Best All-around Wireless and Bluetooth Speakers

Review & Comparison, Last Update October 21, 2019
Bluetooth speakers are a fantastic portable solution for a size-or-quality dilemma. The sound is good enough to satisfy the most demanding users, the size is small enough to fit in a bag. Take your favorite music with you! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2019
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
CONNECTIVITY
POWER
BATTERY LIFE
HOUSING
EXTRAS
DIMENSIONS
WARRANTY
 
PROS

Analogue control knobs allow you to adjust not only the volume level, but also low and high frequencies. Integrated carry handle greatly facilitates the transportation of the speaker system (given that its weight is 5.5 lbs).

CONS

No app support for this device.

OUR VERDICT

This Marshall Bluetooth speaker is one of the most powerful portable models to date: 2 tweeters and a dimensional subwoofer total up to 36 W of output power, so you can easily throw parties with it.

detailed parameters
CONNECTIVITY

Bluetooth, 3.5-mm AUX input

POWER

36 W (2 x 8 W tweeters, 1 x 20 W woofer)

BATTERY LIFE

20+ hours

HOUSING

Plastic with a pebble grain (vinyl), flush mounted corner caps, solid metal grille (IPx2 water-resistance)

EXTRAS

Analogue control knobs (bass, treble and volume), carry handle

DIMENSIONS

9.57" x 6.42" x 5.51"

5.5 lbs

WARRANTY

1 year

PROS

Using the built-in stretchable bungee cord, you can mount the speaker anywhere: to a backpack, to a bicycle handlebar, to a cabin, etc. Also included is an inflatable floatie to listen to your favorite music while swimming in the pool.

CONS

Embroidered volume buttons are impractical.

OUR VERDICT

Despite its compact size and amazingly light weight of only 0.7 lbs, UE ROLL 2 will delight you with a loud, clear and high-quality sound. It will be the best solution for active people who are used to traveling with their favorite music.

detailed parameters
CONNECTIVITY

Bluetooth, 3.5-mm AUX input

POWER

Not listed (1 driver with 2 tweeters)

BATTERY LIFE

Up to 9 hours

HOUSING

Polyester (washable), rubberized plastic (IPx7 water-proof)

EXTRAS

DoubleUp feature (pairs with second speaker), control buttons, built-in stretchable bungee, floatie included, compatible with wireless control app

DIMENSIONS

5.3" x 5.3" x 1.6"

0.7 lb

WARRANTY

2 years

PROS

The design provides a modern USB Type-C port, which provides amazingly fast charging of the built-in battery in 2.5 hours. By the way, from one full charge the speaker is able to play music for 12 hours.

CONS

Connecting two JBL speakers together is time consuming.

OUR VERDICT

Many owners of the JBL Flip 5 note in it not only amazing sound, but also excellent wear resistance: the rubber housing with durable fabric material has IPx7 protection, so the speaker will not let you down even in the most extreme situations.

detailed parameters
CONNECTIVITY

Bluetooth

POWER

20 W (1 driver)

BATTERY LIFE

Up to 12 hours

HOUSING

Durable fabric material, rubber (IPx7 water-proof)

EXTRAS

PartyBoost feature (pairs with second PartyBoost-compatible speaker), control buttons, compatible with wireless control app

DIMENSIONS

7.1" x 2.7" x 2.9"

1.19 lbs

WARRANTY

1 year

PROS

The device can be controlled using a smartphone or tablet on iOS and Android: install the Ultimate Megaboom App, and you can adjust the sound using the 5-band equalizer, set an alarm, synchronize 2 speakers and much more.

CONS

Battery life is not as long as claimed.

OUR VERDICT

No matter what style of music you prefer, this speaker system can reproduce it with deep low, balanced medium and pronounced high frequencies. Spatial 360° Sound is another plus that you will definitely appreciate.

detailed parameters
CONNECTIVITY

Bluetooth

POWER

Not listed (2 drivers)

BATTERY LIFE

Up to 20 hours

HOUSING

Polyester (washable), rubberized plastic (IPx7 water-proof)

EXTRAS

DoubleUp feature (pairs with second speaker), control buttons, compatible with wireless control app

DIMENSIONS

8.9" x 3.4" x 3.4"

2 lbs

WARRANTY

2 years

PROS

Thanks to the built-in microphone with noise reduction function, you can answer calls even if the smartphone is far away. And it will also be useful for using voice assistants, with which it will become even easier to find your favorite music tracks.

