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Best waterproof speakers 2021: budget, portable, smart

Best waterproof speakers Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers you can buy in 2021.

Love music, love spending time outdoors? You need a personal speaker built to withstand the elements. You don't need to be a regular reader of this publication to know that generally speaking, electronics and water don't mix, but you see, some Bluetooth speakers are special. Snag a waterproof speaker and you'll soon see that the two mix like gin and tonic. These little beauties are often photographed by a pool, thus letting you know that you can blast tunes while getting in your 40 lengths – or indeed in the pouring rain – 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 the thing is if the sound proves taxing 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 (IPX4), 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 and even IP68 now increasingly popular too, especially across new model. IP68 means the speaker should survive at a depth of 1.5m for 30 minutes and 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 taken our authoritative catalogue of reviews and used it to round up the best waterproof speakers on the market right now. Whether you want a budget buy or a much pricier and more capable model, there's bound to be something here for you. 

best waterproof speakers 2020

(Image credit: Tribit)

1. Tribit Stormbox Micro

A fun and bubbly Bluetooth speaker that's serious when it comes to sound

Specifications
Dimensions: HxWxD (cm): 9.8 x 9.8 x 3.5cm
Power: 9W
Features: water/dustproof, Bluetooth 5.0, stereo-pairing mode
Connections: 3.5 mm stereo
Reasons to buy
+Mature, musical sound+Surprisingly weighty bass+USB-C charger
Reasons to avoid
-Short battery life

It’s hard to imagine a home decor, backpack or personal taste that the Tribit Audio Stormbox Micro couldn’t merge in with happily. It's the size of a stack of drinks coasters, it's IP67 rated, there's a useful rubberised strap across the back of it and you can pair two of them in stereo mode. 

You'll be pleasantly surprised by the bass clout the Tribit is able to deliver. Although a speaker of such dimensions is obviously limited in terms of bass weight, it does remarkably well; close your eyes while listening and you’ll picture a bigger product. 

If your budget maxes out at £50 ($60), the Tribit is a splendid option. Similarly, if you only have a small zip compartment in the top of your backpack for a sonic travel companion, this speaker is worthy of that space. Take note, Ultimate Ears: a little-known brand called Tribit Audio just produced a budget belter of a Bluetooth speaker.

Read the full review: Tribit Audio Stormbox Micro

JBL Charge 5

(Image credit: JBL)

2. JBL Charge 5

Updated specs and subtle tweaks for JBL’s fifth-generation Charge

Specifications
Dimensions: HxWxD (cm): 22 x 9.6 x 9.4cm
Power: 30W + 10W tweeter
Features: waterproof, Bluetooth v5.1, power bank, voice assistant integration
Connections: USB-C, USB-A
Reasons to buy
+Clearer and more detailed sound+Wider soundstage+Updated dustproofing
Reasons to avoid
-Nothing at this level

The JBL Charge 5 is even more durable and better sounding than the four Charges that have been before it. Its predecessor carried an IPX7 rating, meaning it could handle being submerged in water to a depth of 1.5m, but the IP67-rated Charge 5 builds on that durability by also being fully dustproof. Want a speaker roughly the dimensions of a bottle of wine that'll charge your phone and sound great? You've found it. 

Thanks in part to a new 10W tweeter and racetrack-shaped driver, the Charge 5 is currently as good a sound as you can get in a portable Bluetooth speaker design for under £200 ($200, AU$300). It boasts marginal improvements, both sonically and aesthetically, over its predecessors. 

One day JBL may produce a Charge that can be outdone by a new and plucky rival, but rest assured, that has not happened with the rather splendid Charge 5.

Read the full review: JBL Charge 5

Best waterproof speakers 2021

(Image credit: JBL)

3. JBL Charge 4

A fun and bubbly Bluetooth speaker that's serious when it comes to sound

Specifications
Dimensions: HxWxD (cm): 22 x 9.5 x 9.3
Power: 30W
Features: waterproof, Bluetooth v4.2, power bank, voice assistant integration
Connections: 3.5 mm stereo
Reasons to buy
+Rugged and water resistant+USB port for charging+Great sound quality
Reasons to avoid
-Perhaps too subtle for some

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 nine 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

Best waterproof speakers 2021

(Image credit: JBL)

For a great, affordable, durable home smart speaker, you’ll be hard-pushed to find a product that can match JBL’s Link Portable

Specifications
Dimensions: HxWxD (cm): 17 x 8.8 x 8.8
Power: 20W
Features: waterproof, Bluetooth v4.2, Google Assistant built-in, Chromecast, AirPlay 2, music over wi-fi
Connections: 3.5 mm stereo
Reasons to buy
+Expansive sound+Packed with features+Premium design
Reasons to avoid
-No JBL Connect support-Fussy over placement

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

Best waterproof speakers: Budget, portable, smart

5. JBL Xtreme 2

Xtreme style, extremely pleasant sound.

