Best Bluetooth speaker: the best wireless speakers for music, podcasts and more

The best Bluetooth speakers to enjoy high-quality audio at home, from Marshall, Audio Pro and more

best bluetooth speaker Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge in grey on white kitchen counter
(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

The best Bluetooth speakers serve as an entertainment hub for the home, easily connected to your smartphone, TV, or laptop for on-demand music, podcasts, and anything else you want to listen to. Eclipsed slightly by the allure of smart speakers, high-quality Bluetooth speakers are making something of a comeback. 

This is thanks in part to luxury brands including Bowers & Wilkens or Bang & Olufsen, as well as iconic companies like Marshall and Audio Pro, investing heavily in high-end, high-quality speakers that have all the latest technology without compromising on the sense of style that makes them so popular.

So, it's not a choice between smart or analog - Bluetooth speakers sit perfectly in the middle ground, with many also allowing you to take your audio outside or on the go, and including - yes - Alexa or Google Assistant compatibility. You can take a look at our guide to the best smart speakers if this interests you.

For now, though, keep reading to see how we ranked the best Bluetooth speakers.

The best Bluetooth speakers in 2022

Marshall Stanmore II Bluetooth Speaker on wooden side board next to man with red shirt

(Image credit: Marshall)
Best Bluetooth speaker overall

Specifications

Connections: Bluetooth
Smart?: No
Portable?: No
Speaker pairing?: No
Water resistant?: No
Dimensions: H7.7 x W13.8 x D7.3in
Weight: 10.3lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Stylish and classic design
+
Also available as a smart speaker
+
Easy control over bass and treble

Reasons to avoid

-
Large, heavy, and not portable
-
No multi-room audio
-
More expensive

If you're into your music then you'll instantly recognize the gorgeous Marshall iconography on the Stanmore II Bluetooth speaker. Having invested heavily in home speakers over the last few years, Marshall certainly hasn't compromised in the style department for its Bluetooth offerings.

What we like

The good news is that it sounds fantastic, and gives you greater control over your audio than other Bluetooth speakers even consider. As a result, this is less of an occasional speaker to power up when you're doing the dishes and more like something that you can use as your main music device.

The black leather look with fabric grille and rose gold controls is a classic for a reason and adds a real luxury feel to the speaker. The abundance of physical buttons also makes it much easier to control than those speakers that rely on app control.

The device is also available as an Alexa speaker. We tested this version, and you can read our full review of the Marshall Stanmore II Voice for more.

What could be better

While we love the Stanmore II for its quality feel, it isn't ideal for those looking for a portable speaker that can be moved from place to place. This device needs a permanent home, with no water resistance or battery power.

Livingetc rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 2nd Gen on a work table beside notepad, air freshener and vintage camera

(Image credit: Bang & Olufsen)
Best Bluetooth speaker to use with Alexa

Specifications

Connections: Bluetooth
Smart?: Yes
Portable: Yes
Battery life: 18-43 hours
Speaker pairing?: No
Water resistant?: Yes
Dimensions: H1.8 x W5.2in
Weight: 1.2lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Some Alexa functionality built-in
+
Good battery life
+
Fully waterproof
+
Lovely high-end design

Reasons to avoid

-
No multi-room listening
-
Alexa functionality can be fiddly
-
More expensive

Bang & Olufsen possibly heard the idea that rugged outdoor speakers need to be bulky and brightly colored, and responded with the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 - which couldn't be more different.

What we like

The 2nd Gen Beosound A1 just looks fantastic, with the jewel-toned shimmer setting it apart from pretty much all its rivals when it comes to design. We tested the 'grey mist' model and, despite being slightly larger and heavier than anticipated, it didn't disappoint. The attached strap isn't much use, though, unless you want some serious arm ache in the morning. 

That said, this is a very sturdy device, impervious to both water and being dropped.

There are lots of EQ presets in the B&O app, from 'bright' and 'energetic' to 'warm' and 'relaxed' so, whether you're someone who likes to fine-tune their audio or prefer to leave such things to professionals, you should be happy.

What could be better

While in-built Alexa sounds like a great idea, the reason this speaker is listed as one of the best Bluetooth speakers, and not one of the best smart speakers, is because in practice the smart assistant is quite frustrating to use.

It's Alexa lite, with the only reliable way of accessing your digital friend being opening the app on your phone first. It's a fun extra, but we wouldn't recommend if you're looking for a standalone smart speaker.

Livingetc rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Marshall Emberton Portable Bluetooth Speaker

(Image credit: Marshall)

3. Marshall Emberton

Best compact Bluetooth speaker

Specifications

Connections: Bluetooth
Smart?: No
Portable?: Yes
Battery life: 20 hours
Charging time: 3 hours
Speaker pairing?: No
Water resistant?: Yes
Wireless range: 30ft
Dimensions: H7 x W6.3 x D2.7in
Weight: 3lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Good battery life
+
Lightweight and easy to carry
+
Classic, iconic design
+
Water-resistant

Reasons to avoid

-
No smart home functionality
-
No multi-room audio

Another entry from the audio kings (and queens) from Marshall, the Emberton is a portable, weatherproof speaker that you can take with you on your travels.

