Best waterproof speakers Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers you can buy in 2020.
If you're a music-lover who likes spending time outdoors, you'll need a speaker that's built to withstand the elements. When hiking solo, for example (which is how you're meant to do such things, right now) it's important to bring your waterproofs, and the sentiment extends to your portable speaker. You don't need to be a regular reader of this publication to know that generally speaking, electronics and water don't mix.
Enter, then, waterproof speakers. Here, the two mix like gin and tonic. These little beauties are designed to withstand being dunked in the drink, so you can blast tunes in the pool and in the hot Caribbean sun without worrying about malfunctions.
So what should you look for in a waterproof speaker? Naturally, sound quality is of prime importance – it doesn't matter how hardwearing your speaker is if the sound is poor; it'll just prove wearing to your ears. But don't fret, the products you'll see below have all been thoroughly reviewed by the What Hi-Fi? team – and they all sound great for the money.
A true waterproof rating should also be on your check list. That's not as obvious as it seems – some models are only splashproof, so make sure you check before you buy and think about how you're going to use it. One of the most common specifications is IPX7 – that means it's safe to immerse in water up to 1m deep for up to 30 minutes. Given that some of the waterproof models listed here will actually float rather than sink to the bottom of the pool anyway, that shouldn't be an issue.
IP67 means the speaker has the same level of waterproofing, but it's dust-proof too. (Remember, the 'X' in IPX7, IPX5, or indeed any IP rating just means the product wasn't tested for resilience against that particular issue; in this case dust ingress.)
All of the models mentioned below are Bluetooth waterproof speakers, so you can play your tunes wirelessly while keeping your smartphone or tablet away from the wet stuff.
Wi-fi is less pressing here perhaps, but it's a great addition if you'll be using your speaker at home a lot too and want to integrate it with your smart home setup (using its built-in smart assistant like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant).
Decent battery life is also a key consideration. Nothing spoils a long hike or away day like a flat battery.
We've rounded up the best waterproof speakers around, drawing on our authoritative back catalogue of reviews. Whether you want a budget buy or a much pricier and more capable model, there's bound to be something for you.
MORE: Best Bluetooth speakers
You'll find no fewer than four JBL portable waterproof speakers in this list, all of them boasting great features. Take the company's Charge 4, for example: you'll get a whopping 20 hours of playback from this little five-star performer.
The fact that we really like the JBL Charge 4 should come as no surprise to those who read our Charge 3 review (below, at number six in this little round-up). JBL has fine-tuned the sound in this latest iteration to please even pickier ears and battery capacity has increased. We can’t reasonably ask for any more at this price. Obviously there's a limit to the bass floor in a speaker of this size, but the low-end is tasteful – and there's still plenty of punch.
Read the full review: JBL Charge 4
The market is full to bursting with portable Bluetooth speakers in the sub-£150 bracket, but not all of them have the JBL Link Portable’s neat features, including hands-free voice assistance, a charger cradle and wireless streaming via wi-fi or Bluetooth. Suddenly, much of that competition seems to melt away – its connectivity brings a plethora of rarely-seen streaming options to the table at this level, including AirPlay 2, Chromecast and hi-res support.
The Link Portable looks and feels like a premium product. For a speaker of this size, it has oodles of detail and an expansive mix with everything present, including bass. While there's no PartyBoost or Connect+ support for daisy-chaining other JBL speakers, the Link Portable makes JBL a serious contender in the category of affordable smart speakers.
Read the full review: JBL Link Portable.
At first glance, this speaker seems a little brash: the name is like something a college jock would pick, it's big and it weighs a ton. But the sound is surprisingly subtle. It's like finding out that the school bully does, in fact, enjoy classical music and ballet in their spare time.
The carry strap will help you lug it around, and it can daisy chain with another Xtreme 2 to give even beefier sound (but be warned: two of these things at the beach will be loud enough to summon the lifeguards). If you're looking to start a full-on pool party in a few months, this should be at the centre of the mayhem.
Read the full review: JBL Xtreme 2
If you want a compact yet extremely capable Bluetooth speaker, look no further than Ultimate Ears' Wonderboom 2. The 13 hours of battery life should keep you going into the early hours, while the IP67 rating means it'll survive a bit of dunking.
