Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers
One of the great joys of life is listening to music and due to the wide variety that is available, everyone can enjoy it. The amount of devices and outlets available for listening to music is also stunning but perhaps none of them measure up to Bluetooth speakers. Not only can these be an excellent way to liven up a party, but they can also be handy when you need background noise or even while watching a television show on your phone and are wanting it to be louder. Below we have listed the top ten best home Bluetooth speakers in the market today including detailed criteria for each product to help you decide which one works best for you.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 18 hrs of research
Designed with an Echo canceling speakerphone
Packs a massive 10,000mAh lithium-ion battery
Sounds incredible in all frequency ranges
Top 10 Picks
1. JBL Xtreme
Designed with an Echo canceling speakerphone
Packs a massive 10,000mAh lithium-ion battery
Sounds incredible in all frequency ranges
Again, this unit is pretty large as a whole
The Xtreme is like the Charge 3 in a lot of ways in that it delivers unbelievably crisp sound, but it a bit bulkier than some users may prefer. But, the impressive sound more than makes up for it.Read more
If nothing else, you know that with a JBL speaker, the sound is going to be phenomenal. Thanks to the dual external passive radiators, you can hear the bass and feel it too.
Though this is a bit larger in size and can pack a serious punch, the battery life is still very impressive. JBL claims that their Xtreme can run for up to 15 hours on a single charge.
With only a 30-foot range, this is a bit more limited than some of the other top-end models in the world. But, the sound remains superb in all frequency ranges.
JBL advises against submerging this in water as it is only rated to be splashproof. So, it can handle light to moderate rainfall but not overexposure to water.
In addition to the fact that the Xtreme can connect to three different devices simultaneously, the integrated echo-canceling speakerphone allows for clear calls.
What makes the Xtreme one of the best models out there is its sound quality, period. Though it is pretty large and the range is limited, it lives and dies with its sound.
2. JBL Charge 3
It is fully waterproof
Offers deep and powerful bass
Designed with 20 hours of battery life
At just under two pounds, it is a bit heavy
Anyone familiar with this technology should be well aware of who JBL is. They are one of the leading manufacturers of sound technology and their Charge 3, while a bit bulky, delivers rich and deep sound.Read more
From a model of its range and size, the sound and bass delivered are quite amazing. In fact, it can crank out the goods about as well as any portable model in the world.
The Charge 3 sports a very impressive battery life of 20 hours. In addition to this, it can also charge your smartphones and tablets via the integrated USB port.
As many know, Bluetooth is a limited technology in regard to its range. Yet, the Charge 3 will continue to output quality sound even when your synced device is 60 feet away.
One of the biggest new features of the Charge 3 is its waterproof nature. With a rating of IPX7, it can be submerged in water (down to a meter) for up to 30 minutes without being damaged.
In addition to everything else, this is also a smart device. Thanks to the echo-canceling speakerphone, you can even make crystal clear calls with this device.
The Charge 3 is the pinnacle of this technology (in regard to portable models). It sports an impressive battery life, a great Bluetooth range and unbelievable sound and bass.
3. Ultimate Ears Boom 3
It is waterproof and will float
Can be charged wirelessly with the Power Up dock
Has a range of around 45 feet
There is no Bluetooth aptX support
Ultimate Ears followed up their ultra-impressive Boom 2, which you will see shortly, with their Boom 3. They improved on their already brilliant design which should say something about the company.Read more
Much like its predecessor, the Boom 3 is able to deliver rich and deep 360-degree immersive sound. But, the bass and treble are balanced well for clear and crisp playback.
When fully charged, this can deliver up to 15 hours of battery life. Yet, if you invest in the Power Up charging dock, you can actually charge the device wirelessly.
Utilizing the SBC codec, the Boom 3 is able to communicate with synced devices within a range of 45 meters. Anything past this may lead to distortion.
First off, the Boom 3 is covered with tough two-tone fabric (the same fabric used in fire equipment). But, it is also fully waterproof and can be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes at less than one meter in depth.
While this is not overflowing with smart features, it can be paired with over 150 Boom and Megaboom speakers. Talk about a party for the new millennium, huh?
If the Charge 3 is the pinnacle of this technology then the Boom 3 is its twin brother. It seems the old adage that the third time is the charm is quite accurate, would not you say?
4. Ultimate Ears BOOM 2
Up to 150 Ultimate Ears speakers can be connected together
It is waterproof per IPX7 standards
Very full and rich sound
Various users claim that the battery life will worsen over time
Hey, just because the Boom 2 has been overshadowed by the Boom 3 does not mean it does not deserve its own praise. After all, there is a reason why so many consumers were excited about the launch of the Boom 3.Read more
Due to the fact that the Boom 2 is designed with 360-degree immersive sound, it outputs sound in all directions. The result is crisp audio and deep bass.
