After hours of research and considering a variety of factors, we believe the best speaker you can buy today is the versatile Amazon Echo Dot. The latest version of the Dot has surprisingly great sound for its small size, plus full compatibility with Amazon Alexa – which means you can ask questions, play games, and control smart devices with it, too. Plus, the privacy features are up to date and keep your conversations private whenever you prefer.
Picking out the best speakers for using around or outside your home meant looking at several key factors: portability and durability features are very important for speakers that move around a lot. Drivers, speaker direction, and designs created to emphasize clarity or bass are also noteworthy. Today’s top speakers also come with great smart features like voice assistants and apps for better control. But be sure to check out our other portable speaker picks for all kinds of options! If you’re ready for more product recommendations, then check out our best tabletop radio.
Top 7 Best Speakers
#1 Amazon Echo Dot Speaker
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This super smart speaker comes with full Alexa support for managing your life, plus great sound for its size and an easy-to-use design. It’s an ideal little speaker for a desk or counter space anywhere in the home! And it’s very affordable.
Read Full Review: Amazon Echo Dot Speaker
- Excellent Alexa voice assistant
- Built-in support for Spotify, etc.
- Great privacy features
- Requires a wired connection
- Too small for room-filling sound
The Echo Dot is a brilliant little smart speaker designed to be set up at your desk or in similar areas while you are busy. Now on the third generation, Amazon has been working to improve sound with each new version, and while the speaker may not be able to fill the whole house with audio, it’s perfectly good as a nearby music player.
But what really makes the speaker stand out is built-in Alexa support that allows you to do everything from controlling your smart home to make calls. Alexa can also work with Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, and other popular music sources to play songs on demand. Oh, and privacy also gets a boost with this model thanks to the physical mute button for the mic! It’s everything you need all in one small speaker package. Compare this with some of the best Bluetooth speakers on the market to know if it’s right for your home.
#2 Oontz Angle 3 Speaker
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This portable Bluetooth speaker provides excellent dual-driver sound with a bass radiator, 10-watt amp, and 100-foot wireless range. It’s the perfect option for moving music from the home to outside and back again.
- Best Budget
- Excellent audio quality
- Bluetooth 4.2 wireless control
- Other picks have better battery life
Looking for portability? The affordable Angle 3 from Oontz is one of the best Bluetooth speakers we’ve reviewed, with excellent audio clarity via 10-watt amp and a well-designed bass radiator that keep sound strong. The two stereo drivers are large, well-designed, and provide remarkable directional audio for music. It has a 100-foot range for controls via your phone or an Echo device, and is ready for rain with an IPX5 waterproof rating if you want to take it outside. If you need a stationary, well-designed bass speaker, then check out our best subwoofers.
If you don’t feel like controlling the speaker with your phone, we’re also fans of the super-simple side controls on the speaker, allowing you to quickly play, pause, or disconnect as needed. The battery will last for around 14 hours without needing to be recharged, too. With it’s waterproof design, this is definitely the best shower speaker on our list.
#3 JBL Charge 3 Speaker
Award: BEST OUTDOOR
WHY WE LIKE IT: This speaker has a brilliant waterproof design, can handle calls through the speaker phone, and supports linking multiple speakers together! It’s the ideal choice for outdoor adventures.
Read Full Review: JBL Charge 3 Speaker Review
- IPX7 waterproof rating
- Excellent audio quality
- Noise and echo cancelling for calls
- Not as useful indoors
JBL knows how to make a durable speaker, and the Charge 3 was designed for effortless outdoor use. The waterproof speaker can connect up to three different phones, and fits neatly on a backpack or in a bag for transport. If you’re using it indoors, you can connect multiple speakers to each other wirelessly to fill the whole house with sound, too!
It also has a high-performance battery that supports around 20 hours of playback without needing to be recharged. And if needed, and you’re willing to sacrifice playback time, you can connect your phone via USB and use the speaker’s battery pack to recharge your phone, too. If you want your indoor sound as good as your outdoor, consider the best center channel speaker too.
