Table of Contents
- The Definition of The Term ‘’Best Sounding’’
- 20 Best Sounding Bluetooth Speakers – Comparison Table
- Are Bluetooth Speakers Better Than the Old-School Wired Speakers?
- Best Mini Bluetooth Speakers Under $100
- 1. Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM Waterproof Super Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- 2. Sony XB10 Portable Wireless Speaker with Bluetooth
- 3. Bose SoundLink Micro Bluetooth speaker
- Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers Under $100
- 4. Klipsch Groove Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- 5. JBL Flip 4 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- 6. Photive M90 Portable Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
- Best Sounding Bluetooth Speakers Within the Price Range $100 – $200
- 7. Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 4 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
- 8. Marshall Kilburn Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- 9. Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 Portable Bluetooth Wireless Speaker
- Best Sounding Bluetooth Speakers Within the Price Range $200 – $300
- 10. Ion Explorer Outback Wireless Rechargeable Speaker
- 11. Marshall Stanmore Bluetooth Speaker
- 12. Bose SoundLink Revolve+ Portable & Long-Lasting Bluetooth 360 Speaker
- Best Sounding Bluetooth Speakers Within the Price Range $300 – $400
- 13. Aiwa Exos-9 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- 14. Sony GTK-XB7BC High Power Home Audio System with Bluetooth
- 15. Fender Monterey Bluetooth Speaker
- Best Sounding Bluetooth Speakers Within the Price Range $400 – $500
- 16. JBL Boombox Portable Bluetooth Waterproof Speaker
- 17. Marshall Woburn Bluetooth Speaker
- 18. Dali Katch Bluetooth Speaker
- Best Sounding Bluetooth Speakers Within the Price More than $500
- 19. Klipsch KMC 3 Wireless Music System with Bluetooth
- 20. The SOUNDBOKS 2 – The Loudest Portable, Battery Powered, Bluetooth Speaker
- What Are the Things That Affect the Sound Quality of a Bluetooth Speaker?
- Things to Look for When Buying a Bluetooth Speaker
Looking for the best sounding Bluetooth speakers on the market? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve made a comprehensive research and picked out 20 best sounding Bluetooth speakers so you don’t have to look elsewhere. Our goal was to single out 3 or 4 best sounding speakers for every predefined price range (under $100, $100-$200, $200-$300, $300-$400, $400-$500, and $500+). Our focus was obviously on the sound quality but we have also tested other features (battery longevity, Bluetooth range and connection quality, and presence of other additional features like LED lights, IPX ratings, etc.). In the end, we’ve made a large list with plenty of great choices for every budget and every sound taste.
The Definition of The Term ‘’Best Sounding’’
If a speaker sounds good to you, it doesn’t have to sound good to someone else since we all have different ears and we all have different tastes. Some people like bass-heavy music and they want a speaker with a great bass response (strong and punchy but controlled and not overwhelming). There’s a lot of manufacturers targeting this exact group and making the speakers with a bassy sound signature.
If you are not into heavy bass, you won’t be impressed by these speakers since they often tend to overemphasize the bass and make other frequencies (especially the lower mid-range) less accurate and muddy. You might want the emphasis to be on voices (upper bass, mid-range, and upper midrange) because you like a Cappella music.
Audiophiles are looking for a speaker that sounds as natural as possible. They want a speaker that can reproduce all the frequencies equally well (flat frequency response).
Every person will experience the sound in a different way and will prefer a different type of sound, so it’s not really possible to make an objective list of the best sounding speakers. If the title was the most accurate or the loudest speakers, there would be an objective criterion to establish the list and rank the speakers but when it comes to something as subjective as ‘’best sounding”, it’s really hard.
So, what did we do? We have tried to offer something for everyone. Some of the speakers from our list have a bassy sound signature, others deliver a great balance between lows, mids, and highs. You will definitely find some really nice choices here regardless of your taste in music and your sound preferences.
Every review has a part where we analyze the sound signature and give you some info about the frequency response. Based on that part and your music and sound taste, you can make an informed decision. Still, it doesn’t hurt to actually hear the speaker if you have the chance. That’s the ultimate test – no review in the world could replace your personal experience.
20 Best Sounding Bluetooth Speakers – Comparison Table
|Best Bluetooth Speakers||Rating||Price||Review|
|UE WONDERBOOM||4.4||Check Price||Read Review|
|Sony XB10||4.4||Check Price||Read Review|
|Bose SoundLink||4.6||Check Price||Read Review|
|Klipsch Groove||4.3||Check Price||Read Review|
|JBL Flip 4||4.5||Check Price||Read Review|
|Photive M90||4.6||Check Price||Read Review|
|Harman Kardon 4||4.5||Check Price||Read Review|
|Marshall Kilburn||4.4||Check Price||Read Review|
|UE MEGABOOM||5.0||Check Price||Read Review|
|Ion Explorer Outback||4.4||Check Price||Read Review|
|Marshall Stanmore||4.5||Check Price||Read Review|
|Bose SoundLink Revolve+||4.6||Check Price||Read Review|
|Aiwa Exos-9||4.8||Check Price||Read Review|
|Sony GTK-XB7BC||4.5||Check Price||Read Review|
|Fender Monterey||4.4||Check Price||Read Review|
|JBL Boombox||4.5||Check Price||Read Review|
|Marshall Woburn||4.6||Check Price||Read Review|
|Dali Katch||5.0||Check Price||Read Review|
|Klipsch KMC 3||4.3||Check Price||Read Review|
|The SOUNDBOKS 2||4.4||Check Price||Read Review|
When you click on “Check Price” you will be redirected to Amazon.
Are Bluetooth Speakers Better Than the Old-School Wired Speakers?
Well, if the sound quality is the only criterion, then no, definitely not. But since you are looking for a Bluetooth speaker, the sound is not the only thing you care about. You probably want something more convenient or something portable that you can take with you to the beach, to the pool, etc. In those cases, Bluetooth speakers are, obviously, a better choice. But there are always some downsides (or limitations, if you want).
The first and the most important downside is the sound quality. Bluetooth speakers don’t have to sound bad (some of them are actually very good) but if you compare two speakers within the same price range, one being Bluetooth and the other being wired, the wired speaker will sound better (it will deliver richer and more detailed sound) in most cases. Even if you compare the sound quality of a Bluetooth speaker in two modes (most of them have AUX inputs and can be used in wired and wireless mode), it will sound slightly better in wired mode. The reason is, as you probably know, the Bluetooth connection. The amount of data that can be transferred (streamed) via Bluetooth is limited and the audio has to be compressed. Since there’s no lossless compression, some data is lost in the process and that affects the output and makes it less detailed. There are no such limitations when it comes to wired connection.
This doesn’t mean that Bluetooth speakers can’t sound good. There are many good sounding Bluetooth speakers on the market and they will be even better in the future. The technology evolves really fast and newer Bluetooth versions are being released (the latest is Bluetooth 5.0 and some phones and speakers already have it). Some future Bluetooth version will be capable of lossless streaming but let’s not wait that long.
Take a look at our list of 20 best sounding Bluetooth speakers and find the best one for you.
Best Sounding Bluetooth Speakers Under $100
Cheap speakers under $100 (or even under $200) are the trickiest. The market is flooded with all kinds of cheap speakers. You can buy a Bluetooth speaker for even less than $20, but if you want good sound quality, you should be looking for something more expensive.
Most of the speakers under $100 are small, portable, and battery-powered. This basically means that you can’t expect a great bass response since only big speakers can produce big sound. These speakers have a good bass response for their size but they can’t compete with some large $300+ speakers.
We have divided our selection of the best sounding Bluetooth speakers under $100 into two groups – best mini Bluetooth speakers under $100 and best portable Bluetooth speakers under $100.
Best Mini Bluetooth Speakers Under $100
1. Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM Waterproof Super Portable Bluetooth Speaker
UE is one of the most popular brands when it comes to mini and portable Bluetooth speakers. All of their speakers are battery-powered and have that recognizable cylindrical design and large volume buttons. And they all sound pretty good. Most of the larger UE speakers deliver powerful bass but this one is actually too small to make that kind of impact. Still, compared to other mini Bluetooth speakers, WONDERBOOM is really amazing.
What’s in the box?
The speaker comes in a nice-looking box along with USB to micro USB charging cable, user manual, and 2-year warranty card.
Things we like
Super small and very portable – WONDERBOOM is cylindrical. The diameter of the base is 3.7 inches, and the height is 4 inches. The speaker weighs only 15.9 ounces.
Sleek design and variety of color choices – Like all the other UE Bluetooth speakers, WONDERBOOM looks really stylish. It’s available in many colors and styles – avocado green, cashmere pink, concrete (black/white/grey), fireball red, lilac, phantom black, raspberry, stone grey, subzero blue, unicorn, etc.
Simple and easy to use controls – There are two buttons on the top panel (UE multifunction button and Bluetooth button) and two large volume buttons on the side. You can use the UE button to play/pause/skip songs and to daisy chain two WONDERBOOM speakers.
Incredible build quality – WONDERBOOM is very rugged. It’s completely wrapped in protective fabric, and the top and bottom are covered with silicone. The charging port is at the bottom and it is protected with a rubber flap. The speaker is IPX7 certified and it’s completely waterproof. It is also shockproof and dustproof. There’s a nylon loop at the top so you can hang it in your bathroom and use it while taking a shower.
Exceptional connection quality – Pairing is super simple and you need to do it only once. The speaker will remember your device and it will pair with it automatically whenever you are within the range. In fact, WONDERBOOM will remember up to 8 devices. It can also be paired to two Bluetooth-enabled devices simultaneously. Bluetooth connection works flawlessly and the advertised range is 100ft (30-50ft with obstacles).
Daisy chain – You can pair two (but not multiple) WONDERBOOM speakers together for louder sound. The speaker will output the same audio – there is no stereo mode.
Relatively durable battery – the battery is not impressive but it’s satisfying considering the size and price. You will get up to 10 hours of playtime at moderate volumes (50-60%). Recharge takes 3 hours.
Great sound for its size – You can’t really expect mind-blowing bass from such a small speaker but compared to other mini Bluetooth speakers, this one is probably the best when it comes to bass. It’s quite punchy and effective. The mids are nice and dynamic, while the highs lack some clarity at high volumes. WONDERBOOM can be quite loud for its size (max SPL is 86dB) There’s a small amount of distortion at full volume.
WONDERBOOM features 2 40mm drivers and 2 passive radiators and it can deliver 360-sound. Speaker’s frequency response spans from 80Hz to 20kHz.
Things we don’t like
The lack of AUX port – The speaker features only one micro USB port. There are no other ports on the speaker. AUX input would be a nice additional detail.
The lack of NFC connectivity – You can only pair the speaker with your phone in a traditional way – there is no NFC so you can’t just tap the speaker with your phone and pair them.
Sound notifications – All the sound notifications are loud and quite annoying (on/off/pairing notifications). The most annoying thing is the battery status notification – there is no voice notification saying the percentage (something like ‘’25% left’’). There are three different sounds and you have to recognize those sounds to know how much battery is left.
