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Bluetooth speakers in the test: the best Bluetooth speakers


Small boxes with strong sound

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How to find the best Bluetooth speaker

Bluetooth speakers play your favorite music anywhere – whether in the living room, in the bathroom or on the terrace. But the mobile speakers should not only sound good, they should also support important transmission standards, be easy to use and, above all, have a long battery life. The intended use also plays a role: splash protection ensures that the Bluetooth box does not fail during outdoor activities. Coupling loudspeakers in turn supports the surround sound at home. The differences between the speakers are big. A high price does not necessarily mean good quality.

The best Bluetooth speaker is the JBL Xtreme 2 model. After extensive studies, we came to this conclusion with over 30 speakers in the CHIP test center. You can get a recommended model from 50 Euro. In this post, we'll introduce you to the best Bluetooth speakers and what you need to know about before you buy.

The 5 best Bluetooth Speaker

To the individual tests of the best Bluetooth speakers

Test winner: The five best Bluetooth speakers

Place 1: JBL Xtreme 2: Excellent sound

  • Source: JBL

    JBL Xtreme 2

    overall rating: very good (1.1) beefy sound champion under the Bluetooth speakers

In our test, the Blue tooth speaker JBL Xtreme 2 outshines the competition with its sound. Overall, the sound appears crisp and balanced in every music genre. Another advantage is the extreme volume. The JBL Xtreme 2 is suitable for large rooms and even loud ambient noises outside are drowned out. If that's not enough, you can use the JBL Connect app to couple two boxes to a stereo pair. Only the aptX codec is not supported.

The Bluetooth speaker is quite heavy at around 2.4 kilograms, but thanks to the shoulder strap, the cylindrical speaker is still easy to use transport. In addition, it is waterproof according to the IPX7 standard, so it also withstands immersion in water. With the USB connection, mobile devices can be supplied with power on the go, but you cannot charge the battery of the box via USB, but only via the power supply. For this, the 10. 000 – mAh monster over 21 hours through.

To the detailed test report of the JBL Xtreme 2

Benefits
Clear and rich sound
Very good battery life
Power bank function
Disadvantage
No aptX support
Pretty hard
No charging via USB

2nd place: Dockin D FINE +: Sound and runtime full

  • Source: Amazon

    Dockin D FINE +

    Overall Rating: very good (1.3) bluetooth speaker with rich Sound and aptX support

The Dockin D Fine + offers an even richer and more voluminous sound than its predecessor. It doesn't matter whether you prefer to listen to rock, jazz or hip-hop – the speaker sounds balanced and detailed in all genres even without an equalizer. Sound lovers can also look forward to aptX support. Unlike the previous model, the Dockin D Fine + still sounds very good even at high volume. And two speakers can be connected via stereo link.

The speaker can be used as a power bank for mobile devices, but cannot be charged via USB. There is no hands-free function and multiroom support. The Dockin D Fine + keeps splash water thanks to IP 55 -Protection class down, but you cannot immerse the speaker completely. The loudspeaker, which weighs two kilograms, does not have a carrying strap, mobility suffers somewhat. The battery life, however, enables above-average 16, 5 hours of party atmosphere.

For a detailed test of the Dockin D FINE +

Benefits
Balanced and rich sound
Support for aptX codec
Good battery life
Disadvantage
Quite heavy without a shoulder strap
Long battery charging time
No hands-free function

3rd place: Marshall Kilburn II: The design classic

  • Source: Amazon

    Mars hall Kilburn II

    Overall grade: very good (1.4) Sonorous Bluetooth speaker with a classic Marshall look

The design of the Marshall Kilburn II is one step ahead. The Bluetooth loudspeaker imitates the large Marshall amplifier known from concert stages, and little things have also been thought of: the loudspeaker instead of classic buttons offers chic knobs for volume, bass and treble. In general, the small speaker sounds very clear and rich in detail at all volume levels. The mids in particular are reproduced precisely. The highs are also right, but can also be adjusted.

The sound is even better with correspondingly high-quality audio material. Thanks to aptX support and Bluetooth 5, the speaker reproduces music in CD quality with almost no loss. To make it easier to transport the 2.5 kg monster, a carrying strap is included. 12 hours of battery life are ok, but could be better. In addition, the Kilburn II is only protected against water drops, the IPX2 protection class brings little. There is a power bank function, but otherwise there is a lot missing: there is no multiroom, a hands-free function and the coupling of several speakers to stereo pairs.

