Sound quality should always be a priority when considering one of the best Bluetooth speakers, but it's important you know what to look out for. Maker's specifications may highlight the frequency range, which indicates the range of sounds a speaker is able to produce, but these figures are often presented in an inconsistent manner between brands that mean comparisons between one maker's claims and another should be taken with a pinch of salt — this is particularly true with rated power output claims.
That's why we assess performance in real-world situations, taking into consideration how a product is likely to be used and listening to it in different environments to fully evaluate its sound output. Bass quality is important to many, and although small speaker cabinets can defy belief and achieve a bigger sound than their size might suggest, generally speaking, the larger the speaker drivers, the more powerful a speaker is likely to sound. And those with passive bass radiators or bass ports are likely to sound even bigger still.
The market is bursting with Bluetooth speakers right now, and narrowing down a list of the best models is a huge undertaking. There are literally hundreds to choose from, but very few make the grade when it comes to delivering top sound quality for your favorite music. The few that do make the grade are listed here. They deliver the kind of sound quality to make a musical connection and receive a thumbs up from our expert audio reviewers. Each model in this list is also a worthy investment that combines long battery life along with a practical design that is either portable friendly or sits handsomely on a coffee table.
Whether you’re on a budget or looking to splurge on something a bit more powerful, we’ve compiled a list of the best Bluetooth speakers to suit your needs and pocket. It's important to remember that certain added features will increase the cost, like built-in digital assistance (e.g., Alexa, Google Assistant), or AirPlay support, for example, but you can still find a durable design with strong specs for less with the help of this guide.
Read on to find out which models rank among the best Bluetooth speakers we've tested.
Top 3 best Bluetooth speakers
Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Best overall: Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3
This portable and rugged sound blaster is still our best Bluetooth speaker overall. It delivers big bass and full vocals, and pairs with older Megaboom and Boom models for stereo sound. You get 20 hours of playback from a full charge, and what's not to love about the color options and waterproof design.
Best value: Anker Soundcore 3
For just over $50, this Anker Soundcore 3 model delivers pretty remarkable sound that blew our audio editor away. It comes in a durable, compact package, and the 24-hour battery means you can play it all day long. It can even survive being dunked in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes and is one of our best waterproof speakers.
Best with Wi-Fi smarts: Sonos Roam
We're big fans of the Sonos Roam with its great sound in a portable design. But if you don't need extra perks like Alexa and Google Assistant support and built-in mics, keep an eye out for the new Sonos Roam SL, which is an even cheaper $159.
The best Bluetooth speakers you can buy right now
Thanks to its excellent sound quality, long battery life and travel-ready ruggedness, the UE Megaboom 3 is the best Bluetooth speaker you can buy right now. This big, bold portable speaker pumps out rich 360-degree sound complete with detailed highs and satisfying low-end, and maxes out at 100 decibels of noise. It's one of our best outdoor speakers thanks to an IP67-rated design, which means it can survive drops, shower splashes, and can even be submerged for short periods without skipping a beat.
The Megaboom 3 is on the bigger side compared to other portable speakers, and unlike many of its competitors, it doesn't have Alexa or Google Assistant support, or any other smart features. But if that’s not a deal breaker, the Megaboom 3's sound quality and ruggedness can't be beat for the price. You can also pair it with older Megaboom and Boom models for a stereo sound experience.
Read our full UE Megaboom 3 review.
The Anker Soundcore 3 is an amazing little Bluetooth speaker and makes the top of our list as one of the best cheap Bluetooth speakers around. For just over $50, this tiny powerhouse delivers loud, well-balanced sound within an IPX7-rated design that can survive water and dust, while the robust rubberised outer case takes care of protection from everyday knocks. The speaker lasts up to a whopping 24 hours, thanks to Anker's best-in-class battery technology, and the Soundcore 3's dual tweeter drivers and central mid/bass woofer allied to a passive bass driver and Anker's BassUp technology, ensure you'll get powerful sound in any setting.
The Soundcore's compact design makes it perfect for tossing into your bag for a quick road trip, and SharePlay allows multiple Soundcore speakers to be synced for an even bigger sound. It's also available in blue, red and silver colors for a little extra ($56) cost in addition to the standard slick black we tested.
Read our full Anker Soundcore 3 review.
Building on the success of the Sonos Move which ranks as one of our best smart speakers, the Sonos Roam is a connected smart speaker at home and powerful Bluetooth beast on the road. It’s much more portable and more affordable than the Move, though, and its auto Trueplay feature adjusts the sound to suit your surroundings wherever you’re listening.
It is available in five color options including sunset (orange) as pictured, and although we wish the battery lasted more than 10 hours, it juices up quickly via USB-C or wireless charging. When you return back from your latest excursion, the Sonos Roam should rejoin your larger Sonos system on its own. It also gives you the option to hand off your current soundtrack to the nearest Sonos speaker. Or you could stick to Roam, bringing your voice assistant and streaming services room-to-room, or as far as your Wi-Fi can reach.
