Best Wireless & Portable Waterproof Bluetooth Speakers of 2018

Updated November 2018

We spent more than 90 hours assessing the best wireless Bluetooth speakers on the market. Our thorough testing led us to the conclusion that the JBL Xtreme is the best portable speaker overall; it’s feature-packed, well constructed and it sounds absolutely brilliant.

Overview


Just a few years ago, if you wanted to have music while out at the beach, cycling or hiking, you only had one option: to play it on your phone. That wasn’t very feasible because: a) the battery didn’t last long and b) the quality of the sound was awful. Luckily, Bluetooth speakers became a thing!

Ever since they first appeared, portable Bluetooth speakers have become quite a huge hit on the market and understandably so, since they offer a lot more perks than their common counterparts.

In this guide, we’ll tackle the best outdoor Bluetooth speakers. We’ll start by providing some info regarding the features that a good wireless speaker should have. Afterward, we’ll move on to reviewing 5 of the highest-rated products that you should consider if you’re hunting for a good speaker but have no leads on it.

Top Picks: Waterproof Wireless Speakers

Below you’ll find some of the most popular Bluetooth speakers at the moment. Whatever your choice is, you can be sure you won’t regret your purchase.

Best Overall

JBL Xtreme

JBL Xtreme

Pros

  • Stunning audio quality
  • Amazing bass
  • Water-resistant
  • Good battery life
  • Phone call support
  • Connects up to 3 devices at once

Cons

  • A tad heavy

The JBL Xtreme (or Extreme) Speaker was designed with an insane bass in mind. It is equipped with two passive radiators, 2 subwoofers, and 2 tweeters. Each subwoofer is 63 mm; the tweeters are 35 mm each.

These specs make it a formidable acquisition, particularly if you’re into music that has a lot of bass (trance, house, rap, etc.) It is also splash-proof and allows you to connect up to 3 devices at the same time.

Like most JBL models, it also has a noise-canceling feature, which makes the quality of the calls untainted. This speaker lives up to its namesake “Xtreme”: it’s a “giant” that weighs a little over 2 kilos, therefore it’s quite large.

If you want a loud, bass-enhancing speaker, this is definitely the way to go.


Best Budget

JBL Charge 3

JBL Charge 3

Pros

  • Connect up to 3 devices at once
  • Great audio quality
  • Long battery life
  • Waterproof
  • Can charge phones

Cons

  • Straps can't be attached

The JBL Charge 3 broke the market in half when it landed. At the moment, it’s JBL’s bestseller, thanks to its price-quality ratio. Charge 3 has 20 watts of output power, which makes it extremely powerful for a speaker of this size.

The quality of the sound is pristine. The passive radiator does its job and then some; subsequently, this has got a perfect bass that doesn’t make your music all mushy. The speaker can be paired with other Charge 3s to get a surround sound.

One of its biggest advantages is its battery, a huge 22.2Wh Lithium-ion polymer that grants up to 20 hours of listening on a charge, provided you don’t use it at the highest volume.

The speaker has the unmistakable JBL design (cylindrical shape and fabric-like cover) and an unbelievable price for the quality it provides.


The Punisher

Sony SRSX55

Sony SRS-X55

Pros

  • Plays loud
  • Great audio quality
  • Supports phone calls
  • Sleek design
  • Deep, clear bass

Cons

  • Battery life a little short

Why “The Punisher”? Because just like the fictional character, it packs a punch. This Sony speaker can easily compete with a small guitar amplifier, as it has 30 watts of output power. If you’re not an audiophile, you might not know that a portable speaker with this kind of power is almost unbelievable.

The SRSX55 honestly has it all: it can charge up your devices, it has an aux input for your music players and has a bass that is to die for. It’s equipped with two passive radiators and two unique technologies that clear up the sound: DSEE, which decompresses the audio and the ClearAudio+, a bass enhancer.

