Our tech expert appreciates the way Marshall’s Bluetooth speakers show off their classic looks and live up to the legendary sound.
Conveniently lightweight and compact, yet remains powerful enough to fill the entire room. Multi-host functionality allows users to connect multiple devices at the same time. Black shell and gold accents add both practicality and style. Use the included app to remotely control your speaker.
Too bulky for easy travelling. One of the more expensive models on the market.
The big sound from a small package is what makes the Klipsch Heritage stand out, according to our expert.
Polished wood offers a mid-century aesthetic for users to enjoy. Controls are straightforward and easy thanks to the manual knobs. Remains small enough to fit onto nightstands, bookshelves, and other tight spaces. Does not require any apps or complicated instructions to pair with your phone.
Some users are unimpressed by the amount of bass.
This super-compact speaker from Bang & Olufsen offers great sound and deluxe styling.
Speaker is certified IP67 waterproof and dustproof. Elegant, sturdy aluminum case. Leather strap. Spacious sound with good bass. Some 18 to 43 hours of battery life. Offers Alexa. Doubles as a phone speaker and mic.
Expensive. Requires app for smart options.
Anker continues to impress in the portable audio category with this powerful waterproof speaker.
Outputs 30 watts of sound from a pair each of tweeters, woofers, and passive radiators, with onboard DSP and stereo pairing capability. Certified IPX7 waterproof. Offers both USB-C and aux-in connections.
Our tech tester notes the professional quality of the built-in strap, bass booster, and color themes found with this model.
Lightweight construction and USB charging make this an excellent choice for individual listening. Offers exceptional bass despite the miniature size. Arrives with a strap for easy travelling. Offered in a variety of themes, including black, coral, powder blue, and more.
Still quieter than most other models, even at full volume.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Smartphones and tablets are amazing devices, but they all have one major flaw: their speakers stink. Music from streaming services, or even your personal MP3 collection, will sound fantastic through a good set of headphones, but if you want to play music out loud, you’ll be stuck listening to your device’s subpar, tinny speakers.
Thankfully, there’s hope — in the form of Bluetooth speakers. Using a Bluetooth speaker, you can connect your smartphone or tablet and enjoy your music as it was meant to be heard: with proper bass and treble, and wire-free. Bluetooth speakers come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from kid-oriented models that are just a few inches tall to boom-box-sized behemoths perfect for the beach.
If you’re ready to set up wireless streaming in your home, or you just want to set your music free, a Bluetooth speaker is your best bet.
Bluetooth is a wireless technology that connects devices over a short distance.
Bluetooth technology can connect headphones or headsets to a smartphone wire-free, for example. Wireless keyboards can connect to a computer over Bluetooth, too. Bluetooth is one of the easiest wireless connection technologies to use. Simply turn on the Bluetooth capabilities on both devices to make the connection. While the process for each device is different, most require only a few quick steps to confirm the connection.
Most Bluetooth speakers fit into one of four design categories. Think about how you’ll use the speaker before picking the best design for you.
Indoor Bluetooth speakers offer better sound quality than portable speakers. Large, high-quality indoor speakers can approach the audio quality of traditional wired speakers. Some indoor Bluetooth speakers run from battery power or an AC adapter. For a Bluetooth speaker you’ll use primarily at home and indoors, an AC adapter works great. The battery option allows you to take the speaker outdoors if you want.
However, unless the speaker specifically carries a rating for weather protection, only use indoor speakers outdoors on a dry day.
If you want to take your Bluetooth speaker to a picnic or poolside, look for a unit rated to work outdoors. Such speakers will offer water- or weather-resistant capabilities to protect them from the elements.
Some outdoor speakers are large enough to deliver high-volume sound while still providing good battery life.
Outdoor speakers sport a rugged design, too, which allows you to toss a speaker into a bag and carry it anywhere.
Portable Bluetooth speakers are extremely small. As such, they don’t deliver top-end audio quality. They especially tend to struggle with loud bass sounds. However, they’re great for walking or biking while listening to music if you don’t want to use headphones.
Some portable speakers are small enough to clip onto a backpack or belt.
