Here are the best Bluetooth speakers so far that I’ve tested for this year. I’ve broken them down into different categories, as every speaker will be a little bit different for your taste. There simply isn’t one speaker to rule them all. It has always been transparent, none of these speakers are sponsoring this article.
I’ve listed all the speakers from best to least good in the comparison table below. Do check out the most updated prices in real time. You never know when these things might go on sale.
Table of Contents
Doss Soundbox / Pro / XL
First up among best Bluetooth speakers 2021, let’s talk about the best budget speaker. So this year, there’s been a number of budget brands that I have been testing from Anker to Amaze and a couple others. Some of these speakers look like total knockoffs of the big brands at times.
But the one that has been consistent with a quality product and the one that provides the closest audio quality to the big names out there has been Doss. More specifically the models, Doss Soundbox, Soundbox Pro, and the Soundbox XL. This is possibly the best value if you simply just need audio.
Now all three comes with splash resistance. The battery life goes from good to pretty decent. Besides the Soundbox Pro which does come with LED lights and the ability to pair two those speakers together at the same time. The other speakers really just nothing special and I’ll be honest about that.
If you’re looking for a budget speaker and are afraid of raspy sounds, maybe the plastic feels cheap, the battery doesn’t last as long. Through my testing, the Doss speakers are made with metal grills and if there are plastics, they don’t feel cheap or hollow, which is very important.
When I tested the batteries, the batteries do last up to what they to be 12 hours for Soundbox, Soundbox pro while 10 hours for the biggest speakers (Soundbox XL). When I tested this against big-name brands out there, they don’t sound exactly like them. They don’t have that little magical touch that makes the big-name brands shine in their own way.
But I can say, the Doss sounds close. Again, some people just need wireless audio and the honestly don’t need the rest, so why bother paying for more?
Bose SoundLink Micro
This one is the smallest Bluetooth speaker that you get in regards to audio quality and size, the Bose Micro. It provided the best audio signature while retaining its ruggedness. This is IPx7 certified which means it can be dunked into water. But being transparent, the only thing I would caution though, it sadly doesn’t float. So don’t drop this into a pool or lake.
You get voice prompts that tells you which device you’re connected to. A strap on the back felt much more versatile compared to the competitors. The micro was all around, much more practical in functionality and that’s one of the biggest reasons why it was on my list.
Now battery life. The funny thing Bose even admits this on their website is somewhat short at 6 hours. When I personally tested this at 50% volume, I did, however, achieve 14 hours worth of use, that’s insane!
So at the end of the day, if you’re looking for size with the least amount of compromises on the audio, I’m telling you, the Bose SoundLink Micro is the solid choice.
Onyx Studio 4
What about best audio at home, one that you leave plugged into your wall but still have Bluetooth capabilities. Now with these type of speakers, they usually sound much better and more full, since they’re bigger and because they have a continuous supply of power instead of having this speaker built around battery efficiency. I’m giving this to the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 4. The model 5 was also released but, it wasn’t as impactful on audio.
The Onyx Studio 4, get that if you’re on the fence. It’s rich sounding and very full. When I tested this against Sony XB, and JBL Xtreme, the clarity is still there and it’s great. But it also confirmed the base on the Onyx Studio 4 was much deeper thumping.
The Studio 4 does have a built-in battery. It’s only rated at 8 hours and with my personal testing, I only achieved 6 hours and 20 minutes, not the best but keep in mind, this is more so to be used with its wall adapter.
So the runner-up was perfect for rock music, classical and more instrumental tracks that goes to the Marshall speakers i.e Marshal Stanmore 2. They’re pretty damn unique. Just want to give them a quick shout out there as well as they deserve some praise. So do check them out as well.
Bose SoundLink Revolve+
So who has the best 360-degree audio? It’s the Bose Soundlink Revolve+. The smaller Revolve for some reason got quite raspy and distorted but the Plus model there’s none. Getting the bigger one, you’re going to get room-filling music, plus a very deep resonating bass experience for a 360-degree speaker. You place it anywhere in the room, there are no dead spots, makes this great for entertaining.
Now with the Revolve+, you get some drop resistance and a speaker that’s splash proof. If you want something absolutely rugged or waterproof in general for the pool, I will look into Fugoo, UE, and maybe even some of the Braven speakers. But keep in mind, you do lose a little bit of audio quality on those.
For the Revolve+, battery life is rated at 16 hours. This has voice prompts for battery life and connected devices. This speaker also has stereo and party mode available for you to pair two of these speakers at the same time. Folks, this is the best 360-degrees speaker on the market from my personal testing.
JBL Charge 4 / Charge 3 / Xtreme 2 / Flip 4
Now with everything, I’ve been testing, and it doesn’t matter if it’s new or old, for some reason JBL kills it. this is hands-down the best overall audio experience from the JBL Flip 4 to the Charge 3/4 and the Extreme 4.
When these speakers were refreshed, more specifically the Charge 4 and the Extreme 2, their audio signature didn’t change too much. And if you own any of the older models, I’d rather have you save your money towards your Lambo or whatever it is, rather than upgrading to basically the same thing again.
The audio signature is the same basically and these other brands keep coming out with new models every single year. So when I tested other speakers to compare it’s crazy to say, JBL still sounds the best
JBL wins in the audio category for best sounding portable Bluetooth speaker and the other competitor is the LG Xboom PK3, PK5 and PK7. They looked great, but the audio doesn’t beat out JBL.
So the flip 4, the extreme 2 has the most features like the speakerphone option, you able to change that play button to enable voice assistants like Google assistant and Siri. With those 3 speakers; Flip 4, the Extreme 2 and the Charge 4, there’s this thing called JBL Connect+, which allows you to pair over a hundred of these speakers, to play at the same time.
And not to mention just only Charge 4 and on the Extreme 2, you’re able to use those two speakers like a power bank and plug them into your phone.
Now here’s a word of caution again looking out for you guys. The JBL Charge 4 gets rid of the speakerphone option, you can’t go back on a song but you can only skip forward with those physical button. That’s up to you if you use any of those features that are missing. If you need those features, definitely look out for the Charge 3. If you can forego that, you’re still getting a waterproof speaker that is able to flow.
You’re getting decent battery life, portability and most important of all you’re getting the best audio quality compared to the competition with no frills, no gimmicks, just good audio.
When I compared this with others, JBL speakers are the only ones that give you some sort of depth or dimension. It doesn’t sound like audio is just blaring at you. The soundstage is ever so slightly better than the others being a little bit wider, having an audio separation that somewhat distinguishes the background and foreground for you.
Not to mention, the punchy bass hits the nail on the head for a portable Bluetooth speaker. It’s not deep, not droning, yet not too light either. The voices are also very bright still slightly forward for you. And on all three speakers; Flip 4, Charge 4 and Extreme 2, I never had any kind of ear piercing, listening fatigue experience.
Overall, if you’re on the market for just playing good audio, a playing good speaker that’s mostly ruggedized, JBL is the way to go.
Hopefully, this article will help you in making a perfect purchase decision. let me know which speaker is right for you in the comments and be sure to follow Review Rooster on social media accounts for more techie stuff.