• Sonos Roam

  • JBL Flip 5

  • Anker Soundcore 2

  • How We Tested

  • What You Should Know About Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speakers

  • Other Portable Bluetooth Speakers We Tested

  • More Articles You Might Enjoy

Our Favorite Waterproof Bluetooth Speakers of 2021

  1. Best Overall

    Sonos Roam

    Pros

    • Excellent sound

    • Stylish, rugged, and intuitive

    • Great at home or abroad

    Cons

    • Wall adapter not included

    • Battery life just OK

    Skip to the full review below
  2. Best Value

    JBL Flip 5

    Pros

    • Excellent sound

    • Rugged & water-resistant

    • Multiple color options

    Cons

    • No dust resistance

    Skip to the full review below
Best-Overall-Sonos-Roam
Credit: Reviewed / Ryan Waniata

Due to its flexibility, versatility, and winning sound quality, the Sonos Roam is our current favorite portable Bluetooth speaker.

Best Overall
Sonos Roam

The new Sonos Roam is the most versatile portable speaker you can buy, full stop. It works great on the go, no doubt, but unlike other speakers on this list, it also connects over Wi-Fi in addition to Bluetooth. This not only offers improved sound quality, but it also lets the Roam double as a smart speaker for Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, as well as connecting to other Sonos speakers in a multi-room setup.

As for sound quality, the Roam is an absolute ringer for its size and specs. It offers warm and smooth sound with great detail and way more bass response than you’d expect from a six-inch tube. From the moment we pressed play on the Roam, we were amazed by not only how good it sounds, but how big. Occasionally its sound gets a little heavy in the midrange, and its fidelity is best at about mid-volume (it loses some luster at low volume), but it's easy to adjust the EQ to taste. What's more, the speaker's True Volume feature helps it adjust the sound to its environment.

When it comes to serious bass, it won't keep up with bigger sound tubes such as Ultimate Ears’ hefty Megaboom 3, nor does it have the same 360-degree sound field. At just 10 hours of playback time, its battery life is a fair bit lower, too. But it’s also a lot easier to take along.

The rubberized exterior feels good in your hand, and it even fits perfectly in your backpack’s water bottle holster. The rugged front grill keeps the interior parts safe, as does the IP67 dust and water resistance, allowing it to keep dust out and sit in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes—something you don’t usually expect from a Wi-Fi speaker. Its Bluetooth range on the road is also substantial—we were able to walk nearly an entire practice field before it started to cut out.

Because this is a Sonos speaker, you’ll also get the convenience of Sonos Wi-Fi setup, the loaded Sonos 2 app (compatible with 100+ streaming services), and the ability to not only group with other Sonos siblings, but also swap sound from Bluetooth playback, and more.

In short, this is an easy pick for the best portable waterproof speaker. While its cost may be a bit high, if you want a speaker that does it all—and sounds darn good doing it—the Roam is it.

Pros

  • Excellent sound

  • Stylish, rugged, and intuitive

  • Great at home or abroad

Cons

  • Wall adapter not included

  • Battery life just OK

JBL-Flip-4
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

With its compact design, rugged materials, and user-friendly features, the JBL Flip 5 is one of the most valuable speakers out there.

Best Value
JBL Flip 5

JBL's Flip line of Bluetooth speakers continues to be an awesome choice for most folks. The Flip 5 brings all the great features of its forebears: solid, room-filling sound; IPX7 water-resistance (meaning it should survive a quick dunk in the pool without incident); 12 hours of battery life; and a massive range of color options, from "sand" to "squad."

One of the biggest upgrades for the Flip 5 includes the convenience of USB-C charging (the previous Flip 4 uses micro-USB), but it also adds a newer Bluetooth standard (4.2), improved battery, bigger speaker drivers for improved sound, and even a sleep timer. The additions mean the Flip 5 is a bit larger and heavier than the Flip 4, but fear not: it’s still capped with reinforced rubber and wrapped in JBL’s handsome, rounded speaker grills, meaning it’s fairly robust and it also sounds better than ever. Just don’t drop it on your beach-going toesies.

When it comes to audio quality, for its size and price point, this speaker sounds very good. The rounded chassis provides warm, room-filling sound that sounds especially good bouncing off of the surface of sparkling pool water.

The Flip 5 isn’t the biggest, loudest speaker on our list, nor is it the most affordable. It is, however, a great all-rounder, checking off all the right boxes for a portable, all-terrain Bluetooth speaker at a great price. And if you want this kind of all-around solidness but want to spend a little less money, you can still find the excellent Flip 4 in a lot of locations, too.

Pros

  • Excellent sound

  • Rugged & water-resistant

  • Multiple color options

Cons

  • No dust resistance

Related content

Anker-Soundcore-2
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Anker Soundcore 2 is one of the most valuable Bluetooth speakers on the market.

