best bluetooth speakers

Hardware & Accessories

hi all i'm looking for some bluetooth wireless speakers for my i phone any good reasonably priced ones out there that anyone could recommend ?? are most easy enough to set up using voice over ?? i read some have spoken alerts for battery life and you can even have a speakerphone on some to use as a phone. a good battery life is key too many thanks in advance



Submitted by JeffB on Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I have the Bose SoundLink Color the best Bluetooth speaker I ever had! It even talks to you telling you what device it is connected to and can remember up to I think 8 devices at a time. When turned on it automatically try’s to connect to the last 2 recent devices. I meant to do a podcast review on this speaker but never got around to it.

Submitted by Ekaj on Tuesday, April 11, 2017

This thread couldn't have come at a better time. My brother gave me a Sharkk blue-tooth speaker for use with my Mac for Christmas. At first when a sighted tutor and I set it up and configured it to work with my Mac, it did so without a hitch. I couldn't find any talking user guide or low-battery indicator. But that was only short-lived, and now I'm probably in the market for a new blue-tooth speaker. I guess it's a good thing I recently registered on Amazon, lol!

Submitted by Justin on Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The bose BT speakers are by far the best ones out there. I've got the SoundLink mini, not the one that talks, but for my current needs it works fine. Plus the bass response over the soundlink color is quite a lot better in my book. For such a small package, they give larger speaker performance.

Submitted by Jeff on Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I've got the Bose SoundLink Mini that does talk (gen 2, I think) and I'm very happy with it. I've linked it with this computer, my Echo Dot and my iPhone 6. For its size, it sounds amazing and if you're close enough to the speaker, the stereo separation is surprisingly good.

Submitted by Justin on Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Right? can't agree with you more on that, Jeff! I had the second general of the soundlink full size speaker a few years ago, and think the mini has even more bass than the standard soundLink did.

Submitted by AliceP104 on Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I can't recommend the Bose Mini Sound link enough! The bass is amazing as other users have said and it has a very good volume range. I have the one with voice functionality so therefore it announces battery life, what device it is connected to, and even announces caller ID on an incoming call! I also have a carry case for it and a covering for it which fits neatly and stays securely placed on the speaker, both of which I also bought from Bose. I haven't owned any other Bose Bluetooth speakers so I can't compare it to any other Bose product but out of all the Bluetooth speakers I've owned, it is definitely my favourite, not just for the sound quality but also for its more advanced features such as voice prompts and call handling.

Submitted by Justin on Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I hear you, lol! I would have bought the mini with spoken prompts, however I found this mini first gen in a store and they didn't have the new one in the store. The first gen, the one that doesn't speak is discontinued according to bose on the website.

Submitted by Tina on Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I've used quite a few bluetooth speakers over the past 3 years. The Audio lineup from Radio Shack is fairlyn good. I've used both large and small units, and while the larger units do gove good bass response, they also are bulky if you're traveling.

I currently have a small Audio PVT 600 unit that works well. It fills the room with reasonnablyn good sound, and its battery life is good for a day. It does use a touch sensitive control panel, but the areas are tactile enough that you know what you're doing. The last time I checked, this unit cost $47 at Radio Shack.

Like many others,I also have used the Bose speakers in some form. I have the original Bose Soundlink Mini. The only thing that unit lacks is the media control that seems to be more and more common on bluetooth speakers. However, it does let you mute the audio if you need to do so.

I also have to I Home units, the IBT 33 and 35. Both have a fairly tactile control panel. The smaller I Home unit's battery life is not ideal. but I like it if I need to be on the road. The IBT 35 has slighthtly better battery life, and while the control layout is different than the 33, I was able to figure it out.

I hope this will be of help to someone. Thanks.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Sorry guise but the best Bluetooth speaker is the sound blaster roar SR 20a. It has 4 speakers subwulfer, recharges iPhone, speaker phone, is able to play music from 2 channelsand it has alarmalarm and more. It last 10 hours and is very cool. Someone who knows about bos use my and agreed that SR Roar 20a is much better. Amazon had it for $50.