CONS

Low connection range (20-30 ft.)

OUR VERDICT

You will be surprised at what this small BOSE Bluetooth speaker is capable of: the NFC-module makes the connection process easy and quick, the soft-touch silicone housing protects the internal components from splashes, and the AUX-in will be indispensable for wired connection of the MP-3 player.

detailed parameters
CONNECTIVITY

Bluetooth, 3.5-mm AUX input

POWER

Not listed (2 drivers)

BATTERY LIFE

Up to 8 hours

HOUSING

Soft-touch silicone (IPx4 water-resistance)

EXTRAS

NFC for fast pairing, built-in microphone, PartyUP feature (pairs with second compatible speaker), control buttons, compatible with wireless control app

DIMENSIONS

5.25" x 5" x 2.25"

1.2 lbs

WARRANTY

1 year

Marshall Kilburn II

Loud and Proud

Many people, especially musicians, are familiar with the brand Marshall, which is well-known for creating professional audio products, most notably their studio and concert grade amplifiers. What is unusual, though, is coming across one of their products that are meant specifically for a broad range of consumers. Marshall amplifiers have been used by the biggest names in music all over the world, yet you don't see any of their products out on the street every day, so finding a consumer device with their name on it is highly unusual, albeit a pleasant surprise for many.

The Marshall Kilburn II Portable Bluetooth Speaker brings the high studio quality sound that Marshall is known for to the world of portable Bluetooth speakers, with this model being one of the most powerful portable models to date: 2 tweeters and a dimensional subwoofer total up to 36 W of output power, so you can easily throw parties with it. Despite the fact that it is a consumer-grade product, the sound quality and loudness from this Bluetooth speaker are exceptional, showing off why Marshall is so well-known in the professional audio world. In fact, the design of the speaker itself resembles a guitar amp, further amplifying the image.

Review of Marshall Kilburn II Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Superb Engineering

Everything about this portable Bluetooth speaker from Marshall speaks of its overall quality, ranging from the sound output to the design of the unit. Analogue control knobs allow you to adjust not only the volume level, but also low and high frequencies, giving you perfect control over the sound output. The integrated carry handle greatly facilitates the transportation of the speaker system, especially given that its weight is 5.5 lbs, which is rather heavy for a portable Bluetooth speaker. What that extra weight gives you, though, is a loud and powerful sound that is simply unmatched by most other Bluetooth speakers, making this one of the most powerful models on the market.

To use this speaker, you can simply pair your mobile device with it through Bluetooth, or if you prefer, through a standard 3.5mm audio cable. One caveat with this model, though, is that there isn't a dedicated mobile app for controlling the audio output, so you may need to rely on the equalizer of your standard audio app for doing so. With that said, though, the default sound quality of this speaker is sure to please anyone. For those looking for an extremely loud and powerful Bluetooth speaker, there are few other models that can match this one.

Marshall Kilburn II Portable Bluetooth Speaker in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Logitech UE ROLL 2

Perfectly Portable

Probably the biggest benefit to having a portable Bluetooth speaker is in its portability. Being able to take the speaker with you easily wherever you go gives you a great amount of flexibility in its use, letting you become the life of the party no matter where you go. However, many Bluetooth speakers, despite their claim of being portable, really don't have much to work with when it comes to true portability. Just having a small size won't do much good if you can't use the speaker in certain situations, especially those where you don't really have a good place to put it. This really takes away some of its portability, with its use being restricted to only certain situations.

The Logitech UE ROLL 2 Waterproof Wireless Portable Bluetooth Speaker was made to be truly portable, offering far more to its portability than its small size. Using the built-in stretchable bungee cord on the back of the device, you can mount the speaker anywhere: to a backpack, to a bicycle handlebar, to a cabin wall, etc. Also included is an inflatable floatie to listen to your favorite music while swimming in the pool, which really takes away all of the restrictions that are par for the course with most other portable Bluetooth speakers.

