Bluetooth speakers are one of the best ways to experience your favorite music and podcasts with the ultimate in portability and without having a rat's nest of wires sprawling around. In fact, the best Bluetooth speakers can do far more than simply output sound. With features like Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility, wireless stereo pairing for shared audio across multiple speakers, and speakerphone options for taking calls, a Bluetooth speaker can function as both a listening device and an intuitive digital companion.
Our choice of the best Bluetooth speaker you can buy right now still goes to the. It's powerful, stylish, and well-priced. But of course, there are tons more out there to suit every need and price point. So to help make your next shopping venture an easier one, we've assembled this roundup of the best Bluetooth speakers you can buy right now.
The best overall Bluetooth speaker
- 20-hour battery
- Warm and rich stereo sound
- Iconic design
- 360-degree sound pattern
- IPX7 water-resistant
- No aux line-in
- No speakerphone
- Can’t stereo or multi-speaker pair
Why should you buy this? Marshall’s latest speaker offers great sound and strong battery life.
Who’s it for? People looking for the best sound in a small package.
Why we picked the Marshall Emberton:
Marshall’s Emberton speaker may lack some of the features of its biggest competitor, Ultimate Ears. However, the Emberton's focus on being the best-sounding portable Bluetooth speaker without all the bells and whistles is where it excels. It doesn’t have an aux line-in or a mic, nor can it pair with additional speakers, but it offers a robust 360-degree sound pattern with plump bass and boasts a 20-hour battery life.
Taking its looks from the classic Marshall guitar amp, the Emberton is actually the company’s smallest speaker to date. It also has some great modern features like an LED battery display and USB-C charging. If you want the best sound in a small, compact package, the Marshall Emberton offers the best sound and battery for the price.
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
Why should you buy this? You want a top-notch Bluetooth speaker with plenty of features and a great price.
Who it's for? Sonos devotees who have long-awaited an ergonomic, on-the-go speaker that costs less than the Sonos Move.
Why we picked the Sonos Roam:
When it comes to wireless audio excellence, Sonos is one name that grabs plenty of 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 (a throne claimed by the aforementioned Marshall Emberton). So what's all the fuss about this new 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. 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.
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
Why should you buy this? JBL's Flip line is tried and tested for rugged, portable, and great-sounding speakers.
Who’s it for? Those who want a versatile, waterproof Bluetooth speaker without emptying their pockets.
Why we picked the JBL Flip 6:
Time and time again JBL's Flip line of rugged, super-portable 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 its small, cylindrical form that owners of the Flip 5 and Flip 4 have come to love. JBL has managed to shave a bit off the size, though, this time out making it a tad smaller at just 7 inches high by 2.6 inches wide by 2.8 inches deep, and weighing in at just 1.21 pounds, perfect for just about any backpack or beach bag.
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, too, in addition to it already being safe for the shower, rain, and submersion in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. And as our reviewer put it, "Let’s not forget the beach, either, as the Flip 6 holds up just fine in saltwater and sand, making it a good option for any number of outdoor activities.
But how does the JBL Flip 6 sound? The answer: Remarkable for such a small package. As with the Flip's previous versions, this latest kick at the can sounds bold and clear, with ample bass and a wider-than-you'd-expect soundstage — audiophiles won't agree, but this speaker isn't for them. And 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, perhaps most importantly, the ability to adjust the speaker EQ, something previous versions have never been able to do.
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.
At roughly $130, the JBL Flip 6 is a rugged go-anywhere Bluetooth speaker for those who place a premium on big, bold sound that bests many speakers of the same size for more money.
JBL Flip 6
Tribit StormBox Micro
Best budget Bluetooth speaker
- IP67 weather resistance rating
- Exceptional Bluetooth range
- Good sound quality
- Lightweight, portable design
- Boring aesthetic
- Battery could be better
Why should you buy this? You want a small speaker with a big sound.
Who’s it for? Anyone looking for a portable and competent Bluetooth speaker without spending a lot of money.
Why we picked the Tribit Stormbox Micro:
Whether you're an avid mountain biker, rock climber, or an all-around nature-lover, the Tribit Stormbox is the perfect, compact Bluetooth speaker to take on your next wilderness outing. Rocking an IP67 rating, this tiny titan can stand up against full water submergence and is totally protected from dirt and debris of any kind. If you're planning on making a day out of your next outdoor adventure, the Stormbox will deliver up to eight hours of playtime on a single charge and features an LED battery indicator for letting you know just how much juice you have left.
