06 Sep 2021 11:04 AM +00:00

Best Bluetooth Speaker 2021: Portable Speakers For All Budgets

The Bluetooth speaker market is full of so many options that it can be tough to find which one is best for your needs.

While they may offer less than the best speakers on the market, Bluetooth speakers fill an important role for those needing a portable device. We've done some of the legwork for you and selected a few Bluetooth speakers we thought stood out from the crowd, based on specs, reviews, and features they offer.

So whether you're on the hunt for a rather smart offering from Sonos with the Sonos Roam or an incredibly powerful choice like the Ultimate Ears BOOM 3, we've got you covered right here, along with our guide to picking the best Bluetooth speaker for you.

Let's dive straight in.

Best Bluetooth Speaker

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Best Bluetooth Speaker Budget - Anker Soundcore Mini

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Image Credit: Anker

Weight: 0.45 lb | Power: 5W | Battery life: 15 hours | Wireless range: 66ft | Additional Features: AUX Connection, Microphone, Supports Micro SD Cards

The Anker Soundcore Mini is a great option if you’re looking for a Bluetooth speaker that comes in typically under $25.

Highlights of this speaker are its metal shell, surprisingly good sound for its size, passive radiator, and super small form factor.

It’s even got a built-in microphone so you can take calls, making it a good budget choice for home offices too.

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Best Bluetooth Speaker All-rounder - JBL FLIP 5

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Image Credit: JBL

Weight: 1.2 lb | Power: 20W | Battery life: 12 hours | Driver Size: 44mm | Additional Features: IPX7 waterproof, USB-C Charging

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The JBL Flip 5 makes for a solid consideration for one of the best Bluetooth speakers around, thanks to its powerful sound, impressive battery life, and fast charging capabilities.

It's practically ideal for taking anywhere you can think of, thanks to its rugged design and IPX7 waterproof rating.

You won't find hands-free calling here, but if you're after a 'simple' speaker that delivers the goods where it arguably matters most, then this JBL Flip 5 is certainly one to consider on your search.

Best Mid-Range Bluetooth Speaker - Sony SRS-XB23

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Image Credit: Sony

Weight: 1.3 lb | Battery life: 12 hours | Additional Features: IP67 waterproof, Stereo/ Party Mode, Aux-in

If you're looking for a Bluetooth speaker with some added functionality, then this Sony SRS-XB23 could be a great way to go.

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Featuring an X-balanced speaker and dual passive radiators, this powerful device boasts impressive sound quality at an accessible price point.

On top of this, you can actually link up to 100 compatible speakers together, or link two of the same type for stereo pairing, making a good call for parties and larger setups.

Best Bluetooth Speaker Sonos - Sonos Roam

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Image Credit: Sonos

Weight: 0.95 lb | Battery life: 10 hours | Additional Features: IP67 waterproof, WiFi, Google Assistant & Alexa support

Sonos is best known for making some of the best soundbars out there and has moved into the portable sphere with a bang thanks to the Sonos Roam.

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It's their first entry into the Bluetooth speaker market and we think comes packed with the usual Sonos charm thanks to features such as a 10-hour battery life and bundled WiFi connectivity making this a little more than your traditional Bluetooth speaker.

You'll also find that the Sonos Roam is IP67 waterproof so should definitely be able to take some rough and tumble when you're out on your travels.

In addition, the sound quality on offer should be clear and expressive with some particular emphasis on vocal clarity.

Best Bluetooth Speaker Bose - Bose Soundlink Revolve+ II Speaker

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Image Credit: Bose

Weight: 1.9lbs | Battery life: 17 hours | Additional Features: IP55 water resistant, surround sound, Google Assistant & Alexa support

Bose is known for its high-quality speakers, as you can see from our best wireless speakers list, and the Bose Soundlink Revolve+ II does not disappoint.

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The Revolve+ II is a rather interesting customer in the world of Bluetooth speakers, given it can offer surround sound from just one speaker.

This is thanks to the fact that this new offering projects sound in all directions, meaning if you place it in a corner, the sound will rebound off the walls, which Bose says can mimic the sound of a concert.

