Bluetooth speaker FAQs

How do I choose a Bluetooth speaker?

When choosing a Bluetooth speaker, it comes down to size and price. If you’re looking for a very portable speaker, you’ll want to get something very compact, but remember that smaller speakers usually produce less sound and bass than larger ones. While there are plenty of mini Bluetooth speakers that deliver a bigger sound than you might expect, they do have their sonic limitations. For a lot of people, it’s a question of finding a speaker that’s not too big or too small — one that travels well but also is capable of producing good sound for its size. Finding the best portable Bluetooth speaker also comes down to your budget.

Price can be a limiting factor. You may not want to spend $150 or more for a small speaker. Luckily, there are plenty of good options for $100, and some decent mini Bluetooth speakers can cost less than $50. Also, certain “value” brands that sell primarily on Amazon are strongly worth considering because they do offer a lot for the money.

If you’re looking for the best sound quality, as I said, bigger is usually better, and some larger portable Bluetooth speakers — sometimes referred to as Bluetooth boom boxes — can put out a lot of sound and have an integrated handle for toting them around.

Factors to consider when choosing a Bluetooth speaker

Budget

Before anything else, you’ll want to figure out how much you’re willing to spend on a new Bluetooth speaker. Value-priced wireless speakers continue to improve, so you can find good “cheap” Bluetooth Bluetooth speakers from Chinese brands like Tribit for not too much money (less than $60). If you’re looking for a more premium speaker, you can expect to pay $100 or more, especially for larger portable speakers that deliver better sound

Size 

Bigger speakers tend to sound better, delivering a bigger sound with more bass. Going bigger means they weigh more, which can make them a little harder to carry around. So you have to balance size with performance if you’re looking for something that’s easily portable. If you’re interested in a larger portable speaker, one feature worth looking out for is a built-in handle. 

Durability

Many Bluetooth speakers are now fully waterproof and some are fully dustproof. If you’re planning on taking the speaker with you to the beach or on a hiking trip, having a more durable speaker is a desirable trait.

Speakerphone capabilities

Some speakers have a built-in microphone that turns them into a speakerphone when making calls on your cell phone. Many speakers don’t offer that feature, so choose accordingly if that’s something you’re looking for.

How we test Bluetooth speakers

In assessing what the best Bluetooth speakers are, we consider the design of the speaker and how durable it seems, along with sound quality, battery life, extra features (such as additional connectivity options) and overall value. We test speakers in real-life environments both indoors and outdoors and compare it to other speakers in the same price range.

The list includes everything from compact mini models and pocket-size micro versions to heftier models with powerful audio. For more, check out our lists of the best smart speakers, and the best Wi-Fi speakers and music systems.

What is the loudest Bluetooth speaker?

The loudest Bluetooth speakers are the biggest ones. Sometimes they’re referred to as boom boxes or “party” speakers. Some of those speakers are portable and have built-in rechargeable batteries while the biggest party speakers have wheels on them for transport and need to be plugged in with an AC adapter because they require so much power. 

We have a list of the best wireless boom box speakers if you’re looking for a bigger Bluetooth speaker. It’s also worth noting that Bluetooth speakers from the same company can be daisy-chained together to augment their sound or paired together as a left-right stereo pair. Often, the best way to get a bigger sound is to pair two Bluetooth speakers together in a stereo pair.

How do I connect a Bluetooth speaker to my TV?

Well, first of all, you need a TV, video streaming device or set-top cable or satellite box that has Bluetooth. You connect a Bluetooth speaker just like you do Bluetooth earbuds: through the Bluetooth settings menu on your TV or those aforementioned devices (Apple TV, for instance, has Bluetooth connectivity, making it easy to connect your AirPods). 

The only issue with connecting a Bluetooth speaker to your TV is that there can be some audio-video syncing issues due to Bluetooth lag. In some cases, where your Bluetooth speaker has an audio input (a few high-end Bluetooth speakers even have digital audio inputs), you can use a wired connection to the speaker via the audio outputs on your TV. 

Soundbars tend to use the optical or HDMI connection on your TV to get sound. Many soundbars have a Bluetooth option so you can wirelessly stream music from your phone to the soundbar.

Are mini Bluetooth speakers waterproof?

Mini Bluetooth speakers are increasingly being made waterproof, which means they can be fully submerged in water. A few models even float. For full waterproofing, look for an IPX rating of IPX7 or higher. Sometimes speakers will also have a dust-resistance rating. For example, an IP68 speaker is fully dust-proof and fully waterproof. The first number is the dust-resistance rating while the second refers to water resistance. So a speaker with an IP68 rating has the same water-resistance rating as an IPX8-rated speaker.

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