Bluetooth Speakers – Buyer’s Guide


Complete Guide To Bluetooth Speakers

With advancements in tech, we’ve gone leeps and bounds as far as what is capable with our wireless mobile technology. Where there exists a limitation, the space is quickly filled with an upgraded solution to make our mobile world experience more simplified. Gone are the days of endless wires and cords being connected to all of our devices to keep them running and communicating. With the technological improvements that have been made, in wireless and bluetooth technology, more options are available to us without all the complication. We can now connect most of the tech we own, through bluetooth. Bluetooth compatibility is springing up in pretty much all of our devices such as headsets, smarphones, keyboards, watches and bluetooth speakers; they are even creating bluetooth compatible shoes! (Check out the Nike Hyperdunk+)

The ability to access wifi, allows us to connect and communicate between multiple devices however it confines us to use those devices in the range of a wireless network. What about those times when you’re out and want to bring your technology with you? We’re all familiar with bluetooth technology, which simplistically put is a technology that allows a transfer of data between two devices, without the need to be connected to wires or use a wireless network, however I’m sure not all of us have a clue about what to look for in devices we use it with.

In this buyer’s guide, we’ll explore bluetooth speakers and provide you with a thorough list of considerations to make before purchasing. Once you have a better idea of what to look for and you’ve set your budget, take a look through the second half of the buyer’s guide on bluetooth speakers where we’ll present a variety of types of bluetoooth speakers from below $50 up to $300+.

Considerations Before Buying

Bluetooth Speaker

Along with high quality performance, people want more portability to the tech side of their lives; this is no exception when shopping for bluetooth speakers. Before we get into the top 9 considerations to make when buying bluetooth speakers let’s first mention the number one consideration to be aware of before all the rest. When shopping for bluetooth speakers, you’ll want to ask yourself the purpose for which you require them; will you be using them outdoors, indoors, require a long range and who is your audience will be some of the questions to ask when determining the best speaker for you.

  1. Compatibility – Bluetooth speakers can have all your preferred specs and be of a high quality however if the speakers you choose aren’t compatible with your device than you should be looking into other options.
  2. Design & Portability – Keep in mind closely the physical dimensions of each speaker and ask yourself if whether a larger or more compact speaker would work for you.v
  3. Sound Quality – Often the number 1 concern for many people when buying bluetooth speakers is the quality and clarity of the sound and volume.  The size and power off the speakers will ultimately be what determines the sound quality. A speaker with a louder volume has a higher output (more watts); speakers that can reach louder volumes are often found in larger speaker units. Larger speakers have better quality and depth of sound as well.
  4. Bass – Something to keep in mind with bass is that, positioning of your speakers in the room will make a difference to the quality and level of bass you will hear. As an example, place a bluetooth speaker in a corner of a room on the floor and you’ll hear a greater amount of bass than if the speaker were on a table.
  5. Charging & Playback Time – When bluetooth speakers have been depleted of their battery , it takes roughly 3-4 hours to recharge them. Charging time will be affected by such things as the size and amount of power the speaker consumes while running. The playback time refers to the longest time the device will hold its charge and not lose battery. For better battery consumption, a medium volume setting is best to use.
  6. Battery Size – This will greatly depend on the size of the overall device as well as the power demands it has.
  7. Operating Range – Normally, bluetooth speakers have an operating range of anywhere from between 15-30 feet however, you can find some with a range of over 30 and in higher end speakers up to 100 ft.
  8. Frequency Response – The frequency response is the range at which the speaker can reproduce sound (Measured in HZ). Frequency response for a device may look like this, 20Hz – 20,000Hz; the smaller number is the lowest frequency that the speaker can clearly produce while the higher number represents the highest frequency that can be produced. The smaller the speaker the more narrow the frequency range will be. Second number is, you guessed it, the highest frequency that can be produced.
  9. Durability – Choose a bluetooth speaker that will be able to stand up under the elements you plan on exposing it to. For outdoor use, as an example, look for bluetooth speakers that are waterproof and bump resistant.

