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Best Bluetooth speakers 2021: Here comes the boom

Pair to any of these Bluetooth speakers and get a music experience you won't want to pause.

Ever played music from your phone just to hear tinny and uncomfortably loud audio? Nothing beats a high quality Bluetooth speaker, and now, there are numerous offerings available for your choosing. We've curated a list of the best on the market today, taking into account sound quality, battery life, durability, and price.

Sonos Roam

Excellent Wi-Fi and Bluetooth speaker

sonos roam
Sonos

At a glance

The Sonos Roam is one of the best from the Santa Barbara-based manufacturer. Like many of Sonos' other products, the Roam is capable of pairing via Bluetooth for when you're on the go and also through Wi-Fi when you're home. The benefit to the Wi-Fi pairing is that you are able to control the speaker with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant voice controls. Smart features aside, the Roam still packs a sound profile and 10-hour battery life that are well worth its $179.99 asking price.

Pros

Cons

  • Alexa and Google Assistant voice controls

  • Powerful audio performance

  • Sleek and premium design

  • Pricey compared to the typical Bluetooth speaker

  • Can be slippery to hold at times

JBL Charge 5

A durable offering, now with IP67 rating

jbl-charge-5-speaker
JBL

At a glance

JBL has been a pioneer in the Bluetooth audio industry and the Charge series is no exception. The latest, Charge 5, brings the familiar JBL sound quality that we've come to expect -- superb clarity and a rich heart-pumping bass. What separates the Charge 5 from other speakers is its rugged, yet stylish design, and an IP67 rating. That means the speaker can be submerged up to 1.5 meters deep for half an hour -- the perfect feature for poolside music playing or at the beach.

Pros

Cons

  • Superior audio quality

  • Rich bass

  • IP67 rating for water and dust resistance

  • Slightly bigger than conventional speakers

  • Pricey model

  • Buttons need a firm press

JBL Clip 4

The most travel-friendly offering

g109clip4b-f.jpg
JBL

At a glance

For the best portable Bluetooth speaker, the JBL Clip 4 is a top candidate. As the name suggests, the Clip 4 is designed to be portable, latching onto your backpacks, duffle bags, and other strapped carry-ons. It's compact and lightweight, yet packs an impressive mid-range sound. However, don't buy this Bluetooth speaker for a kick of bass or loud volume -- buy it for the convenient design and reliable connection.

Pros

Cons

  • Iconic clip-on design

  • Surprisingly durable material

  • Great sound quality for acoustics

  • Subpar bass

  • Could be priced less

  • Not the loudest

Anker Soundcore Motion Boom

Here comes the boom..box

soudncore-motion-boom.jpg
Anker Soundcore

At a glance

Remember when parties didn't start until someone walked in with a boom box on their shoulder? Anker's audio brand, Soundcore, is bringing back the nostalgia with the Motion Boom. It's one of the most affordable yet hard-hitting Bluetooth speakers that you can buy right now. Unlike most boombox-style speakers that go for as much as $400, the Motion Boom sits comfortably at $109.99. For the price, you get drivers that are built with titanium diaphragms to get great sound clarity, and a battery that Anker promises will last you 24-hours before the next charge.

Pros

Cons

  • Classic boom box design with a handle

  • Produces frequencies up to 40kHz for high clarity

  • 24-hour playtime

  • Can charge external devices but only via USB-A

  • Not the strongest bass for its size

Tribit Stormbox Micro

Bubbly design that packs a punch

Tribit-Stormbox-Micro
Tribit

At a glance

At a glance, you wouldn't expect the Tribit Stormbox Micro to pack as much bass and power as it does. Coming in at only $39.99, the Stormbox Micro is the perfect speaker for those who want something compact, portable, and most features that bigger Bluetooth speakers have. That includes an IP67 rating for water and dust resistance, loud sound, and Bluetooth connection up to 100ft. The built-in XBass tuning gives the small speaker enough power to pump up any setting.

Pros

Cons

  • Compact with built-in strap mount

  • IP67 rating for water resistance

  • Priced to compete

  • Mediocre battery life

  • Not the most durable

  • Slight distortion at higher volumes

Ultimate Ears Hyperboom

Life of the party at a tap

Ultimate Ears Hyperboom
Ultimate Ears

At a glance

The Ultimate Ears Hyperboom is a big Bluetooth speaker -- it weighs in at a hefty 13 pounds and looks the most like a conventional speaker than any other on this list. But, that may just be what you want. At $400, the UE Hyperboom brings a loud and bassy sound profile, perfect for parties and social gatherings. You can pair to it via Bluetooth, a 3.5mm auxiliary port, or optical input (game console, TV, PC, etc.). Given the size, the speaker is flanked by a carrying strap. It can charge external devices (a party-favorite feature) at the expense of the promised 24 hours of playback.

Pros

Cons

  • Conventional speaker design

  • Loud sound quality

  • Plenty of input sources

  • Heavy (13 pounds), not the most portable

  • Expensive at $400

How did we choose these products?

The type of Bluetooth speaker that you have can make or break the life of a party. We considered several factors when picking the best of 2021:

  • Sound quality: Some users prefer a more bassy sound while others just want clarity at the mids. When curating the list, we sought out the Bluetooth speakers that satisfied both ends.

  • Battery: Battery life can vary significantly depending on the size of the speaker. As always, the longer the better.

  • Price: Budget is an important factor for Bluetooth speakers. We want you to know what you're getting for the price and value definitely plays a big role in the selection process.

  • Portability: Bluetooth speakers should be easy to pair and carry around. That's why we always keep an eye out for speakers that prioritize both, whether that's in the form of a clip, a hand strap, etc.

FAQ

Why do I need a Bluetooth speaker?

While phone speakers have improved in sound quality over the years, a Bluetooth speaker still reigns supreme for the best listening experience. The factors of portability and lack of cables give Bluetooth speakers the advantage over traditional speakers or sound systems.

What is Bluetooth?

You may have seen the term when navigating your phone settings or dialing the audio menu in your car, but what is Bluetooth exactly? To keep it concise, Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows two or more devices to pair and share data. That data can be an audio file like the music you listen to on a Bluetooth speaker or a picture that you're sharing from phone to phone. The capabilities of Bluetooth technology is really only limited by distance and the strength of the radio frequency.

How do I connect with Bluetooth?

For any Bluetooth connection to work, the sending and receiving devices must support Bluetooth, and agree to be paired -- for security and privacy reasons. To do this:

  1. Toggle on the Bluetooth pairing button on your receiving device (speaker, headphone, wireless earbud, etc.). If the product has an LED indicator, it will start blinking.
  2. Open the Bluetooth settings on your phone or computer (the device you're pairing from).
  3. Select the receiving device.
  4. If its the first time pairing, your phone or computer may give you confirmation message to complete the process.