How much time do you spend listening to music, podcasts or the radio a day through your phone, tablet or computer? Regardless of where you spend most of your time, at home, at the office or anywhere else, chances are your answer is a lot. More often than not you’re probably using a pair of headphones to listen; but when you’re looking for a more social experience, whether you’re at a party, the beach or just relaxing at home, a Bluetooth speaker can be the perfect addition.

Because these speakers use Bluetooth streaming to play music you can carry your device around with you while streaming. They’re also compatible with common Bluetooth enabled devices, from Android smartphone to Apple iPads and everything in between. You should also be aware of what kind of Bluetooth the speaker you want has; if you’re looking for the best sounding speaker possible you’re going to want to pick up a Bluetooth speaker that supports aptX Hi-Fi streaming which gives you more detailed, less compressed audio quality.

What Are You Going to Use it For?

JBL Pulse Bluetooth Speaker
The JBL Pulse Brings the Party with You

Your first step in buying a new Bluetooth speaker, as with most purchases you make, is knowing what you want to use it for. Finding the right speaker to meet your needs is important, you won’t be satisfied with your purchase if you buy a speaker meant for use at the beach if you’re looking for something to fill your living room or office with high quality sound. At the same time, you don’t want to buy a home speaker if you’re intending to take it to the beach because chances are you’d end up ruining your speaker.

What Kind of Bluetooth Speakers Are There?

When you think of a Bluetooth speaker, a basic speaker that sits on a table in your house and plays music might be the only thing that comes to mind. It is important to understand that, whatever you plan on using a Bluetooth speaker for, there is a speaker tailored for your specific need.

Portable Bluetooth Speakers

JBL Micro Wireless Bluetooth Speakers
JBL Micro Wireless Bluetooth Speakers Go Anywhere with You!

The most versatile Bluetooth speaker is the portable Bluetooth speaker. Portable Bluetooth speakers can stream your music anywhere, from your home to the court to bring your favorite music with you. Portable Bluetooth speakers can range in size from small clip on speakers that you can attach to your bag or belt clip to larger speakers that are more meant for use in a single location. Because of their size, many portable Bluetooth speakers are ideal for travelers; they can be small enough to easily fit in your bags and powerful enough to really enjoy your music or movies in your hotel room. Portable Bluetooth speakers are commonly found as both stereo and mono speaker configurations to meet all of your audio requirements. 

Limitless Creations Radiant Bluetooth Speakers
The Limitless Creation Radiant Bluetooth Home Speakers

Home Bluetooth Speakers

If you’re looking for wireless streaming but don’t need it to be portable, a home Bluetooth speaker is perfect for you. Home speakers and home speakers don’t run on batteries, they require a power connection. These speakers are great for anyone looking to add some high quality sound to their home audio experience. Bluetooth home speakers can be anything from a speaker that sits on a table or bookshelf to a full size floor standing speaker that provides full, room filling sound that is perfect for background music for entertaining or rocking out by yourself. Bluetooth home speakers are typically larger than their portable counterparts. They are also usually full-on stereo speakers and, in some cases, have built-in subwoofers to provide some extra kick to your music.

Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers

Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers
Bring Your Music Everywhere

One of the most popular, and desirable, applications for a Bluetooth speaker is using it outside. Outdoor Bluetooth speakers, which are usually portable speakers, are typically built with more rugged use in mind than your typical speaker. They almost exclusively feature, at the very least, some type of water resistance if not a full on waterproof rating. Outdoor speakers are perfect for using at the pool, taking to the beach, camping or any other outdoor activity that you want to inject some music into. 

What Else Can a Bluetooth Speaker Do?

Once you’ve picked out what type of speaker best meets your needs you can start to pick out what kind of features you want. A Bluetooth speaker can be a versatile addition to your audio choices; they can be anything from a basic speaker just for playing music to a full-on complementary piece to your home sound system.

Mono vs. Stereo Speakers

To start, there are different speaker configurations available in Bluetooth speakers. If you’re just looking for something simple and aren’t too worried about sound quality, a mono speaker is probably the way to go. Mono speakers are typically portable and produce sound through a single speaker. A stereo speaker features two built-in speakers and is capable of much greater sound performance than a basic mono speaker. For optimum sound quality from your Bluetooth speaker, you’re going to want to pick up a 2.1 speaker. These speakers feature dual speakers with a built-in subwoofer to give the speaker significantly improved performance in the low end.

Hands-Free Phone Calls

Harman Kardon Esquire Bluetooth Speaker
Use Your Harman Kardon Esquire for Important Conference Calls

Many Bluetooth speakers are designed for more than just music streaming; they also can have built-in microphones for hands-free phone calls through the speaker itself. Bluetooth speakers with built-in mics are great for a variety of reasons. For starters, it’s just more convenient. If your phone rings while you’re listening you can take the call directly from the speaker (some even have built-in controls so you can answer the call by pressing a button on the speaker) rather than having to physically answer your phone.

NFC Pairing

Near Field Communication (NFC) is becoming increasingly more common and is an incredibly intuitive way to pair your devices. NFC enabled Bluetooth speakers eliminates the need to enter codes to connect your device and lets you pair your device (provided it’s also NFC enabled) by simply touching them together.

Companion Apps

Some manufacturers also offer a companion app with their Bluetooth speakers. You can download these apps onto your smartphone or tablet to get the most out of your music. These apps are usually available on both the Google Play store and iTunes. They usually include an equalizer as well as bass and treble controls to give you the ultimate control over your music you usually lack with your smartphone.

Bluetooth Speakers with Additional Inputs
Keep Your Device Charged While Streaming

Other Connections

Bluetooth speakers can also usually be used as wired speakers if you want to play music from a non-Bluetooth device. They often have a 3.5mm auxiliary input as well as a USB input that can, on select speakers, be used to charge your device. Select Bluetooth speakers also include 30-pin or Lightning connection docking stations that let you play music directly through the speaker with your compatible Apple device.


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