The last few years have seen enormous improvements in sound quality and durability, which means 2021 is a great time to buy a Bluetooth speaker. In addition to price and audio quality, you’ll want to consider where and how you’re going to use the speaker: gym, home, office, holiday or outdoor adventures? Depending on the answer, durability, portability and waterproofing can be important factors. We’ve put together our top 10, randomly listed Bluetooth speakers available on the market.
Best for big sound
The Bose SoundLink Revolve offers fabulous, consistent sound for 12 hours of battery life. You can pair two SoundLink speakers for double output, so you might even want to consider buying a second one for a friend. It’s also compatible with Bose Smart Home Family and has voice command options. On the downside, this model only has Bluetoooth 4.1 (not 5), has a micro USB port (rather than USB-C) and some have found the controls difficult to use. While described as portable, it is a bit chunky and heavy, and you’ll have to be careful outdoors as it’s only water-resistant—not waterproof or shockproof.
Ultimate Ears Boom 3 is for the ravers! It’s a sturdy option that plays fully charged for 15 hours. It’s not only waterproof—it floats for up to 30 minutes! It can charge wirelessly (you’ll need to check if the dock is included or buy one elsewhere) and can pair with up to 150 speakers (yikes!) and up to 8 Bluetooth-enabled source devices at a 45 m range.
3. Sonos Move
The Sonos Move has good sound but tends to be more expensive, with a charging base and a travel bag sold separately, so do check if they are included in the offer. It’s weather-resistant rather than waterproof and, weighing in at 3 kg, it isn’t the most portable option. The battery life is 11 hours.
The Marshall Stockwell II has a retro look and may appeal to fashion lovers with its ‘guitar’ carry strap. The battery lasts for 20 hours when fully charged, but just 20 minutes of charging time will be enough for six hours of playback. It has Bluetooth 5.0 with a range of 9.1 m. It’s rugged, durable and water-resistant. However, some say its lack of portability (1.4 kg) weighs against the sound quality that the brand is famous for.
Best for budget
If you’re lucky enough to find a good deal on the Sonitrek Go XL, it could give you great doof for your dollar. The controls for volume, power and pairing are easy to use when compared to some more expensive speakers. It’s also sturdy and fully waterproof—seemingly unbreakable—yet still stylish looking. The sound’s amazingly full and resonant, and it will even play stereo when paired with a second speaker. It can be charged in under 30 minutes and will play for 14 hours.
6. JBL Flip 5
The JBL Flip 5 is a favourite for many Aussies and is made with premium components. It has terrific sound quality overall, although some say the interface and controls are not as intuitive as they could be, and that it doesn’t feel as sturdy as other brands. It’s waterproof when submerged up to 0.9 m and will play for 12 hours.
Best for portability
7. JBL Clip 3
The JBL Clip 3 is highly portable, durable and fully waterproof. At 0.2 kg, it boasts a big sound for its small size. It has a built-in carabiner that can clip to your clothes, belt loop or backpack, making it a great choice for outdoor adventures. When fully charged it lasts for 10 hours of playtime.
The Tribit Stormbox Micro is tiny but fierce. Sized and shaped to fit your pocket, this little gem emits a powerful and rich sound. You can strap it to your bike using the rubber mounting band, pair two of them to make stereo sound, or use it in party mode to play two compatible speakers simultaneously. It’s hardy, water- and dust-proof and has eight hours of battery life.
An older family member of the Tribit family, the XSound Go has great sound quality for its size. Attractively designed and waterproof, it’s got a battery life of 24 hours, but will take about four hours to fully charge through the micro-USB port.
The Tribit Maxsound Plus can be a little more expensive because it’s a step up in quality. It has better bass, more volume and a stronger sound. It’s stylish, fully waterproof and seems pretty durable. The battery lasts for an outstanding 20 hours, but it does take a long time to fully charge.
Still thinking about which model is right for you? There are plenty of other Bluetooth speakers to choose from on Gumtree.