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The best Bluetooth speakers of 2018

Aug. 13, 201804:08:15

The best Bluetooth speakers 2018: the best portable speakers for any budget

By Nick Pino a month ago

(Quoted from https://www.techradar.com/news/audio/portable-audio/10-best-portable-speakers-10690)

Best Bluetooth Speakers Buying Guide: Welcome to TechRadar's round-up of the Bluetooth speakers you can buy in 2018.  Even if you've got a dedicated AV cabinet with gold-plated speaker cables and an amplifier the size of a car engine, there are going to be those times when the portability of one of the best Bluetooth speakers just can't be ignored.

Sure, there are compromises when you downsize your speakers to something a bit more portable (battery life and a small drop-off in audio quality are two that come to mind) but when it comes to convenience and price, Bluetooth speakers simply can't be beaten.

Whether you need a speaker to bring with you on your next adventure, a portable powerhouse to bring with you to the beach or a rocking wireless speaker for your next house party, there's definitely a Bluetooth speaker out there for you.

Need some suggestions? Here's our list of our top picks for the best Bluetooth speakers around. Some are rugged. Some are stylish. Some are weatherproof and some aren't fit for the outdoors - read through and take your pick. 


How to pick out the best Bluetooth speaker?  One of the biggest questions we get asked when talking to folks about Bluetooth speakers is: How do I pick out the best one?

Regardless of what features you want from your speaker, its imperative that it has a decent battery life and good level of sound quality. There's no point in having a device packed full of features if its battery dies quickly and it sounds rubbish. All of our picks fulfill these two requirements, so when you're picking from this list you can afford to focus more on features.

On the features side, common requests include water-resistance (and water-proof speakers), voice calling and device charging - a feature that allows you to plug your phone or tablet into the speaker to siphon off a bit of juice when it's running a bit low. Some of the best speakers (like the UE Boom 2) now include all three!
Another good way to narrow down your search is to select a speaker based on the activity you're going to do with it. A great travel speaker might not have the exact same attributes as the best home listening speaker, for example.

That being said, we've tried to highlight some of the most common use cases below and have selected a speaker that fits perfectly with that scenario.

Without further ado, here are the 10 best Bluetooth wireless speakers, ranked by their price-to-performance ratio.

1. UE Boom 2
The best Bluetooth speaker

The best Bluetooth speakers 2018

Weight: 1.2 pounds | Battery life: 15 hours | Wireless range: 30+ feet | Frequency response: 90Hz-20kHz | Drivers: Two 1.75" drivers and two 1.75" x 3" passive radiators | NFC: Yes | Aux-in: Yes USB charging: Yes

+ Brilliant design
+ Waterproof
+ Robust set of features
- Battery life isn't improved over original

This sequel to the UE Boom nails everything a Bluetooth speaker should be. It's loud, yet detailed. Portable, but still incredibly durable. Plus, even better, the addition of waterproofing turns what used to be the best Bluetooth speaker around for most occasions into the best one for every occasion.

If you're deep in the search for your next –, or first – Bluetooth speaker, you can stop looking now. (But if you're looking for a little more power, the Megaboom – also from UE – is a great choice, too.)


2. Fugoo Style
The best Bluetooth speaker runner-up

The best Bluetooth speakers 2018

Weight: 1 pound | Battery life: Up to 40 hours | Wireless range: 30+ feet | Frequency response: 60Hz -20kHz | Drivers:  Two 28mm neodymium tweeters, two 39mm neodymium aluminum domed mid/woofers, two 43mm x 54mm passive radiators | NFC: No | Aux-in: Yes | USB charging: Yes

+ Awesome sound
+ Amazing battery life
- No flaws to note

Meet one of the Bluetooth speaker market's best-kept secrets. The Fugoo comes in your choice of jacket style (Style, Tough, or Sport), but no matter which one you choose, this speaker is just as suited for the elements as it is your coffee table.

Despite its small size, this option offers surprisingly good sound performance and, get this, up to 40 hours of battery life when listening at medium volume. We were able to get nearly 20 hours out of it at a high volume.