To the detailed test report of the Marshall Kilburn II

Benefits
Clear and detailed sound
Support for aptX codec
Chic housing design
Disadvantage
hands-free function missing
Multiroom is not supported
No coupling of speakers possible

4th place: Dockin D Fine : Sound quality with booms

  • Source: Dockin

    Dockin D Fine

    Overall grade: very good (1.5) Bluetooth speaker with balanced sound at a fair price

Even if the Dockin D Fine scores slightly worse compared to its Plus successor in the test rating, it does little harm to the former test winner of our best list : For a lower price, you still get a very good Bluetooth speaker. Despite the lack of aptX support, the D Fine convinces with an excellent and balanced sound. This is ensured by a 2-way system, each consisting of two tweeters and mid-range speakers, which 50 deliver watts of sound power. The bass in particular comes into its own. The successor was compensated for small problems at high volume, which is why we rate its sound quality better.

The Dockin D Fine also has a power bank function, the battery is compared to the Plus variant a little weaker. Round 15 hours of runtime are still a good value. The weight of the box is quite high at almost two kilograms, but there is still a carrying bag in the accessories. In contrast to the successor, what the device lacks is the ability to couple several speakers as a stereo pair. The D Fine is with its IP 55 – Protection class protected against water spray. The Bluetooth standard 4.0 is a bit older, but still sufficient.

To the detailed test report of the Dockin D Fine

Benefits
Well-balanced sound
Good battery life
Carrying bag in accessories
Disadvantage
No aptX support
Pretty hard
No coupling of speakers possible

5th place: Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3: Extra long battery life

  • Source: Amazon

    Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3

    Overall grade: very good (1.5) The battery monster among the Bluetooth speakers

The Ultimate Ears Megaboom lasts under laboratory conditions 3 in our test whole 27: 47 hours through. That is awesome. The battery can also be charged using the power supply or USB. And of course the box is also a power bank for mobile devices that can even be charged wirelessly inductively. Add to that the compact size of the Bluetooth box and a practical carrying strap, which makes the device a top rating for mobility.

The sound quality is good, but not quite as good Top speakers. The rather thin bass and the somewhat bright and artificial-sounding voice reproduction can be criticized. If you protect the outdoor loudspeaker from splashing water with 360 – use degree sound outdoors, the result is still satisfactory. Ultimate Ears boxes can be coupled and have a multi-room function. The manufacturer does not have an AUX input and aptX support.

To the detailed test report of the Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3

Benefits
Excellent battery life
Good sound
Lush equipment
Disadvantage
Partly thin bass
No AUX input
No aptX support

Our price-performance tip

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom

  • Source: Amazon

    Ultimate Ears Wonderboom

    Overall grade: good (2.5) Bluetooth box with good sound as a price-performance tip

Since there is a successor to the Bluetooth box Ultimate Ears Wonderboom, get it The first generation for half the price. This is a great offer if you look at the reviews of the device: Despite the small size of only 10 times 10 times 10 centimeters we can modestly give the box a good, balanced sound. The voice reproduction is also convincing. The highs are sometimes unclean and the mids a little weak, but you can be satisfied with the sound, especially in the outdoor area – especially for the low price.

Certain restrictions but you have the equipment and the battery life. An effective water protection according to IP 67 – standard is available and the device holds a lot in the outdoor area. You can also pair multiple speakers. But that's about it. The Wonderboom cannot be used as a power bank, has no hands-free function and no multi-room support. The aptX codec is also not supported. Finally, the battery life determined by us is 7: 03 hours rather weak and the charging takes well over four hours.

To the detailed test report of the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom

Benefits
Balanced sound
Waterproof, light and robust
speaker coupling
Disadvantage
Weak battery life
Long battery charging time
No aptX support

More Bluetooth speakers in the test

We have just introduced the five best Bluetooth speakers and the price tip. In order to be able to make this selection, we tested many other models. We examined the models both in the laboratory and in practice. The results of all Bluetooth speakers can be found in the best list and compare individual models.

Leaderboard: All Bluetooth speakers from 50 Euros in test

How CHIP tests Bluetooth speakers

We carry out the comparison of the Bluetooth speakers independently and neutrally. We base our assessment on the results of the CHIP test laboratory.

