Bluetooth Speakers Buying Guide: Choosing the Best Bluetooth Speakers
Bluetooth speakers are amongst the top selling audio system accessories. Obviously, there has to be a reason for it. In fact, there are many reasons for it. These speakers are small and lightweight enough to consume less storage space and be portable, do not need wires to reduce the clutter, give better sound quality, and deliver greater volume than the speakers embedded into mobile devices.
The built-in ability to be portable and connect with different media players conveniently regardless of the setting push these speakers to be on the wish list of countless music fans who cannot compromise enjoyable listening experience.
Once your targeted media player device is in the range of a Bluetooth speaker, it will automatically connect once you have connected it manually for the first time. So, you need not connect the device again. This also adds to convenience, which is usually admired in a wireless speakers review or Bluetooth speakers review.
At present, a variety of top Bluetooth speakers are available in the market. This is because wireless speakers now come with different technologies, shapes, and sizes. This can make it daunting to choose the right model. There are even many Wi-Fi models to choose!
This Bluetooth speakers buying guide distinguishes between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, explains the different features, and distinguish among them to help you choose the right model for your lifestyle.
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Bluetooth Speakers Elucidated!
Usually, speakers need a cable to connect to an audio source. However, with the Bluetooth protocol, the need of such a cable is eliminated, which any kind of Bluetooth speaker would ensure. Implemented as the technology in portable wireless speakers (READ ABOUT IT), Bluetooth behaves as a disguised audio cable to connect to a computer, tablet, or smartphone in its reachable vicinity.
Read about it: http://www.ironhorsetrading.net/best-portable-bluetooth-speaker/
Although this seems like a boon, it is not without limitations. For example, the technology can work in maximum range of 30 feet and can connect only with one device at a time. It also delivers sounds by the line of sight, which means that the range can be less due to obtrusive walls or furniture.
Speaking about its evolution since the past two decades, Bluetooth has passed through many updates to increase its speed of transmission as well as range. Because the newer versions support higher quality sound at even a far away distance unlike the older ones, there is no need to bother about the Bluetooth version of the speaker. Further, each new version is backward compatible.
Bluetooth Speakers versus Wi-Fi Speakers: Which One Do You Need?
It is often confusing when somebody asks: “Would you choose top rated Bluetooth speakers or top rated Wi-Fi speakers?” Well, to answer this smartly, it is vital to know that they both are different. Selecting one of the two is dependent on where and when you wish to listen to music.
First, the Bluetooth models are designed to be fully portable, while the Wi-Fi ones are designed to be full home solutions installed in a fixed location, almost forever. They are ideal for use in homes and not for taking on the road.
Through the Wi-Fi connection coming from the router, you can connect to several speakers – a few in your living room, one in the kitchen, one in the bathroom, and one on the patio. Until the music player is on your home network, the musical signals can reach to all connected speakers.
On the other hand, a Bluetooth speaker is ideal for those who wish to listen at home as well as on the go. For enjoying music for most of the time on the go, Bluetooth is the only solution. This is because the reach of your home’s Wi-Fi network will not exceed beyond 150 feet. This means that is not accessible if you are 30 miles away from your home.
Second, Bluetooth speakers need no Internet connection. You only need a Bluetooth-enabled device that can catch hold of the speaker. On the other hand, a Wi-Fi speaker needs an Internet-enabled router for sharing signals with all Wi-Fi devices in your home.
The speaker does not connect to the Internet; it only taps into your prevalent setup. The biggest benefit of this set up is that you can listen to music anywhere in the home without walls or furniture coming in the way of signal transmission.
Of the two, a Bluetooth speaker is more versatile, as it works at home as well as on the road, although the range is 30 foot. However, if you choose the latest 4.0 + LE version, the range is up to 200 foot, which is commendable.
Lastly, the audio quality is a bit higher in case of a Bluetooth speaker. This is due to the nature of the transmission. However, this difference is noticeable only in non-casual conditions for listening.
You can expect some critical performance in terms of volume output and thumping bass due to robust drivers giving much audio juice at high volumes with clarity and least distortion. This is why you will also across loud Bluetooth speakers and loudest Bluetooth speakers.
Bluetooth speakers are actually not for everyone despite the marketed hype. However, they can be for you if you:
- Need a convenient way to enjoy digitized music while being away from the player at home or in your car.
- Need to enjoy music on the go.
- Need to replace the conventional stereo system or a shelf speaker.
Types of Bluetooth Speakers
This Bluetooth speakers buying guide focuses on all types of speakers using this wireless technology, not only on portable ones. So, let’s now look at these types of speakers. They are split into two main categories, On the Go and At Home.
On the Go Options
- Portable and Ultra Portable Speakers: These are usually portable Bluetooth speakers through which you and your friends can hear without headphones. Apart from portable ones, you also have ultra-portable models for use while traveling. These models are slim and compact enough to fit easily into a purse or a backpack. However, such small jacks are capable of delivering surprisingly big sound.
- Weather-resistant Speakers: These are specially made for use during an outdoor adventure in harsh conditions. These outdoor Bluetooth speakers are rugged and stand up to rain, snow, dust, and shocks of all intensities. You can easily find waterproof Bluetooth speakers to enjoy music while diving!
- USB-charging Speakers: These speakers come with the capability to deliver extra power to your mobile phone. They have a USB charging port for the same, which is much handy during overnight lodging while on a trekking trip or during a long plane flight.
- Speakerphones: These are Bluetooth speakers acting as speakerphones. They come with built-in microphones to enjoy a hands-free discussion on call. You only need to pair one such speaker with your smartphone. When a call is incoming, it gets directed to the speaker and you have an option of taking the call or reject it to continue listening to music.