The lack of app – Unlike most of the other UE speakers, this one doesn’t come with an app.
2. Sony XB10 Portable Wireless Speaker with Bluetooth
All the Sony XB Bluetooth speakers are tuned for improved bass response and this one is not an exception but it’s quite small, so don’t expect great amounts of bass. Still, it is one of the best sounding mini Bluetooth speakers under $100.
What’s in the box?
XB10 comes in a nice little box along with USB to micro USB charging cable, user manual, and 1-year warranty card. The speaker features AUX input, but the AUX cable is not included in the package.
Things we like
Stylish and sporty design – The speaker looks really nice and it can be used on many occasions. It’s available in 6 colors – black, green, grey, red, yellow, and blue.
Super-small and portable – XB10 has a cylindrical shape. The diameter of the base is 2.96 inches, and the height is 3.6 inches. XB10 weighs less than 10 ounces. It’s battery-powered, so you can take it with your wherever you go.
Simple intuitive controls – All the control buttons are located at the bottom. There are 5 buttons – play/pause/skip/call button, ADD button (for daisy chaining two XB10 speakers), power button, and two volume buttons. There are also LED charging indicator, L/R indicator, Bluetooth indicator, and a built-in mic. Right next to the control buttons, there’s a rubber flap protecting micro USB charging port and AUX input.
Pretty good build quality – The speaker is well built. It’s made of hard plastic and then covered with silicone. The driver is located on the top and protected with an aluminum mesh. XB10 is not as rugged as WONDERBOOM but it’s still quite durable. It is IPX5 certified which means it can survive small jets of water (but cannot be submerged in water).
Great connection quality and 2 connection choices – XB10 features Bluetooth 4.2. Pairing is simple and fast – it takes a few seconds. The range is standard 33ft (without obstacles). XB10 is compatible with all kinds of Bluetooth-enabled devices (Apple, Android, Windows, etc.). The speaker also features AUX input – you can use it to connect any device with a 3.5mm output (Bluetooth or non-Bluetooth)
NFC capability – If you want even quicker pairing and you have an Android device you can tap that NFC logo with your phone and you are ready to stream some music.
Daisy chain – If you want louder sound, you can pair two (but not multiple) XB10 speakers and choose between two modes – double (both speakers play the same audio output) or stereo (left and right audio channels).
Pretty good battery life – The battery delivers up to 16 hours playtime at a moderate volume or up to 5 hours at full volume. The recharge takes approx. 4 hours.
Speakerphone feature – The speaker has a built-in mic and can be used for answering phone calls. Thanks to noise suppression technology, your voice will be quite clear on the other end (but it will sound distant).
Great sound quality with slight emphasis on bass frequencies – The sound is pretty clear and balanced. The bass is slightly emphasized but it’s not overpowering or boomy. The mids are sweet and dynamic (especially voices). The highs are surprisingly clean. XB10 is not as loud as WONDERBOOM but it still offers more than enough for its size. The distortion kicks in at 90% volume and it’s not too distracting.
The speaker features one 2-inch driver (up firing) and one passive bass radiator at the bottom. The frequency response spans from 20Hz to 20kHz.
Things we don’t like
The lack of dedicated track buttons – You can use the play/pause/call button to skip the song but there are no dedicated track buttons and there’s no way to play the previous song without taking out your phone.
Not fully waterproof – The speaker is IPX5 certified and not IPX7. It’s not completely waterproof and it can’t survive submersion in water.
3. Bose SoundLink Micro Bluetooth speaker
Bose is arguably the best when it comes to marketing and selling the product. They make decent (even, very good) products (definitely not the best) but the price of their speakers is almost always way too high considering the performance. We have decided to present to you their SoundLink micro Bluetooth speaker. It’s a nice sounding and quite rugged little thing. You should definitely give it a try (especially if you get some kind of discount).
What’s in the box?
SoundLink Micro comes in a nice-looking package along with USB to micro USB charging cable, detachable silicone strap (you can attach the speaker to your bike’s handlebar or anywhere else), user manual, and 1-year warranty card.
Things we like
Great design and multiple color choices – As always, Bose pays a lot of attention to the presentation and design. Their speakers and other audio equipment always look great. SoundLink Micro is available in three colors – black, bright orange, and midnight blue.
Small and portable – Just like the previous speakers, SoundLink Micro is very small, battery-powered, and portable. It is 3.87 inches wide, 3.87 inches high, 1.37 inches deep, and it weighs 10 ounces.
Simple and easy-to-use controls – Control buttons are super-simple and nicely arranged. There are three buttons on the front panel (2 volume buttons and one multifunction (play/pause/call/skip) button) and two buttons on the top panel (power and Bluetooth button). The built-in mic is located on the front panel, and 5 battery status indicators, as well as Bluetooth indicator, are on the top.
Great build quality and IPX7 rating – The speaker looks really rugged and durable (unlike some other Bose speakers). It’s completely wrapped in silicone and it is completely waterproof (IPX7 rating) which means it can be submerged in water.
Good connection quality – Bose doesn’t offer info on the Bluetooth version, but we’ve had no problems regarding the connection quality, range, and other connection-related parameters. Pairing is simple and quick. You can connect two Bluetooth-enabled devices to your speaker simultaneously, and it can remember up to 8 previously connected devices. The range is 33ft without obstacles (less than 15ft if there are walls between your phone and speaker). We haven’t experienced any compatibility issues (compatible with Apple and Android devices).
Daisy chaining – You can pair two SoundLink Micro speakers and get a louder sound. There are two modes – stereo (one speaker acts as the left and the other as the right channel) and party mode (both speakers play the same audio).
Decent (but not impressive) battery life – The battery offers up to 6 hours 70-80% volume which is pretty good. The recharge takes 4 hours.
Bose Connect App – The speaker can be controlled via Bose Connect App. You can use it to control the volume and playback and to pair two SoundLink Micro speakers.
Pretty good sound quality – The bass is pretty impressive for this class of speakers but it still can’t compete with UE WONDERBOOM. The midrange, especially vocals, are very clear and detailed which is not a surprise – the BOSE really knows how to make the midrange sound good. The highs are maybe just a little bit too harsh. There’s a certain amount of distortion at high volumes but it’s not too distracting.
Things we don’t like
The lack of NFC feature – You can’t tap the speaker to pair it with your phone. This is not a big deal if you are an iPhone user but it would be a nice additional feature for Android fans.
The lack of dedicated track buttons – You can use that multifunction button to play the next/previous song but there are no dedicated track buttons.
Cannot be charged with any USB to micro USB cable – Bose somehow managed to make a simple micro USB charging cable proprietary, so you can’t use some other USB to micro USB cable to charge the speaker. You need this exact cable that comes with the speaker.
You can’t use the mic for making calls via WhatsApp, Viber, Skype – The built-in mic can be used for regular phone calls but it can’t be used when making calls via WhatsApp and other apps.
SoundLink Micro doesn’t float – It is waterproof but it doesn’t float, so if you drop it into the pool/ocean, it will go straight to the bottom.
Overpriced – Just like all the other BOSE speakers, SoundLink Micro is overpriced. This is a nice little speaker but it’s not better than WONDERBOOM and it costs more. If you get some kind of discount, you should definitely try it.
Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers Under $100
4. Klipsch Groove Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Klipsch is a well-known name in the world of home theater systems but they decided to expand the production. Klipsch Groove was released in 2015 and it was too expensive for that kind of device (approx. $150). They eventually realized that $150 was too much and lowered the price significantly. You can find this beautiful speaker for less than $100 (even less than $80), which is more than appropriate price for the performance.
What’s in the box?
Groove comes in a nice-looking box along with USB to micro USB charging cable, wall adapter, user manual, and 1-year warranty.
Things we like
Great design – Like all the Klipsch speakers, Groove looks really elegant. Unlike many other portable Bluetooth speakers, this one comes in only one color (black with subtle orange details).
Small and portable – Don’t let the pictures fool you. The Groove is actually quite small and compact but it’s still hefty for its size. The speaker is 5.5 inches wide, 4.56 inches high, 2.65 inches deep, and it weighs 1.7 pounds.
Simple and intuitive controls – All the control buttons are located on the top panel. There are 6 buttons – power, Bluetooth, AUX, play/pause, and two volume buttons. Right above the controls, there’s a small LCD display. The input ports (AUX and micro USB charging port) are at the back and they are protected with a rubber flap.
Good build quality (but not as rugged as some other portable speakers) and IPX4 certified – The speaker looks pretty durable but it is less rugged than some other portable outdoor speakers. Three sides are covered with aluminum mesh, and the rest is made of plastic and partially covered with silicone. The speaker is IPX4 certified which means it is splash-proof but not completely waterproof (it will survive light rain or a few drops of water but cannot be immersed in water).
Good Bluetooth connection quality and AUX input – Bluetooth connection works fine but it’s not without flaws. The Bluetooth range is pretty awful – it’s less than 30ft even without obstacles and the Bluetooth signal can’t really go through walls. Pairing is simple and quick. The speaker is compatible with most of the Bluetooth-enabled devices. It also features AUX input so you can connect any non-Bluetooth device to the speaker.
Decent battery life – The battery is only ok. It has the capacity of 2,200mAh and it can deliver up to 8 hours of playtime at moderate volumes (less than 4 hours at max volume). Recharge takes 4 hours.
Very good sound quality and loudness – This Klipsch speaker is somewhere on the border between mini and small, so it’s hard to evaluate its performance – it’s better than previously mentioned mini Bluetooth speakers but there are some much better and slightly larger speakers within the same price range. The speaker delivers pretty strong and punchy bass even at low volumes, the mids are pretty sweet and detailed, and highs are clean. Unfortunately, there’s a noticeable distortion at high volumes.
The speaker features one 3-inch full-range front firing driver and two passive bass radiators (on the left and right sides). Frequency response spans from 65Hz to 22kHz (+/- 3dB), and max SPL is 97dB.
Things we don’t like
No speakerphone – Klipsch Groove doesn’t have a built-in mic and you can’t use it to make/take calls.
No NFC – It’s not a big deal for iPhone users, but it would be a useful addition for all the Android users.
5min standby time – This is the most annoying feature. After only 5 minutes of inactivity, the speaker goes to standby and you have to turn it on again.
5. JBL Flip 4 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker
JBL is, along with UE, Sony, and Bose, one of the most popular names when it comes to portable Bluetooth speakers. JBL speakers offer pretty good sound quality at a reasonable price. Flip 4 is one of JBL’s small speakers and it’s one of the best sounding Bluetooth speakers under $100.
What’s in the box?
Flip 4 comes in a nicely designed box along with USB to micro USB charging cable, user manual, and 2-year warranty card. Carrying case and other accessories (AUX cable, wall adapter) are not included.