Submitted by Voracious P. Brain on Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I hope it isn't hijacking the thread to ask if y'all have experience with outputting screen readers through a bluetooth speaker. I'm in a situation with a computer with no internal speaker doing my major hi-fi duty at one end of the room and so I have a bt speaker and keyboard where I need them several feet away. I don't care about lag in this scenario, but every speaker I've tried so far (some old Motorolas and an Amazon Tap) cut in as if the channel shuts down between utterances. So, the first part of each time I press a key is not there, and it cuts in, after which it's fine. Y'all get this with the speakers listed above?

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Wednesday, April 12, 2017

No with the SR roar. VO comes up well no issues. Do not know about PC because it is not connected to my PC. However I am getting a Bluetooth adapter to put in my PC to use wireless speakers instead of regular speakers with cables. I am planning to connect my SR roar.

Submitted by JeffB on Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I still recommend the Bose SoundLink Color. In the video showing how to pare the speaker it does connect to a computer. I don't know if it cuts in or not as my computer does not have Bluetooth.

Submitted by Jeff on Thursday, April 13, 2017

As I said previously, I connected my SoundLink Mini 2 to my Lenovo laptop. It's a relatively new computer running Windows 10 with built-in Bluetooth. JAWS works fine -- no dropouts that I've encountered. It also works fine with my Echo Dot and my iPhone 6. There's a slight lag with all devices, but I think that's just how Bluetooth works.

Submitted by Voracious P. Brain on Thursday, April 13, 2017

Thanks for the input on speech, guys. I'll start another thread someplace in search of cheapo speakers that work well, or invest in one of the ones mentioned. For others looking for SQ in bluetooth, a couple of things: 1, there are always a lot of round-ups on CNET and the like regarding the top speakers for various features. The ones mentioned above are pretty much always on their lists someplace near the top. Second, keep in mind that, if you're really out for sq, Apple doesn't implement the APTX codec. What that means is that bluetooth won't be cd-quality on an Apple device. I don't think that changed in IOS 10, anyway. Still sounds plenty good for most people's purposes. I have a now-discontinued bluetooth dongle attached to my stereo for output from my Echo Dot playing internet radio. It has digital optical output and can pair with three devices simultaneously, so long as they're not all literally playing at the same time. Great product. Too good to survive, apparently. Belkin looks like the replacement. So, that's an option for connecting traditional speakers or powered speakers to an Iphone+computer+tablet, for example, but not portable. I like the Amazon Tap as a bt speaker, but it's not in the league of the SoundBlaster or Bose. Those can't turn my automated house lights on and off, though. I'm very critical of sq, and enjoy listening to radio on the Tap.

Submitted by Carlos Taylor on Thursday, April 13, 2017

Last summer, I purchased the JBL Flip 3. I've been very satisfied with this bluetooth speaker, so much that I asked for a second for Christmas. I love the size and sound of these little speakers. They are about the size of a 20 ounce bottle of soda. I can sync them together and have them both playing simultaneously. There is no spoken indication of the battery level, but I've been really impressed with the sound quality they produce. I just learned that the JBL Flip 4 is now available, so I'm sure the price has dropped on the JBL Flip 3 models.

