When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here’s how it works

Home / Features / Best Bluetooth speaker 2024: reviewed and rated

Best Bluetooth speaker 2024: reviewed and rated

Bring the boom to any room - here's our best Bluetooth speaker picks for go-anywhere listening

SQUIRREL_ANCHOR_LIST
best bluetooth speakers featuring JBL Charge 5 Sonos Roam and UE Boom 3

From lightweight party starters to beefy boomboxes, our buying guide features the best Bluetooth speaker picks for sharing good vibes on the go. We’ve tested every model in a range of real-world situations, to sort the sweet-sounding speakers from the sonic duds. Because tinny tunes can get in the bin.

Your kitchen. The lounge. Your regular patch in the park. Almost any location can be improved with music. And if it’s portable soundtracks you’re after, this list of our fantastic Bluetooth speaker picks will bring winning beats wherever you need them.


What is the best Bluetooth speaker?

We think the JBL Flip 6 (buy now) is the best Bluetooth speaker for most people. It builds on everything that was brilliant about the Flip 5 but adds extra oomph to set a new Bluetooth benchmark. It’s still portable at 550g, has a respectable 12-hour battery life, and water resistance has been boosted to IP67.


Other Bluetooth speaker recommendations

Best premium Bluetooth speaker

The B&O Beosound A1 2nd gen (buy now) is top of the budget bracket, but B&O’s aluminium disc is a premium speaker with sound to match. Now rated at IP67 with redesigned audio drivers and Bluetooth 5.1 to deliver enhanced 360 sound, maxing out at 92dB loudness.

Best connected Bluetooth speaker

The Sonos Roam (buy now) is the first truly portable Sonos speaker. It has Bluetooth connectivity and reduced reliance on the Sonos app making it perfect for partying anywhere, while Wi-Fi means it’ll still play nicely with existing Sonos kit.

Best designed Bluetooth speaker

The Bose SoundLink Revolve II (buy now) has a stylish cylinder with a sturdy aluminium body and silicone control panel. It has a big, bold voice that can easily fill all corners of a room (and a multi-function button for your smartphone’s voice assistant).

The best Bluetooth speakers you can buy today:

JBL Flip 6: one of the best Bluetooth speakers for all-round value

1. JBL Flip 6

Stuff Verdict

Building on everything that was brilliant about the Flip 5 before it, JBL’s latest cylinder adds extra oomph to set a new Bluetooth benchmark.

Pros

  • Bass and clarity are great
  • EQ levels tweaks are useful

Cons

  • Not the biggest update over previous version
JBL Flip 6 specs
IP-RatingIP67
Battery lifeUp to 12 hours
Dimensions17.8 x 7.2 x 6.8 cm; 550 g

If your best-selling Bluetooth speaker isn’t broken, why mess with the recipe? Luckily, JBL knows just what to tweak without souring the fantastic flavour of its Flip series. Lightly rebranded in line with the rest of JBL’s range, the Flip 6 is a familiar fabric-wrapped cylinder capable of superb wireless sound.

A smidge heavier at 550g, we found the Flip 6 is still perfectly portable. Power and Bluetooth buttons live on the back with the battery indicator, while the play, volume and PartyBoost controls continue to sit on top. The battery life remains respectable at 12 hours, while water resistance has been boosted to IP67 for improved pool-proofing.

Like the Flip 5, it features passive radiators at either end. And like the Flip 5, it gives lovely weight to low frequencies, balanced with crisp mids and bags of detail. But during our review, we found the Flip 6 also has substantially more oomph and volume than before, delivering a punchy, dynamic performance, while also building on the spacious soundstage of its predecessor. Plus you can now tweak EQ levels through the JBL Portable app.


Best cheap Bluetooth speaker: Sonos Roam

2. Sonos Roam

Stuff Verdict

There are better-sounding rivals, but the Sonos Roam offers an unbeatable blend of versatility and portability.

