Bluetooth Speaker Buying Guide - Updated 2020
We know that choosing a New Bluetooth Speaker can be a complicated task..how do you decide between all the different features and decide which one is best for you?
No worries..we got you covered. To help you find the best Bluetooth speaker, here is a simple buying guide that can show you everything you need to know as well as our top 10 speaker choices and their pros and cons.
Connection type - 4.0 or 5.0?
Bluetooth, like most technologies, is updated every few years or so, but these updates are all physical, meaning you cannot download any software to update the Bluetooth connection on your phone or speaker.
So, if you have a phone that only has a 4.0 connection and you get a newer speaker that requires a 5.0 connection, you will not be able to connect your phone to the speaker; you would have to get a new phone or use another device that has 5.0 connection.
Before picking a speaker out, you should make sure that whatever you plan on connecting to the speaker, whether it is a phone or not, has the same or a higher Bluetooth connection than the speaker itself.
One of the main differences between the types of Bluetooth connections is that the newer versions (4.0 to 5.1) are less likely to disconnect or have connection issues, they are able to connect to other types of devices (smart home devices), and they can have a much longer range of use than the other versions.
Most speakers rely on the phone or mp3 player to control the music, but there are a few speakers that have built-in voice commands, similar to the smart home devices from Google and Amazon. Sometimes these can act up and not respond, but you always have the choice to control it using the usual method as long as it is not only a voice-command speaker.
Most speakers say what their frequency range is in Hertz, and those that support lower frequencies (below 100hz) usually have the best bass. Most speakers typically support between 80Hz to 40kHz, but there are some that support frequencies as low as 50Hz or less.
Usually, the average battery life a Bluetooth speaker can have on a full charge is between 3 and 12 hours of constant run time. However, there are a few speakers that can play music longer, but these usually have a lower sound quality to make up for the battery life.
Waterproof and/or weatherproof
These days, it is hard not to find a weatherproof and/or waterproof Bluetooth speaker since most of the time people like to play their music outside, and there are some speakers specifically made for those who like to listen to music in the shower. Still, you may want to check if the speaker you are looking at is truly weatherproof or waterproof because there are even some newer models that are not.
What are the advantages of Bluetooth speakers?
Bluetooth speakers let you play music practically anywhere without having to worry about needing a power outlet each time or an AUX cord that fits the device that you are playing music from. In some cases, they are even more powerful than stationary speakers, too.
Things to look for that differentiate them.
Some wireless speakers do not actually use Bluetooth to connect them to the devices, but they instead use Wifi to connect them. There are some that use both as well, but it is a good idea that you check how it connects in case you plan on using the speaker where there will be no Wifi.
What is the best way to use a Bluetooth speaker?
If you want to get the best out of the speaker, keep it fully charged and stored in a dry and safe place when you are not using it. You may want to consider getting a case for it if you plan on keeping it in a car or taking it with you often to help keep it safe and undamaged.
Are they better than wired speakers?
Some people think that wired speakers have a higher quality of sound when compared to Bluetooth ones. This can be true depending on the more technical specs of the speaker, but it is actually more common for wired speakers that have a better sound quality to be more expensive since wired speakers are not meant to be moved around or transported as easily, making them bigger and bulkier.
Usually, wired speakers that are more affordable than Bluetooth ones do not support songs or sounds that have a more powerful base.
How to maintain your speaker.
Try to keep the speaker dry whenever possible because even if it is weatherproof and/or waterproof speakers , exposure to too much water over time can shorten the lifespan of the speaker. If it gets dirty, you could wipe it down with a damp (not wet) cloth before drying it off.
Top 10 Bluetooth speakers
The first on the list, this speaker has a standard cylinder-shaped design that rests horizontally. Unlike other models, this one has five different inner speakers that make it louder and have better bass.
When looking at the technical specs, it is easy to see how this has made it onto this list between the 50Hz to 40kHz frequency range, 12-hour long battery, and waterproof exterior and interior.
This connects with Bluetooth 5.0, but it also has a standard-sized AUX cord that you can use with devices that do not have Bluetooth. One of the cooler features this has is that it can be paired with one of the newer TVs that have Bluetooth, and they can also be paired together if you have one or more of them so that you can have multiple speakers playing from the same phone or device.
There is also an app for the speaker where you can control the frequencies to either raise or lower 9 different frequencies: 80, 150, 300, 500, 700, 1k, 5k, 8k, and 12kHz. All of these frequencies can be set to either be 6 decibels higher or lower which can either be a slight difference if the volume is low or a significant one if the volume is high.
The design of this speaker is very similar to the last one, except this one has a more triangular design so that it can rest on one side while pointing in the direction the face is set at. It is also a little smaller, only having 4 speakers instead of 5 like the previous one.
This one connects with Bluetooth 4.2 but also has a standard-sized AUX port and some basic volume, previous/skip, and pause/play buttons on the top of the unit. It is also splashproof, but it is not entirely waterproof speaker, so you probably should avoid dropping it in water or leaving it in the rain.
It is a little less powerful than the last speaker, but one of the features that make this one especially unique is the fact that it has a replaceable battery, something that nearly no other portable speaker has. The reason that this is a valuable trait is that if the battery dies and the rest of the speaker is fine, then it can be replaced, saving you money when compared to buying a new speaker.
This speaker has one of the more traditional designs being somewhat square-shaped, having a handle, and front-facing controls that all make it look like an old-fashioned boombox.
