A great-sounding, reliable Bluetooth speaker is fast becoming a must-have for music lovers who want to have their music with them no matter where they are — at home or on the go. There's seemingly no end to the variety of Bluetooth speakers on the market to satiate every need and use. From compact waterproof outdoor speakers to those with multiroom features for whole-home listening to audiophile speakers with high-quality Bluetooth codecs (such as aptX or aptX HD), you can find what you're looking for.
For our purposes, we're focusing on Bluetooth speakers that are portable, battery-powered, and may also have built-in Wi-Fi capabilities for maximum home-and-away versatility (like the Sonos Roam and Move), because that's what we think you searched for before landing here. For a less rigid roundup, we also have a list of the best wireless speakers, which runs more of a gamut.
But for right now, our choice for the best Bluetooth speaker you can buy goes to the Marshall Emberton II. Building upon the awesome foundation of the first-generation Emberton speaker, this Marshall Bluetooth powerhouse touts 30 hours of battery, adaptive stereo sound, and the ability to wirelessly link up with other Emberton II speakers.
Whether you're looking for one Bluetooth speaker or five of them, or you simply want something you can hook up to your bike for budget-friendly listening while you ride, we've put together this list of the best Bluetooth speakers you can buy today to help you with your next wireless audio shopping trip.
Marshall Emberton II
The best overall Bluetooth speaker
- Excellent sound quality
- Rugged IP67 build
- Easy portability
- Great battery life
- Sync with similar speakers
- No AAC or aptX support
- No wired playback
Right off the bat, let's just say that we were massive fans of the first-gen Marshall Emberton. With the original speaker's impressive stereo soundstaging that delivered an excellent balance of highs, mids, and lows, along with its 20-hour battery life, it was hard to imagine how Marshall could one-up itself. But the arrival of the Marshall Emberton II proves that there were still plenty of things to amaze us with.
One of our new favorite features is called True Stereophonic. Think of it like Sonos' TruePlay capability, which allows for the speaker to automatically adapt to its listening environment. Whether you're in a regular bedroom or a massive living room, the Emberton II will do its very best to send out sound that is the best fit for the acoustic space, and the results are pretty grand.
Adding a little extra battery time never hurt either. The Emberton II delivers 30 full hours of playtime, with the promise that it can return to a full charge after only three hours of charging. It will deliver up to four hours of playtime after charging for only 20 minutes.
The Emberton II also added something called "Stack Mode," which grants the ability to multi-pair it with other Emberton II speakers, a feature that was missing from the first-gen model.
After you factor in the IP67 rating, Bluetooth 5.1 pairing technology, and awesome Marshall app for dialing in the perfect sound with advanced EQ settings, you've got yourself one of the most powerful, feature-rich Bluetooth speakers on the market.
The best portable Sonos speaker
- Excellent design
- Lightweight and portable
- Totally water and dustproof
- Very good sound for its size
- Choice of smart speaker assistants
- Wireless charging
- No Bluetooth stereo pairing
- Doesn’t work as a speakerphone
- Less battery life than some other speakers
When it comes to wireless audio excellence, Sonos is one name that grabs plenty of the limelight. And in terms of sound quality, battery life, and smart capabilities, the Sonos Roam edges pretty close to the No. 1 spot on this list. So what's all the fuss about this grab-and-go Sonos speaker? For starters, it offers unparalleled sound quality for both indoor and outdoor settings, with articulate midrange and treble frequencies, rich bass, and little to no breakup at the loudest volumes.
In terms of music streaming, you can send audio to the Roam over Wi-Fi, AirPlay, and Bluetooth connections, with a simple long-press of the button on the back of the speaker to switch between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. And because it's a Sonos, when connected to Wi-Fi, the Roam integrates into your existing Sonos network for multiroom listening.
You can expect decent battery performance too, with up to 10 hours of juice on a single charge. If you've been looking around for a smart speaker, the Roam is compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant (Wi-Fi connection required), allowing you to fire up your favorite playlists, check the weather, and add to your shopping list, all through simple voice commands.
Best of all, the IP67 rating means the Sonos Roam is fully capable of taking a dunk in your swimming pool, but be aware that this wireless Sonos entry does not float.
