Best Bluetooth speakers
We'll help you find the best wireless speakers for pairing with your smartphone or tablet—whatever your budget, and whatever music floats your boat.
There was a time when Bluetooth speakers were like jelly beans: They were cheap, they all looked the same, and they were invariably of dubious quality. Times have changed. Every major audio manufacturer has at least one model on the market today, and most have several. If you haven’t listened to a Bluetooth speaker lately, you’re in for a very pleasant surprise.
The industry’s progress doesn’t mean that every Bluetooth speaker justifies its price tag, no matter how inexpensive it might be. There’s still plenty of dreck floating around. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you steer clear of the junk and point you to the best speakers at the price range that fits your budget. To that end, we’ve picked the best Bluetooth speakers in four broad price ranges: budget, mid-range, high-end, and—yes, there are ultra-high-end Bluetooth speakers—price is no object. Some of our picks can be used indoors and out, but we've also named our favorites that are designed primarily as outdoor speakers.
Updated June 29, 2018 to add our review of the Bluesound Pulse Mini. While we appreciated this speaker's audio performance and its overall versatility, we found its touch-sensitive controls problematic enough to prevent it from displacing any of our current top picks in this category.
Anker is best known for its battery accessories, but the SoundCore A3102 demonstrates it knows a thing or two about building inexpensive—but not cheap—speakers as well. While this little box won’t blow you away with its audio prowess, it won’t give you a headache either. And while it’s not at all weatherized, its $25.49 price tag is amazing.
Best $100 Bluetooth speaker
JBL’s Flip 4 would be remarkable enough for the sound it delivers at this price point, but this portable speaker also delivers another killer feature: Its IPX7 rating means it can be submersed in up to three feet of water for as long as 30 minutes without suffering any damage. You can also connect two Flip 4’s and operate them as a stereo pair, or connect up to 100 JBL Connect+ speakers and stream music to all of them from the same source at the same time.
Best mid-priced Bluetooth speaker
Oppo has been crafting some fabulous audio products lately, and its Sonica Wi-Fi is a prime example. More than just a Bluetooth speaker, you can also stream music over your Wi-Fi network—it has a dual-band adapter just for that purpose. And if that’s not flexible enough for you, it supports Apple’s AirPlay technology, too.
Most importantly, the Sonica Wi-Fi sounds superb. Capable of decoding audio files with up to 24-bit resolution and sampling rates as high as 192kHz, it’s easily the best powered speaker in its price range.
Not being portable or battery powered will render the Edifier Luna e25 HD a nonstarter for some, but if you're looking for a powerful set of bookshelf Bluetooth speakers for your listening room, this pair is hard to beat for the money. They sound as good as they look.
Best high-end Bluetooth speaker
Bowers & Wilkins has never failed to impress us, but they’ve long been associated with Apple having entered the all-in-one speaker market with the Zeppelin iPod dock. That changed with the third-generation Zeppelin, the Zeppelin Wireless, which lost the physical dock in favor of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Apple’s AirPlay technology.
B&W didn’t stop with Bluetooth. They also opted to support the aptX codec to deliver the highest quality audio that Bluetooth is capable of delivering. And if you’re a Spotify subscriber, you’ll appreciate this speaker’s support for Spotify Connect. The one down side: B&W stubbornly refuses to develop an Android app. But that’s a minor inconvenience that will bug you only when during first-time setup.
Best outdoor Bluetooth speaker
This is the best powered outdoor speaker we’ve heard since Soundcast introduced its Outcast speaker nearly 10 years ago. It’s built like a tank; splash resistant, so you can use it poolside or at the beach; and it delivers outstanding battery life. Most importantly, however, it sounds fantastic. Expensive, but worth it.