The battery provides up to 10 hours of playback. Its wireless functionality is unprecedented since it accommodates Bluetooth, Google Cast, Wi-fi, NFC, and Airplay. And as if all of these weren’t enough: it has 360-degree sound.

The size of the subwoofer is 58 mm, subsequently the speaker can puncture eardrums. It doesn’t matter how loudly you play your music: the sound won’t lose any quality whatsoever.


Affordable Alternative

JBL Flip 4

JBL Flip 4

Pros

  • Good battery life
  • Sleek design
  • Siri & Google Assistant integrations
  • Bang for your buck

Cons

  • Bass a little weak

The JBL Flip 4 is held in high regards by many not only because it offers a clean playback with just the right amount of bass, but also because it’s got an integration for Siri and Google Assistant.

The Flip 4 is equipped with two passive radiators that make its playback stay faithful to the original quality of the song. In spite of the fact that its bass is deep and rich, it does not affect the treble.

You can pair a maximum of 2 devices to the Flip 4. As you might expect, it also has a speakerphone that allows you to take your calls hands-free. The battery can last up to 12 hours, which isn’t bad in the least.

The JBL Flip 4 is among the most affordable JBL speakers but make no mistakes: the quality is extremely high. If you’re shopping on a tight budget, look no further. It’s less likely you’ll find a better speaker for this price.

The Flip 4 makes it into the top of Best Waterproof Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers of 2018.


Tight-Budget Option

Bose SoundLink Micro

Pros

  • Plays loud for its size
  • Good bass
  • Easily attach to backpacks etc.
  • Can take phone calls

Cons

  • Bulky design
  • Weak strap

The last product on our top is this waterproof Bose speaker that is portable by excellence. Its greatest advantage is that it can be strapped anywhere: your shoulder, your bike’s handlebar or your backpack.

One aspect that will surely surprise you is its bass: you wouldn’t expect a speaker this size to have such a clean, deep bass. Another thing we’ve found pleasant is the fact that it can be used with Siri and Google Assistant. It also has a speakerphone, so you can take your calls with the press of a button.

This has been designed for outdoor use. Because it’s fully waterproof, you won’t need to cover it when it rains or when it snows. The speaker is 3.87”, which is more than enough for outdoor activities.

If you’re aiming for a portable Bluetooth speaker you can strap to pretty much anything you want, the Bose SoundLink Micro is the right call. It’s not as powerful as other speakers, but it makes up for that by being waterproof and more durable than it might look at a first glance.


Buying Considerations: Best Portable Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers

Purchasing a Bluetooth speaker without taking a look at some key-aspects is not recommended. You can easily end up with a product that would leave a great deal to be desired, from a quality standpoint. Moreover, you can overpay for a speaker that is sold for a fraction of that price elsewhere.

Here are some aspects you’ll want to check out:

Waterproof

A waterproof speaker won’t be handy only when you hit the beach on a regular basis, but also when you’re doing any outdoor activities and the weather is bad, i.e. it’s raining or snowing.

In this light, it’s recommended that you purchase a waterproof Bluetooth speaker even if you think you’ve got no particular use for it. Keep in mind that there’s a difference between “waterproof” and “water-resistant”. The latter will keep your speaker safe if you spill something on it, but it will malfunction if submerged.

Take a good look to see if the speaker you’re about to buy is fully waterproof or not.

Device Charging Capability

Some speakers allow you to charge your smartphone or tablet by plugging them into it with a USB cable. When you’re hiking through the woods, for instance, and your battery is running low, you can just use the speaker to charge it right back up.

In order for this to happen, though, make sure the speaker has a large battery. This way, you won’t drain it completely after you’ve charged your device. If not, you can just find the perfect equilibrium, in the sense that you can go 50/50 on the battery.

Bass Quality

Regardless of your favorite genre, music without bass is positively horrendous and it’s not worth listening to. If you see that a speaker is endowed with “passive radiators”, you can rest assured it will have a nice bass.

