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Best Bluetooth Speakers 2016: The 5 best portable speakers you can buy

Andrew Williams

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Bluetooth speakers

We pick out the best portable speakers and best Bluetooth speakers for your home and for travelling

For many, a simple Bluetooth speaker is the best solution. You can take them around the house, they needn’t cost a fortune and many of them sound an order of magnitude larger than they are.

We’re going to be looking at exclusively Bluetooth speakers, not big home-bound wireless speakers that just happen to have Bluetooth built into them. If you’re simply looking for a wireless speaker, be sure to check out our multiroom guide as well as our review of our go-to recommendation, the Sonos Play:5.

Trusted Explains: Bluetooth Speaker Buying Guide

What is there to consider about Bluetooth speakers? As you’ll see from our picks, the good models still aren’t going to fit in your pocket. A bag is needed to carry a wireless speaker worth having.

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Consider whether you’re bothered about extra features such as NFC and aptX. NFC lets you pair with a phone simply by holding the phone over part of the speaker, but as iPhones don’t support this it’s still missing from quite a lot of models.

aptX, on the other hand, is a Bluetooth codec that enables higher-quality streamed audio. It’s not worth getting too worked up about this one either, though, as when talking about small wireless speakers rather than bigger hi-fi ones, it’s the design and tuning of the drivers that matters much more than the codec.

More importantly, how long do you need your speaker to last? And does it need to be water resistant?

You can expect most wireless speakers to last at least 8-10 hours at moderate volume, but some last much, much longer. Some speakers user rubbery flaps to protect their ports, giving them splash-proofing that's useful outdoors.

Priorities in order? Here are our top Bluetooth speaker picks of the moment.

Michael LaRosa

July 19, 2016, 4:55 pm

It's disappointing that this site hasn't reviewed any of Sound Matters portable speakers, for example, the excellent Foxl v2. IMHO, the best sounding speaker in such a small, rugged package.

Terry Williams

July 21, 2016, 6:17 am

I'd also have thought a review, or at least a mention to the Audio Pro Addon T3 would have gone down well. The device was my favourite when I went from shop to shop looking to purchase a device. The sound quality is fantastic, and is loud and so clear. It's aesthetically more beautiful than the other models mentioned here too

dua

July 25, 2016, 9:29 am

What about Sony SRS X77?

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