Best Bluetooth Speakers Buying Guide: Welcome to TechRadar’s round-up of the bluetooth speakers you can buy in 2019.
Even if you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated AV cabinet and a speaker system to rival some of the biggest and best stadiums across the globe, there are still going to be plenty of times when you need a portable, reliable and durable Bluetooth speaker.
Whether you’re looking for a speaker to take on your next adventure that’ll need to be waterproof and drop-proof, a portable powerhouse that’s capable of bringing the bass to an outdoor party or something small and compact that’ll fit in your carry-on, we’ve collected together some of the best Bluetooth speaker options available to buy now.
Of course there are some compromises to the form factor, like limited battery life and a drop in audio quality – but, when it comes to convenience and price, Bluetooth speakers can’t be beaten.
Your only problem is there’s too much choice. So to help you decide which speaker to buy, here are some of our favorite possible portable audio companions for the beach, camping or on-the-go listening.
How to pick out the best Bluetooth speaker
With so much choice it’s no huge surprise that the question we’ve been asked time and time again when it comes to Bluetooth speakers is: How do I pick out the best one for me?
Well, although it may seem like the choice is endless, there are plenty with unique selling points. Some are rugged. Some are stylish. Some are weatherproof and some aren’t fit for the outdoors.
If you’re having problems figuring out what speaker might work for you, start by picturing where you’re going to use it and find a speaker that matches that setting. If you’re a beach person, that means water- and dust-proofing are key. If you’re a party person, you might want the ability to connect two speakers together or a speaker with multi-point pairing that allows multiple devices to connect at a time. We’ll break down these features for you below to help you find a speaker that first for your unique lifestyle.
However, regardless of what features you want from your speaker, its imperative that it has a decent battery life and good level of sound quality. There’s no point in having a device packed full of features if its battery dies quickly and it sounds rubbish. All of our picks fulfill these two requirements, so when you’re picking from this list you can afford to focus more on features.
Whatever your budget and whatever your needs, here are 10 outstanding Bluetooth wireless speakers, ranked by their price-to-performance ratio, that will surely work for you.
The best Bluetooth speakers of 2019:
1. UE Boom 3
The best Bluetooth speaker
Weight: 1.2 pounds | Battery life: 15 hours | Wireless range: 30+ feet | Frequency response: 90Hz-20kHz | Drivers: Two 1.75″ drivers and two 1.75″ x 3″ passive radiators | NFC: Yes | Aux-in: Yes USB charging: Yes
Battery life isn’t improved over original
While we weren’t as impressed with the UE Boom 3 as we were with its predecessor, this is still the best Bluetooth speaker money can buy in 2019. This is a speaker that can get loud and not distort at higher volumes; be light enough to carry on a camping trip but remain durable enough to tumble in a bag unprotected.
It’s both water- and dust-proof, and now has a one-touch mix button that lets you pull up your favorite playlists without ever picking up your phone.
There are certainly more detailed speakers out there (see: Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin down below), but at a price that’s relatively affordable to all, the UE Boom 3 hits all the right notes for the third year in a row.
Read the full review: UE Boom 3
2. Bose SoundLink Revolve
The best Bluetooth speaker runner-up
Weight: 1.5 pounds | Battery life: Up to 12 hours | Wireless range: 30 feet | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: N/A | NFC: No | Aux-in: Yes | USB charging: Yes
True 360-degree sound
Beautiful design and build
Detailed and expansive sound
Only 30ft (10m) range
Best used indoors
The Bose SoundLink Revolve is an excellent sound speaker for folks looking for true 360-degree sound. It’s great for sharing music during a party or for moving around the room without losing audio fidelity. However, the Bose SoundLink Mini II sounds slightly better and is slightly cheaper to boot.
On the debit side, it’s also not fully dust or waterproof so you’ll want to think twice before bringing the Revolve to the beach.
