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Best Bluetooth speakers 2019: portable speakers for every budget

Best Bluetooth speakers Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best portable speakers you can buy in 2019.

Finding the right Bluetooth speaker can be a tricksy task. You've no shortage of options, with every consumer electronics manufacturer from Apple to Ultimate Ears vying for a bite of the Bluetooth cherry. Fret not, we've rounded-up our pick of the best portable Bluetooth speakers across all shapes, sizes and prices to ensure you discover a product you'll be over the moon with.

Before opting for the first Bluetooth speaker that takes your fancy, it's worth considering what you actually want from it – you two will be together for some time, after all. Will it mainly be used at home? In that case you'll want something that's mains-powered. Do you want to be able to build a multi-room system around it? A smart Bluetooth speaker with with a built-in virtual assistant might be something to consider. If you want flexibility from your Bluetooth speaker and the ability to withstand the elements, it sounds like a rugged, portable speaker with a built-in rechargeable battery could be your best shot at long-term compatibility and musical happiness.

The best Bluetooth speakers don't sacrifice on sound quality, either. Some offer impressive, room-filling, 360-degree sound while other models can be connected together and used as a stereo pair in a more traditional configuration. Whatever your budget, there's almost certainly a Bluetooth speaker out there for you. And with Black Friday around the corner (plus a fair few What Hi-Fi? Awards 2019 winners in the mix here) there's no better time to keep your eyes on the prize.

(Image credit: JBL)

1. 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 get a whopping 20 hours of playback from this little five-star performer on a full battery. The fact that we really like the JBL Charge 4 should come as no surprise to those who read our Charge 3 review. 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 Bluetooth speakers 2019

2. Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2

A fantastically affordable Bluetooth speaker with a weighty sound and good battery life.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connectivity: Bluetooth | Power: Battery | Battery life: 13hrs | Charge time: 2.6hrs **Dimensions (hwd):** 10.4 x 9.5 x 9.5cm | Weight: 420g

Reasons to Buy

Punchy, entertaining sound
Hefty bass
Decent battery life

Reasons to Avoid

No wi-fi or smart assistant built-in
No mic for hands-free calls

Ultimate Ears has really made a splash in the Bluetooth speaker market with a number of colourful, fun-sounding and portable models on its books. The latest is the small but mightily impressive Wonderboom 2.

Battery life is 13 hours and a full charge takes just under three. It's waterproof, sandproof, dustproof and is also designed to float, so it should withstand the most lively of pool parties. 

Sonically, the Wonderboom 2 is an exciting listen, with impressive bass given its small dimensions. It packs in plenty of detail and there's a fine sense of attack. It's easily one of the best sounding Bluetooth speakers you can buy for the money – and it's a What Hi-Fi? 2019 Award-winner too, y'know. 

Read the full review: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2

Best Bluetooth speakers 2019

3. Audio Pro Addon C3

Portability, multi-room skills and excellent sound quality in an impressive package.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connectivity: Bluetooth and wi-fi | Power: Battery | Inputs: 3.5mm | Battery life: 15hrs | Dimensions (hwd): 11.5 x 21.5 x 13.5cm | Weight: 2.45kg

Reasons to Buy

Mature, refined sound
Impressive timing
Tight, textured bass

Reasons to Avoid

Control app could be slicker

The Audio Pro Addon C3 isn't just the best Bluetooth speaker at this price, it's a stylish, wi-fi connected, multi-room capable centrepiece – and a What Hi-Fi? 2019 Award winner. The sense of refinement from such a small speaker is stunning. The Audio Pro is focused yet open and airy, meaning you can fill a decent sized room with immersive, weighty sound.

Read the full review: Audio Pro Addon C3

Best Bluetooth speakers 2019

(Image credit: Naim)

4. Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation

Just a few tweaks make for a superb second version

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: HxWxD (cm): 21 x 22 x 21 | Power: : 300W | Features: Apple AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Spotify Connect, Tidal, Roon Ready, Hi-res up to 24-bit/384kHz, remote control | Connections: 3.5mm aux, USB, optical S/PDIF, Ethernet

Reasons to Buy

Open, detailed and expressive
Loads of streaming options
Multi-room ready

Reasons to Avoid

Nothing at this price

At What Hi-Fi?, we know full well the value of revisions. Yet still, it was quite the surprise when first we heard about one made by Naim, with its second generation of the Mu-so Qb wireless speaker. The previous iteration was great, earning five stars when it was first reviewed. This version, however, is is truly phenomenal. 

You can now choose between an Olive, Terracotta or Peacock grille alongside the standard black, but the best tweaks Naim has made go far deeper. Remove whatever colour grille you've gone for and you'll be rewarded with upgraded and optimised midrange and bass drive units, all powered by a total of 300W of amplification. 