Pros

  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi options
  • Low-end oomph

Cons

  • On the expensive side
  • Higher frequencies can lack some clarity
Sonos Roam specs
IP-RatingIP67
Battery life10 hours
Dimensions60 x 60 x 85 cm; 430 Grams

Sonos has tried portable speakers before, but the Roam is the first that you can properly sling in a satchel. We like the sensible proportions, Bluetooth connectivity and reduced reliance on the Sonos app makes it perfect for partying anywhere, while Wi-Fi means it’ll still play nicely with existing Sonos kit.

Positioned upright or longways, the understated shell isn’t shouty in the design department. But thanks to a metal, plastic and rubberised finish, the rugged Roam feels like it can take a bit of a battering. What sets the speaker apart is clever stuff like Auto Trueplay: the Roam will tune its soundstage to suit the environment, whether inside or out. Sound Swap can also switch audio to the nearest Sonos output in the vicinity. It works very well.

For a speaker of this size and form, we’re really impressed with the sound quality. Sure, higher frequencies can lack some clarity, but there’s a nice balance in the mid-range. One thing it has in spades is base: there’s an incredible low-end oomph for something so compact. Arguably, there is a little too much on certain tracks, although it’s nothing an EQ tweak can’t address.

Which Sonos should you buy? Find out in our best Sonos speakers guide.


B&O Beosound A1 (2nd gen): one of the best premium Bluetooth speakers

3. B&O Beosound A1 (2nd gen)

Stuff Verdict

Top of the budget bracket, B&O’s aluminium disc is a premium speaker with sound to match.

Pros

  • 360-degree sound
  • Can be paired for stereo audio

Cons

  • On the heavy side
  • Aluminium can scratch
B&O Beosound A1 (2nd gen) specs
IP-RatingIP67
Battery lifeUp to 18 hours
Dimensions13.31 x 4.65 x 13.31 cm; 560 g

B&O’s second-gen Beosound A1 looks identical to the first. This is no problem at all, given that the pearl-blasted aluminium chassis is still the definition of classy design. And while it asks a lot of your wallet, it does plenty to justify the outlay.

Rated at IP67, the updated edition is more waterproof than before. But the bigger revisions are hidden inside: redesigned audio drivers and Bluetooth 5.1 deliver enhanced 360 sound, maxing out at 92dB loudness. Trust us when we say, this thing gets seriously loud. Feeling flush? You can buy two and pair them in stereo, with the option to personalise EQ settings through the B&O app.

We found that the performance is as refined as the styling, with toe-tapping punch and bass that’s confident without overpowering. Despite the A1’s compact size, it delivers a weighty but controlled rumble. Clarity is the defining feature: mids are crisp, detailed and expressive, with well-handled treble rounding out a cohesive sound.


Bose SoundLink Revolve II

Stuff Verdict

Set it to 80% volume and this cylinder hits a real sonic sweet spot.

Pros

  • Easy to use controls
  • Big, bold sound

Cons

  • Not the highest waterproof rating
  • Some focus is lost in the mid-range
Bose SoundLink Revolve II specs
IP-RatingIP55
Battery lifeUp to 13 hours
Dimensions8.2 x 8.2 x 15.2 cm; 660 g

If it ain’t broke, Bose won’t fix it: that’s the lesson taught by the second-gen SoundLink Revolve. It’s still a stylish cylinder with a sturdy aluminium body and silicone control panel (complete with multi-function button that summons your smartphone’s voice assistant). And it still features a minimalist grille around its circumference.

So what’s new? Battery life has increased to 13 hours, while waterproofing is boosted to a full IP55 rating (both very welcome updates, in our eyes). But that’s all secondary to the listening experience. We love the SoundLink Revolve II’s big, bold voice that can easily fill all corners of a room. There’s no option to fiddle with EQ levels – but that’s fine because it doesn’t need much tweaking. The neutral sound profile swerves the temptation of beefy bass in favour of something more balanced.

