6, and as such you won’t find any built-in mics for voice assistants and phone calls, no charging port for your phone, no AUX-in for wired listening, and no Wi-Fi connectivity. This speaker simply plays your music, and it plays it well.
JBL Flip 6 price and release date
- Released in December 2021
- $129.95 / £129.99 (about AU$175)
The JBL Flip 6 was released in December 2021 and is available to buy now for $129.95 / £129.99 - that works out at around AU$175, though Australian pricing is yet to be confirmed.
That’s slightly more expensive than its predecessors, the JBL Flip 5, which cost $119.95 / £119.99 /AU$149.95 when it launched in August 2019 - but not by much.
JBL’s latest speaker is a lot cheaper than our favorite Bluetooth speaker, the Sonos Roam - though the Flip 6 doesn’t come with extra features like Wi-Fi connectivity that will have bumped up the price of the Roam.
There are cheaper Bluetooth speakers on the market; if you’re on a strict budget, check out models like the Anker Soundcore Flare 2 or the 1More Portable BT Speaker.
- Rubberized end caps
- IP67 dust and water resistance rating
At first glance, the JBL Flip 6 looks almost identical to the Flip 5, with a cylindrical build, wraparound grille, and bass radiators on each side that pulse as you play your music. Our model came in a striking red shade, but it’s also available in black, blue, and gray. The Flip 5 comes in quite a few more color options - including a camo pattern - but we wouldn’t be surprised if JBL introduced more shades for the Flip 6 down the line.
Small enough to carry in one hand and weighing 550g, the Flip 6 is easily portable, and comes with a sporty strap that you slip over your wrist.
The metallic-looking grille is flanked by rubberized end caps that give the bass radiators on each side of the speaker a bit of protection from bumps and scrapes, while a rubber foot at the bottom of the speaker stops it from rolling off whatever surface you place it on.
In the middle of the grille is the JBL logo in big, bold letters - just above this you’ll find all your controls; PartyBoost, volume down, volume up, and play. We like the fact that these controls are raised and tactile - it’s easy to find them in low lighting or just feel for them if you can’t be bothered to look.
On the bottom of the speaker is where you’ll find the power and Bluetooth pairing buttons, which light up when you press them, along with a USB-C charging port. Unlike the JBL Charge 4, there’s no port to charge your phone from, so you’ll need to make sure your device is topped up before you leave home.
The Flip 6 feels just as rugged as the Flip 5, but this time JBL has introduced dust resistance alongside water resistance, for an IP67 rating. That means you can happily take the Flip 6 to the beach without needing to worry about a little sand or a splash of seawater breaking it.
- Racetrack-shaped woofer and separate tweeter
- Powerful bass
- Can be harsh at high volumes
If you’re looking for a great-sounding Bluetooth speaker that can fill a room just as well as it can soundtrack an outdoor picnic, the JBL Flip 6 is an excellent choice.
A racetrack-shaped woofer delivers powerful bass and rich mid frequencies, while a separate tweeter provides high levels of clarity from treble tones. Those passive radiators on each end of the speaker extend the low end even further for satisfying, chest-thumping bass lines that never sound bloated or muddy.
Listening to Little Simz’ Woman, and the radiators pulse pleasingly as the vampy bass lines bounce around the mix. Simz’ relaxed rap delivery sounds clear amid the jazzy piano chords, while Cleo Soul’s lacelike vocal boasts a rich, lush quality as it floats above the rest of instrumentation.
In spite of its small size, the JBL Flip 6 easily reaches loud volumes, and sound doesn’t distort as you crank it up, with a good handle of complex rhythms and time signatures.
Moving on to Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Soft Shock, and the driving rhythm section with trebly drums, pulsating synths, and hammering bass lines sounds tight and accurate, while Karen O’s floaty voice has a convincingly natural presence. Bumping this track up to the highest volumes did lead to some harsh treble sounds, but generally the audio performance is warm and well-balanced with an excellent sense of clarity.
If you want to boost the sound even further, you can use the PartyBoost feature to pair two compatible JBL speakers in stereo, or multiple speakers (up to 100, in fact) in mono for a wall of sound. It’s a shame you can only stereo pair it with other Flip 6 speakers (so the Flip 5 you have at home will only pair in mono), but that’s a small drawback in the grand scheme of things.
Battery life and connectivity
- 12-hour battery life
- Bluetooth 5.1
- Accompanying app
JBL says the Flip 6 should last for 12 hours of playback, which we found to be accurate in our tests. You can top up the battery within two-and-a-half hours with a USB-C cable.
Connectivity comes courtesy of Bluetooth 5.1, and pairing the speaker with our iPhone 13 mini was super quick and easy. We didn’t experience any annoying connectivity dropouts while we were using the Flip 6, and it’s possible to pair it with two devices at once, so you can take turns DJing with your friends.
The speaker is supported by the JBL Portable app, which allows you to check for software updates, adjust the equalizer settings with sliders for bass, mid, and treble frequencies, turn the feedback tone on and off, and read the user guide. You can also enable the PartyBoost feature via this app.
Should I buy the JBL Flip 6?
Buy it if...
You like the simple life
Connect this speaker to your Bluetooth, hit play, and you’re ready to go - you don’t even need to install the JBL Portable app if you don’t want to.
You want a powerful sound
Despite its small size, the Flip 6 gets remarkably loud, without any drop off in sonic clarity - though trebles can sound slightly harsh.
You’re a beach bum
An IP67 dust and water resistance rating means a little sand or a splash of water won’t break the JBL Flip 6.
Don't buy it if...
You want Wi-Fi connectivity
Unlike the Sonos Roam, there’s no option to hook the Flip 6 up to your home network for higher quality music streaming.
You need a voice assistant
The Flip 6 is a simple soul, and you won’t find Google Assistant or Alexa onboard here.
You want to charge your phone
Unlike the JBL Charge 4, the Flip 6 won’t be able to top up your phone’s battery.
- Looking for more? Read our guide to the best waterproof speakers