Best Under $50
Anker Soundcore 2

A proud member of Anker's Soundcore portable speaker line, 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 we noticed about the Soundcore 2 was its sound quality. For being small, portable, and fairly lightweight, it has less tinniness in the treble than a lot of portable Bluetooth speakers and more bass presence, too. 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 super loud, but it pumps out as much sound as most people need, and all without a touch of audible distortion.

Last but definitely not least, the Anker SoundCore 2 is, of course, rated IPX7 water-resistant, meaning it's been tested for 30 minutes in one meter of water. In other words, it's very splashproof and should also be good for a quick dunk without any ill effects. That's a lot of good stuff for under $50.

Pros

  • Easy, intuitive setup

  • Very portable

Cons

  • Just satisfactory sound quality

How We Tested

How-We-Tested
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Testing involved some deep listening, but also just a lot of just hanging out with tons of speakers at home and outside.

About The Testers

Howdy, I'm Lee Neikirk, Reviewed's Home Theater Editor. I've been doing in professional reviews of video and audio products for the last 9 years, and 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 downright delightful than a compact, rugged, or waterproof speaker that can fill space with music; it's like magic!

Hi, I'm Ryan Waniata, Managing Editor for Reviewed's Electronics section. I've been a tech writer and editor since 2013, reviewing TVs, audio gear, smart home devices, and more. As a former audio engineer, I have a particular passion for sound in all forms and formats. From studio gear and surround sound systems to cheap headphones and clip-on portable speakers, I love evaluating audio gear and finding the very best for the money.

The Tests

While portable Bluetooth speakers are decidedly products meant mostly for fun—jamming out on the beach or keeping step to the rhythm on a hike or camping trip—we take testing fairly seriously. Every speaker on the list is tested vigorously for water- and dust-proofing, battery life, general durability, sound quality, features, and compatibility.

We use each speaker with a range of source devices—Android and Apple smartphones, laptops, and so on—and have no qualms about throwing them in the pool to see of they float or come up sputtering (without recovering). We listen to a wide variety of musical genres from sources like Spotify and Tidal, and test Wi-Fi and smart home functionality where applicable. Most importantly, we use the speakers in a range of environments, from backyards to hotel rooms to campsites, as well as in our own homes.

The best speakers are determined by a weighted rating system that takes things like cost, portability, features, and various aspects of sound quality into account. Our goal is to find the best water-ready Bluetooth speakers across a wide variety of use cases and price points.

What You Should Know About Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speakers

We count a portable Bluetooth speaker as any speaker that you can connect to wirelessly over Bluetooth connection, has a battery for powering on away from outlets, and is small/light enough to be carried with you or stowed in a bag.

While this can include a very wide range of speaker types and price points, generally portable Bluetooth speakers fall between $30 and $200 in price and include a suite of key features like Bluetooth connectivity (duh), onboard volume adjustment, 3.5mm aux input, and often an accompanying app.

Features like a rugged exterior, LED indicators, and bass boosting vary depending on the model—those kinds of things are usually what you’re paying more for. When it comes to "waterproofing," none of the speakers on our list can be stored at long lengths underwater. However, every speaker on our list is at least IPX7 water-resistant (more on that below).

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 home theater speakers or 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, at best, a decent-sized 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 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 for some of our top choices, you'll get powerful enough sound to fully enjoy it in virtually any environment.

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. That said, in recent years compression techniques and advanced hardware engineering have pushed small speakers to great heights when it comes to power and clarity, even at top volume.

What About Dust & Water Resistance?

Every speaker on this list is at least IPX7 water-resistant and most offer extra-rugged designs, often capped with rubber components to help protect them from falls.

Anything with an IPX7 or above can be safely booted into the pool when a song is playing without incident, and apart from this list, most new speakers you get these days will have this rating. Dropping to IPX6 means it's not technically dunkable, but should survive rain, jet streams, and other elements.

Speaking of IP ratings, while the second number indicates water resistance, the first is for dust resistance. You'll generally find that a rating of 5 or higher is all you'll need to protect the speaker from ingress. For more information you can check this guide to IP ratings.


Other Portable Bluetooth Speakers We Tested

Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3

Simply put, the Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 is one of the very best portable speakers you can buy. It sounds fantastic, offering powerful punch in the bass, more detail than you’d expect in the treble, and a clear and present midrange. Thanks to its balanced, “360-degree” soundstage (in which sound is designed to be distributed from all sides), we’d go so far as to say it’s arguably the top speaker for sound in its price class, with only top competitors like the Charge 5 and Sonos Roam to stand as rivals.

