The JBL brand is known for hardy Bluetooth speakers that easily go along for the ride on hikes or to pool parties, and the JBL Flip 6 seems poised to continue that legacy. It still feels a lot like the JBL Flip 5 at the end of the day, with a similarly tough build and sound profile, with some cosmetic changes, and an apparently improved audio configuration.

Is the Flip 6 a worthy upgrade to a tried-and-true workhorse?

Editor’s note: This review was updated on December 15, 2021, to include battery testing results.

Who is the JBL Flip 6 for?

  • Hikers, bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts are sure to appreciate the upgrade to an IP67 rating when they take the Flip 6 out and about.
  • Shower singers will also enjoy the loud output from the Flip 6 that overcomes ambient sounds.
  • Anyone who wants an easy-to-use Bluetooth speaker will get JBL’s speaker to work in no time.

What’s it like to use the JBL Flip 6?

A JBL Flip 6 Bluetooth speaker sitting on wet sand by the ocean.

The JBL Flip 6 survives dunks into saltwater and sand doesn’t get behind its grille, thanks to its IP67 rating.

JBL’s many other Bluetooth speakers have looked like this before the JBL Flip 6, and for good reason: it works—two of them are on our best Bluetooth speakers list, after all. A cylinder with a passive bass radiator at each end flank the driver and tweeter in the middle and make for a sturdy, solid tube. It survives falls onto pavement and the confines of a travel bag. For this iteration, the Flip 6 gets a larger and yet more minimalist “JBL” logo, which also scratches more easily than the smaller badge on the Flip 5. Nitpicks aside, overall you get the same durable build and form factor as before.

Start here: What makes a good Bluetooth speaker?

The JBL Flip 6 upgrades the IPX7 rating from the Flip 5 to a full IP67, which means it’s now water- and dust-resistant. The speaker survives plunges into saltwater, and sand doesn’t get behind the grille or bass drivers like it does with the Bose SoundLink Flex. Plastic bumpers allow the speaker to bounce a bit instead of falling flat. That’s good for preventing dents, but it also means these areas quickly collect scuffs and marks. There’s a carrying loop tied near the backlit Bluetooth and power buttons. The loop does not have a built-in clip. However, if it ends up fraying or breaks, you can untie it and replace it yourself. The USB-C charging port is here, too.

Carrying the 544g JBL Flip 6 doesn’t feel too heavy during my treks around town. It doesn’t drag me down when attached to my bag or my jacket. However, if you go for intense climbs up tough mountains, it might add a bit more weight than you want. The shape could be awkward if you’re squeezing through tight areas, too. Plus, the speaker twists and bounces around on its carrying strap.

How do you control the Flip 6?

A hand wearing a black leather glove presses a button on the JBL Flip 6 Bluetooth speaker sitting on a metal bench.

The JBL Flip 6’s control buttons aren’t backlit, but they are shaped differently from each other and easy to press—even when wearing gloves.

The control buttons are just above the logo. While they aren’t backlit, they are clearly shaped differently from each other so you can press them without looking down. The buttons allow you to play and pause content, adjust the volume, skip tracks, and activate PartyBoost. All of these could come in handy both at parties or during hikes.

Should you download the JBL Portable app?

Screenshots of the JBL Portable app after it has been synced to the JBL Flip 6 showing from left to right the main page with an equalizer, a notification that the JBL Flip 6 can only do Stereo mode with another of the same speaker, and the PartyBoost function..

The JBL Flip 6 uses the JBL Portable app to give you an equalizer and another way to access PartyBoost.

The JBL Flip 6 uses the JBL Portable app (iOS and Android), formerly “JBL Connect,” to provide access to firmware updates and a user guide. Plus, you can toggle the feedback tones the speaker produces on or off here. Inside the app, you can also enable PartyBoost and stereo playback instead of using the dedicated button. Note that stereo only works with two JBL speakers of the same generation. My JBL Flip 5 pairs with the Flip 6 for PartyBoost, but the two cannot do stereo playback. Perhaps the most notable feature the app boasts is a basic equalizer, which lets you adjust highs, mids, and lows.

Other than that, there’s not much going on in the app, but that could be a good thing. You likely won’t need to poke around in obscure settings to get everything working the way you want.

What Bluetooth codecs does the JBL Flip 6 support?

A JBL Flip 6 Bluetooth speaker sitting on a wooden desk next to a smartphone at its right and a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to its left.

The JBL Flip 6 supports Bluetooth multipoint, but it is mostly up to your devices to find and connect to it.

The JBL Flip 6 uses Bluetooth 5.1 and only supports the SBC Bluetooth codec. Bluetooth 5.1 also theoretically gives the speaker an indoor range of 40 meters, but that’s under ideal conditions. Like the JBL Flip 5, this speaker does not have an aux port to overcome the shortcomings of Bluetooth codecs.

Pairing the JBL Flip 6 is pretty simple. Pressing the Bluetooth button on the speaker puts the speaker into pairing mode. Then, you can select it on your intended playback device. The JBL Flip 6 supports connecting to up to two devices at once using Bluetooth multipoint. It doesn’t remember a list of devices, though. Instead, you must sync to one device first, and then add another by pressing the Bluetooth button and then selecting the Flip 6 on the other device. Afterward, you can manually play and pause content on each device. The speaker will forget these two devices if you connect to a third device, too.

How long does the battery last on the JBL Flip 6?