#4 Anker Soundcore Speaker
Award: BEST BATTERY
WHY WE LIKE IT: With a battery life that keeps going for 24 hours and a great dual-driver design, this small speaker truly impresses. It makes an equally good choice both inside and outside for those who need their speaker to last.
- Drop proof & 24-hour battery life
- Dual full-range drivers
- Wireless reconnection features
- Not waterproof
If you need a wireless speaker that will really last, this Anker model is for you: The extra-power power bank inside can provide playback up to a full 24 hours without needing to be recharged, making it a great speaker for events or outdoor use. The dropproof design also helps keep it safe!
The Soundcore’s sound is also excellent, with two high-sensitivity sound drivers, 6 watts of power and a bass port to produce audio you certainly wouldn’t expect for its size. There’s a built-in mic for taking calls, and one last handy feature we like – automatic wireless reconnection with the last device that used the speaker. If you want something with a bit more power, try the best in ceiling speaker instead.
#5 Bose SoundLink Revolve Speaker
Award: BEST LARGE ROOMS
WHY WE LIKE IT: One of the best options for filling a room with sound, the Bose has stereo and party modes, compatibility with voice assistants, and even water resistance for outdoor use. Put it in a central location and let it sing!
- An excellent speaker phone thanks to 360-degree sound
- Siri and Google Assistant support
- Excellent control through Connect app
- Lower battery life
The cylindrical nature of this Bose speaker has an important purpose: It’s made to produce sound in all directions at once to more easily fill a room with audio. That audio sounds great too, with both a stereo mode and party mode depending on how you use it. But you don’t need to keep the speaker indoors – it’s water resistant and can easily be used on a porch, patio, or poolside to fill the yard with music, too.
The speaker offers a 12-hour battery life, along with the ability to connect to other SoundLinks and work together for even larger spaces. It also supports control via Google Assistant or Siri, but you will need your phone for that. It works well for a conference table as well, especially since it includes a mic to be used as a speakerphone.
#6 Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 4 Speaker
Award: BEST SOUND QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: The full array of audio features on this speaker gives it the best sound on our list, plus multiple voice assistant and connection options. If audio quality is a top priority for you, you’ll love how this speaker performs.
Read Full Review: Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 4 Speaker Review
- 2 woofers and 2 tweeters in one speaker
- 2 voice assistant options
- Noise cancelling mic
- Somewhat awkward design
- Short battery life
The Onyx Studio 4 is made for top-quality audio, with an array of two woofers and two tweeters made to provide the best sound possible. And it does that well – this speaker had the best music playback of any similar model we tested.
The Studio 4 also has great connectivity options: Using the app, you can connect any two similar devices and play them both back at the same time. There’s also built-in voice assistant compatibility with Siri and Google Assistant for voice control. Really, the only downside is the short battery life and long recharge time – this speaker isn’t meant to go wireless for long periods of time.
#7 Beats Pill Speaker
Award: BEST COMPACT
WHY WE LIKE IT: This excellent speaker provides portable sound and fits nearly anywhere, with drivers designed for clear music and useful battery indicators. If you want a speaker you can just pick up and go with, this is the one!
Read Full Review: Beats Pill Speaker Review
- Only 8 inches long
- Woofer and tweeter separate for clarity
- Charge your smartphone
- Too small for larger spaces
Looking for a smaller speaker to easily take on the road with you? Many of our picks are great for this, but the Pill is the best when it comes to truly compact speakers. Only several inches long, the speaker offers a 12-hour battery life, phone call connections, and of course high quality sound via a stereo “2 way crossover” system designed for clarity.
The speaker’s on-board controls are also impressive, with an LED strip to show remaining battery life and clear playback buttons for quick controls, plus an option to switch to the mic for phone calls whenever you want. Lastly, you can charge your smartphone from the speaker’s built-in battery.
Beginner’s Guide To Speakers
Speakers are one of the most important components of any audio system. In this day and age, can you even imagine a world without them? Though they may seem insignificant, they play a role in so many aspects of our daily lives. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy your favorite music, movies, or even a simple phone conversation.
