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11 min read

Best of the Best: The best Bluetooth speakers 2023

Best of the Best: The best Bluetooth speakers 2023

Bluetooth Speakers

The best Bluetooth speakers you can buy today are compact, versatile and incredibly convenient to take with you wherever you go – whether you're working out in your garden, at a party or just wandering around your house cleaning. 

Because the best Bluetooth speakers are wireless, you can stream your music without any fuss from cables from your phone, tablet, laptop and even the best record players.

The best Bluetooth speakers don't only offer convenience and portability, they sound fantastic, too. Wired optical audio and USB connections are still going to deliver the best sound quality possible, but these Bluetooth speakers are impressive when it comes to performance. The only difference is you're getting added ease and portability. The only downside is that with so many fantastic Bluetooth speakers on the market, it can be hard to pick the best one for you. 

Since we've tested all of the best models in every shape, size and specification you can imagine, we're here to help you find the right Bluetooth speaker for you. Whether you're looking for a room-shaking speaker (you can also check out our best party speaker buying guide for these) or a tiny portable device for podcasts. No matter what you're listening to and where you're listening, you'll find the best Bluetooth speaker for you in our list below.

Sonos Roam

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Specifications:

Weight: 0.95 pounds (0.43 kg)
Battery life: 10 hours
Wireless range: 40m - 240m
Frequency response: Up to 5kHz
Connectivity: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5
Drivers: One tweeter, one mid-woofer
NFC: Yes
Aux-in: No
USB charging: Yes (USB-C)

 Reasons to buy:
+ Powerful audio performance
+ Tough and very portable design
 
Reasons to avoid:
- Not the longest battery life
- Bass is heavier than some might like
 

The Sonos Roam is our pick for the best Bluetooth speaker, with a powerful sound, rugged design, excellent connectivity features, and smart home control. 

A bass-heavy audio performance makes it ideal for use outdoors, because during our testing we found it's powerful enough to cut through wind noise. Meanwhile, a clever Automatic Switching feature means it seamlessly becomes part of your Sonos Wi-Fi multi-room setup indoors.

These flashy features would be pointless if the Sonos Roam didn’t sound great – but we’re happy to report that, despite its small stature, the Roam delivers a powerful sonic performance, with remarkably prominent bass, even if it does lack the rhythmic accuracy you'd expect from an audiophile speaker.

The Sonos Roam comes with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, which means it can work as a portable speaker as well as part of your wider multi-room Sonos system – and with Google Assistant and Alexa onboard (when you're on Wi-Fi), it doubles up a smart speaker too. 

Compared to similar priced Bluetooth speakers we've tested, you’re getting a lot of features for your money here. Its slick design means the Sonos Roam won’t look out of place in your home, while a rugged, waterproof and dustproof build make it ideal for listening to music outdoors. The battery life isn't huge, though – enough for a good day out

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JBL Flip 6

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Specifications:
Weight: 1.2 pounds (0.54kg)
Battery life: 12 hours
Wireless range: Not listed
Frequency response: 63Hz - 20kHz
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.1
Drivers: 16mm dome tweeter, 45x80mm bass driver, and 2x passive radiators
NFC: No
Aux-in: No
USB charging: No 

Reasons to buy:
+ Well-balanced, bassy sound
+ Simple to use
 

Reasons to avoid:
-
No charging port for your phone
- No voice assistant

The JBL Flip 6 is a prime example of a Bluetooth speaker that sticks to the basics, and gets them all right. This rugged, portable speaker is super simple to use, sounds good, and can be paired with up to 100 other JBL speakers at once to create a huge wall of sound. 

You won't find extra features such as voice assistants or Wi-Fi connectivity (or even a 3.5mm aux-in), but the Flip 6 sounds so good that you won't miss them. During our testing, we found that its warm, well-balanced audio performance is far more powerful than you might expect from a speaker of this size, and while the treble can sound a little harsh at higher volumes, you're getting plenty of clarity and detail.