If you want a portable unit that also delivers good audio quality, consider an outdoor-rated Bluetooth speaker. It will probably be too large to clip onto a backpack, but it will fit inside a backpack and stand up to rugged treatment during a hike or bike ride.
Some Bluetooth speakers have a specific task incorporated into their design. For example, some showerheads come with tiny Bluetooth speakers that fit into them. If you want to connect multiple Bluetooth speakers to one source, you’ll need a speaker with this particular feature built into it.
Some specialty Bluetooth speakers also have battery-charging capabilities. With this option, you plug a USB cable into the speaker and use the extra battery power stored in the speaker to charge another device, like a smartphone.
Most Bluetooth speakers are a single unit, though those units range in size from as small as a stick of butter to as large as a toaster. All sizes can sound fantastic, just be sure to pay attention to how many actual speakers are onboard--some have just one, so your music only gets produced in a single (mono, not stereo) channel.
Some speakers are cylindrical and amplify sound in every direction, which can fill up an open-concept room or fit easily in awkward locations. As with single-speaker units, 360-degree speakers often lose some of the sound separation offered by traditional stereo speakers, but they can still sound fantastic and are often paired with smart assistants like Alexa.
Many sets of powered desktop speakers also support Bluetooth connectivity, which is great for listening to your phone’s music from your desktop computer’s speakers. Stereo speakers have separate left and right speakers, so you can place them in different locations for the best effect.
A large wired speaker typically outperforms a small Bluetooth speaker in terms of overall audio quality. However, Bluetooth has quite a few advantages over wired speakers in other areas.
A serious audiophile won’t get the type of high-end audio quality he or she wants with a Bluetooth speaker. But for many people, amplifiers built into Bluetooth speakers deliver more-than-adequate sound quality.
Bluetooth connectivity is one of the easiest ways to make a wireless connection. Just place the two devices in proximity of each other, turn on Bluetooth, and the devices pair with each other.
Perhaps the best aspect of Bluetooth speakers is their portability. You can take them anywhere, indoors or outdoors, allowing you to play music wherever you go with no wires needed. Bluetooth speakers run from either a battery or AC adapter. The battery gives them even more portability.
Bluetooth speakers can connect with a variety of different devices. You can connect a smartphone, MP3 player, laptop, or tablet to a Bluetooth speaker.
And considering the poor-quality speakers built into these devices, connecting a Bluetooth speaker greatly improves the audio quality of these devices.
Many Bluetooth speakers include a battery that can power other devices. This means the speaker can charge your smartphone while you’re on the go.
A Bluetooth speaker has a maximum connection range of about 33 feet. A WiFi speaker has a maximum connection range of about 125 feet.
Some speakers can make use of both WiFi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity options.
Bluetooth speakers designed to be used at home use an AC adapter that plugs into a wall outlet.
Portable Bluetooth speakers run from a battery for on-the-go power. Some speakers offer both battery and plug-in options.
A. Bluetooth speakers offer a maximum connection range of about 33 feet from the source. As you approach 33 feet, the audio quality drops. You also may see lower quality when the speaker’s battery nears empty. Charging the battery while trying to play music may cause static as well.
A. A water-resistant speaker will stand up to splashing or light rain. A waterproof Bluetooth speaker can handle full submersion in water or extremely heavy rain. Look at the IP rating to figure out a speaker’s resistance level. The first digit in the two-digit IP number is the dust-protection number, while the second digit shows water protection. On a zero-to-nine scale, the higher the number, the better the protection.
A. There could be a few different reasons. First, make sure to turn on Bluetooth capabilities on the smartphone. Next, if the smartphone already has a few active Bluetooth pairings going, disconnect a couple of them. If that doesn’t work, try turning off the devices and turning them back on after a few minutes to reset. Finally, make sure the batteries on both devices are charged.
A. You can use any portable Bluetooth speaker in dry outdoor conditions. Just keep it out of direct sunlight for extended periods of time to avoid damage to the case. However, if you’ll be using your Bluetooth speaker in wet weather or near water, you need a water- or weather-resistant model.