Bluetooth technology advances every year, with these advances bringing with them, amongst other benefits, vast improvements in sound quality and battery drain economy, two things that are important when it comes to portable Bluetooth speakers. But, with so many brands and models of Bluetooth speakers now available, and with new models being released every year, how do you know which is the best portable speaker for you?
Well, we’re not sure we can answer that question for everyone, but we certainly have some recommendations. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, a little spoilt for choice, keep reading and we will provide you with some of our recommendations for Bluetooth speakers that are available right now, as well as answer some of the more common questions you and people like you might have about portable Bluetooth speakers.
Why Bluetooth speakers?
To put it as simply as possible, Bluetooth speakers are the most versatile speakers you can own.
- They connect wirelessly to your smartphone, tablet, or other devices, meaning there are no additional wires.
- They’re durable, meaning they will work in just about any environment.
- They’re portable, which ties into those first two benefits.
- They’re highly compatible, not to mention fully automated and simple to set-up.
- They’re upgradeable, with the new versions of Bluetooth being developed designed to be backwards compatible with your existing devices.
- And they’re affordable, especially when compared to you’re more elaborate home Hi-Fi setups, but also when it comes their power consumption and the costs associated with batteries and electricity.
What are the best portable Bluetooth speakers?
Excellent, let’s cut to the chase. The thing is, as we alluded to in the intro, there really isn’t just one “best” portable Bluetooth speaker. There are several factors to consider when choosing which Bluetooth speaker is the best one or you. These factors include where you’re going to use it, what you’re using it for, how often you’re going to use it, if it needs to match you’re existing décor, and, of course, your budget.
Now, that may seem like a lot of things to consider, but don’t stress, there are some pretty clear choices you can make when it comes to each and every one of these. Let’s have a look at them one-by-one.
1. Where are you going to use your speaker?
Firstly, is this Bluetooth speaker going to be primarily used indoors or outdoors. Of course, being a portable speaker, you’re never limited to where you use the speaker, however coupled with some of the other considerations, your decision here could be dictated by whether you plan on using this speaker in your home office, in the backyard, or for a day at the beach.
2. What you’re going to be using your speaker for?
You can look at this in two ways: (a) Is your speaker going to live in one room most of time or is it going to carried with you every time you have a social gathering? (b) Is this speaker going to be used for listening to music, listening to podcasts or audio books, in meetings or conference calls, or some combination of the three?
3. How often are you going to be using your speaker?
And for how long each time? Will you be using this speaker daily? Will you be using it for extended periods of time?
4. Does it match your existing décor?
Does it need to? Let’s face it, the aesthetic appeal of the Bluetooth speaker is going to play a big part in the decision you end up making. Shape, size, colour and design will all play a role in this.
5. What’s your budget?
Tying everything together, how much were you looking to spend on your Bluetooth speaker purchase? I this is going to be your main audio delivery and consumption method, perhaps you’re willing to shell out a bit more of your hard-earned than if it’s only going to be used dozen times a year? Bluetooth speakers begin at around $10 – $20, with the top-of the line models priced somewhere in the vicinity of $600 – $700, so we’re talking about a significant price range here.
What is so great about a Sonos system vs Bluetooth?
A Sonos system is a fantastic option if portability isn’t what you’re looking for with this purchase. The main difference between Sonos systems and Bluetooth is that the Sonos systems communicate via Wi-Fi, allowing your device to preserve battery and providing higher overall audio quality. Sonos systems will also continue playing whatever music you’ve selected, even when your device is receiving notifications or using other apps. Finally, Sonos and similar Wi-Fi connected systems give you the option of playing the same song or different songs in different rooms of your house and offer a level of sound optimisation relevant to each room that Bluetooth technology just can’t offer.
Having said all that, Bluetooth isn’t without its own advantages, the most obvious of which is the portability factor. The convenience of being able to take your sound with you wherever you go is something that cannot be overstated. In addition to this, Wifi isn’t everywhere, Bluetooth is. All you need is two compatible devices a.k.a. your speaker and your phone. Bluetooth is also significantly simpler to set-up, with two or more devices, and does not require any additional tech. It also, in the grand scheme of things, consumes less overall power than a full WiFi setup.
What is the best Bluetooth speaker with good bass?
Oh, great question. If bass-heavy music is your jam you’re going to want a speaker that can reproduce that warm and full, boomy sound. We have a few recommendations here, hopefully one to suit every budget, with the three options we have chosen all retaining that portability/versatility advantage. And don’t worry, we’re going to talk about the older cousins of this lot in just a moment.
First up, believe or not, on top of all the other wonderful features this little device offers, the Amazon Echo Smart Home Hub 4th Gen includes an upward-firing woofer and dual tweeters for rich, detailed sound including deep bass. Alexa may not be everyone’s cup of tea – she’s not really one for taking with you on the go – but, with her voice activation and smart home synchronisation she can be extremely helpful when you really want to hear that bass-heavy banger and your hands are otherwise occupied.
In this category you also have the Sony SRS-XB23 Extra Bass Wireless Speaker.
