We all know the field for wireless, Bluetooth speakers isn’t a particularly spare one. A good deal has changed since Swedes Jaap Haartsen and Sven Mattisson developed the specification for Bluetooth in 1994, and given the rise in mobile computing over the course of the past decade, it’s not surprising that a number of prominent speaker manufacturers now incorporate Bluetooth as a means for wirelessly playing content from your smartphone or tablet. Much like the mobile devices we slip into our pockets on the daily, though, the best Bluetooth speakers should be made to go places.
That’s why some of the best Bluetooth speakers on the market are made to withstand everything from bumps to bruises — and yes, maybe even a little water from time to time, should the occasion calls for it. Below our some of favorite waterproof speakers currently available, whether your’re looking for an offering with intuitive gesture controls, respectable sound quality, or a distinct build likened to your favorite shelled reptile.
Braven wasn’t always a household name. However, the company’s latest offerings have been nothing short of impressive, boasting admirable sound and fantastic built quality that easily rivals their approachable price point. The Braven BRV-X, though still residing on the pricier side of our roundup, is no exception. The bulky device produces some of the richest midrange we’ve seen within its category, while providing clear, detailed sound within a waterproof exterior rated at IPX-5. Moreover, the device boasts 12 hours of runtime, an Outdoor EQ setting for boosting treble and upper midrange, and NFC capabilities for quick pairing with your devices. Braven’s True Wireless technology even allows you to pair two BRV-X speakers at once for true stereo playback — a facet that gives Braven the upper hand not just in terms of sound, but features as well.
As the name might imply, Scosche’s BoomBOTTLE H2O is perfectly apt for your daily commute to the office or evening ride about town. A speaker most notably featured on our 2013 holiday gift guide for bike enthusiasts, the omnidirectional device fits snugly in your water bottle cage, car’s cupholder, or in the side pocket of your backpack. It delivers clear, deep audio via a pair of 40mm drivers and a passive subwoofer, while allowing you to additionally utilize non-Bluetooth device via a built-in auxiliary input. Furthermore, the cylindrical device lasts up to 10 hours on a single charge, features a built-in speakerphone for accepting calls, and conveniently allows you to stream content from up to an industry standard of 33 feet away. And given the speaker weighs 15 ounces, which is less than the water bottle it’s designed to replace, you can ensure the additional weight and amplified acoustics won’t be an issue when discretely bumping Yeezus.
With a honeycomb design and peppering of gesture controls, the Philips Shoqbox is more than a bit unique. Although the rugged, splash-proof speaker is quiet and somewhat lackluster in the bass department, it still manages to produce clear, rich midrange using a pair of neodymium speaker drivers. The device is equipped with a motion sensor as well, allowing you to pause your music or swipe from the left to right when you want to skip to the next track or the replay the last. Like the Braven BRV-X, Philips also lets you to pair two Shoqbox speakers to one device for true stereo separation. Moreover, you can utilize the Shoqbox in a variety of positions and navigate the entirety of the speaker’s menu system through a series of voice prompts that are conveniently available in a slew of different languages. Eight hours of battery life and and an aux input are merely a plus.
Similar to the like-minded Braven BRV-X, the company’s BRV-1 is a speaker with a penchant for astonishing sound and build quality. Touting a sturdy, rubberized casing and two sets of buttons, the shock-absorbing speaker is capable of being immersed in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes at a time when used in conjunction with the canteen-like cap. The BRV-1 is also packed with a myriad of assorted features, including up to 15 hours of run time, smartphone charging, and a speakerphone mic for accepting phone calls when close to the device. Most importantly, though, the device uses Bluetooth 3.0 and two 40mm drivers behind its metallic screen to deliver balanced audio featuring clear midrange and treble. It’s not going to pump the low-end as well as a full-size stereo offering, but nonetheless, you’ll likely be surprised by the sheer amount of depth when Lil’ Wayne’s “A Milli” comes trickling out of the speaker’s boxy design.
Divoom’s Voombox-outdoor may not showcase the warmest or pleasing sound on the market, but few devices offer quite the same level of sound as Divoom’s latest offering. Utilizing five separate drivers — a single tweeter, two mids, and two passive bass radiators — the capable device produces more sound than you might imagine for a device of its stature. It produces respectable sound with clarity perfectly suitable for the average listener, with a rubberized exterior and metal rings surrounding the speaker grille for added durability on the go. Furthermore, it features a built-in speakerphone for accepting calls on your own or as a group, as well as the latest Bluetooth 4.0 technology and a battery capable of lasting up to 12 hours on a single charge. The red model looks like a brick, and feels like one given it weighs 1.5 pounds, but there are three other colors to choose from.
Next Page: Five more of our favorite, waterproof speakers.