The Megaboom 3 is also built like a tank, with a tactile, dual-tone exterior that keeps it safe from dust and water (it’s IP67 rating means it can be dunked alongside our other picks). It’s almost actively tough, begging you to throw it like a projectile, or roll it at your friends in an attempt to take out their legs. It also has a powerful app, which allows you to do things like tune EQ, connect it to other Megaboom speakers in party mode (with a freakishly large group of up to 150 possible), and even use its top button to directly call up a pre-programmed streaming service.

The Megaboom 3 is a natural choice for the best Bluetooth speaker in your arsenal, but it falls shy of the Sonos Roam in a couple of key areas. For one thing, it doesn’t have Wi-Fi or smarts (the Roam offers the same functionality as homebound Alexa or Google smart speaker when connected to Wi-Fi). The Megaboom 3 also can’t be used as part of a multi-speaker sound system. And while its 20 hours of battery life is massive compared to the Roam (and most other speakers), we found it lasted several hours less than advertised at medium volume.

Most notably, while the Megaboom 3 is an audio wonder, it simply isn’t all that portable. While it’s easy to move around the house or throw in the car, unlike the Roam and the Flip, it’s harder to fit into a backpack or purse for travel. But if you’re just going to leave it in the yard for barbecues—and you don’t need Wi-Fi—the Megaboom 3 is a killer Bluetooth speaker with sound as powerful and clear as anything you’ll find at its size.

Pros

  • Fantastic sound

  • Extremely durable

Cons

  • Missing some key features

JBL Charge 5

Suppose you were head-over-heels for JBL's Flip line of Bluetooth speakers, but your phone kept dying on you while you were out at the beach or on a hike. Before you run off and buy a portable battery pack, you should really take a look at the excellent JBL Charge 5.

The Charge 5 is essentially two products in one: it has the same general form factor, robust sound quality, intuitive controls, and IP67 rating as the excellent Flip 5, only it adds pass-thru USB charging. With 20 hours of battery life, the Charge 5 can keep your tunes playing for almost a full day while it simultaneously charges up your smartphone, tablet, or anything else you want to plug in. Just plug your phone's charge cable into the back of the Charge 5 and you're guaranteed almost a full day of music.

It's also worth mentioning that the Charge 5 is no slouch where sound quality is concerned. It sounds even bigger than JBL's Flip 5, providing deeper bass, great midrange support and producing robust, enjoyable details in music and podcasts. It's big enough to provide enough volume for a small backyard get-together, but might be a bit lost in the middle of a noisy party.

The only drawback with this speaker is that you're definitely paying more for the battery-charging functionality when you compare the Charge 5 to something like the Flip 5, and if you haven't had battery problems it might not make sense to pick this one up. But it's also very unlikely that you'd regret having this functionality if you did: somebody's phone or tablet is always on its last legs, and the Charge 5 is here to pick it back up again. It's also worth mentioning that the Charge 5 is pretty bulky: that big, charge-bank-type battery needs room, and it reduces the portability here. If you're

Pros

  • Solid sound quality

  • Built-in powerbank is very useful

  • Dust- and water-proof

Cons

  • Not everyone will want/need the added charging feature

JBL Boombox 2

If you want the biggest, loudest, most party-rocking Bluetooth speaker you can buy, JBL’s Boombox 2 wrote the book on “in your face.” In all seriousness, as with many JBL speakers the Boombox 2 is immaculately designed—rounded, robust, and heavy—and it has the audio presence to match its hefty size. While many of the speakers on this list are around the size of a soda can, the JBL Boombox 2 is a… well, you see, it’s a boombox. A dyed-in-the-wool, walk-down-the-street-with-it-on-your-shoulder boombox.

There are a lot of places where a smaller, more traditional Bluetooth speaker might serve you better. We used the Boombox 2 for several weeks while waiting on other Bluetooth speakers to arrive for evaluation. As it serenaded us in our kitchen every day, we probably never set the volume to more than 50% of its maximum. This Bluetooth speaker is very, very loud—that said, it also sounds really good, featuring more than ample bass presence and good clarity across the frequency spectrum. It fills even the most cavernous rooms, easily heard over party conversation, surging ocean waves, or the buzz of nearby power tools.

It’s also rugged, dunkable thanks to its IPX7 water resistance rating, and designed with covered ports, meaning you can tote it just about anywhere (within reason). And with JBL’s “PartyBoost” feature, you can even add in additional JBL speakers (though why you’d need to, I’m not sure).

So why isn’t this the #1 Bluetooth speaker? Simply put, it’s just too much for most people, even if it’s too much of a good thing. It’s (relatively) huge, heavy, expensive, and will offer diminishing returns for casual, everyday situations. However, if you’ve got the funds and want a Bluetooth speaker that can be nuanced enough for a low-key night in and loud enough that they’ll hear it on Mars, this is the one to get.

