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Best Bluetooth Speakers 2021: The best wireless speakers at any price

Friday January 8, 2021. 08:30 PM , from The Inquirer
Best Bluetooth Speakers 2021: The best wireless speakers at any price
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

Best Bluetooth speakers: Naim Mu-so 2
Best streaming Bluetooth speaker: Ruark MRx
Best Bluetooth speaker design: Naim Mu-so Qb 2
Best smart Bluetooth speakers: B&O Beosound A1 2nd Gen
Best portable Bluetooth speakers: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
Best Bluetooth speakers battery life: B&O Play Beolit 17
Best expensive Bluetooth speaker: Linn Series 3
Best Roon-ready Bluetooth speaker: B&W Formation Wedge
Best Bluetooth speaker: Denon Home 350
Best compact Bluetooth speaker: Audio Pro A10
Best budget Bluetooth speakers: Tribit Stormbox Micro
Best Bluetooth speaker: Dali Katch
Best user-friendly Bluetooth speaker: Samsung AKG VL5
Best rugged Bluetooth speaker: Marshall Emberton
Best cheap Bluetooth speaker: Ikea Eneby

1. Naim Mu-so 2
An upgrade on the original


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


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.

read our Naim Mu-so 2 review

2. Ruark MRx
A well-equipped streaming speaker


Great design and build
Excellent sound
Wealth of connections
Flexible placement


The app can be a little sluggish

The MRx looks fantastic: a stylish meld of retro looks with a modern feel. You can place it portrait or landscape, with the latter orientation 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.

read our Ruark MRx review

3. Naim Mu-so Qb 2
Thoroughly entertaining


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


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.

read our Naim Mu-so Qb 2 review

4. B&O Beosound A1 2nd Gen
Compact hi-fi speaker with smarts


Excellent sound
Alexa support
Great style
Waterproof design


Still pricey

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 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.

Read our B&O Beosound A1 2nd Gen review

5. Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
Small gains add up


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


Not much of note

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.

read our Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 review

6. Linn Series 3
A thrilling listen


Detailed, controlled, immediate and convincing sound
Singular looks


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 to the big music apps, along with comprehensive control of the speaker. The audio performance is a sensational and thrilling expressive, precise and dynamic. It’s a speaker capable of handling whatever genre of music you fling at it.

read our Linn Series 3 review

7. B&W Formation Wedge
An oddly shaped, highly musical speaker


Big, room-filling sound
Musical performer
Unique design


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, 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, expressive and revealing plenty of detail. While its looks are unique – very much earning the ‘wedge’ name – it adds to the Wedge’s sense of individuality. Support for Spotify, Bluetooth 4.1 and AirPlay 2 means you can wring a tune from several sources; and its Roon Ready spec means the Wedge can join an even wider home audio ecosystem. When we first reviewed the speaker, the app was by no means fully featured and still seems to be experiencing issues, so bear that in mind.

read our B&W Formation Wedge review

8. Denon Home 350
A big performer


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


It’s big and heavy
No Chromecast
Fairly pricey

The biggest speaker in the Denon Home range unsurprisingly delivers the biggest performance. Tucked inside its 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. There are physical connections around the back (USB, 3.5mm etc), and in the HEOS app there’s 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, bass and subtlety too. If the smaller Denon speakers don’t tickle your fancy, then go big and go Home with the 350.

read our Denon Home 350 review

9. Audio Pro A10
Sounds great and is fairly well stocked for features


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


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, the A10 proves to be a very adept performer with whatever genre of music you throw at it.

read our Audio Pro A10 review

10. Tribit Stormbox Micro
Excellent value


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


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 in the tear-resistant strap on its underside that allows 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 think for a wireless speaker of it size. Bass is bigger than expected, its delivery of sound is detailed and clean. It doesn’t produce the broadest of sounds, but at £40 the Tribit is value personified.

read our Tribit Stormbox Micro review

11. Marshall Emberton
Fun and enjoyable sound


Rugged design
Entertaining sound
Nice control interface
Stylish looks


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 before you’ll feel to charge it.
The sound the Emberton produces is entertaining, offering Marshall’s typical energetic character without going overboard. 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.

read our Marshall Emberton review

12. Dali Katch
Elegant design, long battery life and sparkling sound


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


Plasticky mesh

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

read our Dali Katch review

13. Samsung AKG VL5
Delivers room-filling sound with detail and precision


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



The VL speaker range marries elegant design with high-quality sound. It 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.

read our Samsung AKG VL5 review

Affordable and surprisingly good


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


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.

read our IKEA Eneby review

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:

Best smart speakers
Best outdoor speakers
Best multi-room speakers

The post Best Bluetooth Speakers 2021: The best wireless speakers at any price appeared first on Trusted Reviews.

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