The search for the best high-end Bluetooth speakers ends here! We’re reviewing 21 premium portable speakers in three distinct price ranges–updated for 2021. Whether you’re on a budget or have cash to burn, you’ll find the perfect wireless audio system below.
It’s hard to remember a time that Bluetooth speakers weren’t ubiquitous, but so much the better, we say. With the market for high-fidelity audio solutions both figuratively and literally booming, consumers are spoiled for choice–even when it comes to portable options.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can just buy the first speaker you see and expect good results. Not to worry though, as we’ve done the market comparison for you. Check out the top 21 high-end Bluetooth speakers!
A Brief History of Bluetooth
The Bluetooth revolution began quietly in 1998 with just 5 companies joining the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. By the end of that same year, 400 companies had signed up. By the turn of the millennium, the first phone with Bluetooth technology was available to consumers.
Since then there’s been a rush to integrate this wireless connectivity into an increasing number of devices, with printers, laptops, earphones, and even cooking appliances bearing the ability to tether wirelessly to any aptly enabled machine. The result is an increasingly wireless world.
Best High-End Bluetooth Speakers Under $100
In this day and age, it’s surprisingly easy to get high-end performance without spending a fortune. Here are the best Bluetooth speakers under a hundred dollars (from cheapest to most expensive):
You’ve probably seen Bluetooth speakers that look just like the OontZ Angle 3, and at similar price points too. Don’t be deceived, however, as Cambridge Soundworks has something of a unicorn on its hands.
Designed in the USA, the Angle 3 offers clear, balanced directional audio projection up to 100 feet away. The pyramidal design makes it easy to set up anywhere, and with IPx5 waterproofing and 14 hours of battery life, it’s well-equipped for portable usage on all your adventures. All in all, it’s about as high-end as Bluetooth speakers get at less than the price of lunch.
Another super-budget Bluetooth speaker that punches above its weight class in terms of audio fidelity, the Soundcore 2 from Anker makes a compelling case to save a buck. Weighing in at just under 13 ounces, it nevertheless pumps an impressive 12W of sound out.
You might expect to sacrifice bass in this form factor, but the Anker is here to dispel that notion. Dual neodymium drivers and a novel spiral bass port dramatically improve low end presence and response.
Anker is famous for its power cells, so it should come as little surprise that the Soundcore 2 is capable of 24 hours of continuous play. IPX7 life-proofing further seals the deal for budget-minded audiophiles.
Sony is practically synonymous with hi-fi, but this most humble of their Bluetooth speaker catalogue is a true standout. The SRS-XB12 is a thumpy little soundbox about the size of a mug of coffee, with IP67 dust and waterproof ratings. It weighs just 8.6 ounces, and packs away tidily into even the most minimalist traveler’s loadout.
There’s a carry strap to enhance the carry-ergonomics of the XB12. While not ruggedized like more expensive speakers, it is more than robust enough to absorb the impact of daily use, whether indoors or out.
A word of caution: It doesn’t pair with the XB10 for simultaneous play. You’ve got to get another XB12, which is a bit of a shame for Sony loyalists. Still, it presents an incredible opportunity to own a quality piece of audio kit for without shelling out an arm and a leg.
You may notice something of a trend that the best budget-minded Bluetooth speakers also tend to ultralight models. And rather than trying to sell you on inflated, possibly imaginary specs, Tribit seems to have been shooting to maximize value in a small package with their StormBox Micro.
The bulk of the StormBox Micro’s 3.87 x 3.87” real estate is dedicated to housing as much speaker as possible. With an advanced Texas Instruments amplifier and XBass technology, this tiny terror punches well above its sonic weight at 9W.
Tribit’s form factor begs for adventure, as well, with a built-in rubber strap that fits equally well on bike handles as backpack straps. Rest easier with IP67 water and dustproofing. Battery life could be better at 8 hours, but that’s more than enough for more casual outings.
If you’re in the market for even more of a good thing, consider spending a little more on Tribit’s full-sized StormBox. While physically it pushes out past the ultra-svelte design of the Micro, you get significantly more oomph.
First, our main complaint about battery life sees a massive improvement to 20 continuous hours. Additionally, the StormBox makes the jump to 360° sound, with a corresponding boost to 24W. With IPX7 waterproofing and 66 feet of Bluetooth range, it’s hard to recommend anything else for outdoor usage on a budget.
Style-wise, it’s a bit of a Plain-Jane; but being merely inoffensive is no crime when the audio is as good as it is. Once again, Tribit graces their design with a convenient carrying strap and a robust, go-anywhere build that will more than justify your modest investment.
