Best Bluetooth speakers 2019: Bluetooth speakers offer a quick and easy way to stream music from your phone, tablet or laptop, delivering great sound. If you’re a music fan who’s tight on space, or regularly on the move, a wireless speaker is an essential purchase.
Bluetooth speakers come in all shapes, sizes and prices. Some offer smart functionality; others portability. Some can withstand inclement conditions; others are behemoths that can function as systems themselves. So which of those features do you need? And what size of speaker should you opt for?
That’s where we at Trusted Reviews come in. We’ve trawled through all the big brands, testing the Bluetooth speakers we could find to determine which offer the best quality and value. We’re here to clear up the confusion and to stop you from purchasing a speaker that doesn’t fit your requirements. What follows are the best Bluetooth speakers we’ve tested so far.
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- Best for big sound: Naim Mu-so 2
- Great for design: Ruark MRx
- Great battery life: B&O Play Beolit 17
- Best portable speaker: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
- Great for TVs: Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2
- Great for Hi-res audio: KEF LSX
- Great for bass: Dali Katch
- Best compact speaker: Audio Pro A10
- Great for features: Samsung AKG VL5
- Great for streaming: Cambridge Audio Yoyo (L)
Naim Mu-so 2
An upgrade on the original Mu-so
- Lovely materials and build quality
- Deft sound, with real reserves of power
- Plenty of functionality
- Not much of an advance visually
The original Mu-so carved out a space in the wireless speaker market, delivering authentic hi-fi for a premium price.
Five years later and Naim is back 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 effort, 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.
A well-equipped streaming speaker
- Great design and build
- Excellent sound
- Wealth of connections
- Flexible placement
- The app can be a little sluggish
Our reigning wireless speaker champion, the MRx is another terrific effort from Ruark.
It 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 that audio performance? 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
- 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, 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.
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
Small gains add up
- Huge sound
- Easy to use
- 13-hour battery life
- Outdoor Boost is useful
- 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. For less than £100, this is a choice pick.
Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2
A very classy Bluetooth speaker
- Amazing sound for the size
- Can give a boost to TV audio
- Portable option
- Sumptuous build and finish
- Attractive retro styling
- No built-in multi-room support
Best known for its DAB radios and hi-fi systems, the Ruark MR1 Mk2 perhaps offers the best sound-per-pound in the company’s lineup.
In addition to offering truly excellent hi-fi sonics from gorgeous retro-chic cabinets, the MR1 Mk2 offers a ton of versatility. For a start there’s an optical input, so they can be hooked up to a TV to boost the audio – say, a soundbar. They have a subwoofer output for adding extra meat if you fancy that too.
Their other neat trick is the optional battery pack for 12 hours of portable playback. You don’t have to carry both speakers around, either; the battery can be bolted to one for a rucksack-friendly mono unit.
Authentic hi-fi sound with wireless convenience
- Decent build and finish, in a number of colours
- Great wireless stability
- Excellent sound from any number of sources
- Short of outright scale and dynamism
- More apps than should be necessary
The LSX sees KEF wring every bit of performance it can from this two-box wireless system.
Packing speakers, amplifiers and wireless connectivity into a streamline package, the watchword here is “convenience”. And with Hi-Res Audio support, access to music streaming services and AirPlay 2 and more, there are plenty of ways to play your music library.
Feed it a good-quality track and the LSX responds with gusto, its finely balanced sound delivering good bass, crisp treble and plenty of insight. If you want hi-fi without all the boxes, the LSX is as good as any contender out there.
Elegant design, long battery life and sparkling sound
- Loud, full-bodied sound with lots of bass
- Terrific detail and composure
- Slim-yet-solid aluminium cabinet
- Eye-catching design
- Plasticky mesh
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
Sounds great and is fairly well stocked for features
- Stylish looks
- Composed and assured audio performance
- Compact design
- Easy to use
- 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
- Big, room-filling sound
- Precise and detailed delivery
- Effective smart app
Having bought audio brand AKG, Samsung has been using AKG’s special sauce to tune its audio products.
And so the VL speaker range was born, marrying elegant design with high-quality sound. The VL5 certainly looks swish. Its aluminium body is complemented by a wood finish, and there’s a Moving Dial that you can 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.
Cambridge Audio Yoyo (L)
A gorgeously designed and well-refined speaker
- Chromecast compatible
- Spotify Connect
- HDMI ARC for TV connection
- TV remote learning, acts like a soundbar
- No aptX
- No AirPlay
The Yoyo (L) is more than just a Bluetooth speaker; it can function as an all-in-one speaker system.
Its versatility means you can use it as a speaker for your TV, thanks to its HDMI ARC and optical connections. The Yoyo (L) also packs in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Spotify Connect and built-in Chromecast functionality to satisfy your audio needs.
AirPlay isn’t included, which isn’t ideal for Apple users. Plus there’s no Bluetooth aptX either, so you won’t be able to take advantage of the superior audio quality that provides. What you do get is a big sound, with solid mids and strong bass. This is a wireless speaker that offers plenty of value.
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom
One the best speakers around £50
- 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 a good example. If you’re looking for a Bluetooth speaker to accompany you on your travels, but don’t want to spend a small fortune, then there are few that are better.
The Wonderboom comes in a range of colours and, like UE’s other speakers, it can survive submersion into water to 1m for 30 minutes, meaning it’s great for poolside use.
Sound quality is respectable for a speaker of this size, with plenty of bass. With 10 hours of battery life, it delivers respectable stamina before you need a charge.
JBL Charge 3
Sturdy sound and build make this a solid choice
- 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 with the JBL Charge 3’s 6000mAh battery.
What’s more, you can do that at the pool and not worry about killing the speaker, because its IPX7 rating means it will survive a dunking, accidental or otherwise, since it is able to withstand 1m of water for 30 minutes.
Despite the shape, it isn’t 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.
Affordable and surprisingly good
- 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, 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.