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Best waterproof speakers
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 the beach, you’re out of luck—unless it’s a waterproof speaker. Luckily, plenty of companies make water-resistant Speakers, but which is the best waterproof speaker? Let’s dive in to find out.
Start here: What makes a good Bluetooth speaker?
Editor’s note: this list was updated on December 14, 2021, to include the JBL Flip 6 in the Best list and to add the Bose SoundLink Flex to the Notable mentions.
The best waterproof speaker is the JBL Flip 6
The JBL Flip 6 marries portability and sound quality in its tall, skinny package. With an IP67 rating, you can rest assured anytime you fumble the speaker into the creek or a pit of mud. It has a 12-hour battery life and charges via USB-C when it comes time to top up.
While the JBL Flip 6 may not sound as loud as its larger counterpart, the JBL Charge 5, but the Flip 6 does a great job of reproducing loud bass notes. Die-hard bass fans will notice the under-emphasized sub-bass but this is endemic among portable Bluetooth speakers. If you want to connect your Flip 6 to other compatible JBL speakers, you can use JBL PartyBoost through the JBL Portable app.
If you don’t need USB-C charging and the slightly upgraded drivers, you can pick up the older JBL Flip 4 instead. It also might be worth looking into JBL’s refurbished program if you’d like to save a few bucks.
Crank up the volume with the UE BOOM 3
The clever design of the UE BOOM 3 is impressive, earning it a top spot on this list. The speaker is nearly the same size and shape as your average water bottle, so you can bring it with you anywhere. Not only does the UE BOOM 3 design make it appealing, but it’s fairly lightweight and isn’t a hassle to toss into a bag.
You also get the signature UE +/- buttons on the front for volume control and can link the BOOM 3 with over 100 other UE speakers. If you and a friend both have UE speakers you can download the app and double up on sound. Battery life is roughly 15 hours of constant playback which isn’t great, but it does have an IP67 waterproof build.
Searching for the best-sounding waterproof speaker? Go with the JBL Charge 5
The Charge 5 makes a few minor improvements over the previous Charge 4. The hallmark feature of the JBL Charge series is its ability to charge your portable devices via USB-A output. Be aware: doing so depletes the speaker’s battery life which lasts about 20 hours.
You get Bluetooth 5.1 instead of Bluetooth 4.2 as well as the JBL PartyBoost feature, which allows you to connect to up to 100 other compatible JBL speakers. You can also use another PartyBoost compatible speaker for stereo output. The JBL Charge 5 has an IP67 rating, so you can drop it in the sand or dunk it in the water with no problem. If you want a speaker for all of your adventures, this bulky behemoth is a great buy.
Related: JBL Pulse 3 review
The UE WONDERBOOM 2 floats
The WONDERBOOM 2 retains its predecessor’s cylindrical shape. The short, pudgy build is adorned with UE’s signature + and – volume buttons. Sound quality is fine. Sub-bass is lackluster, but midrange frequencies (vocals) are relayed clearly. This is great for singing along around the bonfire. If you need, you can switch Outdoor Boost mode on, which increases the loudness at the expense of clarity. As is the case with waterproof speakers, durability is key and the UE WONDERBOOM 2 is as strong as it is stout.
It’s drop-tested up to 1.5 meters and has an IP67 rating. You can take this to the beach without worrying about grains of sand ruining the speaker. What’s more, this little guy floats and can be thrown straight into any pool party. The fabric covering that wraps around the speaker is dual-purpose. For one, it protects the internals while serving as an easy-grip texture even when it’s soaking wet.
The WONDERBOOM 2 features an updated elastic loop to hook it onto a tree limb. While battery life has greatly improved from the previous version, it still falls short of UE’s claimed 13-hour stamina. (Our testing yielded just under 10 hours of playback.) The drawbacks are easy to overlook as this is an excellent companion for all of your summer adventures.
Looking to save some cash? Meet the Anker Soundcore Flare 2
Anker is no stranger to making affordable products that get the job done. The Soundcore Flare 2 does more than sound good for the price. This speaker features bigger drivers compared to its predecessor for a louder sound. It might not be the best-sounding speaker on this list, but it does more than we expected.
The Soundcore Flare 2 has an IPX7 rating and is decked out in a fabric wrap. Battery life is just okay at about 12 hours, but it’s enough to power the dual LED halos on the top and bottom. Unlike some other products that use colorful lights to look cool, the Soundcore Flare 2 does it tastefully with the lights being more of a design accent than the main feature.
