The best Bluetooth speakers, chosen by experts

A Bluetooth speaker is a great way to stay connected to your favorite audio without being tethered to any one place.

Best sounding

Sonos Move 2

Sonos Move 2

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Best for outdoors

JBL BoomBox 3 Bluetooth speaker in camp product image

JBL Boombox 3

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Best for parties

Bose S1 Pro Portable Bluetooth Speaker System

Bose S1 Pro

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A Bluetooth speaker is a great way to listen to the tunes you love anytime, anywhere, and without getting tangled up in an endless maze of cords. With easy portability and quick connectivity, good Bluetooth speakers can elevate any activity. Get better sound during an impromptu movie screening, bust out the backing vocals during a campfire sing-along, and put on the proper playlist for a backyard cookout or trip to the beach. All you need is a Bluetooth-compatible device—like a cellphone, computer, or tablet—and you’re in business. However, not all wireless speakers are created equal; you want to find something with great sound and a sleek design that will also last. We’ve narrowed down the competition to the best Bluetooth speakers so you can spend less time shopping and more time with your favorite playlists.

How we chose the best Bluetooth speakers

The PopSci writers and editors are serious music nerds. We scoured dozens of different options across many well-known brands to find models that best fit various needs and lifestyles. All the speakers on this list achieve a baseline level of sound quality that will do justice to any music you pump through them. We primarily focused on attainable models that blend value with performance but made sure to throw in some premium options for on-the-go audiophiles. Every speaker on the list is portable, though some may require more effort to move than others. Whichever model you pick, you can be confident that it can rock any party you show up at.

The best Bluetooth speakers: Reviews & Recommendations

As with any electronics, we recommend picking the most important aspect of the device for you and focusing on it. So, if you want optimal sound, pick something with serious audio chops. If you want something that will be ultra-tough, be willing to make some concessions when it comes to pure audio quality. If you’re realistic about your needs, you’ll have a better chance of getting a device that fits your life. Whether you’re looking for an extremely durable portable speaker or an extremely versatile stereo pair, however, our top picks for the best Bluetooth speakers deliver quality sound no matter your setup or budget.

Best overall: JBL Boombox 3

JBL Boombox 3

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Why it made the cut: Yes, it’s big, but it pumps out enormous sound, and the battery is truly prolific—lasting a full day on a single charge.

Specs

  • Battery life: 24 hours
  • Weight: 13 pounds
  • IP Rating: IP67

Pros

  • Loud
  • Great battery life
  • Slick look despite its size
  • Solid connectivity

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Expensive

The JBL Boombox 3 has excellent sound quality and boasts 24 hours of battery life. The party quite literally never has to stop; in fact, you might have to stop well before the Boombox 2. It’s a great Bluetooth speaker to power a backyard jam or take a guaranteed party with you. With a convenient handle, an IP67 waterproof rating, and the ability to dual charge other devices, this JBL speaker will keep you going when you want to entertain (or listen to back-to-back podcasts all day). Thanks to the new three-way speaker design and 40 Hz – 20 kHz frequency response, thunderous lows come in seismic waves but with plenty of presence in the mids and highs to maintain sonic composure. Bluetooth 5.3 means the signal stays strong and stable, extending hundreds of feet in open air. With the Boombox 3, you can bring the club home … to your house and, with enough volume, your unsuspecting neighbors, too. Of course, all of that comes at a premium: $449 on average. Crave a similar punch without the same price? The JBL Boombox 2 is still a great buy for at least $50 less on average. And if you want to go to the extreme, the loudest portable Bluetooth speaker currently available is the SOUNDBOKS 4, which is one of our top picks for an outdoor party speaker because it can reach up to 126 decibels.

Best ultra-portable: Marshall Emberton II

Marshall Emberton II

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Specs

  • Battery life: 30 hours
  • Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • IP Rating: IP67

Pros

  • Highly portable
  • Excellent battery life
  • Durable

Cons

  • Controls take some getting used to

Marshall’s expansion from amps and other hardware used by iconic bands like AC/DC to consumer-level headphones and speakers has been pretty successful. Its speakers have become popular enough for the company to release revised versions of them, including the Emberton II, its latest take on a highly portable mid-tier Bluetooth speaker. The Emberton II retains Marshall’s amps’ iconic gold and black look, with red LEDs showing its power state and battery life.

In our tests, the Emberton II sounds good for its size and price and, thankfully, wasn’t tuned exclusively for listening to rock music. There are limitations to the amount of balance you can get from a backpack-friendly mono speaker, but we were pleased that Marshall managed to fit two 2-inch drivers inside instead of one. If you’re looking for a speaker that can sound pretty good when cranked up loud for a trip to the beach or backyard party, but is small enough to take with you while traveling on a plane, the Emberton II is the ideal choice.

