Bluetooth vs Wi-Fi Speakers

Updated: Feb 16, 2024 5:04 AM

If you are new to the world of best speakers, you may look to compare Bluetooth Vs WiFi speakers. What are the differences between these two designs, and which is right for you?

Key Takeaways_

  • Bluetooth and WiFi wireless speakers are two ways to achieve wireless audio from smartphones, computers, and other streaming devices.
  • WiFi wireless speakers have a longer range, at around 100 feet, but Bluetooth speakers are portable speakers, thanks to integrated batteries.
  • Wi-Fi speakers tend to boast a better audio quality, thanks to the stable connection offered by wireless routers.

Bluetooth and W-iFi Speakers Compared

The primary difference is how the speakers connect wirelessly to an audio source or related component, which is useful when shopping for high-end smart speakers. A Bluetooth speaker connects via a Bluetooth receiver and transmitter, and WiFi speakers connect to a traditional wireless network.

Bluetooth versus Wi-Fi speakers

Bluetooth speakers offer greater portability and ease of use, making them ideal for on-the-go listening and direct pairing with mobile devices, whereas Wi-Fi speakers provide superior sound quality and range, better suited for home audio systems and smart home integration. The choice between the two largely depends on the user’s lifestyle, with Bluetooth being more travel-friendly and Wi-Fi excelling in stationary, multi-room audio setups.

So who’s the winner? In terms of audio quality, Wi-Fi speakers are the better option. But ultimately, the “better” speaker type depends on how and where you plan to use it. Some people even find that having one of each type is the best solution to cover all their needs.

insider tip

Make sure to download and update your audio drivers as indicated by the instructions that came with your speakers.

Moreover, if you buy the best wireless surround sound for your home theater setup, these will connect via WiFi, too.

Portability

Bluetooth speakers typically receive power from an integrated and rechargeable battery, making them ideal for portable ventures like listening to music while outside or during a road trip. After all, Bluetooth speakers are made to connect a wide variety of source devices, like phones, watches, tablets, and other gadgets you take with you on your travels. Check out our guide on how to connect to a Bluetooth speaker on a Mac for help with connecting to one such device.

On the other hand, WiFi speakers are intended primarily for home use, as they require a wireless connection to stream music from an app, streaming service, or another compatible device. You also may want to check out how to lock a Bluetooth speaker while you’re out and about so someone else can’t access it.

Range

WiFi speakers have the edge here by a fairly large margin, though this depends on your router and the speaker itself. Generally speaking, Bluetooth speakers max out at a close range of around 30 feet, making them great for playing music from a phone but not so great at playing music from a computer on the other side of the house.

WiFi-enabled speakers can reach a maximum range of 100 feet or so. Again, this goes back to the notion of portability. WiFi speakers are a better bet for the home, and Bluetooth speakers are better for leaving the house thanks to a built-in rechargeable battery. However, using Bluetooth speakers at home is perfectly OK, and many people do it. If you need help connecting your speakers to a computer, follow our guide on how to make Bluetooth speakers & computer speakers play simultaneously.

Sound Quality

This largely depends on the make and model of your speakers, but WiFi speakers do have a slight edge here as the wireless signals created by a router are more stable than those created by a Bluetooth transmitter. The best-sounding speakers between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speakers will generally be the Wi-Fi speakers, as they can stream lossless music without audio compression if the speakers support it.

Wi-Fi speakers connected to a home network, for the simultaneous use.

Incorporating technology advancements, the size of wireless speaker systems varies, accommodating single speaker setups to elaborate multi-room speakers. While Bluetooth speakers focus on the simplicity of pairing with a mobile device, Wi-Fi speakers excel in integrating with smart devices and home networks. They cater to multiple usage cases, from phone calls to streaming Amazon Music or other music files with various codecs.

STAT: Both Bluetooth speakers and wi-fi speakers compress the data files differently to play music on the speaker. (source)

Despite the potential issue of limited bandwidth in Bluetooth speakers, they remain a popular choice due to their versatility and absence of reliance on an electrical outlet, unlike some Wi-Fi models.

The digital audio quality in wireless speaker models can be affected by audio latency, a factor more pronounced in Bluetooth connections. However, both types of speakers have evolved to offer robust solutions for delivering high-quality audio signal, whether it’s through a Wi-Fi signal in wireless home speakers or Bluetooth in more mobile-oriented devices.

Additionally, the sound quality of Bluetooth models will suffer as you get further away from this transmitter. Both of these options can produce powerful sound and great audio quality from music streaming services, but wired speakers will offer higher-fidelity audio.

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