  • All Bluetooth boxes must be in our listening room for evaluation. There our testers judge the subjectively perceived sound quality with the same playlist – a mixture of pop, rock, jazz and classical. Voice reproduction, spatiality and purity in the low-frequency range are also included in the rating. This makes in the end 50 percent of Overall grade.
  • In order to assess the equipment, we firstly test the Bluetooth range and stability of the connection from the transmitter to the loudspeaker in several scenarios. In addition, functions such as the stereo coupling of two loudspeakers, as well as a power bank or hands-free function are included in the evaluation. Overall, the equipment 30 Percent of the overall grade.
  • When we measure the battery, we of course mainly check the runtime. Our testers leave the box with a volume of 75 dB run until she runs out. The charging time is also relevant. How we determine the last 20 percent of the total rating.

What types of bluetooth speakers are there?

There are already particularly compact Bluetooth speakers for under 100 Euro, but these devices do not always deliver convincing sound quality. A good sound also needs volume, so that mini boxes cannot replace adult speakers. They are often only suitable for occasional use.

A cheap price is not an exclusion criterion, but the Bluetooth speakers with the best sound quality cost at least 150 Euros and often even over 200 Euro. But these are also suitable for providing the living room with perfect sound. Some models are also designed for outdoor use and have corresponding features.

Small, colorful and cheap is in. But for convincing sound quality we recommend a larger Bluetooth speaker. Getty Images

How do bluetooth speakers work?

Bluetooth is a standard for wireless data transmission in the 2.4 GHz band. Almost all mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets can do this. The transmitter and receiver are coupled; in the case of Bluetooth speakers, it is all about receiving data.

The range depends on the surroundings: In case of visual contact, data transmission via 25 meters possible, through walls the range is reduced to around 10 Meter. The Bluetooth 5 standard can theoretically also 100 meters away, but only a few Bluetooth boxes are equipped for this .

The cell phone and loudspeaker are connected to each other via Bluetooth radio. Getty Images

What should you watch out for with Bluetooth speakers?

  • sound quality

The most important criterion for Bluetooth speakers is definitely their sound. Here, of course, the subjective impression plays a major role when listening to music and the boxes are also differently suitable for different music genres or speech reproduction.

Other details are more objective: Is there a noticeable loss of quality or even noise at high volumes? How strong is the bass? And can the device also be used with 360 – Convincing degree surround sound? In these points, Bluetooth boxes do not differ significantly from wired speakers.

  • Weight

If the Bluetooth speaker should not only be in the room, the weight plays a major role. The smallest devices weigh under 500 grams, but offer little sound power. The heaviest devices, on the other hand, can weigh over three kilograms. Bluetooth boxes with around one kilogram can still be carried in your pocket quite well, more weight becomes uncomfortable.

A carrying strap makes it easy to take the Bluetooth speaker with you. Getty Images
  • battery life

top-of-the-range devices with a battery charge over 20 hours through, that's the ideal case. Less is enough for the outdoor party, but it should be at least six hours. Good Bluetooth boxes usually last over ten hours, after all, the wireless speaker should not be constantly attached to the power cable. A short loading time also plays a role.

  • outdoor suitability

If you take the Bluetooth box with you into nature, minor mishaps can happen. Many of the devices have splash protection. Protection class IPX7 is ideal, so the speaker is also immune to brief immersion in water. An IPX4 class, i.e. basic protection against splash water, is the minimum for outdoor activities. There is also a general robustness.

If you use the Bluetooth speaker frequently outdoors, you should pay attention to a water-protected housing. Getty Images
  • Power Bank

Some Bluetooth speakers now offer the option of connecting the smartphone via USB cable and supplying it with power. This is especially useful when you are on the go and is transferring music via Bluetooth from your cell phone to the box, which consumes electricity. Of course, the speaker's battery drains faster, but the feature is helpful in any case.

  • Multiroom

With the multiroom function, several Bluetooth speakers can be controlled in combination and you can play music play in multiple rooms at the same time. If you have several boxes from the same manufacturer, they are often compatible with each other.

In the past, control was often via WLAN, but today most manufacturers use an app or their own system for this. Most of the time, the product information already states whether Bluetooth speakers are multi-room capable. The alternative is to integrate and control the loudspeakers in the home network using separate smart home systems.

  • Additional equipment

Many manufacturers make it possible to couple several copies and models of their Bluetooth boxes with each other and thus ensure an even better sound experience from several sides. It is usually controlled via its own app.

Other connection options besides radio are helpful. Most Bluetooth boxes also offer an AUX input for audio cables to connect the transmitter and receiver directly. Sometimes WLAN or USB are on board. Other extras such as a hands-free function for making calls, an Internet radio or colorful lighting are encouraging.