3. JBL Charge 3
A great speaker that also charges your phone

The best Bluetooth speakers 2018

Weight: 1.76 pounds | Battery life: 20 hours | Wireless range: 30+ feet | Frequency response: 65Hz - 20kHz | Drivers: Two 1.7" drivers and two passive radiators | NFC: No | Bluetooth version: 3.0 | Aux-in: Yes | USB charging: Yes

+ Kicking bass response
+ Waterproof
- Exposed woofers

As a package, the JBL Charge 3 offers a compelling set of features and excellent sound quality to boot. It punches well above its weight, playing loudly and distortion-free.

The Charge line of speakers have been on our shortlist of recommendations for a long time thanks to the way they combine great sound quality with the ability to charge your devices over USB.
The latest iteration maintains JBL's dominance in the portable Bluetooth speaker market.


4. Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless
The best high-end Bluetooth speaker

The best Bluetooth speakers 2018

Weight: 14 pounds | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | Frequency response: 44Hz - 28kHz | Drivers: Two 25W tweeters, two 25W mid-range drivers, one 50W subwoofer | NFC: No | Bluetooth version: 4.1 | Aux-in: Yes | USB charging: No

+ Excellent all-around sound
+ Iconic design
- Limited stereo effect
- Slightly awkward setup

The new Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless is a beautiful piece of design. It's a solid, reassuringly weighty wireless
speaker delivering on all the B&W audio heritage which the British audio maestro has been building up throughout its lifetime: The sound is clear and natural, delivering room-filling audio with seriously punchy mid-range, and dynamic, controlled bass.

Its price might put a bit of a damper on your wallet, but if you have audiophile tastes that extend into the portable speaker space, the Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless is the only speaker you should be considering.

5. Bose SoundLink Mini II
The best mid-range speaker

The best Bluetooth speakers 2018

Weight: 1.5 pounds | Dimensions: 2 x 7.1 x 2.3 inches (H x W x D) | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Wireless range: 30 ft  (10 m) | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: N/A | NFC: No | Bluetooth version: N/A | Aux-in: Yes | USB charging: No

+ Stellar sound
+ Built like a tank
+ Compact form factor
- No NFC or multipoint Bluetooth

The Bose SoundLink Mini II is relatively ancient, having been released in June 2015. However, writing off the SoundLink Mini II because of its age would be a mistake, as it remains one of the best sounding wireless speakers.

That said, it punches way above what its size would suggest, producing deep bass, sparkling highs and a lush midrange. While most wireless speakers sound OK, the Mini II proves that small speakers don’t need to compromise on sound, and other Bose conveniences like a charging pad.

6. Anker Soundcore Flare
The best budget Bluetooth speaker

The best Bluetooth speakers 2018

Weight: 18.7 ounces | Battery life: 12 hours | Wireless range: 20m / 66ft | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: 2 x 1.75" Full Range + 2 x Passive Radiator | NFC: No | Aux-in: Yes | Bluetooth version: 4.2 | Weatherproofing: Yes-IPX7 | Charges devices over USB: No

+ Impressive sound for the size
+ Excellent mobile app
+ Average battery life
- Harsh at max volume

Anker has a history of making excellent budget wireless speakers. While we weren’t entirely impressed with the Anker SoundCore 2’s sound, we couldn’t be too mad since the speaker was so affordable.

So what happens if you can stretch your budget? For around $20 more you get the Anker Soundcore Flare, an excellent waterproof Bluetooth speaker that can stand toe-to-toe with the competition.

The Soundcore Flare is an amazing value in the sub-$100 wireless speaker segment. Competitors like the UE Wonderboom (listed above) give the Flare a run for its money in terms of build quality but we give the Flare the slight edge with sound quality. We recommend the Flare for anyone looking for a wireless speaker that can do it all without breaking the bank.