The best waterproof speakers: Notable mentions
- Anker Soundcore Flare+: For a few extra dollars, you get a more powerful speaker with improved bass reproduction, compared to the Flare 2.
- Anker Soundcore Flare Mini: This speaker is the budget option of the Soundcore Flare lineup, sporting a similar build quality to the Flare 2, though with less powerful drivers.
- Bose SoundLink Flex: The SoundLink Flex is dust- and water-resistant with its IP67 build. You get good, loud sound out of this speaker, but its shape isn’t quite as nice for general carry as the more cylindrical Flip series.
- Bose SoundLink Micro: If you’re knee-deep in the Bose ecosystem and want a travel-friendly speaker that can withstand nearly anything, the SoundLink Micro is a great addition to have.
- Bose SoundLink Revolve+ (Series II): This speaker isn’t technically waterproof as it has an IP55 rating, but it’s a great speaker so it still deserves to be mentioned. It plays sound in a 360-degree field and has a microphone for taking phone calls. Its battery lasts 13 hours and the speaker can be hooked up to others of its kind for Party Mode or stereo playback.
- JBL Boombox 2: If you want the biggest, the baddest, the loudest outdoor speaker JBL has to offer, check out the Boombox 2. It has four active transducers and two bass radiators for backyard-filling sound—all wrapped in a durable IPX7 waterproof enclosure.
- JBL Clip 4: The Clip series has always been one to keep your eye on, but with a new design and a greatly improved battery life the Clip 4 is finally a true contender. Especially since you can usually find it for about $50. For something even smaller, look into the JBL GO 3.
- JBL Flip 5: The JBL Flip 5 is a happy-medium speaker when it comes to portability, sound quality, and convenience. Its IPX7 rating means you can fully submerge it for up to 3o minutes, and it charges up via USB-C.
- Sonos Move: This premium speaker is technically not waterproof, but its IP56 rating still makes it extremely resilient against big splashes of water. It also boasts a reliable Bluetooth connection, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa integration, and AirPlay 2 support.
- Sony SRS-XB13: Bass response is this compact speaker’s forte and it can be paired to another speaker in stereo for even greater sound. Its battery life tops out at 16 hours and can also be used to make phone calls. For $60 it’s a pretty great deal.
- Sony SRS-XB33: This speaker is a bit large for a portable option but it has a 24-hour battery life and IP67 rating. Listeners who don’t mind the extra weight will really like how this speaker sounds, and may find entertainment in the speaker lights.
- UE MEGABOOM 3: With 360 degree sound and the ability to pair multiple together for a larger sound, this speaker is perfect for parties.
- UE Roll 2: It was already one of the best speakers you can get for the price, and the new and UE Roll 2 is even better. It isn’t much of an improvement over the original, but it is an improvement.
What is an IP rating?
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 its 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:
Dripping water (1 mm/min)
Limit: vertical drips only
Dripping water (3 mm/min)
Limit: Device max tilt of 15° from drips
Limit: Device max tilt of 60° from sprays
Water jets (12.5 L/min)
Example: Squirt guns
Strong water jets (100 L/min)
Example: Powerful water guns
Limit: 1 m. for 30 min
Limit: 3 m. for 30 min
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, dust and water resistance is something you should splurge on.
Pros and cons of waterproof speakers
Besides the obvious advantage of not having to worry about water damage, waterproof speakers are generally durable and often shock-resistant. You should avoid dropping any electronics because it could loosen internal components, but these devices are made with adventure in mind.
Related: Bluetooth speaker tips and tricks
Another clear advantage is portability. Again, these speakers are intended to move around 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. Worst case, you can always clip the speaker to the outside of your bag or toss it into your pack’s water bottle holster.
Water-resistant speakers tend to be more durable than other types of speakers, but sound quality isn't always the best.
As always there are some sacrifices that need to be made, and in the case of waterproof speakers, that sacrifice is sound quality. Drivers need to be protected from water and dust to varying degrees which means they don’t sound as clear as their non-waterproof competitors. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of speakers that sound great, but few can match comparably priced speakers designed for sound.
Another big con when it comes to waterproof speakers is the cost. This isn’t always the case, but most of the time waterproof speakers will be a bit more expensive because of the added feature. That said, if you’re looking for a waterproof speaker, the price of durability is easy to justify.
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Frequently Asked Questions
No, the JBL Flip 4 and JBL Flip 5 cannot connect to one another because the former uses JBL Connect Plus while the latter uses JBL PartyBoost technology (not backward compatible). This lack of compatibility is a thorn in the sides of JBL speaker fans.