The best Bluetooth speakers don't make you choose between sound quality and convenience: even the most portable models deliver superb sound despite their diminutive dimensions. Some of the most popular models are designed to deliver excellent audio when you're out and about, and while many are small enough to slip into a bag they're often capable of delivering room-filling audio.
The best Bluetooth speakers come in all shapes and sizes, and at all kinds of prices. Some are rugged so you can take them on adventures; others are bigger and designed for larger spaces or groups. Bluetooth is particularly good for water resistant speakers too: the best waterproof speakers use Bluetooth instead of cables, which makes it easier to keep the water from getting in.
We think the best Bluetooth speakers are the portable radios of the 21st century, with all the portability of those devices plus the convenience and catalogue of the best digital music services. And as we'll discover in this guide, there's a Bluetooth speaker for you no matter what kind of music you prefer or where you want to play it.
Are Bluetooth and wireless the same thing?
No. All Bluetooth speakers are wireless speakers but not all wireless speakers use Bluetooth as their main audio source, although most include it. This is going to become more of an issue as wireless speaker technology evolves: for all its benefits Bluetooth does have some limits when it comes to the very highest quality digital music. We've got a separate guide to the best wireless speakers, and that focuses more on home speakers with Wi-Fi.
Bluetooth also turns up as an extra option on speakers that are really meant to be used with Wi-Fi or an analogue or digital, wired input, such as the Naim Mu-so 2nd Gen or B&O Beosound Level – again, we're not really including those, and are focusing more on speakers where Bluetooth is expected to be the main way of plaing music on them.
The best Bluetooth speakers 2022 – the list
The Beosound A1 v2 finds its way to the top of this list thanks to sheer audio quality for the size – we were impressed by its full, punchy sound that's fairly expansive, and that doesn't crush when going loud. That's no surprise when it comes from Bang & Olufsen, of course. And it follows B&O's usual MO of having quite a neutral sound out of the box, but you can use the app to customise the audio – we at T3 like to push up the bass of B&O's products a little, and that's so easy to do and then save as a preset.
There's another smart trick here too, though – you can even use Alexa from the device, despite it lacking Wi-Fi, thanks to the Bluetooth connection. And, being a B&O speaker, it's also an object of desire, and is available in a great range of colours, with new ones added to the range over time. The build quality can certainly take a tumble, and is dust and waterproof, for lighter dunkings.
Here's our full B&O Beosound A1 2nd Gen review.
The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 is undoubtedly the best cheap Bluetooth speaker on this list, combining good sound with an ultraportable design and effective 360-degree audio. It's just a straight-up Bluetooth speaker but you can pair two of them together either in stereo or dual mono. Clearly meant to be taken to wherever the party is, it's also fully waterproof – in fact, it even floats. Being IP57 rated, it's also well protected against grit, saltwater, dust and beach-side sand, so long as you keep the USB charger cover in place.
In our testing, we were impressed by the sound quality but we really enjoyed the Outdoor Boost because it makes the audio a bit less bassy and a little more shrill. It doesn't sound better than the normal mode, clearly, but it 'cuts through' better and is a handy addition. In an emergency, you can also still charge your phone from the Wonderboom 2, as long as you have the right Micro-USB cable which I doubt many people will.
Sound good to you? Read the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 review to find out more about it.
If you don't mind splashing out on a speaker, then the Bose Portable Smart Speaker is one of the best that money can buy. It's not just a Bluetooth speaker, a portable speaker, or a smart speaker - it's a combination of all of those things. Make sure you check our Bose discount codes to save on your new purchase.
When we tested it out, we were struck by the sheer power of the audio and thanks to the 360-degree design it'll sound the same no matter where you are in relation to it. It's a fantastic party speaker but it'll also be accurate enough for listening to ballads or podcasts on your own. One downside is the battery life, it'll only last about 12 hours and then it'll take about 4 to recharge it to 100%. That's nowhere near the longest-lasting battery on this list but it'll still be enough for most uses.
Want to know more? Read the Bose Portable Smart Speaker review.
Best Bluetooth speakers 2022: best of the rest
Anyone who is a fan of JBL will love the JBL Flip 6 Bluetooth speaker - it's small enough to chuck into your bag and still have space for everything else you might need. And it's now fully dustproof as well as waterproof so you won't need to worry about damaging it when you use it out in the elements.
We were impressed by the sound which is surprisingly powerful considering how small the JBL Flip 6 is, it'll be good enough to use in bigger groups as well as by yourself. The battery life is the only area where this speaker is a little average with about 12 hours of music, but that'll still be enough to get you through a day in the park or an evening in with friends.
Interested in this small but powerful speaker? Read more in the JBL Flip 6 review.
This Marshall speaker brings the brand's penchant for guitar-amp style to a smaller frame, and impressively still keeps most of the signature look. It has a good long battery life of 30 hours, and we loved its sound because it's lively and punchy which suits Marshall perfectly. It's not built for gentle nuance but delivers lots of bounce and fun while still being clearly detailed.
The only downside is that there are a few missing features – there's no mic (which can be handy for calls) and no way to adjust the sound's balance manually, but you do get 3 different preset sound modes to choose from in the app. But we're happy to forgive those overall.
Check out the full Marshall Emberton II review to read more about why it's so good.
Out of all of the speakers on this list, the Huawei Sound Joy offers the most in the way of battery life. You can listen to music non-stop for 26 hours straight - that makes this one of the best options to take away with you on a camping trip or weekend away. When it does finally run out of juice, you can plug it in for 10 minutes to get an extra hour of music. That’s very handy if you forget to charge it before you hit the road.
