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17 best Bluetooth speakers for every budget

With crisp sound quality, we’ve tried and tested the best high-tech, retro and radio-style Bluetooth speakers

Tamara Hinson
Monday 22 May 2023 12:10 BST
<p>Many of these can survive being (briefly) submerged in water up to one metre down  </p>

Many of these can survive being (briefly) submerged in water up to one metre down

Our Top Picks

First things first. Opting for a Bluetooth speaker no longer means compromising on quality – many of the newest speakers have audio specs which rival larger speakers designed for use at home.

One aspect to consider is the frequency response, which basically refers to the device’s ability to replicate the range of tones we hear. Most frequency responses range between 20 and 20,000Hz. Love a bit of bass? Go low – speakers which can accommodate lower frequency responses indicate that it can reproduce the deepest sub-bass tones.

It’s also important to consider the IP (International Protection) rating. This comprises the letters IP followed by two digits, the first of which indicates the level of protection against solid matter such as dust. This ranges from 0, which indicates no protection, to 6, which suggests it’s fully dust-proof. The second number represents the level of protection against liquids, and ranges from 0 (which indicates no water resistance) to nine, which means the gadget can withstand high-pressure jet sprays and can survive being underwater for 30 minutes.

With speakers, the first digit will often be an X, which means no information relating to protection from solid items is available. However, this isn’t unusual, and doesn’t necessarily mean the speaker won’t stand up to wear and tear – it just means this aspect wasn’t tested. Instead, look for features such as powder coatings, which are resistant to rust and UV light.

We recommend opting for a speaker with a battery life of no less than 10 hours. These days, it’s easy to find Bluetooth speakers with long battery lives, and a growing number will double as battery packs, providing extra charge for mobile phones, which can be incredibly useful during camping holidays. Additional features worth considering include the ability to pair your speaker with others for a DIY surround sound set-up, dedicated phone apps and voice prompts.

How we tested

We tested these top quality Bluetooth speakers in multiple scenarios – in damp camping grounds, on sandy beaches, in our back gardens (in a thunderstorm, no less) and during long bike rides, with speakers dangling from our backpacks and handlebars. We also tested every aspect of their controls, pairing them with apps and with each other, while also evaluating how easy it was to tweak aspects such as volume, bass and power levels.

The speakers below are, in our opinion, the best of the best. In an era when there are so many to choose from, it’s understandable that we’ve all got different priorities when it comes to speakers, and the ones we’ve chosen might well appeal to different people, or excel in different areas, but we’re firm believers that none will disappoint.

The best Bluetooth speakers for 2024 are:

  • Best Bluetooth speaker overall – Sony XG300 X-series portable wireless speaker: £199,
  • Best budget Bluetooth speaker – Sony SRS-XB13 portable Bluetooth speaker, lemon yellow: £39.99,
  • Best portable Bluetooth speaker – Bose SoundLink flex bluetooth speaker: £119.95,
  • Best compact Bluetooth speaker – Nokia portable wireless speaker 2: £49.99,

Sony XG300 X-series portable wireless speaker

best Bluetooth speakers review Sony XG300 X-series portable wireless speaker
  • Best: Bluetooth speaker overall
  • Weight: 3kg
  • Battery life: 25 hours
  • Waterproof: Yes, rated IP67

Full disclosure: we initially balked at the size of this speaker, which is slightly larger than the others we featured here (it’s 31.8cm x 13.8cm 13.6cm). But it’s also fantastically rugged (IP67 is one of the highest IP ratings you can get) and packs a serious punch, blasting out crisp, clear sound for up to 25 hours on a single charge. Key to this is the X-balanced speaker unit, which swaps the circular diaphragms you’ll find in traditional speakers for square-shaped ones. This, in turn, means more sound pressure and better high-quality sound.

There’s definitely less distortion with this speaker, which is packed with features we love, whether it’s the way the controls are hidden beneath a rubberised flap, the retractable handle or the subtle lighting on the end (use the Sony Music Center app to tweak the illumination pattern). Our top tip? Use the MEGA BASS to crank up the bass.