JBL claims that the Flip 6 can last up to 12 hours on a fully charged battery. You get a USB-C to USB-A charging cable in the box, but no power adapter. Our standard battery test uses music played back continuously with a 75dB (SPL) maximum output level measured 1 meter from the front of the speaker. The JBL Flip 6 lasted 9 hours and 25 minutes, which falls short of JBL’s claim. It’s enough to get you through a party at the beach or a day-long hike, but you’ll have to take it home to recharge or bring along a battery pack for anything more.

How does the JBL Flip 6 sound?

A JBL Flip 6 Bluetooth speaker sitting next to a small fountain.

The JBL Flip 6 is water- and dust-resistant and loud enough to keep a small patio party entertained.

At SoundGuys, we’ve noticed that JBL’s Bluetooth speakers have a specific frequency response, or “signature sound,” and that remains true for the Flip 6. The Flip 5 boosts bass more than the Flip 4, and it seems the Flip 6 kept that in place. Much like any other Bluetooth speaker, it isn’t targeted at audiophiles straining to hear every nuance in their music. If you bear in mind that the JBL Flip 6 is for outdoor and party use, you’ll likely get plenty of enjoyment out of it.

Lows, mids, and highs

Party jams like Rent by Big Freedia play great through the JBL Flip 6. This New Orleans hit derives its energy from booming low notes, and the Flip 6 pumps them out while keeping Big Freedia’s vocals clear, too. Similarly, drum-heavy bhangra songs like Jugni give you thumping dance beats while Arif Lohar and Nooran Lal are clearly audible over them.

Much like the Flip 5, the JBL Flip 6 doesn’t reproduce high-pitched sounds with a great deal of clarity. There are a few things at play here, namely distortion and masking. In Jugni, the bells and cymbals don’t seem as loud as the drums and vocals. It’s even more apparent in layered content such as Kaahe Chhed Mohe where the drums, vocals, and the dancers’ ankle bells all become hard to hear when played in concert.

JBL claims it added a “new audio configuration” to the Flip 6 and promises detailed bass, mids, and highs. However, the Flip 6 definitely sounds similar to the Flip 5. Our speaker testing setup is currently undergoing a revamp, so we’ll update this section once we have complete testing data.

Hold up! Something’s missing:

This section is typically where we display a frequency response chart to show you exactly where the audio output shines and where its deficiencies lie. We’re still ironing out our standardized speaker tests with the appropriate support equipment to update our testing and data collection. It will take a bit to get everything fleshed out, but we will update this review (and many others!) once we’re able with improved sound quality measurements and performance plots. These will be made obvious by an announcement explaining the change, and a new chart aesthetic.

Thank you for bearing with us, and we hope to see you again once we’ve sorted everything out.

Does the JBL Flip 6 get loud?

A JBL Flip 6 Bluetooth speaker sitting on a rocky surface with a sunny city skyline viisble in the distance.

The JBL Flip 6 is loud enough for hikes, parties, and gatherings both indoors and out.

The JBL Flip 6 easily gets loud enough for hiking, biking, and beach listening. You can crank it up to suit a patio or indoor party, too. But if you want to really get a packed room full of people up and dancing, you’ll need to take advantage of the PartyBoost feature and add more speakers.

Can you use the JBL Flip 6 for phone calls?

The JBL Flip 6 does not have a built-in microphone. In fact, no JBL Flip speaker has had this feature since the Flip 4.

Should you buy the JBL Flip 6?

A JBL Flip 6 sitting on an inclied surface next to a brick wall.

The JBL Flip 6 doesn’t slide much despite its cylindrical shape, so setting it on a slanted surface outdoors isn’t a worry.

If you want a solid and reliable party or adventure speaker, the JBL Flip 6 is a great option. The improved water and dust resistance courtesy of its IP67 rating is certainly welcome, and this Bluetooth speaker does not discard anything that made the Flip 5 a success.

JBL Flip 6
All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

What about the JBL Flip 5?

The JBL Flip 5 in black outside with water spraying onto it

The JBL Flip 5 is covered in an IPX7 fabric, while the Flip 6 is IP67 rated, making the elder sibling only water- but not dustproof.

The JBL Flip 5 still makes a strong showing compared to its younger sibling. It has an IPX7 rating, meaning it’s just as waterproof as the Flip 6, but not rated for dust at all. However, its sound profile is similar and it will likely be on sale as a result of the Flip 6’s release. If you already have a Flip 5, the Flip 6 makes a good PartyBoost companion, though it’s a bummer you can’t use the two together for stereo mode.

What should you get instead of the JBL Flip 6?

Listeners who want even louder sound from a portable speaker should look into the JBL Charge 5. With this, you get more features as it can charge your portable devices, and its battery is extensive at 20 hours. You don’t get an aux port here, but you do get the same IP67 rating. Another option is the JBL Clip 4 if you want to go smaller. This has a built-in carabiner and surprisingly loud sound given its small size.

The UE Boom 3 on a desk with a Mac laptop.

The UE Boom 3 still has the characteristic plus and minus sign buttons.

There are options beyond the JBL family, of course, like the UE BOOM 3. This portable speaker has a similar shape and size to the Flip 5, with a useful party feature and loud sound. You get easier access to the controls with the signature “+” and “-” buttons. Unfortunately, the UE BOOM 3 also lacks a headphone jack, though.

Next: The best Bose speakers

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