The Best Waterproof Bluetooth Speakers of 2019By Lee Neikirk, May 29, 2019
When it comes to activities like swimming, hitting up the beach, or just chilling poolside, one of the biggest drawbacks for a long time has been the lack of an easy way to play music. When I was a kid, we used to pop like twelve AA batteries into a crusty beach stereo and haul it down there, hoping the antenna arm could grab a few bars of music from somewhere up the coast.
Thankfully, those days are over. Not only are small, portable speakers ubiquitous enough these days to be priced very reasonably, but a good portion of them are splash-proof or entirely water resistant. Long gone are the days of sand and errant salt water rusting away a little radio never meant for beach use—unless you're into that kind of thing.
If you just want to gobble up our favorite, check out the JBL Flip 4 (available at Amazon). It's a rugged, waterproof option that provides great audio and a chill aesthetic. However, there's a wide array of desirable waterproof portable Bluetooth speakers out there—these are the best right now.
These are the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers we tested ranked, in order:
- JBL Flip 4
- Anker Soundcore 2
- Anker Soundcore Flare+
- JBL Clip 3
- UE Roll 2
- Tribit Xboom
- JBL Clip 2
- Aomais Sport II
- Tribit XSound Go
JBL Flip 4
JBL Flip 4Best Overall
The JBL Flip 4 isn't the cheapest speaker on the list, but there's a reason for the high price tag: it sounds awesome, it's decently waterproof (IPX7), and it boasts beefier battery life than smaller options.
From the knock-resistant hard plastic chassis to the cleanly spaced volume, play, and Bluetooth buttons, the Flip 4 stands out from the collective a bit in terms of pure polish and quality. It's not the loudest speaker on the list but it provides a good balance of bass, midtones, and treble frequencies. It's lighter than smaller speakers, which definitely adds to its overall portability, and is available in a wide range of colors like blue, red, teal, and even camo (yikes).
If you need waterproofing, outdoorsy sturdiness, good volume, and the ability to connect more than one Bluetooth source at a time, the Flip 4 is one of the best choices. It also delivers more impressive, rumbling bass than almost anything else I tested, which is one of the hardest attributes to find where portable Bluetooth speakers go. No matter how you plan to use it—indoor, outdoor, dry, wet, stationary, or in motion—the Flip 4 delivers the goods.
Anker Soundcore 2
Anker Soundcore 2Best Value
The latest iteration in Anker's portable speaker line, dubbed SoundCore, the SoundCore 2 is basic, straightforward, and useful. It features a sturdy rectangular design with big, easy-to-push buttons and a very tightly sealed set of inputs for USB charging and a 3.5 input.
The first thing I noticed about the SoundCore 2 was its sound quality. For being small, portable, and fairly lightweight, it has less tinniness in its trebles than a lot of portable Bluetooth speakers and more bass presence. Between the low price point and the wide array of colors, it's a very clear value pick as far as portable speakers go. It doesn't get majorly loud, but it gets about as loud as most people will probably need it to, and all without a touch of distortion.
Last but definitely not least, the Anker SoundCore 2 is, of course, rated IPX7 waterproof, meaning it's capable of at least partial submersion without being rendered useless—exactly what you want here.
How We Tested
Howdy, I'm Lee Neikirk, Home Theater Editor for Reviewed and casual video/audiophile. I've been elbows-deep in professional reviews of video and audio products for the last 7 years, but before that, I was earning a degree in music performance, so it's safe to say that audio quality and presentation are passions of mine. At home, I utilize guitar amplifiers, studio monitors for music mastering, and a sound "plate" for my TV. But nothing is more delightful than a compact, rugged, or waterproof speaker that can fill space with music; it's like magic!
Testing for these portable Bluetooth speakers was a fairly simple process. I took a big box of them home and over a few weeks, sampled and used them in different locations in my home. I didn't do any objective testing for audio quality, but I did listen to them closely, comparing them to a range of other speaker sources, as well as headphones.
But perhaps just as important (if not more important) than checking out each speaker's audio quality was simply using it like the average person would: connecting over Bluetooth, setting it up on a desk or table, and listening to music. I'd crank the speakers up to max to check for distortion or buzzing, and cycle through each speaker's various functions.
Sometimes speakers sounded great at every volume, connected immediately, had responsive buttons and stylized Bluetooth feedback, and so on. Sometimes they presented a chintzy or questionable experience. The final ranking represents a rough approximation of those traits alongside the cost/value of the speaker.