While we don’t have any significant nits to pick with the sound, the Emberton II’s buttons can be a little annoying to navigate. There’s a standalone power button (thank goodness), but all of the speaker’s other controls: Play/pause, next track, previous track, volume up, volume down, require you to use the circular, golden controller on top of the speaker. It’s tough to know at a glance what moving the controller in any of these directions will do—there are small glyphs, but they’re difficult to see and won’t be apparent to someone unfamiliar with the Emberton II.

We hope Marshall addresses that usability with the Emberton III. Still, our complaint wasn’t large enough to keep us from recommending this speaker, which excels at its most important job: playing music.

Want something only a lil less portable but much more rockin’? A retro-chic look with an impressive sound, the Marshall Kilburn II boasts 20 hours of playtime with a quick-charge option, Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX (which delivers higher fidelity with compatible devices), a 30-foot connectivity range, and, best of all, adjustable analog EQ so you can customize your sound. The Marshall Kilburn II performs well across all frequencies with a range of 52 to 20,000 Hz, delivering 36 articulate watts in a classically styled 6.5-pound cabinet (complete with strap and ruggedized touches). Plus, a multi-host feature lets you connect two devices at once so you can take turns soloing. While it’s made for fiery licks, the Kilburn II isn’t built to withstand the elements like its younger, smaller sibling.

And if you want a similarly retromodern aesthetic with smart speaker capabilities added in, the JBL Authentics 300 isn’t an ultra-portable speaker with an updated, upscale ’70s vibe, onboard EQ knobs, but also voice assistant access. If you want to keep to the same size as the Emberton II but add in those WiFi-connected brains, the Sonos Roam is an option.

Best party speaker: Bose S1 Pro Portable Bluetooth Speaker System

Bose S1 Pro Portable Bluetooth Speaker System

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Why it made the cut: This Bluetooth party speaker cranks out huge volume while minimizing distortion.

Specs

  • Battery life: 11 hours
  • Weight: 15 pounds
  • Meant for DJs and party pros

Pros

  • Unmatched volume
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Durable

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Expensive

If you want the loudest Bluetooth speaker, the Bose S1 Pro will give you concert-level volume without sacrificing quality. This PA-inspired Bluetooth speaker is pretty impressive. There is some extra math to be done regarding maximum decibel output because high-end speakers usually have a range of wattage support that affects the sound output. However, the S1 Pro typically peaks at around 109 decibels. It features a 3-channel mixer, with options for reverb and EQ and a dedicated channel for other music sources. The speaker can last up to 11 hours with a QuickCharge function if you’re in a rush. Though it’s a little bigger (and several hundred more expensive) than other models, this speaker is still quite portable and extremely potent. With unparalleled sound quality, it’s truly perfect for parties and private concerts.

Best waterproof: Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 3

Best lightweight

Ultimate Ears – WONDERBOOM 2

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Why it made the cut: Ultimate Ears has an impeccable talent for pumping out small, waterproof speakers that sound great. This little sound sphere is no exception. It’s awesome all around.

Specs

  • Battery life: 13 hours
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Bluetooth Range: 131 feet 
  • IP Rating: IP67

Pros

  • Great sound for its size
  • Light
  • Small
  • Totally waterproof
  • Attractive design

Cons

  • Not as powerful as other models

Since being introduced in 2019, the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 has been a tried-and-true favorite, one of the best Bluetooth speakers under $100 in any situation, thanks to its durability and sound quality. The Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 3 ups that ante as one of the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers. If you are looking for a mini Bluetooth speaker that you can easily take with you on the go, look no further than this $99 wonder. The UE WONDERBOOM 3 comes in multiple fun two-tone colors with a flexible handle at the top that can easily be attached to a backpack, bike basket, or even a belt loop. This UE speaker also weighs less than 1 pound so that your speaker won’t drag you down while the sound lifts you up. The battery lasts a full 13 hours and produces amazing 360-degree sound coverage. With an IP67 rating, this Bluetooth speaker is waterproof, it even floats, and Ultimate Ears suggests trying it out in the shower. It’s small but mighty, measuring just four inches tall but packs a punch when it comes to volume, reaching up to 87 dB (almost concert-level loud).

Want something with even more … boom? The Wonderboom 3’s (much) bigger brother, the EPICBOOM is a big, bassy, shockproof, dustproof, waterproof device that can be immersed in up to one meter of water for up to 30 minutes.

