Nowadays many of us stream music through our smartphones, tablets and laptops which makes traditional speaker units seem a little outdated when there’s tangled wires and portability issues to contend with. That’s why we’d recommend a Bluetooth speaker. They offer a high-quality sound over a wireless connection which is especially useful for pumping up the volume when following workout apps or Youtube videos to keep fit through Covid-19.
Not only are most Bluetooth speakers small and portable, a few are waterproof, while others are powerful enough to fill the room with a rich and clear sound. Some are compatible with Siri and Google Assistant thanks to built-in microphones, and a few high-end models can charge your phone wirelessly, or even use technology which adjusts the EQ to match the room.
Navigating the world of Bluetooth speakers is easy when you’re in the know and we’ve compiled a short buyer’s guide and a roundup of the best Bluetooth speakers to quickly get you up to speed.
Buyer’s Guide to Bluetooth Speakers
Portable or fixed speakers
Quality portable speakers have built-in batteries that give a music playtime of eight hours or more. Naturally, the battery life varies between speakers — depending on its size and how much you spend. Comparatively, fixed Bluetooth speakers don’t come equipped with a battery and have to be plugged into a mains supply but what they’re lacking in portability they make up for in the quality of their sound.
Ruggedised and waterproof speakers
Rugged speakers will be shockproof, which means they can survive occasionally being dropped or thrown around, while water resistant models come with a waterproof rating (known as an IPX rating) to let you know how long they can be exposed to water for. Most models have an IPX4-rating which means they can withstand the odd splash. Pricier Bluetooth speakers often come with an IPX7-rating, as they can survive being submerged in up to 1m of water for 30 minutes.
The Best Bluetooth Speakers Of 2022
You get two for the price of one with the Juice Duet speakers. Thanks to a clever magnetic mechanism, the speakers can be played together as one unit or separated up to 10m apart to deliver stereo sound. Each of the units feature a 3W driver, they’re IPX4-rated which means they can withstand a few slashes and dust exposure, and have a six hour playback time. That’s impressive for dinky Bluetooth speakers that cost under £20.
Tribit XSound Go
These speakers tick an awful lot of boxes considering they’re just £30. The IPX7-rating means it’s waterproof to a limited of being submerged in 1m depth of water for up to 30 minutes, and with a 24-hour battery life, you’re all set for day trips – even weekend getaways if you don’t need music while you sleep. Hiding in its diminutive frame are dual 6W power drivers and control buttons on the top which makes it easy to adjust the volume and switch songs. The sound can wobble at higher volumes as other speakers in the list, but for this price it’s fantastic value.
JBL Clip 2
None are more portable than the JBL Clip 2 Bluetooth speaker. Use the carabiner to attach the circular speaker to your clothing or backpack and take your music on all your travels. Its fully waterproof and rugged design means it’ll outlive all of your adventures and it can be paired with another JBL Clip 2 speaker to give a louder sound. Small, versatile, and durable, the JBL Clip 2 gives a high-quality sound (just don’t expect it to fill a big room) and has a built-in microphone for hands-free calls.
Ultimate Ears MegaBoom 3
The Ultimate Ears MegaBoom 3 comes with many cool features but our favourite is that it can float on water while it plays music. Combine that with a dustproof and shockproof design, a powerful, omnidirectional sound that’s complimented by a strong bass and treble, a wider Bluetooth range than earlier models and 20 hours worth of playtime, and you’ve found the perfect party speaker. You can even pair the speaker with up to 150 other Boom and MegaBoom speakers for an even bigger sound.
Bose SoundLink Revolve
This small, portable Bluetooth speaker from Bose gives an exceptional sound that’s capable of filling a mid-sized room. Its Stereo and Party modes give you the freedom to pair with other SoundLink Revolve speakers for an amplified sound and with an IPX4-rating, there’s no need to worry about spills. A single charge gives 12 hours worth of playtime, while the built-in microphone gives access to Siri and Google Assistant. Plus, with a clever volume-adaptive EQ algorithm, the speaker will maintain a refined sound without distortion even at loud volumes.
B&O Beoplay A1
Consider the B&O Beoplay if you’re a fan of the JBL Clip 2 but want a crisper, richer sound. Unlike the Clip 2 which has an RMS power output of 3W, the Beoplay A1 uses two 30W amplifiers to power its aluminum core subwoofer and tweeter to give a refined sound. The portable device’s strap makes it easy to cart around, its circular design and sleek black colour looks stylish and with an included microphone it’s ideal for conference calls, which is ever needed in today’s climate. The lightweight Bluetooth-enabled speaker also lasts a full day on a single charge.
Libratone Zipp 2
This Danish audio brand has thrown technology’s kitchen sink at this speaker: connect to it over Bluetooth or WiFi; run it off the 12-hour long battery or the mains supply; use the integrated Amazon Alexa, Spotify Connect or AirPlay 2; and control the whole caboodle through an intuitive app that’s easy to get to grips with. Its zipped design makes a statement but also means you can remove and clean the cover, or replace it if you fancy a change of colour. It's a pricier Smart speaker than the likes of the Echo family, and it doesn’t come with waterproofing, but its powerful sound makes up for that.
Naim Mu-so Qb (2nd Gen)
The Naim Mu-so Qb (2nd Gen) Bluetooth speaker boasts many useful features, including an illuminated volume dial, a compatible Naim app and small remote control. Inside the speaker you’ll find high powered drivers - one bass, two mid-range and a pair of tweeters - which are powered by 300W amplification. The result? A clear, rich and impressive sound that’s enough to full all room sizes. The Mu-so Qb is the priciest Bluetooth speaker to be included on this list but it’s truly the best of the bunch in terms of delivering a top class sound.
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