You can forget about the tangled nest of wires around your stereo system. There are a ton of Bluetooth speakers on the market today, and they allow you to control your entire music experience with devices you already carry in your pocket. We’ve highlighted some of the best here, and while most of the speakers on this list are durable, wireless, and suitable for the outdoors.
We’ve also offered a few wired options (notably the Echo Dot and SONOS Play:1) that are better suited as home stereo components. All of these speakers offer great value for their price, but most come with unique features that make them stand out in their own right.
TD;LR - Best Bluetooth Speakers:
- Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Gen Smart Speaker
- Bose SoundLink Revolve
- Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker
- JBL Flip 4 Portable Stereo Speaker
- Sony XB10 Portable Wireless Speaker
- Sonos Original Play:1 Wireless Speaker
- Cambridge Soundworks OontZ Angle 3
- Bose SoundLink Micro
- Bose SoundLink Color II
- Anker Soundcore Flare
- Bose soundlink Mini II Limited Edition
- Ultimate Ears Waterproof BOOM 3
1. Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Gen Smart Speaker
The biggest selling point of the Echo Dot is obvious: the inclusion of Alexa. If you want a bluetooth speaker that can respond to your voice commands and serve as both a music speaker and a virtual concierge, the natural VA integration in the Dot can't be beat. That being said, the third generation Dot offers pretty respectable sound performance.
Its small size belies a decent amount of heft in terms of aural depth, and two different Dots can be paired together to simulate surround sound. Whether you're using the Dot to make a phone call or listen to Spotify, you can count on it to provide you with deep and rich sound quality.
That said, this is a speaker that's about utility above performance, and it's outclassed in terms of quality by some other speakers on our list. Fortunately, it can be easily connected to an external speaker.
2. Bose SoundLink Revolve
The SoundLink may not fit in the palm of your hand like the Echo Dot, but it has the advantage of being able to serve as an outdoor Bluetooth speaker. A twelve hour battery life means that it can suit you well whether you're hosting a party on the beach or in your back yard, and the optional charging cradle can provide you with additional juice when needed.
Compatibility with both Siri and Google Now is built in, so it can work equally as well as an anchor for your whole home entertainment center. Pairing together two SoundLinks allows you to replicate stereo mode or party mode playback, while the True 360 degree coverage ensures a clarity of sound that's more than respectable.
The SoundLink is also a waterproof Bluetooth speaker, and its aluminum frame makes it highly durable and ideal for outdoor conditions.
3. Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker
Anker has clearly built their Bluetooth speaker with simplicity in mind. The clean buttons on the top of the speaker simply include a power button, Bluetooth connect toggle, volume controls, and a play button. Setup is essentially plug and play, and syncing it to your mobile device via Bluetooth is as basic as could be. The inclusion of Bluetooth 4.0 and the wireless range of 60 feet puts it head and shoulders above many of its competitors, and Anker promises a whopping 24 hours of continuous play on a single charge.
And while there's a little bit of harshness on the high end when playing at excessive volumes, the frequency range is otherwise as smooth as butter. It's not the most powerful Bluetooth speaker on the market, and the lack of native virtual assistant integration is a distinct downside, but it's a strong choice for its incredibly modest price tag.
4. JBL Flip 4 Portable Stereo Speaker
JBL's Flip 4 comes in nine different patterns and colors, but this isn't a speaker that puts style over substance. Its fully waterproof design makes it an ideal Bluetooth speaker for the pool, the beach, or the bathroom, and it offers a lot more heft than the earlier Flip 3. That's due to the inclusion of powerful new drivers. It's a strong contender for the position of loudest Bluetooth speaker, and it manages to maintain a level of aural integrity even when you crank up the volume to max.
A simple button press allows you to communicate with the Flip 4 via either Siri or Google Assistant, and it comes with a built-in noise and echo cancelling speakerphone for clear conference calls. While many of the speakers on our list can be synched together, the Flip 4 can be combined into an astonishing hundred JBL speaker ecosystem.
5. Sony XB10 Portable Wireless Speaker
As far as portable speakers go, Sony's XB10 is a solid choice. Priced at less than $60, this lightweight speaker can fit in the palm of your hand, and its water-resistant design allows it to take a splash without worries. Despite being the tiniest speaker in Sony's lineup, it offers decent enough sound, and in a neat design choice, the strap converts to a stand you can use to stand it up outdoors.
If you're looking for a higher level of performance, you can double up on speakers and take advantage of stereo sound. Both Bluetooth and NFC connections are supported, and the XB10 can provide consistent performance for up to 16 hours in a single charge.
A passive radiator provides enhanced bass performance. There's also an audio input cord so you can make it a modular component for your home theater or stereo system.
6. Sonos Original Play:1 Wireless Speaker
The field of wireless speakers would likely look very different without SONOS. The plucky startup pioneered the premise of modular, wireless speaker systems, and their small but lovingly constructed line of products constitute some of the best Bluetooth speakers around. The Play:1 is their entry level contribution, and it's also potentially the best Bluetooth speaker in its class.
A range of different streaming services are built in, and it can combine with other SONOS products to create an advanced sound ecosystem or coordinate with an Amazon-enabled device like a Dot to bring an extra layer of versatility.
SONOS is well-regarded for their ability to provide a rich depth of sound even with the smallest products, and that's as true for the Play:1 as it is for any of their products. It's not especially suitable for a travel speaker, but it's a useful addition to any home sound system.
7. Cambridge Soundworks OontZ Angle 3
With its triangular corners, the OontZ looks like no other speaker on the market, but it's also an exceedingly powerful portable Bluetooth speaker. That's due to the presence of dual acoustic stereo drivers that offer a polished sound for the mids and highs and a proprietary downward facing bass radiator that can add some extra thump and rumble to your music.