The sound quality isn’t perfect, audiophiles might notice a bit of distortion here and there, but for most people, it’s perfectly fine and it’s pretty loud. You’ll also get manual control over the bass in the smartphone app, or choose between three different preset sound modes. One of the most distinctive features is the multicoloured light ring around the top - it definitely jazzes up the design a little because the light dances to music. In the day it’s a bit underwhelming but at night it looks pretty cool.
Sparked your interest? Read more in the Huawei Sound Joy review.
The JBL Charge 5 is a relatively small speaker that doesn’t skimp on sound. Admittedly the audio is just a little less finely balanced than the B&O A1 at the top of this list, with the treble and bass punching harder than the mid-range, but with some serious volume capabilities, this is a great speaker for a barbecue on the beach or picnic in the park.
The 20 hours of battery life will easily last you the day, if not the whole weekend. Plus, if your phone is running out of charge, you can use it as a power bank and keep the music playing. There were a couple of downsides like the fact that there aren’t customisable equaliser settings, and there’s no 3.5mm audio port to play music without Bluetooth, but those points seem like nitpicking in an otherwise fantastic speaker.
Like the look of this? Read more in the JBL Charge 5 review.
The Sony SRS-XG500 is a seriously powerful Bluetooth speaker, and it’s portable. You won’t be able to carry it around absolutely everywhere because it’s just so big but even so, it doesn’t need to be connected to a power source to work. You get 30 hours of battery life and you can actually charge your other devices from it if you need to.
In our tests, we were blown away by the sound. It’s clear and rich with plenty of punch to it, which is what makes it perfect for parties. If you like a thumping bass then this is the speaker for you, especially when you press the Mega Bass button, it really takes things up a notch. We were also impressed with the sheer number of features including two fun lights on either side, a port to plug in a microphone or guitar and there’s even a customisable equaliser in the accompanying smartphone app.
Check out the Sony SRS-XG500 review for more on how we got on when we tested it.
The Sonos Roam is a small (about 6.5 inches long) and easily carryable speaker that includes full Sonos Wi-Fi multi-room features as well as being a battery-powered speaker to, well, roam with. The sound is strong, while it's not the most open or expressive out there, and it's not quite the loudest, it'll still be big enough for most people – it's just maybe not the party speaker that some of the larger options here can be.
The real trick to it is that it can also function as a full member of a Sonos or Apple AirPlay 2 setup at home, over Wi-Fi, and it easily switches between the two options. If you want a portable speaker that can also take a useful spot in your bedroom/office, the Roam is a great choice. However, be warned that with a playing time of 10 hours, it's not especially impressive for battery life – some of its rivals can hit 20 hours.
Our full Sonos Roam review talks more about what we liked in this speaker.
Audio Pro is known for making speakers with a simple, modern design and fantastic sound. Their smallest is the Audio Pro P5, it doesn’t have tonnes of features but it does deliver music in the way that it was meant to be heard. Small enough to fit in your bag, it’s the perfect music-listening companion for those who care more about quality than anything else.
The battery life is by no means the best on this list, at full volume, you will only get about 4 hours of playback. But if you keep it at 50% then you’ll get about 14 hours from it which isn’t so bad. Where the Audio Pro P5 really excels is in sound quality, it is loud, energetic and punchy. It even supports Apple lossless which will please Apple Music subscribers.
You can read more about it in the full Audio Pro P5 review.
You may not be looking for an all-singing all-dancing Bluetooth speaker, especially if you want something small you can just chuck into your luggage when you go away. The JBL Go 3 is a tiny portable speaker that keeps things cheap and simple. There aren’t loads of features and it won’t start any big parties, but it’s a great little device for listening to music by yourself or with just a few other people.
You'll be able to fit it into a small bag or even in a big pocket, so you can quite easily carry it around with you. It feels like a hardy little device as well, and it’s waterproof so it’ll survive everything from an accidental drop in the sea to a sudden bout of torrential rain. Because it’s so compact, you can’t expect huge wall-shaking sound but it’s still powerful enough to fill the room. Considering how cheap it is the audio quality is actually pretty good but you do only get about 5 hours of battery life.
Read the full JBL Go 3 review to find out more about it.
Designed to be used outside, the JBL Xtreme 3 is a waterproof, dustproof portable Bluetooth speaker that will withstand all kinds of conditions – be it rain or sandy beaches. It certainly looks and feels durable, though it is pretty damn big compared to most of the speakers here, so you’ll definitely need to use the included shoulder strap to carry it around.
Connect to your phone using Bluetooth 5.1 or the Aux-in. If more than one person wants to be in control of the music, pair two smartphones to it and share the job. You can pump up the volume to seriously high levels, and the sound quality is crisp, detailed and bassy, all of which make it a great party speaker. The 15-hour battery life is sure to last you a whole day of music, and you can charge your smartphone from the speaker too.
This could easily be a trusted day-out device – read more in our full JBL Xtreme 3 review.
This is a Sonos multi-room speaker, designed to be connected via Wi-Fi but it has been ruggedised and had both a battery and Bluetooth connectivity added in, so you can use it outdoors too. Sonos Move is not the most handsome thing, but you soon realise its design is excellent. A massive, recessed 'handle' on the back makes it easy to transport, and as well as being rugged, the base and paint finish are cunningly designed so it doesn't get marked and scarred by a life of being hefted about and placed on patios.
The sound quality is excellent, and there's some genuinely clever software that automatically optimises the sound to its surroundings every time you move it. Audio quality takes a noticeable hit when you switch to Bluetooth, compared to Wi-Fi or cloud streaming. Even so, it sounds way better than almost any other portable Bluetooth speaker I can think of, as our full Sonos Move review says.
See how this compares to the Roam above with our Sonos Roam vs Sonos Move guide.