A good quality sound is essential to enjoy listening to our favorite music. Mobile phones and tablets are the most comfortable devices to play music anywhere, however, in most cases, they do not deliver the quality we want. We depend on speakers to get high-quality audio but there are limitations. They are heavy, bulky, wired and need a power source. Then came the Bluetooth portable speakers’ revolution which made our spare much easier.
The portable Bluetooth speakers offer a comfortable and effective solution to this problem because you can easily carry them and avoid having to walk with cumbersome cables that are always clogging. But with all the options available in the market, how do I choose the best bluetooth speaker that suits me?
These 12 tips will help you choose the best portable speaker that suits your need.
What wireless speakers are there and why choose a Bluetooth speaker?
Before starting with the tips we want to briefly explain what a wireless speaker is and what types exist so that you know the advantages and disadvantages of each one.
The wireless speakers allow you to connect your music player without the need for cables. To do this, you only have to pair the device (mobile, tablet, computer, …) with a loudspeaker, using one of the existing connection technologies: your own wireless network, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or the latest NFC ( Near Field Communication). Depending on the chosen speaker, it will have one of the previous connectivity options and although this article is dedicated to those that connect via Bluetooth, we will tell you about the differences between each type.
The wifi speakers use the wifi internet network for the connection. This type of connection offers a better quality sound than Bluetooth, but for small portable speakers, this is not an issue.
On the other hand, they have several disadvantages such as the need for an initial configuration that can be complicated for those less familiar with the technology, or if your domestic connection is not very reliable, you may face many connectivity problems. But perhaps the biggest drawback is always having to have a plug nearby to use them.
Some wireless speakers like Sonos and Apple devices solve connectivity problems by creating their own wireless network through an external device. However, they still have the disadvantage of the need to connect to the electricity.
All these systems that we just talked about, are more focused on mounting a sophisticated wireless network with several integrated speakers. But if what you are looking for is the comfort of a hyper-simple speaker to configure and easily transportable, without a doubt the best option will be the portable Bluetooth speaker.
If you are going out with friends, to the beach or the pool, you are in the patio of your home having dinner, making a barbecue or watching a concert on your tablet, the best portable Bluetooth speakers will enable you to enjoy the show in the most comfortable way.
12 Tips to Choose the Best Bluetooth Speaker
And now that we have seen the advantages that Bluetooth speakers have over other types of wireless speakers, let’s see a few tips to help you choose the best one.
1. Lightweight and compact
Suppose you are planning a romantic getaway, you do not plan to check in so you have to fit everything in your hand luggage, where will I put that huge speaker? It would not have happened to you with a compact wireless speaker.
Many companies have developed ultra light and compact Bluetooth speakers that will fit anywhere in your luggage. You can take those anywhere you want without even thinking about it. If your intention is to have a portable speaker that you can take with you wherever you go, choose one that does not measure more than 15 cm.
You have some speakers like the DemerBox or the Marshall which offer great sound quality but are very big in size.
2. Sound Quality. But how do I know without testing?
There is no doubt that this is one of the most important parameters. At the end of the day, if we are going to buy a loudspeaker, it is because we want to listen to the music much better than we usually do with our mobile. Ok, but having that clear, how do I know that the device has a good sound quality.
There are 4 parameters that can help us know that a speaker will sound good, even without having previously heard it: output power, frequency range, sound system and impedance.
One of these parameters is the output power (Watts). This value refers to the watts emitted by the loudspeaker, which will be closely related to the sound pressure in decibels, that is, the volume. The small speakers that we are seeing in the guide can not develop too much power due to its small size. Between 15 and 20 watts would be adequate to get about 80 dB, a volume high enough to listen well in outdoor environments. Keep in mind that we will not use the loudspeaker to its full power since in that cause distortions. Normally we use a maximum of 80%.
Another thing that indicates the quality of sound is the range of frequencies in which the device is capable of emitting. The audible spectrum, or the sounds capable of being perceived by the human ear, go from approximately 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.
If a wireless speaker is not capable of emitting in the entire range of the audible spectrum, there will be sounds that we will miss. Therefore, the greater the range of frequencies covered by the Bluetooth speaker, the more clearly we will perceive the sound.