What's most impressive is the sound that this diminutive speaker manages to serve up. It's attacking, enthusiastic, and there's an impressive amount of bass too. For the money, this portable package is tough to beat.
Read the full review: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
Thought waterproof speakers were a little... basic? Think again. This one boasts Amazon's Alexa smart assistant, so you can use it to control your smart home appliances, change radio station, read you the news and all that jazz.
There's also an optional charging stand (which costs extra) for juicing it up wirelessly from a plug socket. Its 360-degree design fills rooms with sound, too – or poolsides, or beaches, or where you choose to use it. A great option if you can spend a little more.
Read the full review: Ultimate Ears Blast
If all you want is a portable, waterproof Bluetooth speaker that sounds as good as £100 can currently buy, you’ll be hard-pressed to better the Flip 5. Truly, JBL’s newest offering sounds great for the price. If you don’t mind the lack of aux-in port or inbuilt microphone (as seen in the Flip 4) or the inability to partner it with older JBL speakers (the PartyBoost function is not backwards compatible with Connect+ enabled speakers, like the JBL Charge 4), it’s an excellent proposition for the money.
It may be low on added extras, but the Flip 5 gets away with it. Once you're actually listening to it, JBL's latest Flip easily betters the competition at the price – even the award-winner. The solid sonic chops JBL has managed to deliver at this level simply cannot be denied.
Read the full review: JBL Flip 5
If you want a portable speaker that doubles as a charger for your phone or tablet, this is the one for you. Its mammoth battery goes for a staggering 20 hours before needing a recharge, and it has both USB Type-C and micro USB ports for juicing up your device on the go.
The design is sturdy and rugged, it has a mic for handsfree calls and JBL Connect lets you daisy chain multiple speakers for beefier sound. Not that you need it – one Charge 3 is loud enough to start a party, and sweet-sounding enough to keep it going. Highly recommended.
Read the full review: JBL Charge 3
This is a higher-end version of the Ultimate Ears Blast mentioned earlier. Basically, it's bigger, louder and more feature-laden. Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant still comes as standard, giving you smart skills around the home, but the battery life is a little better.
The sound performance is hugely enjoyable too, with little-to-no distortion even at higher volumes. High end, high volume, high class – that's this speaker in a nutshell.
Read the full review: Ultimate Ears Megablast
This speaker is only water-resistant, not fully waterproof like the others here. While it will survive "an accidental showering of water", don't go throwing it into the swimming pool and expect it to survive.
But what it lacks in ruggedness it more than makes up for in features: you can use it to talk to your phone's smart assistant (like Siri or Google Assistant) even if your phone is in another room. And the sound is impressively big and bold, especially for such a small speaker.
Read the full review: Bose SoundLink Revolve
Like the Wonderboom, this speaker floats in the pool, so can bob along entertaining you while you smash out a few lengths. The button on top is surprisingly versatile - it can skip tracks, play and pause, and even summon a playlist - and you can pair hundreds of the blighters to create quite a din.
The sound is as fun as ever, highly enthusiastic while never being in danger of losing control. The bass is deeper than previous generations too. Definitely worth a look.
Read the full review: Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3
At only a little bigger than a Coke can, this is one of the smaller waterproof speakers around. But it's proof that good things come in small packages: it's a doddle to use (those big plus and minus symbols are the volume controls) and is tough as anything.
And the sound is way beyond what we'd expect from such a diminutive and affordable speaker. The icing on the cake? It floats. So don't worry about dropping it in the drink.
Read the full review: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom
You can tell an Ultimate Ears speaker straight away from the colourful design, but there's a lot more to the Californian firm's speakers than an eye-catching finish. Ultimate Ears makes some of the best waterproof speakers around, as the rest of this list will attest.
The UE Roll 2 is a great advert for the company: it's fun, easy to use, and sounds great. It also goes 15 percent louder than its predecessor, and even comes with its own inflatable dinghy for floating around the pool (told you it was fun). It's one of the more affordable options too. A great buy, even if you're not fussed about waterproofing.
Read the full review: Ultimate Ears Roll 2