Pros

  • Majorly loud

  • Extremely durable

  • Good features

Cons

  • Overkill for most people

JBL Clip 4

JBL’s Clip 4 has no right to sound as good as it does. While you’ll have to limit your expectations when it comes to bass response for any speaker this size, you’ve got to limit them a lot less with this speaker than comparable models from even a few years back. And impressive sound is just one of the enticing aspects of this pint-sized dangler.

The fourth generation of JBL’s popular Clip line has improved over its predecessor in multiple ways, from a more sturdy and ergonomic handle to new rubberized dampeners on its backside to keep it from rumbling on a countertop or distorting when the bass ramps up. The speaker has more accessible control buttons as well, including rubberized front-side controls and side controls for pairing and powering on that you can identify with your fingertips. (Though a word of caution, they’re a bit easier to press accidentally, too.)

If there’s one part of the oval-shaped model we’re not crazy about, it’s the extremely loud look of the new logo which will not let you forget which brand makes this tag-along device. But that’s a small price to pay for a speaker this pocketable that sounds this good.

Getting back to the sound quality, this is one of the few speakers of its size we actually enjoy listening to. It offers relatively impressive detail for everything from jazz to podcasts, and while hip-hop will lose some luster—especially if you try to crank up the jams—it’s the perfect speaker for the shower. It also pairs well with getaways where you simply don’t want to bring something chunkier like an Ultimate Ears Megaboom or even JBL’s own Flip or Charge models.

At 10 hours, battery life isn’t incredible, but it gets you more than a day’s use and an open USB-C port makes it easy to charge. With an IP67 rating, the speaker is both dust resistant and dunkable, though it doesn’t float so you won’t want to drop it in a lake. It connects via Bluetooth 5.1 for solid connection from 30+ feet.

As for downsides, the Clip 4 doesn’t include a speakerphone like its predecessor, nor does it pair with companion speakers over an app. Its rounded edges mean you’ll also need to clip it or lay it flat, which may not always be convenient for sound dispersion.

Those quibbles aside, if you’re looking for a seriously portable speaker with good sound that won’t break the bank, you’ll have a hard time beating the Clip 4. Of course, if you want a very similar experience but would rather save a little cash, you could try to track down the older Clip 3. It sounds a fair bit tinnier than the Clip 4, but will still work well as a shower speaker if you can find it at a good discount.

Pros

  • Excellent sound for the size

  • Extremely durable

  • Easy to use and pack along

Cons

  • No speakerphone

UE Roll 2

The UE Roll 2 is an ultra-portable, water-resistant speaker offering, you guessed it, an IPX7 rating for dunkability. 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 and accessible. Like other Ultimate Ears speakers, 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. We noticed decent bass presence, but a little excess treble, where things like snare hits were notably higher in the mix than they were on headphones. There's some risk of losing out on mid-range audibility here, but overall the audio quality is decent for the price.

The reason the Roll 2 ranks lower than others on the list is the fact that it's a bit pricey for the sound you get and, frankly, the vast majority of speakers we test these days boast similar water resistance. That said, it's still a solid choice, and it's as easy to take along as it is to use.

Pros

  • Waterproof and portable

  • Available in a variety of colors

  • Simple, user-friendly controls

Cons

  • A preponderance of treble

Anker Soundcore Flare+

The Flare+ lives up to its namesake. This tall, conical speaker is one of the only ones we've seen to feature flashing, music-synced LED lights. It's one of the larger speakers we've tested and features a handsome, deep gray coloration and speaker grill, intuitive controls, and some neat features.

The Flare+ sounds really good. Its 360-degree speaker design and sheer height/size give it a leg up over the smaller, more compact speakers on our list. It's easy to control, and if you don't like the light show you can shut it off. That said, we're on the fence about it. During use, the light synced up kind of weirdly to the music and didn't have the satisfying, full glow of the LEDs as they appear on the box. But perhaps that's what we get for listening to late '80s Phil Collins.

Maybe the best thing about the Flare+ is that, as you've already guessed, it's IPX7 water-resistant, which we definitely wouldn't expect if someone just handed it to us 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, with plenty of flair to go along with it. But you can do better for your money.

Pros

  • Flashing LED array that syncs to your music

  • Intuitive controls

  • 360-degree speaker setup

Cons

  • Sound could be more robust for the size

Meet the tester

Lee Neikirk

Lee Neikirk

Editor, Home Theater

@Koanshark

Lee has been Reviewed's point person for most television and home theater products since 2012. Lee received Level II certification in TV calibration from the Imaging Science Foundation in 2013. As Editor of the Home Theater vertical, Lee oversees reviews of TVs, monitors, soundbars, and Bluetooth speakers. He also reviews headphones, and has a background in music performance.

See all of Lee Neikirk's reviews

Checking our work.

We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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