That’s not to say it has no low end, though: there’s power on tap to drive tracks forward with punch and excitement. The spacious soundstage makes room for a good amount of detail and dynamism too, even if some focus is lost in the mid-range.


Marshall Emberton II: one of the best Bluetooth speakers for stylish and dynamic portable audio

5. Marshall Emberton II

Stuff Verdict

A compact speaker with rock-star style, Marshall’s Emberton II delivers the same dynamic listen while adding more smarts and longer battery life to the set list.

Pros

  • Long battery life
  • A great all-rounder

Cons

  • Marmite design
  • No EQ customization
Marshall Emberton II specs
IP-RatingIP67
Battery life30 hours
Dimensions6.99 x 15.88 x 6.99 cm; 118 g

Styled like the amps that made Marshall’s name, the second-gen Emberton certainly merits its position in our best Bluetooth speaker list and what’s more, it doesn’t need a team of roadies to shift it. Built small but mighty, its compact proportions are complemented by a premium finish – complete with metal grilles front and back. But don’t let its palm-sized form factor fool you: the upgraded Emberton II packs more punch than ever.

We found it has a reliable Bluetooth 5.1 connection and we really appreciate the enhanced IP67 waterproofing and a beefier battery good for more than 30 hours, its feature list is as solid as Motörhead’s back catalogue. And like a gig-ending encore, there’s more: Stack Mode means you can sync a tower of Emberton IIs, while the partner app lets you tweak the EQ.

Sonically the same as its predecessor, it remains worthy of a headline slot. Two 2in full-range drivers team up with a pair of passive radiators to fire room-filling sound in all directions, with True Stereophonic tech eliminating sweet spots. Bass is rich without drowning out details, matched by captivatingly clear mids and crisp trebles to boot. Even dialled up to 11, the listen remains balanced but energetic, whatever genre’s on our playlist.


Dali Katch G2 best bluetooth speakers

6. Dali Katch G2

Stuff Verdict

A stunningly styled speaker that can fill a room with sound, and has the stamina to take on the move too.

Pros

  • Impressive low-end oomph for its size
  • Great all-round sonic ability
  • Looks the business, and made from premium materials

Cons

  • One of the more expensive speakers for its size
Dali Katch G2 specs
IP-RatingN/A
Battery life30 hours
Dimensions269x138x47mm; 1.1kg

It’s amazing a speaker as slim and portable as the Dali Katch G2 is able to produce such full-bodied, expansive and room-filling sound. This physics-defying unit makes room inside for two tweeters, two low-end drivers and twin bass radiators, with power coming from two 25W Class D amplifiers and a battery beefy enough to run them all for up to 30 hours at a time. The USB port at the side can also supply juice to your other gadgets.

There’s AptX HD Bluetooth (with NFC pairing), plus a3.5mm aux input. Stereo pairing is also an option if you’re flush enough to afford two, but that’s your lot; there’s no daisy chaining multiple Katch G2 speakers for impromptu parties. Despite the price this is very much a Bluetooth speaker, so you won’t find luxuries such as Wi-Fi, streaming service support or voice controls. There’s not even a companion app, with the two EQ presets controlled using a button on the speaker itself.

If you don’t mind spending the sort of cash that could buy a very competent wireless speaker, however, there’s an awful lot to like here. The built-in carry strap makes it perfectly portable and the bundled power brick has plugs for multiple countries. Most importantly, it sounds fantastic, producing wonderfully balanced audio across just about every genre.


Ultimate Ears Boom 3: one of the best heavyweight Bluetooth speakers with solid bass

7. JBL Charge 5

Stuff Verdict

A no-nonsense heavyweight that nails the basics (and last for ages).

Pros

  • Two can be paired for stereo
  • Sound that’ll get the party started

Cons

  • Heavy
  • No EQ customisation
JBL Charge 5 specs
IP-RatingIP67
Battery lifeUp to 20 hours
Dimensions22.3 x 9.4 x 9.7 cm; 960 g

Lightweight speakers are easy to tote around, but when you need some boom to shake the room, it’s time to call in the heavies. Enter the JBL Charge 5: beefy at 960g, the fabric-skinned cylinder is waterproof, grippy on the bottom and big on low frequencies.

