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 is now increasingly popular too, especially across new model. It 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 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.
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
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
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
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. There are now two newer iterations, but this model is still 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 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
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
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 (IP67) and is also designed to float, so it should withstand the most lively of pool parties. Playback is controlled over a Bluetooth connection, but it's surprising to see there's no mic for hands-free calling.
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.
Read the full review: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
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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