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Which is the best Bluetooth speaker?

Bluetooth speakers let you stream music straight from your phone, so you have a whole world of music at your fingertips. Considering how most people consume music today, getting one of these speakers is an obvious choice for most households.

So, which speaker is the best one to buy? There are tons of JBL speakers, Bose speakers, JBL speakers and those from other brands. It can be tough to know which speaker to choose when there are so many options on the market. The Denon Home 350 Wireless Speaker is a quality choice overall, thanks to its excellent sound quality and versatility. However, the right speaker for you fits your needs. Here are a few tips and recommendations to help you choose the best one for you.

What to know before you buy a Bluetooth speaker

Wired vs. portable

Bluetooth speakers can either be wired or portable. Wired speakers plug into a standard power outlet designed for indoor use as a modern alternative to a CD stereo system. Because they can be larger, you generally get better sound quality for your money from a wired speaker than a wireless model. Portable speakers have built-in batteries so you can use them anywhere, like your backyard, at the park or on camping trips. They often aren’t as loud as wired speakers, but they’re ideal if you want to listen to music out of the house.

Multi-speaker pairing

Some Bluetooth speakers give you the option to pair more than one speaker of the same type so you can listen to audio in stereo. If you want a setup that will rival your old HiFi or stereo system, multi-speaker pairing is what you need. This will allow you to have a surround sound type of effect without having to rely on bulky cables to connect all the the speakers together.

Other connectivity options

Many Bluetooth speakers give you the option to connect and play music in various ways other than Bluetooth. It’s common for these kinds of speakers to connect to your Wi-Fi, allowing you to play songs from your favorite streaming service without the added step of Bluetooth pairing. If you’re using an Apple iPhone or iPad, you may also be able to use AirPlay to send music from your device to your speaker.

What to look for in a quality Bluetooth speaker

Voice assistant

High-end Bluetooth speakers can have a built-in voice assistant, such as Alexa or Google Assistant. Alternatively, some models pair with your phone in a way that lets you use your phone’s voice assistant to control the speaker. Either way, this allows you to use voice commands to play songs, pause, skip tracks and more. It’s a great way to control your speaker without needing to be right next to it. This can be useful if you’re using your speaker to play music or other audio content while your hands are busy with chores or something else.

Sound quality

Just because you’re buying a speaker that isn’t a stereo speaker doesn’t mean you need to compromise on sound quality. You can find some excellent wireless and wired speakers on the market that sound just as good as stereo speakers. When it comes to sound quality, you’re better off buying from big-name audio brands known for their quality speakers. Buying cheap speakers or unknown brands is a recipe for flat, tinny sound. Make sure to do your research and test out some speakers that you’re interested in so you can ensure that you have some with a great sound capability.

Battery life

The best portable speakers have decent battery lives. You want a speaker that will last a full day at the beach or keep you entertained all evening around a campfire. It’s best to get a speaker with a battery life of at least 8 hours, but some can last more than 15 hours between charges. The last thing you want is for a portable speaker to die out right in the middle of a party or other gathering.

How much you can expect to spend on a Bluetooth speaker

While you can find standard speakers for less than $100, you’ll get far better sound quality in the $100-$200 range. High-end speakers can cost well over $500, but they are often worth the cost. 

Bluetooth speaker FAQ

Do you need Wi-Fi for a Bluetooth speaker? 

A. Technically speaking, a wireless speaker is a speaker that connects to a Wi-Fi network, while a Bluetooth speaker pairs with your phone over Bluetooth. This allows you to play audio from your phone when you don’t have Wi-Fi, which is excellent for outdoor use. However, many new speakers have both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities. They’re both wireless speakers and Bluetooth speakers in one handy package.

Are Bluetooth portable speakers powerful? 

A. You might be wondering how powerful Bluetooth portable speakers are and if they’re loud enough for a garden party or other outdoor gathering. This varies between models, so there’s no definitive answer. Cheap portable speakers are often relatively quiet and can sound tinny if you turn the volume up too high. Higher-end portable speakers are more likely to be louder overall and maintain their sound quality when you crank up the volume. 

What is a Bluetooth speaker good for?

A. This type of speaker is good for projecting sound throughout your home, especially from mobile devices. It allows you to play music and other sound from these devices without tethering them to a speaker with a cord. Bluetooth speakers are also good for decoration or playing music on the go. Portable speakers, in particular, are great for taking with you to play music while you’re out and about. They don’t take up too much space in a purse or other bag, so they’re easy to transfer from place to place. 

What kind of speaker is best for camping trips?

A. When you do outdoor activities like camping, your belongings are likely to get dirty or wet easily. As such, it’s important to look for speakers that are certified waterproof and/or dustproof. You’ll also likely want to find something that is portable, especially if you are hiking to your camping destination. You don’t want to be too encumbered by a bulky speaker that takes up too much space and weight in your hiking backpack. Look for something portable and lightweight, and ideally find something that can hook onto your backpack for convenience. 

