Hot weather means two things: pools and beaches. But those aren’t the best places to bring your electronics. It doesn’t take a scientist to know that water and electricity don’t mix. That means if you want to bring your favorite speaker to have some tunes on the beach you’re out of luck, unless of course that speaker is waterproof. Luckily there are plenty of companies making water-resistant or waterproof speakers and all of them are hoping their product is the one you grab with you before you head out. So which ones are the best for you? Let’s look at some of the important things you should know before making your purchase.
Water-resistant vs Waterproof
The first thing to be aware of is just how much water can the product take? Not all speakers are created equal and some are more resistant and durable than others. One way to know exactly how durable a speaker is by looking at it’s IP rating. This is a set of standards that a product must be put through and survive in order to get the certification. The full charts are available here if you’re interested, but the common ones you need to know are these:
Depending on where you’re going to be using the speaker some things might be more important than others. If you’re taking it to the beach you might not be so worried about water damage (unless you plan on losing it in the ocean) but dust and sand resistance is probably something you should consider. Likewise if you’re going to be using it poolside there likely isn’t going to be a lot of sand around. But if it accidentally gets knocked into the pool it’s good to know just how waterproof it is.
So what are the benefits of a waterproof speaker? Besides the obvious advantage of not having to worry about water damage, they’re also usually fairly durable. Like any electronic dropping it isn’t a good idea, but these devices are made with the knowledge that users are going to be taking them out of the house. So they’re usually a little more durable than your average speaker.
Another clear advantage is portability. For the most part, these speakers are intended to move around easily with you. Sure there are beefier options out there for those of you who prefer sound quality over portability, but most are small enough to easily toss in a bag on your way out of the house.
As always there are some sacrifices that need to be made when you want one aspect of a product to be great, and when it comes to waterproof speakers most of the time that thing is sound quality. Drivers need to be protected from water and dust to varying degrees which usually means they don’t sound as clear as their non-waterproof competition. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of speakers that sound great considering they’re waterproof but few can match comparably priced speakers designed for sound.
Another big con when it comes to waterproof speakers is the price. This isn’t always the case, but most of the time waterproof speakers will be just a little bit more expensive because of the added feature. That said, if you’re looking for a waterproof speaker it’s obviously worth the extra cash.
What We Considered
When picking the best for any category, we usually take into account a few things. For one, not everyone is after the same kind of product. Just like how sound is different to every person, some products might check all of the boxes for some people and not for others. These are some of the products that we feel can be generally agreed upon when it comes to their respective categories.
Which brings us to the second aspect of one of our best lists: categories. Depending on what the list is covering, the categories within it might change as well. Some remain constant through all lists such as “Best All-Around” or “Bang for your Buck”, but others might change. For example, a list discussing the best headphones might have a pick for “Best Active Noise Cancelling”, but that isn’t an important factor when it comes to something like a waterproof Bluetooth speaker. So each list has a few different categories that are relevant to the kind of products that are being discussed.
The last thing we consider when choosing a product is what other people are saying about it. We review as many products as we can get our hands on, but chances are we can’t review all of them. So how do we remedy this? Research, research, research. We’ve dug through forums, read reviews, scrolled through comment sections, and done everything we possibly can to gather as much information about a product we haven’t reviewed before putting it on a list. Even if we have reviewed a product, chances are we’ll gain a bit of insight or knowledge just by seeing what the community has to say.
Fugoo Sport XLFull Review
If you’re headed to (or throwing a pool party), one speaker that you’ll want by your side is the Fugoo Sport XL. Fugoo prides themselves on making durable speakers, and their products usually have a sound quality to match their build. But the Fugoo Sport XL takes what we like about the company and puts it into — well, an extra large waterproof speaker perfect for the pool.
This speaker has 8 drivers placed strategically around the speakers in order to provide you with quality sound regardless of where you’re standing. The Fugoo Sport XL isn’t exactly the most portable of speakers, but if you want to power a party it’s definitely the way to go. The drivers consist of two mid/sub drivers, four tweeters for the higher frequencies, and two passive radiators. The placement of the drivers isn’t the only reason this speaker can push out sound in all directions, it also has a clever shape that helps it distribute sound evenly regardless of where you’re standing relative to it.
Up top are buttons that allow you to control playback right from the speaker, so you can keep your phone safely away from water and still be able to fully control your music. There’s a play/pause button, skip forward and skip back buttons, volume controls, and a multifunction button that lets you access Siri and Google Now. There’s also a 3.5mm input if one of your friends (or you) still prefer to use an iPod classic. Both the Sport XL and Style XL jackets will even float so if it drops into water it won’t sink to the bottom before you can get to it. On that note, one other cool feature is the built-in USB output that allows you to charge you or your friends devices. If you’re worried about that taking a toll on the battery life of your speaker, you shouldn’t. The Fugoo Sport XL is rocking a giant battery that should provide you with 35 hours of constant playback, so charging phones for a day at the beach will barely put a dent in it.
