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Published Oct. 8, 2021

Whether you’re having some friends over, headed to the beach, or just unwinding after work, a Bluetooth speaker is a great way to listen to your favorite songs without having to keep track of aux cords or nearby outlets. The best Bluetooth speakers are incredibly easy to use—all you need to do is turn it on, connect to it from your smartphone or laptop, and hit play. 

But there’s a ton that goes into picking a Bluetooth speaker. Do you want it to be portable, or is it going to live in one room in your home? Will you need something waterproof? And how often do you really need to charge your speaker? We looked into the best Bluetooth speakers on the market to narrow them down to the best five.

How We Picked the Best Bluetooth Speakers

Methodology 

There’s more to a Bluetooth speaker than meets the eye. To narrow our list down to five options, I looked at over a dozen different models and evaluated each based on the following criteria:

  • Size: With the exception of my pick for the best Bluetooth speaker for parties, it was important for me to choose models that weren’t too heavy or cumbersome to carry around in case you want to take the tunes outside. I also wanted to make sure that each speaker wouldn’t take up too much space and be distracting. 
  • Battery Life: There’s nothing worse than a song cutting out in the middle because your speaker’s battery died. I went with Bluetooth speaker models that had a long battery life and charged up quickly. 
  • Brand: While I didn’t rule out any speakers based on manufacturer, I stuck with audio brands that are known for packing a punch, like Anker, Sony, and Bose. 

The Best Bluetooth Speakers: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Anker Soundcore 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Long Battery Life

This small but powerful Bluetooth speaker is easy to transport, has high waterproof capabilities, and offers a longer battery life than comparable models.

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Why It Made The Cut: This small but powerful Bluetooth speaker is easy to transport, has high waterproof capabilities, and offers a longer battery life than comparable models. 

Specs:

  • Battery Life: 24 hours
  • Water Resistance: IPX7
  • Bluetooth Range: 66 feet

Pros:

  • IPX7 waterproof rating offers protection from rain
  • Long playtime
  • Can be paired with another Soundcore 2

Cons:

  • Anker reports that playtime may vary depending upon volume and audio content

The Anker Soundcore 2 is small but mighty. It provides 12 watts of power and a digital signal processor that minimizes distortion and amps up the bass. Anker further enhances the bass with a spiral bass port that increases low-end frequencies. A lithium-ion battery provides up to 24 hours of playtime, and the Bluetooth can be used from up to 66 feet away. 

At 12.6 ounces, the Anker Soundcore 2 is just about as portable as it gets. The speaker has an IPX7 waterproof rating, meaning it can be submerged up to one meter deep in water for 30 minutes without damage. Two Soundcore 2 speakers can also be paired together for maximum volume.

Best Value: Sony SRS-XB13 Extra BASS Wireless Portable Compact Speaker

Comes in 5 Fun Colors

This model offers up to 16 hours of battery life and comes with a carrying strap.

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Why It Made The Cut: At a budget-friendly price, this waterproof Sony speaker is tiny enough to be easily carried around and allows for hands-free calling. 

Specs:

  • Battery Life: 16 hours
  • Water Resistance: IP67
  • Bluetooth Range: 32.8 feet (10 meters)

Pros:

  • Compact and portable
  • Waterproof and dustproof
  • Includes a built-in mic

Cons 

  • Not as loud as larger models

The tiny Sony SRS-XB13 is perfect for outdoor gatherings. With an IP67 waterproof rating, it can withstand dust and survive for up to 30 minutes underwater. While it doesn’t provide a stereo sound on its own, a second Sony SRS-XB13 can provide a second channel for a fuller sound. And a handy multiway strap allows you to travel with it more easily.

This speaker comes with a built-in microphone to provide hands-free calling. Sony’s Sound Diffusion Processor (which uses a digital signal processor) bolsters the sound. Plus, the model comes in five fun colors—black, coral pink, light blue, powder blue, and taupe—to suit your space or personal style. 

Best Portable: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2

Rugged and Durable

Available in four colors, this model is built for the outdoors and provides 13 hours of playtime.

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Why It Made The Cut: This pick is waterproof and dustproof—and it can withstand a few drops on the ground, to boot. It can also heighten clarity and volume when you’re outside for a fuller sound. 

Specs:

  • Battery Life: 13 hours
  • Water Resistance: IP67
  • Bluetooth Range: 100 feet

Pros:

  • Long Bluetooth range
  • Floats
  • Intense bass

Cons:

  • Difficult to tell when the battery is low

I first came across Ultimate Ears’ WONDERBOOM line in the fall of 2018, when my study abroad roommate pulled it out to play music on our balcony. The tiny speaker worked wonders—it was easy to connect to and provided clear sound that didn’t overwhelm the space. I was also impressed that it had survived her more than 5,000-mile journey from the U.S. to Ghana. 