This one is just as powerful as the first speaker and has a very long battery life, being able to run continuously for around 20 hours or so. It also has red, blue, and green LED lights built into the speaker that makes it stand out. Another one of the more one-of-a-kind features is that it can float while it is in the water, and because it is completely waterproof, it can stay there for a little while without being damaged.
Unfortunately, the type of Bluetooth connection is unknown, but if you do have one of the newest versions (5.0 or 5.1), it should still work with the speaker. If you have an older version, you can still use this device if you have an AUX cord.
This is another speaker that is somewhat cylinder-shaped, but this one has a more square-shaped design. Compared to the other speakers, this has one of the best batteries since it is able to play music for nearly 24 hours straight on a single full charge.
With the 4.2 version of Bluetooth, it can sustain a connection with a device up to 50 or so feet away. Unfortunately, even though this is one of the cheaper choices, this speaker does not have a supportive bass as the other models. It can only support frequencies as low as 180Hz. It is also quieter than some of the other speakers.
Like some of the other models, it is waterproof speakers, but it cannot be completely submerged without causing internal damage to the speakers. Even so, it can get wet or splashed with water without getting damaged.
If you are looking for one of the more futuristic-looking speakers, then you may want to consider this one for its sleek angled design. This is also one of the few speakers that have a built-in alarm clock and FM radio. It also has an AUX port, USB port, micro SD card slot, and a micro USB port so that it can be connected to other devices.
It is not the best speaker when it comes to the technical specs since it uses Bluetooth version 3.0, lasts for 8 hours on a single charge, and can only maintain the signal from less than 35 feet away.
Still, if you want a better alarm clock that can also play music, then you can try this one out, and return it within 30 days if you decide that you do not like it as per the return policy that it comes with.
This is one of the few speakers that are available in multiple colors: black, blue, red, white, orange, magenta, and even a custom Coca-Cola. The controls for this speaker are on one of the ends so that it can be used horizontally or vertically without having to turn the speaker in order to see the controls.
The Bluetooth 4.2 connection allows it to be used from up to 100 feet away from whatever device this is connected to, and the large battery lets it run for up to 14 continuous hours.
This is less powerful than most of the other speakers, so it is not as loud and does not have the best bass, but it is an affordable alternative to some of the more expensive speakers. It is also splashproof, rainproof, and dustproof. One downside is that it does not have rubber feet to keep it from falling or sliding off of whatever surface it is attached to, something most speakers have.
This is one of the roundest models and for good reason: it has 360-degree surround sound so that every angle around the speaker can hear whatever is being played. Despite the sensitive design, it is actually very durable and sturdy between being splashproof, dustproof, and shockproof.
It relies on Bluetooth 4.2 connection as well as an AUX port, but it has the same amount of power as the last speaker, meaning that it is not as powerful as some of the others on the list. Although, the battery power can make up for it since it can last up to 8 continuous hours and only takes about 3 to 4 hours to get fully charged.
The most unique feature this speaker has is that it has a built-in microphone so that you can switch from your music to a phone call if need be. It can also be used practically anywhere too because it is splashproof, rainproof, and dustproof.
This is one of the few non-portable speakers both on and off this list, and it is actually not a fully Bluetooth set either. With a USB dongle, it can be used with Bluetooth devices, but it does not have any Bluetooth connection built-inside.
Even so, this is still a pretty decent set of speakers since it has more power than some of the previously mentioned ones, is more sturdy, and great bass while still being an affordable set.
True, you do need a dongle in order to connect it via Bluetooth, but there is a built-in AUX port so that you are waiting for your dongle or it is broken, you can simply rely on that connection. However, you will have to check the dongle's supported Bluetooth version in order to see if it is compatible with your phone.
If you are not wanting a large speaker, then this may be the best one for you because it is one of the smallest and most affordable speakers both on and off this list, and it comes in black or bright blue. However, because of its size, the specs are a lot lower-quality than most of the other speakers.
That is not to say that this is the worst speaker, but the battery life only lasts 6 hours or so, it is not as loud as other speakers, and it has about an average-quality bass.
Still, this is one of the better speakers for its portability since it can easily be stored in a purse, backpack, etc. It also comes with a hand strap so that you can easily carry it while you are walking or jogging, and has a built-in microphone for phone calls.
The last on the list, this is another speaker that has colorful LED lights and is available in several different colors: rose gold, baby blue, gloss black, gold, gray, red, silver, and the special Christmas edition of rose gold.
It has pretty average specs when it comes to its power since it uses 4.2 connection that can support a connection that is no more than 33 feet away from the speaker. However, battery life is a little poor since it can only last around 5 hours or so on a full charge.
Still, it does come with a built-in mic for phone calls, a built-in AUX port, and a special setting where it automatically reconnects to the last device it was connected to when it is turned on. It also has a micro SD card so you can physically store and play music from the speaker alone without the need for a device.
The winner out of all of these speakers would probably be the Anker Soundcore Motion+, the first product. This is because it is one of the most reliable when it comes to the sound quality and control of the speaker, especially because of how easy it is to control the sound settings through the app.
It also has one of the highest versions of Bluetooth connection (5.0), has one of the widest ranges of frequency that supports bass extremely well, has one of the most durable bodies, and has a higher than average battery life, and all of these qualities are wanted if not needed when choosing a speaker that will last you for a long while, which this one can.