Our team spent countless hours researching and testing today’s finest Bluetooth speakers. The process included over 400 hours of dedicated listening time between me and a team of our editors.
When it comes to shopping for a Bluetooth speaker, the most important things to consider are sound quality, battery life, and, of course, design. We weighed all this criteria when testing speakers, along with how easy the speaker was to pair, additional features the speakers offered, and even a user's ability to customize the sound experience.
Additional features such as a waterproof body and wireless connectivity options that go beyond Bluetooth are becoming increasingly popular, too. The latest offerings on the market will even let you access your favorite virtual assistants by Google and Amazon. Check out our favorite picks!
Here's a Look at Our Testing Process:
Learn More About Our Top Five Picks:
The metal-clad SoundLink Revolve+ Bluetooth speaker by Bose is not only stylish (look at its awesome fabric handle!), but it's also water-resistant. It can deliver 360-degree sound with superb quality for up to a solid 16 hours on a single charge.
The SoundLink Revolve+ speaker has a built-in microphone for making voice calls and using your phone's virtual assistant. To access the latter, you'll need to long-press a dedicated multifunction button.
Reviewers from CNET, PC Magazine, and TechRadar praised the SoundLink Revolve+ for its clever design, excellent audio quality, and top-notch battery life. Testers from Popular Mechanics also agree that the speaker is the best of its kind.
After testing the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ wireless speaker, our colleague Patrick Varone gave it high marks for delivering a high-quality sound experience in a stylish and portable form factor. He liked the option to connect the speaker with Siri, as well as its water-resistant body. Varone also praised the SoundLink Revolve+ for being easy to set up.
Bose also offers you the option to connect multiple speakers via a sleek mobile app. The SoundLink Revolve+ is available in black or silver.
Best Budget Buy
The Soundcore Flare wireless speaker by Anker is our favorite budget buy today. The fabric-covered, waterproof gadget successfully combines an attractive design, intuitive controls, excellent audio quality, and great battery life. With customizable LED lights, the Soundcore Flare is also incredibly interactive for its price point.
With a pair of high-quality audio drivers and a duo of passive bass radiators on board, the Soundcore Flare speaker sounds a lot better than its price tag suggests. Users can tweak the device’s audio settings via a mobile app. There’s also the option to pair two speakers for a full stereo experience.
Testers from PC Magazine and TechRadar also liked the sleek design and superb excellent audio quality of the Soundcore Flare speaker. They also liked its built-in LED lights and the mobile app that controls them.
The speaker has an IPX7 waterproof rating, which means that it can survive full submersion underwater. The device can deliver up to 12 hours of audio playback between charges. You can order the gadget with a gray or blue fabric finish.
Our team member Kayla Ramsey loved the charcoal fabric finish and told me it makes the Soundcore Flare speaker look “more expensive than it is.” She found the lighting ring at the bottom of the device to be a really cool feature and she said that it set it apart from other speakers.
Ramsey liked the audio quality of the Soundcore Flare. She referred to it as “great for such a small speaker.” She found the speaker’s battery sufficient for two evenings of wireless tunes - in line with Anker’s claims.
Lastly, Ramsey liked the ability to tweak the speaker’s lighting settings via its mobile app. She also found the option to pair it with another Soundcore Flare cool, but not exactly necessary, given that the speaker fully filled the apartment with sound without needing an additional unit.
Best Waterproof Speaker
The all-new BOOM 3 by Ultimate Ears is the best waterproof speaker available today. It has a beautiful design and finish, amazing 360-degree sound, top-notch battery life (up to 15 hours), and a host of neat features you can access via a smartphone app.
The device's app-enabled features include the ability to access your favorite Apple Music playlists with a single touch, as well as the option to connect over 150 BOOM speakers for a bigger sound experience. Surprisingly, Ultimate Ears has decided to skip support for one-touch access to Spotify playlists.
The speaker is fully waterproof with an IP67 rating. This means that you can fully submerge it underwater. We also like that Ultimate Ears designed the BOOM 3 to float in water, making it perfect for pool parties.
There are three colors to pick from - black, blue, and red. In case you find the BOOM 3 too small, consider the larger MEGABOOM 3 speaker instead. It has a similar design, but a more compact body.
Our team member Bridget Clegg thoroughly tested the UE Boom 3 wireless speaker. She was pleasantly surprised by the gadget’s design and craftsmanship, especially the Ultraviolet Purple color finish of its fabric. Unsurprisingly, Clegg liked the “satisfyingly large” buttons of the speaker, as well as its fully waterproof body.
Clegg noted that the sound signature of the UE Boom 3 is “well-balanced and crisp” for “both music and podcasts.” She was also happy to discover that the speaker’s battery life during her testing matched the manufacturer’s claim of 15 hours between charges. Overall, she found the speaker to be a good buy, thanks to its waterproof design, easy setup, and a great selection of available features.
Best Micro Speaker
The JBL Clip 3 is our favorite ultra compact wireless speaker. It offers a great blend of a an elegant and colorful design, a surprisingly powerful audio experience, a fully waterproof body, and up to a really impressive 10 hours of battery life at an affordable price.
We really like that, for the first time, the signature metal carabiner of the JBL Clip series of compact speakers is available in colors that match their fabric finish. The latter is available in 11 color options, which is a remarkable feat for a product in this price point.
Powered by a single 40-millimeter audio driver, the JBL Clip 3 sounds a lot bigger than its palm-sized form factor suggests. The gadget is also an impressive performer when used as a speakerphone.
According to CNET, the JBL Clip 3 is “a top-notch waterproof travel speaker.” CNET's executive editor David Carnoy gave the device high marks for its design and quality sound for its small size.