Things we like
Sporty design and a variety of color options – Flip 4 is another cylindrical speaker. It looks more sporty than elegant but depending on the color, it can be quite stylish. Flip 4 is available is many colors – black, teal, white, gray, blue, camouflage, red, and special trio edition.
Small and portable – The speaker can fit your backpack or your bag and you can take it everywhere with you. The diameter of the base is 2.75 inches, it’s 6.9 inches high, and it weighs 18.2 ounces.
Simple controls – The controls are easy to use. The buttons are arranged in two rows. There are 4 buttons on the protective waterproof fabric – Bluetooth (pairing) button, 2 volume buttons, and play/pause/call button. There are two more buttons on the silicone strip – power button and Connect Plus button.
Very good build quality and IPX7 rating – Flip 4 is very well built, it is quite compact and sturdy. The body of the speaker is almost entirely wrapped in a protective waterproof fabric. Some parts are also made of silicone. The speaker is fully waterproof (IPX7 certified).
Connectivity (Bluetooth + AUX) – Flip 4 features Bluetooth 4.2. Pairing is simple and quick. You can pair two Bluetooth-enabled devices with the speaker simultaneously and it can remember the last paired device and pair with it automatically. The Bluetooth range is 33ft without obstacles (less than 10ft if there’s a wall between the speaker and your phone). Flip 4 can be paired with any Bluetooth-enabled device (iPhones, iPads, Android, and Windows devices). It also features AUX input (AUX cable is not included) so you can connect non-Bluetooth devices to the speaker (note: Flip 4 is not waterproof in AUX mode).
Daisy chaining – Thanks to the JBL connect plus button, you can pair up to 100 Flip 4 speakers together. When two Flip 4 speakers are paired together, you can choose between two modes – stereo and party. If you pair more than two Flip 4 speakers together, they will play the music in party mode.
Pretty good battery life – The Li-ion battery inside the speaker has the capacity of 3,000mAh. You will get up to 12 hours of playback at 50% volume but only 4 hours at max volume. Recharge takes up to 4 hours.
Speakerphone – Flip 4 has a built-in mic and you can use it to answer/make calls.
It comes with an app – You can download the JBL Connect App and use it to control the playback, program the play/pause/call button, and to choose between party and stereo mode when two Flip 4 speakers are paired together.
Sound quality – Flip 4 sounds very good for its size. The bass is punchy and accurate, mids are clean and dynamic, while the highs remain clean even at high volumes. There’s a certain amount of distortion at max volume but it’s not alarming.
The speaker features two 40mm drivers and two passive bass radiators. Frequency response spans from 70Hz to 20kHz, and signal to noise ratio is greater than 80dB.
Things we don’t like
Flip 4 doesn’t float – It is waterproof but if you drop it accidentally into the pool, it will go straight to the bottom.
Flip 4 can’t be daisy chained with other JBL speakers – It can be paired only with other Flip 4 speakers. You can’t daisy chain Flip 4 with JBL Extreme or any other JBL speaker.
Poorly made charging cable – The cable looks like the weakest link. It’s fragile and flimsy – it’s probably the first thing that’s going to break.
No NFC – Not a big deal for iPhone users (only Android users can benefit from it) but we have still expected NFC at this price point.
6. Photive M90 Portable Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
Photive M90 is one of the largest speakers under $100. M90 has some flaws, but when it comes to sound, it’s one of the best under $100 (definitely the best under $50).
What’s in the box?
M90 comes in a large illustrated box along with USB to micro USB charging cable, AUX cable, user manual, and 1-year warranty card.
Things we like
Attractive design – If you are into old-school boombox design, you are going to love this speaker. M90 is the perfect combination of well-known boombox shape and modern design. It looks really nice. There is only one color available – gray with yellow handle and buttons.
Portable (but not as small as previously reviewed speakers) – As we have already said, M90 is larger than other portable Bluetooth speakers under $100. Still, it’s very much portable and it has that nice rubber handle on the top so you can carry it around. It is 6 inches tall, 3.5 inches deep, 11 inches wide, and it weighs 2 pounds.
Super-simple controls – This is one of the simplest speakers on the list. It has only 4 buttons on the top panel – power, 2 volume buttons, and play/pause/call button. On the back side, there’s a rubber flap covering AUX input and micro USB charging port.
Pretty good build quality and IPX 5 water resistant rating – M90 is made of plastic. Some parts are reinforced with rubber and the drivers are protected with an aluminum mesh. This is not the most rugged speaker on the market (all the JBL and UE speakers are more rugged) but it looks like it can survive heavy use. It is IPX5 certified which means it can survive splashes and jets of water but not full immersion.
Bluetooth connection + AUX input – M90 can be used in wireless (Bluetooth) and wired mode. Bluetooth doesn’t work flawlessly – if you want uninterrupted streaming, you have to stay within 10-15ft range. Even the smallest interfering could cause playback to stop. Pairing is simple and fast. M90 is compatible with all Bluetooth-enabled devices. If you have some non-Bluetooth device, you can use the AUX input to connect it. Wired connection is actually preferred because of some Bluetooth issues (read about them in the next section)
Very good battery life – M90 features two 2,600mAH batteries (5,200mAh in total). It can deliver up to 10 hours of playtime at a moderate volume (60% – 70% volume). Recharge takes approx. 6 hours.
Speakerphone – The built-in mic offers decent performance. It’s not the best out there, and your voice will sound distant and kind of muffled on the other end, but it’s definitely usable.
Great sound quality – M90 delivers quite powerful sound. The emphasis is on the bass – thanks to that large passive subwoofer on the rear panel, the bass is punchy and powerful. Other frequencies don’t suffer because of the bass. There’s actually a nice balance between lows, mids, and highs at low and moderate volumes. The distortion kicks in at 80% and becomes really noticeable at 90%. Luckily, you don’t really have to crank it up to get nice and loud audio. This unit is very loud even at 70%. Unlike other speakers under $100, M90 offers some stereo separation and pretty wide soundstage for its size and price. It could never compete with hand-made and high-end speakers but for a cheap unit, M90 performs surprisingly well.
Things we don’t like
The lack of dedicated track buttons – You can use volume buttons to play the next/previous song but there are no dedicated track buttons.
The lack of NFC feature – It’s not a big issue for iPhone users, but it would be a nice additional feature and it would be useful to Android users.
Bluetooth 2.1 – This speaker would be so much better if some newer Bluetooth version was used. The upgraded version should definitely have at least Bluetooth 4.0. That would probably resolve all the Bluetooth issues (short Bluetooth range, signal loss, etc.).
Low battery warning – It starts two hours before the battery actually dies and you will hear it every 5 minutes. It’s really annoying.
Best Sounding Bluetooth Speakers Within the Price Range $100 – $200
7. Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 4 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
Harman Kardon is another well-known name in the audio industry. Harman Kardon is one of the subsidiaries of Harman International, just like JBL and AKG. Harman International, along with many other companies, is owned by Samsung Electronics. All these audio companies exchange technologies, so you can find some similar features on JBL and Harman Kardon speakers (like Connect + button).
Still, there are some differences between these two famous brands, mostly regarding the design and sound signature. JBL speakers look sportier while Harman Kardon speakers look more elegant (this is, of course, just a subjective impression). Also, JBL speakers tend to emphasize the bass, while HK speakers deliver more balanced sound.
What’s in the box?
Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 4 comes in a lovely black and white box along with a power adapter, user manual, and 1-year warranty card. Carrying case and AUX cable are not included.
Things we like
Simple but very elegant – HK Onyx Studio 4 looks simple and minimalistic but it is still very elegant. It looks like some kind of fashion accessory. The speaker is available in two colors – black and white.
Portable (but kind of hefty) – Just like all the previous speakers on our list, this one is battery-powered but it’s not that small or light. The speaker has a circular front panel with a diameter of 11 inches. It is 6.3 inches deep (including two undetachable stands at the back), and it weighs 4.6 pounds.
Very simple controls – The control buttons are located along the circular edge. There are 6 buttons – Bluetooth, connect+ button, 2 volume buttons, handsfree button (also used for activating Siri and Google Now and for playing/pausing the song), and power button. There are no dedicated track buttons (next/previous song).
Pretty good build quality (but not as rugged as some other portable Bluetooth speakers) – It’s made of plastic and the rear end is wrapped in silicone. Fabric mesh covers the front panel and it is removable. The speaker is well made but it’s not as rugged as some other portable speakers designed for outdoor use. You can definitely use it outdoors since it has a built-in battery, but if you really need something for outdoor use, you should buy some more rugged (preferably waterproof) speaker. This one works better as a stationary home speaker.
Great Bluetooth connection + AUX input – The speaker features Bluetooth 4.2. Wireless connection works without any issues. The range is 33ft and the connection is stable within the advertised range. Pairing is simple and quick. You can pair 2 devices simultaneously with the speaker and it can remember up to 8 devices and pair with them automatically. You can also use the AUX port if you want to connect some non-Bluetooth device or don’t want to use Bluetooth.
Daisy chaining – Onyx Studio 4 features Connect+ button (just like those new JBL Bluetooth speakers). It can be paired with up to 100 other Onyx Studio 4 speakers. When two speakers are paired, you can choose between two modes – party or stereo.
HK Connect app – Download it from AppStore or Google Play and use it to adjust stereo settings, rename speakers, pair two or more Onyx Studio 4 speakers, etc.
Decent battery life – The speaker has a built-in battery but we are not quite happy with the battery durability. The capacity is rated at 3,000mAh and it can deliver up to 8 hours of playback. This is maybe true if you keep the volume at 40-50% but you will get 3-4 hours max at 75% which is not impressive. Recharge takes 5 hours.
Speakerphone feature (Voicelogic technology with echo and noise cancellation) – Onyx Studio 4 has a built-in mic. The microphone works well and it’s usable which is not the case with all the Bluetooth speakers on the market. Many of them (even those expensive ones) have poor microphones.
Excellent sound quality – This speaker has a great bass response. The bass is quite punchy and present but not overwhelming. The mids are sweet and dynamic, voices are absolutely clear, and highs are quite clean and detailed. The distortion becomes noticeable at 80-90% volume. The sound is very balanced when there is no distortion and it’s really pleasant. At this price point (approx. $150), you can’t really get much better sound, especially if you want more balanced sound signature.
The speaker features 2 75mm woofers, 2 20mm tweeters, and one passive radiator. Frequency response spans from 50Hz to 20kHz.
There’s an important fact that you have to be aware of – speaker’s output power will be 60W with the adapter but only 30W when you unplug it (it will automatically lower the output in order to preserve the battery). So, don’t be surprised if the speaker sounds quieter when battery-powered.
Things we don’t like
The battery should’ve been stronger – The manufacturer worked so hard to install 4 drivers and a passive radiator inside one relatively small speaker but the battery is too weak for that kind of driver configuration. You can get less than 3 hours at full volume which is not satisfying.
Not waterproof – The speaker is not waterproof at all (no IPX rating) and it’s not really rugged, so it’s probably smarter to use it indoors.