What’s the Difference between Splash and Waterproof?
Many portable Bluetooth speakers are splash and/or waterproof on top of being extra rugged or capped with rubber components to help protect them from falls.
But it can be a little hard to know if it’s safe to “accidentally” boot your little speaker into the pool when a song you hate comes on, so check this guide to the ranking system if you’re really curious.
What's a Portable Bluetooth Speaker?
Technically, a portable Bluetooth speaker is any speaker that doesn’t need to be plugged into power on and play music, that you can connect to, wirelessly, via Bluetooth connection, and are small/light enough to be carried with you or stowed in a bag.
While this can include a pretty wide range of sizes and price points, generally portable Bluetooth speakers fall between $30 and $100 in price and include a suite of key features like Bluetooth connectivity (duh), volume adjustment, 3.5mm aux input, and micro USB charging.
Features like splash or waterproofing, rugged exteriors, LED indicators, and bass boosting vary depending on the model—those kinds of things are usually what you’re paying more (or less) for. But you can always safely assume any portable Bluetooth speaker you buy will be wireless and work with whatever type of phone you have.
How Loud Are Bluetooth Speakers?
Another key thing to understand about portable Bluetooth speakers is that they’re more of a replacement for your smartphone than for traditional bookshelf speakers or even soundbars.
Although you can get really big, boombox style portable speakers that might be able to blow the roof off a house party, most of the speakers we tested aren’t amazingly loud. They’re loud enough to provide music for a small gathering or a modest backyard get together, but if you’re in the raucous throes of a party, most of these will be drowned out.
Where this starts to matter more is when you’re using one of these speakers in an on-the-go situation. Because of the relatively low wattage power of most of the speakers here, using them outside on a windy beach or hanging from your handlebars as you pedal through the woods may not always yield crystal clear audio. But you’ll know music is playing, and that’s probably as good as you’re going to get without using headphones.
As for audio quality, one reason these speakers don’t get mega loud is that if they did, it would introduce distortion. Instead, engineers have capped the relative output to maintain clarity, which is a smart move both for your listening enjoyment and for the life of the soldered wires inside.
Other Waterproof Bluetooth Speakers We Tested
Anker Soundcore Flare+
Anker Soundcore Flare+
The Flare+ lives up to its namesake. This tall, conical speaker is one of the only ones I've seen to feature flashing, music-synced LED lights. It's one of the larger speakers that I tested and features a handsome, deep gray coloration and speaker grill, intuitive controls, and some neat features.
First off, the Flare+ sounds really good. It's one of the bigger speakers we tested, and its 360-degree speaker design and sheer height/size give it a leg up over the smaller, more compact speakers I tested. It's easy to control, and if you don't like the light show you can shut it off. Personally, I'm on the fence about it. During use, I found the light synced up kind of weirdly to the music I was playing and didn't have the satisfying, full glow of the LEDs as they appear on the box. But that's what I get for listening to late 80s Phil Collins.
However, maybe the best thing about the Flare+ is that it's waterproof, which I definitely wouldn't expect if someone just handed it to me on the street. That means not only is it a big, colorful option for your pool party but if the dog accidentally knocks it into the water, it should survive the plunge. Overall, it's a most robust choice, especially as far as waterproof options go.
JBL Clip 3
JBL Clip 3
JBL's "Clip" line of portable Bluetooth speakers have been kicking around for a few years, and while they definitely break the mold where most Bluetooth speakers are concerned, they've got sticking power for a reason. The tiny Clip 3 is so-named because it features a small partial carabiner clip for it to hang on various things—belt loops, bike handles, shower rods, and so on.
For being a tiny speaker, the Clip 3 has a pretty big sound. Even without clipping it on anything (which oriented the drivers skyward... not super ideal), it fills space and plays back cleanly without distortion. That said, the maximum volume isn't much, so if you're going for sheer volume, the Clip may not be a good choice.
For the price, however, the Clip 3 is great. At max volume, I even heard a few vocal lines I hadn't heard in one of my favorite songs before. It's also available in a huge variety of colors, which is just downright fun. If you need a handy little speaker that's waterproof, the Clip 3 is the way to go.
UE Roll 2
UE Roll 2
The UE Roll 2 is a portable, waterproof Bluetooth speaker. This makes it a great choice if you want to blast some tunes at the pool or on the beach without worrying about water damage. We nabbed the "volcano" version, but it's available in a wide range of colors.
