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Best Bluetooth Speakers 2022: The best budget and premium wireless speakers

Introduction

Bluetooth speakers are a convenient way to stream music both indoors and outdoors, a great way of sharing music with others and putting in a more convincing performance than your mobile device would ever be able to offer.

Whether it’s for indoor listening, parties or outdoor adventures, the best thing about Bluetooth speakers is that they can adapt to your needs and accompany on your travels, wherever they may be. But knowing which best Bluetooth speaker to get can be a stumbling block as the market is flooded with so many.

And thus we’re here to help, assembling this list of the best Bluetooth speakers with the choices including covering home use well as taking your music outdoors. Whether you want a small one to carry around or a bigger one for social gatherings, on this list you’ll find portable, outdoor and desktop-based speakers to match your needs and tastes.

With mobile devices increasingly opting to discard wired connections, or featuring ports that may not be compatible with a device, such as Apple’s Lightning connector. Bluetooth gets around that, so you don’t have to physically plug the device to play your music.

We have listened to the speakers on this list by playing lots of music, indoors and out, to get a impression of how they perform, as well as comparing them to similarly priced rivals to determine how how much value they offer.

If there’s another type of speaker you’re after, check out our best outdoor speakers, or have a look at our best smart and best multi-room speaker lists.

Best Bluetooth speakers at a glance

How we test

How we test wireless 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.

Naim Mu-So Qb 2

Best premium Bluetooth speaker
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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? We thought it was one of the coolest looking speakers and the second-gen version is even better.

Like the original, it boasts a cubed design but features a new illuminated dial that lights up when your hand hovers over to reveal its controls, which our reviewer found to be one of the nicest control systems presented for a hi-fi speaker. The main upgrades aren’t visible on the outside, with Naim’s biggest changes all happening on the inside with all-new driver units and digital signal processor.

The range of connectivity is wide, as alongside Bluetooth 4.2 there’s Roon-ready support, Spotify Connect, built-in Chromecast, Apple AirPlay 2, UPnP, and Tidal for means of sending audio to the speaker, plus there’s Internet radio with via vTuner. Multi-room is a choice between products in the Google Home ecosystem and the aforementioned AirPlay 2, which is more suited to iOS users.

Compared to the original, we found the performance powerful but also nuanced, showcasing a broad and well-defined soundstage. It’s a beautifully made, fabulously exciting listen even with the increase in price to $1199 / £899 that makes it a pricey rival to either of Bowers & Wilkins’ Formation Wedge or Zeppelin efforts.

Reviewer: Simon Lucas
Full Review: Naim Mu-so Qb2

Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin

Best stylish Bluetooth speaker
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Pros

  • Precise sound
  • Plenty of streaming options
  • Striking design
  • Nice app

Cons

  • Rather large to accommodate
  • No Chromecast
  • Stereo ambitions overstated

If you find the Naim too expensive, the latest iteration of Bowers & Wilkin’s Zeppelin speaker might turn your head at a less expensive $799 / £699, and recently it has dropped to £549 online.

Available in midnight grey and pearl grey (effectively black or white) to suit your décor, the Zeppelin is the widest Bluetooth speaker on this list at 650mm wide, which makes it slightly difficult to accommodate if you’re limited on space. Still, from an aesthetic viewpoint we found this to be a looker, the contoured curves and high-quality fabric covering showcases the speaker’s premium feel.

Bluetooth is aptX Adaptive, which will help the speaker maintain a steady connection to the source device irrespective of any potential interference. We enjoyed the audio performance this speaker offered, a big and loud effort that brought plenty of fidelity to whatever we listened to.

Compared to Bluetooth speakers of similar ilk, like the Braun LE02, the bass performance is bigger and more powerful, and the crispness of the sound works well with the reproduction of singer’s vocals. Although the Zeppelin claims to offer stereo sound, we found its stereo ambitions to be largely overstated, a sense of width and stereo imaging not especially evident with the playlist we listened to.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin

Bang and Olufsen Beosound A1 2nd Gen

Best smart Bluetooth speaker
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Pros

  • Excellent sound
  • Portable
  • Alexa support
  • Great style
  • Waterproof design

Cons

  • Pricey

B&O A1 2nd gen is the sequel to the Beoplay A1 and improves upon that speaker with an even better sonic delivery.

It is the world’s first Bluetooth-only speaker to support Alexa, relying on the Bluetooth connection between it and a smartphone to access the digital assistant. We found it worked pretty well in a local park, Alexa usually responding quickly to queries unless the smartphone was busy doing another task. We’d suggest not doing too much multitasking with a phone if she proves to be less responsive than usual.

As you’d expect from a Bang & Olufsen product, it ladles on the style with its aluminium top surface and waterproof leather base. Its IP67 rating protects it from water and dust and the 18-hour battery life exceeds the likes of Sonos Roam and Wonderboom 3, so you can listen to music on this speaker for longer.

What impressed us the most during testing was its audio. For a speaker of its size and shape, it produced a detailed, clear sound, and ample amounts of bass. Compared to the portable speakers that feature on this list, it’s the best-sounding effort.