What we like

Despite not having a handle, the Marshall Emberton is the perfect size and shape for carrying around. No way to secure it means it's probably best for travels to the next room or backyard but, if you wanted to pop it in a handbag or take it to the park, a weather-resistant design means you can.

The battery life is great, too, meaning you won't need to worry about it running out of juice while you're away from a power source. While testing, the speaker lasted us the majority of several workdays before needing to be plugged in, and the Emberton benefits from an LED display showing the remaining battery life.

Because this is Marshall, you have most of the hallmarks of the brand's products, just in miniature size. The Emberton's design is pleasingly minimal, with a front and back grille (for 360-degree audio), plastic casing in cream or black, and a metal control knob. Of course, there's also that iconic logo right upfront.

What could be better

We have nothing but praise for the audio quality of the larger Marshall Stanmore in our number one spot, and it's a shame that the Emberton's size and more minimal controls remove a lot of the customization and power of its sister speakers. For an occasional speaker for relaxing in the garden or popping next to the bath, though, it comes highly recommended.

Livingetc rating: 4 out of 5 stars

AUDIO PRO Addon T3+ Portable Bluetooth Wireless Speaker

(Image credit: Future)
Best Bluetooth speaker for battery life

Specifications

Connections: Bluetooth
Smart?: No
Portable?: Yes
Battery life: 30 hours
Speaker pairing?: No
Water resistant?: No
Dimensions: H4.5 x W8.4 x D5.3in
Weight: 4.4lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Lovely design
+
Amazing battery life
+
Good sound

Reasons to avoid

-
Not weather resistant
-
Feels heavy when carrying
-
No smart home compatibility
-
No multi-room audio

Beautiful and offering top-notch sound for a speaker at this price point, the Audio Pro Addon T3+ has become our most-used Bluetooth speaker.

What we like

The look of the T3+ is striking yet simple, with the grey model we were sent to test featuring a small rose gold control panel and leather carrying strap that gives it a luxury aesthetic. The speaker is available in a variety of colors ranging from muted black or white to bright and cheerful red, so you won't have trouble finding one that fits into your personal style.

The battery life of the device is pretty astonishing at 30 hours, and this was matched in reality as we used it as the main speaker in our office space during testing. Audio quality over Bluetooth is great, with a pleasing amount of bass on heavier tunes, and you can also connect your music via the AUX input, which is great to have for the true audiophiles out there.

What could be better

Billed as a portable speaker with a dedicated carrying handle and battery life as strong as it is, it's disappointing that the Audio Pro Addon T3+ won't stand up to the elements if left outside. This limits its use as a speaker that can be moved around, and it also feels a bit too heavy for this purpose.

JBL CLIP4 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

(Image credit: Future)

5. JBL CLIP 4

Best Bluetooth speaker for the shower

Specifications

Connections: Bluetooth
Smart?: No
Portable?: Yes
Battery life: 10 hours
Speaker pairing?: No
Waterproof?: Yes
Dimensions: H5.3 x W3.3 x D1.8in
Weight: 0.5lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Good price
+
Totally waterproof
+
Clever clip-on design
+
Very light

Reasons to avoid

-
No smart home compatibility
-
Average battery life

Sometimes the best time to kick back and enjoy some music or a good podcast is in the bathroom, and the JBL CLip 4 promises to change your Sunday afternoon baths into something much more entertaining.

What we like

The biggest selling point of the Clip 4 is obviously the clip-on design, and during testing, this convenience was our favorite part. The simple metal handle not only makes the speaker easy to carry but also means you can fix it to pretty much anything that fits. This could be a shower hose or a nearby door handle - the possibilities are endless.

We trialed the speaker in the shower and, not only was the audio good enough to cut through the noise of both the running water and our bathroom extractor fan, but the waterproof design held up extremely well. We also liked the easy-to-see and use controls which, though large and obvious, do make it easier to hit the volume button even when you're in the middle of shampooing your hair.

What could be better

JBL's speakers have a certain aesthetic, and it won't be to everyone's taste. We'd guess that the look of a speaker in the bathroom is less important than one you want to place pride of place in the lounge, but it's still something to consider. Also, while the audio is good, the size of the speaker means that power is limited.

Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge Wireless Speaker

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

6. Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge

Best speaker for smart homes

Specifications

Connections: WiFi
Smart?: Yes
Portable?: No
Speaker pairing?: Yes
Dimensions: H9.1 x W9.4 x D17.3in
Weight: 14.1lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Works with Alexa
+
Multi-room listening

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive
-
Quite large and awkwardly shaped
-
Not portable

With its striking design and the cred that comes with the Bowers & Wilkins branding, the Formation Wedge has carved out a place in the Bluetooth speaker market. It's not the only high-end music speaker out there, but it's one that will perform brilliantly and look great on the sideboard.

The slightly awkward elliptical design may pose a problem if you don't have the perfectly angled place for it to live, but those who do can enjoy its distinctive appearance and enhanced audio power. The Wedge also acts as a smart speaker if you already have an Alexa device in the house, so you can ask your assistant to control it using just your voice.

To fine-tune the audio for your ears, you can adjust the EQ levels in the Bowers & Wilkens app, and AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect are both on board for streaming your favorite tracks.

Vifa Helsinki Hi-Resolution Bluetooth Wireless Portable Speaker

(Image credit: Vifa)

7. Vifa Helsinki

Best portable bluetooth speaker

Specifications

Connections: Bluetooth, NFC
Smart?: No
Portable?: Yes
Battery life: 8 hours
Dimensions: H6 x W8.2 x D2.7in
Weight: 3lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Battery-powered and portable
+
Minimalist design

Reasons to avoid

-
No smart home compatibility
-
No multi-room audio
-
Average battery life
-
More expensive

Sometimes the best thing about a Bluetooth speaker is its ability to be used pretty much anywhere, and that freedom goes up a level with portable speakers like the Vifa Helsinki. With a low-key Danish look (courtesy of designer Kvadrat and leather manufacturer Tärnsjö Garveri) and a range of lovely colors, it could be the best choice for those who want a speaker that can stay with them.

It's basically designed to look like a techy handbag, but you're also getting a good quality speaker here. On a full charge, it should last you up to eight hours, and it comes with its own travel bag and an AUX 3.5mm mini-jack cable.

Besides the lack of multi-room functionality, the only real caveat is the fact that the Helsinki is designed to be used indoors, and won't fare well outside if any adverse weather occurs.

Bang & Olufsen Beosound Balance

(Image credit: Bang & Olufsen)

8. Bang & Olufsen Beosound Balance

Best high end Bluetooth speaker

Specifications

Connections: Bluetooth
Smart?: Yes
Portable?: No
Speaker pairing?: Yes
Dimensions: H7.9 x W7.9 x D11.4in
Weight: 15.8lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous, luxurious design
+
Can be purchased with in-built Google Assistant
+
Multi-room audio

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive

The most expensive speaker on our list, the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Balance is a premium option that looks as good as it sounds. Available in either dark grey or sand finishes, it has been designed with interiors in mind, rather than for those who prize their technology over their style.

But you're not just paying for the aesthetic, but also the ability to enjoy music, podcasts, or whatever else seamlessly and in high definition. You can use it with Chromecast and Apple AirPlay 2, and Bang & Olufsen also sells the Beosound Balance as a Google Assistant speaker if you want in-built smarts.

Controls are on top, but they're minimalist not to take away from the general minimalist vibe. There's no question - if you want the high-end option, this is it.

Choosing the best Bluetooth speaker for your home

Audio Pro Addon T3+ in red sitting on pile of books beside sofa

(Image credit: Audio Pro)

Do Bluetooth speakers need Wi-Fi?

Bluetooth speakers do not need an internet connection in order to play music - just a Bluetooth connection from your mobile device. Many do, however, have the ability to play music over Wi-Fi via services like Chromecast, Apple AirPlay, or Spotify Connect. Depending on the Bluetooth speaker you choose, it's your choice, as Bluetooth can often be more convenient for speakers designed to be moved around.

Do Bluetooth speakers need power?

Whether your Bluetooth speaker needs to be plugged in will depend on the model you choose. While many speakers will need a powered connection in order to work, the best portable Bluetooth speakers will be able to run on battery power for an allotted amount of time. Of course, you will need to charge them regularly but, if true wireless functionality is what you want, then make sure you opt for something with a substantial battery life.

Can Bluetooth speakers be linked together?

Whether you want multi-room audio for listening to the same song across different rooms of the house, or you want to create a stereo effect with two or more speakers, it's often useful for Bluetooth devices to be able to connect to one another as well as an external media source. For this, you need to look out for multi-room listening, which means that speakers can be linked together. This is perfect for parties or just while you're cleaning the house.

Caroline is the smart homes ecommerce editor for Livingetc, covering everything tech for the home, from smart speakers to air purifiers and everything in between. She is passionate about the role that technology and smart devices can play in daily life, enhancing the home without sacrificing personal style and carefully chosen interiors. In her spare time, she can be found tinkering with bulbs, soundbars, and video doorbells in an effort to automate every part of her small home. Previously, she lent her expertise to the likes of Expert Reviews, IT Pro, Coach, The Week, and more.