Cannot be charged via micro USB cable – The speaker comes with a proprietary charging cable so you can’t use just any micro USB charging cable to recharge the battery.
8. Marshall Kilburn Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Marshall is another well-known name in the audio industry. Marshall became famous for making high-quality guitar amps but they decided to expand and try something slightly different. Their speakers have that recognizable Marshall guitar amp design and deliver amazing performance. We have decided to present to you their first portable speaker – Kilburn.
What’s in the box?
The speaker comes in a nice-looking box along with power/charging cable, AUX cable, user manual, and 1-year warranty.
Things we like
Great design – This is one of the things we love about all Marshall speakers. They all have that premium look – metal mesh on the front panel with a recognizable Marshall logo, MDF cabinet wrapped in vinyl, vintage volume, bass, and treble knobs, golden details, old school on/off switch, guitar carrying strap. Everything looks perfect. The speaker is available in 2 colors – black and cream.
Portable – Kilburn is not the smallest or the lightest speaker out there but it has a built-in battery and can be carried around thanks to that carrying strap. The speaker is 9.5 inches wide, 5.5 inches deep, 5.5 inches tall, and it weighs 6.6 pounds.
Easy-to-use controls + adjustable bass and treble – All the controls are located on the top panel – there are three knobs (volume, bass, and treble), 3.5mm input, source-wake button, pairing button, and an old-school on/off switch. The charging port is on the rear panel.
Great build quality – Every single part looks like it was carefully installed. Kilburn is a nicely built speaker. All the materials look and feel premium and quite durable. Unfortunately, this unit is not really rugged and it’s not shockproof or waterproof.
Bluetooth connection + AUX input – Kilburn features Bluetooth 4.0 with a 33ft range. Bluetooth connection is stable and works flawlessly. Pairing is simple and quick. If you want, you can connect your device to the speaker via AUX cable.
Durable battery – The battery capacity is rated at 2,200mAh, and it offers up to 20 hours of playtime at 50% volume (less than 8 hours at maximum volume). Recharge takes 4 hours.
Great sound quality – This speaker delivers quite amazing sound for its size. The bass is very much present and punchy, mids are nice and detailed, and highs are sparkling. Overall, there’s a really nice balance between low, mid, and high frequencies but you can change that and adjust the sound to your preferences thanks to those bass and treble knobs. Kilburn doesn’t get as loud as some other speakers within this price range. On the other hand, the sound doesn’t get distorted even at high volumes. Stereo separation is not perfect since the drivers are too close to each other. Soundstage is wider than we have expected but don’t expect to hear and distinguish every instrument in a complicated musical piece.
Kilburn features one 4-inch woofer, two .75-inch tweeters, and a bass reflex port. Frequency response spans from 62Hz to 20kHz, and total output power is rated at 25W.
Things we don’t like
Not IPX certified – The speaker is not waterproof. It’s not even splash-proof. Be careful and avoid any contact with water.
No dedicated track or play/pause buttons – You have to use your phone to control the playback.
No speakerphone feature – People from Marshall care more about the sound than about other additional features.
Can’t be paired with another Kilburn for louder or stereo sound – Unlike many JBL, UE, Harman Kardon, and other popular Bluetooth speakers, Kilburn can’t be daisy-chained with another (or multiple) Kilburn speakers.
Note: There is also an upgraded version of this speaker called Kilburn II. This improved version has a stronger battery, it features Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX, stronger body (reinforced edges), multi-host feature (can be paired with two Bluetooth-enabled devices simultaneously), LED battery indicator, and quick-charge feature.
9. Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 Portable Bluetooth Wireless Speaker
This another UE speaker on the list and it’s meant for all the bass lovers out there. This is completely new and upgraded MEGABOOM.
What’s in the box?
MEGABOOM 3 comes in a very colorful box along with power adapter, wall plug, USB to micro USB charging cable, user manual, and 2-year warranty card.
Things we like
Great design – Well, we can’t really say that MEGABOOM 3 looks better than its predecessor since that’s highly subjective. That protective fabric has a different texture and it looks even harder than on the original MEGABOOM. MEGABOOM 3 has the same cylindrical shape with those recognizable large + and – volume buttons. The size is also the same. The silicone strap on the back is narrower than it used to be, the micro USB charging port is at the bottom and not on the bottom side, and there’s a charging ring on the bottom. On the top panel, you will see one additional button called magic button, and a hook. So, it’s different but it’s also the same.
Portable – Just like all the other UE Bluetooth speakers, MEGABOOM 3 is highly portable. It’s not too heavy and you can bring it with you literally everywhere. The base diameter is 3.35 inches. The speaker is 8.9 inches tall and it weighs 2 pounds.
Simple controls – The controls look pretty much the same as the controls on MEGABOOM. So, you have two large volume buttons, power and Bluetooth buttons are on the top panel but there’s one additional button called magic button right between Bluetooth and power button. You can use this button to play/pause/skip songs but you can also use it to cycle through your Deezer and Apple music playlists (at the moment, these are the only supported services). The unit features micro USB charging port but it can be also charged via charging ring which is located on the bottom. In order to charge it via charging ring, you have to buy UE Power Up charging dock.
Incredibly durable, waterproof, dustproof, sand proof, and drop proof – Just like the previous MEGABOOM, MEGABOOM 3 is very rugged. The fabric looks even tougher than on the old version. The speaker is completely waterproof and dustproof (IP67) and it can float, so you don’t have to worry if you drop it into the pool.
Great Bluetooth connection – We can’t say which Bluetooth version was used, but there are some rumors that MEGABOOM 3 features Bluetooth 5.0. The Bluetooth range is fantastic – you can be as far as 150ft away from the speaker if there are no obstacles. The pairing is simple and fast. You can pair two phones simultaneously with the speaker. MEGABOOM can memorize up to 8 different Bluetooth-enabled devices.
Daisy chaining – You can pair up to 150+ UE BOOM and/or MEGABOOM speakers together and make a crazy party.
New UE BOOM app – You can use this app to adjust EQ settings and choose one of 4 EQ presets, arrange your playlists, pair multiple UE BOOM/MEGABOOM speakers together, etc.
Great battery – The battery is quite durable. It can deliver up to 20 hours of playtime at 50% volume, or about 7-8 hours at max volume. Recharge takes 3-4 hours.
Very powerful sound with a lot of bass – This speaker has a bassy sound signature. The bass is quite punchy and powerful at moderate volumes but it gets out of control at high volumes (anything above 80%). If the volume is too high, the bass gets distorted and it overpowers the midrange. Everything sounds much better and more balanced at 50-70% volume. The emphasis is, obviously, on the bass, but mids and highs sound pretty clean and detailed at moderate volumes. The speaker can be really loud, so you don’t have to crank up the volume to the maximum to get a nice and loud sound.
MEGABOOM 3 features two 2-inch drivers and 2 passive bass radiators. Like the previous MEGABOOM, this unit delivers 360-sound.
Things we don’t like
There is no AUX port – You can’t connect non-Bluetooth devices to the speaker. Bluetooth connection is the only way.
No NFC – This is not a big deal if you are an iPhone user but we have definitely expected NFC at this price point.
Spotify, Play Music, and other music streaming services are not supported – At the moment, the app features support for Deezer and Apple music but they are probably going to expand the list of supported services.
No speakerphone – You can’t use it to make/receive calls.
Best Sounding Bluetooth Speakers Within the Price Range $200 – $300
10. Ion Explorer Outback Wireless Rechargeable Speaker
ION Explorer is different than all the previously mentioned speakers This is the first party speaker on the list, it’s very large, and it’s designed for outdoor use.
What’s in the box?
The speaker comes in a large box along with ION microphone, charging adapter, auxiliary audio cable, user manual, and 1-year warranty card.
Things we like
Simple and likable look – Well, ION Explorer is not really stylish or elegant but it doesn’t look bad. It’s actually quite likable. It is mostly black and gray with lots of reinforcements (mostly rubber and aluminum). There’s a strong aluminum grille on the front side, multi-color bar above the grille, and a nice-looking control panel with an LCD screen at the top. The moment you see this speaker, you know that it was made for outdoor use.
Portable and battery-powered (but quite hefty) – ION Explorer is not small and it’s not light (width – 18in, depth – 11in, height – 18in, weight – 29.3lb) but the manufacturer did everything to make it portable. ION Explorer has a built-in telescoping handle, two carrying handles on the left and right sides, and wheels on the bottom. It also has a large built-in battery.
Simple controls + LCD screen – There are numerous control buttons on the control panel (located at the top of the front panel) but they are actually quite simple. You will get used to the controls in no time. There are two large knobs (master volume and mic volume), and 13 buttons for controlling the playback in Bluetooth, AUX, and radio modes. The charging port is at the back and it’s protected with a rubber flap.
Great build quality, very rugged, IPX4 certified – ION is specialized in making rugged outdoor party speakers. All the ION speakers are designed to survive some serious beating and Explorer Outback is the perfect example. The drivers are protected with a metal grille, all the sides and edges are reinforced with rubber and aluminum. All the ports are covered with rubber flaps. The speaker is IPX4 certified – it is splash-proof (not fully waterproof or water resistant). It will survive a few drops of water or rain but nothing more than that.
Bluetooth connection with NFC + AUX input + AUX OUTPUT + MIC INPUT – Explorer Outback features Bluetooth 4.0 with up to 60ft range without obstacles. The connection is stable and works flawlessly. There is also the NFC logo for quick pairing (only for Android users). The speaker can be connected to non-Bluetooth audio sources through AUX input. There’s also the AUX output for linking 2 Explorer Outback speakers. You can’t daisy chain two speakers in Bluetooth mode. This unit also features mic input for connecting the microphone (in case you want to throw a karaoke party).
Great battery life – There’s a large 7Ah Lead-acid battery inside the speaker. The advertised playtime is 100 hours at low to moderate volumes (less than 8 hours at full volume). The playtime shortens if the multi-color LED bar is turned on.
USB power bank ports – Explorer Outback has 2 power bank ports. You can charge two phones simultaneously while streaming music.
Built-in AM/FM radio – It’s always nice to have an additional and independent music source. If you get bored of your music, you can always switch to radio and listen to your favorite station.
Multi-color party bar – Quite nice additional feature for parties. An actual light show would be a much better option but if you don’t have one, this party bar will be very useful. There are multiple lighting modes – you just need to press the lighting button on the control panel and choose the one you like.
Bass-heavy and very loud sound – Like most of the party speakers, Explorer Outback is heavy on the bass. That’s the most emphasized part of the frequency spectrum. The bass is really punchy and powerful. It doesn’t overpower other frequencies at moderate volumes (up to 75%) but it gets quite distorted at high volumes (above 80 and especially above 90% volume). We honestly don’t recommend increasing the volume above 80%. This unit is very loud even at moderate volumes. Mids, especially voices sound perfectly clear at moderate volumes.
Explorer Outback has 2 drivers – one 8-inch woofer and 3-inch tweeter. The output power is rated at 100W (peak output).
