There are literally hundreds of various types of bluetooth speakers, along with tens of thousands of user reviews on every single product so identifying the best portable speaker for you can be tough. In addition to that, the specifications that accompany these speakers will just seem like gibberish to the ordinary users who do not have the slightest idea of what the Digital Signal Processor is, or how viable a speaker that has an output level of 90 dB is. Plus, sifting through all of this information and reading through all these bluetooth speaker reviews will simply be impossible.
If you’re concerned with all these issues, we’re here to tell you that you don’t have to be. We were very much in the same position as you a couple of years ago and so we’ve decided to consolidate all of the available information in as much depth as we can and make the process of choosing the best bluetooth speakers as easy as possible for the newbies.
Sound quality will obviously be the most important aspect that we all will prioritize in our selection of speakers so we’ll be dissecting that particular element in more detail here.
If you’re thinking of purchasing a set of speakers, the best way you do this would be to listen to them first. Of course, if that’s not convenient for you, looking at its specifications is still a good way to do it.
Is Bigger Better?
Because some technical jargons can be mind-blowing, especially to new users, just keep this general rule in mind. The bigger the speakers’ dimensions and the heavier they are, the better sounding they will be. I’m probably going to get lot of criticism on this but as I said, it’s only a general rule and it’s not universally true in all instances.
The reason for my prior statement is that a bigger speaker will have more space to incorporate a larger woofer size and that in turn, produces more bass than smaller woofers. Plus, the size of the cabinet will also have a direct effect on the bass’s quality on the whole. Additional space will also allow for larger driver sizes or simply more of these drivers, all of which will have a significant boost on the sound quality too. So, now you see how bigger and heavier speakers tend to produce better sound quality.
In the above chart, you might’ve noticed how I mentioned that the higher the maximum frequency response and the lower the minimum frequency response are, the better your speakers will be able to perform. If, say you see that a speaker has a frequency response range of 50Hz to 20,000Hz, the “50 Hz” basically shows how deep the bass can be. The lower this value is, the deeper sounding the bass can be and that’s a good thing for you. Similarly, the maximum frequency response signifies the speakers’ capability to produce higher pitched sounds. Again, you shouldn’t take these as the sole determinants in determining the best portable speakers because there are certain exceptions to them.
This is an additional aspect that affects how well the speakers are able to perform. These frequency drivers consist of 3 tiers, which are the high frequency, medium frequency and low frequency. Low frequency drivers are responsible for producing low frequency sound (bass) and vice versa. Certain speakers like the Bose Soundlink (which we’ve deemed to be the best bluetooth speaker) has up to 5 frequency drivers; 1 low, 2 medium and 2 high. This generally represents the capability of the speakers in producing sound at different frequency levels.
You’ll notice that some of the more compact and inexpensive speakers will only have 1-2 frequency drivers at most. It is also likely that these drivers are not low frequency drivers because bass is less prioritized in such speakers. The more frequency drivers that a particular set of speakers has, the more likely it’ll sound better.
Finally, even if the listed specifications of a certain set of speakers score the highest in every category, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will produce the best sound quality. These specifications only make it more probable that it will be so. Different manufacturers and different speaker models will be important indicators too and the ideal way to find out which speakers are the best would be to look at both the specifications and overall ratings and reviews of their users.
To make it easier for you though, we’ve handpicked a couple of the most popular and best sounding speakers and reviewed each of them in greater depth. Take your time in picking your choice and you’ll be happy you did.
