7 things to consider before buying a Bluetooth speaker

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Usually, our trusty headphones or earphones are enough to get the job done.

When it’s time to party with friends, however, neither headphones nor tiny phone speakers will cut it; buying a Bluetooth speaker will be the way to go.

However, there are hundreds of Bluetooth speakers in today’s market, each with different specifications and features, competing for your attention.

This article will go over the things to consider when purchasing the best Bluetooth speaker for you!

READ MORE! The Best Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers (2021)

Bluetooth Speaker

What is a Bluetooth Speaker?

Bluetooth speakers are essentially wireless portable speakers. They contain their own battery internally; hence there is no need for a power cord. 

Moreover, Bluetooth speakers can connect wirelessly to your phone or media player without the need for a cumbersome aux cable.

Hence, these portable speakers free you from being tethered to a wire so that you can listen to music on the go.

For Bluetooth Device reviews, advice and guides, visit ProPairing.com

What should I know before buying a Bluetooth speaker?

There are many features and specifications to consider before purchasing a Bluetooth speaker. However, the first thing you want to consider is your requirements.

Do you need a feature-rich portable speaker with dual drivers and a waterproof exterior? Or do you need a simpler version that can provide quality sound without hurting your wallet too much?

The benefit of today’s market is that you can almost certainly find a Bluetooth speaker within your price range and with the features that you desire.

However, because of the sheer variety of Bluetooth speakers out there, there are a few things you should know before you can make an informed decision.

  1. What price should Bluetooth speakers be?

Often, consumers will rush in to purchase the ultimate Bluetooth speakers without conducting prior research. This is not a smart thing to do as you may end up overpaying for your portable Bluetooth speaker and not even get the device you need.

Luckily, there are plenty of speaker options available at all sorts of price points. As a rule of thumb, you can usually get a speaker with excellent sound quality for about $200.

If you want good audio for cheap, though, you can even get decent speakers within $50, provided you are ready to hunt for bargains, of course.

Conversely, some of you may want to splurge on your speaker. Fret not; you can even find Bluetooth speakers costing upwards of $3,000 with some truly excellent sound quality.

  1. Battery Life

Another crucial consideration will be the battery life of your new Bluetooth speakers. This is very important because the last thing you want is for your speakers to run out of power just as the party is getting started.

You can find Bluetooth speakers with vastly different battery life. Some speakers may only provide 6 hours of music playback, whereas others can run for up to 24 hours on a single charge!

A high speaker battery life corresponds with increased weight and cost. On the other hand, a speaker with a shorter battery life will have a lower price. Generally, 10 hours of playback is the right compromise between the two extremes.

If, however, you need even more hours of audio, then a version with 24 hours of battery life will be the best bet.

  1. Sound Quality

Not all speakers are created equal. Some portable speakers will produce vastly superior audio quality than others.

Generally, three things decide a speaker’s audio quality: frequency response, bass, and drivers.

  1. Frequency Response

Putting technical jargon aside, frequency response simply means the range of sounds a portable speaker can produce. Most human adults can hear sound frequencies between 20Hz and 20kHz.

Although most Bluetooth speakers can produce all the sound frequencies within this range, the audio reproduction quality can vary.

Speakers with bad sound reproduction often distort the audio from your streaming music. In comparison, speakers with good sound reproduction will produce music that matches closely with the original audio source.

It isn’t easy to know for sure how good a speaker’s audio reproduction will be. However, generally, devices from reputed brands such as JBL and Bose Soundlink will have good frequency response.

  1. Bass

Arguably the most important component of sound quality in a Bluetooth speaker is bass. Bass is essentially a blanket term used to describe audio with low frequency.

For a speaker to have good bass, it must be able to reproduce low-frequency sound just as well as high-frequency sound.

To produce high-quality bass, however, the Bluetooth speaker needs to be large to create a deep sound.

Hence, as a rule of thumb, Bluetooth speakers that are physically larger in size will produce better bass audio than smaller Bluetooth speakers. However, Bluetooth speakers with good bass will have a couple of downsides to consider.

High bass eats through battery life rather quickly, and so your music session could be cut short. Furthermore, the bigger the speaker, the less portable it is. Thus it would be best if you weighed these factors up before committing to a particular portable Bluetooth speaker.

  1. Drivers

Finally, the last thing that impacts sound quality is the drivers of the Bluetooth speaker. These drivers are essentially the heart of any Bluetooth speaker as they are what vibrates to produce audio.

Portable speakers with bigger drivers can produce louder and clearer sound, whereas speakers with smaller drivers are cheaper and lighter. A small driver is also better for battery life as it uses less power.

Thus, what size drivers should be is largely a subjective question depending on your needs from your wireless speaker.

Generally, however, a mid-sized driver such as the ones found in JBL Charge 4 or Sonos One will be the right choice for most.

The drivers in your portable speaker also affect the stereo sound. Stereo sound is the ability of a speaker to produce different audio for the left and right ear simultaneously. Since most music is made with stereo sound, this is an important feature in any Bluetooth speaker.

