What is the best Bluetooth speaker for 2021?
Bluetooth speakers let you stream music straight from your phone, so you have a whole world of music at your fingertips. Considering how most people consume music today, a Bluetooth speaker is an obvious choice for most households.
So, what is the best Bluetooth speaker? The Denon Home 350 Wireless Speaker is a quality choice overall, thanks to its excellent sound quality and versatility. However, the right Bluetooth speaker for you fits your needs.
What to know before you buy a Bluetooth speaker
Wired vs. portable
Bluetooth speakers can either be wired or portable. Wired Bluetooth speakers plug into a standard power outlet designed for indoor use as a modern alternative to a CD stereo system. Because they can be larger, you generally get better sound quality for your money from a wired Bluetooth speaker than a wireless model. Portable Bluetooth speakers have built-in batteries so that you can use them anywhere, like your backyard, at the park or on camping trips. They often aren’t as loud as wired speakers, but they’re ideal if you want to listen to music out of the house.
Some Bluetooth speakers give you the option to pair more than one speaker of the same type so you can listen to audio in stereo. If you want a Bluetooth speaker setup that will rival your old HiFi or stereo system, multi-speaker pairing is what you need.
Other connectivity options
Many Bluetooth speakers give you the option to connect and play music in various ways other than Bluetooth. It’s common for wired Bluetooth speakers to connect to your Wi-Fi, allowing you to play songs from your favorite streaming service without the added step of Bluetooth pairing. If you’re using an Apple iPhone or iPad, you may also be able to use AirPlay to send music from your device to your speaker.
What to look for in a quality Bluetooth speaker
High-end Bluetooth speakers can have a built-in voice assistant, such as Alexa or Google Assistant. Alternatively, some models pair with your phone in a way that lets you use your phone’s voice assistant to control the speaker. Either way, this allows you to use voice commands to play songs, pause, skip tracks and more.
Just because you’re buying a Bluetooth speaker doesn’t mean you need to compromise on sound quality. You can find some excellent wireless and Bluetooth speakers on the market that sound just as good as stereo speakers. When it comes to sound quality, you’re better off buying from big-name audio brands known for their quality speakers. Buying cheap speakers or unknown brands is a recipe for flat, tinny sound.
The best portable Bluetooth speakers have decent battery lives. You want a speaker that will last a full day at the beach or keep you entertained all evening around a campfire. We’d recommend choosing a speaker with a battery life of at least 8 hours, but some can last more than 15 hours between charges.
How much you can expect to spend on a Bluetooth speaker
While you can find standard Bluetooth speakers for less than $100, you’ll get far better sound quality in the $100-$200 range. High-end Bluetooth speakers can cost well over $500.
Bluetooth speaker FAQ
What’s the difference between a wireless speaker and a Bluetooth speaker?
A. Technically speaking, a wireless speaker is a speaker that connects to a Wi-Fi network, while a Bluetooth speaker pairs with your phone over Bluetooth so you can play audio from your phone when you don’t have Wi-Fi, which is excellent for outdoor use. However, many new speakers have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, so they’re both wireless speakers and Bluetooth speakers in one handy package.
Are portable Bluetooth speakers powerful?
A. You might be wondering how powerful portable Bluetooth speakers are and if they’re loud enough for a garden party or other outdoor gathering. This varies between models, so there’s no definitive answer. Cheap portable Bluetooth speakers are often relatively quiet and can sound tinny if you turn the volume up too high. Higher-end Bluetooth speakers are more likely to be louder overall and maintain their sound quality when you crank up the volume.
What’s the best Bluetooth speaker to buy?
Top Bluetooth speaker
What you need to know: With excellent sound quality, this is a top choice for audiophiles looking for a Bluetooth speaker.
What you’ll love: It features two tweeters, two woofers and two mid-bass drivers. This option has a built-in Alexa voice assistant and is compatible with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and AirPlay 2.
What you should consider: This option is quite expensive.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top Bluetooth speaker for the money
What you need to know: This is a great-sounding portable Bluetooth speaker for those who want to listen anywhere without sacrificing audio quality.
What you’ll love: It offers excellent value for money, a 10-hour battery life and it works with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and AirPlay 2. It’s also waterproof and drop-resistant.
What you should consider: You can find better-wired choices for less money if you’ll only be using it in the house.
Where to buy: Sold by Sonos
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This portable Bluetooth speaker has the sound quality buyers have come to expect from Bose.
What you’ll love: The 360 speakers sound great from any angle. They’re easy to pair with Bluetooth, water-resistant and have an impressive 17-hour battery life.
What you should consider: You may prefer if it was waterproof rather than water-resistant.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.