10 Best Bluetooth Speakers for Every Need and Budget

Best Bluetooth speakers

Planning on relaxing at the beach this summer? Consider one of the best Bluetooth speakers to take your music with you | Source: iStock

Bluetooth speakers are surprisingly useful devices. They enable you to play the music that you have stored on your phone, tablet, or computer, even if it’s across the room or in another part of the house from the speaker. The best Bluetooth speakers offer great sound quality. But they also give you the convenience of playing your music anywhere, without wires. Searching for the best Bluetooth speakers can be a daunting task, particularly because so many of them seem very similar until you really dive into the details. So we’ll try to make things simpler for you.

Let’s start with the basics. (If you already know what you’re looking for, you can skip to our top 10 picks ahead.) When you’re searching for wireless speakers, you might notice that not all of them use Bluetooth, particularly if you’re looking for a system that’s designed to be set up in your home. Some speakers use Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth. But if you’re looking for versatility and ease of use, Bluetooth speakers are generally a great choice.

As Consumer Reports points out, there are both home models and portable models of wireless speakers. If a speaker has a rechargeable battery, it’s generally considered portable. On the other hand, Wi-Fi speakers, which connect to your home network, need AC power and are therefore harder to travel with. You can find plenty of Bluetooth speakers that integrate both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. That means that you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to connecting your devices to the speaker. However, the best Bluetooth speakers don’t necessarily need both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Choosing whether you want both is a matter of preference.

Either way, there’s an extremely wide array of devices on the market. To help you make your decision, we’ve narrowed down your options. Ahead are the best Bluetooth speakers among those that earned the highest marks from Consumer Reports, and the top home and portable Bluetooth speakers tested by The Wirecutter. These are some of the best Bluetooth speakers on the market, and there’s something for everyone in terms of priorities and budgets.

1. Edifier R2000DB Bluetooth speakers

The best Bluetooth speaker setup overall, according to Consumer Reports reviewers, is the Edifier R2000DB system. These Bluetooth speakers are a home system that’ll run you about $250 on Amazon. Consumer Reports reviewers liked the elegant design of this pair of Bluetooth speakers, which deliver “very good” sound quality and ease of use. They determined that this system is a good choice “for the more critical listener looking for a wireless stereo speaker for music and other audio content.” Unlike many other models, this one ships as a stereo pair. It’s also less expensive than many of the models that typically get high ratings (though it lacks Wi-Fi). This system offers decent volume in a large room, and because there are two separate speakers included, they can be placed to offer better stereo separation than many other options.

  • Wireless type: Bluetooth
  • Power source: AC
  • Weight: 23.4 pounds
  • Dimensions: 6.8 x 9.9 x 11.4 inches

2. Sony SRS-X9 wireless speaker

A great choice if you want a versatile speaker to use at home — and are willing to pay a pretty hefty price to get it — is the Sony SRS-X9. As Consumer Reports researchers put it, “if your budget is as high as your sonic expectations this pricier Wi-Fi and Bluetooth stereo speaker from Sony should fit the bill.” This model‘s price tag, currently around $529, definitely places it among a league of Bluetooth speakers that’s far removed from the low end of the market. But if you want great sound, this system delivers. You can connect to your home network via Wi-Fi or DLNA, use Bluetooth to stream from your smartphone or tablet, or play music from an iPod, iPhone, or Mac using AirPlay. This speaker even features an Ethernet jack for a wired connection, and the USB ports support high-fidelity music files.

  • Wireless type: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Power source: AC
  • Weight: 13.8 pounds
  • Dimensions: 5.23 inches x 4.9 inches x 16.9 inches

3. Wren Sound V5US Bluetooth speaker

Another option that packs in both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatibility is the Wren Sound V5US. It numbers among the best Bluetooth speakers for people willing to spend quite a bit for great sound. This model is currently priced at $399, but Consumer Reports reviewers found that it delivers “very good sound quality” for both music and movie playback. You can connect this Bluetooth speaker to your home network via Wi-Fi or DLNA, use Bluetooth to stream from compatible devices, or take advantage of the analog inputs. Testers noticed no significant differences between the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and wired sound quality. However, they did observe that the Bluetooth sound has “slightly more prominent treble and is still sizzly.”

  • Wireless type: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Power source: AC
  • Weight: 6.6 pounds
  • Dimensions: 4.2 x 16.6 x 6.1 inches

4. Fluance Fi50 speaker

For those who need just Bluetooth for their home audio systems, the Fluance Fi50 is a great choice. Even though this model currently costs $200, its rating isn’t far behind those that Consumer Reports gave to the very best Bluetooth speakers. The system delivers very good sound quality and is also very easy to use. It’s one of the few models with an LCD display. Interestingly, unlike most other Bluetooth speaker manufacturers, Fluance recommends a break-in period for this model to perform at its best. Since this is a Bluetooth-only speaker, you might expect it to feature a rechargeable battery. It doesn’t, however, so be aware that this Bluetooth speaker needs to stay plugged into a power outlet.

