The Best Bluetooth Speakers, Tested by HGTV Editors

Take your listening experience to the next level with these Bluetooth speakers you can take virtually anywhere.

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September 11, 2020

Our Top Picks for Bluetooth Speakers

Once you listen to your favorite playlist or podcast through a Bluetooth speaker instead of your phone's speaker, you won't go back. Even budget speaker options can offer an elevated listening experience. And the best part? Bluetooth speakers aren't these big, clunky, nonportable items they once were; even top-of-the-line devices are often small enough to (gently) toss in your handbag for on-the-go listening. When purchasing a Bluetooth speaker, think of your need first. Do you want one for outdoor adventures and travel, or are you primarily looking for a device to move from room to room in your home? Beyond size and ease of portability, consider price, range, battery life and any other features that are important to you (like water-resistance and hands-free capabilities). We considered all of these factors and more when choosing our top picks for portable Bluetooth speakers.

$129

Bose, best known for its speakers, headphones and home audio systems, takes our top spot for its SoundLink Color ll Bluetooth Speaker. At just over a pound, this compact speaker packs big sound into a small, water-resistant device that’s durable enough to take with you anywhere you go. Don’t be fooled by it’s soft, sleek, silicone exterior — it’s incredibly durable and just as prepared for outdoor adventures as it is sitting neatly on a bedroom nightstand. It’s incredibly easy to use with voice prompts telling you what device you’re paired to so you don’t have to guess. Plus, its lithium-ion battery offers up to eight hours of music and charges back up with a standard Micro-B USB cable. For some, having a speaker with hands-free capabilities is crucial, and the SoundLink checks that box. A built-in speakerphone allows you to take calls with a wireless range of around 30 feet. And with the Bose Connect app, you can connect, switch between devices, personalize your settings and more. But, besides all the cool features, you’re probably wondering about the sound quality — the most important element of a Bluetooth speaker. Known for its top-notch bass, this speaker delivers. The sound is bold yet balanced, and the volume doesn't need to be very high to hear the difference. You can even turn it up a notch by pairing two SoundLink speakers together for party or stereo modes to deliver sound across your entire home. And as the name suggests, you can grab a SoundLink Color in six fun hues, from aqua and coral to citron and midnight blue.

Our Editor Says: "I find myself toting this speaker all over the house — and even outside while I do yard work — because I'm so obsessed with the level of sound that can come out of such a little device."

Buy It
$99

While all of our picks are portable, the Bose SoundLink Micro is actually built for travel. The tiny, less-than-four-inch-wide speaker comes with a tear-resistant strap to attach to your backpack, bike handlebars, cooler and more. Its soft yet rugged exterior resists dents, cracks and scratches and is even waterproof from the inside out. Basically, if you drop it in water, just dry it off and keep playing music. Like its big sister, the Bose SoundLink, it features hands-free speakerphone capabilities, wireless Bluetooth pairing with voice prompts and a 30-foot wireless range. You’ll get six hours of listening from a single charge with a USB cable. The sound quality is superior for its size, too. It offers a crisp, balanced sound and produces a noticeable level of bass when the volume is both high and low. Although the price is significantly higher than other speakers of the same size, we found the sound quality makes it worth every penny.

Our Editor Says: "The bass is really superior. It has a much better sound than most of the other speakers I've used — portable or not."

Buy It
$29.99 $23
On Sale!

For less than $30, nothing compares to Anker’s SoundCore Bluetooth Speaker. At just 12.6 ounces and 6.5 inches wide, it delivers high-quality stereo sound and deep bass with exceptional clarity and little-to-no distortion. With the longest battery life of our picks — clocking in at a full 24 hours — you can crank up the volume for an entire weekend on a single charge. It even has the longest range of our picks at 66 feet, plus easy, instant Bluetooth pairing without a companion app. It can even connect with Alexa-enabled devices and has microphone and auxiliary ports so you can connect to virtually anything — Bluetooth or not. While it’s not waterproof or water-resistant, the exterior is tough and designed for on-the-go listening. Curved edges, sleek controls and a solid, drop-proof build make it perfectly suited for both indoor and outdoor use. If we had to pick a con, it would be the giant logo emblazoned across the speaker grill. If you grab the speaker in red or blue, though, the logo looks a bit more discreet. (Some reviewers mentioned painting the speaker grill, but we didn’t try or test this out.) Overall, as the more than 39K reviews profess, this really is an affordable, high-quality speaker. And if you’re still questioning the price tag, an 18-month worry-free warranty should put you at ease.

Our Editor Says: "I like that it's affordable and compact and has great sound quality as well as a long, reliable battery life."

Buy It

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