Wireless Speaker Buyers Guide and FAQ
Improving Sound Quality
All wireless speakers can be improved to an extent depending on factors in how you use them. The placement, environment etc can have tremendous effects on the performance. Read our full article on how to make your Bluetooth speaker sound better for all of our best tricks and tips.
What size is best for a wireless speaker?
For this list, we will include three types of Bluetooth speakers!
First will be small Bluetooth speakers, which we consider to be ultra-portable. These are the kind you would want to take traveling or on holiday. They are lightweight, compact, and rugged.
Secondly, we want to cover some mid-sized speakers that will fit in a bag or backpack. We consider these transportable. When I say in a bag, I don’t mean filling up the full volume of your backpack either. These speakers are intended to be an accessory you bring when traveling. These will usually trade off some portability in exchange for a fuller sound and better battery life.
Thirdly, we will recommend full-size Bluetooth speakers designed for home use. These are usually plugged into the mains but have a battery allowing you to move them from room to room. They typically are the most feature-rich and offer the best sound quality.
When choosing Bluetooth speakers, you first want to consider how and where you will use them. For example, if you think you will be traveling a lot, do you really want to carry something big, bulk,y, and heavy? Conversely, say you can take a larger speaker in your luggage. Would it be worth it to have better sound quality when you get to your destination?
Whether you want to buy a wireless speaker to be us around the home or when you are traveling, camping, or hiking, there are plenty of great options below for every budget.
Things to consider before purchasing a Bluetooth Speaker!
Making this list was not easy, as many great options are available in 2023. Often we are not simply evaluating the sound but a range of factors we believe to be important when purchasing. Therefore, to help you decide on the best wireless speaker for your needs, you should probably know what we consider important.
I have had plenty of speakers over the years and have a well-defined idea of what I think makes the best ones. Of course, what might be best for you could be completely different, but here are some key areas to consider before buying.
Sound Quality – Consider how you listen to music (loud, bassy, etc.)
Build Quality – Are you particularly rough on your equipment?
Size – Large, Medium, or Small. What fits your needs?
Battery Life – How long will you listen? Will the battery last? How fast does it charge?
Bonus features – SD card inputs, Use as a Portable battery bank, External DAC connections, remotes, etc. These bonus features may be important and useful to you.
Sound Quality – What is the best-sounding Bluetooth speaker?
By far, the most common question we get asked on this topic is :
What is the best-sounding Bluetooth speaker?
Of course, the answer to this can relate to size and price, but there are some good-sounding cheap speakers if you look hard enough and research. In my opinion, the Minirigs 3.0 is by far the best-sounding speaker for its size. It’s unparalleled in balancing the above factors and is my favorite Bluetooth speaker.
For home use, we recommend the iLoud speaker by IK Multimedia. While it might not be the best-looking speaker, it performed better in our tests than many big-name brands like Bose and Creative.
Build Quality – What is the most durable Bluetooth speaker?
Build quality is essential. Especially if you intend to travel with your speaker. A travel speaker is destined to lead a far tougher life than a speaker who never moves from your home.
Inevitably, these speakers will take a few knocks over time, so you want something that will hold up well. As a result, we are looking for high-quality build materials and a strong chassis as a base. However, we should not overlook waterproofing, robust control buttons, and scratch-proof finishes.
In the case of wireless home speakers, building is still important. However, far more important is the aesthetics; most people will want a good-looking speaker that doesn’t feel out of place in their home decor.
Size – A Question of Portability
I touched on this above, but the size is important, not just how you intend to transport the speaker. Size plays a big role in many of the other factors we listed.
Smaller-sized speakers usually have a smaller driver and (most of the time) a degradation in sound quality.
Bonus features will also take a hit in lightweight, portable speakers as there is less room in a smaller chassis to store extra functionality.
Finally, size usually has a big impact on battery life. Again, it’s common sense; the smaller the housing, the less room for a large capacity battery and, therefore, the less runtime the speaker will have between charges.
Battery life – What Bluetooth speaker has the best battery life?
Battery life should play a huge role in your buying decision, as I assume most of you will be using the speaker via Bluetooth. Therefore, to make this list of the best portable speakers, I set an absolute minimum of 8 hours of playback from a single charge for portable and transportable models and a minimum of 6 hours for wireless home speakers.
These are the bare minimum numbers, and I would consider 10+ hours to be the starting point for decent battery life. Be aware that when you add in higher-quality components, battery life will suffer. It is perhaps the biggest trade when comparing Bluetooth speakers.
Additional Features and Considerations –
Some speakers have bonus features that may or may not be useful when choosing between two models. I focus on sound, build, and battery life in that order, and if there are any extra tricks, then fine, it’s a nice little bonus, but I don’t prioritize them during the buying process.