What Exactly Are Speakers, Anyway?
Because they’re so prolific, you probably already have a good idea of what speakers are. In a nutshell, speakers are transducers that convert electrical signals into sound waves. In other words, your audio device captures these signals and sends them to the drivers located in the speakers. The drivers then turn those signals into sound waves that your ears can pick up. Understanding what ohms mean on speakers is critical to understanding how speakers work.
When Were The First Speakers Invented? While Alexander Graham Bell is credited with this distinction because of the patent he received for the first loudspeaker in 1876, it was Johann Phillip Reis who first installed a speaker on his telephone in 1861, but it produced a muffled sound.
What Exactly Is A Soundbar, Anyway?
If you know what speakers are, you know what a soundbar is. A sound bar is a type of speaker designed to produce sound from a wide range of frequencies. Soundbars are typically used in home theater systems and are becoming increasingly popular as part of simple television setups, as well, since they can often be used simultaneously with built-in speakers. The purpose of a soundbar is to provide better sound quality than what is typically produced by a TV’s built-in speakers alone.
STAT: Bose owns 24% of the market for household speakers, with Sony and JBL coming up behind it, at 19% and 15%, respectively. (source)
What Exactly Is A Subwoofer, Anyway?
A subwoofer is a type of speaker that reproduces low-frequency sound waves. Subwoofers are typically used in home theater systems and are becoming increasingly popular in cars. The purpose of a subwoofer is to provide better sound quality for bass-heavy music or other audio.
What Does Surround Sound Mean?
Surround sound is an audio setup that uses multiple speakers to create a more immersive listening experience. It is often used for movies, music, or games. You’ll find that movie theatres generally use surround sound, and many people use it at home. The most common surround sound formats are 5.1 and 7.1.
How Long Do Speakers Last? If taken care of, speakers can last for decades before needing to be replaced. That said, even with proper care, some components on a speaker will eventually fail and will need to be replaced, such as the spider (not the eight-legged kind) that is installed.
How To Choose Speakers
There are a few things to consider when choosing speakers. The first is the type of speaker you need, whether full-range, mid-range, or a subwoofer. You also want to consider the size of the speaker, the wattage, the configuration, and accessories.
Are You Looking For Wireless Speakers?
Wireless speakers are becoming increasingly popular, and for a good reason. Wireless speakers offer convenience, flexibility, and portability. However, comparing Bluetooth and wifi speakers is essential when making this decision.
Are You Looking For A Home Theater System?
When shopping for a home theater system, comparing in-wall speakers and on-wall speakers will help you determine the aesthetic you want. However, some people find that a soundbar is enough for them, so comparing soundbars and home theater systems may help you learn more about how many speakers you need and how much you want to spend.
Did You Want A Soundbar?
Comparing soundbars and traditional speakers is one of the first things you should do when looking for new audio equipment. Soundbars are becoming increasingly popular because they offer good sound quality in a compact package. However, speakers have other benefits, so it’s important to know what you want before purchasing. You can also compare 3.1 and 5.1 soundbars or soundbars and bookshelf speakers to get a better idea of what you need.
Did You Want Bookshelf Speakers?
Bookshelf speakers offer excellent sound quality and are a great option if you have the space for them. However, they are not as portable as other types of speakers. If you are looking for portability, you may want to compare bookshelf speakers and studio monitor speakers. However, consider in-wall speakers and bookshelf speakers if portability isn’t a concern.
STAT: – Amazon owns a huge market share of speakers in the home because of the Alexa, Echo and Echo Dot: 43%! (source)
Were You Looking For Passive Or Active Speakers?
You’ll also need to decide whether you want active or passive speakers. When comparing active speakers and passive speakers, you’ll find that active speakers have a built-in amplifier, making them easier to set up. Passive speakers don’t have an amplifier, so you’ll need to purchase one separately.
Do You Need Specific Speaker Features?
