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JBL Flip 5 vs Flip 6: Which Bluetooth speaker is the best?

Flip or flop? We compare JBL's portable powerhouses to see which speaker truly flips our lids.

Published onJune 28, 2024

JBL Flip 5
MSRP: $129.95
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IPX7 waterproof
Lightweight and portable
Decent sound
Battery life
USB-C charging
No Bluetooth 5 or high quality codecs
Sound quality is good for hikes or the beach, but isn't great
No 3.5mm input
The Bottom Line.
The Flip 5 is a worthy successor to the Flip 4 and if you're going to be heading out for a weekend trip or just going to the backyard, this is definitely worth the asking price.Read full review...
JBL Flip 6
MSRP: $129.99
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Easy to use Bluetooth pairing
Loud output
USB-C charging
JBL signature sound suits parties
IP67 rating
Rugged and durable
Not the best at distinguishing instruments
Stereo mode only works with same-gen speakers
No microphone
The Bottom Line.
The JBL Flip 6 makes for a solid update to the JBL Flip 5 and the IP67 rating is a welcome upgrade. You still get JBL's signature sound and it's just as easy as ever to sync this Bluetooth speaker with your devices.Read full review...

The JBL Flip series has long been a popular choice for portable Bluetooth speakers, offering durability and good sound in a compact package. We put in the time to listen to the JBL Flip 5 vs Flip 6 in a variety of environments and found out everything you need to know about how these two generations compare before the inevitable launch of the JBL Flip 7.

Editor’s note: This is the first version of this article, which was published on June 28, 2024. Updates will follow as the market changes.

What’s it like to use the JBL Flip 5 compared to the JBL Flip 6?

The JBL Flip 5 and Flip 6 share a similar cylindrical design that’s become iconic for the Flip series. They’re both lightweight and portable, with the Flip 5 weighing 540g and the Flip 6 at 544g. The most notable physical difference is the updated JBL logo on the Flip 6, which is larger and more minimalistic compared to the smaller badge on the Flip 5.

The biggest upgrade for the Flip 6 is its improved durability rating. While the Flip 5 has an IPX7 waterproof rating, the Flip 6 boasts a full IP67 rating, making it both water and dust-resistant. This means the Flip 6 can better withstand environments like sandy beaches or dusty trails. Both speakers feature passive bass radiators on each end, a carrying strap for easy transport, and a USB-C charging port.

How do you control the JBL Flip 5 vs Flip 6?

The control scheme is largely similar between the two models, with buttons for power, Bluetooth pairing, volume, playback, and PartyBoost functionality.

The main difference is that the Flip 6 has a dedicated button for skipping tracks, while on the Flip 5, you need to double-tap the play button for this function.

Should you use the apps of either JBL Flip 5 or Flip 6?

Both speakers are compatible with the JBL Portable app (formerly JBL Connect). The app offers similar functionality for both models, including:

  • Firmware updates
  • EQ adjustments
  • PartyBoost controls
  • Feedback tone toggle

The app is particularly useful for adjusting the EQ, allowing you to fine-tune the sound to your preferences. It’s worth downloading for either speaker to access these additional features and ensure your device is up to date.

How do the JBL Flip 5 and JBL Flip 6 connect?

Both the Flip 5 and Flip 6 use Bluetooth for wireless connectivity, but there are some differences:

  • The Flip 5 uses Bluetooth 4.2
  • The Flip 6 upgrades to Bluetooth 5.1

The Flip 6’s newer Bluetooth version potentially offers improved range and stability. Both speakers support PartyBoost for connecting multiple compatible JBL speakers, but neither includes a 3.5mm aux input, which was present on older models like the Flip 4. Both speakers only support the basic SBC codec, so neither model offers an advantage for high-quality audio streaming.

Is battery life better on the JBL Flip 5 or Flip 6?

JBL claims 12 hours of playtime for both the Flip 5 and Flip 6. However, in standardized testing:

  • The Flip 5 lasted 9 hours and 27 minutes
  • The Flip 6 lasted 9 hours and 25 minutes

In real-world use, the battery life of the two models is essentially identical. Both fall short of the advertised 12 hours but still provide enough power for a full day of use in most scenarios.