6. JBL Clip 4
If lugging around 8.4 ounces by hand is just too much to ask, JBL has your answer with the Clip 4. Don’t write the oversized carabiner off as a gimmick; we guarantee you’ll get more use out of it than you expect. It’s the ultimate hands-off audio solution for hiking, commuting, camping, or simply moving around the house.
The Clip 4 produces a relatively modest 5W, but just look at the damn thing! The typical use-case would otherwise be filled by anemic cellphone speakers. Why not go for premium JBL drivers, extra bass, and 10-hour battery life instead?
JBL’s Clip 4 features IP67 sealing, and can take a beating. There’s an optional carrying case, but we recommend against it since it’ll probably live on the outside of your backpack, rather than within.
UE took a commanding lead in the race to produce the best high end Bluetooth speakers. Now, their range has expanded to multiple use-cases, with the ultra-portable Wonderboom 2 being a crowd favorite.
Featuring 360° sound and a go-anywhere, ruggedized form factor, the Wonderboom 2 is extremely flexible in how and when you drop the beat. And speaking of dropping things, UE doesn’t expect you to baby their speakers. (Just try to resist throwing it like a grenade to prove how tough it is!) It’s got IPX7 waterproofing, and will absorb impacts and abuse like a heavyweight.
Strangely enough, UE doesn’t list a power rating; we know the original Wonderboom had 17W, and that its sequel has more power. It won’t rattle the rafters, but you can bring the ruckus by easily pairing it up with a second Wonderboom 2. UE was kind enough to provide for a generous 100-foot range, as well.
It’s definitely not as cheap as similarly sized Bluetooth speakers, but the Bose SoundLink Micro delivers functionality beyond budget “dumb” speakers. Indeed, Bose packed this box full of productivity and accessibility tools, including a microphone to take conference calls.
Of course, you can also use the mic to interact with Siri and Google Home. The interactivity doesn’t end there, as in addition to being easy to integrate with your smart home, the SoundLink Micro also easily pairs with other Bose devices for a wall of sound.
Don’t think of this as too genteel for the outdoors, however. It’s got IPX7 waterproofing, a durable rubberized exterior, and handy strap for your bike or backpack. Range and battery life could admittedly be better, but the quality of sound, rugged form factor, and superior Bose audio make up for it in spades.
A meaningful step up in terms of output without leaving the budget price tier is Anker’s Soundcore Motion+. Make some noise with 30W powering twin tweeters, neodymium woofers, and passive radiators.
Also on-board is Qualcomm’s aptX HD audio codec, which improves signal to noise, mitigates background noise, and tames distortion. The Motion+ also offers a wide frequency range between 50 and 40000 Hz with digital signal processing to capture the nuance of your tunes.
While it’s a bit bigger than most of the ultra-light speakers we’ve reviewed so far, the Anker Soundcore Motion+ is still highly portable at just 2.31 pounds and with IPX7 waterproofing. It also boasts 12 hours of continuous play–an impressive feat for a more powerful device.
10. Sony SRS-XB33
Sony’s SRS-XB33 is a do-anything model that offers a solid step up into the world of high-end Bluetooth speakers. If there was a design motto driving production, it might well have been “more”.
For example, the XB33 offers 24 hours of continuous play–and it’s not because it skimps on sound to do so. This high-end Bluetooth speaker is known for its thumping bass thanks to its dual passive radiators which enhance low-frequency response. Try out party mode, which allows you to connect up to 100 wireless speakers. Even the multi-color line lights will sync up for an impressive light show!
Need more? Sony threw in a mic for calls and chatting, NFC compatibility for easier streaming, and IP67 and shock-proof build, plus flexible vertical or horizontal orientation. Moreover, since the launch of the XB43, the XB33 is frequently available at deep discounts, capping off our “under 100” tier with a bang.
Best High-End Bluetooth Speakers Under $250
If you’re willing to shell out a little more, the high-end Bluetooth speaker market will reward you with some truly outstanding models under $250. In fact, this tier is probably where the best bang for buck is for most use-cases.
11. JBL Flip 5
JBL lets you enjoy it your way with the Flip 5. Featuring 11 different colors to choose from, you can tailor it to match your style and personality. Of course, high-end Bluetooth speakers aren’t (primarily) fashion accessories, but tools that allow you to listen to your favorite tunes on the go. And that’s where JBL’s legendary audio shines through.
Compared to its predecessor, the Flip 5 increases driver diameter to 44mm and pumps the power to 20W. Moreover, improved battery life now stretches over 12 hours of playtime; and when it does finally die, the Flip 5 now features USB-C quick charge.
