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JBL Charge 6 wishlist: All the features I want to see

The JBL Charge 5 is one of JBL's most popular speakers to date. Can JBL do better?
August 11, 2023
JBL Charge 5 resting on a bed of crystals.
Sara Carbone

The JBL Charge 5 is one of JBL’s most popular speakers to date. Whether you’re a backyard BBQ host or confined to a small dorm room, the Charge series will serve you well. Given JBL’s track record for releases, followers are expecting the JBL Charge 6 to arrive soon, but what might it have in store? Here’s everything I want to see from JBL’s next Charge Bluetooth speaker.


JBL Charge 4 from the top with a forest floor in the background.
The Charge 4 has the playback buttons up top with the power and Bluetooth pairing buttons lit up.

I’d like to see a return of built-in microphones on the JBL Charge 6. Unfortunately, JBL ditched the microphones on the Charge 4, but adding them back in would make the Charge 6 a much more versatile speaker. With mics, you can use the Charge 6 as a speakerphone and access your phone’s smart assistant right from the speaker. It could also allow the speaker to self-calibrate its audio output based on the environment.

Aux input

This is another feature JBL ditched, and the Charge 5 was the first of the series to debut without an aux input. While it’s unlikely we’ll see a 3.5mm input return on the Charge 6, it would make the speaker stand out from the likes of UE and Bose.

Fast charging

Although the Charge 6 is bound to have a 20-hour battery life or longer, it would be helpful to have fast charging too. As it stands, you need to set aside four hours to charge the Charge 5 fully. It’s easy to recharge the speaker overnight, but we’d appreciate some quick-charge option when we’re in a bind.


Updated hardware will mean the latest Bluetooth 5.3 features. This means that the new speaker could incorporate Bluetooth Auracast functionality, allowing it to receive transmission from an Auracast-enabled Bluetooth playback device. This would bring similar functionality to JBL’s PartyBoost feature to the speaker and allow speakers from other brands to join the party.

Will there be a JBL Charge 6?

The JBL Charge 4 from the front with a forest floor in the background.
The JBL Charge 4 speaker is slightly larger than the previous version, and a little heavier too.

The Charge series is one of JBL’s most popular product lines, so the JBL Charge 6 is bound to make it to market. It’s just a matter of when not if!

  • JBL Charge 5 Wi-Fi: May 11, 2023 (European market only)
  • JBL Charge 5: January 7, 2021
  • JBL Charge 4: August 30, 2018
  • JBL Charge 3: May 2, 2016
  • JBL Charge 2 Plus: May 22, 2015
  • JBL Charge 2: September 4, 2014
  • JBL Charge: April 2013

JBL hasn’t officially announced or even hinted at the Charge 6 yet. However, the release window has grown longer between each generation. Based on previous Charge series release dates, JBL should be announcing the Charge 6 release date very soon.

JBL has a habit of announcing products annually at IFA Berlin, but that didn't happen in 2023.

In 2022, it announced the Tour Pro 2 and JBL Bar 1000 ($1199.95 at Amazon) at IFA, and in 2018, it announced the Charge 4 ($179 at Amazon) at the same show. We didn’t see the Charge 6 at IFA 2023, so we may have to wait until 2024.

Should you wait for the JBL Charge 6?

The Charge 4 in a hand with water splashes.
The JBL Charge series is about as large as portable speakers get.

The Charge 5 is an excellent Bluetooth speaker for under $200. It’s unlikely that the Charge 6 will reinvent the wheel or render the Charge 5 irrelevant when it does come to market. Before making any purchasing decisions, consider a few alternatives before investing in a JBL Charge.

The JBL Flip 6 ($99 at Amazon) offers many of the same features as the Charge 5 but in a smaller package. The Flip series is more affordable and can fit into a backpack’s water bottle pocket. Of course, JBL isn’t the only player in the Bluetooth speaker market. We also recommend the UE Megaboom 3 ($157 at Amazon), which directly competes with the Charge 5. If you want a more budget-friendly option, look at the Anker Soundcore Motion Plus ($99.99 at Amazon). Anker is famous for its high-value products. The Motion Plus stands out for its aptX support integrated microphone.

JBL Charge 5JBL Charge 5
SG recommended
JBL Charge 5
MSRP: $159.00
Whether your season is full of trips to the beach or backyard parties, you'll need just the right speaker to DJ these events. The JBL Charge 5 gets the job done if you need something that's very loud, and quite portable. It's a little pricey though, so anyone who already has an older JBL Charge speaker shouldn't feel the need to upgrade.