Best sounding: Sonos Move 2

Most options

Sonos Move

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Why it made the cut: This portable speaker seamlessly ties into the Sonos wireless music system and pumps out excellent audio quality, making it one of the best-sounding Bluetooth speakers.

Specs

  • Battery life: 24 hours
  • Weight: 6.61 pounds
  • Bluetooth Range: 800 feet 
  • IP Rating: IP56

Pros

  • Works with all other Sonos systems
  • Fantastic sounds
  • Automatically adjusts sound to its environment

Cons

  • Expensive

The Sonos Move has a ton of options when it comes to connectivity. Known for its smart speakers, Sonos gear typically operates over WiFi. It can instantly integrate into an existing multiroom Sonos speaker network, connect to Apple AirPlay, and use a built-in Alexa voice assistant that you can enable and disable as you like. But the Move 2 is also capable of connecting to devices via Bluetooth, making it truly portable.

It lasts up to 24 hours per charge, which is a 13-hour improvement over its predecessor, and that’s not the only change Sonos made this time around. The Sonos Move 2 has a completely different audio architecture, with a faster processor, better amp, and improved drivers. The result is an excellent-sounding connected speaker that takes many cues from Sonos’ new Era 100, which we reviewed favorably earlier this year.

If you care deeply about audio quality, baked-in Sonos’ EQ settings do a great job at accentuating different frequency bands without feeling heavy handed. While the Sonos Move 2 isn’t a totally neutral speaker, it made the music we listened to sound lively and fun. A feature called TruePlay uses the speaker’s built-in microphone to make adjustments to its sound based on the room (or even part of the room) it’s in. The result is a speaker that sounds good both in and outdoors.

You can easily control all of the various services and settings like Sonos Radio, Alexa, Spotify, Apple Music, and more using the Sonos S2 singular app, making it easy to change things up at the drop of a hat. That’s a lot of options, though they come at a fair amount of dollars: $400 on average. Looking for a Sonos speaker that’s even more transportable and weather-resistant, while also more affordable? Check out the palm-sized IP67 Sonos Roam, which still sports many features and great fidelity but for less than $200.

Best for Android: Sony SRS-XG300

Sony SRS-XG300

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Specs

  • Battery life: 25 hours
  • Weight: 6.6 pounds
  • IP Rating: IP67

Pros

  • Advanced-resolution codec support
  • Portability for its size
  • Loud sound

Cons

  • Price

It should be no surprise that the best Bluetooth speaker we could find for Android has carried over from our best portable Bluetooth speakers. No speaker has come close to the audio quality, codec support, and aesthetics of the SRS-XG300, and we don’t believe in trying to fix what isn’t broken.

Sony has never shied away from making high-end audio hardware, and the SRS-XG300 is its latest premium portable Bluetooth speaker. After years of refining internal components, Sony gave its portable speakers a much-needed top-to-bottom redesign. The SRS-XG300 is a lot sleeker, with a mesh covering pleasing to the eye and a retractable handle that makes the relatively big speaker easier to carry. Indeed, carrying it from room to room or from the car to the beach never felt like a chore. Sony’s focus on building speakers with lights continues here, but they’re no longer a main focal point; LED rings surround the drivers on both sides of this speaker, but they never look garish. Plus, you can turn them off at the push of a button.

The SRS-XG300 is larger than most of our portable Bluetooth speaker recommendations, but the extra space comes with a couple of big benefits. This speaker lasts up to 25 hours per charge while delivering far better sound than smaller speakers. This was the best-sounding portable Bluetooth speaker I tested this year, with refined-sounding lows, mids, and treble without distortion at high volumes. Sibilance and other audio abnormalities were also absent, though this will always come down to how your music was recorded and mastered.

We can recommend the SRS-XG300 to anyone, but especially Android users whose devices support the LDAC codec. Without getting too into the weeds, devices that support this technology can play higher-resolution audio at a bitrate of 990kbps (kilobytes per second), which is approaching full CD quality (1,411kbps). For reference, aptX (a more commonly used audio codec) compresses audio to a rate of 352kbps. This difference doesn’t matter when you’re streaming music from Spotify (which streams at a maximum of 320kpbs), but it does if you’re subscribed to services such as Apple Music, Amazon Music, or TIDAL, which provide higher-resolution tiers that can take advantage of that LDAC bandwidth. These features come with a steep price tag, and the SRS-XG300’s most technically impressive feature is limited to folks with a handful of devices, which is why we couldn’t definitively label this the best-sounding Bluetooth speaker overall. If you care about audio quality, though, there’s no other portable Bluetooth speaker that deserves your consideration.