A 12-hour battery life and water and dust resistance makes this an ideal speaker to take to the pool or beach, and it's available in an array of eye-catching colors. It's a shame it doesn't have a port to charge your phone, like some of larger JBL speakers do, but that's not a big deal. 

Like the JBL Flip 5 before it, the Flip 6 is an ideal speaker for anyone who wants to simply play their music, crank it up loud, sit back and enjoy – whether you're listening at home or on the go. 

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B&O Beosound A1 (2nd gen)

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Specifications:

Weight: 1.2 pounds (0.54kg)
Battery life: 24 hours
Wireless range: 30m (100ft)
Frequency response: 55 - 20,000 Hz
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Drivers: N/A
NFC: No
Aux-in: No
USB charging: USB-C
 
Reasons to buy:
+
Crisp sound quality
+ Tough but lightweight design
 

Reasons to avoid:
-
Flawed Alexa support
- Buttons are tricky to find

Almost identical to the original A1, the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) is an appealing and highly portable Bluetooth speaker that comes with (admittedly flawed) Alexa support without the need for Wi-Fi. 

The puck- or even burger-shaped speaker looks sophisticated, while its IP67 water and dust resistance rating means it's more robust than it looks, making it suitable for use outdoors and it can take a dunking.

We found that its crisp audio performance and 360-degree soundstage makes the A1 ideal for soundtracking small gatherings. The impeccable balance between bass, mid and treble means that compared to a lot of Bluetooth speakers, it's like we were enjoying our favorite songs as if we were listening to them for the first time. Music is exciting, punchy and energetic, yet it achieves this without overloading the bass, or pushing the treble so far that it loses realism. It's what you expect from B&O (and for a premium price), but still – this is the best smaller portable speaker for hardcore music lovers. 

Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity means that the speaker is easy to pair with your smartphone, while built-in Alexa voice assistance means it can double up as a smart speaker. The A1 is the first speaker to offer Alexa support without needing to be connected to your home Wi-Fi network – and while this is impressive in itself, we did find that the voice assistant was sometimes quite slow to respond to our commands, since it's routing over Bluetooth to your phone, and your phone is then making the request over whatever internet connection it has… which won't always be great.

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Cleer Audio Scene

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Specifications:
Weight: 1.5 lbs / 742g
Battery life: 12 hours
Wireless range: Not specified
Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
Drivers: Dual 48mm, dual passive radiators
NFC: No
Aux-in: Yes
USB charging: USB-C 

Reasons to buy:
+
Good price compared to rivals
+ Built-in mic
+ Simple functionality
 

Reasons to avoid:
-
Divisive design
- Bizarre pairing sound
- Not very bass-heavy

The Cleer Audio Scene is a mid-range Bluetooth speaker is going to upset some premium rivals. In our Cleer Audio Scene review we also commented that this speaker seems to be designed specifically to compete with the JBL Flip 6, which enters our list just a few spots further up. However, although the Audio Scene looks similar, it's also newer, has a slightly lower price tag, and a few extra features that might tempt you away from JBL. 

Having said all that, the Cleer Audio Scene does a great job at differentiating itself in a competitive space. It has a lower price than most rivals, there's a microphone onboard for calling, useful extra ports for aux-in and top-notch audio clarity. This device might be cheap and compact, but it's got strong specs. 

However, there are some drawbacks. In our review we commented that the speaker is bigger and heavier than the JBL Flip, meaning it's not as convenient to carry in a bag or pocket. Annoyingly, it's not having in the bass department. The focus is on definition, which you might prefer, but it does mean the Cleer Audio Scene is less bass-heavy than rivals – not ideal for parties. 

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JBL Charge 5

JBL-Charge-5-review-1

Specifications:

Weight: 2.11 pounds (0.9kg)
Battery life: 20 hours
Wireless range: 30 ft (10 m)
Frequency response: 65Hz–20kHz
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.1
Drivers: N/A
NFC: No
Aux-in: No
USB charging: Yes
 

Reasons to buy:
+
Balanced sound quality
+ Gets extremely loud
+ Long battery life up to 20 hours

Reasons to avoid:
-
Takes a while to charge 
- No more aux jack

Looking for a portable speaker that can charge your phone while it's blasting music? Check out the JBL Charge 5.

