The Best Bluetooth Speakers to Buy in 2019 — Enjoy Great Sound Anywhere, No Strings Attached

By Vaidyanathan Subramaniam / November 13, 2019

Smartphone speakers rarely sound good and not many phones have a true stereo setup. Even if they do, there's only so much you can get from the built-in speakers of a smartphone or tablet. There are times when headphones are not an option especially when you want to chill out at a party or by the poolside. In such cases, an external speaker is the only option but the last thing you'd want is wires running all around the place. Enter Bluetooth speakers.

Bluetooth speakers have evolved considerably over the past few years. They now feature great audio quality, long-lasting batteries, and protection from dust and water so you can charge them once and use them throughout the day. Many Bluetooth speakers also offer dedicated indoor and outdoor modes to amp-up the volume accordingly.

Today, Bluetooth speakers are available at many price points but there are a few factors to consider before buying one. Firstly, ensure that the output of the speaker is adequate. This is important if you'd be using the speaker at loud parties. Battery life is another important factor if you'll be away from the plug for the most part. A speaker that can also charge other devices via USB is a definite plus. You also need to consider the resistance of the speaker to the elements. Many Bluetooth speakers are certified for dust and water protection and this is an important factor if you find yourself drenching the speaker often in rain or while boating.

Taking these factors into account, we have narrowed down on some of the best Bluetooth speakers available in the market currently across various price points. So, here are the 10 best Bluetooth speakers available in 2019.

1. Ultimate Ears Boom 3

The Ultimate Ears Boom 3 Bluetooth speaker delivers loud and immersive audio with deep bass. The Boom 3 is a very versatile speaker and can be used even 1 m underwater for up to 30 minutes. You can pair up to 150 Boom speakers to create the ultimate party sound experience. The best part is that you can pair any generation of Boom and Megaboom speakers together. The overall build quality is good and the outer fabric of the speaker is designed to withstand tough conditions.

While Boom 3 is a good enough standalone Bluetooth speaker, there are some issues with respect to the range. UE claims that Boom 3 has a range of 150 feet but many users have complained that the connection drops after about 10 or 15 feet. Users have also reported issues in pairing up multiple Boom speakers. However, Boom 3 still remains one of the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers available in the market.

2. Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A1

The B&O Beoplay A1 is one of the best sounding Bluetooth speakers in the market. It inherits the renowned B&O legacy and offers great sound in a compact form factor. It charges quickly in just under 2.5 hours and provides up to 24 hours of non-stop playback. The Beoplay A1 is dust and splash resistant and the latest software update allows you to pair other Beoplay speakers for a stereo listening experience. You can also make and receive calls using the Beoplay A1's multi-directional microphone.

While the B&O Beoplay A1 offers excellent sound, the stereo pairing is somewhat non-intuitive to the average user. It requires you to open the B&O app and sync individual speakers individually and enable Stereo Link. We hope B&O updates their app to offer a more seamless pairing experience. That said, this is one of the best Bluetooth speakers for its size.

3. Fugoo Style S

The Fugoo Style S offers a great music experience and is IP67 rated for 100% waterproof, snowproof, dustproof, and shockproof operation. In fact, it can be submerged 3 feet underwater for up to 30 minutes without any issues. Despite being all-weather compatible, the Style S also looks stylish and is a perfect companion for those beach parties or hangouts with friends at the park. This compact Bluetooth speaker packs in two full-range drivers and two bass radiators for a loud and balanced sound. You can also pair it with another Style S for a stereo effect.

The Fugoo Style S makes for one of the best Bluetooth speakers under $150. The sound is loud but as loud as the UE Boom although, it suits just fine for spaces under 1,000 sq. ft. The battery life is impressive and you can easily get up to 10 hours of music at maximum volume before it dies.

4. Harman Kardon Esquire Mini 2

The Harman Kardon Esquire Mini 2 brings several improvements over the original Esquire Mini. Mini 2 now offers a USB Type-C port and reduced pricing along with improvements in battery life. The Esquire Mini 2 is just the size of your average smartphone but offers decent sound quality for the size as long as your expectations are tempered. The Mini 2 comes with a 2,200 mAh battery that offers up to 10 hours of music playback. Mini 2 can not only playback all your favorite tracks but also double-up as a power bank. Granted the relatively small battery capacity may not be able to recharge your smartphone to full battery, it is good to know the option is available in case of an urgent need. Apart from music playback, you can also use the Esquire Mini 2 as a mini-conference system thanks to the dual microphone input for good voice clarity.

For a speaker of this size, the Esquire Mini 2 performs well. The mids and highs sound very well. Bass response is surprisingly good for a speaker this thin but don't expect too low frequencies to come through. The best use case for the Esquire Mini 2 would be to serve as a complement to your existing speaker setup. As a standalone speaker, you may be better served by some of the other speakers on this list, especially if Bluetooth speakers are your primary listening devices. You can also use the 3.5mm jack if you would like to avoid some of the latency issues of Bluetooth connectivity. If you are on the lookout for the best travel Bluetooth speaker, the Harman Kardon Esquire Mini 2 is the one to get.

5. JBL Flip 4

The JBL Flip 4 is a good waterproof Bluetooth speaker that is fairly powerful although, not as powerful as the JBL Boombox. It sports a 3,000 mAh battery that can offer up to 12 hours of continuous playback and the IPX7 rating ensures that the FLip 4 is resistant to the elements. You can link up to 100 JBL Connect+ enabled speakers for the ultimate party sound. The Flip 4 is available in multiple colors and also offers a noise-canceling microphone for conference calls.

The JBL Flip 4 is very similar to the Flip 3 except that you get longer battery life and waterproofing in Flip 4, which the Flip 3 lacks. The only gripe is that there is no previous track button on Flip 4. You can double-tap to forward to the next track but there is no triple tap to go back to the previous track. Hopefully, JBL addresses this in a future software update.

6. Bose SoundLink Revolve+

The Bose SoundLink Revolve+ offers great acoustics and features as expected from a Bose product. The Revolve+ offers improved sound quality and a larger battery compared to the standard Revolve. It also offers a neat Flexi handle that allows for enhanced portability. The Revolve+ is designed to withstand most vagaries of life thanks to its durable aluminum body and IPX4 rating for protection from the occasional splash or two. The top of the speaker has controls for volume, aux switch, Bluetooth toggle; and to invoke your phone's voice assistant — Siri or Google Assistant. The Revolve+ also sports a microphone for taking calls when needed. Wired connectivity is offered by a microUSB port and a 3.5mm audio in. Since it is using a microUSB port, the Revolve+ does not offer any fast-charging capability, which is a bit of a letdown for the price. Therefore, you will have to ensure it is fully charged before leaving the house with it. However, Bose sells an optional charging dock that you can use to place the speaker on it and continue to listen while charging.

The shape of the speaker allows for some impressive acoustics. The Revolve+ offers a great soundstage with adequate bass response. You might have to figure out an ideal positioning for this speaker as it can greatly affect the sound signature. For example, if you want a punchier bass, keep it near a wall or at the center of the room equidistant from all the four walls. Bose claims that the Revolve+ can offer a 16-hour battery life. That is true if you don't push the volume too high. Otherwise, you can still get about a 10 to 12 hours of continuous music playback, which is still impressive. The slightly higher pricing may put some prospective buyers on the fence, but the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ is still one of the best sounding Bluetooth speakers in the market.

7. Scosche BoomBottle MM

You might have not known about Scosche but the company makes some of the best Bluetooth speakers in the market. The Scosche BoomBottle actually looks like a bottle and comes with a built-in bottle opener as well so that you need not worry about hunting for one at parties. The BoomBottle has a magnetic MagicMount plate to securely mount your smartphone. It houses a dual subwoofer and dual speaker mechanism to pump out loud and clear audio even at high volume and the large battery capacity offers easily 12 hours of music playback. The BoomBottle can also automatically switch between indoor and outdoor modes depending on the environment and can also be paired with another BoomBottle speaker for a true stereo effect.

