With a smartphone in your pocket it’s easier than ever to access an insanely vast collection of music. Streaming services have made it possible to listen to any song, at any time, any where. And the technology has improved alongside it, giving us a plethora wireless headphones and speakers to choose from. But in a sea of decent products only the great ones float to the top, which is why we made this list. If you’re looking for the best Bluetooth speakers look no further because one of these should do the trick for you.
Like sound itself everyone has slightly different preferences when it comes to the gadgets we use to play music. Maybe you’re looking for a speaker that’s small and portable enough you can bring it with you anywhere, or a speaker that gets loud and sounds good for your next backyard get together. Because everyone is after slightly different features it’s hard to rank the best speakers against each other. Instead we break it down into five distinct categories and then choose a speaker that we think will best serve you if that use case is what’s most important to you.
How We Choose
There are thousands and thousands of Bluetooth speakers in the world and it’d be impossible for us to review them all, but that doesn’t stop us from trying. The speakers that made it onto this list we’ve had first-hand experience with and in many cases put them through our entire review process. If we haven’t reviewed it or spent significant time with a product that’s when the research begins. We’ve spent hours researching and deliberating amongst ourselves so you don’t have to. But you can be sure that if a speaker made it this far, it definitely impressed us.
You probably know Marshall from their legendary guitar amps, what you might not know is that they took that legendary design and turned it into a Bluetooth speaker a few years back. It had great sound, and it was technically portable, but not really. Now they’ve fixed that with the Marshall Stockwell speaker. It’s slimmed down, but keeps the same classic amp design. Up top are metallic knobs for controlling the treble, bass, and overall volume. Inside is a battery that’ll get you roughly 25 hours of playback so you can take this with you to a friends party and feel confident that the battery won’t die halfway through. Though the Stockwell isn’t the smallest and MOST portable speaker, Marshall has made sure you can at least throw this version in a bag pretty easily which gives it this spot on the list. Unlike the last versions which looked like giant gorgeous amp-like lunch-boxes.
V-MODA REMIX SpeakerFull Review
V-MODA might not be the first manufacturer that comes to mind when it comes to Bluetooth speakers, and that’s because up until this year they didn’t have one to sell. The REMIX speaker was their first attempt at a Bluetooth speaker, and they did a good job at delivering something that can compete with the best. Unfortunately you’re going to have to pay a pretty penny to own one, but if you can get past the $299 price tag for the base model you’ll get a beautifully designed speaker that sounds good and even has a headphone amp built-in for when you don’t want to share your music with anyone around you.
You’ll get roughly 10 hours of battery life, playback controls lining the top, and the option to further customize the speaker with 3D printed accessories like the rest of the products in V-MODA’s line-up.
B&O Beoplay A1Full Review
Sometimes, all you really want is something that sounds good and looks great. And if that’s your prerogative, then the B&O Beoplay A1 is the speaker for you. The company literally gets talented industrial designers to make their products, and the A1 is no exception. The A1 design is basically split into two sections. The top half is made of a durable aluminum that B&O claims will gain character as it gets scratched and dented. Not sure if that’s something you’d want to do to a $250 speaker, but at least they’re confident that it will survive a few mishaps.
On the bottom half of the speaker you’ll find a hard rubberized plastic. Around the edges are a few basic playback controls that allow you to pause/play music and adjust the volume. This is also where you’ll find the power button, Bluetooth pairing button, and microphone button for voice calls. It’s not all sunshine and daisies though, we did have an issue with battery life in our full review. But if you’re okay with not leaving the speaker on max volume or throwing it on the charger every now and then, this speaker has crystal clear audio and looks beautiful. It has a surprisingly strong low end for a speaker of this size, but it isn’t overbearing. The mids and highs are also clear and the speaker does get surprisingly loud if you really want to push it.
UE WonderboomFull Review
This waterproof spot was previously held by the Roll 2, another waterproof speaker by UE that also costs less than $100. But there’s one main reason the Wonderboom is taking its place in this list and that’s because even though there are plenty of truly waterproof speakers nowadays, there aren’t many that float. Though you can submerge plenty of speakers in up to 3 feet of water, what good is it under there? And what if you’re at the beach or on a boat? Waterproofing won’t do you much good if you’re never going to get it back.
The Wonderboom might not sound as good as some other waterproof speakers like the Flip 4 – actually it definitely doesn’t, but being able to float makes it a winner here just because you can just reach out and pick it up again should you drop it. As great as that is this speaker does require you make a few sacrifices. It isn’t the easiest to carry because of it’s odd shape and absurdly small elastic carrying loop and the battery life is questionable to say the least, but if you can look past that you’ll get an affordable, durable, cute looking speaker that you won’t have to worry about losing to Davy Jones’s locker.
CB3 Armor XL
Normally this spot would be filled by something from JBL, but we found something that we like just a little bit better again from CB3. For an inexpensive durable speaker, take a look at the CB3 Armor XL. This is a waterproof speaker that’s as rugged as it look. You shouldn’t submerge it completely in water, but cleaning it under a running faucet should be fine. And getting caught in the rain isn’t an issue at all. As the name implies the Armor XL has a hard plastic casing that kind of looks like armor. It also has a grippy rubber that helps it to avoid water damage. It might not have as sleek as a design of some of the other products on this list, but that’s not what it was made for.
The Armor XL has Bluetooth 4.0 and a battery life of about 10 hours. Up top are a few built-in playback controls that let you skip between tracks, adjust volume and even mute it, and pause or play music. The buttons are made of a soft plastic and embedded into the rubber of the speaker on top. Bass and kick drums come through loud and clear thanks to the dual 50mm drivers so if you enjoy a strong low end, you’ll like this one. Overall sound quality is pretty good on the Armor XL, but the sheer toughness of this speaker is the reason it gets a spot on this list.
Disclosure: CB3 Audio is a partner brand of SoundGuys.com
While we haven’t covered every possible price range or use case here, these picks represent what we feel are some of the best options for a few different use cases. If you’re looking for something that we haven’t covered here, whether it’s more expensive, more rugged, or just plain different, make sure to check out all of our reviews over at SoundGuys.com since we’ve reviewed a lot of stuff, so you’ll probably find what you’re looking for there. As always we’ll be sure to keep this updated with new picks and information so you know you’ll always be up to date.
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