A ruggedized, IPX7 build ensures your modest investment stays safe during rain or shine. At just 1.2 pounds, the JBL Flip 5 can easily tag along wherever your adventures take you. And if you meet another JBL user on the road, link up your speakers with PartyBoost for immersive stereo sound.
If you’re surprised to see another high-end Bluetooth speaker from Ultimate Ears so soon on our list, you clearly haven’t been paying attention to the market. UE is a dominant force largely because of the popularity and value of their Boom series. And the Boom 3 is the culmination and best of them all so far.
For many, the Boom 3 is the sweet spot for price and performance. On paper, 12W doesn’t seem like much to power a tight 360° sound. But true to form, UE over-delivers with exceptional clarity, powerful bass, and the ability to dial in the EQ via the Boom app.
Lower wattage allows for longer life (up to 15 hours) in a smaller package, just under two pounds. The Boom 3 goes anywhere you do, with IP67 build that even allows it to float should it fall into the swimming pool–no it’s not just a marketing gimmick!
13. JBL Charge 4
Full disclosure: The Charge 5 is coming later this year, and is likely to snag our recommendation over its predecessor. However, the Charge 4 retains a special place in our hearts for its sheer reliability and value proposition.
This high-end Bluetooth speaker is unafraid of heavy duty; with beaches, pool-sides, and hiking trails comprising its natural habitat. IPX7 waterproofing laughs off a complete inundation, while 20 hours of playtime are a perfect fit for long outings.
But the Charge 4 is always ready to party, with JBL Connect+ allowing for simultaneous pairing of up to 100 compatible speakers. Moreover, you can configure a pair of Charge 4’s for true LR stereo rather than dual-mono. And with oversized bass radiators, adventurous audiophiles won’t have to miss out on the comforts of home.
Whereas many high-end Bluetooth speakers advertise their ultra-rugged life-readiness, Bose’s SoundLink Revolve is decidedly a more domestic affair–more suited to day trips than the nomad life. That said, it does still features IPX4 waterproofing, so you don’t exactly have to baby it.
Nevertheless, you’ll most likely find this is a speaker that follows you around the house as you do chores or entertain guests. It comes complete with both Siri and Google Assistant compatibility, and so is ideal for hands-off usage. You can also interface with the SoundLink Revolve via the Bose Connect app, which lets you customize audio settings on the fly.
You also get a powerful 360° sound production, backed by 12 hours of battery life. And if you anticipate portability being only an occasional necessity, the SoundLink Revolve has no problem playing while plugged in; a factor which strangely enough cannot be taken for granted with Bluetooth speakers.
With plenty of options for the home or field, there’s a gap for high-end Bluetooth speakers that are ready for the demands of the office. In steps Jabra with their sleek Speak 710 UC speakerphone.
Functionally and aesthetically, the Jabra is right at home in the center of any conference table. Featuring a low-profile disc shape, the Speak 710 UC offers high-definition 360° projection. Similarly, the microphone is omnidirectional, meaning that everyone present can make their voice commands clearly heard.
It’s not waterproof, but it does have outstanding 15-hour battery life and ready integration with communications apps like Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting, and more.
Topping off our middle price tier is the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 6. It features a premium, IPX7 aluminum and mesh build that is at once elegant, yet durable and functional. Value seekers may initially balk at the aesthetic luxury and corresponding price. But make no mistake, Harmon Kardon delivers top-shelf audio.
Featuring a massive 120mm woofer and 25mm tweeter and 50W to power them, the Onyx Studio 6 provides exceptional clarity, presence, and balance. Owing to the extra juice and compact form factor, the battery only manages about 8 hours, which is probably the biggest downside relative to smaller models.
The Onyx Studio 6 is also a good bit heavier at 8 pounds. Think of it less as a backpacking essential, and more a portable centerpiece for the modern home. But if you’re entertaining outdoors, IPX7 waterproofing protects your investment with aplomb.
Best High-End Bluetooth Speakers Under $500
By now, it should be quite clear that you don’t have to spend a ton to get your money’s worth out of high-end Bluetooth speakers. However, the uncompromising audiophile will doubtless want a bit more. Here we have the top Bluetooth speakers under five hundred dollars.
Tapping into nearly 60 years of Rock ‘n Roll heritage, the Marshall Stanmore II yields sonic excellence without requiring you to play like Hendrix. All the legendary accoutrements are there, from the Tolex-covered Baltic birch cabinet to the iconic brass plate and control knobs. There’s even a ¼” aux jack, so with an external preamp you could even use the Stanmore II as an impromptu guitar amplifier.
