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Whether you like it or not, more and more smartphone manufacturers are removing audio jacks to rely (almost) solely on wireless solutions. On the other hand, the advantages of Bluetooth in audio playback are undeniable, especially if we talk about speakers: no cumbersome wires that prevent movement, possibility to control the playback remotely and great portability are only three of the numerous points in favor.
On the other hand, wireless speakers can present annoying delays in playback (and thus lose sync with the video, for example) and often, in order to maximize portability, their audio quality is sacrificed. So how to choose the best Bluetooth speaker?
First, you need to know what parameters to evaluate when buying a wireless speaker.
Bluetooth speaker: which one to choose and what to look out for
The quality of a Bluetooth speaker is determined by a large number of factors that affect sound quality and possible uses. Among the many parameters we evaluate, there is:
Audio quality: considering that speakers are mainly used to play music, audio quality is one of the first parameters to evaluate. How many drivers does the speaker have? Is there a subwoofer? What is the frequency response? Are the sounds of the various frequencies balanced or the pumped bass covers all the rest? Questions like this are used to narrow down the selection.
Portability: what do you want to do with this speaker? Do you want to take it with you when you go for a picnic or it will always stay at home? In any case, the weight and size, as well as the shape and any carrying accessories count towards our selection.
Autonomy: Knowing how many hours of listening you should expect on a single charge is essential. There is an abyssal difference between a device that lasts for 4 hours and one that exceeds 20 hours.
Waterproof: If you want to take the speaker to the beach, to the pool, or just keep it in the bathroom while taking a shower, you better orient yourself on a waterproof model. By now many wireless speakers are equipped with an IP certification, you just have to search for it.
Volume: How loud should the speaker sound? Do you need it to play background music in your bedroom or do you want it for throwing a party? In short, the Watts are important (but be careful: more power does not always mean better volume or sound quality)
Various features: many other smaller features can improve the overall experience. NFC pairing, multiple device connections, microSD slot, aptX support, and microphone quality are just some of the many tricks that can distinguish one speaker from another.
Anker SoundCore Mini 2
For (Check on Amazon.com) you take home a really small Bluetooth speaker, equipped with a MicroSD slot, aux input, and FM radio. There is also a microphone for call answering and the autonomy is not bad, with 10 hours of playback. Considering how small it is, another strong suit of this small speaker is its power of 5W: as you would expect, at high volume, the audio quality is not the best, but at mid-volume, it sounds good, especially the bass.
JBL Go is the go-to model for those looking for a quality speaker at an affordable price: it costs (Check on Amazon.com) and sports the name and therefore quality of JBL brand. The autonomy is only 5 hours and the volume can’t get real loud, but the sound performance is more than decent, considering its small size. We have to praise the design and colors.
Anker SoundCore 2
In the (Check on Amazon.com) price range, one of the devices to beat is definitely the Anker SoundCore 2: this compact Bluetooth speaker with a rubber coating gives a great feeling of solidity, has an IPX5 certification and good sound quality, especially considering the price. The battery guarantees up to 25 hours of autonomy, and the volume is high enough to be used outdoors (it sports 2 6W speakers). This is the ideal choice for those who want a solid and reliable mid-range product, to keep at home but also carry around.
Tribit XSound Go
With a price tag of (Check on Amazon.com), the Tribit XSound Go is perhaps the best bang for your buck. It has excellent autonomy (up to 24 hours), an IPX7 certification and above all respectable sound.
Anker SoundCore Boost
Anker’s mid-range speaker, the SoundCore Boost (Check on Amazon.com), is one of the best choices for those who want to spend a little more in order to bring home a respectable speaker. This Bluetooth speaker has good sound quality and a rather high volume (inside we find two 10W subwoofers), up to 12 hours of autonomy and the BassUp button to raise the bass even more. In addition, it has an IPX5 certification and can also be used as a power bank. It really is a best buy.
The Sony SRS-XB21 is a great product in terms of quality/price ratio: excellent sound quality and autonomy up to 12 hours and an IP67 certification are some of its many strengths. But there is also NFC pairing, the possibility to connect up to 10 speakers to each other via Party Chain, the Extra Bass-button to “pump” the bass, and all of this for (Check on Amazon.com).
JBL Flip 4
If you want to spend (Check on Amazon.com) to bring home a powerful speaker look no further than the JBL Flip 4. This new speaker takes on the iconic design of the previous devices, but don’t be fooled by the cheeky looks: the JBL Flip 4 has a well-rounded sound, with full-bodied bass and crystalline highs. In addition, it is fully waterproof (IPX7 certification), has a battery that guarantees up to 12 hours of autonomy, and the JBL Connect+ function that can link multiple devices together.
Read more: JBL Flip 4 Review
UE Boom 3
The EU Boom 3 (Check on Amazon.com) is one of the most interesting speakers in its price range, not only because of its refined and colorful design but also because it resists shock and is completely waterproof (IPX8 certification). It also has good sound quality and autonomy up to 15 hours and 360° audio.
Read more: Ultimate Ears Boom 3 review
JBL Charge 3
This is JBL’s solution for the high-end market (Check on Amazon.com). This iconic speaker is fully waterproof (IPX7 certification), can be paired with other JBL devices to maximize sound performance via JBL Connect and has enough volume even when outdoors.
Read more: JBL Charge 3 Review
Bose SoundLink Color
High-end means Bose: this SoundLink Color is one of the best Bluetooth speakers in its price range (Check on Amazon.com). It offers the high sound quality, splash resistance (IPX4 certification), impact protection, 8 hours of battery life and NFC pairing.
At the top of the market, we also find Marshall, one of the most famous companies in the world when it comes to amplifiers. Beyond the company’s good name, the iconic gold and black design and the high sound quality, this Stockwell (Check on Amazon.com) boasts 25 hours of autonomy and knobs for adjusting the volume and each frequency range.
Creative iRoar Go
The Creative brand name is a guarantee when it comes to audio and this iRoar Go (Check on Amazon.com) is no exception: in addition to excellent sound performance, iRoar Go’s strengths include an integrated Soundblaster sound card, IPX6 certification, NFC for fast pairing, up to 12 hours of battery life (you can also use the device as a power bank) and many input options (microSD card, MicroUSB and Standard USB, Audio Jack and Bluetooth).
JBL Pulse 3
The JBL Pulse 3 (Check on Amazon.com) is not only a great Bluetooth speaker with enviable 360° sound quality, IPX7 certification and up to 12 hours of battery life, it is also a fantastic display item. The LEDs on the top create beautiful light effects that “dance” to the music. A really one of a kind product, highly recommended as a gift.
Read more: JBL Pulse 3 Review
Bose SoundLink Revolve (and Revolve+)
These cylinders (Check on Amazon.com) look like some kind of kitchen accessory, but they are actually two of the best speakers produced by Bose. The second model stands out for the “handle” at the top that allows it to be transported more easily. It also sports longer autonomy: 16 versus 12 hours. In both cases, we are talking about a great speaker with 360° audio and IPX4 certification.
Read more: Bose SoundLink Revolve (and Revolve+)
If you love the retro design of Marshall and want a high-end wireless speaker, Stanmore (Check on Amazon.com) is the answer: a solid speaker, with very high sound quality, with knobs to adjust the frequencies, RCA input (as well as a 3.5mm jack and Bluetooth). Note: It does not work on battery but only when connected to a power outlet.