This content originally appeared on Mashable for a US audience and has been adapted for a UK audience.
Modern life just isn’t complete without a Bluetooth speaker — an essential device for music lovers who like to be smart and stay connected.
A Bluetooth speaker can integrate perfectly into a smart ecosystem, allowing you to turn up the volume from your phone or talk to Alexa — not to mention offering convenient portability for your holidays or even your daily commute.
There are heaps of high-quality speakers out there, so you’re spoiled for choice. The problem with so many impressive products from leading brands is that choosing the right device can be difficult. This is where we intervene. Here’s a quick guide.
Do bluetooth speakers sound good?
You will be surprised by the quality of audio technology in Bluetooth speakers. But what are you going to use your speaker for? Pure music? Podcasts? A little bit of both? This will certainly affect what speaker you end up buying – whether it’s surround sound, Dolby Atmos, something for great outdoors, or just a stereo (which is also great – don’t feel pressured to get something super fancy and expensive if you really don’t need it). Not all speakers produce the same sound quality, so it’s important to know exactly what kind of listening you’re looking for.
How big are bluetooth speakers?
Speakers can be quite large, even portable ones, so consider how much usable space you want to allocate for your audio setup both horizontally and vertically. Not everyone has room for multiple speakers working in tandem, so don’t overload yourself with something gigantic if it’s going to constantly get in the way. There are many speakers that can be easily stored or hidden, and some are small enough to sit on a table or shelf.
How many speakers should you buy?
We always recommend choosing quality over quantity. Having two amazing speakers will always get you better results than having five average speakers. Also, having too many speakers around will take up an unnecessary amount of space. If you have the room, we think two speakers is the perfect number.
Two speakers are especially ideal if you listen to a lot of music — music is usually recorded for a stereo setup, so having a left and right channel will do wonders. And if you have less space, even a really good speaker should do the trick (as long as it sounds great). Many Bluetooth speakers also have easy pairing options with other speakers of the same brand, so setting them up should be easy.
What are smart speakers?
These are speakers that double as smart devices that can connect to Alexa or sync with other smart home devices. They’re great in their own right, but they’re not always the best way to listen to music (sorry, Alexa). If you really can’t live without having some kind of smart assistant in your speaker setup, we recommend getting something that’s Bluetooth-enabled and connecting it to your smartphone. This way, you get the benefits of your phone’s built-in smart assistant without the downgrade.
Are bluetooth speakers waterproof?
Many modern speakers have some kind of water resistance. This means you can walk by the pool or the beach. Or, um, the bathroom. Even if you don’t plan on taking your speaker on vacation, it’s possible that it will be a target for spills, no matter where you have it in your home.
What is the best bluetooth speaker?
There are many Bluetooth speakers out there that are worth checking out. We’ve tracked down some of the best options. We’ve rounded up impressive Bluetooth speakers from all the major brands, with something for everyone and every budget.
These are the best Bluetooth speakers in 2023.