Though the battery life is always going to vary depending on the settings of the system, Ultimate Ears claims that their Boom 2 can last up to 15 hours on a single charge.
The 100-foot Bluetooth range, which works out to roughly 30 meters, is phenomenal. Make no mistake about it; you will love that extra bit of leeway.
As this complies with the IPX7 standard for waterproofness, it is designed for adventure. This rating means that it can handle submersion in depths of water no greater than one meter.
A companion app works in conjunction with this model and is very handy for. But, as this is Ultimate Ears, remember that the Boom 2 can connect with other speakers.
The Boom 2 is a terrific example of a device that has become overshadowed by its successor but one that still holds up extremely well. You really can’t go wrong here, let’s just say that.
5. Bose SoundLink Mini
Integrated with a built-in speakerphone
Remembers the last eight devices that were synced
The sound quality is simply superb
The loud audible responses can get very annoying
Now, it is time to highlight another dominant manufacturer. When it comes to sound, you can put your trust in Bose. They have developed a cult following over the years and their SoundLink Mini is a good example of why.Read more
Though the SoundLink Mini will fit into the palm of your hand, it can still deliver a powerful sound. As many users have raved, this is the typical sound excellence that has been a standard for Bose products.
On a full charge, the SoundLink Mini can last, at maximum, 10 hours. As opposed to other brands, this is not overly impressive but also not abysmal.
As with the battery life, the 30-foot Bluetooth range is not necessarily going to blow you away. What is nice, though, is the system remembers your last eight devices and will re-sync automatically.
The casing of this device is made of aluminum and to protect it from scratches, you may want to invest in an optional soft cover.
To make pairing your devices even easier, Bose designed their device with voice prompts. As such, you will be talked through the pairing process (though it is not hard, to begin with).
Let’s just say this, Bose is Bose. Some designers just have a knack for what they do and that is Bose in a nutshell. Their SoundLink Mini is top class, make no mistake about it.
6. Harman Kardon Go+Play
Crystal clear conference calls can be achieved
Up to three smart devices can be connected at the same time
No matter the music, the sound reproduction is great
The battery life is not the best
This next model is one that some of you may have never heard of before. But, after you get a glimpse of what it has to offer, that will forever be changed.Read more
Thanks to the quad drivers of the Go+ Play, this is able to output a full spectrum of sound for any type of music genre you play.
The battery life of this model is not the best so do not expect it to be. At its peak, it can run for eight hours at a time. But, this can lower depending on various factors.
As one reviewer pointed out, they were able to get up to 50 feet of clear and crisp audio. All things considered, that is a pretty impressive range.
Thanks to the premium materials that are utilized throughout this device, such as a fabric grill and a stainless steel handle, it is both durable and stylish.
The Go+ Play is another speaker that is not necessarily overpowering with smart features. Yet, it can be synced with another dual sound enabled speaker.
To be honest, with a little better battery life, this could have easily cracked the top five. As it stands, though, it is an above-average design with a limited battery life.
7. Riva Turbo X
Trillium Surround technology delivers great sound
It is water-resistant
Has a great balance throughout the frequency range
As reviewers have alluded to, the volume is somewhat limited
The Turbo X actually suffers from a common limitation amongst portable models. Even though the sound quality is extremely well-done, the maximum volume is somewhat low.Read more
First off, the Trillium Surround and audio technology do deliver superb sound. However, even with the integrated turbo mode, users have claimed the volume is somewhat low.
While the maximum volume is limited, the battery life most certainly is not. Riva claims that their Turbo X can last in upward of 26 hours on a single charge.
Even though the balance throughout the frequency range has been commended, one user did note that the range was a tad bit limited.
To ensure that their Bluetooth speaker could be a great companion for beach parties, Riva designed it to be water-resistant.
What is really nice about the Turbo X is that you can control it via the Riva Ground Control app. Do note that this app is available for both Android and iOS users.
Granted you are not looking for a model to blow your ears off, literally, you should be satisfied with this design. Due to its portability, its volume can be somewhat forgiven.
8. Bose SoundLink Revolve
Features smart voice prompts
Delivers an exceptional amount of bass
Can be paired with another speaker
Can be limited when it comes to the volume
This is yet another fan-favorite from Bose and it surely is not difficult to see why. From top to bottom, the SoundLink Revolve is everything you come to expect from a speaker of its size.Read more
Again, as this is Bose, the sound quality is going to be impressive (with true 360-degree coverage). But, as with the last entry, this may not be as loud as some consumers desire.
As with most other designs on this list, the SoundLink Revolve is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. At its peak, it can run for 12 hours.
For some users, the 30-foot range of the SoundLink Revolve is simply not going to cut it. Still, 30 feet is not really that bad.