Review of Logitech UE ROLL 2 Waterproof Wireless Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Durable Waterproof Housing

What really adds to the portable nature of this Bluetooth speaker is its highly durable waterproof housing, with the waterproofing good for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter. This means that you can truly use this speaker virtually anywhere you go, even in the middle of a swimming pool, or even in inclement weather if so desired. The hard outer shell of the unit is highly durable to any kind of damage, meaning that an accidental drop won't ruin the unit. On the outer casing are two large embroidered volume buttons that let you change the volume, although it should be noted that they can be extremely hard to press. Despite this, their design is quite unique, not being something that you see on most other similar models. You can also easily control the volume using the companion app on a mobile device, which also contains some awesome features that let you get the best out of this device.

Despite its compact size and amazingly light weight of only 0.7 lbs, the UE ROLL 2 from Logitech will delight you with a loud, clear and high-quality sound. It will be the best solution for active people who are used to traveling with their favorite music, and who don't want any restrictions on where they can use it.

Logitech UE ROLL 2 Waterproof Wireless Portable Bluetooth Speaker in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

JBL Flip 5

Lasts All Day

A common complaint that many people often have about Bluetooth speakers is that they tend to not last for very long, in regard to their battery life. Although many models are advertised as lasting for a certain amount of time on a full charge, they most often fall well short of that amount, due to a variety of reasons. Furthermore, many of them tend to take forever to charge up when the battery life is depleted, further adding to the list of complaints that people will have about their Bluetooth speakers. Wouldn't it be nice to have a model that does actually last for a long time, and which doesn't require all day to recharge?

The JBL Flip 5 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker is the best solution for those who are concerned about the battery life of their Bluetooth speaker. The design provides a modern USB Type-C port, which provides amazingly fast charging of the built-in battery in 2.5 hours, letting you fully charged up the speaker in just a couple of hours so you can take advantage of its portability. By the way, from one full charge the speaker is able to play music for 12 hours, which is long enough to last most users for a full day, so even the longest parties won't have to go without music.

Review of JBL Flip 5 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Excellent Build Quality

Many owners of the JBL Flip 5 note in it not only amazing sound, but also excellent wear resistance: the rubber housing with durable fabric material has IPx7 protection, so the speaker will not let you down even in the most extreme situations. Wherever you want to use the speaker, you are free to do so, even out near the pool or by the lake. The hard casing is also extremely resilient against damage and wear, so those who are using it on the move can be assured that the speaker can handle all kinds of abuse, assuming that you don't go overboard with it, of course!

One of the more unique and useful features of this JBL Bluetooth speaker is the built-in PartyBoost technology, which lets you pair up two identical speakers for true stereo sound. This essentially doubles the output power of your music while giving it the full spectrum of stereo sound that it deserves. It should be noted, however, that the process of pairing up two speakers can be a bit challenging at times, so it is best to do this beforehand so that you don't have to go for a while without music. Having said that, this feature along with the excellent build and sound quality will quickly make this model one of your favorite portable devices.

JBL Flip 5 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3

Great for Any Music

Portable speakers are often focused on their portability rather than many of the other aspects of speakers that music listeners care about, the most important of which being sound quality. The overall sound quality of a speaker is often its most important characteristic, which is something that many portable speaker manufacturers often seem to forget about. While being able to listen to music on a portable speaker is nice, it won't mean much in the long term if the sound quality isn't up to snuff. Unfortunately, many portable Bluetooth speakers just don't cut the mustard, with many being plagued with tinny sounds and poor sound reproduction.

The Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker is a great pick-up for those who want more than just portability from their Bluetooth speakers. No matter what style of music you prefer, this speaker system can reproduce it with deep low bass, balanced mediums and pronounced high frequencies. In addition, the Spatial 360° Sound is another plus that you will definitely appreciate, giving you stereo sound that swims around the room instead of just coming from one distinct direction. Many who have given this speaker a try have been amazed at its overall sound quality.

Review of Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

Control WIth Your Phone

One of the benefits of many Bluetooth speakers is the fact that they can be controlled from the audio source, and this model is no exception. The device can be controlled using a smartphone or tablet on iOS and Android: install the Ultimate Megaboom App, and you can adjust the sound using the 5-band equalizer, set an alarm, synchronize 2 speakers and much more. In short, just about anything you can possibly do with the speaker can be done with the app, making its controls extremely easy yet quite powerful. Of course, the speaker does also contain controls on the unit itself, with large integrated volume controls on the speaker that make it quite easy to quickly adjust the volume.