In terms of features the JBL Charge 5 is relatively basic compared to something like the JBL Pulse 4 – which provides a customizable lightshow for users – but for this fifth generation JBL has incrementally improved sound quality and volume while still offering all-day battery life. 

While the sound is well balanced, we found distortion starts kicking in above 60% volume, resulting in harsh-sounding highs and bass stops getting louder beyond this point too, leading to a bright tonal balance. 

For the best sound quality, we recommend keeping the speaker around 50-60% volume based on our experience – when you have to push beyond this volume, there’s likely so much ambient noise that sound quality isn’t the first priority. 

Physical controls remain the same with slightly raised buttons on top of the speaker. There are buttons to control playback, volume, power, Bluetooth pairing, and “Party Boost” that turns the volume up to 11. 

Around the back, the JBL Charge 5 has a waterproof USB-C charging port as well as a flap hiding the USB-A port that can be used to charge up your smartphone. The Charge 5 drops support for the 3.5mm aux jack from the JBL Charge 4, which is a bummer for some who have legacy devices they want to hook up. 

Overall, the JBL Charge 5 sounds like a bigger portable speaker than it is. It dishes out an impressive amount of bass for its size without sacrificing on the mids or highs.

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Sonos move

sonos-move-review-1658171

Specifications:

Weight: 6.61 pounds (3kg)
Battery life: 10 hours
Wireless range: Not specified
Frequency response: Not specified
Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n, 2.4 GHz, and 5GHz) and Bluetooth 4.2
Drivers: One down-firing tweeter, one mid-woofer, two Class-D digital amplifiers
NFC: No
Aux-in: No
USB charging: Yes (USB-C, and comes with charging dock)
 
Reasons to buy:
+
Integrates with a home Sonos speaker network
+ Great for on-the-go tunes
 
Reasons to avoid:
- Not as feature-rich when using Bluetooth
- Can't be used as rear cinema speakers
 

Here’s the thing about the Sonos Move – it’s so good, you might want to consider it not only as your on-the-go party station, but also as your main at-home wireless speaker too.

With two quality drivers, a solid app that unlocks playback from hundreds of wireless sources, multi-room capabilities and smart audio-tuning tech which tweaks the output based on the speaker's immediate surroundings, the Sonos Move is engineered well beyond your average Bluetooth speaker. It's a versatile speaker, one that stands solidly alongside the non-portable Sonos speakers that the company made its name on.

We put the Sonos Move through its paces with a range of songs, musical styles, and in a variety of different locations. What's always clear is that the Sonos Move manages what few other Bluetooth speakers can – tight and punchy bass, shimmering highs and a vocals that cut through it all with direct clarity. 

We also like the Sonos app's EQ options, allowing you to dial up and down treble and bass settings. Dialling up the bass in the EQ convincingly gives treble-heavy tracks a little more warmth than their neutral recorded sound offers, if like that kind of balance.

It’s not perfect – it’s heavy as a byproduct of its incredible sound, and it’s expensive due to its rich feature set. This is not a speaker for taking on a hike; it's for taking into the garden. It's also not waterproof, though it is splashproof. But if you’ve got the money, it’s hard to fault the Sonos Move when it comes to getting high-quality sound in or out of the home.

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Anker Soundcore Flare 2

Anker-Soundcore-Flare-2-lifestyle

Specifications:

Weight: 1.29 pounds
Battery life: 12 hours
Wireless range: 20m / 66ft
Frequency response: N/A
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Drivers: Dual drivers and passive radiators
NFC: No
Aux-in: No
USB charging: No
 
Reasons to buy:
+
Great sound quality for the price
+ IPX7 waterproof

Reasons to avoid:
-
Sound distorts at higher volume
- Bass performance is limited
 

The Anker Soundcore Flare 2 is an excellent go anywhere, do anything Bluetooth speaker that'll appeal to anyone looking to introduce a little color into their surroundings. 