We love the classic trio of analogue volume, bass, and treble knobs which allow you to physically dial in your basic EQ. Of course, you can just use Marshall’s mobile app for remote tweaking and greater convenience. Did we mention Alexa is onboard as well for true hands-free operation?
It can be hard to tell how big it is from the pictures, but the Stanmore II fits comfortably on any computer desktop at just under 14 x 8 x 7”. Unlike the other high-end Bluetooth speakers that we’ve reviewed thus far, the Marshall has no battery and requires proximity to a wall outlet.
18. Sonos Move
At 6.61 pounds, you’re probably not going to take the Sonos Move on long hikes. However, it excels in its intended use-case: Serving as a semi-permanent yet portable home audio solution. We say semi-permanent, because it has a wireless charging dock that functions as a home base. (That said, it’s also chargeable via USB.)
With 45W of output, the Move bellows well beyond what its stature would suggest. But it’s not just loud; Sonos’ special Trueplay feature takes the specific song being played into consideration along with the physical environment surrounding the speaker to auto-optimize sound settings. While there’s a lot to love about the Move’s feature set, it is undoubtedly the quality of audio that draws the most consumer praise. Responsive bass, smooth highs, and dynamic mids capture the detail of your music faithfull.
Sonos Move offers myriad control options via Alexa voice control, AirPlay 2, the Sonos mobile app and others. The build quality is durable with IP56 weatherproofing, and able to take physical punishment as you move it around the house. Battery life is at a generous 11 hours even at high volumes.
The granddaddy of UE’s portable Bluetooth speakers, the Hyperboom is a party monster. All the relevant specs are maximized: 24 hours of battery life, 150 wireless range, and a category-busting 229W output. Sure, it’s 13 pounds and stands well over a foot tall. But the sheer guts of this sound box minimize the need for grab-n-go sizing.
That said, build quality stands up to constant usage and moving from place to place. The Hyperboom also boasts a respectable IPX4 water resistance, meaning it won’t crap out the minute it starts to rain. Did we mention it also has a sealable USB port for charging your phone to keep your playlist pumping?
The Hyperboom lives up to its name with insane headroom, fat bass, and adaptive EQ to make sure each track sounds its best. And with four input channels, you can share the burden of DJing with anyone in possession of a mobile phone.
Denmark-based Bang & Olufsen are famous for their high-end Bluetooth speakers. The Beolit 20 is one of their stand-out models, with smart Nordic styling, advanced features, and impressive audio performance.
Under the hood, you’ll find twin amps pumping out 35W each to three 1.5” drivers and a massive 5.5” woofer. Tamed by cutting-edge DSP, there’s more than enough headroom crank it up. Additionally, the Beolit 20 carves out space for a pair of massive 4” radiators for truly profound bass response.
Curiously, a speaker this expensive doesn’t have an IP waterproofing rating. Bang & Olufsen claim there is some nominal weather resistance, but we suggest you keep this gem of commercial design inside. Nevertheless, the Beolit 20 travels well, with a ruggedized build and chic vegetable-tanned carry strap. The battery is good for 8 hours, and charges via Qi wireless charging and USB alike.
21. JBL Boombox 2
The Boombox 2 sits comfortably at the top of JBL’s incredible line of high-end Bluetooth speakers. It represents the most power available in a portable JBL speaker, proving that its namesake isn’t just to evoke nostalgia for the late 80’s.
Indeed, the form factor is exactly that of a hyper-modern boom box; it’s basically all speaker and battery, with an oversized, grippy carry handle. It’s IPX7 waterproofed, and just keeps going with 24 hours of battery life. That cavernous battery also doubles as a power bank for your smart phone. Clearly, mobility is no obstacle with the Boombox 2.
But let’s talk about the main course: The incredible sound. Packing two 4” woofers and twin 0.75” tweeters each pushing 30W on battery and 40W on AC power, the Boombox 2 is undoubtedly JBL’s loudest Bluetooth speaker to date. It also features superior a signal-to-noise ratio, with a dynamic frequency response between 50 and 20000 Hz. If you’re nuts about JBL, the Boombox 2 is your grail speaker.
So there you have it, the top 21 high-end Bluetooth speakers as of 2021. Whether you’re looking for value for money or just want to spoil yourself with luxury audio, there’s a model to suit your budget and tastes. Just make sure the speaker you choose has enough battery life, features appropriate water proofing and portability, and puts out enough sound for your purposes, then you’ll walk away happy.