The Volume Booster 10+ watt power AMP lets it reach impressively high volumes without the threat of distortion. It can work equally as well as an external speaker for your laptop or stereo system as it can as a standalone device.
It can stream a wide range of different streaming services through a mobile device. The one hundred foot Bluetooth range is better than almost any other Bluetooth speaker you'll find, while its water resistance makes it a popular choice as an outdoor speaker.
8. Bose SoundLink Micro
The Micro is the second of Bose's SoundLink speakers to appear on this list, but it won't be the last. Bluetooth speaker reviews are unusually positive regarding the SoundLink line, and the one that's right for you will largely be a choice of personal preference. While the Micro sacrifices the 360 degree sound of the Revolve, it has the advantage of a more modest price and more compact size.
The Micro comes with a silicone strap that can be used to mount it on a backpack, bike, or cooler, and it charges through a simple micro USB port. The built-in microphone allows you to take and make calls using Siri or Google Assistant, while the rugged plastic case is water resistant and ideal for taking with you on outdoor adventures. The Micro supports stereo and party mode when synchronized with other Bose speakers.
9. Bose SoundLink Color II
Much of what applies to the Micro holds true for the SoundLink Color as well. Despite being double the size of the Micro, it's still substantially smaller than the Revolve, and its water-resistant design makes it an equally durable choice for outdoor excursions. The Bluetooth connectivity is further bolstered by the Bose Connect app which allows you to connect and switch between your devices using a simple drag and drop interface.
Siri and Google Assistant are both supported, and the Color also offers integrated and native voice input support. It can be combined with other members of the SoundLink family to provide stereo and party mode.
10. Anker Soundcore Flare
The Anker Soundcore Flare looks a lot like the SoundLink Revolve, and that's likely not by coincidence. The biggest selling point of both speakers are their 360 degree sound, but the Soundcore Flare further improves its value as a party speaker due to its festive and ambient LED lights. Five different settings allow you to set a mood that matches your situation.
Another important and differentiating factor is the BassUP technology. BassUP analyzes your music in real time and adjusts the bass to suit your music. That said, this is a speaker that's functionally very similar to the Revolve.
They both offer comparable sound performance, and they can be doubled up to offer stereo sound. Notably, the Soundcore Flare is waterproof, and it's compatible with Anker's Soundcore app which allows you a higher level of customization regarding the speaker's settings.
11. Bose soundlink Mini II Limited Edition
Rounding out Bose's SoundLink collection is the limited edition Mini II, a very attractive package with a retro design that evokes classic Bose products. It sports a sturdy aluminum frame underneath which is some impressive bass performance and shaking sound. Voice prompts make it easy to set up Bluetooth, and the versatility is further underscored by the Siri and Google Assistant compatibility built right in.
This speaker can double as a device for making conference calls as well. It can also be tethered to your existing smart home setup by connecting it to your Amazon Alexa device. It offers arguably the deepest and richest sound of any of the SoundLink products but doesn't have quite the level of range and bass as the Revolve.
12. Ultimate Ears Waterproof BOOM 3
The BOOM 3 packs in two of the most useful features for an outdoor Bluetooth speaker into a single package: an entirely waterproof shell and the promise of 360 degree sound. The fact that it floats on its own makes it a rough and rugged choice perfect for the pool and the beach. A one touch interface makes playing, skipping, or pausing music a simple process.
The BOOM 3 can be combined with up to 150 speakers in the BOOM line to make for a truly massive outdoor sound system. There's little in the way of smart assistant compatibility, but the BOOM 3 does boast a Bluetooth range of 150 feet.
Best Bluetooth Speakers Buyer’s Guide
Understanding Connectivity Options
Bluetooth is the standard that unifies all of the products on our list. Bluetooth makes use of a wireless connection that tethers your speaker directly to another device – typically a tablet or phone. These devices essentially serve as both the remote control and source device for the speakers and allow you to stream music you have stored locally as well as any music streaming services.
A few of these speakers also offer NFC support. “Near Field Communication” is similar in theory to Bluetooth, but it requires to be practically touching the speaker. While that may seem like an inconvenience, it uses significantly less power, is easier to set up, and is less prone to interference in crowded spaces with multiple electronics.
The SONOS and Alexa speakers on our list have the added benefit of drawing from a WiFi network to add increased versatility. This allows them to serve as virtual assistants without the need for an external device like a phone. Since they can access the internet directly, they allow you to access search engines, streaming services, and conference calls through simple voice commands. But the lack of battery charging (and the necessity of being connected to a dedicated WiFi connection) means that they aren’t practical choices for portable speakers.
The Complications of Compatibility
Speakers like those on this list are designed to be inherently modular. Some of them can connect with over a hundred other speakers to create incredibly complicated sound systems, but it’s important to realize that these technologies are proprietary. If you’re looking to create more intricate sound systems, you’ll want to focus on a specific brand. The Bose SoundLink speakers are an especially strong choice for this because they offer such a diverse range of different products that play well together.
The one main exception here is with speakers that offer compatibility with an Amazon Echo Dot. The Dot is a speaker, but it can also serve as a hub for a larger sound system, and it can be used to create a more eclectic sound system that folds together a variety of speakers from different manufacturers. It’s not a viable solution for outdoors, but it can allow you to fold together all of your different speakers at home.
What’s great about the current generation of Bluetooth speakers is how easy they are to use. You don’t need much technical knowledge to get them going, and most of the navigation can be handled through the familiar interface of a phone or tablet rather than having to manipulate buttons on the actual speaker. You can’t go wrong with any of the speakers on our list, but unique functions like waterproof design, 360 sound performance, and Alexa compatibility means that you’ll want to weigh your options carefully and consider the speaker that bests suits your needs.If you liked our article on bluetooth speakers, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.