How Do I Choose a Bluetooth Speaker?

The number of options for those in the market for a Bluetooth speaker seems to increase every day, with options ranging from less than $50 to models costing well over $1000. This means that understanding what your investment delivers is critical to finding the best value, and the best model for you offers a good balance of these 5 characteristics for your budget.

Battery Life

Battery life can be the single most important factor in the choice of a Bluetooth speaker depending on what it will be used for. Some inexpensive units are rated for as little as 3 hours of use on a single charge, while higher end devices like the UE Boom 2 from Harvey Norman can provide up to 15 hours of continuous playback for extended use. Others even lack internal batteries entirely, relying on AC power and making better choices for stationary speakers.

Range

The effective broadcast range of a Bluetooth speaker can affect its usefulness as well. Speakers are often rated to connect with streaming devices at a distance of 10 metres or more, but this assumes a clear path between transmitter and receiver, and obstacles or other interference may limit the optimal range of a Bluetooth speaker. If you plan to use your speaker at distance or in an area with known obstructions, consider choosing a speaker with a longer connection range.

Bluetooth Speaker

Features

Bluetooth speaker models are outfitted with an array of special features from mobile device charging capabilities to speakerphone functionality for hands free calling. While convenient, features like these are typically found on more expensive units and may not be necessary depending on its planned use.

Durability

Some Bluetooth speakers are built with rugged construction, including water and debris resistance or impact absorbing design to allow use outdoors or near water. These models are indispensable for those who will frequently use their speakers at parties and outings, where they can withstand unforeseen circumstances that would threaten other units.

Sound Quality

Sound quality is critical to a Bluetooth speaker, and a more expensive unit may not necessarily deliver a superior sound. Speakers typically have a maximum output level measured in decibels, and a higher rating is typically an indication of a unit with greater range. Other important factors to the overall sound quality of Bluetooth speakers are harmonic distortion and speaker impedance, both of which can give you a clear picture of the model’s capabilities.

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Images credit (under CCL) by order:   Brad WilmotColin Charles

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