The best Bluetooth speakers offer you a quick and easy way to stream music from your phone, tablet or laptop. If you’re a music fan tight on space, or you’re regularly on the move, this is an essential purchase.
The market is a minefield, however. Bluetooth speakers come in all shapes, sizes and prices. Some of them have smart functionality, others have waterproofing. Do you need those? What size should you get?
That’s where Trusted Reviews comes in. We ask all the important questions when we test. We’ve trawled all the big stores, gone through all the big brands, testing all the Bluetooth speakers we could find. We’re here to clear up the confusion and help you avoid buying the wrong thing. What follows is a definitive list of the best bluetooth speakers currently available.
The latest addition is the surprisingly good budget offering, the Ikea Eneby.
Related: What is aptX?
Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2 – the best Bluetooth speakers
- Amazing sound for their size
- Can give a boost to TV audio
- Portable option
- Sumptuous build and finish
- Lovely retro styling
- No built-in multiroom support
This was the winner of the 2017 Trusted Reviews award for Best Home Audio Product.
Ruark is perhaps best known for its class-leading DAB radios and all-in-one hi-fi systems, but this pair of Bluetooth stereo speakers perhaps offer’s the best sound-per-pound of any of the company’s impressive line-up.
In addition to offering truly excellent hi-fi sonics from gorgeous retro-chic cabinets, the MR1 Mk2 have a ton of versatility tucked behind their designer wool grilles. For a start there’s an optical input, which means they can be hooked up to a TV for boosting audio like a soundbar, and they have a subwoofer output for adding extra meat if you fancy.
Their other neat trick is the optional battery pack, which offers up to 12 hours of portable playback. You don’t have to carry both speakers around, either; the battery can be bolted to just one that becomes a more rucksack-friendly mono unit. Neat.
In other words, there’s basically nothing not to love about the Ruark MR1 Mk2.
- Plenty of power
- Good amount of bass
- EQ adjustment
- Good value
- 3.5mm input
- Battery pack sold separately (Eneby 20)
- No controls to pause or skip tracks
Can a furniture shop make good Bluetooth speakers? Actually yes, they can. The Ikea Eneby speakers cost under £100 and are a little basic, but they sound a lot better than the average £45 or £80 speakers. 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.
And they’re designed to go nicely with the Ikea Kallax and Eket, some of the most popular shelving units on the market. If you want a bit of music, you’ve got a small budget and you’re not fussy about having the latest tech, you should check these out.
- Great sound by smart speaker standards
- Rugged design
- Decent battery life
- Low end can be a little fat
- Still some issues with Alexa smart features
If you want all the smart features of an Amazon Echo, but with actually listenable audio, then the UE Blast is the speaker for you. It’s the smaller, more affordable option in Ultimate Ears’ current lineup of smart speakers, sitting underneath the larger, more expensive Megablast.
Featuring a robust, waterproof design, insane for its size max volumes, plus built-in Alexa support, the UE Blast easily earns its place as one of this year’s best Bluetooth speakers. The only downsides are that with pricing starting at a whopping £200 it’s fairly pricey, and its bass can be a little warbly for more precise genres.
But even with these compromises it’s a great choice for people looking for an indestructible smart speaker that can be used everywhere from your lounge to the side of a pool. If you’re in the market for a rugged smart speaker then the Blast is one of the best options out there right now.
Creative Muvo 2C
- Decent bass in a tiny package
- Jammed full of features
- Small, and not too expensive
- Limited fidelity mids
- Battery lasts only 6 hours
If you’re looking for a compact Bluetooth speaker just to get better sound out of your smartphone, the Creative Muvo 2c is a good choice. At around £40 it’s not going to break the bank yet packs in some useful features including a built-in MP3 player. A passive bass radiator means it still has some serious oomph for a speaker of its size, too.
The speaker is splashproof too, so you don’t have to worry too much about it getting wet. Thanks to Creative smarts, you can even plug the speaker into your laptop over USB and it’ll work as an external soundcard as well as speaker. It’ll sound much better than your laptop’s speakers.
Battery life at around 5-6 hours isn’t the greatest stamina, but it’s understandable considering the Muvo 2c’s small size. You have a choice of four different vibrant colour finishes so you can pick one to your tastes. If you buy two you can pair them in stereo mode, too.
