The best waterproof Bluetooth speakers are must-have devices for any music lover, thanks to their portability, durability, and fantastic audio quality – and it’s not hard to see why they’ve become the go-to sound solution for music fans looking to take their tunes with them wherever they goespecially the beach
There’s a huge range of portable speakers to pick from and this is great news but it also means that there can be a challenge In making the right choice.
Luckily for you, we’ve done the research and the testing, which means we’re in a prime position to select the very best portable speakers you can buy in 2021.
Nowadays, many of the best Bluetooth speakers also come with voice assistants, like Alexa and Google Assistant built-in.
This means that some wireless speakers can also double up as smart speakers, which you can use to control your smart home devices and rely on for other voice commands.
There are plenty of pair-and-play devices out there too if the best Bluetooth speaker for you has a simpler setup.
Whatever kind of portable speaker you’re looking for, this guide will help you to choose the best Bluetooth speaker for your needs, wants, and budget.
1. Sonos MoveBluetooth Speaker
Here’s the thing about the Sonos Move – it’s so good, you might want to consider it not only as your on-the-go party station but also as your main in-the-home wireless speaker too.
With two quality drivers, a solid app that unlocks playback from hundreds of wireless sources, multi-room capabilities, and smart audio-tuning tech which tweaks the output based on the speaker’s immediate surroundings.
It’s a versatile speaker, one that stands solidly alongside the built-for-home Sonos speakers that the company made its name on.
It’s not perfect – it’s heavy as a byproduct of its incredible sound, it’s expensive due to its rich feature set, and it sadly can’t be used as rear channels for a home cinema set-up.
But if you’ve got the money, it’s hard to fault the Sonos Move when it comes to hunting down the very best Bluetooth speaker in the world.
2. Ultimate Ears Wonderboom
While we weren’t as impressed with the UE Boom 3 as we were with its predecessor the UE Boom 2, this is still one of the best Bluetooth speakers money can buy in 2021.
This is a speaker that can get loud and not distort at higher volumes; be light enough to carry on a camping trip but remain durable enough to tumble in a bag unprotected.
It’s both water and dust-proof, and now has a one-touch mix button that lets you pull up your favorite playlists without ever picking up your phone.
There are certainly more detailed portable speakers out there, but at a price that’s relatively affordable to all, the UE Boom 3 hits all the right notes for the third year in a row.
Ultimate Ears WonderboomDesign:
If you put the original Wonderboom next to the Wonderboom 2, you’d be hard pressed to point out the newer one.
The only visual cues are the Wonderboom’s new color combinations and new elastic strap – the speaker chassis, buttons, and MicroUSB charging port all remain unchanged.
All buttons are a membrane type for water resistance, which means they feel a bit squishy but aren’t difficult to operate.
Ultimate Ears WonderboomPerformance:
Sonically, the UE Wonderboom 2 is fantastic for its size. The speaker plays much louder than you would expect, especially with the Outdoor Boost enabled. There’s a bit of distortion at max volume, but if you keep it below 80%, music sounds great.
But let’s spend a minute talking about Outdoor Boost, as it’s the key feature that separates the original from the Wonderboom 2.
While Outdoor Boost does increase overall volume, sound quality takes a noticeable dip when listening to lower volumes.
Ultimate Ears now lets you customize your UE Boom 3, so you have even more options when it comes to color and pattern combinations.
3. JBL Flip 5Bluetooth Speaker
The JBL Flip 5 is proof that the best Bluetooth speakers aren’t always the ones with the most impressive specs.
JBL’s Flip 5 is a simple soul with Bluetooth-only playback and modest features, but if you desire a rugged, great-sounding portable speaker and can sacrifice voice control or hands-free call functionality, you won’t be disappointed.
Thanks to its neat design and IPX7 rating it’s suitable for use outside as well as in, making it an ideal outdoor speaker, too – and it’s not too pricey at $119.95 / £119.99 / AU$149.95.
Coming in a range of cool colors – including an eye-catching camo print – there’s now a limited Eco Edition that’s made from 90% recycled plastic, while the portable speaker’s entire packaging is biodegradable.
BL Flip 5Bluetooth SpeakerDesign:
Thankfully, the Flip 5’s design will allow you to show off your talents almost anywhere. Just half a kilo / one pound and the size of a small thermal flask, the compact yet robust Flip 5 can be easily carried in a hand, slipped into a bag, or, thanks to the shoelace strap, hung on, say, a door handle in a bedroom or tree in a park.
Already picturing your new portable speaker soundtracking your summer picnic? Know that weather would need to be considered to save your snacks but not this speaker – its IPX7 waterproof rating means it can be immersed in water up to a meter deep for a maximum of 30 minutes.
BL Flip 5Bluetooth SpeakerFeatures:
Whichever finish takes your fancy, you get the same straight-up, no-frills portable speaker. There’s Bluetooth playback of course. JBL’s PartyBoost function that pairs Flip 5 or Pulse 4 speakers either for stereo pairing or simultaneous playback in the companion JBL Connect app and a USB-C slot for charging.
JBL has decided not to equip the Flip 5 with an AUX socket for hardwiring a smartphone or alternative audio device, nor is there a built-in microphone to facilitate hands-free calls and Siri and Google Assistant activation.
The portable smart speaker market is booming, with the Bose Portable Home Speaker offering the smarts of Google Assistant and Alexa alongside Bluetooth connectivity, the market is already growing fast.
The Bose Portable Home Speaker isn’t the brand’s first outdoor-friendly speaker, and it shows: gorgeous minimalist design meets weather-ready robustness, with a light build and handle that lends itself to listening on the go.
It doesn’t quite meet the sonic dexterity of the Sonos Move, or the value for money of the UE Boom 3 and JBL Charge 4 – but if you love that Bose sound and build quality, this is the speaker for you.
Bose Home Portable SpeakerDesign:
Everything about the design of the Bose Portable Home Speaker oozes portability, from its lightweight, compact build, to its convenient bucket-like carrying handle and IPX4 water-resistant housing.
Measuring 7.5 inches tall, the Portable Home Speaker is wrapped in an anodized aluminum enclosure, coming in silver or black finishes – we prefer the futuristic-looking silver model, but the black version is a good choice if you like the minimalist look.
Bose Home Portable SpeakerPerformance:
The audio quality offered by the Bose Portable Home Speaker is very good indeed, with a warm, well-balanced soundstage.
We started our tests by listening to Fleet Foxes’ Hummingbird; natural-sounding guitar with gently-thumbed bass strings resonate around the room without overpowering the intricately plucked treble melodies.
It doesn’t quite have the pure fidelity of the Sonos Move or the detail, but as the lead vocal melts into Appalachian-style harmony, every voice blends together seamlessly.