Its larger dimensions make space for a long-excursion driver, a separate tweeter, plus 65mm passive radiators at either end. Besides being fun to put your finger on, these vibrating caps assist in delivering rich bass to accompany crisp mids. There’s also room for a 20hr battery inside, which we found is enough to see you through even the longest of get-togethers.

Keen to go bigger? PartyBoost allows you to sync several JBL speakers wirelessly, for a playlist that really fills the house. Controls are kept to a minimum and you won’t find fancy equalisers in the JBL Portable app. Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity does mean you can pair two devices at the same time (to battle for DJ supremacy), though there’s no 3.5mm input for old-school mixmasters.


Best cheap Bluetooth speaker: Ultimate Ears Boom 3

8. Ultimate Ears Boom 3

Stuff Verdict

A lean, mean sound machine with nifty in-app tricks.

Pros

  • PartyUp allows 150 speakers to sync
  • Simple, durable design

Cons

  • Lacks a little low-end weight
  • Middling battery life
Ultimate Ears Boom 3 specs
IP-RatingIP67
Battery life15 hours
Dimensions7.3 x 7.3 x 18.4 cm; 608 g

UE made its name delivering quality sound at reasonable prices. Launched in 2020, the Boom 3 is still one of the best Bluetooth speaker options, offering a solid set of features without breaking the bank. We love that the familiar big-button cylinder is as tough as ever: UE put it through drop, dunk and durability tests to check it’ll keep bringing the beats. And with a 15-hour battery life, it’ll last through even the longest of playlists.

We found the sound is vigorous, if not as weighty at the low-end as some rivals. Audio is well-controlled, with no shortage of power when the party calls for extra punch. Mids and trebles are lively, without ever sounding harsh.

We think it’s worth downloading the Boom app to unlock a few extra features and settings – PartyUp in particular. This allows you to connect up to 150 Boom speakers for a serious shindig (or just two, for a stereo effect). You can also use the smartphone software to programme the Magic Button on top of the speaker, for one-touch access to your favourite playlists.


9. Sony SRS-XB33

Stuff Verdict

As subtle as a ten-gallon hat, Sony’s boombox is big, bold and all about that bass.

Pros

  • Plenty of bass and volume
  • Audio syncing LED strips

Cons

  • Large and heavy
  • Lack of clarity in the mids
Sony SRS-XB33 specs
IP-RatingIP67
Battery lifeUp to 24 hours
Dimensions9 x 24.6 x 10.6 cm; 1.1 kg

Audio purists put in your earplugs: this Sony speaker came to the party – and there’s plenty of bass to go around. It’s among the heaviest speakers in this list, the SRS-XB33 takes the Texan approach: from the bass to the dimensions, everything’s bigger.

That extra space means more sizeable drivers. We found the sound isn’t particularly refined, and even in-app EQ tweaks can’t fully fix the lack of clarity in the mids. But there are lashings of low-end oomph, with real volume to match.

Shockproof and IP67 rated, this is a speaker that can take the tunes almost anywhere. It can withstand saltwater as well, so beach bashes are back on the menu. The Party Connect feature gives you the option to hook up any number of Extra Bass speakers for even more rumble, while the built-in strips can shine in sync with your music – making this one of the best Bluetooth speakers for disco junkies.


Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore: one of the best Bluetooth speakers for outdoor audio

10. Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore

Stuff Verdict

Equal parts rugged and refined, this sturdy cylinder is ideal for alfresco audio.

Pros

  • Compact design ideal for travel
  • 360-degree projection

Cons

  • Bass a little heavy-handed
  • On the expensive side
Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore specs
IP-RatingIP67
Battery lifeUp to 27 hours
Dimensions8.13 x 8.13 x 12.7 cm; 600 g

Serious about larking in the park? This B&O cylinder is built for alfresco audio. Shipped with an aluminium carabiner for easy backpack attachment, the anodised aluminium shell is scratch-resistant and all set for a splashing. We find it reassuringly weighty – it stops just short of hefty.

