While the battery life and audio quality of headphones have come far, no one wants to keep their ears plugged up for more than 8 hours a day. Instead of streaming audio directly from your cell phone, a Bluetooth speaker could be the way to stream tunes when you’re away from the office.
Your first step in shopping for a Bluetooth speaker is knowing where you’ll be utilizing it the most. Beach bum, surfer type? A long battery life and water resistant materials are needed. The hostess with the most-est? A larger speaker with a light-up function may be what you’re looking for.
Portable Bluetooth Speakers
The most versatile Bluetooth speaker is the portable 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 to larger speakers that are more like a boom box meant for use in one 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.
Home Bluetooth Speakers
If you’re looking for wireless streaming but don’t need it to be portable, a home Bluetooth speaker could be just the ticker. 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 wihtout the hassle of wiring to a stereo.
Bluetooth home speakers can be sized to easily slip onto a shelf or coffee table, or scaled up to to a floor standing speaker that provides room filling sound that’s perfect for entertaining or rocking out by yourself. In some cases, they can have built-in subwoofers to provide an extra kick to your music.
Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers
One of the most popular, and desirable, applications for a Bluetooth speaker is bringing it outside. Outdoor Bluetooth speakers, which are usually portable , are typically built for more rugged use. They almost feature some type of water resistance if not a fully waterproof. 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 musical ambiance 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
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
Many Bluetooth speakers are designed for more than music streaming; they can have built-in microphones for hands-free calls through the speaker itself. 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.
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.
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 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.