Every music fan knows that Bluetooth speakers are a must-have. Apart from their impressive audio performance, their sturdy and portable designs make them the go-to solution if you want a travel-ready sound device.
The best Bluetooth speakers are built to withstand the hazards of outdoor gatherings and provide adequate sound for environments that lack acoustics. These features make them one of the essential items to bring along for time at the beach, backyard gatherings, and even poolside get-togethers.
Since smart devices are currently the craze, many Bluetooth speakers now have built-in smart features. They come with voice assistants such as Google Assistant and Alexa, which means you can request music, ask questions, and control your smart home devices using your voice.
You can always go for one of the many pair-and-play options with great offerings if you want a simple Bluetooth speaker with superb sound and want to avoid the shortcomings of smart speakers.
That said, choosing the right Bluetooth speaker can be an overwhelming task when you consider all the great available options. Thankfully, we've put together a comprehensive guide that will help you make the best decision.
How to Choose the Best Bluetooth Wireless Speaker for 2021
Before you take your pick, there are questions you need to answer and factors you should consider. What's your budget? How much battery life can you tolerate? What's your ideal size and weight? How loud do you want your speaker? What feature-set are you gunning for? And where do you want to use the wireless speaker?
Answering these questions takes you closer to choosing your ideal speaker. Once you've done that, go through the list that follows to find the speaker that ticks all the boxes.
What Is the Best Portable Bluetooth Speaker to Buy?
Since we've established that choosing the best Bluetooth speaker worth buying is a subjective matter, it's time to furnish you with a list of outstanding wireless speakers. Whether you're asking, "What are the loudest Bluetooth speakers in 2021?" or "What is the best inexpensive Bluetooth speaker?", we've got you covered.
While the Sonos Move speaker is relatively pricey, we'd argue that it adequately compensates with its feature-set. Its sound is great for outdoor activities, and you can comfortably use it as your main in-home speaker.
With a price that high, you'd expect the Sonos Move to pack a punch, and it doesn't disappoint. The speaker’s dual-quality drivers, smart audio tuning feature, which adjusts the speaker's sound output according to its surroundings, multi-room capabilities, and innovative built-in application with playback support for numerous wireless gadgets make the device stand out.
In tech-speak, it's equipped with
- 802.11 b/g/n, 5GHz, and 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi;
- Bluetooth 4.2;
- one mid-woofer, one down-firing tweeter, and two Class-D digital amplifiers; and
- USB Type-C connectivity.
What's more, you can rely on the speaker to go on for 10 hours.
If you can deal with the fact that the Sonos Move isn't quite suitable in a cinema set-up, its extra weight that comes as a result of its superb sound, and its price, you'll have one of the best Bluetooth speakers that money can buy.
The Sonos Roam is another great Bluetooth speaker from Sonos, perhaps one of the best on this list. It has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, weighs a meagre 0.95 pounds, and plays sound for 10 hours straight.
The speaker's powerful bass-heavy output, water-resistant and dustproof capabilities, rugged design for durability, and long battery life makes it ideal for outdoor settings. If you don't mind its rhythmic handling and low frequencies, its sharp Automatic Switching feature means it's also great for indoor purposes.
The Sonos Roam doubles as a smart speaker since it comes with Google Assistant and Alexa built-in. That means you can use your voice to request music and control other smart devices in your home.
The speaker gives you a real bang for your buck if you want something you can use outdoors and integrate into your multi-room Sonos set-up.
The UE Megaboom 3 may not have support for Google Assistant and Alexa, but it is one of the most impressive Bluetooth speakers to buy if you're not gunning for smart capabilities. The rugged IP67-rated design, lightweight form factor, long battery life, and superb sound system make it an absolute monster for pool parties, beach hangouts, camping trips, and other outdoor settings. It is durable and can easily survive the regular drops, splashes, and other elements that come with the outdoors.
The speaker has a 90Hz-20kHz frequency response, 15 hours of battery life, a 30+ feet Bluetooth range, and two 1.75" drivers. It also comes with a one-touch button that lets you choose your playlists without having to scroll through your phone, and you can connect it to older UE speakers for stereo output.
You can now get a customized UE Megaboom 3 as Ultimate Ears now lets you pick colors and patterns.
Don't let the UE Wonderboom 2's size fool you; it pumps out unbelievably superb sound for its tiny structure and relatively low price. The small 4-inch, 0.9-pound cylinder packs a 13-hour battery life, two 40mm active drivers, crisp vocals, a balanced tone, and throbbing bass. Whether you're partying by the pool or your backyard, heading to the beach, or going camping, the speaker's dustproof and water-resistant capabilities mean you can carry it along without worrying about wear and tear.