Additional Features:

  • Battery Sharing – Many higher end bluetooth speakers act as battery packs as well; featuring a USB plug which allows you to connect and charge multiple devices at once.
  • Waterproof & Water Resistance – If you plan on using your device outdoors, choosing bluetooth speakers that are completely waterproof or resistant to moisture will help protect your speakers and increase the likelihood they’ll last longer.
  • Auxiliary Access – Here’s a handy feature to have, when you may need to fall back on a wired connection; this feature will definitely make your bluetooth speaker that much more accessible. The auxiliary access is normally via a 3.5mm phone jack.
  • NFC (Near Field Communication) – A convenient perk to have on your bluetooth speakers is NFC technology which allows you to bypass any settings and immediately start playing music. Compatible devices can be synced simply by taping the two devices together.
  • Speakerphone Access w/ Built In Mic – If you’re a fan of having speakerphone access, than this feature which offers you to answer and end a call by the click of a button on your bluetooth speakers will be great for you!

**Remember**

When shopping for bluetooth speakers, keep in mind the above considerations and prioritize them in your mind so you’ll know exactly what to look for when you head out to make your purchase.

Check Out These Bluetooth Speakers

Each of the bluetooth speakers in our lists below has been separated by price; you will be able to find a summary of all of the speakers at the very bottom of the article. The main considerations we’ll highlight in each of the bluetooth speakers will be; compatibility, portability (dimensions) & design, sound quality, battery & playback time, and operating range.

Note: Before reading below, take a look here: Understanding How Speaker Drivers Work to provide you with some background information on drivers, tweeters, and woofers. We’ll also mention passive radiators and active speaker radiators below so be sure to click on the links if you aren’t familiar with these concepts.

Best Bluetooth Speakers Under $50

OontZ Angle 3

The OontZ Angle 3 by Cambridge Sound Works sure packs a punch for its size! Great for outdoor barbecues and parties; you can even take this little guy to the beach as it claims to be sand and splash resistant. It boasts high clarity, louder volume, and more bass. An extra feature to this speaker is its built in microphone which offers you to use it as a hands free speakerphone. Included in the box comes a 3.5mm audio cable and micro USB.

OontZ Angle 3

Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac, Smartphones, Tablets, Windows 10, Windows 7-8 systems, TVs and  AUX input

Dimensions (HWD in inches) & Design: 2.8 x 5.2 x 2.5

Sound Quality: 2 neodynamic drivers, 10 watt total output 

Battery & Playback Time: 2200mAh Li-ion battery, Lasts 12h at 2/3 volume

Operating Range: Up to 30 ft

BUY | $27.99

Sylvania SP328

If you’re looking for a bluetooth speaker that has great design and aesthetics but don’t want to break the bank, you’ll find what you’re looking for in this Sylvania SP328 black portable Hi-fi speaker. The strong bluetooth gives a roughly 40 ft coverage range, making it great for outdoor use as well as indoor and bass and treble nobs let you customize the setting on the speaker. Included in the speaker box comes a USB charging cable and AUX cable.

Sylvania SP328

Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, Android, all bluetooth compatible devices, AUX input

Dimensions (HWD in inches) & Design: 15.5 x 8.25 x 7, carrying handle, blue speaker lights

Sound Quality: Stereo sound, 2 x Hi-fi speakers, 6 watt total output

Battery & Playback Time: 800mAh Li-ion battery, Lasts 6-10h depending on volume level

Operating Range: Up to 40 ft

BUY | $27

Honstek K9

Using DSP technology for sharper bass and louder sound, the Honestek K9 is the ultimate portable outdoor speaker. With its waterproof and shockproof properties, you won’t have to question its ruggedness. Included with the speaker is a micro USB and 3.5mm AUX cable.

Honstek K9

Compatibility: iPhone, Samsung, LG, iPad, Mac book, ECHO and other Bluetooth enabled stereo music devices.

Dimensions (HWD in inches) & Design: 2.9 x 8.15 x 2.7, “D” Typed buckle

Sound Quality: Stereo bass sound, 2 speaker drivers, 20 watt total output

Battery & Playback Time: 5200mAh Li-ion battery, 16h on full & 30h on medium volume

Operating Range: Up to 32 ft

BUY | $45.99

Under $100

JBL Flip 4

Portable, lightweight, and splash proof are only some of the great features on the JBL Flip 4. It’s definitely not the best sounding of the bunch but with a reasonable price tag, rugged design and a good amount of base, there’s value in the purchase for sure. The JBL Flip 4, also has voice activation.

