A great Bluetooth speaker is an essential piece of kit for any music lover, whether it’s for use at your next pool party or for listening to your favorite tunes around …
A great Bluetooth speaker is an essential piece of kit for any music lover, whether it’s for use at your next pool party or for listening to your favorite tunes around your home, no cables required.
These days, the best Bluetooth speakers come with audio specs that can rival traditional wired speakers, with their portable designs making them ideal for anyone who likes to listen to music on the move. Add to that excellent connectivity, long battery lives and durable builds, and these portable speakers offer the perfect combination of convenience and high-quality sound.
However, choosing the right Bluetooth speaker for your needs can be tricky, with so many different brands and models to consider, and lots of specs to get your head around.
While some of the cheapest portable speakers available from big retailers such as Amazon may not be worth your money, not all cheap Bluetooth speakers are to be avoided. In fact, many of the models we recommend won’t cost you more than $100 / £100 / AU$150, which means you don’t have to sacrifice great audio if you’re on a budget.
If you’re struggling to navigate the world of Bluetooth speakers, or you’re planning to buy one over Black Friday (which is coming up in November) and want to get the most for your money, we’re here to help you make the best decision and find the portable speaker of your dreams.
If you want music to sound as good as possible, then audio quality should be a priority when informing your decision over which speaker to buy.
Most portable speaker manufacturers will highlight the frequency response of their device, which essentially indicates how well the speaker can replicate the range of tones we can hear. Most frequency responses will range between 20 and 20,000Hz, which is around the limit of human hearing – although measurements below 20Hz usually mean that the speaker is capable of providing sub-bass tones that can be felt rather than heard. Those lower frequencies are what you should take note of if you’re after chest-thumping bass.
Again, if bass is a big concern, look for Bluetooth speakers that contain passive bass radiators, which allow them to produce a robust low-end while keeping the device as small and portable as possible. Still, bigger speakers are usually louder, with more space for air to be displaced by these radiators, which produces a more powerful sound.
Those who want to get as much detail as possible out of their music should consider speakers that offer support for wireless codecs such as aptX, which deliver high-quality streams and low latency, compared to lossy standard Bluetooth codecs. There aren’t many Bluetooth speakers out there that support aptX right now (although the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) is an option), but if you’re concerned about a loss in audio quality then consider speakers that also support Wi-Fi connectivity, such as the Sonos Roam.
Bluetooth speakers that can be stereo paired (or even form part of a multi-room audio system) is another way to ensure good audio quality. Standalone speakers may be all the rage, but having a left and right channel will make a significant impact on music immersion – and most audiophiles will agree that two speakers are better than one.