To produce stereo sound, though, a wireless speaker needs to have at least two drivers. Moreover, the speaker must be large enough to physically separate them so that the music from each driver does not mix and end up sounding the same.

Thus, it isn’t easy to create a wireless portable speaker with stereo sound. Instead, your best bet will be to buy multiple speakers and link them together via Bluetooth.

In this manner, the wireless speakers can be placed far enough apart to produce stereo audio. Moreover, this way, instead of having a huge Bluetooth speaker, you can have a portable speaker setup.

  1. Is it a smart speaker?

Smart speakers differ from normal wireless speakers in two crucial ways. Firstly, most smart speakers come with support for an AI assistant. Secondly, these devices also support wi-fi connectivity. These are both extremely useful features in today’s world.

Having an AI assistant in your portable speaker allowed for a truly hands-free experience. Listening to music becomes a breeze as the smart speaker can listen to voice commands. Furthermore, because the speaker is hands-free, it can be used safely while driving or cooking.

Furthermore, because your smart speaker supports wi-fi connectivity, it can connect with other devices in the room or home. This way, you can control all the speakers or portable devices in your room at once.

However, it is worth noting that smart speakers with wi-fi connectivity can also collect a lot more data. If your privacy is particularly important to you, it may be a better choice to purchase a regular Bluetooth speaker instead of a smart speaker with wi-fi.

Other Features and Specifications to look for when buying a Bluetooth speaker

Often, you may have requirements that are not met by every Bluetooth speaker, such as an extremely long-range or a high connectivity bandwidth.

To find these features in the ocean of available Bluetooth devices, you want to consider the following features.

  • Is it waterproof?

Whether it’s a day at the beach or a party that’s gone particularly wild, your portable speaker will be exposed to many damaging liquids. Luckily, to fix this problem, Bluetooth speakers come in waterproof versions.

READ MORE: The difference between Waterproof and Water Resistant Bluetooth speaker 

Purchasing a waterproof speaker is a smart investment as it can save your valuable Bluetooth speaker from an early grave. Moreover, if you plan to play music on your wireless speakers during pool parties or in the rain, then this feature is a must.

Waterproof Bluetooth devices are available with the most popular brands such as JBL or Sonos.

However, if you do not want to break the bank on these, getting a water-resistant wireless speaker is also a good option.

A water-resistant speaker is not fully immune to liquids; however, this version can handle a small spill without issue. Moreover, water-resistant speakers tend to cost less, so unless you plan on taking your speaker for a swim, these are a good option too.

  • Can the speaker connect with all devices?

Usually, portable speakers connect with other audio devices in three ways; Bluetooth, USB, or Aux.

Bluetooth is the main connection method usually used for wireless speakers. However, not all Bluetooth speakers have the same version of Bluetooth. All wireless speakers do not yet support the newly released Bluetooth 5 format. Many still use Bluetooth 4.2.

It would be best if you looked for a version that can support Bluetooth 5 as this will have a greater range than Bluetooth 4.2.

The last Bluetooth version had a range of about 30 meters, allowing you to stream music to the other room. On the other hand, the new Bluetooth version has a range of 120 meters, allowing you to stream music to the other house!

Moreover, if you want even better sound quality than that offered through a Bluetooth connection, you may choose to opt for a speaker with aux and USB ports as well.

Because signals through aux and USB are not wireless audio signals, they are less prone to experiencing interference.

Thus, those of you who are true audiophiles can find these features in brands such as Sonos and JBL.

READ MORE: Can you use Sonos Roam with Sonos S1 App? Sonos Roam review 

  • Does the speaker have a microphone?

The best Bluetooth speakers, such as those produced by JBL, tend to have a microphone built-in. This is a vital feature, especially if you plan on using your portable speaker as a hands-free to pick up phone calls.

However, when buying a Bluetooth speaker, you should consider your privacy as well. A Bluetooth speaker with a microphone could potentially be used to hear your conversations if it has been hacked.

In conclusion

As this article has proven, there is no objectively best Bluetooth speaker for everyone. Instead, each aspect is a compromise between portability, price, privacy, or some other factor.

This is not to say that there are no great Bluetooth speakers. Instead, what this means is that the best Bluetooth speakers are those that meet your specific needs and requirements.

Hence, before buying a Bluetooth speaker, you should be clear regarding what sorts of qualities you are looking for.

Moreover, where will you be using your Bluetooth speaker? If it is a home setting, you can splurge on a bigger speaker with better bass at the expense of portability.

If however, you plan on taking the speaker with you everywhere you go, then something smaller like a JBL charge 4 may suffice.

Similarly, what do you value more, privacy or convenience? Those that value the former will go for a regular speaker like the JBL flip, whereas if you value the latter, then a smart speaker such as the Amazon Echo may be better for you.

Hence, the right choice of speaker will be different for everyone and will be in accordance with their individual needs.

However, whatever your needs and preferences may be, you can now rest assured with the knowledge that you are ready to go out(or order online) and make an informed purchase.

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