Our colleague Melanie Yates spent time using the JBL Clip 3 wireless speaker. She liked the lightweight, colorful design of the micro speaker and its built-in carabiner - she hung it on a towel hook in her kitchen and seamlessly enjoyed its wireless tunes.
The sound quality of the JBL Clip 3 impressed. She found the tiny gadget to deliver a better audio experience and “broader sound” than a pricier smart home speaker with a virtual assistant on board. Yates observed the battery life of the JBL Clip 3 to be in line with the manufacturer’s claims.
Best for Iconic Design
The Marshall Kilburn II wireless speaker has a design and controls inspired by the company's legendary guitar amps. They include a trio of dedicated rotating knobs for controlling the volume, as well as the bass and treble outputs. The speaker has a rugged design and an IPX2 rating for water resistance.
The sound quality is truly excellent. Marshall has partnered with Blumlein Stereo to give the Kilburn II speaker the ability to deliver an immersive, multidirectional audio experience that's among the best in its price range. The speaker has Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, as well as the ability to wirelessly connect to multiple audio sources.
The speaker's battery can last up to 20 hours on a single charge. We like that it has a fast charging capability, too, which will give you up to 3 hours of playback after only 20 minutes.
At 5.5 pounds, the Marshall Kilburn II isn't the lightest Bluetooth speaker out there. However, we do believe that its sound and craftsmanship make carrying the extra weight well worth it. To make moving the speaker around easier, Marshall has equipped it with a handy and stylish leather strap.
I gave a Marshall Kilburn II wireless speaker to our editor Erica Murphy for testing. After putting it through its paces for 10 hours, she found it to be the “one of the coolest-looking Bluetooth speakers” she had seen to date. Murphy observed that the speaker has plenty of presence without being overwhelming. She also commended it for being water-resistant.
Murphy enjoyed the clear sound of the Marshall Kilburn II and its ability to fill a room, as well as the option to adjust the audio experience via dedicated knobs. One of her favorite bits about the device was its built-in battery gauge - she noted that this is a feature that many wireless speakers are lacking.
More Cool Options to Consider:
Best for Sustainable Craftsmanship
The coolest thing about the House of Marley No Bounds XL wireless speaker is its waterproof, environmentally friendly build. The materials used in the making of the stylish speaker include sustainably harvested cork, recycled plastics, and reclaimed hemp. The aluminum used in the making of the device is naturally easily recyclable, too. We really like that, in addition to looking cool, the cork used in the making of the speaker allows it to float in water.
The sound of the speaker is excellent for its price point. Like all House of Marley products, the No Bounds XL wireless speaker a well-balanced audio experience with just the right amount of bass on a consistent basis. In case you want, you can wirelessly pair two No Bounds XL speakers for a bigger sonic experience.
You can expect up to 16 hours of use between charges from the speaker. It’s great that, if necessary, you can use the device to power up other gadgets. The trick works because the No Bounds XL wireless speaker has a built-in USB port.
Tim Gideon from PC Magazine liked the waterproof design and the bass-heavy sound of the House of Marley No Bounds XL. He did however, note that its speakerphone feature could be better.
Our editor Adam Mansuroglu tested the House of Marley No Bounds XL wireless speaker. He liked the “minimalist design” of the speaker, though he noted that its power button is a tad challenging to locate. He described the sound quality of the device as amazing after listening to various music styles.
According to Mansuroglu, the battery life of the House of Marley No Bounds XL lived up to the manufacturer’s claims. He observed that setting up access to Amazon Alexa on the speaker is a quick process.
Best for Customizable Design and a Built-in Headphone Amp
V-Moda's first Bluetooth speaker, just like its awesome wireless headphones, is customizable via 3D-printed modules. They include 3D-printed sides, grilles, and shells, with the available materials ranging from colorful fiber to gold-polished steel.
Its sound quality is also excellent, thanks to a pair of high-quality audio drivers, as well as a bass reflector. Other key features of the V-Moda Remix include 10 hours of battery life and a built-in high-quality headphones amplifier capable of powering audiophile headphones.
After using the V-Moda Remix wireless speaker, my colleague Danielle St. Pierre gave it high marks for its compact form factor, as well as its modern aesthetic. She was also “impressed by the quality and richness” of the device’s sound.
St. Pierre found the battery life of the V-Moda Remix to be right in line with the manufacturer’s claims. She observed that, despite its considerable price tag, the speaker offers a “really nice balance between portability and sound quality.”
Best for Waterproof Design and Built-In Party Lights
Sony’s SRS-XB31 Bluetooth speaker packs a ton of cool features, which make it one of the best entries in its price range. Some standouts include a fully waterproof design, a rugged body, built-in line and strobe lights, and an exceptional 24-hour battery life.
The speaker packs two 48-millimeter audio drivers, which combine to deliver excellent audio quality. There’s an option to choose between extra-bass or live-sound modes. Users looking for more decibels can seamlessly connect multiple SRS-XB31 speakers together.
Our site director Jamie Miles tested the Sony SRS-XB31. She loved the reasonable price and compact size of the speaker, as well as its fabric finish. She noted that, combined with its stylish looks, the lightweight and waterproof body make the speaker a great beach companion.
Miles liked that the speaker has two distinct sound modes for extra bass and a live-sound option with a clearer audio signature. She enjoyed the various app-controlled light modes of the speaker and liked that you can connect multiple Sony SRS-XB31 units for a more immersive sound.
An IP67 rating ensures that the Sony SRS-XB31 is fully waterproof. There are four cool colors to pick from - black, white, blue, and red.
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