Best desktop: Edifier S1000W

Edifier S1000W

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Specs

  • Battery life: N/A
  • Weight: 36.3 pounds
  • IP Rating: N/A

Pros

  • Classic look
  • Balanced sound
  • Multiple inputs

Cons

  • Not portable
  • Large

Edifier has slowly become one of our go-to audio companies because of its ability to cram a lot of performance into speakers that don’t cost a lot of money. The S1000Ws show off what Edifier is capable of when it’s less budget-constrained, and the result is wonderful. Computer speakers are typically pretty bad—laptops are too thin for premium audio hardware, PC towers have no speakers at all, and all-in-one PCs don’t fare much better. Apple is the exception here, but we wouldn’t recommend setting up a MacBook Pro for your next deep listen of Dark Side of the Moon or Midnights.

On the other hand, the S1000Ws are equipped with everything you could ask for from Bluetooth computer speakers for serious music listening or video watching. Each cabinet features a 5.5-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter, and EQ knobs on the back allow you to fine-tune their bass and treble to your liking. We didn’t find that necessary in our tests, as music, podcasts, and videos all sounded crystal clear at all volume levels. There was no overblown bass creeping up and muddying the mids, or crunchy treble making us wince every time a cymbal was hit. Instead of reinventing the wheel, Edifier took what it learned from optimizing sound for budget audiences and expanded the speakers performance.

In our experience, setting up the S1000Ws only took about five minutes once we had them out of their box. All we had to do was connect the two speakers together with a thick connector cable, and plug one of the speakers into an outlet. To use Bluetooth, we hit the button on the speakers’ remote with the Bluetooth symbol. The S1000Ws went into pairing mode, and we were connected almost instantaneously. Suppose you want to listen to higher-fidelity music. In that case, you can connect these speakers to your computer using a Y-cable (also included) or wirelessly using AirPlay 2 if you’re using an Apple product. These speakers also feature optical audio and coaxial input if you want to use the S1000Ws as stereo speakers for your TV.

Many popular Bluetooth speakers are portable, but if you need a stereo pair on your desk for listening to music throughout the day, the Edifier’s S1000Ws are our choice. Their audio quality, connectivity options, and eye-catching appearance make them a triple threat in the best way possible.

Best bookshelf: JBL 4305P

JBL 4305P

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Specs

  • Battery life: N/A
  • Weight: 35.6 pounds
  • IP Rating: N/A

Pros

  • Plentiful analog and digital inputs
  • Subwoofer output
  • Intuitive user interface

Cons

  • Size
  • Price

If you need a Bluetooth speaker and balk and the idea of a budget, look no further than the JBL 4305P Studio Monitors, whose premium design is evident both inside and out. Inside each of the 4305P’s wooden cabinets are a custom-designed 5.25-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter powered by a 300-watt Class-D amplifier that splits its power between both speakers. Put plainly, the JBL 4305Ps are the speaker equivalent of a muscle car inside a well-crafted wood veneer cabinet.

Bluetooth 5.1 is provided, but it’s the loophole we’re using to include a pair of speakers that’s dear to our heart and a joy to our ears. What you’ll really want to take advantage of with this $2,200 pair of powered speakers is a veritable cornucopia of upscale connectivity options, which includes a pair of XLR inputs, an AUX input, an optical audio input (which could make them the best for TV if you’re not interested in spatial audio), a USB port, and an Ethernet jack, plus network support for AirPlay 2. JBL also built a Chromecast into these speakers, so you can send audio to them easily using an iOS or Android device. The two speakers can be connected using an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi, which offers convenience at the cost of audio quality. Both connectivity methods allow you to stream high-resolution music to the 4305Ps, but Wi-Fi connectivity tops out at 24-bit / 96kHZ rather than 24-bit / 192kHZ.

Speakers in this price range can feel stuffy and for “audiophiles only,” but JBL managed to make the 4305Ps feel oddly approachable by fully supporting wireless audio in a classic aesthetic. We also like that the source knob on its primary speaker is clearly labeled, and a series of LEDs and glyphs on top allows you to see which input is selected. Most people aren’t going to need the power of JBL’s 4305Ps. Still, these aspirational home speakers prove that serious audio companies can build Bluetooth into some of their most premium-powered speakers. These speakers bust the myth that you must choose between wireless audio and premium sound.

Best budget: Tribit XSound Go Bluetooth Speaker

Safe near water

Tribit XSound Go Bluetooth Speaker

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Why it made the cut: Our pick for the best small Bluetooth speaker, the Tribit XSound Go brings excellent sound quality and battery life for a very small amount of money.

