Using your smartphone or tablet’s built-in speakers should only ever be a last resort if you want to listen to your favorite playlists on the go. Instead, you’re going to want a great pair of
But what should you look for when buying a portable Bluetooth speaker? We’re here to help.
What type of sound quality do you need?
Will you be using your speakers solely for music? For podcasts? Maybe a bit of both? You should decide that now, because it will surely factor into what kind of speaker you end up getting — whether that’s surround sound, Dolby Atmos, something for the
Not all speakers provide the same kind of sound quality, so it’s important to know exactly the kind of listening experience you’re looking to get before you make the purchase. Typically, smaller speakers are more portable, but their sound quality isn’t quite as exceptional as a bigger device. Consider whether size or sound quality is more important to you.
What’s the deal with wattage?
When you’re shopping for a new speaker, you’re going to see the word “wattage” often. While that might be meaningless to you when you see it on a product page, it’s actually a pretty simple concept. Basically, wattage defines the limit of how loud your speaker can go without distorting the sound. Unless you enjoy really blasting your tunes or you regularly host parties, 50 watts is normally going to be more than enough for the average listener. But if you really like to crank it up to 11, the more watts, the merrier. While smaller portable Bluetooth speakers tend to have lower wattage, there are certainly some exceptions (which you’ll see within our picks below).
How many speakers do you need to buy?
We always say that you should choose quality over quantity. Having one or two amazing speakers is going to get you better results than having multiple speakers that are just OK. Plus, having too many speakers around is just going to take up an unnecessary amount of space. If you have the room, we think two speakers maximum is the perfect number. Two speakers are especially ideal if you listen to a lot of music — music is normally recorded for a stereo setting, so having a left and right channel will do wonders for fidelity. And if you have a smaller space with good acoustics, one really good speaker should do the trick.
Does it need to be waterproof?
No, but it really can’t hurt. Even if you’re not planning on taking your speaker out by the pool during the summer, it’s not out of the question that it could be a target for spills no matter where you have it in your home. It would be a shame if a rogue glass of water ended up being the demise of your brand-new speaker, so if you have the option to go waterproof, do it (unless you have your heart set on one that doesn’t have that feature).
What are the best portable Bluetooth speakers?
If you’re not much of an audiophile and want to step away from using your smartphone’s built-in speaker, don’t get too stressed over whether or not the bass is strong and the mids are crisp. Go with the form that suits you best, and you’ll be satisfied regardless. Here are our top picks for the best portable Bluetooth speakers.