  1. £199 from
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Soundcore motion X600

best Bluetooth speakers review Soundcore motion X600
  • Best: For tech
  • Weight: 1.9kg
  • Battery life: 12 hours
  • Waterproof: Yes, rated IPX7

We’ve yet to come across a product from Anker (Soundcore is an Anker sub-brand) we don’t love, but rest assured we went into this review with full impartiality. That said, we weren’t disappointed. The upside to the Motion X600’s slightly larger size is the room-filling sound which comes courtesy of five drivers and five amplifiers, which disperse sound both horizontally and vertically.

There’s no noise distortion either, something we suspect is down to Soundcore’s claim that the speaker uses a high-end DSP (digital signal processor). Its 12-hour battery life is also pretty impressive for a speaker which packs this amount of power, and we’re also huge fans of the easily-navigable Soundcore app, which can be used, amongst other things, to tweak the speaker’s EQ (equalisation), adjusting elements such as bass and treble.

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Bose SoundLink revolve+ II Bluetooth® speaker

best Bluetooth speakers review Bose SoundLink revolve+ II Bluetooth® speaker
  • Best: Premium speaker
  • Weight: 0.9kg
  • Battery life: 17 hours
  • Waterproof: Yes, rated IP55, which means protection against damp weather rather than accidental submersion

This sleek silver dream machine offers fantastic surround sound courtesy of its cylindrical design, and unexpected perks include the 17-hour battery life, the ease with which we could activate wireless Bluetooth pairing with voice prompts and a top quality omnidirectional acoustic deflector (in layman’s terms, this is something which helps disperse sound in multiple directions). We also appreciated the little things, like the use of softer material in areas where the speaker was most likely to encounter bumps and scrapes, and the use of a single-extrusion construction technique, which explains its slick, seamless design.

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Sony SRS-XB13 portable Bluetooth speaker, lemon yellow

best Bluetooth speakers reviews Sony SRS-XB13 portable Bluetooth speaker, lemon yellow
  • Best: Budget speaker
  • Weight: 253g
  • Battery life: 16 hours
  • Waterproof: Yes, rated IP67

This small chunk of lime green loveliness packs a whopping 16 hours of battery life and comes with lots of added extras. It includes Sony’s party-starting Extra Bass technology, a battery level indicate that appears on your phone and an impressive (especially for a speaker with this price tag) IP67 rating – meaning it’s both fully waterproof and dustproof. We loved its compact design, and the way we could loop pieces of cord through holes in the base in order to dangle the speaker from hooks.

  1. £39 from
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Edifier MP100 plus portable Bluetooth speaker

best Bluetooth speakers review Edifier MP100 plus portable Bluetooth speaker
  • Best: Speaker for active types
  • Weight: 185g
  • Battery life: Nine hours
  • Waterproof: IPX7

This a truly versatile speaker – the ultra-tough cord can be used to hang it from tent poles and camping chairs, but it also fitted perfectly around the handlebars of our mountain bike. The 43mm driver produced crisp, high-quality sound, and the controls, on the rear of the speaker, were clear, tactile and easy to use. Although the presence of an X in the IP rating suggests it’s not got the toughest resistance to solid matter such as dust and mud, the “7” indicates it can survive being underwater for up to 30 minutes.

  1. £49 from
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Boompods soundflare

best Bluetooth speakers reviw Boompods soundflare
  • Best: For sustainability
  • Weight: 295g
  • Battery life: Five hours
  • Waterproof: IPX6

Write this small-but-mighty (and we do mean small – it’s the size of an egg) speaker off at your peril. We were admittedly initially suckered in by the cosmetic features – including the illuminated bottom section, which changes colour in time to the music, and can be configured using its very own app – but there’s substance as well as style, here.

To start with, it’s made from recycled ocean-bound plastic. Then there’s the option to pair multiple speakers and the multi-functionality (this must be one of the only speakers with controls that don’t just control basics such as volume, but can be used to activate phone selfies). Yes, we’d love to have seen a slightly longer battery life, but when speakers are this much fun, we’re not going to kick up too much of a fuss.

  1. £39 from
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Boompods rhythm speaker

best Bluetooth speakers review Boompods rhythm speaker
  • Best: For fun
  • Weight: 220g
  • Battery life: Five hours
  • Waterproof: IPX7

There are more great sustainability credentials courtesy of Boompods’ pocket-sized speaker, which is made from recycled plastic. It’s got an exceptionally rugged design – there’s a tough dangle cord, and its IPX7 rating means it can be submerged 1m underwater for up to 30 minutes. The controls are wonderfully simple to use, and it can also be controlled via an app.