Read our full Sonos Roam review.
The UE Wonderboom 3 is one of the most well-rounded Bluetooth speakers under $100 that we’ve reviewed. Balanced sound and a portable design make it a great companion, while the Outdoor Boost feature does its job. And for most people 14 hours of battery life is plenty.
If you think you need beefier sound or a longer battery life, the Megaboom 3 (top) might be worth the investment. It also can be paired with additional UE speakers for stereo sound. Charging the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 is our only real disappointment. Going from dead, the speaker took over two hours to reach the chime that indicates a full charge. This is probably due to Micro-USB charging, which is rather outdated, and we wish it had USB-C charging like most of my other devices. Otherwise, the UE Wonderboom 3 is one of the best options for the price.
Read the full UE Wonderboom 3 review.
The Flip 6 is the latest incarnation of this popular portable Bluetooth speaker series. This next-gen version introduces a new cosmetic design with a large JBL motif embedded in the woven cloth grille that wraps around the cylindrical speaker, meaning there’s no doubt about who made this speaker. Also, the carry strap is now a seamless loop rather than a bootlace with a fancy knot fastening the two ends together.
The easy-to-carry design delivers a sound that belies its size, and with better-than-average bass. There's and app to tinker with EQ controls, and the PartyBoost tab enables it to be paired with another JBL speaker to either mirror the sound, or assign speakers as a left/right stereo pair. JBL says you can pair up to 100 of its speakers in PartyBoost mode. The price has increased to $129 (the Flip 5 was $119), but this is still a great value portable Bluetooth speaker with strong performance.
Read the full JBL Flip 6 review.
While it costs about $200, the StormBox Blast is not nearly as expensive as some of our best Bluetooth speakers like the powerful UE Hyperboom or the JBL Boombox 3, but it sounds nearly as good, making it something of a bargain compared to other extra-large portable Bluetooth speakers.
If you’re looking for a big speaker that can withstand the elements, the Tribit StormBox Blast has a lot going for it. It fills whatever space you are in with bassy sound and vocals sound clear. You can boost the bass further with the XBass button on the speaker, and you can link two StormBox Blasts together for an even bigger sound. It can play all day without needing a recharge, and it’s waterproof so you don’t have to worry about it falling into the pool or getting rained on for a while. And it puts on a light show if you want some visuals to go with your audio. .
Read our full Tribit StormBox Blast review.
At fewer than 4 inches wide, the only thing smaller than the Go 3 might be its price; even the Anker Soundcore 2 might sweat when seeing this speaker's price tag. And despite the small investment, your return is IP67-rated waterproofing. That means it will survive full submersion in shallow water for half an hour, and full dust-proofing is part of the package as well.
Battery life looks poor at 5 hours, but in our testing we could stretch this out to over 10 hours if we didn't go too crazy with the volume. As such, there are better alternatives if you need to fill a large space, but as a personal, portable speaker, the Go 3 is very likeable indeed.
Read our full JBL Go 3 review.
The JBL Charge 5 makes only a few changes to the Charge 4's formula, but thanks to the new model's improved sound output and even greater ruggedness, it's a deserving member of the best dorm room speakers club. Its IP67 rating, signaling high dust resistance and full waterproofing, is about as good as you'll get on a portable Bluetooth speakers and along with the UE Megaboom 3 is one of our best outdoor speakers.
JBL's app isn't as advanced as the UE Megaboom 3, but the Charge 5 can show off a few tricks of its own. Chief among them being able to act as a power bank for phones and tablets. Running out of juice when you're streaming music in the yard or at a park? Just plug it into the Charge 5 and the speaker will give you a top-up.
Read our full JBL Charge 5 review.
Looking to go big? The UE Hyperboom is the best Bluetooth speaker for large gatherings, thanks to its massive size and big, booming audio output. This 14-inch tall speaker offers a big and balanced sound that's especially ideal for barbecues and outdoor parties.
The Hyperboom is as rugged as it is big, with IPX4 water resistance for surviving splashes. And you'll get 24 hours of battery life for keeping the outdoor tunes going all day and night long. Pair that with seamless Bluetooth connectivity and plenty of volume, and you have the ultimate speaker for filling a large outdoor space with great sound.
Read our full UE Hyperboom review.
The Sonos Move might not be as portable as the newer Roam, but it's still one of the best Bluetooth speakers on the market. The Move takes the well-tuned sound and rich feature set found in the Sonos One and lets you take it on the go, with a 10-hour battery packed into a portable (albeit fairly chunky) design.