What are the best speaker brands?

A. The best speakers come from quality brands known for their sound fidelity. These include brands like Bose, Sonos, JBL, Anker and Denon. These brands produce good-quality speakers consistently, so you can rely on them to have good products. Some, like, Bose speakers, can be a little bit expensive, but the quality justifies the price. However, not all portable speakers are expensive. Some, like JBL speakers, are a bit cheaper but are still of a great quality. 

Best overall Bluetooth speakers

Top overall Bluetooth speaker

Best Denon Home 350 Wireless Speaker

Denon Home 350 Wireless Speaker

What you need to know: With excellent sound quality, this is a top choice for audiophiles.

What you’ll love: It features two tweeters, two woofers and two mid-bass drivers. This option has a built-in Alexa voice assistant and is compatible with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and AirPlay 2. 

What you should consider: This option is quite expensive.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top overall Bluetooth speaker for the money

Best Klipsch Heritage Wireless The One II Tabletop Stereo

Klipsch Heritage Wireless The One II Tabletop Stereo

What you need to know: Though this portable speaker is small, it produces a lot of good-quality sound for its size.

What you’ll love: It has a stunning mid-century aesthetic that will function well both as a decoration and as a speaker. The controls are straightforward and easy to use. You don’t need any complicated apps to control this speaker, either.

What you should consider: Some customers thought the bass wasn’t very impressive.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best Bluetooth portable speakers

Top Bluetooth portable speaker

Best Sonos Roam

Sonos Roam 

What you need to know: This is a great-sounding Bluetooth portable speaker for those who want to listen anywhere without sacrificing audio quality.

What you’ll love: It offers excellent value for money, a 10-hour battery life and it works with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and AirPlay 2. It’s also waterproof and drop-resistant.

What you should consider: You can find better wired choices for less money if you’ll be using it exclusively in the house.

Where to buy: Sold by Sonos

Top Bluetooth portable speaker for the money

Best Anker Soundcore Motion Bluetooth Speaker

Anker Soundcore Motion+ Bluetooth Speaker

What you need to know: This certified waterproof, budget-friendly speaker produces impressively powerful sound for the price.

What you’ll love: It can produce 30 watts of sound from its pairs of tweeters, woofers and passive radiators. You can also pair it easily with other speakers. It’s also very versatile in that if you don’t have a Bluetooth-enabled device, you can still connect your device to the speaker using either a USB-C cable or an auxiliary cable.

What you should consider: Unfortunately, this speaker is not dustproof, so it’s not ideal for outdoor activities like camping where it can get dirty easily. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best Bluetooth Bose speakers

Top Bluetooth Bose speaker

Best Bose SoundLink Revolve

Bose SoundLink Revolve+

What you need to know: This portable speaker has the sound quality buyers have come to expect from Bose speakers.

What you’ll love: The 360 speakers sound great from any angle. They’re easy to pair with Bluetooth, are water-resistant and have an impressive 17-hour battery life.

What you should consider: You may prefer if it was waterproof rather than water-resistant.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Bluetooth Bose speaker for the money

Best Bose Soundlink Color II

Bose Soundlink Color II

What you need to know: This water-resistant Bose speaker is portable and has a built-in microphone for conference calls.

What you’ll love: This fun portable speaker comes in four colors: aqua blue, citron, polar white and soft black. It has a long battery life and is easy to pair with other Bose speakers and smart products. Though it’s a small portable speaker, it has the same impressive sound that Bose speakers have come to be known for. It’s very durable and water-resistant — perfect for outdoor activities like camping. 

What you should consider: Some people had trouble connecting this Bose speaker with the accompanying mobile phone app.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best Bluetooth JBL speakers

Top Bluetooth JBL speaker

Best JBL Charge 5

JBL Charge 5

What you need to know: This high-quality JBL speaker is loud and waterproof enough to use at a pool party.

What you’ll love: This JBL speaker comes from a well-known brand and produces a clear, loud sound. It can double as a portable charger with its USB-A port, too. It’s very durable, so will hold up just fine when used outdoors.

What you should consider: It’s a mono speaker, not a stereo one. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Bluetooth JBL speaker for the money

Best JBL Clip 4

JBL Clip 4

What you need to know: The dustproof and waterproof nature of this JBL speaker makes it the ultimate portable speaker to take on a camping trip.

What you’ll love: This JBL speaker has a built-in carabiner that makes it perfect for attaching it to a hiking backpack. It’s a compact speaker, yet it produces a powerful sound. It’s completely waterproof and dustproof. It’s perfect for taking on the go, especially for outdoor adventures.

What you should consider: You can’t use it as a speakerphone to make calls. It doesn’t have an internal microphone.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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