A multi-use Sonos speaker
- Superb build quality
- Integration with Sonos systems
- Sounds especially good outdoors
- User-replaceable battery
- Sonos app doesn’t work over Bluetooth
- Big size, big price
Multiroom audio is something several companies claim their wireless speakers can do, but we've never come across a multiroom system that is as easy to use or as powerful as Sonos. So when Sonos finally introduced a battery-powered portable speaker that can effortlessly switch between Wi-Fi-based whole-home audio and go-anywhere Bluetooth connectivity, we were all ears.
The Sonos Move is pricey at $400, but it justifies that price through a build quality that goes well beyond most of the products on this list. Despite having a design and look that fits in with the rest of the Sonos line of indoor-only speakers, the Move is just at home outside, with an IP56 rating for dust and water resistance. That means get-togethers, unexpected rainstorms, or even trips to the beach are no problem for the Move. Just don't immerse it in water — it isn't waterproof.
It has a big, bold sound that easily fills a room with warmth and depth that surpasses most of its competitors in this size range. Cleverly, the Move integrates a new form of Sonos' excellent TruePlay EQ technology — one which requires no user intervention. It simply measures the room acoustics via the built-in mics and adjusts accordingly -- and will do so every time you move it.
Of course, those mics would be underutilized if they were only for Auto-TruePlay. They also serve as your smart speaker interface. Like the Sonos One and Sonos Beam, you get a choice of Alexa or Google Assistant. This won't work when using Bluetooth, but it's pretty handy when at home.
The Move's battery is good for 10 hours of use between charges, which is frankly a little underwhelming for a portable speaker. But we have to give Sonos props for its decision to make the battery user-replaceable — a rarity in this category and a huge help in keeping the Move from an early trip to the landfill.
Filling out the Move's benefits is AirPlay 2, which lets you stream directly to the speaker from any iOS device or MacOS computer. It's a higher stream quality than Bluetooth and makes the Move an ideal source for better-than-iPad sound quality for YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, or any other video source you can think of.
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3
Best floatable speaker for the pool
- Excellent durability
- Light and portable
- Balanced, 360-degree sound
- Affordable price point
- Somewhat lacking in bass
- Not as slim as other competitors
- Some minor connectivity issues
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom portable Bluetooth speakers have consistently made it on our best-of lists for years because of their surprisingly great sound, along with better-than-you'd-expect bass, ultra-portability, and ruggedness in and out of the water.
It's no surprise, then, that the third generation of the Wonderboom has usurped its predecessor (we still think the Wonderboom 2 is a great buy, too).
But let's get to the main reason the Wonderboom 3 is on our list: it floats. To be more specific, the 14.8-ounce speaker is IP67 waterproof rated, meaning that not only does it float on water so you can toss the thing in the pool and have it play Bobby Darin's Splish Splash while you do the backstroke, but it can withstand being submerged up to one meter for up to 30 minutes (for when the track switches to Yellow Submarine).
As we mentioned, the sound is great across the spectrum of highs, mids, and low frequencies, and it still has the boost button for that added volume and oomph.
As noted in our review of the Wonderboom 3, there's not much different between it and the Wonderboom 2 except an additional hour of battery life (from 13 to 14 hours, according to Ultimate Ears), a little longer range in Bluetooth connectivity (from 30 meters to 40 meters), and the fact that the 3 is made from 100% recycled polyester fabric and 31% consumer-recycled plastic.
JBL Flip 6
The best rugged speaker for outdoorsy types
- Solid build quality
- Loud and clear sound
- Lightweight and portable
- Excellent water and dust protection
- EQ offers some sound tweaking
- Works with JBL Portable app and PartyBoost
- Can't stereo pair with non-Flip 6 JBL speakers
- Doesn’t work as a speakerphone
- Not drastically different from Flip 5
Time and time again, JBL's Flip line of rugged, superportable Bluetooth speakers land on our Best-of lists, and continuing the tradition is the California-based company's latest, the Flip 6.
A mighty speaker is once again packed into a small, cylindrical form that owners of the Flip 5 and Flip 4 have come to love. And while its diminutive size is what matters most to fans of the Flip, the Flip 6 ups the ante on the other feature most people with their eye on this speaker admire — its ruggedness. The Flip 6 goes one step further than the 5, upgrading from IPX7 to IP67, which essentially makes it dust-tight, in addition to it already being safe for the shower, rain, and submersion in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes.