After a bit of fidgeting, getting Spotify playing on the UE Roll 2 was easy. There's a power button on the back of the device that puts it into Bluetooth mode as soon as it's on. The cross pattern on the front of the speaker has two pressable areas that make volume adjustment simple. The device also announces its "on" and "paired" status with audio feedback tones, which is nice.
Where sound quality is concerned, the Roll rocks pretty solidly. I noticed decent bass presence, but a little excess treble, where things like snare hits were notably higher in the mix than they were on my headphones. There's some risk of losing out on mid-range audibility here, but overall the audio quality is decent for the price, especially considering everything else this product offers.
Tribit 360° Sound Speaker
Tribit 360° Sound Speaker
The Tribit Xboom is a very popular speaker. Its rounded shape, rubber strap, and bright, oversized buttons silhouetted against the black speaker grill give it a rugged, playful aesthetic. This one keeps things pretty simple: it has big volume and pause buttons on the top, and on the backside, clearly labeled Bluetooth and bass buttons. There's good tactile and sound-based feedback when you push buttons, and on the back, inputs for USB charging and an aux cable.
This isn't the most straight-laced speaker. The capped ends where the bass resonates out of tiny woofers display "Tribit" and "Xboom" logos in font that's a little more 90s Mountain Dew commercial than I would like, but that's nit-picking. On the other hand, unlike a lot of portable Bluetooth speakers, it's only available in one color (black), so if you're looking for something a little more colorful, you might want to look elsewhere.
As sound quality goes, the Xboom sounds great. Its rounded form gives it good aural presence (within reason) and it gets plenty loud. At higher volumes it sounds kind of tinny sometimes, but overall it's not a bad sounding speaker at all. Naturally, it's IPX7 rated, meaning it's water resistant up through mild submersion.
JBL Clip 2
JBL Clip 2
The JBL Clip 2 is an on-the-go portable Bluetooth speaker available in a wide range of colors—black, blue, red, camo, to name a few. It's round and waterproof (or splashproof, more realistically) and gets its name from its big metal carabiner clip.
The Clip 2 is one of the quieter, weaker speakers on the list. It's also one of the most portable devices, and the carabiner clip makes it clear it's meant to accompany a hike through the woods or a nighttime bike ride. It's a usable speaker of course, but lacks the power necessary to really fill a poolside space, and would probably be inaudible on the beach.
With louder, more balanced-sounding portable options available, the Clip 2 is hard to outright recommend, though it excels at simple being a rugged, tough little speaker. Like the Clip 3, it's IPX7 waterproof, so you can hang it in the shower or even wear it like an amulet while wading into the ocean.
Aomais Sport II
Aomais Sport II
The Aomais Sport II is a surprisingly good choice where affordable, waterproof Bluetooth speakers go. Available in somewhat tropical colors (orange, green, etc.), the Sport II is a mid-sized waterproof speaker that's hugely popular on Amazon—and for good reason.
For being so affordable, the Sport II has a more robust control scheme than the average Bluetooth speaker. In fact, it's similar to a lot of wireless Bluetooth headphones: short presses of the volume keys will raise and lower volume, while a long press works to scrub between tracks. RGB indicators on the front of the speaker show whether it's powered on, ready for Bluetooth pairing, or running low on battery.
However, the best thing about the Sport II is that its larger size and familiar boombox shape give it some really solid audio quality. For a battery-powered portable speaker, it really pumps out a good amount of volume and has good representation in the middle and bass frequencies. For what you're paying, there's serious value here.
Tribit XSound Go
Tribit XSound Go
The Tribit XSound Go is definitely a step up from the average portable waterproof speaker. The XSound Go isn't the biggest nor the loudest option in the lineup, but considering it's been recently replaced by the newer "MaxSound Go," you can find it on sale pretty readily.
Despite being a bit older, the XSound Go is still worth checking out. Its small form factor feels very sturdy thanks to the metal chassis. The buttons along the top are simple and clearly labeled. Like most Bluetooth speakers, you can't skip tracks using the volume buttons, but there is a big "play" (pause) button. The XSound Go is cool to the touch and features a braided wrist strap that I'm not super sure would hold its weight if you got rambunctious with it.
As for the sound, despite its little size, the Go has a good amount of power, but you kind of have to turn it up a lot. It's firm build means it won't vibrate or distort easily, but it also only articulates sound in one direction, meaning it's probably better for a stationary activity than hanging off of someone's bike during a trail ride. It's available in basic black and a darker blue color.