  1. £39 from
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Groove-e Boston wooden DAB & FM radio with Bluetooth

best Bluetooth speakers review Groove-e Boston wooden DAB & FM radio with Bluetooth
  • Best: For simplicity
  • Weight: 869g
  • Battery life: Requires 4 x C batteries
  • Waterproof: No IP rating

Okay, this might not be the most hi-tech device out there, but it’s not designed to be, and there’s certainly space in our tech cupboard for this elegant speaker (although we’re slightly baffled by the requirement for four batteries as the only alternative to mains power). We’d recommend this for anyone who might not be after an all-singing, all-dancing device, but who craves the simplicity of a speaker which will also double as a radio and which produces crisp, clear sound. Bonus points for the ultra-bright LED display and the alarm clock functionality.

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Bose SoundLink flex bluetooth speaker

Bose SoundLink flex bluetooth speaker.jpg
  • Best: For portability
  • Weight: 590g
  • Battery life: 12 hours
  • Waterproof: Yes, rated IP67

We’ve watched countless portable speakers topple into puddles or off the rocks on which we’ve carefully positioned them, so we loved how the combination of this speaker’s weightiness and shape (flat and long) ensured it stayed put. The sound quality is incredible, and we suspect this is largely thanks to the positionIQ technology, which optimises audio depending on the speaker’s position – whether it’s lying flat or you’re hanging it from a backpack using the loop provided. We also appreciated its ruggedness, which has an IP67 rating (drop it in water and it will be fine) and a powder coating which is resistant to rust and UV light, and won’t peel or flake.

  1. £129 from
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Roberts Radio rambler mini

Roberts Radio rambler mini .jpg
  • Best: For retro styling
  • Weight: 460g
  • Battery life: 12 hours
  • Waterproof: Not specified

Looking for a speaker which is a radio, too? Say hello to Roberts Radio’s rambler mini, which has DAB, FM and Bluetooth functionality and is fabulously easy to use (although we’d have appreciated lights to reassure us that it’s charging). That said, this is our only complaint about a device which delivers fantastic audio quality and has a gorgeous retro-inspired look, too. Although there’s only a front-facing speaker, its size allows for brilliant sound distribution while tactile controls make it a breeze to scroll between settings.

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JBL flip 6

best Bluetooth speakers review JBL flip 6
  • Best: Wraparound-style speaker
  • Weight: 550g
  • Battery life: 12 hours
  • Waterproof: Yes, rated IP67

JBL is a brand which has seriously upped its game when it comes to speakers. The blurb states that this speaker’s racetrack-shaped woofer delivers fantastic sound when it comes to low and mid-range frequencies, while a tweeter (an additional speaker designed for frequencies in the “upper” range) provides brilliant crispness. And we’re happy to report that the blurb was correct.

This wraparound-style speaker offered up some serious bass, although it’s a great all-rounder, too. We loved the ultra-bright indicator lights and the partyboost mode, which allows multiple flip 6’s to be wirelessly connected. Even the packaging is sustainable – entirely recyclable, with instructions printed in a soy-based ink.

  1. £98 from
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House of Marley get together solo bluetooth speaker

House of Marley get together solo bluetooth speaker.jpg
  • Best: For sound distribution
  • Weight: 270g
  • Battery life: 25 hours
  • Waterproof: Not specified

This is one seriously sustainable speaker – 30 per cent is reclaimed hemp, and there’s a heavy reliance on bamboo, too. There’s a pretty impressive 25-hour battery life, and we were able to pair it with our smartphone in a nano-second. Although it’s not the smallest portable speaker, the pay-off is the sound distribution – House of Marley claims this speaker delivers fantastic sound over a 30-metre range and our testing proved this estimate to be pretty accurate, with no discernible loss of audio quality.

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Polaroid P2 music player

Polaroid P2 music player.jpg
  • Best: For looks
  • Weight: 660g
  • Battery life : 15 hours
  • Waterproof: N/a

Yep, that’s right: Polaroid has entered the world of Bluetooth speakers and we’re liking what we see. Not just in an aesthetic sense – although we’re admittedly slightly obsessed with the ultra-bright colour scheme, music-responsive LED display and ghetto-blaster-inspired styling. But in terms of audio, this speaker certainly delivered when we wanted to crank up the volume.

