The best Bluetooth speakers of 2021 are must-have devices for any music lover, thanks to their portability, durability, and fantastic audio quality – and it’s not hard to see why they’ve become the go-to sound solution for music fans looking to take their tunes with them wherever they go.
Whether that’s to the garage, out to the garden, or down to the beach, the best Bluetooth speakers are an essential buy – and if you are headed down to the beach, be sure to check out our guide to the best waterproof speakers, too.
Because they’re such a good idea for so many of us, there’s a huge range of portable speakers to pick from. This is great news but does mean it can be a challenge to make the right choice. Luckily for you, we’ve done the research and the testing, which means we’re in a prime position to select the very best portable speakers you can buy in 2021.
Nowadays, many of the best Bluetooth speakers also come with voice assistants, like Alexa and Google Assistant built-in. This means that some wireless speakers can also double up as smart speakers, which you can use to control your smart home devices and rely on for other voice commands.
There are plenty of pair-and-play devices out there too if the best Bluetooth speaker for you has a simpler setup.
Whatever kind of portable speaker you're looking for, this guide will help you to choose the best Bluetooth speaker for your needs, wants, and budget.
Our top picks
The best Bluetooth speakers you can buy
With two quality drivers, a solid app that unlocks playback from hundreds of wireless sources, multi-room capabilities and smart audio-tuning tech which tweaks the output based on the speaker's immediate surroundings, the Sonos Move is engineered well beyond your average Bluetooth speaker. It's a versatile speaker, one that stands solidly alongside the built-for-home Sonos speakers that the company made its name on.
It’s not perfect – it’s heavy as a byproduct of its incredible sound, it’s expensive due to its rich feature set, and it sadly can’t be used as rear channels for a home cinema set-up. But if you’ve got the money, it’s hard to fault the Sonos Move when it comes to hunting down the very best Bluetooth speaker in the world.
Read the full review: Sonos Move review
While we weren't as impressed with the UE Boom 3 as we were with its predecessor the UE Boom 2, this is still one of the best Bluetooth speakers money can buy in 2021. 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 portable speakers out there, 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 review
The JBL Flip 5 is proof that the best Bluetooth speakers aren't always the ones with the most impressive specs.
JBL’s Flip 5 is a simple soul with Bluetooth-only playback and modest features, but if you desire a rugged, great-sounding portable speaker and can sacrifice voice control or hands-free call functionality, you won’t be disappointed.
Thanks to its neat design and IPX7 rating it's suitable for use outside as well as in, making it an ideal outdoor speaker, too – and it's not too pricey at $119.95 / £119.99 / AU$149.95.
Coming in a range of cool colors – including an eye-catching camo print – there's now a limited Eco Edition that's made from 90% recycled plastic, while the portable speaker’s entire packaging is biodegradable.
Read the full review: JBL Flip 5 review
[Update: Don't miss our JBL Boombox 2 review – we were mightily impressed by this portable speaker's IPX7 waterproof rating, long battery life, and distortion-free sound.]
The portable smart speaker market is booming, with the Bose Portable Home Speaker offering the smarts of Google Assistant and Alexa alongside Bluetooth connectivity, the market is already growing fast.
The Bose Portable Home Speaker isn’t the brand’s first outdoor-friendly speaker, and it shows: gorgeous minimalist design meets weather-ready robustness, with a light build and handle that lends itself to listening on the go.
It doesn’t quite meet the sonic dexterity of the Sonos Move, or the value for money of the UE Boom 3 and JBL Charge 4 – but if you love that Bose sound and build quality, this is the speaker for you.
Read the full review: Bose Portable Home Speaker review
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 review
The original UE Wonderboom has been at the top of our best waterproof speaker list since its debut and for good reason: it’s rugged, plays louder than its diminutive sound suggests, and could be paired to other UE Wonderboom speakers to amplify sound.
And although the UE Wonderboom 2 looks nearly identical to the original, Ultimate Ears packed in a slew of upgrades that make the Wonderboom 2 even better, like the increased battery life (up 30% compared to the original), better bass response, and the new Outdoor Boost feature that helps the speaker get even louder than before.
The UE Wonderboom 2 is a fantastic rugged and waterproof speaker you’ll actually want to take with. Its small size doesn’t mean small sound, however, as the speaker gets extremely loud and sounds great. While it can’t match the bass response of larger speakers like the UE Boom 3 or the Bose SoundLink Revolve, the improved bass adds warmth and intensity to music that the original was lacking.
All said, for $100 (£90 AU$129), the UE Wonderboom 2 is still one of the best waterproof speakers you can buy - and our recommended option for those looking to bring their speaker to the beach or pool.
Read the full review: UE Wonderboom 2 review
The JBL Charge 4 isn't a huge step up from the JBL Charge 3, sure, but that's because the speaker series was already such a massive success. What the Charge 4 does do, however, is add much better tonal balance while still being able to dish out some serious bass that doesn’t overwhelm other parts of the frequency spectrum.
The JBL Charge 4 may seem like a boring update on paper, but it’s still one of the best waterproof speakers around. For the money, you get a speaker that sound great, is tough as nails, acts as a charger for your phone, and lasts all day.