For half the price, the Wonderboom is a great speaker that is completely dust and waterproof and while it can’t match the audio fidelity or features of the Bose, it’s still great for on-the-go listening. If bass is your game, the JBL Charge 3 is an excellent fully waterproof speaker that sounds great, but is big and heavy along with it.
Read the full review: Bose SoundLink Revolve
3. JBL Charge 3
A great speaker that also charges your phone
Weight: 1.76 pounds | Battery life: 20 hours | Wireless range: 30+ feet | Frequency response: 65Hz – 20kHz | Drivers: Two 1.7″ drivers and two passive radiators | NFC: No | Bluetooth version: 3.0 | Aux-in: Yes | USB charging: Yes
Kicking bass response
As a package, the JBL Charge 3 offers a compelling set of features and excellent sound quality to boot. It punches well above its weight, playing loudly and distortion-free.
The Charge line of speakers have been on our shortlist of recommendations for a long time thanks to the way they combine great sound quality with the ability to charge your devices over USB.
The latest iteration maintains JBL’s dominance in the portable Bluetooth speaker market.
Read the full review: JBL Charge 3
4. Bose SoundLink Mini II
The best mid-range speaker
Weight: 1.5 pounds | Dimensions: 2 x 7.1 x 2.3 inches (H x W x D) | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Wireless range: 30 ft (10 m) | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: N/A | NFC: No | Bluetooth version: N/A | Aux-in: Yes | USB charging: No
Built like a tank
Compact form factor
No NFC or multipoint Bluetooth
The Bose SoundLink Mini II is relatively ancient, having been released in June 2015. However, writing off the SoundLink Mini II because of its age would be a mistake, as it remains one of the best sounding wireless speakers.
That said, it punches way above what its size would suggest, producing deep bass, sparkling highs and a lush midrange. While most wireless speakers sound OK, the Mini II proves that small speakers don’t need to compromise on sound, and other Bose conveniences like a charging pad.
Read the full review: Bose SoundLink Mini II
5. UE Wonderboom
Weight: 425g | Dimensions: 102 x 93.5mm (H x D) | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Wireless range: 100 ft (33 m) | Frequency response: 80 Hz – 20 kHz | Drivers: two 40 mm active drivers and two 46.1mm x 65.2mm passive radiators | NFC: No | Bluetooth version: N/A | Aux-in: No | USB charging: No
Slightly confined sounding
When someone asks us for a recommendation for a waterproof speaker, the UE Roll 2 was always on the top of our list. We loved the Roll 2’s unique form factor, 50-foot wireless range and, obviously, it sounded good, too. Where it was lacking was in the bass department. Logitech, UE’s parent company, has fixed the Roll 2’s lack of bass by creating the appropriately named UE Wonderboom.
In our eyes, the UE Wonderboom bests the Roll 2 in just about every way –except for the Roll 2’s handy bungee cord. Still, ignoring that, if you’re looking for one of the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers on the market today, it’s hard to do better than the UE Wonderboom. Plus, it comes in some interesting colors, including Avocado and…you guessed it, Unicorn.
Read the full review: UE Wonderboom
6. Bang and Olufsen Beoplay P2
The best lightweight Bluetooth speaker
Weight: 275 g (9.7 oz) | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Wireless range: N/A | Frequency response: 68 Hz – 21.000Hz | Drivers: 2 x 15W class D for woofer and tweeter (2 x 50W peak power) | NFC: No | Aux-in: No | USB charging: No
Good bass for the size
It’s lacking highs and mids
A pouch or case would be nice
B&O created a hit with the Beoplay P2. It’s a well-designed speaker that’s extremely easy to use, has a well-built companion app, and it sounds great. On top of that, the speaker is ultra-portable without compromising on much bass content. Sure, you could get something a little bigger (and stereo) for the same price, but at this size the sound quality justifies the price. The smart gestures are a nice touch too, although we wouldn’t buy the device solely for that reason.