It’s gone up in price since we reviewed it, available at $279 / £239. Even in light of its increase, we’d rate this as an excellent Bluetooth speaker.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: B&O Beosound A1 2nd Gen

JBL Charge 5

Best loud portable speaker
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Pros

  • Big, spacious and powerful sound
  • Rugged design
  • Can be used as a powerbank
  • App support

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Treble performance could be better

No company seems to produce as many wireless speakers in various forms as JBL does, the Charge 5 sits between the Flip series and Xtreme models as a big, yet portable speaker for those who want a loud, dynamic performance both indoors and out.

It comes in an array of colours to suit any listener’s personality, and also comes shaped like an American football. Its big and fairly heavy at nearly 1kg and doesn’t come with a handle or strap for carry. The fabric covering is one we found to be quite grippy for carrying in the hand though you’ll want to stow it in away in a bag when not in use. Its tough IP67 rating ensures protection against water and dust like the Wonderboom 3 and Beosound A1 2nd Gen that feature on this list.

Battery is quoted around 20 hours, which should suffice for a few days use and the speaker can be used as a powerbank to charge other mobile devices. There is app support in the form of the JBL Portable app, which we found to be simple to use. There aren’t many features inside, with just the ability to change the speaker’s EQ, update the firmware (which we did found could take a while) and enable the PartyBoost feature. This allows the Charge 5 to be stereo paired to another speaker or connected to as many JBL compatible speakers as you like.

The sound from the Charge 5 is one that our reviewer found to be big, loud and powerfully. It can generate satisfying amounts of punchy bass but it doesn’t do so at the expense of overall balance or clarity. The midrange is clear and there’s good separation and definition of voices and instruments to make the listener can hear what’s going on in the track. Raise the volume up and while there’s not as much bass as there is at lower volumes, there’s notable distortion with the Charge 5 sounding louder than the bigger Sony SRS-XG300 when playing The Beatles’ Hey Jude.

The JBL is a fun, energetic-sounding speaker with a sound that’s more balanced than you may expect. It’s available at a reasonably tidy price too, around the same price bracket as the Marshall Emberton II and Sonos Roam. For those in the market of a speaker that can go loud and still produce good amounts of bass, the Charge 5 is a portable speaker to keep in mind.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: JBL Charge 5

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3

Best Bluetooth speaker under £100
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Pros

  • Improved audio
  • Extended battery life
  • Resilient build quality
  • More sustainable design
  • Same price as before

Cons

  • Lack of USB-C charging
  • No stereo pairing with older models

The original Wonderboom was great, the Wonderboom 2 went further and with the Wonderboom 3, Ultimate Ears has, in our view, created its best small portable speaker so far.

Once again it is the same size and carries the same look as before, and that helps make the Wonderboom 3 a good option for those who don’t have space in their bags for something big. The only real difference are the colours that the Wonderboom 3 come in, with Ultimate Ears choosing more contrasting colours this time out. It also keeps its IP67 rating that protects it from water and dust, so we can imaging this speaker being used in the garden, on a beach or even in more adventurous conditions.

On the features side not much has changed. The Outdoor Boost and Double Up continue on with the former boosting mid-range and treble performance for more extra clarity outdoors, while Double Up offers stereo pairing with another Wonderboom 3 speaker (it doesn’t work with other Wonderboom generations). Battery life has been increased by an hour to 14, while there’s no sign of USB-C charging, which may annoy those who’d prefer to rely on one cable to charge all their devices..

We felt that the Wonderboom 3’s audio was the best we had sampled yet from the series. Like the Stormbox Micro 2, it’s a much more balanced affair: smoother, more detailed and more spacious in how it sounds. It lacks the crispness, energy and dynamism of the Wonderboom 2 but we’d say the older model sounds less refined when compared to the new Wonderboom. The speaker offers better sound and a sprinkling of new features for the same price as before, and that’s enough in our minds to keep the Wonderboom 3 at the top of the pile for its £100 asking price.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3

Sonos Roam

Best Bluetooth portable speaker
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Pros

  • Excellent, neutral-sounding performance
  • Well built
  • New features are useful
  • Easy to use
  • Auto Trueplay

Cons

  • Sonos S2 little flaky with new features
  • Rather functional looks
  • Wireless charging plate an optional extra

The Roam is the true Sonos portable speaker you can take on your travels unlike the Move. Use it at home and it connects to the Sonos network over Wi-Fi, and when outside it instantly switches to Bluetooth so you can continue listening to your music.

In terms of operation we found it easy enough to use, with playback buttons on the top surface and a power/standby button that’s easily reachable further down. The 10-hour battery is enough to eke out a day’s use, but behind the likes of the Wonderboom 2 (13 hours) and A1 2nd Gen (18 hours).

It sounds great with a natural, detailed and clear sound. Bass is fine but is the weakest link in its armoury, the Ultimate Ears Boom 2 offers more presence while the Beosound A1 2nd Gen rumbles up more depth. If bass is what you’re in need of, the Roam is punchier than it is deep with its low frequency performance. It’s a versatile unit though, happy to play any type of track with confidence.