Comparing coaxial and component speakers will help you determine which type is right for you, while comparing 2-way and 4-way speakers will help you understand the difference in sound quality. If you are looking for a specific feature, like Bluetooth or NFC, you’ll want to compare wireless speakers and Bluetooth speakers.
How Much Can I Expect To Spend?
How much you spend will depend on the speakers you purchase, how many you need, and the size, features, and brand. Speakers will range in price from around $200 for a basic set to several thousand dollars for a set with many different components and features.
Types of Speakers
Now that you know what to look for when choosing speakers, it’s time to learn about the different types you’ll find on the market. There are three main types of speakers: full-range, mid-range, and subwoofer.
Speakers By Form Factor
- Bookshelf Speakers
- Studio Monitors
- In-Ceiling Speakers
- Floorstanding Speakers
- In-Wall Speakers
- Center Channel Speakers
Soundbars are a type of loudspeaker with several individual speakers enclosed in a single housing that sits above or below your TV or other audio source. They’re quick to set up, offer excellent sound quality, and have a wide range of features. However, the best soundbar for you will depend on your budget and needs.
- Bluetooth Speakers
- Loud Bluetooth Speakers
- Smart Speakers
- Portable Bluetooth Speakers
- Wifi speakers
- Bass Heavy Bluetooth Speakers
Surround Sound Systems
Top Speaker Brands
- Best JBL Speakers And Soundbars
- Best Samsung Speakers And Soundbars
- Best Bose Speakers And Soundbars
STAT: – JBL currently dominates the market in portable speakers, owning 34.2% of the total portable speaker market by volume! (source)
Installing in-wall speakers is different than mounting speakers to the ceiling, but generally speaking, speaker installation doesn’t have to be difficult. While each product should come with instructions for the best method of installation, there are professional installation services that can help if you still feel as though you can’t do it yourself.
Setup Your Speakers
It’s important to know how to set up your speakers correctly to get the most out of them. This means finding the right spot for each one and ensuring they are all pointing in the right direction.
- If you don’t set up your speakers to work properly with surround sound, you won’t experience the immersive sound you expect.
- Connect a receiver to your speakers to enjoy a seamless connection between your sound source and your speakers.
- Connect a subwoofer to your speakers for a solid bass sound that you can feel.
- Learning how to tap into your rear speakers for subwoofers will give you an even better surround sound experience.
- If you’re looking to connect a mixer to your powered speakers, you need to make sure they’re compatible first.
Connecting Different Types Of Speakers
Connecting your speakers to your components and accessories is a vital part of the setup process. Depending on the type of speakers you have, the connection process will be different.
- To connect a 2-channel amplifier to 4 speakers, you will need to use a speaker selector switch. This will allow you to choose which set of speakers you would like to have playing at any given time.
- If you want to connect your Bluetooth speakers to a television, you need to have a television that’s Bluetooth enabled. The Bluetooth menu will walk you through connecting the two so you can listen to your TV through your speakers.
- To connect multiple Bluetooth speakers to a single device, you will need to use a Bluetooth speaker adapter. This will enable you to connect up to 8 speakers at once and control them all with a single remote.
- To connect your Bluetooth speakers to a device, start by turning on your speaker and putting it in pairing mode. Then, open the Bluetooth settings on your device and select the speaker from the list of available devices.
Checking Your Speaker Wiring To Confirm It’s Correct
When you wire an amp and speakers together, understanding what gauge wire you need for your speakers is critical. The wrong gauge wire can cause your speakers to sound bad and can even damage them. Checking your speaker wiring to confirm it’s correct is an important part of installing your speaker system.
Tips for Using Bluetooth Speakers
Bluetooth speakers are relatively easy to connect and use. They’re convenient because you can take them with you anywhere, and they don’t require any special setup.
- Sometimes, Bluetooth speakers aren’t as loud as wired speakers. If you’re having trouble hearing through your Bluetooth speakers, look for some tips to make your Bluetooth speakers sound louder
- There are times when you may want to connect two different Bluetooth speakers to your TV for optimal sound. In this case, you’ll need to know how to play music from two different Bluetooth speakers.
