With Bluetooth speakers came the ability to play music effortlessly over the air, via simple streaming from your phone, in a small package that you can take nearly anywhere. If you’ve taken a look a Bluetooth speakers you may have noticed that they tend to have high prices and come with limited battery life – their two big weak points. However, the very best Bluetooth speakers are available for affordable prices, and come with welcome features that improve battery life and give you more opportunities.
The good news is that those worthwhile Bluetooth speakers are out there. If you’re looking for a speaker that you can set up at parties, take out to the pool, or haul on a camping trip – then we’ve got the top picks you need to look at and a variety of recommendations for the best Bluetooth speaker 2016 based on our reviews.
Key Features for the Best Bluetooth Speakers
- Battery Life: Average battery life for even top Bluetooth speakers tends to be 10-12 hours. This is slowly improving, and top options may have higher battery life. If you’re taking your speaker out to the park, beach, or trail, you’ll want as much battery life as possible. If you use your mobile speaker around the house or yard, battery life isn’t as important.
- Portability: All Bluetooth speakers are designed to be carried around, at least a little – but there’s a lot of difference between various models. Some are very small and designed to be carried on a belt or bike. Others are large and intended to be used as a versatile desk speaker, but aren’t made to be moved around very easily.
- Ruggedness: Speakers can be proof against water, dust, impact, and more: Where are you planning on taking your speaker?
- Sound Quality: Unfortunately, there’s a lot of variance here. Smaller speakers do tend to sound tinny, especially when placed at awkward angles. Buying from a quality brand making high-end models is the best way to guarantee top sound.
Logitech UE Boom 2 – $180
Logitech’s Boom line has found a sweet spot among the array of Bluetooth speaker features, making it an ideal buy no matter what your plans are. The 360-degree sound is great for parties, the design is portable enough to use in a variety of locations, and the companion app allows for easy control from your phone. The Boom 2 is also waterproof and shockproof, so you can take it down to the pool if you want. The battery life is also pleasantly high, at around 15 hours.
Braven BRV-1 – $92
Braven specializes in making particularly rugged bluetooth speakers that you can take out into nature without worrying too much about the device surviving your trip. The BRV line is filled with excellent models, and the BRV-1 now has both a lowered price and a set of high-quality features that make it an ideal buy. It’s also waterproof, shock absorbing, and lightweight enough to take on your trips.
JBL Flip 3 – $87
The Flip 3 tries to do a little bit of everything, and ends up packing quite a punch for such a little Bluetooth speaker. Like most JBLs, you can wirelessly link these speakers up for multi-directional sound at parties. The Flip 3 is also splashproof, so no need to worry about pools, rain, or showers. It also comes with a speakerphone for taking calls and a bass radiator to get those thrumming bass lines as clear as can be. The battery life, at 10 hours, isn’t going to win any awards, but it isn’t disappointing, either.