The WONDERBOOM 2 improves upon the previous model by providing three more hours of battery life and upgrading the bass intensity. It’s now also dust-proof and offers an “Outdoor Mode,” which boosts volume and sound clarity. The WONDERBOOM 2 is also available in four colors: Bermuda Blue, Crushed Ice Grey, Deep Space (black), and Radical Red.

Best Waterproof: JBL Charge 5

​​Includes a Powerbank

This durable model offers a long-lasting battery, a charging port for your device, and easy portability.

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Why It Made The Cut: The JBL Charge 5 gives you major sound in an easy-to-carry package. Its IP67 rating means its waterproof and dustproof, improving its durability. 

Specs:

  • Battery Life: 20 hours
  • Water Resistance: IP67
  • Bluetooth Range: 32.8-49.2 feet (10-15 meters)

Pros:

  • High waterproof and dustproof protection
  • Allows you to charge your device
  • Amped-up bass

Cons:

  • No rewind function

The JBL Charge 5 is great for both parties and individual listening. You can keep the party going with the 20-hour playtime, and its IP67 waterproof rating means it can handle being submerged in up to one meter of water for 30 minutes. Charge your device on the built-in powerbank while playing music simultaneously. Sound is enhanced with its separate tweeter for high notes and two bass radiators for deeper tones. 

The speaker is available in six colors: black, blue, camouflage, gray, red, and teal. You can check out our full review of the JBL Charge 5 here.

Tiny Package, Crisp Audio

Weighing less than a pound, this comes with a tear-resistant strap so you can bring the tunes anywhere.

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Why It Made The Cut: This mini speaker offers strong water resistance, solid sound, and hands-free control of your phone’s virtual assistant. 

Specs:

  • Battery Life: 6 hours
  • Water Resistance: IPX7
  • Bluetooth Range: 30 feet

Pros:

  • Durable outdoors
  • Built-in microphone
  • Can be used with Siri and Google Assistant

Cons: 

  • Sound not as strong as larger speakers
  • Lower playtime than other speakers on our list

Don’t let the soft exterior fool you—this ultra-compact Bose speaker is sturdy and reliable. It doesn’t easily scratch or dent, and it can withstand submersion underwater. The wireless range allows you to take calls from up to 30 feet away, while one charge provides up to six hours of playtime. 

This model is available in three colors: black, midnight blue, and bright orange. (The bright orange version of the SoundLink Micro is more expensive than the black and midnight blue models.) It also comes with a carrying strap for easy transportation, and two can be paired together for extra volume.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Bluetooth Speaker

Portability

Being able to bring a speaker to the beach, on a hike, or just to a friend’s place is incredibly convenient. You’ll want a speaker that’s only a couple of pounds maximum and that can fit in your bag—bonus points for those that come with carrying straps.  

Waterproof Features

Speakers often come with waterproof ratings like IP67, IPX7, and so on. An IP rating explains how much solid and water a device can withstand without damage. The first digit can be a number between 0 and 6, with 0 meaning that it has no special protection against solid intrusion and 6 meaning it is fully protected from dust and other particles, according to Enclosure Company. The second digit is usually a number between 0 and 9, with 0 designating no protection and 9 indicating protection against high pressure sprays. When either digit is “X,” it means that the device has not been rated for protection against solids or moisture. 

Bluetooth Range

If you don’t want to be sitting right next to your speaker just to play music, you’ll want to make sure it has a wide Bluetooth range. We’d recommend a range of at least 30 feet—each of those on our list has a Bluetooth range of 30 feet or more. 

FAQs

Q: Which Bluetooth speaker is best?

The best Bluetooth speaker is the one that suits your needs best—whether you need one that can withstand the elements, provide deep bass, or amplify your calls. Our pick for the best overall Bluetooth speaker is the Anker Soundcore 2, but if you’re on a budget, we recommend the Sony SRS-XB13.

Q: What is the average price of a Bluetooth speaker?

Bluetooth speaker prices can range from $20 to hundreds of dollars. A cheaper speaker doesn’t necessarily mean lower quality—budget options can still pack a punch.

Q: What are the qualities of a good Bluetooth speaker?

A good Bluetooth speaker should have a wide range, provide some level of protection against moisture, and, of course, offer quality sound. When it comes to range, we recommend looking for speakers with a Bluetooth range of at least 30 feet and an IP rating of either IP67 or IPX7.

Final Thoughts

With the best Bluetooth speaker, you can listen to your favorite songs wherever you are. It’s important to pay special attention to battery life, portability, and moisture-resistant. Our favorite is the Anker Soundcore 2 for its 24-hour battery life, a 66-foot Bluetooth range, and protection from limited underwater submersion.

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