Which Bluetooth party speaker is best?
Bluetooth speakers have become commonplace in all areas of modern life. From offices to kitchens and even showers, these portable devices allow us to conveniently set the musical mood to our liking no matter where we may be. When it comes to parties, however, most Bluetooth speakers are only able to provide thin audio quality that can be easily drowned out by conversation and noise. To keep your guests on the dance floor, you’ll need a speaker that can produce the volume, bass and clarity needed to be heard over the crowd.
From karaoke options to LED lights, the JBL PartyBox 300 provides everything you need to keep the entertainment going for hours on end. A premier manufacturer of audio gear, JBL applies their high standards of quality and fidelity to what is easily the best Bluetooth party speaker currently available.
What to know before you buy a Bluetooth party speaker
Your music source
Bluetooth speakers do not produce their own music, nor do they allow you to play CDs or audio files in most cases. Because of this, you will need a Bluetooth-enabled audio source for your speaker in the form of a computer, smartphone or tablet with access to your personal music collection or a streaming service of your choice. The device must be kept within range of the speaker to provide a quality signal. Some models include hardware inputs that allow you to connect them to other devices using cables or an audio adapter.
Consider if you plan to use your speaker primarily outdoors or inside. Inside locations allow for more bass at lower volumes, as low frequencies reflect off of walls and reverberate through confined spaces. Outdoor spaces, however, allow sound to escape in all directions. This means that you will require a more powerful speaker for outside parties, and will likely have a “sweet spot” where the speaker is pointing that provides the best listening experience.
For best results, you will want to place your speaker in a location that is either at or slightly higher than ear level. Speakers placed on the floor or on waist-high tables or desks will send their audio into peoples’ bodies where it can quickly become absorbed and muffled. If you don’t have an ideal location, consider installing a shelf that can be a designated speaker location, but be sure to affix it firmly to the wall to prevent it from shaking loose due to the vibrations that loud bass may create.
What to look for in a quality Bluetooth party speaker
One of the most important considerations when it comes to providing music for a party is volume. Select a speaker that has enough output to be heard over the crowd without distortion or degradation in its audio quality. Speaker power is measured in watts. The higher the wattage, the louder your music can get without distortion.
Even those who know very little about audio can tell you that party music demands clear, punchy bass tones. While loud music can be heard, bass allows music to be felt. Select a speaker model that has a reputation for superior bass output. Some speakers feature a bass boost option. This allows you to further enhance and prioritize low frequencies for social gatherings, but also turn them back down to reasonable levels for casual listening.
Some speakers feature LED lighting that either cycles through patterns or responds to its audio output. With a loud enough model that features bright lights, your Bluetooth speaker may end up being the soul of the party. Most of these speakers also allow you to disable their lighting effects if you prefer to keep them off.
Some Bluetooth speakers include features that cater to karaoke lovers. Microphone inputs allow aspiring vocalists to flex their pipes and amplify their performance along with their music of choice.
Size and weight
Portability is a key feature for many Bluetooth speakers, hence their usually small size. However, powerful performance demands larger hardware. Consider your intended usage with your Bluetooth party speaker and determine how to best split the difference between its dimensions and the convenience of its portability. If your speaker is to be a dedicated party device, it doesn’t necessarily have to be easy to throw in your backpack. However, if you plan to use your speaker for casual listening as well, you will likely want to select a model that is easy to move around.
AC power and battery life
Select a speaker that can be powered via an AC adapter. Most Bluetooth speakers allow for battery power with some running for up to 50 hours on a full charge. However, losing your music due to battery drain in the middle of a gathering can end a party prematurely. Using AC power, you can keep the music alive all night long.
Select a speaker with water resistance if you plan to use it outdoors. Splashes from the pool and spilled drinks may reach your device, so be sure that your model won’t be damaged from weather and moisture.
How much you can expect to spend on a Bluetooth party speaker
Most people will find party speaker models in the $300-$500 range that have the power and features they need to provide hours of entertainment. Audiophiles, however, can find premium models that may cost $1,000 or more.
Bluetooth party speaker FAQ
Can I use my Bluetooth party speaker with my entertainment system?
A. Potentially, yes. If your entertainment system soundbar or television allows for a Bluetooth connection, your speaker can also provide audio for gaming and movies. Some speakers feature audio inputs, giving you more flexibility when it comes to how you run your sound into it.
Can the cones in a Bluetooth speaker be blown?
A. While blown speakers are usually the result of people putting too much power through speaker systems that they configure themselves, they’re still possible in self-contained Bluetooth units. You can prevent blown speakers by carefully handling your device, avoiding any drops or hard bumps. It’s also important to prevent any foreign objects from poking into or touching the fragile speaker cones themselves.
How can I maximize the battery life of my Bluetooth speaker?
A. Extend the working time of your Bluetooth speaker by turning off power-draining features like LED lighting and bass boosters. If you want to keep all of your speaker’s options engaged at all times, use AC power to prevent your battery from expiring too soon.
What’s the best Bluetooth party speaker to buy?
Top Bluetooth party speaker
What you need to know: From concert venues to recording studios, JBL brings its reputation for high-quality audio to this powerful party speaker.
What you’ll love: This speaker features 300 watts of power for an immersive experience. With both microphone and guitar inputs, this model allows singers and musicians to be part of the entertainment. LED lights are adjustable to set any mood.
What you should consider: This speaker is large and not the best for portable use. More expensive than other models.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top Bluetooth party speaker for the money
What you need to know: Small but mighty, this Bluetooth speaker is great for small, intimate gatherings.
What you’ll love: Despite its size, this 30-watt speaker is loud enough to still entertain. LED lighting syncs to your music and its waterproof exterior means you can safely use it by the pool or at the beach.
What you should consider: This speaker produces little bass and can be muffled easily in large crowds.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This powerful speaker from Monster is water resistant and packed with features.
What you’ll love: This party powerhouse can connect to other units of the same model, allowing you to create a feature-packed, immersive sound system. Its rolling wheels, handle and water resistance make it ideal for outdoor gatherings. Multiple input options and even a phone-charging pad make this speaker a central piece of entertainment gear.
What you should consider: This speaker is large and its utilitarian look is best for outdoor use. No lighting or karaoke options.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.