Since this is a best waterproof Bluetooth speakers list, it’s time we talk about that. The speaker jackets are IP67 certified meaning that you can remove the speaker and swap out the covers of the Sport, Style, or Tough and still be protected from water and dust. It’s completely submergible up to 3 feet for 30 minutes which is great if you want to share your good taste in music with the fishes, or if you accidentally drop it in a pool. The Tough XL jacket won’t float, but at least you know that it’ll be safe up to 3 feet. The Fugoo Sport XL isn’t cheap in any sense of the word. It costs around $229 but you get what you pay for: one of the best waterproof speakers around.
Scosche boomBOTTLE+Full Review
Besides partying, summer is also a time for getting out and exploring so if you’re looking for a speaker to be your hiking or cycling buddy, check out the IP67 rated Scosche boomBOTTLE+. The first thing you might notice about this speaker is that it doesn’t really look like a speaker (at least not in shape) but there’s a reason for that.
Scosche designed the boomBOTTLE+ to look like a water bottle (as you may have noticed) Weird? Sure. But also helpful, since it turns virtually every cupholder, whether it be the one in your car or the one on your bike, into an unofficial third-party accessory. If you have a backpack with a water bottle holder just slip this speaker in there and you’re good to go, though I would still make sure to carry a water bottle so you don’t dehydrate. Similar to the Fugoo, the cylindrical design of the Boombottle+ lets it pump out sound in 360 degrees. It has two 50mm drivers and a passive subwoofer packed into a shape that can fit in your backpack. On the side of the speaker are three buttons: volume up, volume down, and a multifunction button.
The speaker has a 6000mAh battery that can be charged via a micro USB that’s accessible through a small waterproof flap. That 6000 maH is enough to give it a solid 13 hours of constant playback in our full review so it should definitely last the average day trip. As is the case with most waterproof speakers the flap serves to keep water out of the important ports, like the micro USB, that would otherwise be exposed. Under there you’ll also find a 3.5mm input, USB output to charge your devices, and two small switches. One switch lets you put the speaker into an outdoor mode which gives a noticeable boost to the mids and highs. In our full review we found that it was a little too much for indoors, but should help sound quality if you’re outside. Next to that is another switch that turns the Boombottle+ into the left or right speaker when paired with another Boombottle+ so if you get two you rock stereo audio.
Scosche hit a very particular niche with the Boombottle+ and like we mentioned before, it’s shape turns every cup holder into an unofficial third party accessory. Pretty clever. If you’re looking for a speaker to mount on your bike or stuff in your backpack on hikes, the Boombottle+ is a worthy investment. It comes in three colors: black/gold, black/space grey, and sport blue so you have a few options.
JBL Charge 3Full Review
There are plenty of nicely designed speakers to choose from, but if you’re going to be traveling somewhere with lots of water (hopefully a nice beach somewhere) then you might prefer one that’s also waterproof. JBL has more than a few waterproof speakers, but the one that most earns a spot on this list is the Charge 3. The JBL Charge 3 is a great speaker to bring with you on trips due to its size which falls somewhere between the Flip 4 and the JBL Xtreme. Talk about having the best of both worlds.
You’ll get the benefits of large speaker which include sound and battery life, in a size that can easily fit in a suitcase or backpack. The Charge 3 is covered in an IPX7 waterproof fabric that protects the drivers on the inside and, just like the Flip 4 and Xtreme, it too has an exposed bass radiator. This means that not only will the low end sound slightly better, but it will look way cooler (especially if you get a little water on it). Needless to say if there’s any vulnerable spot on the speaker, it’s this. Still if JBL says it can be submerged for up to 30 minutes in a meter of water we’ll take their word for it.
On the bottom you’ll find a small stand incorporated into the design which is perfect for just pulling it out of a suitcase and placing it on a nightstand somewhere. You’ll get about twenty hours of battery life which blows a lot of the competition out of the water, and it also has the ability to charge your devices via a USB output. Another useful feature if you don’t want to leave your phone charging in the room, or worse if your phone is close to dying while you’re playing DJ at the beach.
On top of the speaker are a few playback controls like pause/play, volume control, and a Bluetooth pairing button, but you’ll also find the JBL connect button. Pressing this will allow it to sync up with other relatively new JBL speakers to provide a true stereo. The Charge 3 comes in white, black, red, and teal so you have options.
