High Quality Indoor Bluetooth Speaker
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With that in mind, we've selected the best wireless speakers you can buy now. We also cover everything you need to know about the different types of wireless speakers, so you can determine which one is right for you.
Most new speakers on the market feature some kind of wireless support, whether they're clip-on bike speakers or big soundbars . With some exceptions, any speaker you pick up at an electronics store should be able to stream audio either over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Your speaker might even be able to handle both wireless methods.
Wireless speakers are everywhere these days. Big, small, portable, expensive, cheap, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi...the sheer amount of choice can seem overwhelming. But our top picks are sure to include at least one speaker that's right for you. Before anything else, though, you need to decide how you want to go wireless.
The fourth-gen Amazon Echo is currently the best speaker for Alexa users who want to listen to audio in the Amazon ecosystem. Beyond the basic weather reports and Amazon Prime Music playback you might expect, the Echo can access Apple Music, Spotify, or SiriusXM—as well as control various smart home devices (including those that use the Zigbee standard) because of the speaker’s built-in hub. And, for a speaker this size, the Echo delivers respectable bass thump.
If hands-free Alexa control is your top priority in a speaker, this is the one for you—it offers solid audio, the ability to control Zigbee smart home devices, and seamless Amazon integrations. The Echo Amazon’s AZ1s Neural Edge processor, a chip designed for machine learning, allows some features to run directly on the speaker rather than on Amazon’s servers, which allows for more robust, responsive speech recognition.
(Opens in a new window)Read Our Amazon Echo (4th Gen) Review
Bowers & Wilkins has always made striking design a cornerstone of its consumer speaker lineup and the latest edition of the Zeppelin exemplifies this approach. But it’s not all looks—the Zeppelin offers 24-bit audio via Apple AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, and Spotify Connect. And behind the black cloth grille, a 240W amplifier powers five total drivers.
The Zeppelin doesn’t really provide much stereo separation and there’s enough digital signal processing (DSP) in play that audiophiles and purists might want to look elsewhere. But if you want a stylish statement piece that can also output powerful, high-quality audio, the Zeppelin is worth a look. The inclusion of Amazon Alexa voice control officially makes this the smart speaker of choice for the stylish home.
(Opens in a new window)Read Our Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin (2021) Review
The Nest Audio works with Google Cast—you can therefore stream music from your device of choice via any compatible app or any Chrome tab. You can link two Nest Audio speakers to work as a stereo pair, as well as program one to work as a speakerphone. The speaker is relatively compact and stylish, so it’s easy to use them as a building block for your home sound system.
If you're looking for a speaker that features dedicated, hands-free Google Assistant functionality, the affordable Nest Audio gets our vote. Its voice recognition is solid, as Google Assistant excels at natural language recognition. The audio sounds crisp and clear, plus it can get fairly loud (even if it doesn't pack a ton of deep bass).
(Opens in a new window)Best Buy $99.99 $74.99
(Opens in a new window)Read Our Google Nest Audio Review
The Harman Kardon SoundSticks 4 debuted in 2020 for the strange-looking-but-iconic speaker system’s 20th anniversary. The update added Bluetooth audio to the classic 2.1-channel speakers, and they otherwise remain just as compelling as ever. The system employs two 20W satellite speakers (each with four 1.4-inch full-range drivers) and a downward-firing 100W subwoofer that looks like a spaceship.
If you want excellent audio—wired and wireless—for your PC or laptop, this is a strong option. If you don’t want to sacrifice too much real estate on your actual desktop, the SoundSticks 4 keep the left and right speakers’ footprints small; they also sit at an angle to deliver sound to your ears instead of your torso. Finding a space for the jellyfish-like subwoofer is a different story—it can definitely create some vibrations that could rearrange your desktop and homeware, but depending on your setup, you could also place it on the floor nearby. The sound here is impressive for a PC system, especially one that has such a striking visual design.
(Opens in a new window)B&H Photo Video $299.95 $299.95
(Opens in a new window)Read Our Harman Kardon SoundSticks 4 Review
JBL's Boombox 3 is one of its biggest and most powerful Bluetooth speakers we've tested. It's 19 inches long and weighs nearly 15 pounds, but it provides positively powerful sound. It's also dustproof and waterproof, so you can take it almost anywhere without worrying about rain or mud.
This is for people who want big sound anywhere they go and are willing to pay for it. The combination of rugged design and sheer power should satisfy anyone who wants to hold a party on the beach or in the woods.