Not only do its full-round grille lines look the business, but they also allow omnidirectional audio. When listening at home we found the bass feels a bit heavy-handed, with 360 projection beefing up mids at the expense of fine detail, but go roaming and the Explore makes more sense.

Designed for outdoor soundtracks, the Explore is among the best Bluetooth speakers for outside grooving. Its presentation becomes more balanced in the open air, with that mid-range weight helping it sound more solid. Crisp treble ensures the top end isn’t lost, providing a healthy dose of drive. And it can reach the top of its volume allowance without losing its cool.


How to choose the best Bluetooth speaker for you

Okay, so you want a Bluetooth speaker but you don’t know where to start? Luckily for you, we’re experts when it comes to portable music machines.

Of course, the primary purpose of a Bluetooth speaker is to deliver good audio quality. We’ve only included the best-sounding speakers in our list, with balanced sound, clear highs, and deep bass.

You should ask yourself how you plan to use your speaker. If you need it out and about, look for a compact and lightweight design that is easy to carry. Some speakers also come with built-in handles or straps for added convenience and come with added durability in the form of water and dust resistance (IP rating). Whereas if you’re mainly going to use it at home, you can opt for a larger model or one of the best wireless speakers instead, which generally sound better but are less portable.

Battery life is one of the more important specs when considering a Bluetooth speaker – there’s nothing worse than having your tunes cut off mid-way through a party because someone forgot to charge the speaker the day before. Longer battery life ensures uninterrupted playback.

It’s worth looking at what controls are featured on the speaker. Consider the ease of use and the available control options – are the solid buttons, capacitive touch, or does it rely on phone control? Look for intuitive controls that allow you to adjust volume, play/pause, and skip tracks with ease.

Finally, some speakers may also have additional features such as voice assistant integration or built-in microphones for hands-free calling – these are an added bonus but hardly a necessary add-on.

Looking to save some cash? Check out Stuff‘s guide to the best cheap Bluetooth speaker.

What is the difference between a wireless speaker and a Bluetooth speaker?

A wireless speaker and a Bluetooth speaker both operate without physical cables, but they differ primarily in their connectivity methods.

A Bluetooth speaker uses Bluetooth technology to establish a direct, short-range wireless connection with a device like a smartphone, tablet, or computer, typically within a range of about 30 feet.

In contrast, a wireless speaker can refer to any speaker that connects without wires, including Bluetooth, but more commonly it implies the use of Wi-Fi, AirPlay, or other wireless protocols. Wi-Fi speakers generally offer better sound quality, a more stable connection, and a larger range, allowing them to be part of a multi-room audio system controlled over a home network. Check out our best wireless speakers guide for more information.

How we test the best Bluetooth speakers

As we mentioned in the introduction, we’ve tested every Bluetooth speaker model on this list in a range of real-world situations, so you can trust us when it comes to recommending the best Bluetooth speaker to buy.

We usually spend a week or longer reviewing Bluetooth speakers, listening to a range of different music genres to evaluate the sound performance. We don’t use fancy ‘listening rooms’ as that’s not how people actually use speakers in the real world, we test them in living rooms, backyards/gardens, and at the beach (if we’re lucky).

Of course, away from sound performance, we’ll also test the build quality, battery life and any additional features a speaker might have, such as a voice assistant or hands-free calling.

For more information on Stuff’s rating and review process, read our page on how we test products.

Profile image of Chris Rowlands Chris Rowlands Freelance contributor

About

Formerly News Editor at this fine institution, Chris now writes about tech from his tropical office. Sidetracked by sustainable stuff, he’s also keen on coffee kit, classic cars and any gear that gets better with age.

Areas of expertise

Cameras, gear and travel tech