Many Bluetooth speakers are cheap but paying a little more can get you a significantly better experience with superior sound quality, smart features and more. Here we review and rank the best Bluetooth speakers you can buy.
You might be looking for the biggest speaker for your house party or the smallest one to travel everywhere with you. Some offer a reasonable balance of the two and there are plenty of other options, too.
As mentioned, we're looking at the more expensive premium Bluetooth speakers here from the likes of Bose, Bang & Olfsen, UE and Marshall. So if you've landed here but your budget is tight, head over to our best cheap Bluetooth speakers chart for something more affordable - they are all under £100.
With so many models on the market and loads from each brand, we could never test them all, but here are the best that we've reviewed.
Marshall Emberton - Best Overall
If you're looking for a compact Bluetooth speaker that's stylish, durable and offers amazing sound quality then you've just found it in the Marshall Emberton.
This little pocket rocket is a miniature marvel with a far bigger sound than you'd expect. Add in long 20-hour battery life and IPX7 waterproofing and there's very little to complain about here. It's also got USB-C, a handy control knob and battery indicator.
Right now, this is the best portable Bluetooth speaker you can get at the higher end of the market with a price lower than many rivals.
Really, the only things missing are a 3.5mm jack input and the ability to stereo pair if you buy two but these are common downsides.
Read our full Marshall Emberton review
Sonos Roam - Best for Multi-Room
Sonos has hit a decent price-point with the Roam and there's a lot to like about this stylish, compact and clever speaker.
It's IP67, can be used in either orientation and has something rarely found on a speaker in the form of wireless charging. As you'd expect from Sonos, the sound quality is excellent too.
This is really a purchase for existing Sonos users or those who plan to create a multi-room system. Bluetooth is limited to streaming so you'll only get the most out of the Roam by using it over Wi-Fi as well with digital assistants and Sound Swap features.
Battery life is behind rivals, too, at up to 10 hours.
Read our full Sonos Roam review
Bose SoundLink Revolve II - Best 360 Sound
There's not a huge amount of upgrades here but that doesn't stop the SoundLink Revolve II from being an excellent Bluetooth speaker.
It looks the same, so it's a well-made attractive compact cylinder with buttons on top but Bose has boosted the durability to IP55. It's a shame that this still has Micro-USB and you can't tweak the EQ but those are minor downsides.
Sound quality is excellent for a small speaker with a true 360-degree experience and battery life is much longer than the quoted 13 hours. Furthermore, the Revolve II has things others don't like an aux input and the ability to take phone calls and use your phone's digital assistant.
Read our full Bose SoundLink Revolve II review
B&O Beosound A1 (2nd-gen) - Best Build Quality
The Beosound A1 2nd Gen is an almost perfect portable Bluetooth speaker with a luxurious design and high-end build quality. It's also durable with an IP67 rating for full dust protection and water submersion.
While the buttons are better than the original, they are still more tricky than many rivals and we'd like more LEDs to get volume and battery info.
Still, you can get that from the app which, when it connects properly, has some useful extra features headlining with a customisable EQ. Even without adjusting the tuning, the sound quality is excellent, there's plenty of power and a 360-degree experience.
Battery life is solid and support for Amazon Alexa (via your phone anyway) is a standout feature but then, in a negative way, so is the high price. It's also a shame you can't stereo pair with the original A1.
Read our full B&O Beosound A1 (2nd-gen) review
Sonos Move - Best for Outdoors
The Sonos Move really achieves what it sets out to by being both an indoor part of the Sonos system, but also something you can take outdoors (or around the house) when needed.
The addition of Bluetooth means that you can go even further than your garden but the Roam is better for that.
The design is robust albeit heavy, but sound quality is excellent and very powerful. Auto Trueplay makes sure the Move sounds good wherever you put it.
The price might put some off and it's not the Sonos speaker for everyone, but it's certainly the Sonos speaker we've been waiting for.
Read our full Sonos Move review
Huawei Sound X - Best Sound Quality
Beautifully made and offering a credible Hi-Fi performance, Huawei’s Sound X is not going to disappoint those seeking a Bluetooth speaker with high-end aspirations, but the lack of smart connectivity is a significant consideration.
