The best Bluetooth speakers don't make you choose between sound quality and convenience. Even the smallest of speakers can deliver room-filling sound, many of which are designed to deliver exceptional audio when you're out and about as well. And when summer eventually comes along, a Bluetooth speaker is perfect for trips to the beach, park or camping trip.
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 parties. 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.
The picks in our list below are suited to a whole host of budgets, whether you're a skint uni student or you're only going to consider the very best of the bunch no matter the cost. 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.
What is the best Bluetooth speaker 2023?
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Before we get into the full list, here are our top 3 picks:
The best Bluetooth speaker for most people is the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 v2, it combines style with serious sound and it's tiny!
If you're watching what you spend, then the best budget Bluetooth speaker is the Urban Ears Wonderboom 2, for something so small it'll surprise you with how loud it is, and it comes in loads of fun colours.
The best premium Bluetooth speaker is the Bose Portable Smart Speaker because it's the smartest speaker in the room and it sounds incredible.
The best Bluetooth speakers 2023: The top 3
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. That'll quickly explain why it won the T3 Awards trophies for Best Portable speaker in both 2021 and 2022. It's an absolute champ and deserved winner.
The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 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 3 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 2023: The 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.
One of the most well-known and successful audio brands in the world is Bose, and so the Bose SoundLink Flex absolutely has to feature here. Rugged, waterproof and bag-friendly are the three words we'd use to describe it.
The Bose SoundLink Flex might be compact but it doesn't skimp on sound. When we tested it out, we thought it had a wide expressive soundstage with an assertive low end. It may not be the best in class but it is still out to impress. There's no manual EQ though, which could be a dealbreaker for some people.
Sound like a speaker for you? Check out the Bose SoundLink Flex review.
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-XG300 is a seriously powerful Bluetooth speaker with a 25-hour battery life, and it’s portable with both water and dust resistance. You won’t be able to carry it around absolutely everywhere because it’s pretty big but even so, it doesn’t need to be connected to a power source to work which makes it ideal for using outside whether that's at the park, on a staycation or even just in the garden.
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 dancing lights on either side, the speakerphone function and there’s a customisable equaliser in the accompanying smartphone app.
Check out the Sony SRS-XG300 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.
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.