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Thanks to modern technology, queuing up our iTunes playlist is easier than ever before. We don’t need a computer or a fancy stereo system to enjoy a rip-roaring time. All you need is a cheap mp3 player and a pair of headphones.
Though, nothing is quite as invigorating as the sound of music reverberating off your walls. Nothing gets you dancing to the pounding beats of speakers. With Bluetooth speakers, you can set up a stereo system anywhere in your house. Your phone becomes your playlist, and Bluetooth is the carrier wave that gets it all going.
Because Bluetooth speakers rely on wireless signals to play music, you don’t need an actual stereo unit – the speakers themselves will suffice, making it easier to set up speakers across the home. And since you’re streaming music directly from your phone, you don’t have to worry about changing CDs or changing the files on your computer either. Your phone is your DJ.
Like any other speaker, a Bluetooth speaker is only as good as its sound quality allow. If you want a great speaker system with tweeters and plenty of basses, you’re going to have to fork out some money. On the other hand, there are plenty of cheaper speakers perfect for proliferating your house with tunes.
The bottom line is buying a good pair of speakers. After listening to a ton of speakers, we’ve narrowed it down to the top ten speakers worthy of your eardrums.
Things to Consider
Buying a set of speakers is always more than the sum of its parts. Music fills an important role in most of our lives. A good set of speakers helps to enhance the role that it plays. Ever since the earliest days of the phonograph, technologies have been developed, enhanced and improved, all to better bring to life the rich emotional experience of music in our ears, in our homes and our hearts.
This means that you need to pay attention to what you buy. For most of us, any old set of speakers just won’t do the trick. While money often keeps us from going all-out and buying a $500 stereo, that doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice our aural experience. By paying attention to a few key factors, we can stretch our dollars a little further, buying a set of speakers that are truly worth our time.
Although Bluetooth speakers get their music from a different source than regular speakers, they function the same way, and the same rules apply.
1. Volume Control
When it comes to sound, the louder, the better. That said, you want to try to find a pair of speakers that sound good quiet because we can’t always turn our music up to 11. This is one way in which dedicated speakers are superior to headphones. Headphones often have poor volume control, and quieter songs just never sound as good.
2. Sound Quality
Sound quality is just as important, if not more important than volume control. After all, a loud speaker doesn’t do you any good if it sounds like crap. You don’t want your speakers to distort the sound or crackle when the volume is turned up too high, and you also want a speaker to preserve the fidelity of the song when played at a low volume.
3. Tweeter and Subwoofer
A tweeter is essential for capturing high-pitched sounds, and a woofer is needed to project deeper bass notes. Most people place more importance on the subwoofer, especially if you’re into dance music. But neglecting the tweeter at the expense of a great subwoofer can result in your music sounding very heavy in one way and very weak in another. The net result isn’t good.
4. Bluetooth Connection
This is one way in which Bluetooth speakers do differ from regular speakers. Most speakers, whether attached to a turntable, a CD player, television or your iPod, have a direct connection to the source of the music. In the case of Bluetooth speakers, that signal is not being sent through a physical electrical connection but by wireless wavelengths. This means that if a speaker has a hard time staying connected to your Bluetooth signal, your music reception isn’t going to be good.
The size of your speakers is important. Some speakers can be quite large, and not everyone has the room for that. Larger speakers are usually louder than regular speakers, but they also often require a dedicated area to keep them. Smaller speakers, on the other hand, are portable, making them easier to transport with you as you traverse your home.
If you’re looking for a true stereo sound experience, then the Acoustic Audio AA5170 Home Theater 5.1 Bluetooth Speaker System is the Bluetooth speaker system you’re looking for.
Six speakers for 5.1 stereo sound.
Plug and Play connections for 3.5 mm and RCA included.
Compatible with Bluetooth, SD cards and flash drives.
Remote controller included.
Best Bluetooth Speakers Under $25
10. OontZ Angle 3 Next Generation Ultra-Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
A lot of people like to take their music with them wherever they go. I’m one of them. My cell phone is loaded with 1960s honky-tonk country that I play proudly every morning when I walk my dog. While my taste in music may be more rustic and old-fashioned than yours, my love of music is the same. One of the great advantages of a Bluetooth speaker is that you can take it with you everywhere.
The OontZ Angle 3 Next Generation Portable Bluetooth Speaker takes advantage of the wireless benefits of Bluetooth technology to create a compact, portable speaker that’s perfect for picnics, camping and other activities that place you outside the walls of your home. Despite their small size – the speakers are five inches long and weigh just 10 ounces – the speaker has two five-watt drivers and can play for 12 hours or more in a single sitting.
Bluetooth connection is easy as well. As long as your smartphone is in cell service range, you can piggyback off your data plan and stream audio via Bluetooth to the Angle 3 speaker. The speaker has a rechargeable battery and is also resistant to water and sand. It also has a 3.5 mm auxiliary cable and a micro-USB cable for charging. A carrying case is, unfortunately, sold separately. Still, for such a small speaker, this offers pretty good sound quality. At this price, it’s an absolute bargain.
