What is the best bluetooth speaker for the money?
Finding Quality Portable Bluetooth Speakers
Bluetooth speakers are awesome—they let you connect to and blast your music without dealing with the hassle of wires and cords (besides the power cord) that tangle, frustrate, and apparently look like cat toys that must be destroyed. (That can’t be just my cat, can it?) Portable Bluetooth speakers are even cooler, as they allow you to blast your music anywhere, without an external power supply or connecting cables.
The only problem with portable Bluetooth speakers is that there are so many from which to choose! It’s honestly quite overwhelming, especially if you are not especially tech-savvy or knowledgeable about Bluetooth and/or speakers. (This piece takes for granted that the reader is familiar with “portable.”)
What to Look for When Purchasing Portable Bluetooth Speakers
If you are interested in purchasing the best pair of portable Bluetooth speakers you can afford, you should be aware of the different features that are offered. Of course, “best” is subjective and different for everyone–it really depends on what you need. However, it is still a good idea to be aware of your options.
Of course, the first quality a portable Bluetooth speakers have is durability. The appeal of portable electronics is largely based on the assumption that the user can toss them into a backpack, gym bag, or purse without having to worry about breaking them and rendering them useless.
To this end, your portable Bluetooth speakers should be very lightweight and compact, made out of sturdy material that is weather-resistant and shock-resistant, and generally well-made and built to last. Now, because stores do not usually look kindly upon those who want to endurance test their products, the only way to really find out if a set is durable and meant to last is to check online reviews. Luckily, there are tons of them out there to help you make an informed decision.
Because portable Bluetooth speakers are so small and compact, the audio quality will likely not be as good as a non-portable model. However, this largely depends on how much money you are willing to pay for your speakers. Most portable speakers relay treble very well, with some models performing as well as their non-portable counterparts, but most struggle to get a good, booming bass going and some lose sound quality if the volume is turned up extremely loud.
Audio quality is something that is largely subjective; honestly, unless you are an audiophile, most portable Bluetooth speakers will have good enough sound quality for you to not notice a real difference. As stated before, this is largely a question of how much you are willing to pay.
Microphone & Speakerphone
A microphone feature that also doubles as a speakerphone is an essential component of a portable Bluetooth speaker, especially if you are concerned about missing phone calls while your phone is connected to the speaker. A system that has this capability will allow you to answer your phone, speak to, and hear the person on the other end of the line—all without having to have your mobile near you.
While many portable Bluetooth speakers have this feature, the distance at which it works varies; for some, you must be very close to the speaker, but others allow for a larger distance. If you plan on using your speakers in the car, this is a great feature to have as it allows you to talk hands-free, so you don’t compromise you or others’ safety by talking on a cell phone directly.
A good portable Bluetooth speaker have a long battery life. A potential downside of portable electronics is that they require a battery to run (although many can be plugged into a wall when an outlet is available). Some take rechargeable batteries, others take the standard kind, but no matter what type of battery your system calls for, you want it to last a long time, not give out 3 hours into a 10 hour trip. The best portable Bluetooth speakers will have a battery life of at least 8 to 10 hours.
Doubles as a Charging Station
Speaking of batteries, the best portable Bluetooth speakers will also double as a charging station for your mobile phone. This is a feature that can come in handy on long trips, especially those taken on a plane, where phones inevitably will die. If your portable Bluetooth speaker can also charge your phone, you’ll never be without cellular access. Just make sure to pack extra batteries.
Below is a sampling of Bluetooth speakers that show some of what you might find when you start looking for your own set. For mor in-depth information of all these speakers, check out our comparison of the top 5 cheap portable bluetooth speakers.
Dylan Cocoon Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
Dylan’s portable Bluetooth speaker offering has 7 hours of battery life and crisp, well-defined sound. It includes a microphone that can double as a speakerphone within 2 feet, 50mm speaker, and 3 on-system buttons: one for pairing with Bluetooth, and two for volume control and playback.
The only negative with this system is that it is heavier than other portable models, weighing in at 18 oz. Besides the standard colors of black and white, the Cocoon also comes in orange, fuchsia, and lime green.
Boombotix Boombot REX Wireless Ultraportable Speaker
The Boombot REX was made for the active individual. It is exceptionally rugged, fits in one hand, and can be clipped onto your body—when Boombotix says it’s “ultraportable,” they really do mean it. For a system this small, it sure does pack a loud punch; in fact, it could be one of the loudest portable speakers of that size currently on the market. Vocals, movies, and television shows sound amazing as the quality of the treble is phenomenal.
However, this little speaker does have its downsides. First, there is a lack of bass that is quite underwhelming when compared to the treble quality. The second negative is its price; at around $120 it is priced very ambitiously for what it offers. By spending $80 more, one could purchase a Bose SoundLink Mini and for a little less, there are several comparable models from which to choose.
Bluetune Solo V3
Currently selling for around $30 bucks, the Bluetune Solo is a good value for the money. It will not offer the quality of a higher-priced system, but that is not very surprising. It is extremely compact, has a rechargeable battery, has speakerphone capabilities, an audio input and output, and, most importantly, delivers decent sound for its price and size. It is a great system for traveling, due to its sound quality, small size, and low weight.
However, as with most models in this price range and of this size, the Bluetune Solo distorts sound at high volume and there are no on-system controls, which takes away from its otherwise handy design.
OontZ Angle Ultra-Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
Available online for under $40, the Oontz Angle comes in several different colors, has a 10 to 12 hour battery life, and weighs only 9oz. It includes mini USB ports and an aux-in and offers better speakerphone and treble capabilities than other, more expensive models, plus its Bluetooth range is about 60ft., which is double the size of almost any other Bluetooth speaker system.
The only real negative is that it does not have very good stereo separation, so it will not give the traditional stereo experience.
DKnight Magicbox Ultra-Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
Currently available for around $35, the Magicbox is only 8.3oz. and has a battery life of up to 10 hours, though it decreases as the volume increases. It is quite small, measuring 6 x 2 x 1.6 inches, yet it still manages to fill the room with crisp and clear sound. It features on-system buttons for volume and playback control, as well as a phone call button.
The microphone doubles as a speakerphone and even comes with 3.5mm audio jack so that even devices that do not have Bluetooth can be used with it. This is a very good system for the price, with no negatives of which to speak.