Don't let the size fool you when it comes to sound, either. The Tribit Stormbox Micro's patented XBass tech provides a deep low-frequency underbelly, with plenty of shine in the midrange and treble layers, too. Sure, it may not get as loud or provide as much clarity as some of the other offerings on this list, but for the size, durability, and quick-access USB-C recharging, the Stormbox is a solid contender for those that don't want to break the bank on their next speaker purchase.
Tribit StormBox Micro
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
Why should you buy this? It has a wide soundstage and support for multi-room audio and smart assistants.
Who’s it for? Anyone looking for a Bluetooth speaker that can function as a smart home speaker.
Why we picked the Bose Soundlink Revolve+ Series II:
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: Thealso 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.
Bose Soundlink Revolve+ Series II
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
Best floatable speaker for the pool
- Great bass
- Can float in water
- Rugged and built to last
- Sound quality is good, but not excellent
Why should you buy this? For its size, this latest version of the Wonderboom is still the most capable micro waterproof speaker you can find that still produces decent sound.
Who’s it for? Those who value portability but aren't willing to sacrifice sound quality or durability.
Why we picked the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2:
Mini Bluetooth speakers often suffer from terrible audio quality and volume levels that simply can't keep up with their larger cousins. The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 defies this tendency and does it in a fully floating, waterproof package.
If you need a boost in bass for your next outdoor event, hit the boost button to get a push in volume and clarity. As many images will indicate, the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 is a floating water companion like no other, thanks in part to its IP67 rating that covers full submergence. And with 13 hours of battery life, you can have the Wonderboom 2 in the pool with you all day long before recharging the speaker. While it may not touch the sound quality of speakers like the JBL Flip 5 or the Soundlink Revolve+ Series II, the Wonderboom 2 is perfect for getting tossed around and thrown in your beach bag.
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
The life of the patio party
- 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
Why should you buy this? It's a Sonos speaker that can also do double-duty as a rechargeable portable Bluetooth speaker. Need we say more?
Who’s it for? Sonos owners who want a portable Bluetooth speaker that will work with their whole-home sound system.
Why we picked the Sonos Move:
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 $399, but it justifies that price through a build quality that goes well beyond most of the products on this list. Despite looking like 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 under-utilized 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.
If we have one criticism of the Sonos Move it's that you don't actually want to move it much. It's very heavy compared to every other portable model on this list and its built-in carry handle isn't comfortable for anything beyond a trip from the kitchen to the patio.
Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd-gen)
Premium sound, but worth the price
- Regal design
- Great sound quality
- Doesn't have the volume output of bigger speakers
- Pricey for its size
Why should you buy this? You're an audio connoisseur that wants incredible sound from a small chassis.
Who's it for? Those that don't mind investing in premium audio, regardless of the real estate that's available.
Why we picked the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd-gen):
Flagship sound can cost thousands of dollars and usually involves quite the medley of equipment to complete the connoisseur's listening experience. But if you're lacking the space to host a proper hi-fi system and still seek the best audio possible, the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd-gen) should be at the top of your list.
Featuring a regal design with a durable shell, the water- and dust-proof Beosound A1 is IP67 rated, making it great for both indoor and outdoor settings. In terms of sound, you'll be hard-pressed to find another portable speaker this size that provides the kind of elegant sound-staging that the Beosound A1 is capable of. A mesmerizing balance of highs, lows, and volume would lead one to believe this speaker is actually much bigger. Onboard Alexa controls are here as well, allowing you to tap into your favorite playlists and artists with voice commands or through the Alexa app. Plus, 18 hours of battery life will keep this bad boy going all day.
If you need as much volume as possible, you'll want to look at one of the bigger speakers on our list. But if it's space you're lacking and quality sound you desire, the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd-gen) is our go-to.
Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd-gen)
How do you test Bluetooth speakers?
We test Bluetooth speakers the way normal people live. We run every speaker through a rigorous process over the course of several days. That includes playing them in all sorts of scenarios, be it in the park or at the beach (for portables), in the listening room, or at the office, and playing back from our device library and streaming services like Spotify. We also test range, connection stability, and interference in areas with a lot of radio frequency interference (i.e. the Digital Trends offices).
Finally, we compare each speaker to some of our go-to models, both in their class and price point, as well as a level or two above to find out if they can punch above their weight.
How do I choose the best Bluetooth speaker for my needs?
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.
How do I pick the best rugged Bluetooth speaker?
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).
How do I choose the best-sounding Bluetooth speaker?
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.
How to decipher Bluetooth speaker terms
- 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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