Bose Soundlink Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II – The Bose Soundlink is, without a doubt, the best bluetooth speakers on the market today. Its sound quality is simply outstanding. Plus, it comes with 5 frequency drivers and that’s a lot for a speaker that size. If you’re concerned about your speakers’ appearances, you do not have to be any longer because this is one of the better looking speakers out there. It originally comes built with a black, plastic finish on the front and chrome around its edges. It also has a protective flap that acts as a stand when you’re using it. Read full review here
Jawbone Big Jambox Wireless Bluetooth Speakers – The Jawbone Jambox is one of the higher-end speaker that matches up comparably to the Bose Soundlink simply because it is the only other portable speaker that comes with 5 frequency drivers. In terms of its looks, the top and bottom surface is made of rubber while the middle grille area has a metallic texture to it with a unique geometric pattern depending on which color you choose. You have 3 different color options here, which they call the graphite hex, red dot and white wave. Their names are practically indicative of what the patterns on the grille will look like. Read full review here
Logitech Wireless Boombox- This Logitech Bluetooth speaker is a mid-range wireless speaker that has a transmission range of up to 33 feet (more or less 10 metres). For its price and the fact that it’s a portable speaker, it produces really loud and clear sound. Despite its rounded edges, you can prop it up on any surfaces because it has a pop-out stand at its back. It is rather bulky however and it might not be ideal for travelling especially if you plan on sticking it into your backpack and lugging it around. Read full review here
iHOME Id50Bzc – The iHome Id50Bzc is a pretty unique bluetooth speaker mainly because it has a ton of features besides music-listening. In fact, it functions as a clock radio too with 2 alarm setups. There will be a clock display on its front and the brightness can be adjusted accordingly if you decide to place it by your bedside table and you’re sensitive to its light. You can also tune in the AM/FM channels whenever you wish. An antenna for it is included. It also has a dock to place your iPad/iPhone and of course, you have the wireless option with bluetooth too. Read full review here
JBL Flip – Compact and stylish looking. That’s how I would describe the JBL Flip Wireless Bluetooth Speaker. As one of the best portable speakers within its price range, its size is so compact that you can easily wrap your entire palm around its body and carry it around with just one hand. It has rounded edges and if you place it on a surface standing upright, it looks a lot like a water bottle. It also comes with a zippered case for transporting it around and can last a full 5-hour marathon of continuous playback. I’d highly recommend the Flip if space and portability are huge concerns for you.
Amazon Reviews: 347
Dimensions In Inches (Length x Height x Width): 6.3 x 2.4 x 2.4
Weight (Ounces): 12.3
Minimum Frequency Response: 150
Maximum Frequency Response: 20000
Dock For Apple Devices: No
Remote Control Device Provided: No
Controllable With Phone/Tablet: Yes
No. Of Frequency Drivers: 2
This is one of the rare occasions where I’ve actually proceeded to purchase and use a speaker rather than just testing it for the purposes of a review. I picked up a JBL Flip Wireless Bluetooth Speaker because I wanted to have something that I could use to listen to music on my iPhone other than a docking station. I wanted to have a more portable item that I could move from place to place because I like to hang out in my yard a lot. I also enjoy going out on forest treks on my quad and when I get to my favorite location, there simply is nothing better than having a toasty fire and enjoying some music and yakking up a storm with my buddies over a few bevvies.
JBL Flip sizeI also found that this little speaker was awesome for taking to the job site. I could just set it in an out of the way location, and then have my iPhone on my hip and the two devices communicated with one another. Next thing I knew, the tunes were playing and my day was going well, because music makes me happy and my work day just flies by.
My experience with the JBL Flip Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
My iPhone has thousands of songs on it, but as you probably already know, it is silly to try to listen to music on a cranked up iPhone and headphones just don’t cut it. The sound is substandard and too quiet so it’s a waste of time. My docking station has good quality sound, but it is pretty big and bulky and I don’t want to have to drag it around from place to place. It’s just not that portable and I spend a lot of time outdoors so I needed to find a suitable solution that would allow me to listen to music on demand.
So far, I would have to say without a doubt that this is the best hundred bucks I have ever spent. This speaker works exactly as it is supposed to and I use it just about every day. I charge the battery up every night so it is good to go for the next day.
When I received my JBL Flip, it came in a small box which included the speaker itself (I ordered a black one, but it is also available in white), an AC adapter, a Neoprene Carrying case, a warranty card and a guide for the quick start features. The speaker itself is 6.3 inches high, 2.4 inches wide and 2.4 inches deep and weighs only 12.3 ounces so it is not really that big at all and can easily be moved around without too much effort. The GFSK signal to noise ratio is 80dB, with a frequency response of 150 Hz to 20 kHz.
How does it work?
The Flip is wireless with “Bluetooth” which, you are probably already aware, means that it is interactive with your smart devices. I have done the whole process of downloading music and burning it to a disk or putting the songs onto a zip drive, but I find all of that to take way too much of my time and effort. Connecting my home computer or my iPhone to the Flip is seamless and allows me to access the thousands of songs that I can’t seem to stop downloading. Now I can listen to my favorite music inside the house, outside the house, and way out in the bush when I go for a ride.
The battery for the JBL Flip takes three hours to charge and will give you five solid hours of music enjoyment. This is generally enough time for me to do whatever it is that I am doing. I have to say that the sound that comes from the speaker is pretty rich for its size. At first when I turned it on, I was amazed with the depth of the sound that came from this relatively small speaker.