  • Control

Almost all Bluetooth boxes have volume buttons on the device, but there are rarely more control options. Many manufacturers offer an app that can be used to control lighting, for example, or they can be linked to smart home systems such as Amazon Echo. However, this is not necessary for the basic task of the loudspeakers, namely to play music.

  • audio codec

Ensures somewhat better sound when playing music stored without loss (for example in FLAC format) the audio codec aptX, which was specially developed for the wireless transmission of music. If the Bluetooth speaker has a corresponding receiver on board, audio files can be streamed in higher quality. However, the transmitter, for example the smartphone, must also support the aptX codec. This is not always the case.

  • Bluetooth standard

The Bluetooth standard is regularly developed. The jump to Bluetooth 4.0 was accompanied by a significantly lower power consumption in corresponding applications. However, almost all Bluetooth boxes now use the standard and that is enough. With Bluetooth 5.0, the range and data rate increased, which is less important for the speakers.

  • Design

The pure functionality of the Bluetooth speaker is of course essential, but the design is not unimportant , After all, the box shouldn't be like an ugly box in the middle of the room. Many manufacturers therefore rely on round construction, retro radio designs or very extravagant shapes. Some of the speakers are available with LED lighting or in several colors.

With the right design, the Bluetooth speaker becomes an eye-catcher in the home. Getty Images

Well-known manufacturer of Bluetooth speakers

  • JBL

The loudspeaker manufacturer from the USA not only produces audio technology for home use, but also professional equipment for cinemas, concert halls and stadiums. JBL devices played a major role in the development of the THX cinema sound system. The company belongs to the US group Harman, which in turn 2017 was taken over by Samsung. In the field of Bluetooth boxes, JBL with its different models is one of the most popular brands.

  • DockIn

The Bluetooth speaker brand belongs to the German company Ströer Products, in turn part of the Cologne Ströer Group, which is primarily active in the outdoor and digital advertising market. Dockin, based in Berlin, sells several models of Bluetooth boxes for indoor and outdoor.

  • Marshall

The British company is inseparable from the rock scene of the 20. Century and a number of legendary musicians connected. And Marshall remains the world's leading manufacturer of guitar amps. The Bluetooth boxes in the Marshall amplifier design are manufactured in cooperation with the Swedish company Zound Industries and distributed by the license partner. Marshall nevertheless promises the “unique Marshall sound” and is a minority shareholder.

  • Ultimate Ears

The US company originally only produced in-ear monitoring systems for bands with which the musicians communicate during live performances and check the sound. After the takeover by the US company Logitech, the product range was expanded to include Bluetooth speakers.

  • Anker Soundcore

Under the brand name Soundcore, the Chinese company Anker Innovations sells headphones and Bluetooth speakers. However, Anker itself is primarily known in the field of chargers, power banks and batteries. The company founded by ex-Google employees originally only sold its products on Amazon, but has since expanded into many other markets.

  • Libratone

The manufacturer originating from Denmark stands out due to the unusual design of its Bluetooth speaker on: colorful and with a fabric look. The majority owner of the company is now a group of investors from Asia, which means that Libratone is also represented in the local markets.

  • LG Electronics

The global subsidiary of the South Korean conglomerate LG Group provides a wide range of electrical Devices, from cell phones to televisions to household appliances. LG also sells large devices in the professional sector, for example in the energy technology division. In addition to hi-fi systems and sound bars, the Bluetooth boxes are a part of LG audio technology.

  • Evil

The audio technology of the US manufacturer is used both at home and for professional purposes – this is how Bose supplies the US space agency NASA and the US military. In the headphone area, the company experimented early with active noise cancellation (ANC), sometimes with models for pilots. Bose manufactures Bluetooth boxes with the SoundLink product range.

  • Bang & Olufsen

The Danish electrical appliance manufacturer excited in the second half of the 20. Century with its legendary designs for sensation and even temporarily sold their own cell phones. However, economic pressure has recently forced Bang & Olufsen to focus on core areas such as audio and video technology, including Bluetooth speakers in various price ranges.

  • Harman Kardon

Under the original The US group Harman has been selling the 50 years of audio technology for home users and supplies customers such as the automotive industry. The South Korean company Samsung took over the US manufacturer in the year 2017. In addition to the loudspeaker brand JBL, Harman sells a parallel series of Bluetooth boxes under the name Harman Kardon.