JBL Flip 4

Compatibility: Smartphones, tablets and devices supporting Bluetooth

Dimensions (HWD in inches) & Design: 2.5 x 6.8 x 2.7

Sound Quality: 2 speaker drivers, dual active radiators, 16 watt output total

Battery & Playback Time: 3000mAh Li-ion battery, 1o-12h playback

Operating Range: 50 ft

BUY | $80+

Wonderboom by UE

This bluetooth speaker by Ultimate Ears is a speaker that really has it all. Not only is it durable, being one of the best waterproof speakers on the market, it’s also great at offering the best omni directional 360 degree range of sound. You can also pair up to 2 devices at once. The Wonderboom solves the limited bass problem of the previous model, the Roll 2, and surpasses it on a number of levels although if you´re looking for a true bass experience, then we’d recommend buying the JBL Charge 3 instead.

Wonderboom by UE

Compatibility: Smartphones, tablets and devices supporting Bluetooth and Bluetooth Smart wireless audio profile (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP).

Dimensions (HWD in inches) & Design : 5.24 x 4.2 x 4.6, simple design making it easy to use

Sound Quality: 2 x drivers, 2 x passive radiators

Battery & Playback Time: Li-ion battery, 10h playback time on 75% volume

Operating Range: 100 ft
BUY | $99

Under $200

Amazon Tap

Why mess around with buttons when you can simply activate voice command with Alexa Voice Service and be in total control of your music. This futuristic little guy, works with mobile hotspots and supports wifi music streaming. The Amazon Tap comes in a sling which protects it if you ever accidently drop the speaker. With the Amazon Tap you’ll get a charging cable, micro USB and adaptor.

Amazon Tap

Compatibility: Supported platforms include; Amazon Alexa, Belkin WeMo, Harmony, Hue, Insteon, Nest, SmartThings

Dimensions (HWD in inches) & Design: 6.3 x 2.6 x x 2.6, cylindrical design

Sound Quality: Stereo sound, 2 speaker drivers, dual passive radiators for base extension , omni directional sound

Battery & Playback: Up to 9h of playback time (8h in hands free mode)

BUY | $129.99

JBL Charge 3

This waterproof bluetooth speaker plays loud and distortion free tunes to keep you going for around 20h. You can even charge your other devices while you use the speaker as well as connect multiple JBL Connect speakers! The built in mic also allows you to use it as a speakerphone. In addition to the actual speaker, you’ll find a USB adapter and a micro USB cable in the box.

Compatibility: Most Bluetooth compatible devices

Dimensions (HWD in inches): 3.43 x 9.09 x 3.48,  2 external radiators vibrant with base heavy tracks

Sound Quality: 2 speaker drivers & 2 passive radiators, 22.2 watt output total

Battery & Playback Time: 3000mAh Li-ion battery, 20h playback time

Operating Range: Up to 30 feet (best at 20ft)

BUY | $119+

Boom 2 Phantom

Here’s another great speaker made by UE! The Boom 2 Phantom has 360 degree sound and a deep bass which makes it great for use in larger spaces with bigger crowds. It’s not only powerful but it also can withstand exposure to moisture and is shockproof. Includes micro USB and power adapter in addition to the speaker.

Boom 2 Phantom

Compatibility: Smartphones, tablets and other devices supported by Bluetooth and Bluetooth Smart wireless audio profile [Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP)] or 3.5 mm audio output.

Dimensions (HWD in inches) & Design: 7 x 2.5 x 2.5

Sound Quality: 2 x acute drivers, 2 x passive radiators

Battery & Playback Time: Li-ion battery, 15 h playback time

Operating Range: 100 ft

BUY | $165+

BeoPlay P2

Here’s a bluetooth speaker that comes teeny tiny in the realm of speakers but boy does it ever perform, especially when talking about bass. The design makes it extremely portable which means you can pop it in your bag and not worry about much added weight or taking up space. The BeoPlay P2 from B&O allows you to control the speaker by voice and gesture. In the box, you’ll find only a USB cable which is a bit of a letdown however, the actual speaker makes up for the lack of accessories in the box. For such a small speaker, there’s a good amount of bass as well as low mids. Vocals come out crisp and clear and instrumentals pack a punch.