The outer shell of this unit is quite durable, being well-built and able to handle most conditions, thanks in large part to its waterproof design. Furthermore, the unit features a large battery that can give users up to 20 hours of playtime on a full charge. However, it should be noted that many users have reported that the battery life of their units typically falls well short of this, although it is still much longer than many other contemporary models. All said, this portable Bluetooth speaker will amaze anyone with its durable design and its exceptional sound quality.

Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Bose SoundLink

Bold Sound in a Mini Speaker

The Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth speaker II is a great speaker with a clear and high-quality sound that wraps you around for an immersive audio experience. The sound is always full of detail and bass. And unlike most other speakers from different brands, this one really shines when there's some distance between it and listeners, since the Bose SoundLink speaker II uses the acoustics of a room to the fullest. The loud sound the speaker provides is enough for use even with a laptop computer. And you can either connect it via Bluetooth or use a standard 3.5-mm audio cable instead. For accessing digital assistants such as Siri or Google Now, the speaker has a built-in mic.

The initial setup is almost effortless. It immediately connects to any phone without tons of false messages. Plus, it can instantly pair with NFC devices. And the helpful voice prompts will tell you what device you’re linked to. We would like to note that the speaker comes with a charging cable only - the power block isn't included in the package. However, even if you don't have a power block, you can charge it from a computer or power bank and use on-the-go. The battery life is reasonably good - you can listen to music continuously for up to 8 hours. And each time you turn the speaker on, the battery indicator shows the charge level for two seconds and the voice prompt announces "Battery High" or "Battery Medium" so that you know how much charge remains. This way, things will never go silent anymore.

The overall look of the speaker speaks that it's a luxury product. It's made of durable materials and designed in rounded, compact shape to fit into a bag or backpack. It has an IPX4 water-resistant mark and isn't afraid of rain or splashes. No matter whether you're caught in a storm or just listening to music near the pool, it won't be a problem for the Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth speaker II. The texture of the speaker is great to the touch - it feels very comfortable in hands and is easy to grip. So, if you need a high-quality speaker from the renowned manufacturer, which can keep water away and the music flowing for long hours, this is your choice.

Review of Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker

Bose Connect Application

Bose offers its own app that will really make the difference. It allows you to easily connect and switch between your devices with a single swipe. An intuitive interface not only makes connecting much simpler but also lets you personalize your settings. It allows you to customize such settings as voice prompt language, disable/enable voice prompts, disable/enable an auto-off function, and keep the speaker up-to-date with the latest software.

Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Infographics

Comparison of All-around Wireless and Bluetooth Speakers

What Is a Bluetooth Speaker?

Can't spend a day without music and sharing it with others, but your phone/tablet sound just doesn't cut it? There is no need to suffer from limitations anymore. A Bluetooth speaker is an easy-to-use portable device, which will allow you to enjoy the high-quality sound of your favorite tracks anytime and anywhere. Simply connect it to the device at hand - be it your laptop, phone or tablet - and freely listen to music while walking with friends or being out with your family on a picnic. What's more, many modern wireless speakers come with a built-in microphone so you can not only listen to music but also use it to answer calls should you connect it to your smartphone.

Having selected a speaker for use on the go, you might be interested in reading about speakers best used at home.

Best All around Wireless and Bluetooth Speakers

What Features to Compare

Interface

When selecting a Bluetooth speaker, the first thing to pay attention to is the interfaces it has. All of the modern portable speaker models are able to connect via Bluetooth, usually with a version 4.0 set by a manufacturer, which allows up to 10 m of distance for connectivity. Except for that standard connection, more advanced models are equipped with a high-speed NFC protocol used to synchronize devices simply by touching one of them to another. And there are models that offer you an alternative to a wireless connection - they can be connected via AUX audio cable. The most functional models, of course, have all of those features, wireless and wire-based alike.

Performance

When we are done reviewing all the different types of interfaces, the next characteristic to note is Bluetooth speaker's performance. The quality and loudness of sound would mostly depend on the general power of the speaker and in order to obtain good and qualitative sounding the power should be not less than 3W. For those who look into buying a speaker for the outdoor use where there are such interferences to the sound as wind, we would recommend getting one with a power between 10W and 20W. Due to the device being portable, its performance depends on the time a model can work on a single charge and also on the number of speakers inside. The usual operation time for Bluetooth portative speakers varies from 5 to 10 hours, but there are models able to last up to 12 hours after being fully charged. The number of speakers is also extremely important, as some may argue that devices with only one speaker are unable to transfer the full richness of the original sound. For those who seek the best of sound quality, we would recommend choosing a model with more than one speaker and, even better, a subwoofer, to experience everything the sound has to offer.