Since too much bass can ruin music just as well as too little, try to aim for a Bluetooth speaker that has just the right amount. A good way to do this is to look at video reviews and/or read some testimonials from previous customers.

Also, while some speakers have only 1 bass cannon, others (like JBLs, to give you an example), have 2 of them. The more, the merrier, of course.

Voice Calling

Yes, the best outdoor wireless speakers allow you to make and/or take calls from your smartphone once the two are paired. It is very important to ensure that the quality of the voice output is pristine. It certainly doesn’t help to get a speaker that destroys conversations with unwanted background noise and a huge echo.

Speakers with voice calling features are extremely helpful for a hands-free experience. If you think you’ve got no use for a speaker with such a feature, though, you can opt for one that doesn’t have it, obviously.

Size of the Woofers and Tweeters

The woofer is the speaker that produces the low-frequency sounds in the music you’re listening to. The tweeter, on the other hand, produces the ones with high-frequency. When combined, the quality of the audio is phenomenal.

Of course, the bigger the woofers and the tweeters are, the louder your speaker will get. Due to this balance between low and high frequencies, your music won’t suffer any alterations in quality.

There are plenty of Bluetooth speakers that have 2 tweeters and 2 subwoofers. The former are usually 28 mm each and the latter 39 mm. A speaker with these specs is a beast.

Built Quality

It doesn’t matter how jaw-dropping its design is: if it’s cheaply made, it won’t last you for long and you’ll have to spend money again to purchase a product that you should’ve purchased from the very beginning.

If a speaker is made of plastic, for instance, that’s not a good buy. Not even close. 80% or perhaps even more of all Bluetooth speakers are made with a special kind of rugged rubber that makes them very durable.

What’s more, some of them are covered with a type of fabric that further protects them. These are the kind of speakers you want to purchase.

Connectivity Options

By this, we mean the number of devices that can be paired with the speaker concomitantly. It is recommended for you to purchase a product that allows you to connect multiple devices to it. In addition, many speakers can be paired together in order to get a surround sound. Needless to say, you should definitely go for such a product.

360-Degree Sound

The 360-degree sound is basically surround sound, which ensures an amazing listening experience. If a speaker has this attribute, the chances of it being more expensive are pretty high, but then again, it is totally worth it.

Battery Life

The larger the battery is, the more music you’ll be able to listen to. If the manufacturer specifies that it can last up to 15 hours, don’t do the mistake of thinking that number is for listening to max volume.

Any speaker, regardless of manufacturer, lasts half of the number of hours specified when music is played at maximum volume. That’s not a flaw – it’s just how these things go. But again: the larger the battery is, the more it will last.

Now that we’ve seen some of the key aspects you should take a look at when hunting for a speaker, it is time to provide some brief reviews for 5 of the best wireless outdoor speakers.


Verdict: Best Portable Waterproof Bluetooth Speakers

There are plenty of portable Bluetooth speakers to choose from. These 5 we’ve just reviewed above are the highest-rated at the moment. Obviously, each of them comes with its own set of perks and drawbacks.

To some extent, you must answer the question of “Which is best?” in lines with your personal needs. However, we’re going to say that if you want a top-notch, reliable speaker that won’t let you down, you should opt for the JBL Xtreme.

Its price is unbelievable for all the features it has. Its sound quality is perfect, its bass is powerful and its design, while nothing ground-breaking, is eye-pleasing. If you want a Bluetooth speaker that is designed with an insane bass in mind, the Sony SRSX55 is the best choice you can make.

The remaining three speakers in your guide are good enough, too. Sadly, we cannot recommend the Bose SoundLink Micro wholeheartedly due to some evident shortcomings. It’s not a completely awful speaker, but its design chases away customers.

Hopefully, you’ve acquired all the information you needed in order to be able to make a choice that you won’t regret. Research is crucial, regardless of the product you want to buy. Take a look at the features that a genuinely awesome speaker should have before you order.

Also, take your time and read some reviews. Potential issues will always be brought into the light by those who own the products.


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