The Sony SRS range of wireless speakers are, generally speaking, a safe option for those wanting to bring the bass to the forefront of their listening experience. We lean towards this mid-price option because we favour the vertical design and the fact that it is available in your choice of 4 different colours. The XB23 achieves its extra bass thanks to its dual pass radiators and full-range speakers that enhance low-end tones.
The high-end option in this category, the Ultimate Ears Hyperboom Bluetooth Speaker has precision woofers, passive radiators and soft-dome tweeters for a dynamic range of sounds, heavy bass and high-fidelity listening. It has adaptive EQ, so it automatically levels your music to the type of room that it’s in and can connect to 4 devices at a time, so you and your friends can take it in turns dropping the bass.
What are the best outdoor party speakers?
Another good question, and one that ties into the previous question for a lot of people. Again, we have a couple of options, both of which will help you bring the party. Just keep in mind, listening to your favourite true crime podcast in the comfort of your living room and pumping out the jams for 40 of your closest friends in your backyard are two different ball games and you’re going to be paying for that the difference.
First up, the BlueAnt X4 Portable Bluetooth Mini Party Speaker can connect up to 50 compatible speakers, includes 5 LED light modes and a bass boost button, and has an IP54 splashproof rating, so ticks almost every box you need it to when it comes to portable DJ replacement technology. The speaker itself boasts a 133 mm Woofer, a 51 mm tweeter, and a bass vent, perfect for kicking out the jams, or whatever it is the kids do these days.
And then there is the JBL Partybox 310 Portable Bluetooth Speaker which features 2 x 176mm woofers and 2 x 65 mm tweeters for bigger, more immersive sound. It also has a dynamic light show that dances to the beat with party-appropriate pulsing and strobing effects. This one also boats a mammoth 18 hours of music-blasting battery life that’ll keep you and your gathering going from day though night and all the way until the next day.
What is the best waterproof Bluetooth speaker?
We’re going to go out on a limb and assume that you’re asking this question because you’re going to be using your speaker at the beach or by a swimming pool. Either that or you’re a person who enjoys long bathes with a glass of wine, a candle, and some soothing sounds to help you relax. Before we give you our picks, just know that we approve of all these activities.
With that out of the way, the Geeks2U family are fans of Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Portable Speaker which has a IP67 waterproof rating, one of the highest ratings you can get, which means it is protected from immersion between 15 centimeters and 1 meter in depth. Like most of the UE range, it is also compact, stylish and has that 360-degree spatial sound design that make sit a great option for listening to music in the house or by the pool.
Otherwise, JBL offer a couple of wonderful waterproof options, one at either end of the price scale. The Charge 5 is the more costly option, offering that same IP67 waterproof rating along with JBL bass radiators, and doubling as a power bank, which coupled with it’s long-lasting 20 battery life, allows you to charge your devices while you’re sitting in the sand, staring at the sea.
The Clip 4 on the other hand is ultra-portable and features an integrated carabiner that allows you to hook the speaker to your belt or bag strap when you’re hiking through the great outdoors, or to your shower caddy fo you can enjoy a little sing-along while you’re making sure you’re so fresh and so clean.
Can I get an environmentally friendly Bluetooth speaker?
You sure can, my friend. The wonderful folks at Out Pure Planet have several Bluetooth speakers that are perfect for the environmentally conscious tech user. The great thing about the Our Planet range is that they are 100% eco-friendly, being 125% plastic regenerative, 100% carbon neutral and packaged in 100% recycled cardboard.
We would recommend either the Our Pure Planet Bluetooth Speaker 300XP or the Our Pure Planet Bluetooth Speaker 700XHP, both of which are constructed from bamboo, giving them a natural look that you don’t find in the other speakers we’ve spoken of so far. Plus, both these speakers are portable, provide up to 3 hours of audio from each charge and offer both wired and wireless connectivity.
What are the best-looking Bluetooth speakers?
Ahh, the aesthetics of it all. Sorry to sound like a broken record (pun partially intended), but once again this one comes down to personal preference. We’re quite partial to the variety of size, shapes and colours offered by Ultimate Ears, particularly the Unicorn colourway of their Boom 3 option. Aside from being a stylish and colourful choice, the Boom 3 offers 360 degrees of spatial sound as well as its own dedicated app which you can download onto your smartphone and use to control the volume adjust the EQ and more.
Of course, we wouldn’t argue if you chose the JBL Pulse 4 Bluetooth Speaker with its 360 degrees of LED lighting, JBL Signature Sound Technology and crazy-long 12 hours of listening time. And at the cheap and cheerful end of the spectrum, the thecoopidea Journey Mini Bluetooth Speaker is one of the most compact speakers on offer, with a fun, fabric grill design and an impressive 3 hours of play time.
Do you need help picking the most appropriate Bluetooth speaker for you?
Regardless of which option you decide to go with – one of the Bluetooth speakers listed above, or one of the dozens of other options out there – we can help! Geeks2U can provide expert advice and make sure that your new tech purchase is not only appropriate for your needs, but also that it is calibrated exactly how you need it to be.
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