Things we don’t like
No built-in radio antenna – Due to the lack of antenna, the reception is quite poor. You can improve the reception by attaching some USB cable to one of those USB charging ports.
Poor mic quality – The microphone is included in the package but it’s actually really bad. It looks and sounds cheap.
Lead-acid battery – ION uses Lead-acid batteries and not Li-ion. Li-ion batteries are better in almost every way (size, lifecycle, resilience) but Lead-acid batteries are cheaper.
11. Marshall Stanmore Bluetooth Speaker
If you are looking for nicely balanced, clear, and loud sound but you also care about the looks, you can’t go wrong with Marshall. Their speakers look beautiful and offer great performance. They might be slightly overpriced (not like Bose, but still overpriced). We are presenting to you Marshall Stanmore.
What’s in the box?
Along with the speaker, you will get a power cable, coiled AUX cable, user manual, and 1-year warranty.
Things we like
Classic Marshal design –Marshall Bluetooth speakers leaves us speechless. If you are a fan of this kind of classy look, you won’t be able to resist. A piece of audio equipment can’t look much better. Only a few brands in the world can offer that kind of sophisticated look.
Simple and easy to use controls– Controls are very similar to those on Kilburn. All the buttons and knobs are located on the top panel – there are three knobs (volume, bass, treble), source and pair buttons, and an old-school on/off switch.
Premium build quality – There’s literally nothing we would like to change about the way this unit was built. The housing is made of MDF and wrapped in vinyl. The drivers are protected with a strong metal grille with Marshall logo on it. Everything looks very premium.
Bluetooth + AUX + RCA – Stanmore features Bluetooth 4.0 with EDR. The advertised range is 33ft but you will actually get less than 15ft. The pairing is simple and quick. You can’t pair multiple phones wirelessly to the speaker but you can connect other audio sources via AUX and RCA cable. The speaker features support for aptX Bluetooth profile which eliminates audio lag when watching videos. In other words, you can pair your phone/tablet/PC/laptop with the speaker and watch videos on YouTube and you won’t experience any audio delay.
Great sound quality, balanced and very loud (+ adjustable bass and treble) – Stanmore delivers pretty neutral sound but you can change the sound signature by adjusting the bass and treble. If the knobs are set to neutral (medium), you will get punchy and impactful bass, detailed mids, and clean highs. Even if you crank up the bass, it won’t be overwhelming. Stanmore can get very loud, much louder than previously mentioned Kilburn.
Stanmore features one 5.25-inch woofer, two .75-inch tweeters, and one bass reflex port. The frequency response spans from 45Hz to 22kHz (+/-3dB). Maximum output power is rated at 80W.
Things we don’t like
No battery (not portable) – Stanmore is not battery-powered and it has to be plugged in all the time. The speaker is also quite hefty – it weighs more than 11 pounds.
No NFC – It’s a not huge disappointment, especially if you are using an iPhone but it’s still one of the additional features we have expected at this price point.
No dedicated play/pause and track buttons – You have to use your phone or some other audio source connected to the speaker to control the playback.
12. Bose SoundLink Revolve+ Portable & Long-Lasting Bluetooth 360 Speaker
Bose claims that Revolve+ is their best portable Bluetooth speaker. It’s an improved version of SoundLink Revolve (slightly larger, has a carrying handle, more rugged). This is a nice little speaker. It delivers nice and pleasant sound but there are also some important flaws we are going to discuss.
What’s in the box?
The speaker comes in a nice-looking box (Bose always pays attention to the presentation and design). Along with the speaker, you will get one USB to micro USB charging cable, wall adapter, user manual, and 1-year warranty.
Things we like
Elegant design – Just like any other Bose speaker, Revolve+ looks simple and elegant. It’s shaped like some kind of lantern and even has a handle on the top. The speaker is available in two colors – triple black and lux gray.
Portable and battery-powered – Revolve+ is within the price range of some large Bluetooth speakers but it’s so much smaller. The speaker’s base has 4.13 inches diameter, it is 7.25 inches tall, and it weighs 2 pounds. The speaker has a built-in battery, so it’s easily portable and doesn’t have to be plugged in all the time.
Simple control panel – All the controls are on the top and they are very easy to use. There are 6 buttons in total – power, Bluetooth, 2 volume buttons, action button (multifunction button used to play/pause songs, answer calls, or activate Siri and Google Assistant), and source button. Input ports are located at the bottom of the speaker. The speaker features micro USB charging port and AUX input.
Great build quality (bump resistant and IPX4 certified) – Revolve+ looks very compact, sturdy, and durable. The whole body is made of aluminum and it is bump resistant. The speaker is also IPX4 certified which means it can survive splashes of water but cannot be fully immersed in water.
Connectivity (Bluetooth with NFC + AUX) – Bose is always secretive when it comes to specs so we don’t know which Bluetooth version is used but you will get the standard range (up to 30ft without obstacles). The speaker also features NFC, so if you have an Android phone you can tap the speaker with your phone and pair them in a second. The speaker also features AUX input (the AUX cable is not included) in case you want to connect some non-Bluetooth device. You can also connect the speaker to your PC via USB to micro USB charging cable and play the music while charging.
Daisy chaining – Revolve+ can be paired with another Revolve+ (but not with other Bose speakers) for louder (party mode) or stereo sound (stereo mode). You can pair them by pressing Bluetooth and + buttons on the control panel or you can use the Bose Connect app.
Bose Connect app – The app allows you to control the playback, daisy chain two speakers, and choose between party and stereo mode.
Voice prompts – This is one of the Bose trademarks. All the voice prompts sound pleasant and they will guide you through every step of the setup.
Speakerphone – The built-in mic is located on the top panel, right above the buttons. The mic works quite well, especially when you are inside your house and when there is no too much noise.
Sound quality – This unit delivers nice and pleasant sound without too much bass. Just like many other Bose speakers, this is a mid-centric unit. The bass is present, it’s quite accurate at moderate volumes, but it’s not really impactful. Mids and highs are much better, more detailed, and clearer. The distortion kicks in at about 80% volume and can be quite annoying. Bass tends to overpower mids and all the voices at full volume. To be completely honest, this is not the best sound for this kind of money but if you get some nice discount, you should definitely try it.
Things we don’t like
Doesn’t support aptX – If you try to pair your phone with the speaker and watch some video on YouTube, you will notice 2-3s sound delay. It’s absolutely impossible to watch videos or movies because the speaker doesn’t support aptX Bluetooth profile.
No EQ settings – The app usability is very limited. There are no EQ presets and you can’t customize the EQ settings through the app.
Battery – The fact that Revolve + has a built-in battery is a good thing but we have expected more. You will get only 10 hours at 50% volume (maybe 4 hours at full volume) which is far from impressive at this price point. Recharge takes 4 hours.
Overpriced – In our opinion, this portable unit should cost at least $50 less. There are at least a few UE and JBL speakers offering similar (or better) performance for less money.
Best Sounding Bluetooth Speakers Within the Price Range $300 – $400
13. Aiwa Exos-9 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
If your budget is set at $350 and you need something really powerful and amazing, Aiwa Exos-9 is one of the best choices. It can be used indoors and outdoors (we prefer indoor use), and it looks and sounds great.
What’s in the box?
Along with the Exos-9, you will get a charging cable, auxiliary cable, replaceable Li-ion battery, user manual, and 1-year warranty.
Things we like
Sleek boombox-inspired design – If you are into boombox-like boxy design, you will like Exos-9. It looks like an upgraded boombox from the ’90s.
Battery-powered and portable – It comes with a 2,200mAh battery and it has a handle. Still, this is not some small portable speaker. It weighs almost 13 pounds and it is quite large (width – 19.4in, height – 11.4in, depth – 7.5in).
Easy-to-use controls – All the control buttons (except for the volume knob) are on the top and they are all touch-sensitive. There are 7 buttons – play/pause, EQ with four arrows (for choosing the EQ presets and customizing the sound signature), and link button (for daisy chaining). The LCD display where you can see all the info about the EQ and other important things is on the front side.
Nicely built (but too much plastic) – The speaker is well put together and it really looks nice but we don’t like the fact that it’s completely made of plastic. It’s simply too plasticky.
Bluetooth connection + AUX input – The Bluetooth works well and without issues. The range is approx. 50ft (without obstacles), pairing is quick (you can also use NFC pairing if you have an Android device), and the connection is stable within the advertised range. The unit will memorize up to 8 previously connected Bluetooth devices and connect to them automatically if they are within the range.
Daisy chaining – You can pair 2 Exos-9 speakers together if you want louder sound or better stereo separation by pressing the link button on both of them. You can choose between two modes – dual stereo or stereo separated.
Large and durable battery – The battery that comes with the speaker offers up to 9 hours at 50-60% volume (only 3h at full volume). You can also buy a larger battery from Aiwa and prolong the playtime (it almost doubles the playtime).
USB powerbank charging port – The speaker features one powerbank charging port which you can use to charge your phone or any other device.
Balanced sound with impactful bass -This is the thing that completely justifies the price of this speaker. We weren’t impressed by the build quality or battery durability but the sound quality is amazing. The emphasis is on the bass but it doesn’t overpower midrange frequencies. Mids are full and detailed, voices are very clear, and highs are sparkling. There is almost no distortion at high volumes. If you don’t like this type of sound, you can play with EQ settings and adjust the sound to your liking.
Exos-9 has one large 6.5-inch woofer, two 3-inch midrange woofers, and 2 1-inch tweeters. The bass reflex port is at the back. Frequency response spans from 40Hz-20kHz, and max output power is rated at 200W.
Things we don’t like
Not IPX certified (not waterproof) – The speaker is not as rugged as some other portable Bluetooth speakers. It’s entirely made of plastic and it’s not the best choice for outdoor use. The speaker is not IPX certified. It’s not even splash-proof. Even the smallest amount of water could make some damage.
Poorly designed control panel – The control panel is on the top and the LCD screen is on the front side. It would be much better if they were both on the top panel.
14. Sony GTK-XB7BC High Power Home Audio System with Bluetooth
This is another party speaker on this list and like all the other party speakers it’s tuned for an improved/extended bass response. It even has the bass boost button (EXTRA BASS button).
What’s in the box?
The speaker comes in a large box along with power cable, remote control (batteries included), user manual and other papers, and 1-year warranty card. RCA cables are not included.
Things we like
Modern groovy design + LED light show – This beautiful speaker looks like supersized XB20, XB30, or XB40. Compared to those small portable Sony Bluetooth speakers, this one looks huge. It can be placed in two ways – horizontally or vertically. Another great thing is the lighting. All those LED lights make the XB7 so much fun. The light show is one of the best things about XB7 (besides the sound).
Simple and easy-to-use controls + remote – Most of the control buttons are on the top panel (power button, function/pairing button, EXTRA BASS button, and 2 two volume buttons). ADD SPEAKER and PARTY CHAIN buttons are at the back. On the rear panel, there are also USB input port (you can insert USB stick and play the music from it), and RCA inputs and outputs. You have to use the remote if you want to play/pause the song and control the playback or if you want to turn on/off the light show.