Read the full review: B&O Beoplay P2
7. Marshall Kilburn
The best big Bluetooth speaker
Weight: 3kg | Battery life: Up to 20 hours | Wireless range: N/A | Frequency response: 62 – 20,000Hz | Drivers: two 3/4-inch dome tweeters, one 4-inch woofer | NFC: No | Aux-in: Yes | USB charging: Yes
Bass and treble controls
No playback controls
Not as portable as competition
The Marshall Kilburn might not appear to be the best choice in Bluetooth speakers. It’s large, heavy, doesn’t have USB charging and isn’t waterproof – plus, AED 1,299 is a lot to pay for a Bluetooth speaker.
But none of this matters because the Kilburn sounds so darn good.
Over a month’s time, we fell in love with the Kilburn’s design, feel and pristine sound quality. There’s no other portable Bluetooth speaker on the market quite like it. It’s a head turner and conversation piece. It’s a piece of audio art that you’ll be proud to show off to your friends during a party.
Read the full review: Marshall Kilburn
8. Bose SoundLink Color II
The most durable Bluetooth speaker
Weight: 1.2 pounds | Dimensions: 5.25 x 5 x 2.25 inches (H x W x D) | Battery life: 8 hours | Wireless range: 30 feet | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: N/A | NFC: No | Aux-in: Yes | Bluetooth version: N/A | Weatherproofing: Yes | Charges devices over USB: No
Fun, curvy design
Average battery life
It seems just about every speaker company has a wireless speaker that can take the abuse of being outdoors and Bose, a company most well-known for its brand of excellent noise-canceling headphones, is no different. If you’re looking for something from Bose to take with you on your next hike, the AED 549 SoundLink Color II is the company’s only splash-proof speaker that can stand up to the elements with an IPX4 rating.
Read the full review: Bose SoundLink Color II
9. JBL Flip 4
Best travel-friendly Bluetooth speaker
Weight: 515g | Battery life: Up to 12 hours | Wireless range: 40 feet | Frequency response: 70Hz – 20kHz | Drivers: 2 x 40mm | NFC: Yes | Aux-in: Yes | Bluetooth version: 4.2 | Weatherproofing: Yes | Charges devices over USB: No
Decent, rugged design
Plenty of bass
Underwhelming mid-range sound
Slightly basic looks
Bringing bluntness over refinement, the JBL Flip 4 is a good Bluetooth speaker for the rugged outdoorsman in your friend circle. It’s rough, tough design makes it perfect as a portable speaker to accompany all aspects of your life while its sound is solid without worrying your home audio system.
It’s all weather friendly design is a win, but a lack of definition and distinction in the mid-range ultimately means its sound quality is not quite up to scratch when compared with some, more high-end portable speakers.
Read the full review: JBL Flip 4
10. Denon Envaya (DSB-250BT)
The most durable Bluetooth speaker
Weight: 0.75 Kg | Dimensions: 209 x 74 x 77mm (W x D x H) | Battery life: 13 hours | Wireless range: 30m (100ft) | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: 2 x 40mm Full Range Driver, 1 x 53x135mm Passive Radiator | NFC: No | Aux-in: Yes | Bluetooth version: N/A | Weatherproofing: Yes | Charges devices over USB: No
Powerful, rich, room-filling sound
Better balanced audio than most
The newest speaker in the Denon Envaya line is one of the first speakers to absolutely blow us away in 2018. It offers powerful, room-filling sound that will sound great to most ears, plus comes with an IP67 rating, make it both dust and waterproof. It’s also built like a tank, making it one of the most durable speakers we’ve ever laid our hands on.
Despite a nearly flawless performance, the Envaya isn’t perfect: While sound quaity is full, powerful and rich, it doesn’t have the treble bite some like and the buttons located along the side can feel stiff and difficult to operate. These are ultimately minor complaints, however, and the Denon Envaya remains a great Bluetooth speaker – easily one of the best you can buy this year.
Read the full review: Denon Envaya (DSB-250BT)
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