- 10 watt speaker offers surprisingly good sound
- Just 5 inches long and 10 ounces
- Can play music for 12 hours or more
- Carrying case not included
Best Bluetooth Speakers Under $100
9. Panasonic SC-NE1 Compact Wireless Speaker SystemIf you’re looking for a compact Bluetooth-compatible speaker that’s easy to move from one room to another, the Panasonic SC-NE1 is a great choice. Panasonic uses careful digital processing to ensure your sound is as crisp, clear and true-to-life as possible.
The speaker is quite small, measuring just 12 inches long and weighing five pounds. It can be moved from room to room at your convenience or mounted on a wall for a clean, minimalist modern look. With an output power of 40W, the speaker sounds quite good for its size, and its Pure Direct Sound System helps keep the music quality at a high level. The speaker has a nano-sized cone and a 1-inch tweeter.
While the sound on this speaker is good, it’s not going to blow you away. The sound output might also be too low for a home theater setup, although that will depend on individual preferences. But if you want a speaker to play some tunes while you clean around the house, this is a great buy.
- 40-watt speaker offers good sound
- Just 12 inches long and 5 pounds
- Mounts on the wall for discreet storage
- Connecting to Bluetooth is a hassle
8. Logitech Z506 Surround Sound Home Theater Speaker System
Unlike the OontZ Angle 3, this Logitech Z506 surround sound stereo system isn’t going anywhere. This is a stationary speaker set, and its use of Bluetooth rather than a standard audio connection means you can set this stereo up anywhere without worrying about a bunch of messy cables.
Although the Logitech Z506 is definitely not high-end speakers, they do put out a decent sound quality, and at 75 watts are more than enough to fill your room. The stereo produces 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, and it can even adapt 2.1 source signals and translate it into 5.1. The speaker system includes four drivers, a tweeter and a subwoofer.
One of the nice things about these speakers is they have all the traditional plug-ins so that you can connect them to your television or turntable easily. Unfortunately, the cables are all way too short, which is frustrating. Fortunately, the Bluetooth adapter also makes it so you can stream your music directly to the speakers. The Bluetooth adapter has a range of 50 feet. All in all, this is a pretty good quality stereo system that offers great sound for the price.
- Six speakers combine for 75 watts
- 5.1 Surround Sound
- Receives Bluetooth signal up to 50 feet away
- Traditional audio cables are too short
7. Acoustic Audio AA5170 Home Theater 5.1 Bluetooth Speaker System
Most good 5.1 surround sound stereo systems are rather large and bulky. The Acoustic Audio AA5170 Home Theater Speaker System is no exception to the rule. These speakers are large and rather unsightly and require dedicated shelving units to support them. But the sound is worth it.
As the name of the speakers suggests, these speakers are intended for home theater use, and as such have all of the necessary audio cables to connect to your flat screen TV or television projector system. The sound of these speakers is simply breathtaking. There are five satellite speakers and one subwoofer, and they combine for an incredible 700 watts of power. Unfortunately, the sound quality doesn’t quite match the power output.
In addition to Bluetooth connectivity, these speakers also have plug and play connections, as well as USB and SD card readers, allowing you to play songs directly off of your flash drive. All of these options combine to make this much more than simply a great home theater stereo system. This is a great stereo system for your home at all times.
- Six speakers combine for 700 watts
- 5.1 Surround Sound
- Supports a variety of play methods
- Sound quality is not up to the task of 700 watts
6. All-New Echo (2nd Generation)
First, a caveat. The 2nd Generation Amazon Echo has not been released yet at the time of this writing, and won’t be available until the end of October 2017. I’m well acquainted with the original Amazon Echo, and I can personally vouch that, in addition to being a great smart hub, it possesses an awesome-sounding speaker.
I have little doubt, then, that the upcoming Echo will preserve this fine tradition. The Echo connects to the Cloud-based Alexa app, but since that isn’t strictly pertinent to the Echo’s abilities as a speaker, I won’t go into detail here. What is significant is that, in addition to connecting to your smartphone devices via Bluetooth and playing your music library directly off of your phone, it can also connect to your Amazon music account, Pandora, Spotify, Youtube, iHeartRadio and other music-based streaming services.
The other nice thing about the Echo as a speaker is that it provides crisp, clear omnidirectional sound with a healthy bass. The speaker includes a 2.5-inch woofer and a 0.6-inch tweeter. Thanks to the added features Alexa provides, buying an Echo for your in-home Bluetooth speaker is a great way to kill two birds with one stone.
- Crisp omnidirectional sound
- Combines with Alexa for more music streaming alternatives
- Features both woofer and tweeters
- Speaker isn’t as loud as a stereo system
Best Bluetooth Speakers Under $150
5. Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker II
Bose is a name that has been known in audio circles for over 50 years. They are renowned for producing stellar audio equipment, and the Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker is no exception.
This particular speaker is small and portable, designed to be a travelling companion from room to room or for brief excursions away from home. The speaker itself is durable, as the case is made with silicone, and able to withstand a little water, dust or even impact. Its lithium-ion battery lasts for up to 8 hours, or you can keep it charged at home with a USB power source. In addition to playing music through your Bluetooth connection, it also has a built-in mic so you can ask Siri for directions.