Submitted by Voracious P. Brain on Saturday, April 15, 2017

So, somehow, I started out by looking for a cheap tiny speaker to use as the audio adaptor on a Compute Stick, had the $15 Amazon Nano in my cart, and ended up buying the $200 Bose Revolve. Bose has updated the soundlink line for the first time in two years. This isn't so much a speaker as a microsystem. Like the mini, it can have two bluetooth devices connected simultaneously, plus 6 more in its pairing list, plus an auxiliary mode toggled with the power button, from what I gather (I don't have the unit yet). Charges via usb. Those are big issues for me: I hate it when plugging in an auxiliary cable mutes bluetooth, and I hate wall warts. This time, though, there's usb audio as well, if the manual is to be believed. So, it can be a usb sound device for a computer. With 2 bluetooth devices, AUX, and USB inputs, it's more like a 3.5" diameter cylindrical aluminum jam box. Also, you can finally link two of them for either "party" mode or stereo, if you're really investing cash in this. And, oh yeah, all the menues talk, and it delivers talking caller ID on the speaker phone. There are no comparisons yet with the mini 2 in terms of sound quality.
Since I've been doing the research, I'll note that the Ultimate Ears WonderBoom and Boom 2 would be the way to go for sq more or less in line with the Bose, but they literally float in water and beg you to dunk them, while being much less expensive. Other good options are out there as well, particularly in larger home rather than portable units; but bt speakers are really not about more than having adequate quality for me, since I have a wired stereo and good headphones when I'm really listening. Way too many of both, actually, and closets full of amplifiers and speakers.
Whether speech output is smooth on the Revolve remains to be seen. On two old speakers with bluetooth 2.1, plus the Amazon Tap with bluetooth 4.0, 4 seconds of silence seems to put the speakers in suspend mode and they have to click back on to start talking, which loses the first syllable after a pause of that length. With the Plantronics Voyager Legend headset, a bluetooth 3.0 device, it's perfect. The Bose Bluetooth Audio Adaptor I think is also bluetooth 4.0, and it has the same problem. All this is true with Voiceover on IOS as well as in Windows 10. The soundlink mini 2 is bluetooth 3.0. Since bluetooth 4.0 is about low energy mode, I'm suspicious that this might be the cause and that 3.0 devices, which are no longer being made, might have been the sweet spot for speech output. I'll see when the Revolve gets here.

Submitted by Brian Giles on Saturday, April 15, 2017

First off, "best" is highly subjective especially with things like this. This is one case when I think online shopping is harder because you really need to go to a store if you can and listen to different speakers and decide which ones you like and don't like. Reading reviews is great (I do it all the time), but if you don't like how the particular speaker sounds, you probably won't be happy. Another thing you can do is look up reviews and comparisons on YouTube. Although, it won't be as good as testing the speakers in store yourself.

Having said that, I'm in total agreement with all the Bose fans here. I listened to several popular BT speakers at the Apple store, and the Bose ones seemed to me at least, to be the most pleasing by far. I'm also in the market for a new bluetooth speaker. I currently have the old SoundLink II, but after using my qc35 headphones with their voice prompts, ability to use them with Siri, and battery life accessibility from my phone, those have become must have features for me.

The new SoundLink revolve has my interest peaked. It seems like with every new generation of Bose speakers, they add something that everyone else has had for years. With the mini II it was speaker phone funtionality and micro USB charging, the Color II is splash proof, and now these new ones are silindrical and can finally be paired together for stereo sound. Although that requires the Bose Connect app, which in my experience needs some help in the accessibility department. Maybe one of these days when I'm free and the weather is decent I'll go play with them at the Bose store. I'm thinking I'll either get one of those, or the Color II.

Submitted by Brian Giles on Saturday, April 15, 2017

Question for the commenter above me: How do you know the mini II is BT 3.0? I can't find anywhere that tells what type of bluetooth Bose speakers and headphones have. In iOS9 and later, you're supposed to be able to see battery life of BT devices connected to your iPhone. I know this works with the Mini II because a friend has one. As i said earlier it also works with my qc35s, but not with my old SoundLink II. I figured the devices had to be bluetooth 4 for the battery percentage to show in the iPhone status bar and the batteries widgit in the today screen. I could be wrong though.

Submitted by Raul on Sunday, April 16, 2017

I use the Earson er163. It is ipX5, so it is splash and humidity proof. It has voice prompts and bt4.0.
It doesn't have the perfect sound but it costs around 35 euros. It is a good option to take to a trip or camping.

