Water and electronics are sworn enemies — who among us hasn’t stuck a smartphone in a bag of rice in the hopes of saving it — but with waterproof speakers, that’s beginning to change. Now that waterproof Bluetooth speakers have gone mainstream, you can blast your favorite tunes by the pool or on the beach without the fear of them getting damaged by an accidental splash. Many waterproof speakers can even be completely submerged underwater for several minutes and emerge ready for the next track on your playlist.
Tech companies have managed this feat by making parts of their Bluetooth speakers air-tight, and hiding their charging ports behind sealed doors that you flip open or closed when needed. None of these design choices impact the Bluetooth speaker’s audio quality or battery life, so you’re not giving anything up when choosing a waterproof model. The idea of high-quality, affordable wireless speakers seemed impossible a decade ago, never mind adding waterproofing into the mix.
Everyone should have some of the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers to enjoy music during the summer months, while boating or kayaking, or to take with them on vacation to a tropical area.
How We Picked the Best Waterproof Bluetooth Speakers
Our waterproof speaker recommendations are based on a mix of hands-on testing and research. Below are the factors we considered most highly when deciding which ones to include in this buyer's guide.
Ingress Protection Rating: All waterproof technology receives an IP rating, which designates how much water and dust it can be exposed to without being permanently damaged. An IP67 rating, for example, means the gadget in question is totally dustproof, and can be submerged under water for 30 minutes. Most of our waterproof Bluetooth speaker recommendations have that rating or above.
Battery Life: The waterproof Bluetooth speakers we’re recommending run on battery power, and can last at least 12 hours on a single charge. Their battery life will be impacted by the volume at which you listen to audio, and whether you enable special settings like an extra bass mode. The louder you listen, the less playtime you get.
Stereo Pairing: Most wireless speakers will play music in mono, which means sounds mixed into the right and left channel will be combined. Some of our waterproof Bluetooth speaker recommendations can be paired to a second speaker, which allows you to listen to music in stereo instead. You may even be able to link up two or more speakers to play the same song in multiple locations, albeit in mono. You may also want to consider these speakers for your shower.
Best Waterproof Bluetooth Speakers: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: JBL Xtreme 3
Why It Made The Cut: JBL’s Xtreme 3 features a six-driver audio system, unique design, and plenty of helpful extras like multi-speaker pairing.
— IP Rating: IP67
— Battery Life: 15 hours
— Stereo Pairing: Yes
— Multi-driver audio system
— Stereo pairing
— USB output
— So-so battery life
We’ve tested several of JBL’s waterproof speakers over the years, and they’ve always exceeded both our expectations and the company’s durability and battery life claims. The Xtreme 3 is its most impressive model to date, combining excellent audio hardware with an ultra-durable design.
JBL hasn’t changed the look and feel of its waterproof speakers in years, but that’s a good thing. The formula features an elongated shape and textured finish that makes it easy to grab and hold onto when wet. The Xtreme 3 takes things up a notch by including a pair of loops and a strap, which makes the admittedly large speaker easier to carry. You’ll be able to fit the Xtreme 3 in a backpack, but you’ll need to clear a fair amount of space for it. This speaker has earned an IP67 durability rating, which means it can be completely submerged underwater for up to 30 minutes.
Our main reason for recommending this speaker above the rest is its four-driver audio system, which comprises a pair of 2.76-inch woofers, two .79-inch tweeters, and a pair of bass radiators. Having all six of these components allows the speaker’s amplifier to distribute bass, midrange, and treble frequencies between them in such a way that every sound you hear will be clear. A song’s bass line will be distinct from the sound of a cymbal crash or vocal line.
In our experience, JBL’s waterproof Bluetooth speakers have always sounded well-rounded, but the company will allow you to tweak the Xtreme 3’s EQ within its app, which is available on both iOS and Android. JBL’s app will also let you connect two of JBL’s speakers together into a stereo pair, or a multi-speaker audio system. Speaking of connectivity, the Xtreme 3 also has an AUX input if you don’t feel like pairing your device to it over Bluetooth, and a USB-A port to use the speaker as a power bank.
