The best waterproof Bluetooth speakers can go absolutely anywhere without fear: whether you're going to the beach or just want something that can survive a coffee spill or a burst of rain, they're made to keep water out no matter where it comes from.
Happily, the very best waterproof Bluetooth speakers are actually some of the best Bluetooth speakers of any kind: they combine maximum power with portability and long battery life to deliver stunning soundtracks for any occasion.
Before we discover the best buys, it's important to understand the alphabet soup that surrounds water resistance and waterproofing. If your speaker is water resistant or waterproof, it'll have something called an IP rating. You shouldn't need to look hard for it: manufacturers list their IP ratings proudly if they've got one, so you won't have to scroll through much of the spec sheet before you'll see an IPX4 or IP65.
So what does that mean? If a waterproof wireless speaker has only been rated for its water resistance, it'll have an IP rating with a single number on the end, such as IP4 or IPX4. If it has been rated for blocking solid items such as dust and dirt as well as for water it'll have two numbers. The waterproofing rating is the second digit, so a speaker rated IP65 has a rating of 6 for dust and 5 for water.
The IP numbers to look for when you're buying waterproof Bluetooth speakers are 4 and above; higher is better. With an IP rating of 4, your speaker can handle splashes of water from any direction; 5 and 6 mean it can handle relatively low-pressure jets of water; 7 and 8 mean it can be immersed in water and 9 is the one you want if you intend to use your speaker in a steam room or while you're pressure washing the patio.
What is the best waterproof Bluetooth speaker?
The best waterproof speaker overall is the B&O A1 v2 – the sound quality is as full and refined as you'd expect from Bang & Olufsen, but that's squeezed inside a tough body with a good level of waterproofing. And it comes in a load of funky colour options.
But that's quite expensive. For an affordable option, look to the UE Wonderboom 2, which is smaller, costs a lot less, is able to float in a pool safely, and still pumps out fun audio. And if you want to go lower than that, the original UE Wonderboom is still around, and is still good!
The best waterproof Bluetooth speakers 2021 – the list
You know what to expect from a B&O product: excellent engineering, a neutral but expansive sound, punchy bass and excellent engineering. If Beosound A1 v2 is a little light on the bass for your tastes, you can always adjust the sound via the excellent B&O app to get it to sound just right and save your settings as a preset.
While the B&O doesn't have Wi-Fi, it can still connect to your Alexa device over its Bluetooth connection. Provided your phone is within range you can control your music via your smart speaker.
It's a good-looking thing, available in a range of attractive colours and with new designs being added fairly frequently. It's built tough enough to withstand everyday bumps and lumps, and the IP67 environmental resistance means it can withstand dust and water too. It's an excellent option for the beach.
The sequel to the impressive Wonderboom is better in almost every respect. It sounds much better, the battery life is up from 10 hours to 13 and this time around it's dust and water-proof to IP67 and floats in water so it's safe to take anywhere. It's a good price too.
The Wonderboom 2 isn't as flexible as the app-controlled Megaboom 3 below; where that model is quite sophisticated ,the Wonderboom 2 is designed as a no-fuss Bluetooth speaker. It's very portable and you can pair two of them to create a stereo setup or have dual mono if you prefer. Their strong Bluetooth connections are good for up to 100m, and you don't need more than one to fill a room: the 360-degree sound is extremely impressive, especially with more electronic and bassy music. It gets a bit indistinct at higher volumes but if you don't push it too hard it's perfectly good.
The Wonderboom 2 isn't designed to go underwater for long, but provided you keep the charging port cover in place it can survive being dropped in water. It's very rugged, too: unlike some portable Bluetooth speakers it won't fall apart if you accidentally drop it.
The original Wonderboom is still around, if you want to go cheaper still!
The Megaboom 3 takes the Wonderboom 2 and makes it one louder and a whole lot better. While it's clearly been designed with block parties in mind, it's small enough and attractive enough to look and sound good indoors too, where its relatively restrained colours might make you think it's more civilised than it actually is.
The Megaboom 3 is happiest when it's pumping out bangers, and if its room-filling sound isn't enough you can pair it or chain dozens together for even louder volume. It's easy to control the speaker through the UE app, and there's also a "magic button" that you can use to play, pause, skip and access playlists on Apple Music or Deezer.
Despite the loudness this speaker won't run out of puff before the party's over: you can expect up to 20 hours between charges and it'll take more than the odd drop or accident to damage it. It's IP67 water resistant and even floats, so you don't need to worry about its fate if you're having a pool party (or are just hanging out by a lake and are clumsy).
We think the Megaboom 3 is the better speaker, but the Wonderboom 2 is the better portable speaker: it doesn't have the bells and whistles of its big sibling but it's very loud and a lot more affordable.
The JBL Charge 5 is a relatively small IP67-rated speaker, although that's relative: it's chunkier and a bit more in your face than, say, the B&O A1. And it's a lot louder than you might expect, delivering powerful, punchy sound with impressive detail and clarity that doesn't disappear when you turn up the volume.