Bose Soundlink Revolve +
- Great battery life
- Excellent sound quality for the size
- Effective 360-degree sonics
- Lovely design
- Sound can be top-heavy at times
- Not cheap
Everyone is boasting about 360-degree sound these days, and Bose has clearly been wanting to get in on that omnidirectional-audio act.
The result, then, is not one but a pair of new portable speakers: the SoundLink Revolve and SoundLink Revolve+. Both share an almost identical set of features, but with the Revolve+ being bigger, louder and having longer battery life.
This is one of the most attractive Bluetooth speakers around, and the 360-degree sound seems to work very well. Sound quality is excellent for the size and portability.
It’s not cheap, but to get to the next level sonically, you really need to start look to something bigger and more expensive, such as the B&O Play Beolit 17 – which is still portable but not water-resistant.
B&O Play Beolit 17
- Huge, well-balanced sound
- Projects a wide 360-degree soundstage
- Looks and feels gorgeous
- Neat design touches
- Excellent battery life
- Not cheap
B&O products don’t skimp on the design front, but even by their standards the B&O Play Beolit 17 is a really nice thing. There’s a leather handle, plus metal grille and fixings – and a deeply dished rubber top provides a nice place for your phone to sit without slipping off. Everything has been beautifully put together.
It’s not just a pretty face; it’s practical too. The Beolit 17 has a 2200mAh battery, which lasts up to 24 hours from a 2.5-hour charge, and an app even tells you precisely how much juice is left. It charges by USB-C, so you can use the cable from the latest phones and laptops.
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.
Basically, one of the best Bluetooth speakers you can buy.
- Big, balanced sound
- Good max volume
- Fiddly buttons
Sometimes it’s better to do one thing and do it well. The Denon Envaya doesn’t have the AI of the latest smart speakers, but it does excel at sound quality. The Denon Envaya is one of the best all-round portable Bluetooth speakers you can buy. It sounds good played quiet or loud, and displays a fine balance between power and control – a struggle for makers of this kind of speaker.
There’s a remarkable amount of low-end heft for the size. Mid-range definition and projection is excellent, with vocal detail being a particular highlight. Low-volume performance is often a struggle but the Envaya excels at that, too. All that, and the speaker looks very smart. This is one that will fit in nicely whether you’re at home or covered in mud at a festival.
If that price is a little high for you, it’s also worth checking out the new Denon Envaya Mini, which costs £115.
- It looks like an amp!
- Physical EQ knobs
- Expansive, detailed sound
- Decent stereo effect
- Sounds harsh at high volume
- No optical input
When is a guitar amp not a guitar amp? When it’s a Bluetooth speaker. Fender has two guitar amp-themed speakers and the Fender Monterey is the larger, mains-powered one.
It really is like a proper little classic Fender guitar amp in almost every way, from the cloth grille to the faux-leather skin over its hefty frame. The whole unit feels beautifully built, and it’s deceptively heavy. The working EQ knobs are a particularly nice touch.
It sounds great, too. There’s an impressive scale from such a small box, and it reaches high volumes with little distortion. There’s even some decent stereo separation going on. Whether you’re a rocker or a rocker in spirit, there’s plenty to love here.
An über-chic Bluetooth speaker with excellent sonics that will bring a smile to the faces of more than just hardcore Fender fans.
- Pretty much unbreakable
- Solid battery life
- Ridiculously loud
- Doesn’t handle mid-range well
Ultimate Ears’ range of Bluetooth speakers are famed for their incredible volume and rugged designs and the Wonderboom is no different. If you’re looking for a Bluetooth speaker to accompany you on your travels, you’ll struggle to find better value.
The Wonderboom is available in a range of vibrant colours meaning you can find one to your taste. Like UE’s other speakers, one of the draws is the speaker’s water resistance. The Wonderboom can survive submersion to 1 metre for 30 minutes, meaning it’ll be great for poolside use. It also floats, too, which is now something we wished UE’s other speakers were all capable of.
Sound quality is very respectable for a speaker of this size, with plenty of bass to live up to the speaker’s name. With 10 hours of battery life, you get a very respectable amount of stamina before you need a charge.
JBL Charge 3
- Sturdy build
- Weighty sound
- Decent waterproofing
- Doubles as a portable charger
- A little on the heavy side
- Mid-range can be hit and miss
A battery pack with a speaker built in, or a speaker with a battery pack built in? Either way, you can listen to tunes and keep your phone juiced at the same time. The JBL Charge 3’s 6000mAh is double the capacity of some of the world’s best phones.