  • Wireless type: Bluetooth
  • Power source: AC
  • Weight: 13.9 pounds
  • Dimensions: 25 x 11 x 9 inches

5. UE Roll wireless speaker

If what you’re really after is a portable and affordable Bluetooth speaker, Brent Butterworth reports for The Wirecutter that the UE Roll is your best option. This is among the publication’s picks of the best Bluetooth speakers, and takes the crown for a portable device because it combines above-average sound quality with a waterproof and travel-friendly design. This model costs somewhere between $80 and $100 depending on the color you choose. While there are a few speakers in the same price range with slightly better sound, the Roll is perfect for throwing in your suitcase or laptop bag. It even features a bungee cord to hang it from a shower faucet, secure it to a doorknob, or attach it to your bicycle. Testers found that its sound is loud enough to fill a hotel room or a beach blanket with your favorite music.

  • Wireless type: Bluetooth
  • Power source: Battery
  • Weight: 11.7 ounces
  • Dimensions: 5.3 x 5.3 x 1.6 inches

6. Logitech X300 Bluetooth speaker

Another budget-friendly choice of portable Bluetooth speakers is the Logitech X300. The Wirecutter notes that this is a basic device that nonetheless offers “big, full sound and more natural voice than almost all the Bluetooth speakers we’ve heard.” This model costs around $50, which is a bargain for its great sound quality. Butterworth explains that this Bluetooth speaker “is no-frills: It’s not waterproof, it doesn’t have any sort of mount or cord to attach it to things, and it looks like it was designed by an accounting department.” But it makes up for that with big sound and a small price tag.

  • Wireless type: Bluetooth
  • Power source: Battery
  • Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Dimensions: 2.8 x 5.9 x 2.7 inches

7. Bose SoundLink Mini II speaker

If you’re placing a priority on high sound quality, then The Wirecutter recommends the Bose SoundLink Mini II. At around $180, it’s pricier than the publication’s previous two picks. But this model may just top your list of best Bluetooth speakers once you hear how much better this device sounds than many of its competitors. Wirecutter testers found that it offers a fuller sound “closer to what you’d expect to hear from a decent small stereo system.” It’s also reportedly capable of playing “loud enough to drown out a small dinner party.” Additionally, it’s portable enough to take on vacation, or move from room to room at home. But it’s probably not the sort of Bluetooth speaker that you’d want to lug around in your backpack while hiking.

  • Wireless type: Bluetooth
  • Power source: Battery
  • Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Dimensions: 7.1 x 2.3 x 2 inches

8. Riva Turbo X Bluetooth speaker

If you’re willing to spend a significant amount of money to get the best sound available in a portable speaker, then the Riva Turbo X may be the Bluetooth speaker for you. It’s a pricey option, but the $299 it currently costs gets you what Wirecutter testers determined is the “best portable Bluetooth speaker you can buy.” This model offers sound that’s “clearer, livelier, more spacious, and more natural than its competitors.” It’s one of the most expensive portable Bluetooth speakers, but for the right user, it’s definitely worth the cost. However, it’s heavy for its size and not as rugged as some of the other speakers on the list, so it’s probably best used in offices, bedrooms, and living rooms.

  • Wireless type: Bluetooth
  • Power source: AC
  • Weight: 5.65 pounds
  • Dimensions: 3.5 inches x 9.1 inches x 4.1 inches

9. Peachtree Audio deepblue 2 wireless speaker

As for Wirecutter researchers’ choice of the best Bluetooth speakers for listening to music at home? Seamus Bellamy reports that that’s the Peachtree Audio deepblue 2. At $400, this model is pricey. But testers found that it offers full, rich audio that “comes close to what you’d associated with a home stereo system but without the wires and setup that comes with owning a traditional home stereo.” According to the listening panel, this Bluetooth speaker sounds almost as good as systems that cost hundreds of dollars more. It automatically adjusts its EQ to keep high, low, and midrange frequencies correctly balanced. It even has a small enough footprint to take up residence on a bookshelf, a side table, or a countertop without drawing too much attention to itself.

  • Wireless type: Bluetooth
  • Power source: AC
  • Weight: 14.2 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Dimensions: 13.5 pounds

10. Marshall Acton Bluetooth speaker

To round out the list, the Wirecutter pick for a budget-friendly home Bluetooth speaker is the Marshall Acton. If there isn’t room in your budget for the Peachtree deepblue, the $200 Acton still offers respectable sound. Bellamy’s suggestion of this model isn’t without reservations, since at higher volumes it can “sound a little bit muddy.” However, if you’re only planning on listening to music “at a reasonable to moderately loud volume,” this Bluetooth speaker will likely be exactly what you need to upgrade your home audio setup.

  • Wireless type: Bluetooth
  • Power source: AC
  • Weight: 9.35 pounds
  • Dimensions: 6.2 inches x 10.4 inches x 5.9 inches
More from Gear & Style Cheat Sheet: