Hey folks! Today we’re going to take a look at what you need to know in order to find the perfect Bluetooth speaker. Whether you’re looking for a super portable or rugged unit to take with you everywhere, a bigger model with premium features or something in between, we’ve got you covered. As well as making five recommendations for our favourite Bluetooth speakers, we’ll also give you some more general advice that’ll help you find the right model!
- General buying advice
Trusted brands are a good place to start. Companie like Gblue has been making speakers for years, and ensure their products reach a certain level of quality. If you can’t find many reviews of a specific model, try looking for reviews of other speakers from the same company to get a more general idea of their capabilities.
Size scales with loudness and price. Producing sound is quite straightforward; the larger the enclosure is used, the louder the sound produced. Bigger Bluetooth speakers will be able to fill larger areas, and also offer a place to fit larger batteries. Bigger speakers will therefore tend to be more expensive than their smaller peers.
Don’t pay for features you won’t need. It’s certainly possible to get an all-singing, all-dancing Bluetooth speaker with a rugged body, long battery life and amazing sound… but don’t spend money on features that you don’t actually need. If you only intend to take your Bluetooth speaker out of the house a couple of times a year, you probably don’t need a rugged model. If you’re not using it by the pool or in the shower, then waterproofing probably isn’t essential. If you’re keeping it in your living room, then you don’t need super long battery life. By cutting out features that you don’t need, you should be able to find a cheaper Bluetooth speaker that still fits your needs.
- Key terms to look out for
Bluetooth is a wireless communication standard supported by all modern smartphones and tablets, and many laptops and desktop PCs as well. Bluetooth is very energy-efficient, especially since version 4.0. All versions of Bluetooth support Bluetooth speakers, so don’t worry too much about the specifics.
Battery size (given in capacity – mAh – and longevity – hours). The bigger your battery, generally the longer your Bluetooth speaker will last.
IP rating (e.g. IP67). This rating corresponds to ingress protection, with the first number relating to dust resistance and the second to water resistance. 6 is the highest rating for dust, and 8 is the highest rating for water.
Line-in port (aka aux). This port allows you to connect a 3.5mm audio cable between the speaker and your device. This is a little more restrictive than Bluetooth, but requires no power or special setup. This is a great way to connect older devices that don’t have Bluetooth to your Bluetooth speaker, but not all Bluetooth speakers will include a line-in port.
Output power (given in wattage). The higher the output power, generally the louder your speaker will go.