Specs

  • Battery life: 24 hours
  • Weight: 13 ounces
  • IP Rating: IPX7

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Long battery life
  • Solid sound for the price

Cons

  • Other speakers sound better

Tribit’s XSound speaker is designed to withstand drops, dust, dips, and dents. The overall sound quality isn’t as crisp as a higher-end speaker, but you won’t have to worry about damage during an outdoor trip or toddler encounter. It is IPX7 waterproof in up to 3 feet of water for 30 minutes and has a Bluetooth range of up to 100 feet. The battery lasts up to 24 hours, so it’s perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and cycling. It also has an attached strap to take your music on the go. It has improved sound quality and connectivity over the previous model, which was already an excellent value for its price, making it the best cheap Bluetooth speaker.

Things to consider when choosing the best Bluetooth speaker

Sound quality

Larger Bluetooth speakers tend to offer more volume and generally better sound quality. It’s hard to get great sound out of tiny drivers (for more on that, check out our primer on what makes up a speaker). Some smaller speakers, like the Ultimate Ears models, typically punch above their weight when it comes to pure quality, so find a balance between fidelity and utility.

Bluetooth range

Most modern Bluetooth speakers have a connectivity range between 66 and 100 feet, but some can stay connected up to 300 feet. If you plan to cover a big area, it’s worth ensuring you get the maximum range you can find.

Battery life

If you opt for a portable Bluetooth speaker, battery life often coincides with its overall size. Small speakers don’t have much power, but they also don’t have much room inside for battery capacity. Some offer as little as eight hours, while others can promise up to 24 hours on a charge and beyond. Even if you’re not planning to rock out for 24 hours at a time, more battery capacity allows you multiple listening sessions without having to get back on the charger. It’s also worth noting that those estimates are just that. To truly max out battery life, you must keep the volume lower than 50% and other environmental conditions like temperature ideal.

Ruggedness

Some battery-powered Bluetooth speakers are tougher than others. You can determine that durability based on the Ingress Protection (IP) code. If you want a truly tough model, check for an IPX7 rating, which means it can work while fully submerged underwater. IPX6 is still good, but not quite as good. Most portable speakers are fairly rugged, but it’s worth spending a little extra to get something that will last.

FAQs

Q: What’s the best Bluetooth speaker brand?

There are a few top-of-the-line brands that immediately come to mind when we think about the best Bluetooth speakers, including JBL, Ultimate Ears, Sony, and Sonos. All three promise quality sound with great features that won’t disappoint. They have each been champions of audio lovers for years and consistently develop products using the latest technology to elevate the listening experience continuously.

Q: How long should a Bluetooth speaker last?

It all depends on how you use it. The battery will degrade over time. The more you charge and discharge it, the less capacity it will have. Other parts of the speaker will eventually start to break down as well, especially if you’re lugging them around out in the wild. Even if you only occasionally plan to bring your speaker outside, it might be worth looking at something weatherproof for durability.

Q: How much do the best Bluetooth speakers cost?

The price of a Bluetooth speaker will depend on many, many factors. In the budget category, you can find great picks for $50-$100. However, once you start factoring in more durability, bigger batteries, more connectivity, etc., you’ll find that prices can range anywhere from $150 to $450.

Q: Are Bluetooth speakers good for home parties?

Yes, Bluetooth speakers can be great for home parties. While the best option for fidelity and a reliable signal is networked audio (such as the Sonos speakers, including the Move), there are many Bluetooth speakers made specifically for larger parties. Options from JBL, like the Boombox 3, feature something called PartyBoost—a feature shared by all the current-generation speakers from the brand that lets you make stereo pairs or have up to 100 speakers play the same thing. And if you’re interested in visuals as much as speaker arrays, you can check out options that pull more from JBL’s history in concert sound. From the $250 100W JBL PartyBox Encore Essential to the $550 240W JBL PartyBox 310 to the $1,299 1100W JBL PartyBox 1000, the top line of JBL high-power wireless speakers packs in ring lights and strobe effects, plus expanded connectivity, that you can wheel in to form the centerpiece of an expansive, expressive backyard party. 

Final thoughts on the best Bluetooth speakers

The best Bluetooth speaker is well within the realm of possibility if you take into consideration where you want to groove, how long you want to dance the night away without charging, how crisp and clear you need your audio to be, and when you’ll want to take it on the go. We recommend starting with our favorite speakers and best picks to begin building your new, portable sound system. Load up your favorite playlists, gather your friends, and get ready to rock out with one of the best wireless speakers.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

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Brandt Ranj

Staff Writer, Commerce

Brandt Ranj is a commerce reporter at Popular Science. He writes about the latest and greatest gadgets, from headphones and TVs to chargers and cables. He splits his time between New York City, Long Island, and Croatia, carting test gear around the U.S. and the globe.