Jamming out to your favorite tunes poolside or at the beach can take a good day and make it great. But if you want to do it, you need a durable and waterproof Bluetooth speaker. They can stand up to the elements, are battery powered and are capable of streaming songs from mobile devices so that you can rock out anywhere.
There are many waterproof Bluetooth speakers to choose from these days, but not all are created equal. In fact, some aren’t technically even waterproof. To help you separate the wheat from the chaff, we have put together this handy buying guide.
If you are considering purchasing any waterproof product, it is vital to understand the Ingress Protection Code. Many companies tout their speakers as waterproof even though they only carry an IP4 rating. An IP4 rating means the item can withstand sweat, light rain and the occasional splash of water. In other words, it is only mildly water-resistant. As the IP rating value increases, the better protected a speaker or other electronic is against water intrusion.
To be considered truly waterproof, a speaker must carry at least an IPX7 rating. This may sometimes be written as IP67 if it has a dust and solid particle ingress protection rating. IPX7 rated speakers can be submerged down to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes without sustaining damage.
Battery life varies significantly in waterproof speakers. Some lesser-quality models may only offer 2-3 hours of battery life, while others can run for up to 20 hours or more before needing to be recharged. If you want a speaker that can last a full day at the beach or pool, make sure to choose a model with optimum battery life.
All waterproof Bluetooth speakers will allow for wireless connection to a smartphone or tablet. However, some offer additional connectivity options that can be useful. Models with an AUX jack will enable you to connect to old, non-Bluetooth-equipped MP3 players via an audio cable. If you want to playback from an SD card, look for a speaker with a memory card slot. Many units also feature a USB port for playing music from a flash drive and charging mobile devices.
Bluetooth technology has come a long way. While Bluetooth speakers may not satisfy true audiophiles, the quality is more than adequate for most users. The majority of people can’t even tell the difference between the quality of music streamed over Bluetooth versus music sent via a cable.
Watts can be a helpful indicator of how loud a speaker can get, but only in very broad terms. A 1,000-watt speaker will be louder and offer better sound quality than a 100-watt speaker, but this isn’t necessarily true for a 150-watt speaker versus a 100-watt speaker.
Other specifications like sensitivity and sound pressure levels also make a difference. Certain companies, such as Bose and JBL, are known for making low-wattage speakers with excellent sound quality that get very loud.
Producing deep bass from a reasonably small package, the Charge 4 is easy to take on the go and loud enough to be heard over the sounds of crashing waves and energetic conversations. It features eye-catching LEDs and offers 12 hours of playback timer per charge.
This boombox delivers rich and powerful sound that can get a party started, and, thanks to its 24-hour battery life, it can keep on going all night long. Though it’s a bit heavy, at 11 pounds, it has a handle for convenient carrying.
It’s easy to take the Clip 4 on all of your adventures with a compact and lightweight design and an integrated carabiner for attaching it to a backpack. It recharges quickly via a USB-C port and comes in several stylish colors.
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You can link up to 50 EcoBoulder Max speakers together, with up to 30 feet between each one, so no matter how big the crowd is, everyone can jam to the same music quality. A telescoping handle and rear wheels make it easy to move, and the passive oval subwoofer produces a nice, deep bass.
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The Wonderboom 2 offers big sound from a small package, and it even floats in water in case you drop it in the pool. A boost button enhances the sound and clarity for noisy outdoor environments, and the 13-hour battery life should see you through a full day’s use.
Thanks to its 360-degree output, people on all sides of the Boom 3 will be able to hear the music clearly. It offers simple operation, with just a single button for playing and pausing music and skipping tracks.
The SoundLink Micro proves you can get good sound from a small package. It has a microphone for use as a speakerphone, and its audio is surprisingly crisp and clear. However, its 6-hour battery life is lackluster.
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Wrapped in a ruggedized rubber jacket, the Jolt can stand up to just about anything. In addition to boasting an impressive 30-hour battery life, it also features a Qi-enabled wireless charging pad for keeping your phone topped up.
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With ten colors to choose from and 24-hour battery life, the SRS-XB43 may impress your friends with both its longevity and stylish looks. It’s no slouch in the audio quality department either, with deep bass, clear vocals and a Live Sound mode.
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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.