Submitted by mark wright on Monday, April 17, 2017

thanks all for their kind comments fascinating read it sounds to me like bose seem the most popular but not sure which model is best. i'll have to take a look on amazon they seem to have a good range of different products

Submitted by Voracious P. Brain on Saturday, April 22, 2017

To Brian, sorry but I can't recall off hand where I read the mini 2 was bt 3.0 [correction: it was a Bose rep responding to an Amazon question about whether the mini 2 supported APTX, which it does not because it is bt 3.0]. I have the Revolve playing in the other room to see if the sound will calm down any. At first listen, I don't know if I can keep it. The bass is an exaggerated bloated mess that gives me a headache. Sometimes, dynamic drivers need a few hours of play time before they limber up, though, so I'm waiting to give it another listen. Since it uses reflections to help boost lower frequencies, it sounds less boomy at a distance than close up. I'd really like to hear opinions between it and the mini2 on sound. Again, bt speakers aren't really my thing. I know the old Motorola I have, which has 4 little JBL speakers in it, is more well-balanced, and I don't know that there's a context in which I'd care about the sound diff between the Revolve and the Amazon Tap, which is not supposed to be that great, but sounds pleasant enough to me. The Revolve cuts off the ends of syllables just a little bit, at least on my compute stick, so that "button" becomes "butt," for instance; but I think I can use it with NVDA.
The design couldn't have taken more from the Amazon Tap without sticking an Amazon logo on it, IMO. The buttons are identical in arrangement and feel, although the Tap is plastic and the Revolve top is rubberized with recessed buttons. The area for the usb and 3.55mm ports also echo the echo. I swear, it must be made in the same factory as the Tap. It doesn't have much of a high-end metal feel to it, either. But it's solid and and certainly sounds fine in the midst and highs, though the highs are boosted in the usual way. Again, I look forward to hearing someone try both this one and the mini 2.
Just as a sort of tip, I got mine at Crutchfield using PayPal, so that I have a 60 day return period and $10 return shipping, which actually PayPal might even reimburse. Worth thinking about places one could do an easy return to if, like me, you live in a wasteland with no electronics stores within easy reach.
If anyone's interested, buttons on the Revolve are arranged in a circle. The one in front marked with a texture is multifunction, with volume down and up flanking it. Power is opposite to the multifunction button in the back, with the Aux/USB Audio input selector to the right of power and the Bluetooth button to the left.
[ok, update. I went back in and in fact the bass was a bit less fuzzy. I took a few minutes to pair the Tap and Motorola AQ7 for a funky-three-way and, yeah, it'll be really hard for me to ever listen to the Tap for music again, after hearing them next to one another. The Bose is double the speaker the Tap is, subjectively. The Bose bests the Motorola by a much smaller margin, but still. I'm not thrilled with the way bass is fuzzy and bleeds into the mid-range, but I really suspect that this will be the way anybody makes a speaker this size, and so the Revolve is probably a winner.]

Submitted by Brian Giles on Friday, April 21, 2017

That's interesting about the similarities between the tap and the revolve. I did get to go play with the revolve/revolve plus today. I wasn't all that impressed with the revolve. The bigger one obviously put out more sound, but it's a little bit out of my price range right now. I also tested the Color 2, and I think that's the one I'll probably get. I didn't notice much of a sound difference between it and the smaller revolve. All these new speakers have a better time with not cutting off the beginning of songs or things that VO says after not being in use for a few minutes. That's probably down to them using a newer version of bluetooth than some of the older speakers. Like my QC35s though, the color II and the revolve seemed to have the same issue with muting all audio after pausing music for a few seconds. Not a big deal to me, but it has caused some people not to consider newer Bose headphones. I didn't notice this happening with the revolve plus. Maybe it had a different firmware version. I didn't try pairing them up for louder volume or separate stereo channels with the connect app, so I don't know how accessible that is.

Submitted by Malcolm13 on Friday, April 21, 2017

In reply to by Brian Giles

Has anyone any experience of the Anker range of speakers they get good reviews on Amazon.

Submitted by harry6116 on Saturday, April 22, 2017

am using my sisters old iPhone 6 and just want a BT speaker for things like listening to radio and stuff like this.
I don't want to empty my wallet for these but what are some speakers with good sound?