Belying its box-like dimensions with a punchy bass alongside sparkling and rich tones across frequencies, the Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation scooped up our 2019 What Hi-Fi? Award for the best home wireless speaker over £500. 

Read the full review: Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation 

Best portable speakers 2019

5. Amazon Echo Dot (3rd generation)

One of the cheapest ways to introduce Alexa to your home.

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: HxWxD (cm): 4.3 x 9.9 x 9.9 | Features: wi-fi, multi-room, Bluetooth V4.0, Alexa voice assistant, Spotify, TuneIn, Amazon Music | Connections: 3.5 mm stereo

Reasons to Buy

Clear, solid sound
Improved Alexa capabilities
Budget price

Reasons to Avoid

Alexa intelligence is limited

The Echo Dot is a great little portable speaker that's perfect for the kitchen or bedroom, and easy to take outdoors or on holiday. Thanks to its Alexa voice assistant smarts, you can control all manner of streaming services, including Spotify, TuneIn and Amazon Music. Lots of 'proper' speaker manufacturers are getting onboard too, meaning you can control your better speakers through the Echo Dot. And if you're out of range, just speak to the Alexa app on your phone. One of the best cheap portable speakers around.

Read the full review: Amazon Echo Dot (3rd generation)

Best portable speakers 2019

6. Audio Pro Addon T3

It may not be as portable as some, but the Addon T3's extra size works in its sonic favour.

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: HxWxD (cm): 11.5 x 21.5 x 13.5 | Power: 2x 5W + 15W Digital class D | Features: Bluetooth V4.0 | Connections: 3.5mm stereo, USB

Reasons to Buy

Full sound
Expressive and dynamic
Faultless build

Reasons to Avoid

Size won't suit everyone

This is one of the less portable speakers in this list, but it can still be carted around thanks to the carry handle. It's robust rather than heavy, and boasts a battery life of up to 30 hours. If you like bass, you're in luck here - the noticeable leap in audio quality will have you enjoying music much more readily than on the smaller speakers on this list. If you want something for home and in the garden, this could work nicely – maybe not the one for your carry-on luggage, though.

Read the full review: Audio Pro Addon T3

Best Bluetooth speakers 2019

7. JBL Xtreme 2

One of the best Bluetooth speakers around for the money.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connectivity: Bluetooth | Power: Battery | Inputs: 3.5mm | Battery life: 15hrs | Dimensions (hwd): 13.6 x 28.8 x 13.2cm | Weight: 2.39kg

Reasons to Buy

Clean, clear sound
Balanced bass
Robust build

Reasons to Avoid

Hefty design
No wi-fi or multi-room smarts

The JBL Xtreme 2's boombox design has fun and excitement written all over it. That rugged, waterproof exterior means it's a great option for the beach, while clever features like the ability to charge your phone from its USB port give added appeal. There's plenty of boom to the sound, but we're not talking ridiculous levels. That deep powerful bass is also nicely controlled too. Mids are of a high quality and highs show more clarity than you traditionally get from such a product. For the money, the JBL Xtreme 2 is brilliantly balanced Bluetooth speaker.

Read the full review: JBL Xtreme 2

Best Bluetooth speakers 2019

8. Ultimate Ears Blast

Energetic performance, Alexa onboard and Wi-Fi connectivity.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connectivity: Bluetooth and wi-fi | Power: Battery | Inputs: N/A | Battery life: 12hrs | Dimensions (hwd): 118.8 x 6.8 x 6.8cm | Weight: 463g

Reasons to Buy

Great portable design
Exciting, dynamic sound
Good detail and punchy timing

Reasons to Avoid

Top end can get excitable at loud volumes
Alexa features not exhaustive

The UE Blast offers not only a portable Bluetooth connected speaker for the price but also crams in wi-fi and Alexa smart assistant voice controls too. The 360-degree sound is powerful and has the bass you'd expect from a higher priced speaker. The far-field voice recognition makes the smart assistant and hands-free work well. IP67 water-proofing is a nice bonus for peace of mind too.

Read the full review: UE Blast

best bluetooth speakers

(Image credit: Amazon)

9. Amazon Echo Show 5

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions (hwd): 8.6 x 14.8 x 7.3cm | Connectivity: Wi-fi, USB, 3.5mm line-in | Battery life: n/a | Power: 4W

Reasons to Buy

Alexa voice-control
Decent sound and video
Nicely put together

Reasons to Avoid

Audio isn't the best

The Echo Show 5 is the latest in a long and fast-moving line of Amazon products intended to get us all invested in its virtual assistant, Alexa. Where much of the Alexa-enabled kit out there is audio based, concentrated on the Bluetooth speaker market in particular, the Echo Show 5 embraces both sound and video in its abilities to communicate. So, as well as playing music or reading out information, you can access video content on the 5.5in LCD touchscreen. There's also a camera for video calls.  