The Revolve+ II looks to sound good too with a nice amount of power and plenty of balance to the audio, along with some decent direction thanks to sound projecting in a 360-degree direction.

There's a choice of either black or silver available for colours, and it's also IP55 water and dust resistant which can be handy if you're near a pool.

Best Premium Portable Bluetooth Speaker - Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1

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Image Credit: Bang & Olufsen

Weight: 1.3 lb | Power: 2 x 30W | Battery life: 18 hours | Additional Features: IP67 Waterproof/ dustproof, stereo-pairing mode, USB-C, Alexa

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1's design holds true to a number of their products and is a top contender for one of the most luxurious looking speakers out there.

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But the good news is that it also packs a punch when it comes to sound, boasting two speakers coming in at 30W each.

While there may be some more 'rugged' speakers out there, it's still water and dust resistant and has a tough aluminium dome for added protection.

Up to 18 hours battery life certainly isn't bad either!

Best Premium Bluetooth Speaker - Ultimate Ears Boom 3

Best bluetooth speaker Ultimate Ears product image black speaker
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Image Credit: Ultimate Ears

Weight: 1.2 lb | Battery life: 15 hours | Wireless range: 30+ ft | Additional Features: USB-C Charging, IP67 waterproof/dust-proof

The Ultimate Ears Boom 3 looks to be another popular choice in the world of Bluetooth speakers, especially for room-filling sound, connectivity, and rugged design that makes it competitive with even the best desktop speakers.

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Its IP67 waterproof rating should come in handy if you take this speaker on the go, and much like the previous Sony entry it can be linked up with multiple Boom 3 speakers, or paired with another for stereo sound.

Battery life comes in at a substantial 15 hours and you can charge via its own dock or connect it to a power source.

As far as design goes, it may be different to our best RGB speakers, but for a sleek black design, we think it ticks all the right boxes!

Frequently Asked Questions About The Best Bluetooth Speakers

Let's face it, when it comes to everything audio it does get a little tricky, so we'll break down a few things here which should help you on your search.

Do you need an Aux-in port when buying a Bluetooth speaker?

You may have seen this spec come up in the list above and it's an important one to factor in, especially if you want to use your speaker for more than just connecting via Bluetooth.

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The aux-in port allows connecting via a cable, which can come in handy if you want to connect to older devices, TVs and record players.

It's also a good fall-back in case you find that the Bluetooth isn't quite as good as you thought.

What is a good battery life for a Bluetooth speaker?

We'd say anything around 15 hours is good, with some of the smaller devices coming in below.

It's also worth factoring in whether they have USB-C charging, or fast charging too.

What is the best waterproof rating for Bluetooth speakers?

You'll notice some speakers have a rating when it comes to how water or dustproof they are. Of course, it depends on your needs, but if you aim between IPX4 to IPX7 it's a good place to start.

If you plan on using your speaker on a boat, by a pool and so on, go for the maximum, as some of these speakers can withstand being submerged for up to 30 minutes...and thankfully, some of them float too!

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How many watts is good for a portable speaker?

It's not always the case that the higher the watts the better it is, as sometimes the quality of the sound can be quite poor at higher volumes.

Anything around 20 watts should be enough for most people who want something portable.

Which Bluetooth version is best for a Bluetooth speaker?

In a general sense, any version of Bluetooth will do for portable speakers as there isn't much tangible difference between, say, Bluetooth 5.0 and Bluetooth 4.2 in terms of sound quality.

However, what will be noticeable is the range at which that data can be transferred. Bluetooth 5.0, for example, can transfer eight times more data at twice the speed and over four times longer distances than 4.2. This in turn can provide a snappier user experience.

What can a Bluetooth speaker do?

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Bluetooth speakers are able to play media, be it music or video wirelessly through the means of Bluetooth connectivity.

It utilises a radio frequency that allows for such data to be sent over short distances, although with newer versions range and speed have improved to no end.

Read More: Best Speakers for Console and PC Gaming 2021