Read the full review: JBL Charge 4 review
Ultimate Ears Hyperboom is a powerful party speaker that will ensure the party atmosphere, both indoors and outdoors. Its Ultimate Ears' largest speaker to date, but still keeps the company's stylish and discreet design, and adds two Bluetooth radios so you can switch seamlessly between two phones.
Despite being party-centric (read: packing tons of bass), it also delivers a very well-balanced soundscape. Here you never get the feeling that you are playing bass to make a party at the expense of other elements in the music, and almost no matter what you put on music, you get a pleasant experience.
In terms of features, the Ultimate Ears app allows you to connect the Hyperboom to other UE speakers and use them together, you can switch audio source and adjust volume, and you can select four different playlists in Amazon Music, Deezer or Spotify that can be started by holding down the Play button in three seconds.
For parties small and large, it's a great pick.
Read the full review: UE Hyperboom review
It hasn’t been long since Sony unveiled its updated lineup of Bluetooth speakers, but they’ve quickly garnered a lot of attention for their performance and value. The entry-level Sony SRS-XB23, for example, is a rock-solid $99 (around £80, AU$150) portable outdoor speaker that features an IP67 rating and a 12-hour battery life.
In terms of performance, it can get pretty loud without a massive amount of distortion and the passive radiators help the bass to sound clearer than it has on any of Sony’s previous models. That's because the XB23 uses Bluetooth 5.0, the latest standard, and supports three major codecs – SBC, AAC and LDAC, the latter of which you’ll find on newer Android devices and sounds absolutely great.
Outdoor adventurers will love the ruggedness of the speaker while us kick-back-and-relax folks will enjoy how snugly it fits into a lawn chair's cup holder.
Read the full review: Sony SRS-XB23 review
Looking for something a little bigger? Check out our Sony SRS-XB33 review, where we put the more powerful Bluetooth speaker to the test.
Visually near imperceptible from the original A1, the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) is an appealing and highly portable Bluetooth speaker that comes with (admittedly flawed) Alexa support.
Ultimately, we were impressed with the B&O Beosound A1. A marked improvement over its predecessor, there's better battery life, and waterproofing, although we're not so sure how much we'd like to take it outside the home.
With a consistently crisp sound and a chic design, the Beosound A1 is still a fine example of why Bang & Olufsen's good reputation precedes it.
Read more: Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd Gen)
The most recent speaker in the Denon Envaya line was one of the first speakers to absolutely blow us away in 2018 – and it's still a great purchase three years on. 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 among the best you can buy this year.
Read the full review: Denon Envaya (DSB-250BT) review
The Denon Envaya appears to be sold out in the UK, but US and Australian readers can still buy this fantastic Bluetooth speaker.
The Urbanista Brisbane might not look exciting, but beneath its unassuming package lies a powerful Bluetooth speaker. Loud and rich-sounding, it's a well-priced addition to anyone's home, with a good battery life and the option to pair it with another Brisbane for true stereo sound.
For the price, the Urbanista Brisbane is ultimately a bit of a bargain. You'll find better sound quality out there, but it'll cost you a lot more. All in all, this mid-range speaker could be a great choice for anyone who wants the freedom of wireless listening without sacrificing volume levels.
Read the full review: Urbanista Brisbane review
The 1MORE Portable BT Speaker sounds great for the price. It has an impressive amount of bass at low volumes but drops off at higher volumes.
This Bluetooth speaker is good for traveling professionals who want better sound quality, a speakerphone, and some water resistance, but those who want a more rugged speaker should look elsewhere – the IPX4 rating won't really cut it if you're expecting your speaker to get wet.
Read more: 1MORE Portable BT Speaker review
Best Bluetooth speakers at a glance
- Sonos Move
- UE Boom 3
- JBL Flip 5
- Bose Home Portable Speaker
- Anker Soundcore Flare
- UE Wonderboom 2
- JBL Charge 4
- UE Hyperboom
- Sony SRS-XB23
- Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd gen)
- Denon Envaya (DSB-250BT)
- Urbanista Brisbane
- 1MORE Portable BT Speaker
Choosing your Bluetooth speaker
How to pick out the best Bluetooth speaker
There are lots of speaker styles to choose from – that's why we've put together lots of guides on the best speakers you can buy in 2021.
Looking for some Hi-Res audiophile speakers to go with your record player? Check out the best stereo speakers. Bored of your TV's lackluster audio? Try one of our best soundbars or Dolby Atmos speakers on for size.
If you need a speaker you can take everywhere, make sure you look at the best waterproof speakers.
There are so many new Bluetooth speakers on the market these days with great designs and the latest tech built-in that it can be tricky to figure out which one you need. Although it may seem like the choice is endless, there are plenty with unique selling points that'll suit you.
First up, some portable speakers are built with ultimate durability in mind, others are weather and waterproof for camping and tunes by the pool; however, some aren't fit for the outdoors and would look pretty inside your home instead.
If you're having trouble figuring out which is the best Bluetooth speaker 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 in your outdoor speaker are key.
Or, 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, sound quality, and design are paramount for all speakers, and we've done our best to take these in the utmost consideration when creating our list.
- Read our latest Bluetooth speaker review: Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd gen)