Decent build quality – XB7 is made of hard plastic. The housing is not reinforced with rubber (like those smaller XB speakers). Since it’s designed for indoor use, that’s not a big deal. The speaker is actually quite durable and sturdy and if you don’t need something really rugged, you will be happy with this speaker’s build quality.
Bluetooth connection + RCA inputs and outputs + USB input – XB7 features Bluetooth 3.0. The pairing is quick and simple. There is also NFC for faster pairing (only Android users). The Bluetooth range is 33ft without obstacles. The connection is stable – we haven’t experienced any signal loss within the advertised range. The speaker also features RCA inputs and outputs so you can connect other audio sources to it. There’s no AUX input but you can buy 3.5mm to RCA cable and connect your non-Bluetooth device with 3.5mm output to the speaker through RCA input ports. There is also one USB input at the back. You can use it to play the music from a USB stick or charge your phone.
Daisy chaining – You can pair two XB7 speakers together wirelessly (party chain button) or you can use RCA cable and RCA input ports on one speaker and RCA output ports on the other speaker. You can choose between party and stereo modes.
SongPal app – If you want to change the lights, adjust the EQ settings, choose one of the EQ presets, control the playback with your phone, or to see the files on the USB stick, or play with some DJ effects, you will have to install the SongPal app.
Bassy sound signature (perfect for parties) – The bass performance is, naturally, the biggest highlight. The bass sounds very powerful and punchy even without extra bass and it gets even crazier when this feature is activated. Mids and highs are detailed and clear at moderate volumes. Some midrange frequencies and voices get muffled at high volumes (especially when the extra bass is activated). This speaker is a perfect choice for parties because of the sound signature and because of the light show.
The speaker features two 6.4-inch woofers and three 2-inch tweeters. Depending on the placement, only two tweeters are active.
Things we don’t like
It’s not portable (not battery-powered) – XB7 is designed for indoor use. You can use it outdoors but only if there’s a wall plug nearby – XB7 is not battery-powered. It is portable, in a way, since it has those firm handles and you can carry it from one place to another but you will have to plug it in.
No play/pause and skip/rewind buttons on the unit itself (only on the remote)– If you want to control the playback, you have to use the remote or the SongPal app.
No speakerphone – Since this is a party speaker, the lack of speakerphone isn’t a big deal but it would be a nice addition.
15. Fender Monterey Bluetooth Speaker
Fender is another guitar amp manufacturer on this list. Fender Monterey is made to look like an old-school guitar amp (just like Marshall Stanmore, Kilburn, or Woburn). Fender practically borrowed the idea from Marshall. Or, it was the other way around. Anyway, they are all very similar. Fender Monterey is even larger than Marshall Stanmore. It delivers great sound quality that can be adjusted to your liking, and it’s made of high-quality premium materials.
What’s in the box?
The speaker comes in a premium box along with a quick start guide, 3.5mm auxiliary cable, RCA cable, power cable, and a warranty card.
Things we like
Classy amp-inspired design – Just like those Marshall Bluetooth speakers, Fender Monterey looks like an old-school amplifier. If you are into this kind of classic design, you are going to love this speaker. Every single detail looks premium. Wood (or MDF) was used for the enclosure and then covered with vinyl. There’s a strong metal grille on the front side with a Fender logo in the top left corner.
Simple and intuitive controls – Most of the controls are on the top panel. There are three knobs (you can use them to adjust volume, bass, and treble), source button, pair button, old-school on/off switch, 3 LED source indicators, 1 large status indicator light (Fender jewel), and 3.5mm input. On the rear panel, there are power input, RCA inputs, and SHAPE switch (we will explain this feature later). So, it’s a simple device and it’s very easy to use.
Compact and very well built – There’s nothing cheap about this speaker. All the materials look very expensive and very premium and they are all well put together. The speaker is compact and sturdy and looks very durable. It’s not rugged or waterproof but, after all, Monterey wasn’t designed for outdoor use.
Bluetooth connection + AUX input + RCA input – Fender offers very little info on the specs. We don’t even know which Bluetooth version was used but we can tell you that it works flawlessly within the standard 33ft Bluetooth range (if there are no obstacles between your phone and speaker). The range gets slightly shorter if there are walls (up to 15ft) but the connection is stable and we haven’t experienced any issues. The pairing is simple and quick (turn on the speaker, choose Bluetooth by pressing the source button, press pair button, activate Bluetooth on your phone, and pair the phone with the speaker). Fender Monterey features support for aptX Bluetooth profile (no audio delay when watching videos or movies on YouTube). The speaker also features AUX input (on the top) for connecting audio sources with a 3.5mm output, and it has RCA input for pre-amp equipped devices.
Great sound quality + Bass and Treble controls + SHAPE switch – If you want balanced and powerful sound in a compact box, you can’t go wrong with Fender Monterey. If the bass and treble knobs are in neutral positions, the sound is nicely balanced – the bass is powerful and precise, mids are detailed and sweet, all the voices are very clear, and the highs are clear. You can always play with those bass and treble knobs and find the type of sound that you like. There’s also the SHAPE switch at the back. This switch allows you to choose one of two available EQ presets (enhanced bass or enhanced vocals). The speaker can get really loud and the best thing is that it doesn’t get distorted even at full volume. Stereo separation is not perfect, but you can’t really expect that from a relatively small and compact Bluetooth speaker.
Fender Monterey features two 5.1-inch woofers and two 1-inch tweeters. The maximum output power is rated at 120W.
Things we don’t like
Not portable (not battery-powered) – The speaker is quite heavy (18lb) and it doesn’t have any handles. The most important ‘’downside’’ is that it’s not battery-powered. This speaker has to be plugged in all the time and it’s designed for indoor use. If you want something portable and rugged, look elsewhere but if you care only about the sound, Fender Monterey is a great choice. If you are into hip-hop or EDM, you might not like the sound signature.
No dedicated play/pause and track management buttons – If you want to stop the playback or change the song, you have to use your phone.
Not waterproof or shockproof – The speaker is not IPX certified (it’s not even splash-proof) and it probably won’t survive fall from 5 or 10ft height. Since this is a stationary speaker, the lack of IPX rating is not a big downside.
No NFC – This is not a problem for iPhone users since they can’t use the NFC feature but it’s something you should expect from such an expensive speaker.
Best Sounding Bluetooth Speakers Within the Price Range $400 – $500
16. JBL Boombox Portable Bluetooth Waterproof Speaker
JBL Boombox is the largest and most powerful JBL portable Bluetooth speaker. If you need a portable bass-heavy party speaker, you are going to like this one.
What’s in the box?
JBL Boombox comes in a large box along with a power adapter and power cable, user manual, and 1-year warranty.
Things we like
Sleek and modern design – Design is inspired by the old-school boomboxes. It looks like a supersized JBL Extreme or Pulse with a handle on the top.
Very compact and portable (battery-powered) – The speaker has a built-in battery and a handle so it’s definitely portable but it is also quite large. It weighs 11.6 pounds, it’s 19.5 inches wide, 7.7 inches deep, and 10 inches tall (including the handle).
Simple and easy-to-use controls – Most of the controls are located at the top. There are 6 buttons – Bluetooth, 2 volume buttons, power button, connect+ button (for daisy chaining with other JBL Connect app compatible speakers), and play button. On the bottom, you will see the base that’s supposed to provide stability. On the base, there’s the indoor/outdoor button (EQ presets for indoor/outdoor use) and a rubber flap covering 2 USB charging ports (powerbank ports for charging other devices), charging port, AUX input, and micro USB port (for firmware updates).
Great build quality + IPX7 rating – We don’t have any complaints regarding the build quality. It is made of hard plastic but it’s reinforced with silicone and the body is wrapped in protective waterproof fabric. The speaker is IPX7 certified and can be immersed in water of up to 1m depth for 30min.
Bluetooth connection + AUX input – Boombox features Bluetooth 4.2 with up to 50ft range (without obstacles). The pairing is simple, intuitive, and very fast. We haven’t experienced any issues regarding the playback via Bluetooth. The speaker also features AUX audio input so you can connect any non-Bluetooth device to the speaker. The AUX cable is not included in the package.
Daisy chaining – If you want louder or stereo sound you can always buy two JBL Boombox speakers and pair them together. You can also pair any JBL Bluetooth speaker compatible with JBL Connect app with the Boombox. You can pair up to 100 speakers together.
Powerful battery and long playtime – This is one of the greatest things about JBL Boombox. It features huge 20Ah battery, and it will deliver up to 22 hours at 50% volume (less than 10 hours at full volume). Recharge takes 6-7 hours.
USB powerbank charging ports – There are not one but two USB charging ports. You can use them to charge your phone or any other device.
Speakerphone feature – The speaker has a built-in microphone. The mic is not perfect (it picks up a great amount of noise) but it’s usable.
JBL Connect app – You can use the app to wirelessly link up to 100 compatible JBL speakers, choose between stereo and party modes when two speakers are paired together, activate the speakerphone and voice assistant features, choose the sound mode (indoor/outdoor), or control the playback.
Bass-oriented sound, powerful, and very loud – This speaker is really heavy on the bass, especially at high volumes and in outdoor mode. Mids and voices are clean and pronounced at moderate volumes but there’s some kind of harshness in the upper midrange. Highs are a bit too bright, especially at high volumes. You can choose between two sound modes – indoor and outdoor. These are basically two EQ presets. Outdoor mode boosts the upper bass frequencies (and maybe some low midrange frequencies) and makes the sound boomier. Indoor mode makes the sound more natural.
This speaker is perfect for EDM and hip-hop music and it’s a great choice for outdoor parties.
Boombox features two 4-inch woofers and two .8-inch tweeters. Frequency response spans from 50Hz to 20kHz, and it has the maximum output power of 40W (battery) or 60W (plugged in).
Things we don’t like
No EQ settings in the app – You can only choose between indoor and outdoor mode. There are no additional presets and you can’t customize the EQ settings through the app.
No 360-sound – All the drivers are on the front side.
Overpriced – This is just our opinion, but you can get this kind of performance or even better (sound wise) for less money. For example, Aiwa Exos-9 is cheaper and delivers a fuller and richer sound. On the other hand, Boombox features a much larger battery and it’s much more rugged. So, it’s all about making compromises.
17. Marshall Woburn Bluetooth Speaker
This is the third Marshall Bluetooth speaker on our list. It’s similar to the previous two (Kilburn and Stanmore) but it’s larger, it delivers deeper bass and more powerful sound than Kilburn and Stanmore, and it has some nice additional inputs. Since we have already reviewed Kilburn and Stanmore, this review is going to be shorter and we are going to concentrate on the differences between this speaker and two previous models.
What’s in the box?
Woburn comes in a large premium box along with coiled 3.5mm AUX cable, two power cables (US and EU versions), user manual, and 1-year warranty.