Other Features

Now it's time to have a look at other features of the model. For once - size, as the device is designed to be portable. Size and weight play a big role since they influence the comfort the speaker can be carried around with. Some might want to use their speakers near the pool or at the beach. In this case, they might want to consider getting one with some kind of water and/or dust protection. Also, there are models with a high accumulator capacity allowing not only a long working time but also charging your other devices using its USB port. For comfortable speaker charging some companies provide charging cradles. When you need to find your way through the unfamiliar area the speaker can help with voice navigation tips for some models come with a voice helper installed, which can easily help you search for information, order food, and keep up-to-date with the news.

How to:

FAQ:

Q: What is the range of the speaker operation?

A: The range of the device operation depends on the conditions of the Bluetooth signal transmission, such as the presence of various obstacles: large objects, walls, etc., on the signal path. The range of Bluetooth operation for this model is up to 30 feet in case there are no obstacles between the speaker and the source of the signal.

Q: Will there be any difference in the quality of the sound from the speaker when fed a Bluetooth signal from different devices?

A: The Bluetooth technology, which a speaker supports, is a digital one. Therefore, there will be no difference in the quality of the resulting sound whichever Bluetooth-enabled device you use with the speaker. With that, you can use any device you find most convenient to output the sound with via the speaker.

Q: Can I listen to music from such portable speakers except for using the Bluetooth connection?

A: Despite the fact that such portable speakers are designed to use the Bluetooth wireless connection as the primary one, they offer a wide range of connection options. Many speaker models have a built-in 3.5 mm audio input port for a wired analog connection, so you can connect these speakers to the audio out of your tablet PC, smartphone or a laptop via a cable. More advanced speakers can even operate as standalone mp3 players and play your mp3 tracks from a micro SD card (some models support up to 32 GB cards) without additional devices.

Q: How can I charge the speaker?

A: Most of the models have a built-in battery that can be charged via a cable. Some speakers are equipped with a USB port for charging, some speakers have a dedicated charging port. Most Bluetooth speakers though offer both options.

Q: What is the battery life of Bluetooth speakers?

A: The battery life of Bluetooth speakers varies greatly with the model and depends on several factors. The built-in battery capacity is of the most importance, the bigger the capacity the longer the speaker battery life. Though, the speaker output power and the loudness level, at which you listen to the speaker also play an important role. As a rule, the more powerful the speaker is and the louder the sound is, the shorter its battery life will be. Usually, Bluetooth speakers offer from several hours to several dozens of hours of battery life.

Q: What mobile devices are Bluetooth speakers compatible with?

A: You can pair your speaker with any Bluetooth-enabled gadget, including almost all modern smartphones, smartwatches, tablet PCs or even DAPs with the Bluetooth connection. For the most part, modern speakers are compatible with Bluetooth-enabled devices based on iOS, Android or Windows operating systems, but you need to check the specific model specifications to know for sure.

Q: Are Bluetooth speakers for outdoor or for indoor use only?

A: It depends on a speaker model, though many speaker models are designed to be suitable for both outdoor and indoor use. Such versatile speakers are usually manufactured in compliance with different environmental standards, which are listed in their specifications and manuals.

Sources:

1. Lewis Skinner How to Buy the Best Wireless or Bluetooth Speaker, Which?

2. Bluetooth Speaker Buying Guide, Best Buy.

3. How to Pick the Best Wireless Speaker, Consumer Reports. March 2016.

4. Electric Jen Choosing a Portable Bluetooth Speaker, Tesla Rati. March 3, 2016.

5. 5 Essential Things to Consider When Choosing Wireless Speakers, VentureBeat. November 17, 2014.

6. Natasha Stokes How to Solve Bluetooth Pairing Problems, Techlicious. December 22, 2014.

7. Wireless Speaker, Wikipedia.

8. Michael Calore Gift Guide: 21 Wireless Speakers for 21 Types of People, Wired. November 25, 2015.

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