UE WonderboomFull Review
This isn’t the first time a UE product has made its way onto this list. Before the Wonderboom this spot was taken by the UE Roll 2, another oddly shaped waterproof speaker with a unique design. Unlike the disc shaped Roll 2, the Wonderboom has more of the classic cylindrical shape you’d expect to see from Bluetooth speakers. It’s a short and pudgy speaker with the signature + and – volume buttons that come on UE products.
As far as sound quality goes this speaker is definitely not going to be impressing anyone. It sounds good enough to use poolside or at the beach, but that’s about it. What is impressive is the IPX7 waterproof rating which, if you’re keeping score at home, means that it can be completely for up to 30 minutes in up to a meter of water.
As if that wasn’t enough the speaker can also float, making it a great waterproof speaker for the beach since you can drop it and not have to worry about losing it to Davy Jones’ locker. It’ll just float on top and you can pick it up and be on your way. The fabric covering that wraps around the speaker is dual purpose, as it protects the internals of the speaker from water but also does a great job at providing grip for the user even when the speaker is soaking wet.
One feature that we found odd in the full review was the elastic loop on top of the speaker. The UE Roll has a similar one but it was much larger, allowing you to hang it from basically anywhere you saw fit. The one on the Wonderboom is way less helpful, being barely large enough to hang on a towel rack. As far as controls go this speaker has the two volume buttons on the front and two buttons up top. One of those buttons is the power button which doubles as the play/pause button when music is playing, while the other button is for Bluetooth pairing. You can also press the volume buttons down at the same time to hear a cute beep that tells you whether your battery life is full, moderate, or low.
Speaking of which, battery life is another pain point for the speaker if you use it on max volume. We got about two hours of constant playback in our testing, though to be fair UE said that it must have been an issue with our review unit so hopefully you fare better than we did. Still, even with our battery troubles we couldn’t help enjoying the Wonderboom. It’s a great little waterproof speaker that’s perfect for picking up and throwing in your bag on your way to the beach or to a friends house. Throw in the fact that it costs less than $100 and comes in six cool colors and it’s hard not to recommend for this specific use case.
CB3 Audio Armor XL
Sure, the Fugoo Sport XL is great, but as its name implies it’s a fairly large speaker. If you’re looking for another XL speaker that’s more portable and way less expensive, take a look at the CB3 Armor XL which is our bang for your buck pick.
The Armor XL has a solid build and weighs in at only 1.8 pounds, which makes it easier to carry around than something like the Sport XL mentioned above. If you’re bringing a speaker to party, it should be assumed that it can potentially be dropped and damaged, which is why the Armor XL is a good option. Not only was it made to withstand most drops thanks to a hard plastic shell covered in a soft rubber, but if it does get destroyed it won’t be as huge a dent in your wallet as some of the other speakers on this list. We still wouldn’t recommend dropping it off of a roof, but falling off a table shouldn’t be a problem since the Armor XL is as durable as it looks.
Tis speaker is IPX6 water-resistant so it’s able to survive being put through a faucet no problem so rain, spills, or splashes shouldn’t be an issue, and but probably shouldn’t be submerged. Inside is a 5200mAh battery that should give you around 10 hours of constant playback which should be enough to get you through a long day at the beach and it has two 50mm drivers which give it a decently loud sound when maxed out. It also has a fairly well balanced sound which is surprising for a waterproof speaker, though the low end is given some special attention. Still, it’s not too overpowering and the speaker benefits greatly from that slight push when being used outdoors.
The Armor XL has Bluetooth 4.0 and a range of about 30 feet, but if you don’t have a Bluetooth compatible device you can also plug in a standard audio cable into the 3.5mm input. The top of the speaker has six different buttons that lets you flawlessly control playback without having to reach for your phone. Besides the usual controls, like pause/play and volume control, you can also skip tracks, answer or end phone calls thanks to the built-in microphone, and temporarily mute it if you need some quick silence. The Armor XL isn’t the most portable speaker, but it isn’t the most bulky either. To help remedy that it comes with a screw-in hook so that you can attach a rubber strap and carry it around easily. Whether you want to hook it around your wrist or hang it somewhere by the pool, the strap is just as durable as the speaker.
There are literally thousands of waterproof Bluetooth speakers you can choose from, and we went with what we think are the top 5. If none of these are really what you were looking for here’s a short list of products that we considered but for one reason or another ended up being scrapped.
- Sharkk Commando Bluetooth speaker
- UE Roll 2
- Cambridge Soundworks Oontz Angle 3
- Altec Lansing Life Jacket 2
- JBL Flip 4
Depending on what you’re looking for, these picks should pretty much cover it. If you have any favorite waterproof speakers that have served you well share the knowledge down in the comments, the more options we all have, the better.
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