There are a few important differences between the Charge and its rivals. One is that it's purely a Bluetooth speaker; there's no Aux port for cable connections. And another is that you can use it to charge your phone, because it doubles as a power bank. If you don't use it as a charger you can expect to get about 20 hours of tunes from a single charge.
The Charge 5 is a really good speaker. It isn't quite as detailed as the B&O A1, but you might prefer its punchier mid-range and lower price tag.
This is the smaller of Sonos' portable Bluetooth speakers (the other is the bigger, heavier Sonos Move) but it's built to the same high standards and offers the same Sonos experience, which includes multi-room audio over Wi-Fi. But unlike most Sonos speakers you can pick this up and use it in the garden too.
It's not the best Sonos speaker, but its portability, IP67 certification and build quality means it's the best one to take outdoors unless you really need to annoy the neighbours: it isn't as loud as some of the other speakers here but it's perfectly capable for most outdoor gatherings. The battery life is 10 hours compared to rivals' 20, but that's still more than enough for an afternoon and evening; we imagine the typical Sonos Roam buyer has it in their kitchen or home office and only takes it outside when friends or family are over.
In addition to its Bluetooth capability, the Sonos Roam has Wi-Fi that enables it to fit happily within a Sonos or Apple Airplay 2 setup.
This is a really good option if you've already embraced the Sonos ecosystem, or if you're new to multi-room audio and want to start with a smaller investment. Find out more in our full Sonos Roam review.
We have a soft spot for Marshall speakers: we've spent many years in front of the firm's legendary amplifiers and now we can't hear people talking at parties. This little gem brings the iconic Marshall looks to the Bluetooth market without being quite so frighteningly loud and without having the eleventy billion knobs that sit on front of our Marshall Valvestate guitar amp.
This isn't an amp that aims for subtlety: it's loud for its size and it's bright and punchy, with a noticeable emphasis on the low midrange frequencies to compensate for the small speaker's lack of low end. That's because there's only so much thump you can get from speakers this small. You can expect around 20 hours between charges.
The downsides? There's no mic so you can't use it to make calls, and if you want to change the EQ you'll have to do that inside your music app (if it has that feature). Find out more in our full Marshall Emberton review.
Where many portable Bluetooth speakers are designed for occasional outdoor use, the JBL Xtreme 3 wants to be outdoors all the time – and its waterproof, dustproof case and 15 hour battery means it has the strength and stamina to perform no matter where you go or what the weather's up to. It's hefty compared to rivals, though, and you'll definitely want to use the included shoulder strap to move it any distance.
You can connect via Bluetooth or an Aux cable, and in a nice touch you can pair two different smartphones so that you and your partner or pal can both control the playlist. You can turn it up very loud without losing sound quality: the treble remains crisp and clear while the bass is tight and punchy. All these things combined make the Xtreme 3 a great days-out device; find out more in our full JBL Xtreme 3 review.
Sonos makes its second appearance in our guide with this, the Move. Like the Sonos Roam it supports both Bluetooth and Sonos Multi-Room via Wi-Fi, and you can use it to connect to your favourite digital assistant such as Alexa or the Google Assistant.
The Move is bigger, heavier and louder than the Sonos Roam, and its sound analysis means it can automatically tune itself to sound as good as possible in any environment. We've had hours of fun seeing how it copes with increasingly unlikely placements, and we're very impressed. Battery life is a quoted 10 hours but it's worth noting that the battery continues to drain when it's in standby mode if you don't put it on its charger.
The size and weight means it's more transportable than portable, but the Move is one of the finest waterproof Bluetooth speakers you can buy: indoors it's a more chunky Sonos One, and outdoors it's a weather-resistant Bluetooth powerhouse.
The Sonos app works with almost any music service you can think of or subscribe to, as well as offering voice control of tunes via Alexa or Google. Or you can just use it like a simple Bluetooth speaker. The audio quality does drop when you switch to Bluetooth from Wi-Fi, but the overall sound is still very impressive and superior to most.
To find out how the Move compares to the Roam, check out our Sonos Roam vs Sonos Move guide.
If the Wonderboom and Megaboom are IP67 rated and even float in water, then you'd expect the Hyperboom to be even more resistant, right? Nope: this one is IPX4 rated, so you don't want to dunk it in water of any depth. To be fair, it's so large that if it did fall in, you'd need a professional recovery team anyway…
What you do get is more battery life, a rectangular rather than cylindrical speaker casing and capacitive touch buttons, and a sonic performance that's closer to something like the Sonos Move than UE's other party speakers: this appears to be the more grown-up option, designed to be part of your home audio system as well as the speaker you take outside. It's still very loud, but it's a bit more refined too. It's not quite as good as the Sonos but it's very close. You can find out more in our full UE Hyperboom review.