Compatibility: Devices that work with Bluetooth 4.2 and ADK 4.0

Dimensions (HWD in inches) & Design:  5.5 x 3.1 x 1.1, smooth exterior, leather carry strap

Sound Quality: 2 x 15 watts Class D woofers, single tweeker, 2 x 50 water output (Mono audio)

Battery & Playback Time: 2200mAh  Li-ion battery, 10h playback time

BUY | $169

Bose SoundLink Mini II

Some things are difficult to be replaced, take the Bose SoundLink Mini II for example. Although it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles as the newer bluetooth speakers do, it’s built like a tank and still maintains its title as one of the best sounding bluetooth speakers on the market. The balanced sound, with crisp tones, exceptional bass and no distortion definitely makes this a must own speaker. A multifunction button allows you to switch between tracks or enable voice activation. Calls can also be taken on Bose SoundLink Mini II. This speaker comes with a charging cable, wall charger and cable.

Bose SoundLink Mini 11

Compatibility: Most standard bluetooth compatible devices

Dimensions (HWD in inches) & Design: 2.1 x 7.1 x 2.3

Sound Quality: Dual passive radiators, high efficiency transducers

Battery & Playback Time : Built in Li-ion battery, 10h playback time

Operating Range: 32 ft

BUY | $179

FUGOO Style XL

Quality and value make the FUGOO Style XL a definite winner when it comes to portable bluetooth speakers. The insane battery power rivals many of its competitors and is being claimed by many as the best kept secret for new speakers on the market today. It’s not only waterproof, but shock and dustproof too! The FUGOO pumps out a great balance of sound, full of bass and with mids and highs that aren’t distorted.

A micro USB charging cable is included with the speaker as well. Thanks to the smart technology on this speaker, you’ll be notified by a voice prompt when the battery is low and in need of a charge. Also included is a style jacket which it to be fitted over the FUGOO, an AC adaptor, and a 3.5 mm cable. We’re not done yet…use the button on the middle of the unit to answer and hang up calls for better convenience while running around the house!

Compatibility: Most standard Bluetooth compatible devices

Dimensions (HWD in inches) & Design: 7.4  x 2.9 x 2.3

Sound Quality:  Six speaker set up, 4 tweeters, 2 base drivers, 2 mid-sub woofers on each end. Provides 360 degree sound.

Battery & Playback Time: Li-ion batteries, 38 watt output, Up to 40 h (on half volume)

BUY | $179

Over $200

Marshall Kilburn

The Marshall speakers definitely have an old school look to them and give the impression of being built to last. There’s plenty of bass and really great volume packed into this speaker. With the built in sub-woofer, the mid-range and higher notes are really clear. Although this bluetooth speaker is a bit heavy and not so portable, it’s a great pick for having around the house and yard.

Marshall Kilburn

Compatibility: Most standard Bluetooth compatible devices

Dimensions (HWD in inches) & Design: 5.5 x 9.5 x 5.5, retro style design, removable carrying strap

Sound Quality: 2 x drivers, 4 x woofers

Battery & Playback Time: Built in battery, 15- 20h playback time

BUY | $228

SRX-XB40

Finally a portable speaker that has pretty much everything and one that will fill a room with intense bass! What’s great about this device is you can also pair it with up to 10 other compatible Sony speakers for more of a surround sound experience. This bluetooth speaker is also able to charge your other devices while in use. In addition, Google assistant and Siri activation are compatible with the SRX-XB40. The coolest feature has to be its LED lighting which is set for different sequences based on the songs being played.

Compatibility: iOs and Android, all other standard Bluetooth compatible devices

Dimensions (HWD in inches) & Design: 7.51 x 12.44 x 5.31, LED light and strobe settings

Sound Quality: Dual drivers, forward & rear passive radiators

Battery & Playback Time: Li-ion battery, 24h playback time

Operating Range: 50 ft

BUY | $148 (New lower price)

Audio Pro Addon T3

With a crisp look and design, this is a bluetooth speaker that is simple in make with an outstanding performance. The full sound and incredible balance that comes out of the Audio Pro Addon T3 is so fab you could listen to it day in and day out. To charge this beautiful beast, they’ve included a USB charging cable, and for portability, there’s a handle attached so you can easily carry it around.