Our only technical complaint with this speaker is its 15-hour battery life, which is a little low considering the Xtreme 3’s size. We’re thankful that this is likely due to the complexity of its audio system, but the point remains. You’ll still be able to use the Xtreme 3 for the duration of a backyard barbeque or day at the beach, but you may run into trouble if you use the speaker as a power bank. The way the JBL Xtreme 3 sounds while you’re playing music by the water will far outweigh any battery anxiety concerns you may have.
Best Budget: Braven BRV-Mini
Why It Made The Cut: Braven’s BRV-Mini has almost all of the same features as speakers that are three to four times its size.
— IP Rating: IPX7
— Battery Life: 12 Hours
— Stereo Pairing: Yes
— Ultra portable
— Just as durable as larger speakers
— Support for multi-speaker pairing
— Softer sound
The Braven BRV-Mini hits the sweet spot between size, audio quality, and price that makes it an attractive option for anyone who wants to travel to the beach without a big bag. The speaker has an IPX7 rating, offers up to 12 hours of music playback per charge, and can be paired to another BRV-Mini for true stereo sound. All of these features are packed into a speaker that’s half the size of a soda can, and comes with a lanyard, so you can easily attach it to a backpack loop or around your wrist.
Portability and affordability are the BRV-Mini’s biggest advantages, and the reasons why we regard it so highly. We’ve tested the speaker for ourselves, and it sounds really good considering its short stature. Its single-driver 5 watt audio system isn’t in the same league as the one in JBL’s Xtreme 3, but we didn’t hear traces of distortion when listening at high volumes. The bass on this speaker was a little lacking, but it still packed a surprising punch. If you adjust your audio expectations based on its size, we think you’ll be impressed.
Braven’s BRV-Mini may not be the most technically impressive waterproof Bluetooth speaker we’ve seen, but its extreme portability may make it the one you rely on most often. There’s something to be said for using a speaker that’s small enough to fit in a pocket or purse as you’re walking out the door.
Best Floating: Altec Lansing Mix 2.0
Why It Made The Cut: Altec Lansing’s Mix 2.0 will be easy to recover if it’s dropped in the water thanks to its buoyant design.
— IP Rating: IP67
— Battery Life: 20 hours
— Stereo Pairing: Yes
— USB output
— Extra bass mode
— Large size
Waterproof Bluetooth speakers can survive accidental drops in the pool or ocean, but that doesn’t mean you’ll want to keep them there for very long. Altec Lansing’s Mix 2.0 has an IP67 rating, and is designed to float, so you can easily get it out of the water and let it start drying. This is especially impressive given this speaker’s size — it’s bigger than JBL’s Xtreme 3.
The Mix 2.0’s large design allowed Altec Lansing to build a four-driver audio system into this speaker, which features two woofers and a pair of tweeters, with room left over for an AUX input and USB-A output. Heck, there are even LED light strips on and around the speaker’s woofers, which you can program to flash or pulse as you’re listening to music. These lights can be turned off if you just want to listen to music.
Altec Lansing has been in the audio business for almost 100 years, so we’re confident in the Mix 2.0’s audio system, but the speaker has a “beast mode” button that adds more bass if you feel like your music needs it. You’ll also be able to connect two Mix 2.0 speakers together in a stereo pair if you’d like to hear songs the way an engineer mixed them.
You probably won’t be able to fit Altec Lansing’s Mix 2.0 into a backpack, which is its only significant weakness. The speaker’s size enables some of its best features, including a battery that lasts up to 20 hours per charge, but it had to sacrifice some portability to get there. This won’t be an issue if you’re taking a car to the pool or beach, but something to be aware of. If the Mix 2.0’s large size isn’t a deterrent, we recommend it to just about everybody.
Best Party: Sony SRS-XP500
Why It Made The Cut: Sony’s XP500 is a massive party speaker that can provide audio and visual entertainment for guests without getting damaged by an accidental spill.