That's thanks to LED rings that encircle each end of the speaker, lighting up as you listen to your music. That splash of color makes the Soundcore Flare 2 an excellent choice if you're looking for a party speaker that's easy to chuck in a bag – though we should note that it's not as compact as the UE Wonderboom 2 (see further down). 

The design isn't so garish that it'll look out of place in your home, though, and its rugged construction means the Soundcore Flare 2 can join you at the beach or poolside. It's IPX7 rated, which means it can be submerged in up to 1m of water for up to 30 minutes.

As for the sound? In our tests, we found the Soundcore Flare 2 delivers a well-balanced and tonally warm audio performance, and comes with a BassUp feature to boost the lower frequencies. However, the sound quality does suffer at higher volumes, and even with the bass booster, the bass is clearly weedier than the Sonos Roam or JBL Flip 6. But then, it does cost a fraction of the price, so we happily forgive it.

Those wanting more bass but still want a party speaker with lights will want to check out the JBL Pulse 4 too, which gets louder, has more bass impact and a full-body lightshow… but again is over twice the price.

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Ultimate Ears Boom 3

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Specifications:

Weight: 1.2 pounds (0.54kg)
Battery life: 15 hours
Wireless range: 30+ feet
Frequency response: 90Hz-20kHz
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Drivers: Two 1.75" drivers and two 1.75" x 3" passive radiators
NFC: Yes
Aux-in: No
USB charging: Yes
 
Reasons to buy:
+
IP67 waterproof/dust-proof
+ Powerful sound for its size
+ Rugged design

Reasons to avoid:
-
Audio could be clearer
 

While we weren't as impressed with the UE Boom 3 as we were with its predecessor the UE Boom 2, this is still one of the best Bluetooth speakers you can buy today. This is a speaker that can get loud and not distort at higher volumes. It's also light enough to carry on a camping trip and remains durable enough to tumble in a bag unprotected. 

It's both water- and dustproof, and now has a one-touch mix button that lets you pull up your favorite playlists without ever picking up your phone. 

Although bass frequencies sound good (if not lacking in a little depth) for the speaker’s size, we weren’t blown away by the mid frequencies, which feature heavily in vocals and keys – they felt slightly subdued in comparison to the bass. 

Treble frequencies had the same problem, with a generally lack of clarity in the top notes – we felt that the highest frequencies could have benefited from a sharper kick, especially for acoustic instruments.

There are certainly more detailed portable speakers out there, but at a price that's relatively affordable to all, the UE Boom 3 hits all the right notes for the third year in a row. 

Ultimate Ears now lets you customize your UE Boom 3, so you have even more options when it comes to color and pattern combinations.

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Bose SoundLink Flex

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Specifications:

Weight: 1.32 pounds (0.6kg)
Battery life: 12 hours
Wireless range: 30 feet
Frequency response: N/A
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Drivers: One full-range dynamic driver, two passive radiators
NFC: N/A
Aux-in: No
USB Charging: Yes
 
Reasons to buy:
+
Light and robust
+ Full-range and periodically expressive sound
+ Plenty of pairing and control options
 

Reasons to avoid:
-
Can get edgy at high volumes
- Bass doesn’t integrate perfectly

The Bose SoundLink Flex might not be the best portable speaker you can buy overall, but it sure ticks a lot of boxes and this makes it a solid option if you're looking for a Bluetooth speaker for a range of different uses.

With a light and compact build, the SoundLink Flex has around 12 hours of battery life, which is decent but not the best you'll find. We found the audio performance to be solid, too, with a bold, assertive, and punchy sound. The bass is powerful, and while the lower frequencies could do with a little finessing, that strong low-end is great for listening to music outdoors, where there are no walls for the sound to bounce off of. 

We like that there are several ways you can control your music, including with your voice, via an app or with onboard controls - though it's a shame there's no way to tweak the EQ levels. 

The Bose SoundLink Flex has plenty going for it, and that’s before you take the cache and credibility of its brand logo into account, too. If it had a little more expressiveness to its low-end reproduction, or a little more discipline to its overall sound when you listen at significant volumes, it would be approaching ‘no-brainer’ status.

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Credits to TechRadar

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