The Echo Show 5 is a diminutive device, and as such cannot possibly offer the scale of sound that some specialist wireless speakers can. But then it offers so much more ability and functionality than a run-of-the-mill Bluetooth speaker. For what it is, we find the sound perfectly acceptable. It runs fairly warm, sonically, which helps voices on radio and the like, and makes for a comfortable listening experience. There are better speakers out there but this is much more than that. It opens up the world of the digital assistant to a whole new audience for both audio and video; and if that’s what you’re after, this is about as good as you’ll get. 

Read the full review: Amazon Echo Show 5

Best Bluetooth speakers 2019

10. Dali Katch

With its smooth, engaging sound and 24-hour battery life, this Dali Bluetooth speaker ticks all our boxes.

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions (hwd): 13.8 x 26.9 x 4.7cm | Connectivity: aptX Bluetooth, 3.5mm | Battery life: 24hr | Power: 50W

Reasons to Buy

Powerful, full-bodied sound
Great dynamics and timing
Long battery life

Reasons to Avoid

Nothing at this price

Better known for its traditional loudspeakers, Dali's Katch is a weighty, portable and attractive design, with 50W of total power. The speaker boasts buttons for power, volume and pairing which is made easier with the option of NFC. There are also two EQ presets: one for freestanding play and one for positioning on a shelf. Just two hours of charge will get you around 24 hours of music playback via Bluetooth – and a sound that defies its dimensions with immense weight and dynamics.

Read the full review: Dali Katch

Best Bluetooth speakers 2019

11. Ultimate Ears Megablast

A lively, entertaining speaker that manages to control its performance at the same time as really letting its hair down.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connectivity: Bluetooth and wi-fi | Power: Battery | Inputs: N/A | Battery life: 16hrs | Dimensions (hwd): 23.7 x 8.8 x 8.8cm | Weight: 1.19kg

Reasons to Buy

Dynamic, detailed sound
Enthusiastic, punchy rhythms
Precise, taut basslines

Reasons to Avoid

Presentation is slightly lean
Not fully featured just yet

The UE Megablast takes the performance of a portable Bluetooth speaker at this price to a new level. The result is a Bluetooth and wi-fi connected speaker with Alexa smarts which offers pounding bass and an enthusiastic sense of rhythm. It isn't quite as pocketable as some rival speakers but they can't match the UE for bass quality.

Read the full review: UE Megablast

Best Bluetooth speakers 2019

12. Ultimate Ears Roll 2

Award winning, bright coloured Bluetooth bargain.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connectivity: Bluetooth | Power: 9W | Inputs: 3.5mm | Battery life: 5.5hrs | Dimensions (hwd): 13.5 x 13.5 x 4cm | Weight: 463g

Reasons to Buy

Enthusiastic, full-bodied performance
Clear and detailed
Fluid dynamics and open sound

Reasons to Avoid

Pricier rivals offer greater bass weight

Compact, portable and easy to use – this is what a budget Bluetooth speaker should be. The UE Roll 2 is big enough to improve upon your phone's speaker and will keep going for over five hours. It's also small enough to slip into a bag. Considering its size, you get a full-bodied performance that's clear and offers plenty of detail. But if you're after more bass, you might want to consider a pricier option.

Read the full review: Ultimate Ears Roll 2

Best portable speakers 2019

13. JBL Go 2

Impressive sound from an impressively small package.

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: HxWxD (cm): 7.1 x 8.6 x 3.2 | Power: 3W | Features: IPX7 waterproof, Bluetooth V4.1 | Connections: micro-USB | Finishes: 12

Reasons to Buy

Tidy design
Balanced sound
Decent bass

Reasons to Avoid

Battery life could be better

The JBL Go 2 might be the perfect holiday accessory. It's a tiny speaker, no bigger than a bar of soap, which makes it small enough to slip into your pocket. We'd like to see the five hour battery last a little longer, but apart from that, there's little else to fault and it even has a mic built-in for handsfree calls. For the money, it's a lively, balanced and cohesive performer. And it's available in no fewer than 12 different colours.

Read the full review: JBL Go 2

Best portable speakers 2019

14. Bose SoundLink Mini II

This Bose portable speaker is a decent option for the money.

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: HxWxD (cm): 5.1 x 18 x 5.8 | Features: Bluetooth V3.0 | Connections: 3.5mm stereo, micro-USB

Reasons to Buy

Full-bodied sound
Weighty bass
Portable

Reasons to Avoid

Lows lack precision and agility

If you’re after a portable speaker that doesn't scrimp on bass weight, the SoundLink Mini II could be for you. Small but heavy, features are kept to a minimum, but the hefty design ensures the sound isn't - it's big and loud and will definitely get you dancing by the pool. Other speakers on this list might be slightly better value and offer more detail and composure but for a big, bassy sound, this Bose speaker is great.

Read the full review: Bose SoundLink Mini II