— IP Rating: IPX4
— Battery Life: 20 hours
— Stereo Pairing: No
— Massive audio system
— LED light strips
— Quarter-inch inputs for microphones and guitar
— Limited appeal outside of parties
Party speakers are so large that we figured they’d never become waterproof, but Sony proved us wrong with the XP500. This speaker can be splashed and rained on without getting damaged, which is more than you’d expect from a speaker that has so many potential points of entry for water. Yes, it’s less durable than the other Bluetooth speakers in our guide, but this one is far less likely to accidentally fall into the water. You won’t be bringing the XP500 around so much as setting it up in one area for an entire evening.
The mammoth speaker has a pair of X-balanced speakers and two tweeters, and you can tweak the way it sounds by using a digital EQ in Sony’s Music Center app for iOS and Android. Sony’s latest-generation Bluetooth speakers sounded fantastic in our tests, so you probably won’t need to touch the EQ. The XP500 is also compatible with the Fiestable app, which allows you to control the LED light strips on the top and bottom of this speaker. Sony says this speaker can last up to 20 hours per charge, and we recommend turning the LEDs off if you’d like to listen for that long.
If you have battery life to spare while the party is raging, you’re much better off using the XP500’s two USB-A ports to charge a couple of devices. Those ports are located next to the speaker’s AUX input and pair of quarter-inch inputs. You can use these inputs to connect a microphone and electric instrument to this speaker for live performances. If you’re throwing a karaoke party, you could use one input for the background music and the second for a microphone.
We’re big fans of speakers that support stereo pairing, but the XP500 takes that concept to a new level. You can pair up to 100 compatible Sony speakers to create a gigantic whole-home audio system. Nobody will ever use this feature to its full potential, but we admire Sony for building it in anyway. The XP500 is an excellent waterproof Bluetooth party speaker, but it’s only practical in a handful of situations. If you host parties often — indoors or outdoors — or want a Bluetooth speaker that can double as a PA for gigs, it makes a lot of sense. If you only throw a big bash once per season, you may want to think twice.
Things to Consider before Buying Waterproof Bluetooth Speakers
Size: All of our waterproof Bluetooth speaker recommendations are portable, but that doesn’t mean they’re all the same size and shape. It’s possible that the best solution to your needs is actually two waterproof Bluetooth speakers — a big one that mostly stays in your backyard, and one that you can easily throw into a backpack at a moment’s notice.
Microphone: If you receive a call while your phone is connected to a waterproof Bluetooth speaker with a microphone, you’ll be able to start the conversation without unpairing the two devices. Keep in mind that this means your call will basically be on speakerphone.
USB Output: All waterproof Bluetooth speakers have a USB input, which is the port that you use to charge the device, but some are also equipped with a USB output. This allows you to use your waterproof Bluetooth speaker like a power bank for your phone or other devices. Using this feature will drain your waterproof Bluetooth speaker’s battery a lot more quickly, but it’s very useful in a pinch.
Q: Are waterproof speakers actually waterproof?
Yes, waterproof speakers can be exposed to water without getting damaged. Many of them can be completely submerged under water.
Q: How do I choose waterproof Bluetooth speakers?
The criteria we felt were most important when choosing the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers were their IP rating, battery life, and whether they supported multi-speaker pairing. We encourage you to use those criteria when deciding which waterproof Bluetooth speaker to get for yourself.
Q: Do expensive waterproof Bluetooth speakers sound better?
Yes. Higher-end waterproof Bluetooth speakers have better components — amplifiers, drivers — and tuning when compared to less expensive models.
Q: What is the loudest portable Bluetooth speaker?
The loudest portable Bluetooth speaker we could find was Sony’s SRS-XP500.
Final Thoughts on Waterproof Bluetooth Speakers
We continue to be impressed by the proliferation of waterproof technology after being conditioned to keep our gadgets away from water for years. Speakers, earbuds, smartphones, and even e-readers can handle a splash or two without eliciting immediate panic. A waterproof Bluetooth speaker is especially impressive because these gadgets are relatively big, which means water should have more entry points to fry their electronics; thankfully that’s not the case.
That tech companies have managed to add this critical feature without making compromises to other ones is also very encouraging. Our hope is that waterproof Bluetooth speakers continue to improve, adding new features while getting even more durable.
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