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Best Bluetooth Speakers 2020: Set your music free

Best Bluetooth speakers 2020: Bluetooth speakers offer an easy way to stream music from a portable device or laptop. For music fans who want great sound, but aren’t interested in going full hi-fi, a Bluetooth speaker is the most convenient option.

With Bluetooth speakers coming in all shapes and sizes, there’s plenty to choose from. This list features battery-powered speakers, as well as those that run off mains power. Others have smarts, whereas some are all about portability and convenience. Which of those features do you need, and what size should you go for?

Related: How to buy the best wireless speaker

This list features all the best Bluetooth speakers we’ve tested in the past few years. From super-cheap speakers, to eye-wateringly expensive, whether you’re after something portable or need a want a speaker that can connect with other devices in the home, we’ve got plenty of choices to suit your needs.

  • Best Bluetooth speaker: Naim Mu-so 2
  • Best streaming Bluetooth speaker: Ruark MRx
  • Best Bluetooth speaker battery life: B&O Play Beolit 17
  • Best portable Bluetooth speaker: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
  • Best expensive Bluetooth speaker: Linn Series 3
  • Best Bluetooth speaker design: B&W Formation Wedge
  • Best multi-room Bluetooth speaker: Denon Home 350
  • Best small Bluetooth speaker: Dali Katch
  • Best compact Bluetooth speaker: Audio Pro A10
  • Best user-friendly Bluetooth speaker: Samsung AKG VL5
  • Best cheap Bluetooth speaker: Ikea Eneby

Naim Mu-so 2

Naim Mu-so 2

An upgrade on the original Mu-so

Pros:

  • Lovely materials and build quality
  • Deft sound, with real reserves of power
  • Plenty of functionality

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Not much of an advance visually

With the Mu-so 2, and you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s more of the same. Overall appearance is similar, but the cabinet has been re-engineered, the drivers redesigned and there’s a new processor running the show.

Once again, the sound is an impressive, producing an at times a ferociously loud performance that doesn’t lose a sense subtlety and deftness in its handling of music. It’s more of the same, but better.

Ruark MRx

Ruark MRx

A well-equipped streaming speaker

Pros:

  • Great design and build
  • Excellent sound
  • Wealth of connections
  • Flexible placement

Cons:

  • The app can be a little sluggish

The MRx looks fantastic: a stylish meld of retro looks with a modern feel. It can be placed portrait or landscape (the latter produces stereo sound), with Ruark embracing the digital age with multi-room, music streaming services and aptX Bluetooth.

And the audio? It’s a big effort: articulate, rich in bass, and ushering a powerful sound out of its two 75mm full-range drivers. The MRx is another pleasing speaker from the British brand.

B&O Play Beolit 17

B&O Play Beolit 17

Outstanding audio

Pros:

  • Huge, well-balanced sound
  • Projects a wide 360-degree soundstage
  • Looks and feels gorgeous
  • Neat design touches
  • Excellent battery life

Cons:

  • Not cheap

B&O products don’t skimp on the design, but even by their standards the B&O Play Beolit 17 is a plush piece of kit. There’s a leather handle, plus metal grille and fixings – and a deeply dished rubber top provides a good place for your phone to sit without fear of it slipping off.

The Beolit 17 isn’t just a pretty face, though; it’s practical too. The 2200mAh battery lasts up to 24 hours from a 2.5-hour charge, and an app even tells you precisely how much juice is left. Need to charge it up? Just find a USB-C cable.

As for the sound? It’s huge – far bigger than you’d expect for a box you can carry. It’s also wide, with a 360-degree soundstage. There’s a healthy serving of bass for its size, and minimal distortion even at high volumes.

Naim Mu-so Qb 2

Naim Mu-so Qb 2

Thoroughly entertaining

Pros:

  • Large-scale, detailed and nuanced sound
  • Extensive specification
  • That control wheel

Cons:

  • Starting to look properly expensive
  • Imperfect app

The first Mu-so Qb was a revelation – a premium wireless speaker shaped like a cube? And the second-gen version has proven to be even better.

Like the original it comes in cubed design, but there are upgrades in the all-new driver units, digital signal processor, AirPlay 2 support and  new illuminated dial. The performance the Qb 2 offers is powerful, but also nuanced, with a broad and well-defined soundstage. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable and exciting speaker to listen to.

UE Wonderboom 2

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2

Small gains add up

Pros:

  • Huge sound
  • Easy to use
  • 13-hour battery life
  • Outdoor Boost is useful

Cons:

  • Not much of note

The Wonderboom 2 improves upon the original with a number of nips and tucks.

It’s almost the same size as its predecessor, and new features come in the form of Outdoor Boost and Double Up. The former accentuates the mid-range performance and nubs the bass, so you can hear the vocals better when outside. Double Up adds stereo pairing, so long as you have another Wonderboom 2 in your possession.

And the Wonderboom 2 is another great showcase for Ultimate Ears’ signature sound. It can go incredibly loud for such a small unit, and offers plenty of welly in the low end for what is a very energetic performance.

Linn Series 3

A thrilling listen

Pros:

  • Detailed, controlled, immediate and convincing sound
  • Singular looks

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Not the last word in outright scale

The Series 3 is Linn’s first foray into the wireless speaker market. Visually it’s rather unique, shaped like a wine glass with its distinctive swoops and curves, and with a cabinet cast from a natural mineral compound that features touch controls on top.

For connectivity there’s Bluetooth 5, AirPlay 2, and HDMI ARC, as well as an Ethernet-like socket for connecting to the partner 302 speaker to create a stereo pair. The Linn App has access of the big music apps, along with comprehensive control of the speaker.