The Wonderboom 2 has the Outdoor Boost sound feature, which amplifies its sound to meet outdoor needs. It can also pair with other UE speakers to create massive stereo sound. Its less-than-$100 price tag also means you're paying less for a lot more.
This is another pricey speaker with rich features. It comes with built-in Google Assistant and Alexa and impressive Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to connect to numerous smart devices. Its sturdy ruggedness and stunning minimalist design mean it's always travel-ready, can withstand drops and splashes, and can blend into your home's decor.
The Bose Home Portable Speaker has a 12-hour battery life, USB charging, and a 2.4-pound weight. It's a great choice if you're looking for a smart speaker that can survive the outdoors and is easy to carry around.
The JBL Flip 5 goes straight to the point without fuss and frills. It doesn't pack so many features, but it's the absolute best at what it does. It's the right choice if you're looking for a Bluetooth-only speaker with a rugged build and beast-mode sound for outdoor settings.
The speaker's sonic performance is top-tier for something that comes in a little package. Whether you want to sit close to it or sing along while you run around the park, the JBL Flip 5 has the range for any condition. Also, maxing out the volume doesn't distort the little machine's sound as you get crisp and clear vocals and incredible bass at high decibels.
While the omission of voice control and auxiliary input comes as a let-down, it is a worthy sacrifice for the speaker's improved sound and durability. Also, the relatively cheap price makes it one of the best choices in terms of value for money.
The Anker Soundcore Flare is an upgrade to the Soundcore 2. By adding an extra $20, you'll be going for better sound and all-round performance and still spend less than $100. The Flare has a sturdy design, and its water-resistant and dustproof features mean it can withstand outdoor abuse.
The speaker comes with controls for bass boost, music playback, and the RGB LED. You can create a light show with the LED by setting it to pulse with your music. It comes with two full-range and two passive radiator drivers, Bluetooth 4.2 with an approximate range of 20 meters, and 12 hours of battery life.
While the sound can be a bit harsh when maxed out, the Anker Soundcore Flare produces admirable bass for a speaker its size. Overall, it's a great choice if you're on a budget and want to enjoy impressive sound quality outdoors.
The portable Bluetooth speaker space is no doubt very crowded. However, LG has found a way to stand out from the crowd. The LG XBoom Go PL7 boasts unique sonic and aesthetic features that can't be rivalled by other speakers.
While it may seem like eye-candy, the PL7 can survive the harshness of the outdoors as it's IPX5-certified. This means it can spice up your pool party and furnish you with incredible sound without being endangered by drops and splashes. However, you should avoid dunking it in the pool as it can't withstand being submerged without taking a hit.
The speaker has an impressive 24 hours of battery life, which can vary depending on use. It doesn't have built-in voice support for Google Assistant and Alexa although you can hold the play/pause button for a few seconds to trigger your phone's voice assistant. You can still take comfort in the fact that the Bluetooth range spans more than 80 feet indoors. Also, the XBoom app, which is available for Android and iOS, can be used to make small changes and trigger the Sound Boost effect.
The JBL Charge 5 sees improvements over its predecessor. While the changes aren't huge, the speaker unsurprisingly outshines the Charge 4 in specific areas that matter: sound and ruggedness. It's one of the best speakers in its price range if you want something that can withstand the weather, a few nasty bumps, and splashes. What's more, its 20-hour battery life means you can rely on it all day long.
Do note that the JBL Charge 5 lacks smart capabilities of any kind. Its app allows you to upgrade the JBL firmware and check out the speaker's battery life. This is where you can also enable PartyBoost to connect with other JBL speakers for stereo output and sound amplification. While the app isn't as sophisticated as the UE Megaboom 3's, it serves its primary purpose quite well.
JBL didn't drop the Charge series’ signature power bank capability with the Charge 5. You can use the speaker to juice up your phone's battery if it ever goes down while you're on the move and can't reach a charging outlet.
When it comes to sound, the Charge 5 is more balanced than the Charge 4, but the audio might sound distorted when maxed out at 94 dB. However, it offers crisp vocals and impressive bass output.
The Anker Soundcore 2 is the ideal Bluetooth speaker for bargain chasers. The tiny sonic beast produces impressively loud sound for its size, which only starts to be slightly distorted at really high volumes. It is IPX7-certified, which means it can survive dust, rain, and snow. That's not all, this cheap speaker lasts for a whopping 24 hours - a feat even high-end speakers can't boast.
There you have it: the best Bluetooth speakers for 2021. Everything you need is on the list, from pricey speakers to budget devices. Weigh your pros and cons and select the best wireless speaker for you.