The JBL Flip 6 sounds remarkable for such a small package. It's bold and clear, with ample bass and a wider-than-you'd-expect soundstage — audiophiles won't be impressed, but this speaker isn't for them. It gets loud too, and manages to stave off distortion. Plus, JBL's PartyBoost feature is here as well, which allows you to link two PartyBoost-compatible speakers for extra volume and stereo sound, or link even more together for a synchronized sound that can be spread around a whole house.
The only other piece of the puzzle JBL was missing with the Flip 5 was its lack of app support. That has been remedied with the Flip 6, giving users the ability to use the JBL Portable app to do a handful of things including the ability to adjust the speaker EQ.
Lastly, on the battery front, the Flip 6 stays the same with up to 12 hours on a charge, which is still plenty for an entire day's worth of tunes. A USB-C charging cable juices it up, and you can keep the music playing while it does so.
Tribit StormBox Micro 2
Best budget Bluetooth speaker
- Excellent 120-foot Bluetooth range
- IP67 weather resistance
- Can be paired with another Micro 2
- Doubles as a portable charger
- The sound is what it is
Tribit's popular budget portable Bluetooth speaker, the StormBox Micro, hits our list again with its second generation, the Micro 2. It's got all the same ruggedness and waterproof IP67 rating (for full submersion for up to 30 minutes) that nature freaks loved because they could take it with them to go mountain biking, rock climbing, or camping, but it's more or less improved slightly in every other way from the first gen.
First, the StormBox Micro 2 gets a bump from 9 watts to 10 watts of sound output, which isn't a lot (it wasn't too loud to begin with), but every bit counts, and it's a good-sounding Bluetooth speaker for its size. Playtime on a single charge has improved too, going from 8 hours to 12 hours. New for the Micro 2 is the ability to charge a device like a phone or a tablet off the speaker in case you need a top up on the hiking trail. Lastly, Tribit has improved the Bluetooth range on the Micro 2, squeezing 120 feet of range out of it (up from 100 feet) so you can wander a bit further from the campsite with your phone while your friends still enjoy the tunes.
Still one of the best budget Bluetooth speakers around, the Micro 2 comes in black, blue, and mint colors.
A Bluetooth speaker with big sound
- Great sound at loud volumes
- Sturdy cabinet and bumpers
- Good battery life
- Effective app support
- Awesome when paired with other speakers
- Not as useful indoors
- Limited codec support
Sometimes you just need a speaker that can get really loud. And when it comes to big decibel levels, not many can compete with the Soundboks Go.
Equipped with dual 72-watt Class D amplifiers, a single 10-inch woofer, and a silk dome tweeter, the Soundboks Go can output up to 121 decibels of crisp, clear, and loud sound. At full volume, you can expect this titan of a speaker to last up to 10 hours, but keeping the sound at mid-levels will net you closer to 40 hours of playtime.
If you think you're going to need more juice in a pinch, you can purchase additional Soundboks batteries so you can swap out the power source and keep the party going. And for those that require a complete mountain of sound, the Soundboks Go can be paired with up to five additional Go speakers.
The Soundboks Go can also take quite the beating. Splash-proof, dent-proof, but lightweight enough to carry around with its built-in handle, you'll be able to rock out with the Soundboks Go day or night, rain or shine.
The best boombox design
- Nice and rugged build
- Great sound quality
- LEDs are cool
- Easy pairing and app support
- Party Connect works well
- Solid battery life
- Only one custom EQ setting allowed
- Phone calls could be better
Sony is no straggler when it comes to producing some of the best audio products you can find on shelves, and while the company may not possess the same market presence as competitors when it comes to Bluetooth products, the amazing XRS-XG300 shouldn’t be passed up.
Weighing only 6.6 pounds, the XG300 is the cosmetic equivalent of a carry-around boombox. Touting up to 25 hours of battery life, topping up the cell is simple with the included USB-C charge cable, giving you an additional 70 minutes of playtime for only 10 minutes of re-juicing. Better yet, the additional USB-A will allow you to charge up devices like phones and tablets, turning the XG300 into a bonafide power brick.
And in terms of overall sound quality, there’s onboard support for Sony’s LDAC hi-res codec, along with AAC and SBC audio formats. Sans the on-paper specs, the XG300 sounds fantastic, with plenty of low-end even without the Mega Bass function enabled and lots of articulation in the mid- and high-range frequencies, too.
The IP67 rating also means you won’t have to worry about taking the speaker to the beach or near water. While we wish the call quality could be better (although integrated call options are a bit of a rarity for Bluetooth speakers overall), the Sony SRS-XG300 is one of our favorite boombox replicas for your next aquatic excursion.