The performance it puts in is sensational and thrilling. Expressive, precise and dynamic, it’s capable of handling whatever genre of music you fling at it.

Formation Wedge

B&W Formation Wedge

An oddly shaped, highly musical speaker

Pros:

  • Big, room-filling sound
  • Musical performer
  • Unique design

Cons:

  • App is still bare
  • Tricky to place

At nearly £1000 for a wireless speaker, the Formation Wedge is not what you’d call cheap, but as the old proverb goes, you get what you pay for.

And what you get is a highly musical performance, brimming with confidence, full of expression and revealing in its delivery. Its looks are unique, very much earning the ‘wedge’ name, and support for Spotify and AirPlay 2 means you can wring a tune out of it from several sources. The app was by no means fully featured when we reviewed the speaker, and still seems to be experiencing issues.

Denon Home 350

Denon Home 350

A big performer

Pros:

  • Big room-filling sound
  • Precise and detailed delivery
  • Plenty of bass
  • Extensive functionality
  • Excellent build quality

Cons:

  • It’s big and heavy
  • No Chromecast
  • Fairly pricey

The biggest speaker in the Denon Home range unsurprisingly delivers the biggest performance. Tucked inside it’s bigger body are higher-quality drivers and powerful digital amplification.

It has the same solidly constructed design seen in the rest of the speakers, as well as the wrap-around fabric grille. There are physical connections round the back (USB, 3.5mm etc), touch controls on top and in the HEOS app, access to streaming services and multi-room set-up. Plus, there’s AirPlay 2 and of course, Bluetooth connectivity.

The presentation is big, bold with plenty of power and bass. But it’s capable of subtlety too, with lots of detail and refinement. If the smaller speakers don’t tickle your fancy, then go big and go home with the 350.

Dali Katch

Elegant design, long battery life and sparkling sound

Pros:

  • Loud, full-bodied sound with lots of bass
  • Terrific detail and composure
  • Slim-yet-solid aluminium cabinet
  • Eye-catching design

Cons:

  • Plasticky mesh
  • Expensive

If you value sound quality above all else, the Dali Katch is a Bluetooth speaker that should command your attention.

Dali has packed in some serious tech into a delightful package that ensures your music sounds its best. You’ll instantly know where all your money has gone as soon as you start playing your favourite songs. There’s an impressive level of volume on offer as well, yet it maintains its composure and control.

You also get an impressive 24 hours of battery life, meaning the party won’t stop abruptly while you’re entertaining.

Audio Pro A10

Audio Pro A10

Sounds great and is fairly well stocked for features

Pros:

  • Stylish looks
  • Composed and assured audio performance
  • Compact design
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Not the widest soundstage
  • Bass could be stronger

The A10 takes a different route from Audio Pro’s other wireless speakers. For one, it doesn’t have the face of a Koala bear.

Instead, it employs a cylindrical design similar to the Apple HomePod. And although it doesn’t have the smarts of that speaker, it does “Work with Alexa” and is fairly well stocked for features.

The focus here is on audio quality, which it delivers in spades. While it doesn’t offer the widest of soundstages, the A10 produces a smooth, balanced and measured sound from its compact form. Whatever genre of music you throw at it, the A10 proves to be a very adept performer.

Samsung AKG VL5

Delivers room-filling sound with detail and precision

Pros:

  • Big, room-filling sound
  • Precise and detailed delivery
  • Effective smart app

Cons:

  • Pricey

The VL speaker range marries elegant design with high-quality sound. The VL5 has an aluminium body complemented by a wood finish, and there’s a Moving Dial to detach and take with you, allowing you to control the speaker from anywhere in the house.

Sound-wise the VL5 delivers a big, open soundstage that’s capable of producing a decent stereo image thanks to its width. Our only real complaint is its hefty price tag.

IKEA ENEBY

IKEA ENEBY

Affordable and surprisingly good

Pros:

  • Plenty of power
  • Good amount of bass
  • EQ adjustment
  • Good value
  • 3.5mm input

Cons:

  • Battery pack sold separately (Eneby 20)
  • No controls to pause or skip tracks

Can a furniture shop make good Bluetooth speakers? Actually, yes, it can. The IKEA Eneby speakers cost under £100 and are a little basic, but they sound better than speakers £45 and up. There’s no shortage of volume or power, and there’s no sign of distortion either. There’s a good amount of bass thanks to the not-really-portable cabinet sizes.

This speaker is designed to go nicely with the IKEA Kallax and Eket shelving units. If you want a bit of music, your budget is small, and you’re not fussy about having the latest tech, check it out.


How we test the best Bluetooth speakers

We play a lot of music, and we play it loud. We play it everywhere – in the house, in the garden, and even in the bath if a speaker is waterproof.

We don’t just listen to the speakers; if there are special features then we make sure we fiddle with them until we’re satisfied. Recently, some Bluetooth speakers have begun to get smart functionality with the integration of Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, and as a result we’ve started speaking to our speakers as well.

Of course, it always comes back to the music. Speakers are tested by reviewers who have a love of music, a knowledge of sound quality, as well as a context of the market. We’ll listen to Bluetooth speakers alongside similarly priced rivals, so when we recommend a particular model, it’s among the best you can buy for the money.

Obviously, we know not everyone has the same taste in music, so we won’t only test with the same perfectly mastered album, but with a variety of genres and file qualities, from MP3 to Hi-Res FLAC.

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links. Tell us what you think – email the Editor