If you search for “Bluetooth speaker” on Amazon, you’ll get more than
We can help you reduce it to…
Buy the JBL Flip 5
If this is your first Bluetooth speaker, buy the JBL Flip 5. It has become the benchmark that all the best Bluetooth speakers are measured against. You won’t regret it.
On a budget? Try out these 2 speakers for size.
Not what you’re looking for? Tell us a bit about yourself and let’s see what we can do.
Alternatively, here are some of the best Bluetooth speaker brands today. See where they featured on Outeraudio…
Here’s a checklist of 9 things to consider before you set out to find the best Bluetooth speaker for you.
The first thing you’ll have to be clear about when setting out to buy a Bluetooth speaker is where and how you intend to use it. Do you just want an everyday portable Bluetooth speaker? Are you looking for a large Bluetooth party speaker? Do you need a waterproof speaker to take on adventures or lounge around the pool? Understanding the utility of the speaker you need to buy will shorten your list and speed up your search off the bat.
2. Sound Signature
The terms ‘Sound Signature’ and ‘Sound Profile’ are layman’s terms for discussing the way a speaker sounds in general. Audiophiles are known to use vague words to describe sounds like tinny, warm, heavy, and crisp – what does all that mean anyway?
For you, it’s not that important. What is important is that you like the specific distribution of frequencies that a speaker uses to render your favorite music. If your favorite song doesn’t sound right on a given speaker, that speaker isn’t for you.
3. Power Output and Volume
The power output (watt) of your speaker as this generally determines how clear your speaker will sound at a specific volume (dB). No, more power does not necessarily translate to a louder Bluetooth speaker, but there is a general non-linear relationship. So, as now many manufacturers publish the actual decibels (or sensitivity) of their products, you can use Watts as a general gauge of how loud and clear the output will be.
4. Design and User Interface
There is a myriad of designs and form factors available in Bluetooth speakers these days. Are you looking for a speaker with a cylindrical design that delivers 360 degrees sound? Need a larger speaker with a handle that you can carry around? A huge tailgate speaker on wheels maybe? Maybe you’re looking for a speaker that can fit into your bicycle bottle cage! Browse a bit and decide what you like and what works for you.
Similarly, the actual interfaces and button inputs on speakers are just as diverse. In some cases, the inputs and their functions are not clear as designers compromise for form over function. Sometimes the buttons are hard to reach or even spot on the device. Read reviews before you buy and make sure there aren’t glaring design flaws with the interface. We think the KISS principle applies to speaker interface design!
You’re obviously looking for a Bluetooth speaker, so that’s a given. Ons that front, check whether the speaker you’re interested in utilizes Bluetooth 5, or is it still on version 4? This will impact not only the possible connection range but also things like latency and clarity. There are other connectivity issues to consider before you buy a speaker. Do you need a Bluetooth speaker that can also connect via WiFi? Do you need to have a slot for an SD card (old school)?
If you’re a smart speaker fan then it’s important to understand that many of the newer generation 3rd party speakers are Alexa or Siri “enabled”, meaning you can speak to them instead of your Echo or HomePod.
Another feature worth looking for is whether you can pair more than one speaker together. Especially important if you want to double up on sound, create a stereo effect, or just need more coverage for a house party. there are some brands that offer “party chain” abilities of as many as 50 speakers!
Almost all modern portable Bluetooth speakers come with an IPX rating which indicates the “waterproofness” of your device. If you plan on taking your speaker on your kayak, run or cycle with it in the rain, have it outside while camping, or even need a floating pool speaker to drop into your jacuzzi, then you need to understand IPX ratings. In short:
|IPX 6 and below||Water-Resistant||Use poolside. Splash on it.|
|IPX 7 and up||Waterproof||Throw it in the drink!|
If you plan to use your speaker outdoors often, we highly recommend that you aim for an IPX6 or IPX7 rating. They’re pretty ubiquitous at the moment and doesn’t cost that much more than lower-rated speakers. Here’s our list of the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers.
7. Battery Life
Battery technology has advanced dramatically over the last few years, and will hopefully continue to do do so. It is not uncommon to find batteries in some smaller form-factor speakers that can last between 12 and 24 hours at a moderate (50%) volume. Some larger speakers, with more room to fit bigger batteries, boast so-called “military-grade” batteries that can last for up to 40 hours!
Another cool battery-related feature is that some of the best Bluetooth speakers no also double as a power bank for your other devices, giving you the ability to use any power left on your speaker to charge your phone or any other USB charging device should you suddenly need to
There is literally a Bluetooth speaker for every budget. If you’re a budget-conscious shopper you can find great Bluetooth speakers for Under $100. In fact, there ear some amazing speakers under $50 available on the market as well! If you’re loaded, slightly vain, and want to go off the rails you can always go pick-up a Devialet Phantom Gold at around 3 grand…
You know what our budgetary constraints are, so as with any potentially expensive purchase we suggest you decide up-front on how much you are willing to spend. Don’t impulse buy! There are loads to choose from at every price-point.
9. Warranty and Support
Check the factory or manufacturers’ warranty that comes with your Bluetooth speaker. Reputable brands will stand by their products and offer you a proper warranty out of the box. If you feel you may end up using your speaker in ways that would expose it a bit more than usual and the factory warranty isn’t enough, then buy and electronic equipment protection plan with your speaker. They usually cost under $5 and will give you additional peace of mind.
Insofar as customer service is concerned, out best suggestion is to go read user reviews on Amazon.com and filter for or search for “customer service” and see what others have experienced in the past. Again, reputable brands should have their customer service engine running like a tremendous machine.