Hey everyone, what’s up? This article is basically for Bluetooth speaker fans and also for the buyers who are planning to buy some cool speakers anytime soon. I’m here to help you make that purchase decision.
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- JBL Flip 4 –
So starting with this small category first, you gotta get the JBL Flip 4. This is one of the best Bluetooth speakers in its class. It’s one of the most rugged and it seriously looks great – wrapped in nylon fabric that is extremely rugged and with an ipx7 rating, it’s capable of being submerged under water for up to 30 minutes in up to a meter of water basically. Now, keep in mind though, it sadly and unfortunately doesn’t floats.
Now I tested the Bluetooth range, this has about 50 linear feet of range and battery life is also impressive; with my testing of 50% volume, at the 14-hour mark, I still had 50% of battery life remaining. Also, JBL connect plus also comes with the JBL Flip 4 allowing you to connect up to a hundred or actually more compatible JBL speakers and have them all play at the same time. As much as I want to put Sony XB-20, I wouldn’t have it pass because the LEDs on those only shined one color. It only had an ipx4 rating, meaning it was only splash proof and the battery life tested on the Sony XB-20 was only 9 hours versus again, the 14 hours that I got here. Not to mention, the XP-20 did put up pretty sweet audio, but it sounded very similar to the Flip 4. In the end, JBL had more value in my personal opinion.
- UE Wonderboom
Now, the second best small Bluetooth speaker on the list is the UE Wonderboom. Now, all of the UE products can take a beating. The Wonderboom, after numerous drops here and there, and after being buried in mud, can survive after repeated abuse. Also, Flip4 and the XB-20 don’t float, but Wonderboom thankfully can. It’s ipx7 certified meaning, it can be submerged in up to a meter of water again for up to 30 minutes making this perfect for those taking this to the lake or bringing it near the pool.
The battery life is good with 10 hours and 20 minutes at 50% volume and Bluetooth range is claimed at a hundred feet and worked throughout my entire house; inside the office, it was perfectly fine going through the floors and walls. Now, as far as the audio experience goes, the Wonderboom isn’t as bassy or deep as the other small class speakers, not even close – so you do lose that. But it provides, for mids, and an enjoyable casual sound. Not to mention, this thing outputs 360-degree audio while most other speakers can’t.
- JBL Charge 3
Now, moving on the medium-size speakers, JBL kills it with Bluetooth speakers at least for the last year or two. I personally recommend the Charge 3 with it’s amazing battery life at 20 hours and 48 minutes of testing time. The speaker is ipx7 rated so it can be submerged in water, but better yet, it does float with my test. The Charge 3 does have the new JBL connect plus feature, allowing you to connect to practically an infinite amount of speakers so they can all play at the same time. It does have to have JBL connect plus.
The additional benefit of getting this over the others is you can charge your phone, as there’s a USB out on the back behind the little flap – having a speaker that will work just like a power bank. Now Bluetooth range reaching 40 linear feet but if you want a wired connection, there is 3.5-millimeter port on the back as well. Now audio wise, it’s not 360 degrees. But, the Charge 3 is one of the most direct fiery speakers that is available. This will surely fill up a small to medium-sized room and somewhat pushes large rooms as well. The audio signature is bright and forward; and the highs are never too harsh to become distorting.
- Sony XB-30
Now, second on my mid-tier speakers, this is the time I’ll recommend the Sony speaker. It’s the Sony XB-30. The aluminum grill makes a return as does the durable housing like the rest of the line-up. Unfortunately, the speakers are only splash-proof with an ipx4 rating – you cannot submerge this thing. It does offer something similar to UE’s double up or JBL connect plus but Sony is limited to 10 speakers which is surely enough honestly, for most people.
Bluetooth range, you get about 60 linear feet from my testing and as for battery life, you’ll be getting around 15 hours at moderate volume with the LEDs on. The biggest perk or reason why you would get this is because of those LEDS. They pulsate and strobe like the smaller model, but they now come in a variety of colors that can be customized with the app. Now lastly, with the XB-30, you get a punchy bass-boosted sound signature that’s slightly deeper than a Charge 3 with ford and bright mids as well. The highs were slightly rolled back, but overall this speaker has great audio.