Things we like
Classic guitar-amp design – Woburn looks the same as the previous two Marshall speakers on the list. It’s inspired by the old-school guitar amps and it’s one of the best-looking speakers on the market.
Simple and intuitive controls – Most of the controls and inputs are on the top. You have three knobs (volume, bass, treble), source/wake button, pairing button, retro on/off switch, AUX input, and 4 LED source indicators. There are some inputs on the rear side, too – RCA inputs (for pre-amp equipped audio sources), digital optical input, and power input. The speaker also features a standby mode switch with two options – powersaver and standard (powersaver mode was introduced because of the EU legislation).
Great build quality – Like all the other Marshall Bluetooth speakers, Woburn is made of premium materials. The enclosure is made of wood (MDF) with a vinyl finish. The front panel is covered with a strong metal grille. The speaker is not rugged but, after all, Woburn is designed for indoor use (this is a stationary/desktop speaker).
Bluetooth + AUX + RCA + Digital Optical Input – Woburn features Bluetooth 4.0 with up to 50ft range without obstacles and up to 20ft with obstacles. The connection is stable and works flawlessly. Pairing is simple and very quick. Woburn supports aptX Bluetooth profile so you can watch a video on your phone while streaming audio to the speaker without noticeable audio delay. The unit also features AUX input for connecting devices with a 3.5mm output and RCA input for connecting audio sources with RCA outputs. Unlike those smaller Marshall speakers, Woburn also features digital optical input so you can connect it to your TV or any other device with a digital optical output.
Nicely balanced sound with deep and powerful bass – Woburn delivers the most powerful and loudest sound of all the Marshall Bluetooth speakers and it’s one of the loudest on the market. The sound is very balanced. The bass is very present – it’s punchy and impactful. The mids are detailed and dynamic, voices are perfectly clear, and the highs are sparkling. This speaker is definitely one of our favorites. If you want to change the sound signature, you can play with those bass and treble knobs and find the type of sound you like. The bass does get slightly distorted at full volume but it’s barely noticeable. Stereo separation is pretty good (but you can definitely find bigger speakers with better separation at this price point).
Woburn features two 5.25-inch woofers, two 1-inch tweeters, and two bass reflex ports. The maximum output power is rated at 90W. The frequency response spans from 35Hz to 22kHz.
Things we don’t like
Not portable – The speaker is large and hefty – it weighs 17.5lb, it’s 15.8 inches wide, 11.4 inches high, and 7.9 inches deep. Also, there is no battery inside the speaker. This one is designed for indoor use only.
Not waterproof – Since this is a desktop/stationary speaker, the lack of IPX rating is not such a big downside.
No dedicated play/pause and track buttons – If you want to play/pause or change the song, you have to use your phone. Unlike many other Bluetooth speakers, Marshall speakers don’t have these buttons.
18. Dali Katch Bluetooth Speaker
DALI is a Danish high-end speaker company (DALI stands for Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries) and Dali Katch is their first portable unit. Everything about this unit starting from the presentation looks premium.
What’s in the box?
The speaker comes in a beautiful packaging along with charging cable and different wall adapters (US, EU, UK), carrying pouch (we have expected something sturdier and more premium), user manual, and a warranty-card.
Things we like
Premium design and build quality – Dali Katch looks and feels very premium. The speaker is shaped like a racetrack and it’s very slim. Every single detail (buttons, retractable carrying handle, grilles) looks expensive and carefully installed. The speaker is available in five different colors/color combinations – grape leaf, jet black, dark shadow, cloud gray, and clean moss.
Simple and easy-to-use controls – All the controls are on the top panel. There are five control buttons – Bluetooth button, power button (with four LED indicators around it), 2 volume buttons, and EQ button (you can choose between two modes – clear and warm). On the left side, there are charging port, USB powerbank port for charging other devices and AUX input. AUX input and USB powerbank are covered with a rubber flap.
Portable (battery-powered) – The speaker is very small but surprisingly heavy for its size (weighs 2.4 pounds, 10.4 inches wide, 2 inches deep, and 5.5 inches high). It has a beautiful carrying handle made of leather and it is battery-powered.
Strong battery – Dali Katch has pretty strong 2600mAh battery It can deliver up to 20 hours of playtime at moderate volumes (40-50%). The playtime becomes significantly shorter at full volume (4-5 hours). Recharge takes less than 2 hours. The speaker also features USB powerbank charging port, so you can charge your phone while listening to music.
Bluetooth with NFC and aptX support + AUX input – Dali Katch features Bluetooth 4.0 with 33ft Bluetooth range. We haven’t experienced any issues with the Bluetooth connection. Pairing is simple and fast. The speaker also supports NFC pairing – if you have an Android device, you can pair it with the speaker in a second by taping the NFC logo on the speaker. Katch also features AUX input for connecting audio sources with a 3.5mm output.
Daisy chaining – You can pair two Daisy Katch speakers together if you want stereo sound and better stereo separation.
Nicely balanced sound – This little unit is probably the best sounding small portable speaker on the market (if you are into balanced sound). The balance between upper bass, mid, and high frequencies is really good. Lower bass frequencies are present but not really impactful – it would be unreasonable to expect deep sub-bass from such a small unit. Still, this small speaker delivers more bass at low volumes than any other speaker of its size. Mids are very detailed and rich and highs are sparkling. There’s barely noticeable distortion at full volume. The soundstage is surprisingly wide. There are two EQ modes – clear and warm, and our audio analysis refers to clear mode. In warm EQ mode, the bass is boosted and treble is reduced.
Inside the speaker, there are two 3.5-inch aluminum-cone woofers, two .8-inch textile-dome tweeters, and two passive bass radiators (shaped like racetracks). The drivers are arranged in a way that enables 360-degree sound dispersion (1 woofer, 1 tweeter, and 1 passive bass radiator on each side).
The speaker’s frequency response spans from 49Hz to 23kHz, and maximum SPL (loudness) is rated at 95dB.
Things we don’t like
Not waterproof and not really suitable for outdoor use – The speaker is not IPX certified and it’s not even splash-proof. Also, it’s not very rugged and the finish is maybe a little bit too precious for outdoor use.
Not very stable – because of the slim profile, the speaker is not that stable and it will fall from time to time.
Best Sounding Bluetooth Speakers Within the Price More than $500
19. Klipsch KMC 3 Wireless Music System with Bluetooth
What’s in the box?
The speaker comes in a large box along with a power adapter and power cable, remote, user manual, and 1-year warranty card. AUX cable is not included.
Things we like
Unusual but visually appealing design – KMC 3 is kind of boxy but the edges are rounded and it looks really stylish. It’s available in two colors – black and white.
Portable (not too heavy and can be battery-powered) – The speaker is not too small or too large. It’s slightly smaller and lighter than JBL Boombox, for example. The speaker weighs 7.8 pounds, it’s 17 inches wide, 7.2 inches high, and 5.5 inches deep. It can be battery-powered but it doesn’t come with a built-in rechargeable battery. You have to buy 8 D-cell batteries and install them (there’s a battery compartment on the bottom). You can use alkaline or rechargeable batteries. So, it’s kind of semi-portable.
Simple touch-sensitive control panel + remote – There are only four touch-sensitive control buttons on the top panel – power, Bluetooth, and 2 volume buttons. These buttons look really nice but, to be honest, we have expected more controls at this price point. There are three input ports on the rear panel – AUX input, USB powerbank port (for charging other devices), and power input. The speaker comes with a remote which you can use to control the playback, change the source, or adjust the volume. Since it’s pretty inconvenient to carry the remote with you all the time, you are going to use your phone to control the playback.
Decent build quality – The speaker is well put together, and it looks like it’s made with care. The front panel is covered with an aluminum grille. The rest of the speaker is made of hard ABS with a soft-feel paint finish. There’s a rubberized pocket on the top where you can leave your phone. There’s nothing wrong about the build quality but we have expected more at this price point (some rubber or metal reinforcements, waterproof materials, etc.).
Bluetooth connection with aptX support + AUX input – The Bluetooth connection works without issues within the advertised range (33ft without obstacles, less than 20ft with obstacles). Pairing is simple and takes a few seconds. The speaker will memorize the last paired device and will try to reconnect to it when turned on. The speaker can memorize up to 8 different Bluetooth-enabled devices. KMC3 features the AUX input, too.
Bass-heavy sound – We have expected more balanced sound from Klipsch but KMC3 is actually really heavy on the bass. It’s not as heavy as JBL Boombox but it’s pretty close. The mids and vocals are sweet and dynamic at moderate volumes, while the highs lack some detail. Bass tends to overpower midrange frequencies at high volumes. When some bass-heavy song is played at full volume, the bass can really get out of control. So, to conclude, KMC3 is not for everyone. If you are not crazy about the bass and you care too much about your midrange and voices, don’t buy this one. If bassy sound signature is something you are looking for, KMC3 could be the right choice but our honest opinion is that you can get similar performance for less money.
Things we don’t like
No dedicated track and play/pause buttons on the unit – This is very inconvenient. You will have to use the remote or your phone if you want to play/pause or play the next/previous song.
It doesn’t have a built-in battery (you have to buy 8 D cell batteries separately) – This is even more inconvenient and it’s arguably the greatest downside.
AUX cable not included – At this price point, it’s only natural to expect everything. This is not a huge additional cost but it’s annoying.
Overpriced – the performance doesn’t really match the price. This speaker is pretty good but it doesn’t sound as high-end as the price implies.
20. The SOUNDBOKS 2 – The Loudest Portable, Battery Powered, Bluetooth Speaker
If you are looking for the best Bluetooth party speaker under $1000, SOUNDBOKS is arguably the best possible choice. It is the loudest and most powerful Bluetooth speaker under $1000 on the market. The bass is really powerful but it’s not overwhelming. This is the first party speaker that actually sounds balanced.
What’s in the box?
The speaker comes in a huge box along with a removable/replaceable battery, 2 power/charging cables (EU and US), auxiliary audio cable, user manual, and 2-year warranty.
Things we like
Simple and sleek design – There’s nothing flashy about SOUNDBOKS 2, but it’s elegant in its simplicity. That all-black look is visually appealing and it’s really easy to like.
Portable and battery-powered (but quite heavy) – It does have handles and it is battery-powered, so it’s definitely portable but it is quite heavy (the heavies on this list and one of the heaviest portable Bluetooth speakers on the market). It weighs 33lb, it’s 17in wide, 26in high, and 13in deep.
Simple controls – There are practically no control buttons on the speaker itself. SOUNDBOKS 2 has only two knobs (off/indoor/outdoor knob and volume knob), one LED Bluetooth status indicator, and two input ports (charging port and AUX input).
Great build quality, very rugged – The enclosure is made of plywood and then reinforced with aluminum (frame). All the corners are additionally reinforced with aluminum. It’s one of the strongest and most rugged speakers we’ve tested and it looks incredibly durable.