Performance-wise, the Scosche BoomBottle does not disappoint and is one of the best Bluetooth speakers under $100. Be it sound quality or ruggedness, the BoomBottle delivers on every count.

8. Anker SoundCore Motion B

The Anker SoundCore Motion B is an upgraded version of the SoundCore Bluetooth speaker that is still famous for its excellent sound quality at an affordable price. The SoundCore Motion B features dual full-range drivers and a huge bass radiator to give loud sound without distortions. It is also IPX7 rated for dust and water protection and offers 12 hours of continuous playback on battery. You can also use Motion B to control your smartphone's voice assistant such as Siri or Google Assistant.

Pairing the Motion B to another such speaker is very easy and offers a great stereo soundstage. Even if you factor in two such speakers, you will still be spending only about $72, which we think is great value for the sound that can easily rival some of the more expensive options in this list.

9. Sony SRS-XB12

Bluetooth speakers often skimp on the bass response owing to their relatively compact sizes, but the Sony SRS-XB12 looks to change all that. In fact, Sony markets the XB12 as having Extra Bass so if you are a bass aficionado, you need to definitely take a look at this Bluetooth speaker. Despite its compact profile, the XB12 packs some good punch. The build quality is excellent and the speaker is also IP67-certified for water-resistance making it a perfect choice for pool and beach parties. The XB12 is available in several color options so you can choose one that best matches your design sense. One of the best aspects of the XB12 is that it can be paired with another XB12 to create a stereo setup. The speaker can also take calls thanks to the built-in microphone. The XB12 is rated for a battery life of about 16 hours. Of course, this depends on a lot of factors such as the volume of music playback, etc. However, you can manage to eke out a good battery life if your usage is moderate.

Although the XB12 is geared towards bass heads, it performs equally well in other frequencies as well. Mids are distinct and highs are well pronounced. If you need a better balance, you can always tune the EQ in your music software. The battery life can get you by a typical day and you may be even still left with some juice by the time you hit the bed, but the charging is woefully slow. Therefore, it is recommended that you charge the XB12 overnight if you plan to take it out the next day. Overall, the Sony SRS-XB12 is one of the best Bluetooth speakers for bass and the pricing makes it an even more enticing proposition.

10. Marshall Kilburn II

There are very few Bluetooth speakers in the market that can hold a candle to the Marshall Kilburn II. The Kilburn II is the best Bluetooth speaker for taking on the road and offers one of the best bass responses you can find in any Bluetooth speaker. The design aesthetic resembles a retro-amp and will find many takers. Even the dials on the speaker are inspired by amps and you will find analog controls for controlling the volume, bass, and treble. Having separate bass and treble knobs can be very useful as you don't have to keep fiddling with your music player's EQ to get your preferred sound signature. The top of the speaker also has a nifty battery life indicator. You also get a guitar-style carrying strap for lugging around in parties.

Kilburn II's music output is one of the loudest and cleanest you can find in the market today. It features multi-directional sound to give a 360-degree audio effect and also has multi-host functionality so you can connect two Bluetooth sources at once and play one after the other. For those prefer wires, there is a 3.5mm input as well. The battery life of the Kilburn II is excellent. Marshall says you can get up to 20 hours of music playback on a single charge which, by the way, can be topped up pretty quickly — you can get up to three hours of music playback with just 20 minutes of charging. While the bass response is great, this speaker particularly excels in rock music compared to hip-hop. Marshall Kilburn II is for serious music listeners on the go and does not come cheap. However, it currently does not have much competition so if you have the money to spare, by all means, go for it.

Dear readers, we sincerely hope that you found our list of the best Bluetooth speakers to be useful. Remember that most default setups rarely offer a good experience so you would have to tune the speaker for optimal output. A lot also depends on what the Bluetooth protocol supported by your smartphone or tablet. It is always better to pair with devices that support at least Bluetooth 4.0 or higher to get the best possible audio experience without any connection drops.

We hope that this article has addressed your needs for picking the best Bluetooth speaker for your budget. If you have any questions or recommendations, do sound off in the comments below and we will do our best to respond at the earliest.

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