With an IP rating of X4, this is not waterproof but it does qualify for water-resistance. In addition to its aluminum body, it is suitable for outdoor use.
You can actually access both Siri and Google Now with this device, which is pretty neat. Also, voice prompts will take you through the pairing process.
It is clear that Bose was striving to make their SoundLink Revolve as portable as possible, and that is what they achieved. Though limited in some areas, it is still impressive overall.
9. Scosche BoomBottle
Can be mounted to any magnetic surface
Your magnetic device can rest securely on top
Backed by a limited lifetime warranty
Not as loud as other models
Without question, the BoomBottle is the most unique device on this list. With dual magnets on both the top and bottom, it can be mounted to any magnetic surface and can also hold your magnetic device in place.Read more
In such a small package, it is amazing that this is able to deliver the bass it does. Yet, with two passive subwoofers and audio sensing technology built-in, that is the case.
There are actually four separate LED lights built into this model that indicate how much battery remains. All in all, this can run for up to 12 hours.
The standard for most of these portable units, in regard to the range, is 30 feet and that is exactly the case with the BoomBottle.
Due to the integrated housing of the BoomBottle, this is actually rated with an IP67 rating. This means it is both waterproof and dustproof.
As you can tell, there are integrated buttons on this model that allow you to operate. While lacking in many smart features, the interface is simple.
This could just be the best-built speaker on this entire list, in regard to durability, ruggedness, and convenience. Limited performance hurts its value a little bit, though.
10. Bang & Olufsen Beoplay P2
It is both splash and dust-resistant
The bass is very good
Overall, the sound outputted is fantastic
The Beoplay app has been a target for complaints
It is time to cap off this impressive list with the Beoplay P2. Though it has some issues with its interface and app usability, it still delivers the goods and does so by remaining durable on your adventures.Read more
The Beoplay P2 delivers the signature sound of Bang & Olufsen. Be wary, though, this device is probably not going to fill a large room with loud sound.
With a 10-hour battery life rating, the Beoplay P2 falls somewhere in the middle of the pack with the rest of the competition.
This has a respectable range when paired with your devices. Most users note that it is not astounding but not awful, either.
In conjunction with the anodized aluminum grill is the polymer frame and overall, this unit is both dust and splash-resistant.
While the Beoplay app allows you to match sound profiles to activities, there are also smart features built into this model including voice activation and snooze.
To say this is one of the most compact speakers in the world is an understatement. But, with this comes some limitations in volume, so be wary of that.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
In the eyes of many, whenever you are investing in a device that outputs audio in some capacity, the most important feature is sound quality. If a speaker or a pair of headphones sound distorted, the overall experience will be greatly depreciated. You want the sound to be as crisp as possible. However, and this is more a preference, an adequate amount of bass and treble can be vital as well. Some users will want their music outputted with powerful bass to enhance the immersive feeling.
But, this is where portable models can somewhat lack, to be honest. Due to their size, the integrated drivers in the speakers themselves can’t be too large. Also, you may see some models only implement one full-range driver. So, to get a little more power and sound, it may be in your best interest to look for twin driver setups. In addition to this, to account for the bass, you may see passive radiators instead of subwoofers (again, due to the size). This is where it becomes a question of what you prefer more, power or portability. You can have both, but one area may be sacrificed a bit for the other.
Outside of the compact nature of a Bluetooth speaker, there is one major design feature that makes them portable. Of course, this is that they are run via an integrated battery. Even though in a technical sense, a device that requires electricity from a stable power source could still be considered portable, it is simply easier with a battery. But, with this comes the limitation of power and as you are aware of, batteries will need to be recharged. The question then becomes, what is considered a good battery life?
Well, as you have seen throughout this guide, typically battery lives will range from 10 to 20 hours. However, when a manufacturer advertised their battery life, they typically include the words “up to”. The reason for this is, as a whole, a battery’s lifespan on one charge is largely indicative on a number of dynamic variables. For starters, how hard you make it work can decrease the battery life. In addition, how about the temperature at which you utilize it at? Ideally, you should use it in cool to partially hot temperatures. If used in chilling climates, the battery will not have as much capacity as it should.
For the most part, Bluetooth is becoming the most popular wireless protocol out there. As time continues to pass, the technology continues to improve and this is becoming a modern trend. But, one of the areas where this technology has always been handicapped is with its communication range. As anyone who has ever used Bluetooth knows, once your two devices are at a certain range, they will begin to have issues communicating. There really is no way to get around this besides keeping the two devices within the compatible range.
But, from one model to another, the range is going to differ and this is what you need to fixate on. It also depends on your needs. If you know for a fact that you will want to program and operate your speaker from a great distance, aim for a greater communication range. For the most part, you will see ranges between 30 to 50 feet. Yet, some designs will be more advanced than this (as are some of the models on this list) and offer upward of 100 feet or beyond.