Removable and powerful battery – SOUNDBOKS 2 comes with a powerful rechargeable and replaceable battery. The battery capacity is rated at 7.8Ah it can deliver 40 hours of playtime at moderate volumes (approx. 50% volume), and approx. 8 hours at full volume. The battery has 5 LED battery status indicators so you can check how much juice is left at any moment.
Bluetooth connection + AUX input – SOUNDBOKS 2 features Bluetooth 3.0 which is an older Bluetooth version but it works quite well. The Bluetooth range is shorter than standard 30ft. The connection is stable and works without issues within the 15ft range. If you don’t want to use Bluetooth connection or want to connect some non-Bluetooth device, you can use that AUX input.
Balanced sound signature with a powerful bass – There’s no louder Bluetooth speaker on the market than this one. The sound is surprisingly well balanced (especially in indoor mode). The bass doesn’t overpower lower midrange frequencies and voices at high volumes. There are two sound modes – indoor and outdoor (these modes are basically two different EQ presets). Outdoor mode boosts the bass frequencies which kind of disrupts the balance between lows, mids, and highs. Indoor mode offers more neutral sound signature and makes the sound slightly quieter. There’s a small amount of distortion at full volume in outdoor mode. The distortion is barely noticeable in indoor mode. All in all, this is a great speaker in so many ways and it’s one of our favorites.
Things we don’t like
There are no dedicated track/play/pause buttons – There are no control buttons on the unit and you will have to use your phone if you want to play/pause the song or do anything else.
No USB powerbank charging port – Considering the size of the battery and the price of the speaker, we have expected at least one powerbank USB port but there is none.
You can’t daisy chain two SOUNDBOKS 2 without some additional equipment – There’s no way to daisy chain two SOUNDBOKS 2 speakers wirelessly (in Bluetooth mode). If you want to connect 2 speakers together, you would have to buy some additional equipment (you will need a multi-channel headphone amp and some cables).
We’ve come to the end of our list of 20 best sounding Bluetooth speakers. It was a comprehensive list and we really hope that you have found the speaker that meets your requirements.
In case you want to keep searching for the best sounding Bluetooth speaker, here are some tips on what to pay attention to when looking for a Bluetooth speaker.
What Are the Things That Affect the Sound Quality of a Bluetooth Speaker?
Many factors affect the sound quality of a Bluetooth speaker but 4 of them are really important – the enclosure (material, shape, size), drivers (material, size), electronic components (crossovers, wires, etc.), and Bluetooth connection.
There are a few things you should know about the enclosure.
First of all, let’s talk about different materials. The good sounding speaker should be made of a material that is rigid (rigidness reduces the distortion and improves efficiency), dense (in order to absorb vibrations), and non-resonant (in order to reduce distortion).
The material that meets all these requirements is wood. Speakers made of wood deliver the best performance because of the acoustic properties of the wood. Still, wooden speakers are usually more expensive than speakers made of plastic or metal (usually some aluminum alloy). It’s also much harder to manufacture a wooden speaker.
The most common material when it comes to Bluetooth speakers is plastic. Plastic is cheap, it’s easy to make and shape and it can be quite durable. On the other hand, it’s more resonant than wood, and it’s less rigid.
Some premium speakers are made of aluminum alloys. They look great but in order to make them sound good, the manufacturers have to use some kind of padding (like acoustic foam) on the inside in order to reduce the resonance.
Since wood is expensive and hard to shape, the manufacturers make compromises and use MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) or plywood instead of real wood and get similar results.
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- Wired Surround Sound VS Wireless Surround Sound
Shape, size, and type of the enclosure are also important for the sound signature. The general rule is that large speakers (with large drivers) deliver deeper sound than small speakers.
There are two types of the enclosures – sealed and ported. The type of enclosure, among other things, defines the sound signature, especially the type of bass. We can’t really say which one is better. If you like more accurate, controlled, tighter bass, you should be looking for a sealed enclosure. If you want boomy, loud, even thunderous bass, you should be looking for a ported enclosure. Ported is probably better for bass-heavy music genres and parties, while sealed is better if you want more precise bass. There are also some differences when it comes to general durability (the speakers with ported enclosures are usually more durable because of the air flow that cools the speaker), size (speakers with sealed enclosures are more compact), and loudness (ported speakers are louder but that doesn’t mean they sound better).
The size and materials the drivers are made of are also very important for the sound signature. Drivers of different size are in charge of delivering different frequencies. Woofers are larger drivers and they can be in charge of reproducing all the frequencies (full-range woofers) or low and mid-range frequencies (mid-woofers). Tweeters are smaller and they can’t really reproduce low frequencies. They are usually in charge of reproducing high frequencies. Depending on the size, number, and position of woofers and tweeters, the sound signature of a speaker will be different.
The materials the drivers’ cones are made of are also very important. Rigid and inflexible materials are preferred. More flexing means more distortion and less accurate reproduction. The most common materials used for woofers’ cones are pressed paper and plastic (polypropylene). These materials are cheap and offer decent performance. Many manufacturers use these materials. High-end speakers have cones made of aluminum alloys (and other metal alloys – titanium, Beryllium, Magnesium) or even ceramic.
Tweeter domes can be soft (made of silk) or hard (made of metal). There are also some hybrid dome tweeters (combination of metal overlay and silk beneath the metal).
The Crossover and Other Electronic Components
The quality of all the electronic components is also very important for the sound quality. High-quality components are one of the prerequisites for high fidelity sound. If a speaker has two or more drivers (combination of woofers and tweeters), crossover quality will be one of the factors affecting the sound quality and sound signature.
Crossover is an electronic device that receives one input signal and divides into 2 or 3 output signals. You already know that woofers are in charge of reproducing low and mid frequencies while tweeters reproduce high frequencies. Since there is only one input signal, there has to be a device that filters all the low, mid, and high frequencies and sends them to different drivers.
Let’s say you have a speaker with one full-range woofer and one tweeter. The crossover receives the signal, processes it, and sends the appropriate signals to woofer and tweeter. Inside this basic (2-way) crossover, there are 2 filters – high-pass filter (allows only high frequencies to pass and sends them to tweeter) and a low-pass filter (allows only low and mid frequencies to pass and sends them to full-range woofer).
More complicated configurations (woofer + midwoofer + tweeter) require more complex crossovers with one additional type of filters. These are called bandpass filters and they basically represent the combo of low-pass and high-pass filters (they will pass the frequencies within the certain range and send it to midrange woofers).
Depending on the quality of the circuits inside the crossover and selected crossover frequencies, the speaker’s sound signature will be different. Finding the best crossover point is one of the most important things when it comes to sound signature.
Connection Quality/Bluetooth Version
The Bluetooth connection obviously plays some role when it comes to sound quality. You already know that the audio sent via Bluetooth has to be compressed which means that there are some losses. So, in order to improve sound quality, the manufacturer has to reduce the losses. In general, newer Bluetooth versions enable higher data rate which means better sound quality (more detailed audio output). To conclude, you should be looking for speakers with a newer Bluetooth version (3.1 or higher).
Things to Look for When Buying a Bluetooth Speaker
There are a few technical specs and features you might want to consider when buying a Bluetooth speaker. Since this is the article on the best sounding Bluetooth speaker, we are going to concentrate on sound-related characteristics.
Frequency Response/Frequency Response Curve
Frequency response basically tells you how low and how high (in terms of frequency) a speaker can go. It usually looks like this – 80Hz to 18kHz. This info is not really useful if it’s given without the frequency response curve. This curve describes the quality of reproduction of all the frequencies within a certain range. The audiophile’s ideal is called flat frequency response (flat line for given frequency response). It’s impossible to achieve this ideal and some manufacturers don’t even try to achieve it. Some of them intentionally boost the bass response (which is represented as a peak somewhere between 80Hz and 200Hz on the frequency response curve). If you are looking for an accurate reproduction and natural sound, you should be looking for a relatively flat line for a certain frequency range. If you want boomy and loud bass, you should be looking for a subtle peak in the bass region (if the peaks are above 5dB or even 10dB, you won’t be happy with the sound no matter how much you love bassy music).
Example – Frequency response curve for Yamaha MSP3 monitor speaker – Yamaha is one of only a few manufacturers that publish frequency response curves for their speakers (provided by Yamaha)
Loudness (Sensitivity and Power Rating)
Loudness can be important to you, especially if you want to use the speaker for parties. The combination of two characteristics (sensitivity and power rating) determines the loudness of a Bluetooth speaker. In general, higher values mean louder speaker. If you want to know more about loudness and correlation between max loudness and sensitivity/power rating, you should read our article on 10 Loudest Bluetooth Speakers.
Loudness doesn’t mean anything if there is too much distortion. That’s why you should pay attention to the characteristic called THD (Total Harmonic Distortion). Values below 1% are considered great.
Other Features – Powering Options (battery/wall adapter), Portability, Ruggedness, Waterproofness, Connectivity, etc.
When buying a Bluetooth speaker, you should also consider some other features that are not directly related to sound quality. The number of features you should consider depends on your needs and intentions – why do you need your speaker, where and when are you going to use it, etc.
If you want to use the speaker outdoors or to take, you will have to consider battery longevity, powering options, portability, ruggedness, and waterproofness.
Basically, a decent battery will deliver 10 hours at moderate volumes. Anything above that can be considered great. Many battery-powered speakers on our list of 20 best sounding Bluetooth speakers have great batteries.
If you are going to use the speaker outdoors, you need something rugged and waterproof (water resistant or at least splash-proof). Any IPX rating (starting from IPX4) is desirable. The same goes for metal and rubber reinforcements.
The thing you should always pay attention to is the connection quality. It mostly depends on the Bluetooth version but some other things like build quality, materials used, and your surroundings will affect the connection quality and Bluetooth range. The usual Bluetooth range is 33ft. You should be aware that this is the advertised Bluetooth range measured under ideal circumstances (outdoors, with a clear line of sight between sound source and speaker). Some speakers have much larger Bluetooth range (up to 150ft).
Any additional feature (speakerphone capability, additional inputs/outputs, powerbank output, etc.) are a plus but they are not equally important as those previously mentioned features and specs.
Hello, my name is James Longman.
I’m a writer and editor at AudioReputation. I disassembled my first portable AM/FM radio when I was only 8. At the age of 11, I burned the circuit board on my old boombox cassette player. I’m not going to explain how but it was reckless and stupid.
Since then, I have become much more careful around radios, boomboxes, and other audio devices (at least, I like to think so) but I have never lost the passion for audio equipment. Throughout 20 years of my professional career, I’ve been working for various audio equipment manufacturers and even started building speakers on my own in my little workshop.
I love the work we do here at AudioReputation. Testing, comparing, and evaluating all kinds of audio devices (speakers, soundbars, headphones, home theater systems, etc.) is something I truly enjoy. I try to be unbiased and give you my honest opinion on every piece of equipment I test. Still, you should take my reviews with a pinch of salt and always be just a little bit skeptical. The fact that I liked some speaker or soundbar doesn’t mean that you are going to love it. If you have the opportunity, you should test it/hear it before buying it.