Common Troubleshooting Tips For Speakers
If you’re having trouble with your speakers, you can try a few things before calling a professional. Ensuring they work properly requires that you check the wires and components to make sure nothing is amiss.
- Find Out Why Your Speakers Are Buzzing: There are a lot of things that make your speakers crackle, so troubleshooting a few things could help you reduce the sound of white noise in your speakers.
- Checking To See If Your Speakers Are Still Working: Speakers may crackle if they are low on power, so it’s important to check if your speakers aren’t working. To figure out why your speakers are cutting out, look to see if the crackling sound is coming from your speaker. Try unplugging it and plugging it back in.
- Troubleshooting: Volume Controls Won’t Work: Sometimes your speakers won’t seem to be working right if your volume knob is broken. It may just be a matter of getting this knob fixed and your speakers will be back up and running.
- Troubleshooting: Subwoofer Is Not Functioning: If your subwoofer isn’t functioning properly, you should troubleshoot why your subwoofer sounds very weak. This could reveal several reasons why it may not be working right, like a weak connection.
- Sound Isn’t Working On iPhone: People with iPhones seem to have a recurring problem with their sound not working. Sometimes it’s just a matter of restarting the phone, but other times, you may need to troubleshoot for something more serious.
Building Your Own Speakers
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try your hand at building your own speakers. DIY speakers can be a great project for anyone who loves tinkering and working with their hands. When you want to create your own speaker boxes, or you’re thinking about making an amplifier for speaker systems, you’ll need to learn about crossovers, impedance, and power handling. But don’t worry, we’re here to help.
Cleaning Your Speakers
When you need to clean the speakers on an iPhone or clean your speakers on any other device, use a soft, lint-free cloth. Gently wipe the speaker grille and avoid getting moisture inside the device. If you do get moisture on the speaker, dry it off with a soft, lint-free cloth.
Fix Your Broken Speaker
Fixing your broken speaker can feel like an insurmountable task, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. There are several things you can do on your own, and if you can’t seem to fix it, a professional can help.
- The cone is responsible for pushing the sound out of your speaker and is central to its operation. If it’s not working properly, you should look into replacing the cones on speakers.
- If you have surround sound speakers and several of them don’t seem to be working, you can try to repair stereo sound speakers yourself. In some cases, it may be easier to simply replace the individual speakers that are broken.
- Typically, a blown speaker should be replaced rather than repaired. Even if repairing speakers that have blown out is an option, it’s not something most people can do themselves.
- A multimeter will help you test your speakers to see if they’re damaged. However, there are a lot of things that can affect the reading, so make sure you’re using a multimeter to test your speakers correctly to avoid a bad reading.
Measuring The Speakers In Your Car
If you’re looking at replacing your car’s speakers, it’s important to know what size they are. The best way to measure the speakers in your car is with a tape measure to make sure you know what size you need.
Fix The Speakers In Your Car
When you’re driving, you want to be able to hear the music clearly. But if your car’s speakers are blown out, it can be tough to enjoy the ride. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to fix the speakers in your car.
Recycling Old Speakers
When you’re done with your old speakers, don’t just throw them away. Recycle them! Recycling old speakers may look like donating them to a school or charity to ensure they don’t end up in a landfill. Even if you buy a new speaker, like the XSound Go Bluetooth speaker, which is small enough to keep around for years.
Finding The Speakers On The iPhone
Finding the speakers on your iPhone isn’t hard. Most iPhones have speakers located at the bottom of the phone near the charging port. If you can’t find the speakers, try looking in the settings app under “sounds.”
Connect Wireless Speaker Systems To A TV
If you have a wireless speaker system, you can connect it to your TV and use it as your primary sound system. This is a great way to get the most out of your home theater setup.
Remove Water From Your Phone’s Speakers
If you’ve dropped your phone in water, the first thing you should do is remove the water from the speakers. Use a soft, lint-free cloth to soak up any moisture. If you can’t get the water out, try using a hairdryer on the low setting.