It namely offers incredible bass and high-end tones that outpace rivals that are a similar size. It's great for dance and pop then, but rock and metal fans will want to look elsewhere for a better-controlled mid-range.
However, despite having the technological capability, the Sound X doesn't support any digital assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant outside of China. Whether this gets added a later date is unknown.
Read our full Huawei Sound X review
UE Hyperboom - Best Battery Life
So the Hyperboom isn't exactly portable in the traditional sense but this chonky speaker can still travel around with you if you're not planning to lug it too far.
Expensive and heavy, sure, but if you perhaps want a speaker to use inside and then transport a short distance to the garden then it's great. And you'll be rewarded with serious sound so it's great for parties where smaller speakers will struggle to provide enough oomph.
If the booming bass isn't enough, you can pair up more speakers and UE offers 24 hour battery life and wide range of connectivity options so you're not limited to Bluetooth.
Read our full UE Hyperboom review
Bose Portable Home Speaker - Best Features
The Bose Portable Home Speaker is a welcome addition to the Bose smart speaker range, adding some much-needed flexibility thanks to a 12-hour battery life and IPX4 waterproofing, without compromising on audio quality.
Despite the portability it still delivers bass-heavy sound with plenty of oomph, so there's little compromise on audio.
Built-in support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa delivers the smarts, though be warned that this integration isn't as fully featured as on official products or even other third-party rivals, so it might not do everything you want it to.
At this price, it's just a shame that it doesn't come with the charging stand included, which takes the portability to the next level.
Read our full Bose Portable Home Speaker review
JBL Xtreme - Best Durability
If you're looking for a Bluetooth speaker to take to places like the beach or on holiday then the Xtreme from JBL is a great choice thanks to its splash proof design, chunky buttons and carry strap.
Like many rivals you can plug devices in via the 3.5mm jack if you don't want to use Bluetooth and you can connect multiple speakers together with JBL Connect. The 10,000mAh battery will last up to 15 but you can even use it to charge devices via two USB ports.
The JBL Xtreme offers a sense of stereo field if you sit directly in front which is surprising given its size. It's got plenty of oomph and booming bass so is a good option for dance music and parties.
Urbanears Lotsen - Best Value
The Lotsen is arguably the best-looking speaker in our roundup, sporting a combination of fabric wrapping (available in several colours) and physical knobs that blend the new and the old.
It may be wired, but the connectivity and functionality more than make up for it; alongside Bluetooth 4.2, the Lotsen offers aux-in and Wi-Fi capabilities, with the latter opening a new channel of connectivity for the speaker including Chromecast, AirPlay and Spotify Connect support.
The audio quality is decent and it's more than loud enough for small-to-medium-sized rooms, though we did notice a distinct focus on bass. It's not necessarily a negative point, but it's worth keeping in mind when thinking about buying the speaker.
Read our full Urbanears Lotsen review
What to look out for when buying a Bluetooth speaker
So, what kind of things should you watch out for when on the market for a high-end Bluetooth speaker?
There are many different types of Bluetooth speaker so if you want to easily take one around with you then make sure it’s small and portable. And that it has a battery to power it rather than needing mains power.
Although you’re likely to connect your phone or tablet to the speaker over Bluetooth, having other connections can be really useful. For example, you might have an mp3 player like an old iPod which still works fine but doesn’t have Bluetooth. If so, look for a speaker with a 3.5mm jack (some have them but it's getting rarer).
Whereas Bluetooth used to be a primary way of connecting to a speaker without wires, some now feature Wi-Fi on the spec sheet which is useful for various reasons. It might mean you can connect your device to it over Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth - this is how Apple’s AirPlay works (although not exclusively).
Having Wi-Fi might also add the ability to use the speaker directly with music streaming services like Spotify or internet radio stations so you’re not limited to what tunes you’ve got on your device.
Note: Where we mention pairing up devices as a stereo pair or multi-room capabilities, this is not something we’ve been able to test every time as we’ve only been sent one of each speaker.
Find out how we test audio.