We found the Move delivers a crisp sound with satisfying bass and clear vocals. The speaker works with all major streaming services including Spotify and Apple Music, sports Apple AirPlay 2 support and can seamlessly switch from Bluetooth to Wi-Fi on the fly. Alexa and Google Assistant support allow you to do anything from check the weather to control your smart home, and the Move's Auto TruePlay automatically tunes the speaker's audio output for wherever you're listening, whether you're having a rooftop party or rocking out in your bedroom.
Read our full Sonos Move review.
For a premium speaker that looks as good as it sounds, look no further than the V-Moda Remix. This drool-worthy showpiece is the best Bluetooth speaker for the design-oriented, and can be customized to your heart's content. The base model looks slick in aluminum or vegan leather, while, people with bottomless budgets and a penchant for style can opt for steel or platinum finishes (the later of which will run you well over $300,000).
Most importantly, the Remix sounds great, offering plenty of bass as well as a built-in headphone amp to connect to your favorite set of cans. The Remix's 10-hour battery life certainly makes this speaker worthy of longer jam sessions, and its trusty microphone allows for crisp call quality whether you’re set up inside your house or out.
Read our full V-Moda Remix review.
If you're looking for a Bluetooth speaker that offers practical portability at a great price, the StormBox Micro is currently discounted to $49 at Amazon (opens in new tab). Although it has been around for a while it's a very worthwhile on-the-go option and has plenty of great features, including IP67-rated to protect it from water (to a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 mins) and against dust and dirt.
Unlike a lot of very small speakers, it also sounds great, producing clear vocals and some surprisingly strong bass. For something tiny enough to clip onto a satchel or bike handlebars, that’s very good indeed. The only drawbacks are the lack of an app (although you can pair with two devices at once) and a relatively low battery life, which sees the StormBox Micro run dry after 8 hours.
Read our full Tribot StormBox Micro review.
Next: Also consider the slightly more costly Tribit StormBox Micro 2, which adds a USB-C port to enable mobile top ups. This updated model impressed a Tom's Guide coworker so much it's become a favorite gadget.
How to choose the best Bluetooth speaker for you
Mains or battery power: There are a couple things you’ll want to consider when shopping for a Bluetooth speaker, the first of which is whether you want it to be rechargeable or mains powered. While a number of wired speakers like the Amazon Echo (4th gen) provide excellent Bluetooth listening, you can’t take them far from a power socket. Stick to a speaker with a rechargeable battery for on-the-go audio.
Voice control: With that, you’ll need to decide if a Bluetooth speaker with a voice assistant is the best for you. If you plan to use your speaker in your backyard, it could be useful to have Google Assistant’s or Alexa’s powers at your disposal. That way you can change the music using your voice, rather than controlling the audio through your phone. These smart features will not work beyond your home’s Wi-Fi, so opt for a non-smart Bluetooth speaker for the beach or other outdoorsy locales.
Pricing considerations: Obviously, price is a big consideration when looking for the best Bluetooth speakers. Although there are always exceptions, big-name brands will always command a bit extra, but generally speaking, the less you spend on a Bluetooth speaker the greater the chance that sound and features will be compromised. Going for a budget option isn't always the best choice, as any money you save on your purchase won't do you much good if you're constantly needing to recharge your audio gear, or the sound quality is poor.
As the saying goes: timing is everything; and right now many of our favorite models can be found discounted at online retailers, meaning you can bag a bargain for even less. Bookmark our tech deals pages to keep on top of the biggest bargains.
How we test the best Bluetooth speakers
Every product on this list is considered the best Bluetooth speaker for one or more standout features, however each must meet basic requirements during our testing to be considered. We spend several hours listening to music, making calls and toting around every speaker to make sure it sounds great across all music genres, provides solid call quality and withstands minor bumps or splashes.
To determine sound quality, we listen to many tracks across multiple music genres as possible, including hip-hop, rock, jazz, classical, and electronic, while evaluating volume, clarity and fullness. Movies, podcasts, and video games are also considered, when necessary.
If a speaker offers smart features, we enable the supported voice assistant to see how it fares against other top rated smart speakers. We’ll use it to control smart home devices, browse playlists and get answers to other common queries.
We also test battery life, exhausting each speaker’s battery after a full charge to see how long it can last under realistic conditions. A smart speaker connected to Wi-Fi should last at least 10 hours, while a standard Bluetooth speaker should last around 20. Most people want to know how much play time they can expect when their speaker comes along on a day trip.
Once testing is completed, we rate the best Bluetooth speakers based on our five-point system (1 = worst, 5 = best). Products that hit nearly every mark are awarded an Editor's Choice badge.
More: Find out how we test for more information on our reviewing procedures.
Next: Portable audio enters the luxury market with the $790 Devialet Mania. Sony releases most powerful Bluetooth speaker yet, and Marshall's adds next-gen Woburn, Stanmore, and Acton Bluetooth speakers.
Plus: Looking for an affordable Bluetooth stereo system? Find out what our audio editor made of the Q Acoustics M20 Bluetooth speakers.