Does the JBL Flip 5 sound better than the JBL Flip 6?

Both Flip 5 and Flip 6 feature JBL’s signature sound profile, which emphasizes bass frequencies to provide a punchy, energetic sound suitable for outdoor use and parties. The Flip 6 claims to have a “new audio configuration” with more detailed bass, mids, and highs, but in practice, the difference is subtle.

Both speakers struggle somewhat with reproducing high frequencies clearly, especially in complex, layered tracks. The Flip 6 doesn’t seem to offer a significant improvement in this area over the Flip 5. Both provide a similar listening experience that’s well-suited for casual outdoor use but may not satisfy audiophiles looking for precise, balanced sound reproduction.

Should you get the JBL Flip 5 or JBL Flip 6?

The decision between the JBL Flip 5 and Flip 6 largely comes down to a few factors.

The Flip 6’s main advantages are its improved IP67 dust and water resistance rating, compared to the Flip 5’s IPX7 rating, and its slightly more advanced Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity. However, in real-world use, these differences may not significantly impact most users’ experiences. In terms of sound quality, the differences are minimal, so this shouldn’t be a major deciding factor.

If you already own a Flip 5, there’s little reason to upgrade unless you specifically need the dust resistance of the Flip 6. For new buyers, the Flip 6 is a solid choice if the price difference is minimal, but the Flip 5 remains an excellent option, especially if found at a discount.

See price at Amazon
JBL Flip 5
JBL Flip 5
IPX7 rated
Tons of fun color options
See price at Amazon
JBL Flip 6
JBL Flip 6
Easy to use Bluetooth pairing
Loud output for parties

What should you get instead of the JBL Flip 5 and Flip 6?

JBL Charge 5 resting on a wooden step with deer antlers next to it.
The JBL Charge 5 is a great adventure companion.

If you’re looking for alternatives to the JBL Flip series, there are several compelling options to consider. The JBL Charge 5 ($149 at Amazon) offers a significant upgrade in terms of battery life and sound quality. With around 20 hours of playback time and more powerful audio output, it’s an excellent choice for those who need a speaker that can last through longer outdoor adventures. The Charge 5 also includes a USB-A output for charging other devices, adding to its versatility.

For bass enthusiasts, the Sony ULT Field 1 ($129.99 at Amazon)presents an intriguing option. Its standout feature is the “ULT” button, which engages a powerful bass boost, significantly enhancing the low-end response. The ULT Field 1 also boasts a rugged IP67-rated design, making it suitable for various outdoor conditions.

If style is a priority alongside performance, the Anker Soundcore Motion X500 ($169.99 at Amazon) is worth considering. It features a premium aluminum build that rivals more expensive speakers and supports the high-quality LDAC codec for superior audio fidelity with compatible devices.

JBL Flip 5 vs Flip 6: Frequently Asked Questions

The Flip 6 offers minor improvements over the Flip 5, including better dust resistance (IP67 vs IPX7) and Bluetooth 5.1. For most users, it’s not a significant upgrade unless these features are crucial.

The Charge 5 is generally considered superior, offering longer battery life (20 hours vs 12 hours) and more powerful sound output compared to the Flip 6. See how they fully stack up in our versus article.

The Flip 6 is suitable for small gatherings but may not be powerful enough for large parties. For bigger events, consider the JBL PartyBox Stage 320.

The Flip 6 has slightly improved audio configuration over the Flip 5, but the difference is minimal. Both offer similar sound quality for their size.

Yes, especially if found at a discount. It offers good sound quality and durability for its size and price point.

The Flip 5 has emphasized bass for its size, but it’s not comparable to larger speakers. It’s suitable for casual listening but not for bass-heavy genres.

Among portable options, the JBL Charge 5 offers better bass response than the Flip series. For more powerful bass, consider larger models like the JBL Boombox or Xtreme series.

Yes, you can leave it plugged in without damaging the battery. However, it’s good practice to occasionally use the battery to maintain its health.

Yes, the Flip 5’s IPX7 rating makes it waterproof and safe for use in the shower. Just ensure the charging port cover is securely closed.

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