Controls are simple but cover the necessary bases, with play/power, back, forward and favourite buttons. The one (minor) gripe? There’s no IP rating so it’s probably not the best speaker for wild, wet weekends in the great outdoors. However, for house parties, barbecues and solo jam sessions, it’s hard to beat.

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Roberts Radio iStream3L X Amy edition

Roberts Radio iStream3L X Amy edition.jpg
  • Best: For sound quality
  • Weight: 1.71kg
  • Battery life: n/a (requires six AA batteries when not plugged in)
  • Waterproof: Not specified

Love leopard print? You’ll love this speaker, inspired by the late Amy Winehouse’s quirky style. It’s both a radio and Bluetooth speaker, although it’s the only one in our selection which doesn’t have an internal battery (all the others can be charged using a USB-C cable). That means you’ll need to keep it plugged in or use six AA batteries, but that’s as complicated as it gets.

Despite the wide range of settings – including controls which can be used to scroll through streaming services such as Deezer and Spotify – everything about the Amy Edition is easy to use. From the Bluetooth connection process to the way the equaliser can be tweaked according to music genre, it’s a great option with great sound quality and a price tag to match.

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JBL GO3 portable Bluetooth speaker

JBL GO3 portable Bluetooth speaker .jpg
  • Best: Pocket-sized speaker
  • Weight: 209g
  • Battery life: Five hours
  • Waterproof: Yes, rated IP67

Given its tiny size – it weighs just 209g and easily slipped into our back pocket – this speaker packs a serious punch. It has an IP67 certification, which means its dust-resistant and waterproof to a depth of one metre and offers various features which more expensive speakers don’t have. The controls are refreshingly simple to use with buttons to play, activate Bluetooth, crank up the volume and turn it on and off, and there’s a major focus on practicality when it comes to the design. The woven hanging loop makes it easy to hang the device from backpacks or tent struts, and the wraparound speaker provides surprisingly consistent audio distribution.

  1. £33 from
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Sonos roam smart speaker with voice control

Sonos roam smart speaker with voice control.jpg
  • Best: Hi-tech speaker
  • Weight: 400g
  • Battery life: 10 hours
  • Waterproof: Yes, rated IP67

First things first, while this speaker delivered undeniably fantastic audio quality, and we absolutely loved the voice control functionality, it’s not the easiest to set up. We spent 20 minutes trying to do so, and could eventually only finish up when using the speaker’s app. In reality though, it’s a relatively minor downside, and this slightly painful process thankfully only needs to be done once.

After that, the speaker is refreshingly rugged. It has an IP67 rating which means it can be submerged in three feet of water for up to 30 minutes, and thanks partly to Trueplay tuning – which optimises sound depending on the genre of the music and the environment – it delivers incredible audio too.

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Nokia portable wireless speaker 2

Nokia portable wireless speaker 2.jpg
  • Best: Compact speaker
  • Weight: 164g
  • Battery life: 22 hours
  • Waterproof: Yes, IPX7 rated (withstands 30 minutes under one meter of water)

When it comes to compact, rugged speakers we can dangle from backpacks or pull out for impromptu jam sessions at gatherings, this speaker, which has a 22-hour battery life, is hard to beat. Although its audio isn’t going to rival that of larger, more expensive speakers, it’s seriously impressive for a device of this size. Plus, it can be wirelessly connected to additional models for more wide-reaching audio. It’s another one which scores highly in the sustainability stakes too as its exterior is 100 per cent recycled.

  1. £49 from
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The verdict: Bluetooth speakers

Okay, we admit it. Maybe bigger is better, after all. That said, our pick of the bunch, Sony’s XG300 X-series portable wireless speaker, is still perfectly portable, thanks to its ergonomic design. But it’s the abundance of tech, sound distribution and brilliant functionality which bagged this speaker the top spot.

Soundcore’s motion X600 does an equally fantastic job of distributing sound, and we were suckers for its slick design and the lack of distortion, too. Finally, Bose’s SoundLink revolve+ II Bluetooth speaker gets highly commended for lengthy battery life, rugged but classy design, and simple, ultra-responsive controls.

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