For existing Sonos owners, the Roam makes sense for taking the Sonos experience out of the home, and with the Roam SL, there’s a cheaper microphone-less version of the speaker. Sonos has also rectified one of the nit-picks we had by expanding the range of colours it comes in (olive green, rusty red and wave blue), making the Roam more eye-catching for the outdoors.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Sonos Roam

Tribit StormBox Micro 2

Best budget Bluetooth speaker
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Pros

  • Improved sound over original
  • Boosted battery life
  • Can charge other devices
  • Affordable price
  • Dust and waterproof design

Cons

  • May lack a sense of fun for some

The original Stormbox Micro was a very good portable speaker at an affordable price, and the Stormbox Micro 2 sees Tribit repeating the trick again with an even better performance.

The audio is a step up in virtually all regards. We found that the Micro 2 was able to go louder than the original, the size of the sound was also bigger and projected further away from the speaker’s body and it presented music with much more clarity than the original, too. Out reviewer felt it achieved a better balance in its sound quality, with bass bigger and better described; treble frequencies sharper and clearer, while more detail is retrieved in the midrange, helping to define instruments with more sharpness and detail.

The design has been altered, the buttons coloured white to contrast better against the fabric covering; the speaker is also bigger and can now serve as a powerbank to change any mobile devices you have on your person via USB-C charging. It keeps the useful tear-resistant strap that allows it to be attached to handlebars or rucksacks to accompany users on their journeys. It also retains its IP67 rating, so it’s insulated against dust and water for those who want to take their speaker on more adventurous outdoor activities.

Battery life has been improved from 8-hours to 12, which puts it among the likes of the Sonos Roam (11) and Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 (14). There’s also support for an app that allows for the speaker’s EQ to be adjusted along with enabling updates, which should allow the speaker to last for longer.

The Stormbox Micro 2 is everything a sequel should be, improving on the weaker aspects and making the good parts even better. It does come at a slight increase in cost to £59.99, but we’d say that around this price point, we haven’t yet listened to a portable speaker that’s better.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Tribit Stormbox Micro 2

Q Acoustics M20 HD

Best desktop Bluetooth speaker
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Pros

  • Powerful, engaging sound
  • Versatile feature-set
  • Affordable asking price

Cons

  • Could benefit from more definition, dynamic agility
  • Stands add a fair bit to overall cost

In the Q Acoustics M20 HD, you have a Bluetooth speaker that is more fitting for desktop stereo use or even connected to a TV via its other connections.

The M20 HD is an active speaker system, which means there is no need for external amplification/boxes, so you can plug it into the power port and get going with your music. AptX-HD Bluetooth ensures that the system can play files up to 24-bit/kHz resolution, so you can get some high-fidelity performance from Bluetooth playback.

The Bluetooth support matches Edifier’s S2000MKIII, but at 10.6kg the Q Acoustics are a much lighter and smaller proposition, which makes carrying them around and positioning them on speaker stands less of a hassle. The range of connections is also better than the Edifier, so if you’re not listening to them over Bluetooth, there’s scope to connect the M20 HD to a TV or connect a USB stick to play audio files at resolutions of up to 24-bit/192kHz.

And in terms of their sound, our reviewer found the system to boast a fun and engaging performance, with a warm and rich mid-range performance, powerful bass and defined top end of the frequency range. They’re great with music, films and games and their price makes them better value than the similarly specified but more expensive Klipsch The Fives.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Q Acoustics M20 HD

KitSound Diggit 55

Best garden Bluetooth speaker
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Pros

  • Clear, detailed performance
  • Can be used indoors and out
  • Easy to use
  • Good looks

Cons

  • Bass lacks excitement
  • Not fully waterproofed

There’s a growing number of garden-based Bluetooth speakers, and the best value effort we’ve come across is KitSound’s Diggit 55.

At £50 you can buy a few to dot around the garden, and if you purchase two there’s the option of stereo pairing to create a bigger sound, which we found simple enough to enable by holding the speakers together. They’ve had a few minor tweaks from their predecessor in terms of the faux wood look and placement of connections, and they come with a stake for rooting them in the ground. With their IP66 rating the Diggit 55 are water-resistant rather than waterproof; so while a light shower is likely fine, anything more and you’d need to bring them inside.

Its mid-range performance was the aspect we liked the most, with plenty of detail and clarity afforded to vocals and a soundstage described with a sense of space so instruments are separated from each other. Bass is flatly described whether indoors or out, and unlike the Wonderboom 2, it doesn’t reach the same volume levels or produce that speaker’s infectious sense of energy. Walking around the unit, the 360-degree worked well enough, with only a slight change in tone noticeable.

Set it in a decent-sized garden and the KitSound offers good-value sound that belies its asking price. For garden parties multiple Diggit 55 speakers are worth considering.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: KitSound Diggit 55

FAQs

What’s the best Bluetooth speaker on a budget?

We’d point to the Tribit Stormbox Micro 2. Its design allows for it to be used in many different ways, the sound is much improved over the original and it comes with app support as well as the ability to charge other devices.

What’s the best Bluetooth speaker system for the home?

With the Naim Mu-so Qb 2 it’s compact enough to occupy a small space and produces an impressive stereo image for its size.

We also considered…

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