  • Devil

The German company was founded in 1979 founded as Teufel loudspeaker in Berlin and has since sold various audio systems and accessories such as Bluetooth headphones. The wired speakers for Hi-Fi, home theater and computers were finally expanded to include Bluetooth boxes.

  • Sony

As one of the largest electronics companies in the world, Sony also has Bluetooth speakers on offer. The spectrum ranges from inexpensive entry-level devices to wireless audio systems for over 600 Euro. Sony also relies on connectivity between its various products.

With a Bluetooth speaker, the music is always there. Getty Images

Test results from other product testing organizations

In addition to CHIP (here it goes to best list ) other organizations are testing Bluetooth speakers. Read a summary of the key results here.

Stiftung Warentest ( for testing ) checked beginning 2019 a selection of current Bluetooth speakers. No model achieved a “very good” rating, but twelve of the 19 checked boxes were rated “good” by the testers. The experts emphasized that the Bluetooth speakers sometimes depend on other criteria. A box that shines with its sound quality can still fail due to its sensitivity to mobility: unprotected membranes can be damaged during transport or the measly battery life leaves no joy. However, all Bluetooth boxes proved to be stable and passed the case test.

Test winner at Stiftung Warentest:

  • Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay P6
  • Bose SoundLink Revolve Plus
  • Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay A1

Netzwelt ( for the test ) assessed in February 2019 current Bluetooth speakers in the practical test and the testers the website chose their winners in several price ranges. They recommend paying attention to the intended use – users may possibly do without additional functions such as disco lighting; on the other hand, a built-in FM radio receiver may appear to be superfluous, but can be a hit in the park. However, robust processing and water resistance should generally be included.

Test winner at Netzwelt:

  • Teufel Rockster Cross
  • Teufel Rockster Go
  • JBL Charge 4

All the best ( for the test ) sorts in his regularly updated test of the Bluetooth speaker devices into three categories: Small boxes are suitable for limited use on the balcony or in the kitchen. According to the testers, it should at least be a medium-sized device for the outdoor party, otherwise the sound will be too thin. If you want to connect your audio system in the living room via Bluetooth, you should invest a little more. The big boxes are hardly mobile anymore, but still offer the best sound quality. Generally, the testers welcome the progress in the area.

Test winner at Alles Beste:

  • JBL PartyBox 300
  • JBL Xtreme 2
  • Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay A1

Tips for setting up the Bluetooth speaker

In order to get the best sound with one or more Bluetooth speakers, it also depends on where the speakers are installed indoors. Since each room is cut differently and filled with furniture, you usually have to experiment. Our testers are constantly finding that in their own four walls. There are of course some general statements: The speakers should be open and uncovered stand. If the boxes are placed closer to the wall, there is more bass and less surround sound – here it depends on your preferences. You get the best mix of surround sound and bass at medium room height.

Since the speakers vibrate, they should not be placed on a surface that resonates. For example, there is a fixed window sill , but a metal shelf is not. Professionals rely on “decoupling” the speakers from the ground: they place the speakers on rubber feet or thin spikes. Some Bluetooth speakers have such feet, otherwise you can buy them. There is a big distinguishing feature in the sound output: The boxes either shine forward and must be aligned so that they fill the room with sound. Or they give the sound in the 360-Degree angle like some cylindrical Bluetooth speakers do. For example, these can be placed in the middle of the room at a party.

If you couple several Bluetooth speakers together , which is possible with many devices, of course you have significantly more options. You can set up the speakers so that the sound comes from several sides or from one side, but with a powerful stereo sound. However, you should not place the speakers in corners, here the walls reflect too strongly and swallow the surround sound. You just hear the bass. The best solution remains: Try it out.

The best Bluetooth speakers in the test

Bluetooth speaker test winner 2019

Place Product overall evaluation Weight Running time water protection Offer

1

JBL Xtreme 2

very good (1.1)

. 2 360 g

21: 12 Hours.

IPX 17 (immersion)

230 € at Amazon

2

Dockin D Fine +

very good (1.3)

1.930 g

16: 26 Hours.

IP 55 (water jets)

150 € at Amazon

3

Marshall Kilburn II

very good (1.4)

. 2 500 g

12: 13 Hours.

IPX2 (dripping water)

240 € at Amazon

4

Dockin D Fine

very good (1.5)

1.925 g

14: 58 Hours.

IP 55 (water jet)

130 € at Amazon

5

Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3

very good (1.5)

925 g

27: 47 Hours.

IP 67 (immersion)

160 € at Amazon

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