Specifications
Waterproof: IPX7
Battery life: 15 hours
Connections: 3.5mm headphone jack
Wireless: Bluetooth
Dimensions (HWD): 136 x 288 x 132mm
Weight: 2390g
Reasons to buy
+Clean, clear sound+Balanced bass+Solid design
Reasons to avoid
-Big-No wi-fi or multi-room-Presentation too mature for some

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, this should be at the centre of the mayhem.

Read the full review: JBL Xtreme 2

Best waterproof speakers 2021

6. Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2

A fantastically affordable and impressive-sounding speaker, ideals for the summer.

Specifications
Waterproof: IP67
Battery life: 13 hours
Connections: Micro USB
Wireless: Bluetooth
Dimensions (HWD): 10.4 x 9.5 x 9.5cm
Weight: 420g
Reasons to buy
+Entertaining sound+Impressive bass+13hr battery life
Reasons to avoid
-No wi-fi or smart assistant

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

Best waterproof speakers: Budget, portable, smart

7. Ultimate Ears Blast

An energetic performance meets a fun-loving design.

Specifications
Waterproof: IP67
Battery life: 12 hours
Connections: Micro USB, Wireless charger
Wireless: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
Dimensions (HWD): 188 x 68 x 68mm
Weight: 640g
Reasons to buy
+Dynamic sound+Good detail+Strong midrange
Reasons to avoid
-Excitable top end-Alexa not exhaustive-Pricey

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

Best waterproof speakers 2021

(Image credit: JBL)

8. JBL Flip 5

Feature packed it isn't, but it sounds truly great for the money

Specifications
Dimensions: HxWxD (cm): 7.4 x 18.1 x 6.9
Power: : 20W
Features: Bluetooth v4.2, PartyBoost for multiple connections to PartBoost enabled JBL speakers, IPX7 rated
Connections: USB-C charger
Reasons to buy
+Solid bass and timing+Great sense of acoustics+PartyBoost stereo pairing
Reasons to avoid
-No aux-in or microphone-Not Connect+ compatible-Basic app

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 Flip 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

Best waterproof speakers: Budget, portable, smart

9. Ultimate Ears Megablast

UE's priciest speaker doesn't disappoint.

Specifications
Waterproof: IP67
Battery life: 16 hours
Connections: Micro USB, Wireless charger
Wireless: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
Dimensions (HWD): 237 x 88 x 88mm
Weight: 1,200g
Reasons to buy
+Empty List
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

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

Best waterproof speakers: Budget, portable, smart

It might be small, but it makes a big impact.

Specifications
Waterproof: IPX4 (water-resistant)
Battery life: 12 hours
Connections: 3.5mm headphone jack, Micro USB
Wireless: Bluetooth
Dimensions (HWD): 152 x 82 x 82mm
Weight: 660g
Reasons to buy
+Omnidirectional delivery+Solid, punchy sound+Portable and feature-packed
Reasons to avoid
-Rivals offer more detail-Not especially rugged-Pricey

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 chucking it into the 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

Best waterproof speakers: Budget, portable, smart

11. Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3

Punchy, exciting and full of fun, it's another winner from Ultimate Ears.

Specifications
Waterproof: IP67
Battery life: 20 hours
Connections: Micro USB
Wireless: Bluetooth
Dimensions (HWD): 225 x 87 x 87mm
Weight: 925g
Reasons to buy
+Punchy, solid sound+Sturdy+Fun features, easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-Midrange could be clearer

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

Best waterproof speakers 2021

(Image credit: JBL)

12. JBL Go 3

JBL’s newest soap-sized speaker sounds good – but the finish and battery life won’t wash with today’s class leaders

Specifications
Dimensions: HxWxD (cm): 8.8 x 7.5 x 4.1
Power: 4W
Features: Water/dustproof IP67, Bluetooth 5.1
Connections: USB-C
Reasons to buy
+Sensible treble+Fuller bass+More volume
Reasons to avoid
-Poor battery life-Not very durable finish

The diminutive, soap on a rope-styled Go 3 features Bluetooth 5.1 instead of 4.1 plus a maximum power output of 4.2W, up from 3W in the Go 2 (which we also liked) and now, an IP67 water- and dust-proof rating. The one specification that hasn’t changed is the Go 3's stamina. It takes 2.5 hours to charge fully, and you can still only get five hours of playtime from it from a single charge. 

If you can live with this, there's much to celebrate in the sound department at the level. The extra power and overhauled design have resulted in some solid sonic enhancements, and aesthetically it's perhaps even cuter than the original. We gave this iteration five stars for sound. Will five hours get you through a day at the beach or a lazy picnic in the park though? Probably best to take a wireless charger. 

Read the full review: JBL Go 3

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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