Bose Soundlink Revolve+ Series II
Amazing Bose sound, with smart speaker skills
- 17-hour battery life
- 360-degree sound
- Remembers the last eight connected devices
- On the expensive side
The smart home speaker niche is quickly growing, and Bose’s Soundlink Revolve+ Series II is one of the best all-around.
With an IP55 rating for dirt, debris, and water-splash protection, the Revolve+ Series II is perfect for a day at the beach and pool parties. And not to worry if you've got a big yard to fill with sound, for like its predecessor, the Series II is designed for an immersive 360-degree sound that sounds great no matter where you place it. The speaker is also smart enough to remember the last eight Bluetooth devices that were linked to it.
In terms of battery life, the Series II sees a decent boost in charge, netting you 17 hours on a single charge as opposed to the original Revolve's 13 hours.
Speaking of smart: The Bose Soundlink Revolve+ Series II also features built-in Alexa support for controlling your smart home, managing your daily schedule, streaming your favorite music services, and more. While it's one of the higher-priced offerings of our roundup, the portability, performance, and feature set of the Revolve+ Series II are hard to beat.
Frequently Asked Questions
These days, it seems like you can't turn around without knocking over a Bluetooth speaker. With so many to choose from, it can be hard to nail down which is best for your needs. The first things we recommend thinking about before deciding are how and where you'll be using your Bluetooth speaker.
If you're primarily using it indoors and leaving it there, for example, then the field of choices opens up dramatically in terms of size and durability considerations — you can go as big and feature-filled as your budget will allow. If portability and the outdoors is your jam, then read on...
If you're an on-the-go type, you're going to want to consider portability and ruggedness. There are plenty of portable Bluetooth speakers with durable rubber features that can withstand being dropped and banged around inside a backpack. And if your travels should take you to the great outdoors, poolside, or beachfront, consider getting a speaker with a good IP rating to stave off any water or dust. IP67, for example, will actually let you submerge the device for a short period of time (read below for more on that).
When it comes to sound features, give some thought to how you want to use your Bluetooth speaker. If you're fussy about sound, put sound quality at the top of the list. If you want something loud to fill a room at get-togethers, you may want to err on the bigger side, although there are several smaller speakers that pump out some volume, too, and even compact speakers that can be chained together and placed around the room for the ultimate in flexibility and a big sound.
The good news is that there are plenty of Bluetooth speakers to choose from that are bound to hit on every one of your priority needs, making it easier than ever to find the right fit.
- Pairing (or Bluetooth pairing): When using Bluetooth speakers, pairing means the literal process of connecting wirelessly between your speaker and your specific device.
- IPXX: IP stands for “Ingress Protection,” and this number serves as a rating for electronic devices. This first number represents exactly how resistant your tech is to dust; the second number measures water resistance. It’s a simple process to follow, and the higher the number, the most resistant it is to that environmental influence. For example, a device with an IP67 rating means that this device is dust-tight and can be submerged underwater for up to 1 meter, or about 3 feet, for 30 minutes. If you’re hoping to bring your Bluetooth speaker to the pool, lake, or anywhere near water, we recommend you consider only using devices with a rating of at least IPX7.
- NFC: Shorthand for Near Field Communication, this oft-touted feature is actually quite limited when it comes to Bluetooth speakers, allowing select phones to pair with a speaker with a quick touch. Since pairing is often as simple as pressing a button, and speakers will be remembered by your device once paired, it's not seen as a must-have feature.
- AptX: Another feature limited to phones and devices outside of Apple’s periphery, AptX is a codec (or group of codecs) said to allow Bluetooth streaming at “near CD quality” resolution. Apple products do not use AptX, but Android users may find it improves performance when paired with high-quality tracks and high-performance speakers. AptX Adaptive is the latest and greatest version of this codec, but both the source device and Bluetooth speaker must support it for you to get any benefit.
- Passive radiator: This term represents a kind of driver that helps magnify bass within your speaker. If you have a sealed speaker enclosure, which means there are no portholes, a passive radiator essentially reacts to slight changes in the air pressure within the enclosure. Each fluctuation results in sound. Passive radiators do not have to be powered by amps. Furthermore, the device is often lighter than other traditional drivers or speakers because it comes with no magnet or voice coil. That production design saves you a bit of cash, creates a more compact and portable device, and upgrades your speaker’s overall sound.
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