The next point to consider is the type of sound system used. Each system consists of a certain number of channels. These channels are each one of the speakers that are going to emit the sound. You have heard of 5.1, 2.1 etc which means that 5 full range speakers and one subwoofer for bass.
Most Bluetooth speakers consist of wither 2.0 system (two full-range speakers) or 2.1 system (plus one sub) which has the highest quality.
Finally, we have the impedance. The resistance in ohms is treated with the passage of electric current and is related to the power. The higher that resistance, the lower the power with which the speaker emits. Not to complicate things, just remember that lower the impedance, the better the quality of the sound.
3. Battery backup and quick charging
We are in the middle of the field in a camping with friends listening to music and suddenly … oh no! the speaker turned off.
Some models have batteries that allow up to 10 hours of music playback with a single charge. Normally one should get at least 6 hours playback. Charging time is another thing to look for. Some models offer fast charging while others don’t. Portable speakers like Archeer A320 gives 11 hours of continuous playback at one charge.
Of course, Bluetooth connectivity is there but have you tried the NFC? It makes the task of pairing the devices even easier. Simply by bringing the equipment closer and keeping them there for a second or two, they will connect automatically. Of course, it is necessary that both have the NFC system, both the phone or tablet and the speaker. Example: Alphasonik Phantom
To connect with your old drives which do not have Bluetooth, use the 3.5 mm auxiliary input that will allow you to connect using a cable.
The modern speakers come equipped with the latest Bluetooth versions, (Bluetooth 4.0 or 5.0). If your sending device with which you are going to connect has an older version, it is possible that you will encounter a pairing problem. Make sure the speaker is compatible with lower Bluetooth versions up to the A2DP and you can avoid disappointment.
Related Read: 12 Best Rugged Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers for Travel Adventures
Many brands equip their units with a USB or micro USB output connection that are used to charge the equipment and in some cases to install updates and avoid compatibility problems.
6. Handsfree feature
You are listening to music on your speaker connected to the smartphone and suddenly you receive a call. What happens? If the speaker has a built-in microphone, you can speak for it as if it were a hands-free. The music is cut, you answer the call by clicking on the button on the speaker and when you finish talking you hang up and the music keeps playing. Useful right?
7. Connect multiple speakers
This option can be found in very few Bluetooth wireless speakers, being much more common in Wi-Fi home speakers. Imagine you have a room in which you want to create a more surrounding sound. A single speaker will not let you because the source of the sound comes from the same point. If you could put speakers at several points you would solve it.
To achieve this, some Bluetooth units have a mobile application that allows managing the connection of several speakers.
Have you already thought about where you are going to put the loudspeaker at home? Although it is a small and simple device, which occupies very little space, if you plan to leave it in a visible place, such as a bookcase or a table, choose a device with an appropriate design. If you are thinking more about using it to take it out on the street, take it to a party or go with it to the beach, you may like more one with colors that draw attention.
Most brands offer multiple color combinations, choose the one that best suits your personality.
9. Simple controls
Unfortunately, we live always in a hurry. Day to day activities pushes us to do things as quickly as possible and we almost do not have time for ourselves. Therefore, the easier your speaker is to manage, the better. You will not be able to spend three days reading instructions and learning how to program it. Turn on, pair and enjoy.
You will only need a few controls on the speaker that will help you perform some basic functions. One power button, play/pause button, volume control, one to answer phone calls (if you have this option) and Bluetooth pairing button, is all you have to have for total control of the device.
10. Buy according to your needs
You should think about why buy this Bluetooth speaker. Is it for outdoor adventures, for parties, or just to place it at home or you need waterproof? Well, there are different models for the different purpose. Choose wisely 🙂
You have it clear, you want a speaker that you can take to a barbecue, camping or when you go out on a bike. Well, in that case, it is important that you are prepared for it.
If you are going to use it mainly for the exterior, choose a model with good output power, which offers a high sound, so you can hear it clearly in noisy environments. It must not have less than 85 decibels of maximum power.
Another thing that you have to take into account, in this case, is the battery, you will need at least 10 hours of playback. If the speaker is a little big you will appreciate if it has a handle so you can carry it comfortably in your hand or hook it to a bike.
Finally, do not spoil the party if a glass accidentally drops on your speaker. If it is water resistant, you can avoid this type of mishaps.