In short, these speakers are ideal outdoor tasks or events such as camping, picnics, trekking, diving, and lounging. They have a protective layer to safeguard their internal parts against damage.
A few good features to look in these models are all-day battery life, reinforced corners for protection against accidental drops, and a high IP water-resistance rating such as IP68. The first number indicates resistance to dust (6 is the highest rating), while the second shows resistance to water (8 is the highest rating).
Best Bluetooth Portable Speaker Guide – Click to Read about it
Best Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker Guide -Click to Read about it
In the Home Options
- Powered Speakers: These are simple sound systems that include a variety of compact designs. However, they are not portable and provide more detailed sound than the portable models. Consider these Bluetooth speakers for apartments, dorms, offices, or wherever the space is less and where you use your smartphone for playing music.
- High-performing Speakers: These Bluetooth speaker systems reach up to a performance level accepted by audiophiles. Many of them feature apt-X streaming, which is a Bluetooth form with an aim to increase the streaming quality by delivering a less compressed and more detailed signal. Above all, of these models are compatible with the standard version of Bluetooth, so that you can play music from any tablet, computer, or smartphone.
- Wireless Computer Speakers: These are stereo models designed for laptops having Bluetooth. Instead of connecting to the headphone jack of your laptop, such a speaker connects through Bluetooth. The benefit is that you can take your laptop a bit far without unplugging the speaker.
In this category, you will find both portable and large Bluetooth speakers but both offer sound quality as well as convenience.
Have you ever heard the sound of guitar from the left speaker and the sound of table from the right one? This is what happens when you play a track that is mixed in some way. While it is a neat way of adding depth, it is not always ideal when it comes from a small portable speaker.
The reason is that a speaker requires more than one driver but due to portability, a portable model uses only a single driver. However, you do get portable models having two drivers but they are too small to give you a real stereo sound. However, the large Bluetooth speakers do offer good stereo sound; the problem is just with the small ones.
Step 1: Ask Questions to Recognize the Needs
The first step involves asking some questions to ask to yourself for getting the right answers. The answers will make you recognize your needs and budget. Below are the questions:
- How portable should be your Bluetooth speaker?
- What kind of sound quality you prefer?
- What should be the distance until which the Bluetooth speaker should work for your system?
- Do you need a separate connection in your speaker for connecting to a non-Bluetooth player?
- What kind of power source you prefer?
- Do you need extra features? If yes, then list them.
- How much can you spend?
Based on the answers, here is some general advice for you to follow for buying a Bluetooth speaker.
- Choose a reliable brand that is into manufacturing speakers since a long time, at least for over five years. This is because they can guarantee for a certain level of quality. Look for reviews of their products. In case you do not find a review for a particular model, check out the reviews of other speakers from that brand to get an idea of their pros and cons.
- Avoid choosing a speaker with extra features that you do not need. This will help save you money and select an affordable model. It is possible to have a good performing Bluetooth speaker with long battery life, a rough and tough design, and a great sound. However, such a rugged model is not a wise choice if you will not be using it frequently or for a couple of times in outdoors. Similarly, if you are going to change your home frequently, a large speaker is just an inconvenience.
- Assess on the basis of price and loudness. A bigger enclosure produces a louder sound. So, a large Bluetooth speaker fills bigger areas, and thus, is costlier than the smaller counterparts.
Step 2: Know the Terms
This is something that most people tend to miss or ignore. Well, what they need to know is that Bluetooth is a wireless technology. This means that if you know the technical terms, it becomes easy to assess the effectiveness of promising Bluetooth speakers. Below are the terms to check out:
- Battery size measured in MilliAmpere Hours (mAh) indicating capacity and in hours indicating longevity; a bigger battery = Longer lasting speaker
- IP rating to know the power resistance to dust and water
- Line-in port (aux) for connecting an audio cable of 3.5mm between the device and speaker, which is ideal for older devices that do not have Bluetooth
- Output power measured in Wattage; a higher power = louder speaker
- Decibels or dB measuring volume; a higher dB rating = Louder speaker
- Bluetooth + EDR representing Enhanced Data Rate for sending more data in one go for better audio quality
- Driver referring to individual speakers with size measured millimeters and indicating generic loudness and quality
- Frequency response as a range in Hertz (Hz) at which the product can reproduce sound; a larger range = more trustworthy reproduction; Example: 20Hz – 20,000Hz, the left one being the lowest frequency that is accurately produced, while the right one being the highest frequency to be produced; A smaller speaker = Narrower range usually but is possible to increase the range
- Near Field Communication (NFC) for pairing two devices with least user intervention
- Passive bass radiator as an unpowered cone for boosting bass response and making a small speaker sound larger
Step 3: Assess on the Basis of Buying Factors
- Size (ultraportable, semi-portable/table-top, large)
- Wattage and Arrangement (expect more volume from larger speakers with higher wattage for listening over high ambient noise levels, far away, or amongst a crowd)
- Durable construction, especially for outdoor use
- Range, with most reaching distances, ranging from 30 to 200 feet (depends on the need for connecting two ends of your home or for just playing via walls; smaller ones may not go as far as larger models)
- Power Source (built-in rechargeable capability, USB, or wall outlet plug support)
- Battery Type supported (rechargeable or replacement (costly)
- Battery Size
- Battery Size and Battery Sharing (consider battery capacity relative to required power – low capacity = less power consumption and more hours of play).
- Sound quality (listen yourself and choose bass or adjustable bass/sound as per your preference)
- Other connection options (for connecting non-Bluetooth devices)
By following these steps shared with you through this Bluetooth speakers buyer guide, you are likely to get the most suitable one without spending much time, money, and effort.