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Compare Bluetooth and wireless speakers

With wireless Bluetooth speakers you can listen to high-quality audio anywhere you go.

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Quick facts about Bluetooth speakers

  • Bluetooth speakers offer a portable and convenient solution for listening to music and other audio while travelling or spending time outdoors.
  • Typical prices range from $40 to $1,000 or more.
  • Choosing the right Bluetooth speaker for you depends on your budget and where and how you want to use your speakers.

Bluetooth speakers offer a portable and convenient solution for listening to music and other audio while travelling or spending time outdoors. If you’re an audiophile looking for a home stereo system, you may want to consider smart speakers or multiroom speakers instead.

Prices range from approximately $30 to thousands of dollars. You can categorise Bluetooth speakers as either ultra-portable, such as the UE Roll 2 and JBL Go or semi-portable, such as the Bose Soundlink Mini and RIVA Turbo X. Ultra-portable speakers weigh as little at 0.2kg, but often do not have the volume or battery capacity of larger models. Semi-portable speakers can weigh as much as 6.5kg and typically cost more than their more portable counterparts. Choosing the right Bluetooth speaker for you depends on your budget and where and how you want to use your speaker.

Read on to discover how to compare Bluetooth speakers.

Compare top bluetooth speakers

Data obtained January 2019. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.
Name Product Price (NZD) Max. Battery Life (hrs) Max. Wireless Range (ft.) Purchase Today
JBL Go 2
JBL Go 2
$59.95
5
Choose between 6 bright colours.
Anker Soundcore Flare
Anker Soundcore Flare
$75
12
66
Listen to music in 360 degrees with a beat-driven LED light show.
Logitech X300
Logitech X300
$99
6
30
Make hands free calls and choose between 4 different colors.
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom
$148
10
100
The Wonderboom is waterproof, floatable and has a battery that lasts up to 10 hours.
JBL Charge 3
JBL Charge 3
$158
20
30
Connect up to 3 speakers together for surround sound.
Braven BRV-PRO
Braven BRV-PRO
$159.95
15
The Braven BRV-Pro is an IPX7 waterproof Bluetooth speaker, doubling as a smartphone or tablet charger.
JBL Flip 4
JBL Flip 4
$179.95
12
Made from durable and splash proof material available in 6 vibrant colours.
Ultimate Ears Boom 3
Ultimate Ears Boom 3
$279.90
15
Allows you to listen to music in 360-degree sound and features a one-touch music control.
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How do Bluetooth speakers work?

Traditional speakers use a cable to connect them to an audio source such as a TV, computer or mobile phone. Bluetooth speakers use Bluetooth technology to link the speaker to the audio source without requiring a physical cable.

Bluetooth uses radio waves to transmit across short distances, up to around 10m. Bluetooth can connect a computer to a wireless device such as a keyboard, mouse, digital camera or mobile. You can send and receive signals over the Bluetooth connection, allowing you to download photos from your camera, connect your mobile to a hands-free headset or listen to music with Bluetooth speakers.

Bluetooth speakers are designed to be portable. You can connect your speaker almost instantly to any Bluetooth capable device such as a smartphone or computer, no matter where you are because you don’t require any cables. Some Bluetooth speakers are designed to be extra portable for outdoor activities.

What’s the difference between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi?
The principle difference between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speakers is how they work. Bluetooth speakers connect directly to an audio source, whereas Wi-Fi speakers connect to a Wi-Fi network, which in turn connects to an audio source. Wi-Fi allows multiple speakers to operate on the same system and broadcast the same audio. You typically install Wi-Fi speakers in a house or unit and they are not as portable as Bluetooth speakers.

Why should I consider Bluetooth speakers?

Bluetooth speakers are a convenient way to listen to high-quality audio. You can use your speakers at the beach; while camping; when travelling overseas or at home. Bluetooth speakers have taken over the role of traditional portable stereos. Where stereos require a CD or cassette tape, you only need a Bluetooth capable device to connect to your speakers. Fortunately, just about any device that plays digital music is now Bluetooth capable.

Pros and cons of Bluetooth speakers

Pros

  • Portable
  • Convenient
  • Can be inexpensive to purchase
  • Durable

Cons

  • Smaller models sometimes sacrifice sound quality
  • May have connectivity issues
  • Few surround sound options
  • Limited battery life

How to compare Bluetooth speakers

The best speaker for you comes down to how you want to use it. If you want a speaker you can take to the beach this summer, look for something waterproof. If you wish to listen to music on vacation, look for something extra portable that you can fit easily in your carry-on. No matter what, you want to look for a speaker with long battery life and high-quality sound all within your budget.

Quick Stats
Price range (NZD)Weight (kg)Volume capability
(decibels)
Maximum battery life (hours)Wireless range (metres)
From $30 to $1,000From 0.2kg to 6.5kgFrom 85 dB to 110+ dBFrom 5 to 26+From 9m to 30+m

Additional features to look for:

  • Speakerphone. Some speakers include built-in microphones so you can use the speaker as a hands-free device.
  • USB charging. Some speakers with a larger battery also enable you to charge other devices via a USB cable. So, if your phone battery is running low after playing music all day, you can plug it into the speaker and use the extra battery to charge your phone.
  • Near field communication (NFC). NFC allows two Bluetooth devices to connect if they’re within a few centimetres of each other. If you have an NFC compatible device, consider buying a speaker with the same feature for added convenience.
  • Cable input. Even though Bluetooth devices are designed to be wireless, some include an audio cable port, which can be helpful if you want to connect your speaker to a device that is not Bluetooth capable, such as a desktop PC, or if the Bluetooth connection malfunctions.
  • Surround sound. Some Bluetooth speakers allow you to connect additional speakers to create surround sound. However, if you are primarily buying speakers to use at home for surround sound, you may want to consider using Wi-Fi multiroom speakers.

Summary

While it may seem like there are an overwhelming number of wireless Bluetooth speakers on the market, choosing the best one for you is simple if you ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is my budget?
  • Where do I want to use my speaker? How portable does it need to be?
  • Do I need a speaker that is durable? Able to connect with other speakers? Able to charge my phone?
  • How vital is audio quality?


Once you have considered what you want from your speaker, you are ready to compare options and make a decision. Get started today by browsing our list of available affordable and high-end Bluetooth speakers.

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