Pros of the JBL Flip
- I love the fact that this speaker is extremely light but still gives off a robust sound, not too “tinny” for its size;
- The speaker is highly portable and goes anywhere I go. This is the only expectation I have of most of my devices.
- The battery life is good enough for me to listen to music all day long and I can plug it in when I am near an electrical outlet using the AC Adaptor. I find this feature really handy for when I’m sitting outside on my patio having a meal or drinks.
- The price is pretty freaking reasonable when you consider what you are getting for a mere hundred bones.
Cons of the JBL Flip
- The speaker does not seem to connect or communicate with my laptop, but that’s okay, I have most of my favorite music on my iPhone anyway. It works fine with a tablet device too.
- The sound is not super powerful with strong base as I like my music, but what the heck can you expect for this tiny speaker? I think it performs pretty well for its size.
- The battery life is only five hours. I think this could be rectified if you were to get a few rechargeable batteries or an extra unit. (They are certainly cheap enough).
If you enjoy music absolutely everywhere like I do and you are tired of dragging your 1980s boom box around, then come into the new millennium with the new JBL Flip. This portable speaker has only been on the market for less than a year and is already extremely popular with everyone I know that owns one. In fact, many of my buddies saw this little speaker that I had and were blown away that such deep sound was coming from this ridiculously small speaker and then wanted one for themselves.
I have been enjoying this speaker immensely since I purchased it and that was four months ago. I can honestly say that I do not regret for one moment the fact that I bought this unit, it has provided me with hours of listening pleasure. My work days are much more bearable when music is involved, I am a complete music buff, so I have to say that purchasing the JBL Flip was definitely a worthwhile investment for me.
I would definitely recommend it if you want to access music on your iPhone or Tablet and don’t want to be limited by a docking station or a plug. If your main concerns are that the bluetooth speaker must be compact and highly portable, the JBL Flip should certainly be among your top considerations.
Sony RDPX500iP – The Sony RDPX500iP Dock is essentially a speaker dock made specifically with Apple users in mind. The dock is discretely hidden at its back when not in use and it can be accessed by sliding it out. Its bass quality is fairly decent which is hard to find on portable speakers thanks to the availability of a low frequency driver on it. A glaring drawback it has would simply be its astonishing price-tag at $299. I wouldn’t call it the best iPhone speakers because there are definitely better options than that for the same price. Read full review here
Philips Fidelio DS7700 – The Philips Fidelio DS7700 is clearly another speaker dock for Apple products with a substantial gap in its middle for docking your iPad, iPhone or iPod. It’s made almost entirely out of aluminum, which is a pretty nice finish but that in turn has made it fairly heavy. It weighs 67 ounces which effectively makes it the most heavy set of portable iPhone speakers we’ve come across so far. Also, you’ll have to make use of an application called Fidelio in order to get the most out of it. This is because some of its settings like the Bass Booster and the equalizer settings are only controllable via the Fidelio application. Read full review here
Soundfreaq SRF-02RB – The Soundfreaq SRF-02RB Sound Step Speaker is another set of portable speakers for iPod thanks to its docking station made specifically for an iPod or iPad. It is also good-looking, that’s for sure. Most of its features work very well but unfortunately, what we’re looking for in bluetooth speakers is still the quality of the sound it produces and it doesn’t perform very well in this regard. Its bass effects are fairly poor and when the music goes into high pitches, the sound gets a tad annoying. Read full review here
Altec Lansing iMW725 – The Altec Lansing iMW725 inMotion Air Universal Speaker has a good overall sound quality and performs surprisingly well for the mid and high range frequencies, though perhaps its slightly lacking in the bass department despite its size. It is one of the heavier speakers in its range, weighing up to 51 ounces. Read full review here
JBL On Tour IBT – The first impression that the JBL On Tour IBT Bluetooth Wireless Speaker gave me is that it looks like a UFO with its flat disc shape and its round looking grilles. It also has 2 LED indicators which will flash blue and green when you’re using its hands-free call function (it has an in-built microphone). The music will also pause automatically if you’re in a call which is pretty neat. It’s a waste that it’s audio quality is rather lacking, particularly for a speaker that’s priced at $199. Read full review here
There are literally hundreds of bluetooth portable speakers currently available on the market today but these are our top choices. Take your time in studying the reviews of the units you’re interested in and you’ll be able to make an informed decision on the best portable bluetooth speakers for your needs.