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Top wireless and Bluetooth speakers for 2018

Top three best home Bluetooth speakers for 2018

By Lewis Skinner

Article 3 of 3

We pick the top three Bluetooth speakers that are perfect for your home, so you can get the most out of the music on your phone, tablet or laptop.

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Bluetooth speakers are a great way to listen to your favourite music stored on or streamed via your phone, tablet or laptop easily. Many are designed with portability in mind, but you don't have to be travelling to enjoy the great sound and simple set-up of Bluetooth speakers - some are designed specifically for your home.

Bluetooth is more flexible than a docking station, as any music source with a Bluetooth connection can be paired, whether it's a smartphone, MP3 player, tablet or laptop. Home Bluetooth speakers are usually bigger than their portable counterparts, but some still have batteries, meaning you could feasibly carry them around the house with you.

Below, we've listed the three Bluetooth speakers that top our tests. We've listed speakers that are designed for using at home. You won't find any truly portable models here, but you will find room-filling, clear, warm sound. 

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Top three best home Bluetooth speakers

Lowest price (in stock) £184.95
Which? score 88%
Reviewed Nov 2015
Performance:
5 out of 5
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
Features:
3 out of 5
Size H x W x D (mm):
Member exclusive
Claimed speaker output:
Member exclusive
3.5mm line input:
Member exclusive

This eye-catching hexagonal speaker is great to look at and even better to listen to. The dynamic sound is a perfect match for any genre with an excellent balance of treble and bass. It’s relatively small, but it does a terrific job of dispersing sound around the room, so you get the best this speaker has to offer regardless of where you sit.

Typical price £99.00
Which? score 83%
Reviewed Mar 2015
Performance:
5 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Features:
2 out of 5
Size H x W x D (mm):
Member exclusive
Claimed speaker output:
Member exclusive
3.5mm line input:
Member exclusive

This utilitarian home Bluetooth speaker is designed to sit on a shelf rather than be carted around. There’s no battery inside and it weighs a whopping 4kg. Big it may be, but if you don’t mind it dominating a shelf you’ll be more than satisfied with the sound. Music is warm and detailed, and it was comfortable with any genre. Whatever your musical tastes you’ll find a lot to love with this speaker.

Lowest price (in stock) £440.00
Which? score 75%
Reviewed Nov 2015
Performance:
5 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Features:
5 out of 5
Size H x W x D (mm):
Member exclusive
Claimed speaker output:
Member exclusive
3.5mm line input:
Member exclusive

This is a top-of-the-line wireless speaker for those looking for the very best sound, and will please audiophiles. The iconic shape allows for excellent dispersion of the sound throughout the room, and it offers a myriad suite of wireless connectivity options from Bluetooth to wi-fi, as well as Apple AirPlay and Spotify Connect. It also has 3.5mm line input for full versatility. With sound, here you get what you pay for. It delivers powerful controlled sound even at high volumes.

And here's one to avoid

Portable Bluetooth speakers can get an easy ride. They are used less often and people tend to be more forgiving if the sound isn't exemplary. A home Bluetooth speaker sat in your living room tasked with being the primary music source in the house will face more scrutiny. 

They also face stiff competition from multi-room systems that work over wi-fi and can play the same, or different, music throughout the house. Bluetooth always has simplicity on its side. Thanks to near-field communication (NFC), connecting your phone can be as simple as holding it up to the speaker you want to connect to but, if the sound isn't good once you're connected, that easy set-up counts for very little.

We've tested hefty speakers that look the part and should be more than adequate for bringing music to your living room, but come a cropper once your favourite songs start ringing out. These are speakers with distorted sound that compensate for their lack of clarity by pumping out pounding bass, or have a distracting echo that will have you reaching for the mute button.

We've highlighted one sub-par home Bluetooth speaker that is outshone by some of the smallest portable ones we've tested.

Home Bluetooth speakers to avoid

Lowest price (in stock) £149.99
Which? score 50%
Reviewed Dec 2016
Performance:
2 out of 5
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
Features:
4 out of 5
Size H x W x D (mm):
Member exclusive
Claimed speaker output:
Member exclusive
3.5mm line input:
Member exclusive

It’s a speaker with an unnecessary handle and overpowering bass. It’s a shame because there is clarity to be found but, once the bass takes hold, any sense of nuance and balance goes out the window.

How to buy the best home Bluetooth speaker

If you've come to the conclusion that you don't need a battery-powered speaker that's portable, or a multi-room system sending music throughout your home, you need to look for a home Bluetooth speaker that's a doddle to use.

Bluetooth connectivity should be simple, either with one-button pairing or, for even easier set-up, look for a speaker that uses near-field communication (NFC). If your phone is compatible, as most smartphones are, you only need to hold it up to your speaker to connect with it. 

Bear in mind that you'll need to keep your connected device, whether that's a laptop, MP3 player or your phone, close to the speaker or the music will cut out, but you won't be dependant on your wi-fi signal. You may also need to disconnect your phone to take calls. Some Bluetooth speakers have built-in microphones for calls, but these tend to be portable models.

If you like to tinker with your speaker, look for one that lets you equalise the sound by adding more bass or treble. This is a welcome addition to any speaker, but equalisation won't save it from mediocrity. If it sounds average, or worse, it always will no matter how many different audio configurations you try.

Some speakers aren't easily put into either the portable or home Bluetooth camp. Some bulky speakers have batteries, which means they're technically portable, but the weight will give you sore shoulders if you sling one in your backpack. These heavier speakers may not be good for outdoors, but you could carry them from room to room, which would be useful if you're doing a bit of spring cleaning and you want to keep your music playing in the same room as you.

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