Audio Pro Addon T3

Compatibility: iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Mac / PC

Dimensions (HWD in inches) & Design: 7.0 x 12.5 x 6.2, trendy modern design, leather strap

Sound Quality: Mid/base driver, 2 tweeters, 1 woofer, 25 watt total output

Battery & Playback Time:Li-ion battery, 30h on half volume/12h at max playback time

BUY | $249

Brookestone Big Blue Party

Whether you plan to use the Brookstone Big Blue Party, indoor or outdoor, you won’t be disappointed. Don’t let the limited hours of battery power turn you away from this incredible speaker which has a 360 degree range of sound and a massive amount of sound output. Look no further than this Brookestone when you’re wanting to invest in a bluetooth speaker for your next backyard party or get togethers; great for outdoor weddings and celebrations!

Brookestone Big Blue Party

Compatibility: Most standard Bluetooth compatible devices

Dimensions (LWH in inches) & Design: 6.3 x 6.3 x 15.8, gripped handle

Sound Quality: 4 full range drivers, subwoofer, passive radiator, 72 watt total output

Charging & Playback Time: 4400mAh Li-ion battery, 4.5 h playback

Operating Range: 33 ft

BUY | $176 (New lower price)

SoundLink Revolve +

Let’s welcome the new and improved Revolve from Bose; the best performing bluetooth speaker from the line. The Revolve + is built to last and is water resistant as well as being made from soft materials to cushion it in case you accidentally drop or bump it against something. This bad boy is compatible with Siri and Google Now also, to offer you more accessibility and convenience. Compact, portable, and able to be used as a speaker, the SoundLink Revolve+ really has it all.

SoundLink Revolve +

Compatibility: Most standard Bluetooth compatible devices

Dimensions (HWD in inches) & Design: 7.25 x 4.13 x 4.13, tote style carrying handle

Sound Quality: True 360 degree sound

Battery & Playback Time: Li-ion battery, 16h playback time

Operating Range: 30 ft

BUY | $199

Apple’s Home Pod

Looking for the smartest bluetooth speaker out; you may just have found it right here! With an appearance like a microphone, this bad boy won’t just play your music but can also share the news with you, send messages, schedule reminders and set timers just like your iPhone would. Apple is sure to make a hit out of the Home Pod; a device that won’t just collect dust on your shelf.

Compatibility: Most Bluetooth connected devices, great with Apple music

Dimensions (HWD in inches): 6.8 x 5.6

Sound Quality: 7 tweeters, six microphone array , A8 chip
BUY | $349 – Set for December 

Beolit 1by Bang and Olufsen

For a True 360 degree sound experience, the Beolit 15 is your answer to hard core balanced beats that will keep you grooving for hours. The craftsmanship on this B&O bluetooth speaker is truly a piece of work and has been built to last.

Beolit 15

Compatibility: Most Bluetooth compatible devices

Dimensions (HWD in inches) & Design: 9.1 x 7.5 x 5.4

Sound Quality: 2 x power amplifiers, class D treble & base, 240 watts total power

Battery & Playback Time: Li-ion battery, 24 h playback time

BUY | $419

More Than Just A Speaker

B&O Play A9

B&O Play A9

Looking for something a bit wild and crazy? The next time you think about buying bluetooth speakers for the house, why not redecorate a little as well. The B&O Play A9 is aesthetically pleasing and easily passes as a decor piece in your living room. You can either place this speaker standing, on its three leg stand, or mount it on a wall.

Compatibility: Bluetooth devices, Apply AirPlay, Spotify Connect

Dimensions (LWH in inches) & Design: 28 x 16.2 x 35.7, standing speaker

Sound Quality: 1 x 160 watt class D (base), 2 x 80 watt class D (midrange), 2 x 80 watt class D (treble), woofer, 2 midrange, 2 tweeters

BUY | $2,699

Let’s Summarize

I’m sure you’ve come to realize that choosing the best bluetooth speakers for your needs and requirements isn’t so easy when there are numerous options of brands and new models emerging on a regular basis. If you keep in mind the purpose for which you plan to use the speaker and ask yourself what are the most important features for you, narrowing down your search will be much easier. All of the speakers we’ve included in our list are high quality and are the best bluetooth speakers around in their price brackets. To wrap up, you can take a look below at the same list, separated into small portable speakers, medium size, and large.

Small Portable Speakers

Medium Sized Speakers

Large Sized Speakers (Around the house & yard)

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