(Opens in a new window)Read Our JBL Boombox 3 Review
JBL knows how to make portable audio sound powerful—the Charge 5 packs a 20mm 10W tweeter and a racetrack-style 30W woofer. Instead of opting for stereo audio, JBL designed the Charge 5 to provide a fuller-sounding bass experience—it’s an easy decision to get behind because a speaker this small can't provide real stereo separation (though you can pair two for real stereo audio). Beyond its big sound, the Charge 5 has a fully waterproof exterior, so it should survive pool parties and rainy days without issue.
The dustproof, waterproof Charge 5 is for on-the-go types who enjoy a bit of bass depth—something smaller speakers and laptops can’t really provide. Beyond packing some decent low-end for a portable speaker, the Charge 5 also gets quite loud. To top things off, the speaker is easy to operate and should get about 20 hours per charge, which makes it ideal for beach and camping trips.
(Opens in a new window)JBL $179.95 $179.95
(Opens in a new window)Read Our JBL Charge 5 Review
The Sony SRS-XG300 is another powerful, outdoor-friendly speaker, though it's a bit smaller and more affordable than the JBL Boombox 3. It measures just a foot long and weighs only 6.6 pounds, but it can still put out some thunder. It also has programmable LED lighting and supports the high-end LDAC codec.
This is a strong pick if you want quality audio in a dustproof, waterproof build. It doesn't get quite as loud as the competing JBL model, but it can still power most parties.
(Opens in a new window)Read Our Sony SRS-XG300 Review
It’s no surprise that Apple makes the best HomeKit- and Siri-compatible speaker—the HomePod mini delivers quality audio for its size and price. It’s easy to create a stereo pair with two and we can attest that this greatly enhances the audio experience. But even solo, this is the smart speaker to beat for anyone who prefers Siri over Alexa.
If you live in a HomeKit house, you’ve probably already considered this speaker for the extra dimension it can add to your home automation setup. If you have color-changing LED lights set up through HomeKit, for instance, you can tell Siri—via the HomePod mini—to dim them or turn them green (or whatever color suits your mood). We like plenty of smart speakers, but for Apple-centric homes, this is the most versatile—and affordable—speaker we recommend.
(Opens in a new window)Apple.com $99.00 $99.00
(Opens in a new window)Read Our Apple HomePod mini Review
OK, technically we have two living room design pieces on this list—but the Zeppelin is somewhat oddly shaped and its look might not appeal to everyone. If you’re more into angular, geometric designs with traditional footprints—and a dash of retro (in the form of a huge control knob up top)—the Astell&Kern Acro BE100 is another favorite. It wouldn’t be on this list if it didn’t also sound great—like the Zeppelin, it’s for those who want excellent audio performance in addition to a stylish design. The Acro BE100 is notably the more audiophile-geared of the two and also costs much less.
Audiophiles with style. The Acro BE100 packs a 4-inch, 25W woofer and dual 1.5-inch, 15W tweeters; meanwhile, a 32-bit DAC delivers a frequency range of 50Hz to 20kHz. Bluetooth codec support is strong, with AAC, AptX HD, LDAC, and SBC, and the LED display behind the grille shows what codec is active. Onboard bass and treble controls allow for fine-tuning. There's no companion app, which is a surprising omission in this price range, but that's not a deal breaker because of the excellent audio performance.
(Opens in a new window)Amazon $499.00 $499.00
(Opens in a new window)Read Our Astell&Kern Acro BE100 Review
We have two stereo options on this list—true bookshelf speaker sets that allow you to create a sweet spot for listening in your living room. This system from Audioengine uses Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth, but still has all the wired connections you need for stereo gear. Each A1-MR speaker employs a 2.75-inch, aramid fiber-woven glass composite woofer (with rubber surrounds) and a 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter (with a neodymium magnet) driven by a class-D amplifier that delivers 30 watts of peak power per channel and 15 watts RMS. Like all Audioengine speakers, they also look good.
The Wi-Fi-based A1-MR speakers pair with an app, which makes them ideal for people who want to build a multi-room system (or simply control audio from their phones). The system also works with several music streaming services, such as Amazon Music, Spotify, and Tidal. As for wired audio sources, the 3.5mm input allows for computer connections, while another cable terminates in an RCA jack for stereo gear. And, if you decide you need more deep bass, there’s also a subwoofer/LFE output.
(Opens in a new window)Read Our Audioengine A1-MR Review
So many wireless speakers are all-in-one options now—it’s a concept that really took off in the era of the iPod dock, and then never really went away. It’s a shame because we’ve lost stereo separation in this multi-decade trend. The Fluance Ai61 is somewhat of a throwback system—dual bookshelf style speakers that deliver a clean, crisp signal. These don't produce an overwhelming amount of bass (though there is an optional subwoofer output), but you can tune the sound to a degree with bass and treble controls on the included remote. You also get plenty of wired connections (RCA, optical) for various home audio sound sources.
Anyone who wants traditional stereo speakers that are equally adept at playing audio from a turntable and streaming Bluetooth audio should look into the Fluance Ai61. The speaker cabinets house 1-inch silk soft dome neodymium tweeters and 6.5-inch woven glass fiber composite drivers with Butyl rubber surrounds. A class-D 120W amplifier drives the system and each channel receives 60 watts RMS. The speakers deliver a frequency range of 35Hz to 20KHz. The pair does employ DSP, which probably won't appeal to purists, but we found the audio performance to be relatively transparent and nearly all wireless speakers employ some form of DSP anyway.
(Opens in a new window)Walmart $479.99 $299.99
(Opens in a new window)Read Our Fluance Ai61 Review
Buying Guide: The Best Bluetooth and Wireless Speakers for 2023
Bluetooth is the most common wireless music streaming standard, but it isn't the only one. Bluetooth is a point-to-point wireless system: You pair a transmitter (your phone or computer) with a receiver (your speaker) to play music. It's direct, (mostly) easy to set up, and lets you stream fairly high-quality music because of recent technological advancements.
Bluetooth generally can't facilitate multi-room setups by itself, though you can configure some speakers in stereo pairs with the help of an app. Others can create a wireless mesh among multiple speakers for multi-room audio. The result isn't quite as high-fidelity or as powerful as Wi-Fi multi-room audio, however.
Wi-Fi audio includes standards like Apple AirPlay and Google Chromecast, along with various manufacturers' Wi-Fi streaming platforms. Wi-Fi can handle more bandwidth than Bluetooth, so it supports higher-fidelity audio. It can also integrate into your home network, so you can easily play audio from any device on your Wi-Fi network without pairing anything.
The trade-off is that Wi-Fi music systems require a Wi-Fi network; you can't use them as a portable speaker with your smartphone like you can with Bluetooth speakers (though many offer Bluetooth pairing as a backup). The different Wi-Fi standards also mean various services might not be available to stream over a given speaker, though this is less of a problem than it has been in the past because of Chromecast and Sonos' lengthy lists of supported third-party services.
If you want sound throughout your home, you need more than one speaker. Instead of juggling Bluetooth pairing with each one or physically carrying a speaker from room to room, a multi-room sound system is the way to go. Fortunately, multi-room audio is more common and easier to use than ever. Multi-room audio is exactly what it sounds like: playing audio in multiple rooms. It means a system can manage multiple speakers at once, playing from one or more sound sources to one or more speakers at a given time.
Sonos and Ikea Symfonisk (made in collaboration with Sonos) speakers tap into the Sonos app to let you access any or all speakers connected to your home network and play music from dozens of different streaming sources as well as local storage.
Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin (Credit: Bowers & Wilkins)
Apple's AirPlay platform is the iOS- and macOS-friendly multi-room sound solution. There aren't any first-party AirPlay speakers besides the Apple HomePod and HomePod Mini, but many other Wi-Fi speakers, including Sonos products, support AirPlay. They let you easily stream from your iPhone or iPad at better quality than Bluetooth, but if you're an Android user, you won't find much utility in them.
Chromecast is Google's answer to AirPlay and works similarly. Google Home/Nest devices support Chromecast, as do many Wi-Fi speakers and soundbars. You can incorporate any Chromecast speaker into your Google Home setup and create room-based groupings in the same app as your Google Assistant speakers and smart home devices (if you use Google Home for that).
Amazon Echo speakers and the Alexa voice assistant didn't originally support multi-room audio, but now you can group and arrange most recent Alexa speakers like any other multi-room system. Like Chromecast, setting up multi-room Echo audio happens through the same app as your voice assistant and smart home devices, only it's all Alexa instead of Google.
Finally, a few Bluetooth speakers support linking, chaining, and mesh networks that connect multiple speakers. These usually aren't as complex or robust as Wi-Fi multi-room systems, but they can be a worthy alternative to using your home network to stream music.
Besides the type of wireless connection, you need to think about what style of speaker you want. Smaller, battery-powered speakers (usually Bluetooth) are useful because you can take them anywhere, but they don't get particularly loud. Larger speakers generally offer fuller sound and richer bass, but they are typically more expensive and less portable.
Besides single speakers, you can also find stereo pairs designed for desktop computers and home theater speaker systems like soundbars. These speakers are obviously not portable at all, but if you want a centerpiece sound system for your living room or office they're likely your best choice.
For a speaker to be portable, it needs to both be small and light enough to easily carry around, as well as run on a built-in battery. Of course, "small" and "light" are relative; tiny speakers with carabiners let you clip them to your backpack and take them on hikes, while much bigger and heavier speakers might be intended only to be taken from room to room in your home. Most Bluetooth speakers are portable, but that's not a rule by any means. Of course, larger speakers tend to sound better than smaller speakers, but they also aren't as easy to carry around.
Since Wi-Fi speakers rely on a separate network to enable multi-speaker and multi-room audio playback, they're rarely portable. After all, portability doesn't matter if you need an active connection to your home's hotspot. There are exceptions, though, and Wi-Fi speakers can still be portable if they have batteries, and ideally can create an ad-hoc Wi-Fi network with your phone.
Not all portable speakers are built to survive outdoors or poolside. Rugged speakers can handle splashes, dunks, drops, and gunk. If you try that with the non-rugged speakers on this list, however, you will end up with a brick instead of an audio device. Look for speakers with IP ratings and guarantees of water and shock resistance if you want to carry them around to the beach, the lake, the slopes, or the trail. Our guide to IP ratings explains what those numbers mean, so you can determine whether your speaker can handle a dunk in the pool or simply a drizzle.
For more, see our list of the best outdoor speakers.
Unless portability is at the top of your priority list, sound quality is paramount. Plenty of speakers don't offer much in the way of features but produce top-notch audio. Big bass isn't for everyone, but unless your speaker is downright tiny, it should be able to reproduce low frequencies accurately without distortion at high volumes. Clarity is more important than sheer power, and a balanced, clean sound should be your goal. If you want a sound system that can drive a whole party instead of just fill a small room, keep the size of the speaker in mind; generally, the bigger a speaker is, the louder it can get while still sounding good.
As mentioned earlier, in the early days of wireless audio Bluetooth was far inferior to Wi-Fi standards because of limited bandwidth and audio compression. Recent versions of Bluetooth don't have those problems and can transmit high-quality audio. Wi-Fi still holds an edge purely due to the available bandwidth, however, so if you want to listen to lossless music on services like Tidal, you should probably go with Wi-Fi over Bluetooth.
If you want to get the most out of your Bluetooth speaker, keep an eye on what Bluetooth codecs it supports. Our guide to Bluetooth codecs goes into more detail but, basically, SBC is the most common and lowest-quality codec for music. If you value audio quality, look for one that supports higher-quality codecs such as LDAC or AAC. We detail this information in each of our reviews.
Voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Google Assistant let you simply tell your speaker what to play instead of looking through your smartphone. These voice assistants are useful for more than just playing music. You can ask them for weather forecasts, sports scores, unit conversions, and even language translation. They also generally support third-party skills that let you do anything from order pizza to play trivia games. If you have other smart home devices, you might even be able to control them with your voice.
Left to right: Amazon Echo (4th Generation), Apple HomePod mini (Credit: Tim Gideon)
Voice assistant speakers have one universal requirement: Wi-Fi. They need a consistent internet connection, and without one voice recognition and all of the processing needed to find your music, answer your questions, and control your smart home devices simply won't work. These speakers can still be portable, and even offer Bluetooth connectivity when you're away from your network, but those features aren't certain. The most prominent first-party voice assistant speakers like the Amazon Echo and the Google Nest don't have batteries and are primarily meant for in-home use.
For more, see our picks for the best smart speakers.
Tons of speakers are available for nearly every budget level. Don't assume, however, that the most money always buys the best overall product. Generally speaking, higher-end models do sound better, but sometimes they lack the features you might expect for the price. The trick is to get the best sound, along with the features you want, at a price you can afford. And, of course, if you want to know about all of those things, you can read our reviews of each speaker.
The easiest way to get the best price is to shop around online. You can often find prices well below the list price if you do a little bargain hunting. Don't be afraid to look for similar speakers to the ones on this list, either; a number of the options here have solid predecessors that you can now find for much less. We've also rounded up our favorite Bluetooth speakers under $100.
For more, see the latest speaker reviews in our speaker product guide. And if you want to cut the cord without waking the neighbors, check out our favorite wireless headphones.
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