7. UE Wonderboom
The best outdoor speaker

The best Bluetooth speakers 2018

Weight: 425g | Dimensions: 102 x 93.5mm (H x D) | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Wireless range: 100 ft (33 m) | Frequency response: 80 Hz – 20 kHz | Drivers: two 40 mm active drivers and two 46.1mm x 65.2mm passive radiators | NFC: No | Bluetooth version: N/A | Aux-in: No | USB charging: No

+ 360-degree sound
+ Multipoint pairing
+ Waterproof
- Slightly confined sounding

When someone asks us for a recommendation for a waterproof speaker, the UE Roll 2 was always on the top of our list. We loved the Roll 2’s unique form factor, 50-foot wireless range and, obviously, it sounded good, too. Where it was lacking was in the bass department. Logitech, UE’s parent company, has fixed the Roll 2’s lack of bass by creating the appropriately named UE Wonderboom.

In our eyes, the UE Wonderboom bests the Roll 2 in just about every way –except for the Roll 2’s handy bungee cord. Still, ignoring that, if you’re looking for one of the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers on the market today, it’s hard to do better than the UE Wonderboom.

8. Bang and Olufsen Beoplay P2
The best lightweight Bluetooth speaker

The best Bluetooth speakers 2018

Weight: 275 g (9.7 oz) | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Wireless range: N/A | Frequency response: 68 Hz - 21.000Hz | Drivers: 2 x 15W class D for woofer and tweeter (2 x 50W peak power) | NFC: No | Aux-in: No | USB charging: No

+ Ultra-portable
+ Good bass for the size
- It's lacking highs and mids
- A pouch or case would be nice

B&O created a hit with the Beoplay P2. It’s a well-designed speaker that’s extremely easy to use, has a well-built companion app, and it sounds great. On top of that, the speaker is ultra-portable without compromising on much bass

content. Sure, you could get something a little bigger (and stereo) for the same price, but at this size the sound quality justifies the price. The smart gestures are a nice touch too, although we wouldn’t buy the device solely for that reason.

9. Marshall Kilburn
The best big Bluetooth speaker

The best Bluetooth speakers 2018

Weight: 3kg | Battery life: Up to 20 hours | Wireless range: N/A | Frequency response: 62 - 20,000Hz | Drivers: two 3/4-inch dome tweeters, one 4-inch woofer | NFC: No | Aux-in: Yes | USB charging: Yes

+ Bass and treble controls
+ Earth-pounding bass
- No playback controls
- Not as portable as competition

The Marshall Kilburn might not appear to be the best choice in Bluetooth speakers. It’s large, heavy, doesn’t have USB charging and isn’t waterproof – plus, $299 (£239, about AU$390) is a lot to pay for a Bluetooth speaker. But none of this matters because the Kilburn sounds so darn good.

Over a month's time, we fell in love with the Kilburn’s design, feel and pristine sound quality. There’s no other portable Bluetooth speaker on the market quite like it. It’s a head turner and conversation piece. It’s a piece of audio art that you’ll be proud to show off to your friends during a party.

10. Denon Envaya (DSB-250BT)
The most durable Bluetooth speaker

The best Bluetooth speakers 2018

Weight: 0.75 Kg | Dimensions: 209 x 74 x 77mm (W x D x H) | Battery life: 13 hours | Wireless range: 30m (100ft) | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: 2 x 40mm Full Range Driver, 1 x 53x135mm Passive Radiator | NFC: No | Aux-in: Yes | Bluetooth version: N/A | Weatherproofing: Yes | Charges devices over USB: No

+ Powerful, rich, room-filling sound
+ Better balanced audio than most
- Stiff buttons
- Lackluster treble

The newest speaker in the Denon Envaya line is one of the first speakers to absolutely blow us away in 2018. It offers powerful, room-filling sound that will sound great to most ears, plus comes with an IP67 rating, make it both dust and waterproof. It's also built like a tank, making it one of the most durable speakers we've ever laid our hands on.

Despite a nearly flawless performance, the Envaya isn't perfect: While sound quality is full, powerful and rich, it doesn’t have the treble bite some like and the buttons located along the side can feel stiff and difficult to operate.  These are ultimately minor complaints, however, and the Denon Envaya remains a great Bluetooth speaker – easily one of the best you can buy this year.

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