One of the benefits of owning a portable Bluetooth speaker is that they are extremely versatile in where you use them. They can be used indoors, outdoors, at parties, local events or even on a golf course. But, if you do plan to use one outdoors, you will need to ensure that it is built to withstand the elements. It is not as if you will want to use them in the rain, but what about at the beach or even on a boat ride? In these situations, accidents can happen and owning a speaker that is either water-resistant or waterproof can pay dividends.
This is an appropriate time to talk about the International Protection Rating Code (otherwise known as the IP Code). What this indicates is both the dust rating and water rating of a device. So, you may see, for example, an IP67 rating. The first number in this code essentially indicates protection against access to hazardous parts of the device and the second is its waterproof rating. In both cases, the higher the number the better the protection provided. For waterproofness, eight is the highest number and indicates protection against continuous immersion.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
A common issue that you may run into during your experience with a Bluetooth speaker is that your device will not sync to it. Thankfully, there are some common remedies that could end up solving future issues for you. For starters, ensure that Bluetooth is enabled on your device that you are attempting to sync. As simple as it sounds, this could be the issue. If not, ensure that the devices are close enough to one another. Still not the solution? Okay, go ahead and unpair the devices, turn them off, turn them back on, and then repair them. This technology can be finicky. Also, is the volume muted on your device? Usually, some basic troubleshooting can solve your problem,
Other Factors to Consider
In this day and age, technology devices are no longer designed to perform one task. Whether you want to talk about video game systems, smartphones, or even speakers, it is evident. For Bluetooth speakers, in specific, look for additional features such as an integrated speakerphone. With this, you can then answer phone calls directly through it.
Additionally, some models will be full-fledged smart devices that can sync with your smartphone and perform all sorts of fancy tasks. Along the same line, some designs will work in conjunction with an app and this can allow you to control the speaker from a distance.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Is Bluetooth Technology Harmful?
Alright, now this one is more than interesting here. While this question is technically not going to alter your final decision, it is one that we feel is appropriate to address. As great as Bluetooth technology is and as great as it will continue to be, there are some naysayers out there who are worried about the health issues that can be associated with it. For those unaware, this technology is transmitted through microwave radiation. The issue becomes that microwave radiation can cause long-term effects if exposed for longer times.
Yet, here is why it is not an issue. The microwave frequencies run at such a low power and the penetration depth is so miniscule that they are not going to affect the human body. To be honest, it is less vulnerable than cell phones, so think about that.
q: How Do You Go About Cleaning Speakers?
As great as modern technology, the world is hitting a point where technology is becoming more and more sensitive. Because of this, you need to pay close attention to how you clean your technology devices. While Bluetooth speakers are not going to need a deep cleaning, cleaning them can improve the overall sound quality (even if only minutely). But, you can do more harm than good if you use chemicals and cleaners such as Windex, aerosol sprays, alcohol, ammonia, and solvents.
All you really need to do is grab a soft and lint-free cloth to clean the actual speaker itself. Also, some models are waterproof so you can submerge them if you wanted to. But, if doing this, avoid using any soap whatsoever.
q: Will They Sync to PCs?
This is another common question across the web and ironically, it plays off of what we just got done discussing. When you hear Bluetooth, you probably immediately think about smart technology such as tablets and smartphones. Yet, this technology continues to evolve and now you will see it in car stereos, autonomous devices, and yes, even computers. So, the answer to this question is yes, they can sync to a PC.
However, it does not necessarily guarantee that your current PC will be compatible. It all depends on if your computer has Bluetooth technology. To check, for Windows PCs, go to Settings and select Devices and then Bluetooth and other devices. If your PC does not have it, you can invest in a USB Bluetooth adapter.
q: Will Bluetooth work without Wi-Fi?
For those of you who are shaking your head right now take it easy on the people who simply do not understand how Bluetooth works. This and Wi-Fi are two separate wireless protocols and they have no correlation with one another. Wi-Fi enabled devices do not need Bluetooth and vice versa. Both are direct device-to-device technologies and what this means is they only require two devices to have the technology enabled.
In other words, it is completely irrelevant if you have access to the internet because Bluetooth technology is a separate protocol. All you need is another device that has the technology and you can pair it with your speaker.
q: Can They be Taken on Airplanes?
For the record, you should always reference the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) when you have any questions of what you can and can’t bring onto airplanes. As far as these speakers go, you probably are going to need to take them in your hand luggage and not checked baggage. Now, what is interesting to note is the TSA allows speakers to be in checked baggage. However, the issue is with the lithium-ion batteries.
You may or may not have heard of rare incidents of these batteries smoldering and catching on fire. Due to the fact that it can happen, lithium-ion batteries have become controversial. But, if you ever want to know for sure, call your airlines to see.