Best Bluetooth speakers of 2020: Reviews and buying advice

There was a time when Bluetooth speakers were like jelly beans: They were cheap, they all looked the same, and they were invariably of dubious quality. Times have changed. Every major audio manufacturer has at least one model on the market today, and most have several. If you haven’t listened to a Bluetooth speaker lately, you’re in for a very pleasant surprise.

The industry’s progress doesn’t mean that every Bluetooth speaker justifies its price tag, no matter how inexpensive it might be. There’s still plenty of dreck floating around. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you steer clear of the junk and point you to the best speakers at the price range that fits your budget.

To that end, we’ve picked the best Bluetooth speakers (and runners-up in some cases) in six categories: budget, mid-range (up to $300), outdoor, bookshelf, high-end (up to $750), and—yes, there are ultra-high-end Bluetooth speakers—price is no object. Some of our picks can be used indoors and out, but we’ve also named our favorites that are designed primarily as outdoor speakers. 

Updated April 15, 2020 to add our Tribit StormBox Micro BTS10 review. This tiny speaker doesn’t quite beat the audio performance of the Bose SoundLink Micro that it competes with, but it costs half as much as that device.

Best budget Bluetooth speaker

The Bluetooth speaker market is a cutthroat business when you get to this price range. The good news for music lovers is that you can find some very good products here. If $60 is too much for your budget, consider our runner-up, the Aukey SK-S1 (see below). Otherwise, we can’t say enough good things about the Tronsmart Element Force SoundPulse, which features IPX7 weatherization, support for True Wireless Stereo (so you can operate two of them as a stereo pair), and absolutely fantastic sound (in Extra Bass EQ mode, that is). That’s a lot of speaker for just 60 bucks.

Runner-up

The Aukey SK-S1 doesn’t have all the features—or audio power—of our top pick in this category, but it is an attractively designed near-field speaker that’s fabricated mostly from metal, where you might expect to find ABS plastic. And it sounds very good—at least until you push it to the edge. It’s not the right choice to fill a room, and it’s not at all protected from the weather, but it is a great deal for the money,

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