Fortunately, the speaker is easy to work with as well. Unlike some Bluetooth speakers that come with cumbersome apps, the Bose app makes it easy to streamline your Bluetooth connection so that you can listen to the music or podcasts you want when you want to listen to them. If you want a great, portable, versatile speaker that you can use at home or on the run, this is a great speaker to invest in.
- Durable silicon case resists water and impact
- Can play music for up to 12 hours
- Built-in mic lets you talk to Siri
- Battery life could be better
Best Bluetooth Speakers Under $200
4. Sony CMTSBT100 Micro Music System
With the Sony CMTSBT100 Micro Music System, we’ve returned to a more traditional stereo setup. Despite the modern incorporation of Bluetooth signals, the aesthetic of these speakers hails straight from the 1980s.
In fact, this stereo system is retro through and through, featuring both AM/FM radio and a compact disc player for those of you (like me) who still listen to CDs. For Sony, the addition of Bluetooth compatibility is more of a modern upgrade to a classic stereo than it is a radical redefinition. Not only do these speakers look great, but they also sound great too, with awesome 50-watt speakers with 2-way bass reflex.
There is a downside to this, however. This isn’t the fastest stereo system in the world. In fact, it often takes a minute or two for it to read your CD or USB drive, which can be slightly aggravating. That said, you’d be hard-pressed to find better sound or aesthetics for a speaker in this price range.
- 50-watt speakers offer great sound
- Classic 80s design
- Includes CD player
- Stereo system responds very slowly
Best Bluetooth Speakers Under $300
3. Harman Kardon SoundSticks Wireless Bluetooth Enabled 2.1 Speaker System
The Harman Kardon SoundSticks is one of the most elegant and beautiful speaker systems in the world. The speakers are a work of art, combining grace with the performance for a stereo that is unlike any other.
A beautiful stereo system doesn’t do you any good if it doesn’t sound good, but that’s not a problem here. Not only does this stereo has a 6-inch woofer, but it also has eight full-range transducers, combining for 40 watts of phenomenal sound. Even the controls are elegant. Rather than dials and knobs, they are simple touch-based controls, adding yet another area of refinement to this extraordinary speaker system.
Speakers as nice as these shouldn’t be relegated to some office somewhere, and thanks to Bluetooth, they don’t have to be. Place them in your living room to show off to family and friends, or anywhere else for that matter. Thanks to Harman TrueStream, the digital connection helps maintain the fidelity of your music, ensuring your songs will sound just as great over Bluetooth as they do with a direct audio connection.
- 40-watt speakers offer great sound
- Striking, elegant design
- Includes a 6-inch woofer
- Somewhat delicate and fragile
Best Bluetooth Speakers Under $400
2. PRORECK PARTY 15 Portable 15-Inch 2000 Watt 2-Way Powered PA Speaker System
Have you ever dreamed of having concert-quality speakers? With the PRORECK Party Portable PA Speaker System, your dream can become a reality. Whether you’re a DJ who needs a good set of speakers for his show or just for your house party, these speakers are an affordable way to wake the whole neighbourhood.
The power behind these speakers is staggering. 2000 watts of power is channelled through these speakers, and a 15-inch woofer pumps out more bass than you can imagine. There’s more to these speakers than just the sound, as well. They come with stands to support them, LED lights to put on an exciting show, and even a microphone to talk to your guests or your audience.
For the average person, these Bluetooth party speakers will be way, way more than you need. Each speaker weighs 40 pounds, and they’re much too loud to use indoors. But for the right circumstances or situations, these are an absolute blast.
- 2000 watt speakers are perfect for huge events
- Comes with four LED lights
- Works with Bluetooth, USB, SD card and AM/FM radio
- Way too loud for ordinary use
Best Bluetooth Speakers Under $1500
1. Naim – Mu-So Reference Wireless Music System
It’s hard to believe that so much sound could fit in such a small package, but the Naim-Mu-So Wireless Music System manages to do it all. From Bluetooth and ApplePlay to Spotify and internet radio, the Naim-Mu-So can play everything and sound amazing while doing so.
The music system has an impressive six built-in 75W amplifiers delivering 450 watts of pure bliss. A 32-bit digital signal processor (DSP) helps to preserve the audio signals, ensuring greater fidelity and improved sound. There isn’t much this music system can’t-do.
The main drawback is the price. The Naim-Mu-So is pushing $1500, which is a pretty hard buy for a lot of people – myself included – to justify. But if you do have the capital sitting around and you want to invest, this is the way to go.
- 450-watt speakers deliver amazing sound
- Compatible with a variety of music streaming services
- Uses 32-bit digital signal processor
- Way too loud for ordinary use
Whether you’re looking for a portable speaker for travelling, compact speakers for the home, a home theater surround sound system or something else, there are plenty of great speakers to choose from. We’ve done the hard part. Now it’s up to you. Hopefully, this guide has provided you with the information you need to look for and buy a Bluetooth speaker that meets your needs. Even if the right speaker for you isn’t here, we hope you find what you’re looking for. Happy shopping!
*All prices mentioned above are at the time of publishing.