- JBL Pulse 3
Now, this speaker is super glossy but like hard plastic up top, it might be glass so it’s something to be careful about. It is also fingerprint prone as well though it’s hard to tell when it is illuminated basically. Now, Bluetooth range is right around 64 linear feet and the battery life does take a hit here as the speaker has to power all the LEDs. In my testing, it reached just over 7 hours. It really is a trade-off between lighting and the battery life. Now, as for the sound experience, the Pulse is slightly above neutral, but not quite bass boosted as the JBL Charge 3. I can’t quite hit the depth of the XB-30 as well, but again, what you’re paying for is the light show basically. Although the audio is not at the level of the two other speakers, it’s still good audio in general. Now, the mids are very much forward as well. You do get 360-degree sound; you do lose a little of that attack – I guess you can say. But, it’s still very much capable of filling up small to medium sized rooms. It’s a conversation piece no matter what, wherever you place this in your household.
- Bose Revolve Plus
So jumping into big speakers; if you’re on the fence of the Revolve or the Revolve Plus from Bose, spend a little extra money, I highly recommend to get the Plus model. Now, this sounds much better. The speaker is compact especially for a large speaker category and the aluminum body and handle makes the overall shape very convenient. It’s also bump resistant. It has an ipx4 certification. It’s somewhat durable but perhaps, better as an indoor speaker and basically for light outdoor use.
As for Bluetooth, I did reach 40 linear feet in my testing and the battery died after 10 hours of playing at 50%. Finally, our recent updates allow the Bose Revolve Plus to interact with Amazon Alexa, providing a better alternative to the UE Mega Blast. Now, in a large room, the Revolve Plus fills up that space very adequately, especially when paired with another Bose speaker in party mode. Overall, this speaker isn’t as durable as some of the other speakers on the list – I’ll omit that. But, it does provide loud, bounce amp with 360-degree audio and that most recent firmware offering Amazon’s assistance is seriously a “plus”.
- Fugoo XL
If you want something ultra-rugged – buy The Fugoo XL. After my testing, proves that it’s a tank. It’s an older speaker, but it is ipx7 rated which means that I can submerge it underwater, but once I was done with my testing, I did confirm that it could float. The Mega Blast does it and the JBL Extreme is only splash-proof as well. Now, the Fugoo XL, it’s rock solid, dust proof, and shock resistant. To prove this, I dropped this repeatedly and nothing came about from it; it’s still working perfectly fine today.
The battery life is one of the best here at 37 and a half hours with medium volume. The other big speakers are not even close to that, unless this is perfect for an outdoor speaker. There’s 360-degree audio. The speakers are literally every side. Now, Fugoo does have a basic sound signature and once in a while may muddle the mid-range of bits on bass heavy music. The mid-range is neutral and it isn’t bright or overpowered; and the high frequencies plays without distortion. It is on the cheaper end of large Bluetooth speakers in my list, but comes with tons of features for those looking for something absolutely rugged.
- JBL Extreme
So alright folks, I know the JBL Extreme is what you’re thinking of – it’s honestly an amazing speaker. I still highly recommend it. But keep in mind, the Extreme is honestly starting to show its age though – it’s only splash proof. The Extreme only has 15 hours of battery life while others are offering much more now, and last, there’s a cheaper option out there. The biggest reason why I still recommend the Extreme is, it has one of the best audio quality characteristics coming out of a portable Bluetooth speaker. It is bassy, bright, forward, and simply in-your-face audio while keeping most of the audio quality intact.
- Sony XB-40
This is the Sony XB-40. It offers up to 24 hours of battery life, and the audio signature, it sounds very similar to the Extreme. It’s only splash resistant though as well just like the JBL Extreme, but considering pricing, the battery life, and obviously the crazy LEDs, I think the XB-40 wins with this year’s round-up. Now, the XB-40 is loud for medium to large rooms. It looks great with the ability to adjust the colors of the lights to having a strobe effect that’s not available on the XB-30; and the fact that I can go longer than other speakers is a huge plus.
Now, this speaker is the best for some of my favorite genres: EDM, hip-hop, pop music. It accentuates the beats and makes the music exciting and explosive; and the mid-range complements the bass, clearing detail, and the highs have no ear tinging or listening fatigue. It’s perfect for small to medium sized rooms, but even pushes large room territory. Overall, it is my highest recommendation of the year here.
Alright folks, that’s it for my list here. I hope it helped you in some way. I know there are tons of speakers out there to choose from, but with my testing, these are the best of the best.