What’s more, you can do that at the pool and not worry about killing the speaker, because its IPX7 rating means it’ll survive a dunking, accidental or otherwise. It can sit in 1m of water for 30 minutes.
Despite the shape, it’s not a 360-degree speaker. Sit in front of it and you’ll enjoy a good performance with well-controlled bass and a crisp, taut treble. It’s a nicely balanced sound, which might lack excitement at low volumes – this speaker is best served loud.
Bose SoundLink Mini II
- Power and refinement from a tiny box
- Great charge dock
- No aptX or NFC support
- Cheaper alternatives are available
Bose used to be an easy company to sneer at, selling almost bizarrely expensive radios advertised in the back of broadsheets. However, now that its audience has become truly mainstream it offers class-leading performance with some of its gadgets.
The Bose SoundLink Mini II is a great mini speaker, offering thundering bass for its size matched with coherent, lifelike mids you just wouldn’t expect from a small portable speaker. What this particular model does better than a lot of the competition is in making the sound seem to come from a much larger source. The drivers are tiny, but they don’t sound it, as the sonics expand way beyond this little guy’s dimensions.
Bose doesn’t talk about exactly how it achieves this sort of secret sauce, but it’s partly down to psychoacoustic processing tricking your ears. Clever. It also comes with a very neat charging dock.
Marshall Acton II
- Great design
- Excellent bass for size
- Physical knob controls
- Slight bass distortion
- No aptX
- Not battery powered for mobility
The Marshall name and brand is an iconic one, so closely assembled with the guitar amplifiers it made its name with. The company continues its move into wireless speakers with the Acton II, a small performer that also packs a weighty punch.
It looks beautiful. The version tested was the white finish, the black finish is just as striking so from an aesthetic point-of-view, the Acton II does not disappoint. Marshall has put plenty of thought into the experience of using the speaker, and that shows with the inclusion of a guitar sound whenever the speaker turns on. Rock on.
While it doesn’t feature aptX Bluetooth, it does at least have the low energy Bluetooth 5.0. You can pair it with another Marshall Bluetooth speaker to make a stereo pair. Yet, even on its own, the Acton II boasts plenty of power. The sound remains well-balanced, with clarity in the mid-range and good low-end feel. Like its looks, you won’t be disappointed by the heft the Acton II can produce.
The price is a sticking point. And for that price you’d expect to also get aptX Bluetooth and wi-fi connectivity, which this model lacks. Despite that, if you’re looking to crank up your sound, the Acton II ought to be considered.
- Fantastic audio quality despite being mono
- Class leading battery life averaging over 30 hours
- Rugged and weathproof design
- Single mono speaker more powerful than stereo alternatives
- It is only mono so not as good for video
- Price is just a little high
One of the first Bluetooth speakers we really fell in love with was the original Minirig. It was almost all-speaker, and sounded better than anything its size. This is the Bluetooth version.
Driver smarts mean some of the slightly larger rectangular speakers you’ll see here will sound much bassier, but the MiniRig is still hard to beat among speakers that’ll only fill your palm. It has a 3-inch driver, the sort of size used in speakers many times the size. This driver is also super-efficient, helping the Minirig offer up to 50 hours of use between charges.
This figure applies when using a wired connection instead of Bluetooth, but the Minirig 2 will still outlast just about any rival speaker out there when using wireless too.
There’s even the option to add a matching Minirig Sub 2 subwoofer and another Minirig 2 to create a portable 2.1 system. The cost ramps up a little too high, though, and doesn’t match the audio quality of larger, similarly priced speakers such as the Beolit 17.
- Loud, full-bodied sound with lots of bass
- Terrific detail and composure
- Slim-yet-solid aluminium cabinet
- Eye-katching design
- Plasticky mesh
While the Dali Katch is undoubtedly a pricey speaker, this is the Bluetooth speaker you should be looking at if you value sound quality above all else.
Dali has packed in some serious speaker 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.
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 we make sure we fiddle with them until we’re satisfied. Some Bluetooth speakers recently started getting 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, which is the most important thing. Speakers are tested by reviewers with 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 something, 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.
Think we’ve missed a great Bluetooth speaker off our list? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews