Great sound at any price

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Naim Mu-so 2

Bluetooth speakers are an easy and convenient way to stream music from a portable device or laptop, and these are the best Bluetooth speakers we’ve come across.

Bluetooth speakers come in all shapes and sizes, and this list you’ll see a wide range that includes portable, outdoor and desktop-based speakers. Whatever you want, whether it’s a affordable speaker to one that you can use to take with you, we’ve got plenty of options to suit your needs.

Related: How to buy the best wireless speaker


Naim Mu-so 2

1. Naim Mu-so 2

An upgrade on the original

Pros:

  • Lovely materials and build quality
  • Deft sound, with real reserves of power
  • Plenty of functionality

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Not much of an advance visually

With the Mu-so 2, and you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s more of the same. The overall appearance is similar, but the cabinet has been re-engineered, the drivers redesigned and there’s a new processor running the show.

And much like the original we like what Naim has done with the sound, producing an at times a ferociously loud performance that doesn’t lose a sense subtlety or deftness with its handling of music. It’s more of the same, but better.

Ruark MRx

2. Ruark MRx

A well-equipped streaming speaker

Pros:

  • Great design and build
  • Excellent sound
  • Wealth of connections
  • Flexible placement

Cons:

  • The app can be a little sluggish

The MRx looks fantastic: a stylish meld of retro looks with a modern feel. You can be placed it portrait or landscape, with the latter producing stereo sound. With the MRx, Ruark  has embraced the digital age too, with multi-room, music streaming services and aptX Bluetooth all featured.

And the audio? We found it to be a big sound: emitting an articulate, bass rich and powerful sound from its two 75mm full-range drivers. The MRx is another pleasing speaker from the British brand.

Naim Mu-so Qb 2

3. Naim Mu-so Qb 2

Thoroughly entertaining

Pros:

  • Large-scale, detailed and nuanced sound
  • Extensive specification
  • That control wheel

Cons:

  • Starting to look properly expensive
  • Imperfect app

The first Mu-so Qb was a revelation – a premium wireless speaker shaped like a cube? And the second-gen version has proven to be even better.

Like the original it comes in the same distinctive design, but there are upgrades in the all-new driver units, digital signal processor, AirPlay 2 support and  new illuminated dial. Compared to the original, we found the performance on tap here to be powerful, but also nuanced, showcasing a broad and well-defined soundstage. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable and exciting listen, even in light of its  price increase.

Beosound A1 2nd Gen

4. B&O Beosound A1 2nd Gen

Compact hi-fi speaker with smarts

Pros:

  • Excellent sound
  • Portable
  • Alexa support
  • Great style
  • Waterproof design

Cons:

B&O A1 2nd gen is the sequel to the Beoplay A1 and improves upon that speaker’s terrific performance with an even better sonic display.

It’s the world’s first Bluetooth-only speaker to support Alexa and a very stylish-looking one at that. It’s primarily designed for the outdoors with its 18-hour battery life, integrated leather strap and water- and dustproof build quality; but if anything we extracted just as much joy from using it in the home, as this speaker can produce a detailed, clear sound as well as plenty of bass. It’s a stunning sounding effort.

At £200 it is still pricey, but we find it hard to argue against its quality. It’s a portable speaker with plenty of substance to go with its style.

UE Wonderboom 2

5. Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2

Small gains add up

Pros:

  • Huge sound
  • Easy to use
  • 13-hour battery life
  • Outdoor Boost is useful

Cons:

The Wonderboom 2 improves upon the original with a number of tweaks. Though it’s almost the same size as the original, new features come in the form of Outdoor Boost and Double Up. The former accentuates the mid-range performance and nubs the bass, so you can hear the vocals better outside. Double Up adds stereo pairing, as long as you have another Wonderboom 2 in your possession.

When it comes to its sonic performance, the Wonderboom 2 is another great showcase for Ultimate Ears’ signature sound at an affordable price. It can go incredibly loud for a small unit, and offers plenty of welly in the low end for a speaker of this size. If you favour an energetic performance from your speakers, this has it in spades.

Great sound at any price

6. Linn Series 3

A thrilling listen

Pros:

  • Detailed, controlled, immediate and convincing sound
  • Singular looks

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Not the last word in outright scale

The Series 3 is Linn’s first foray into the wireless speaker market. Visually it’s unique, shaped like a wine glass (or an egg) with its distinctive curves, and the design reflects the price tag, with the cabinet cast from a natural mineral compound that features integrated touch controls on top.

In terms of its specification, it’s well stocked. For connectivity there’s a choice of Bluetooth 5, AirPlay 2 and HDMI ARC, as well as an Ethernet-like socket for connecting to the partner 302 speaker to create a stereo pair. The Linn App has access of the big music apps, along with comprehensive control of the speaker. The audio performance is a sensational and thrilling one: expressive, precise and dynamic, it’s capable of handling whatever genre of music you fling at it.

Formation Wedge

7. B&W Formation Wedge

An oddly shaped, highly musical speaker

Pros:

  • Big, room-filling sound
  • Musical performer
  • Unique design

Cons:

  • App is still bare
  • Tricky to place

The Formation Wedge is another speaker on this list with an odd design, but considering it’s Bowers & Wilkins behind it, we trust them more than most when it comes to high-end audio.

And what you get from the Formation Wedge is a highly musical performance that is brimming full of confidence, expression and revealing in its delivery of sound. While its looks are unique, very much earning the ‘wedge’ name, it adds the Wedge’s sense of individuality. Support for Spotify, Bluetooth 4.1 and AirPlay 2 means you can wring a tune out of it from several sources, and its Roon Ready spec means the Wedge can be part of a wider audio ecosystem in your home. When we first reviewed the speaker, the app was by no means fully featured and still seems to be experiencing issues, so keep that in mind.

Denon Home 350

8. Denon Home 350

A big performer

Pros:

  • Big room-filling sound
  • Precise and detailed delivery
  • Plenty of bass
  • Extensive functionality
  • Excellent build quality

Cons:

  • It’s big and heavy
  • No Chromecast
  • Fairly pricey

The biggest speaker in the Denon Home range unsurprisingly delivers the biggest performance. Tucked inside it’s bigger body are high-quality drivers and powerful digital amplification that enable it to really make its presence felt.

It has the same solidly constructed, if rather nondescript, design that doesn’t wholly endear us in terms of its looks. There are physical connections round the back (USB, 3.5mm etc), and in the HEOS app, access to streaming services and multi-room set-up. Plus, with AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth connectivity it offers a number of means to get music to the speaker.

The presentation is big and bold, with plenty of power and bass; but also capable of subtlety too, with lots of detail and refinement. If the smaller speakers don’t tickle your fancy, then go big and go Home with the 350.

Audio Pro A10

9. Audio Pro A10

Sounds great and is fairly well stocked for features

Pros:

  • Stylish looks
  • Composed and assured audio performance
  • Compact design
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Not the widest soundstage
  • Bass could be stronger

The A10 opts to take a different route from Audio Pro’s other wireless speakers. For one, it doesn’t have the face of a Koala bear.

Instead, it has a cylindrical design that’s more similar to the Apple HomePod. And although it doesn’t have the smarts of that speaker, it does “Work with Alexa” and is fairly well stocked for features in that respect.

The focus here is on audio quality and it delivers a smooth, balanced and measured sound from its compact form. While it doesn’t offer the widest of soundstages, A10 proves to be a very adept performer with whatever genre of music you throw at it.

Great sound at any price

10. Tribit Stormbox Micro

Excellent value

Pros:

  • Clear and detailed performance
  • Dust and waterproof
  • Good, smart design
  • Affordable price

Cons:

  • Not the most directional-sounding speaker

The Stormbox Micro is one of the best small speakers we’ve tested in some time. For the price and its size, it exceeded our expectations.

The 8-hour battery life is a little under expectations, but smart decisions have been with regards to its design, the tear-resistant strap on its underside allowing it to be placed it on a handlebar of a bicycle or attached to a backpack.

And the Tribit sounds much better than you’d expect for a wireless speaker of it size. Bass is bigger than expected, it’s delivery of sound is detailed and clean delivery. It doesn’t produce the broadest of sounds, but at £40 the Tribit is value personified.

Marshall Emberton

11. Marshall Emberton

Fun and enjoyable sound

Pros:

  • Rugged design
  • Entertaining sound
  • Nice control interface
  • Stylish looks

Cons:

  • Other speakers deliver more precision and clarity
  • Slightly soft bass

The Emberton is the smallest speaker in Marshall’s line-up, its rugged build ensuring it can survive any mishap that comes its way.

The speaker’s control system is lovely, with the multi-directional knob making operation of the speaker easy. Battery life is 20+ hours, and we feel that’s enough to last a couple days of solid playing before you’ll feel the need to top it off.

The sound the Emberton produces is entertaining, offering Marshall’s typical energetic character without going overboard with it. Vocals are clear and there’s decent midrange detail that the speaker can dig up. Bass can feel a little soft in places, but overall, its warm and smooth approach is music to our ears.

Great sound at any price

12. Dali Katch

Elegant design, long battery life and sparkling sound

Pros:

  • Loud, full-bodied sound with lots of bass
  • Terrific detail and composure
  • Slim-yet-solid aluminium cabinet
  • Eye-catching design

Cons:

If you value sound quality above all else, the Dali Katch is a Bluetooth speaker that should command your attention.

Dali has packed in some serious tech into a delightful package that ensures your music sounds its best. You’ll instantly know where all your money has gone as soon as you start playing your favourite songs. There’s an impressive level of volume on offer as well, yet it maintains its composure and control.

You also get an impressive 24 hours of battery life, meaning the party won’t stop abruptly while you’re entertaining.

Great sound at any price

13. Samsung AKG VL5

Delivers room-filling sound with detail and precision

Pros:

  • Big, room-filling sound
  • Precise and detailed delivery
  • Effective smart app

Cons:

The VL speaker range marries elegant design with high-quality sound. The VL5 has an aluminium body complemented by a wood finish, and there’s a Moving Dial to detach and take with you, allowing you to control the speaker from anywhere in the house.

Sound-wise the VL5 delivers a big, open soundstage that’s capable of producing a decent stereo image thanks to its width. Our only real complaint is its hefty price tag.

IKEA ENEBY

14. IKEA ENEBY

Affordable and surprisingly good

Pros:

  • Plenty of power
  • Good amount of bass
  • EQ adjustment
  • Good value
  • 3.5mm input

Cons:

  • Battery pack sold separately (Eneby 20)
  • No controls to pause or skip tracks

Can a furniture shop make good Bluetooth speakers? Actually, yes, it can. The IKEA Eneby speakers cost under £100 and are a little basic, but they sound better than speakers £45 and up. There’s no shortage of volume or power, and there’s no sign of distortion either. There’s a good amount of bass thanks to the not-really-portable cabinet sizes.

This speaker is designed to go nicely with the IKEA Kallax and Eket shelving units. If you want a bit of music, your budget is small, and you’re not fussy about having the latest tech, check it out.


How we test the best Bluetooth speakers

We play a lot of music, and we play it loud. We play it everywhere – in the house, in the garden, and even in the bath if a speaker is waterproof.

We don’t just listen to the speakers; if there are special features then we make sure we fiddle with them until we’re satisfied. Recently, some Bluetooth speakers have begun to get smart functionality with the integration of Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, and as a result we’ve started speaking to our speakers as well.

Of course, it always comes back to the music. Speakers are tested by reviewers who have a love of music, a knowledge of sound quality, as well as a context of the market. We’ll listen to Bluetooth speakers alongside similarly priced rivals, so when we recommend a particular model, it’s among the best you can buy for the money.

Obviously, we know not everyone has the same taste in music, so we won’t only test with the same perfectly mastered album, but with a variety of genres and file qualities, from MP3 to Hi-Res FLAC.

If you’re interested in other types of wireless speakers, check out the following pages:

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