Top wireless and Bluetooth speakers
Top five best home Bluetooth speakers for 2019
By Oliver Trebilcock
Article 3 of 3
We pick the top five Bluetooth and wireless speakers that are perfect for your home, so you can make the most of your music and radio listening.
Bluetooth and wireless speakers are a great way to listen to your favourite music, radio, audiobooks or podcasts stored on or streamed via your phone, tablet or laptop. You can even listen directly through the speaker if you have a smart speaker with voice control. Many are designed specifically for your home, with mains power, durable design and sound quality to fill a room.
Home speakers with Bluetooth mean any music source with a Bluetooth wireless connection can be linked up to the speaker, whether it's a smartphone, MP3 player, tablet or laptop. Home Bluetooth speakers are usually bigger than portable speakers with battery power, and can have higher maximum volumes and a fuller bass as well.
Below, we've listed five Bluetooth and wireless speakers that have excelled in our expert lab tests. Our listening panel of music industry professionals have decades of experience between them, and have listened to hundreds of speakers to select the very best for your listening pleasure.
Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access by joining Which?.
Top home Bluetooth speakers
This is one of the best Bluetooth and wi-fi wireless speakers we’ve seen in the Which? test lab. It’s a a great all-rounder, supporting Spotify Connect for music streaming, Google Chromecast and Apple Airplay. Sound remains crystal clear and detailed across a wide variety of genres and speech. It’s easy to set up, with multi-room support. Find out how easy it is to use and how competitively it’s priced in our expert review.
If you’re looking for a more traditional-looking wireless speaker, this Bluetooth model is an excellent choice – and it won’t break the bank either. Its sound quality is among the very best we’ve tested, performing strongly across a wide range of genres from jazz to classical, rock and pop. It’s easy to set up too, with an excellent app for your smartphone or tablet. It's packed with features too. As well as giving you control over the music in each room, the speakers can be connected wirelessly to sound bars to give you a surround-sound set-up. Find out more about its full feature set in our comprehensive review.
This Bluetooth and wi-fi smart speaker is one of the very best wireless speakers we've seen, and is proof that you don't need big brands and deep pockets to get great sound quality. It easily makes the grade to be a Which? Best Buy. You can control it with your voice, and it delivers exceptionally detailed sound that has set a new standard for rivals to match. Multi-room allows you to connect it up to other speakers, and Spotify and Google Play music streaming services are supported.
This speaker is an outstanding package, raising the standards for smart speakers. Stereo sound is clear and detailed with excellent speech and enjoyable to listen to. Voice control means you can use it hands-free, and perform other tasks such as asking for news and weather plus much more. Multi-room built-in allows you to connect to other compatible speakers, even some from other brands.
Among the very best-sounding smart speakers, this Bluetooth and wi-fi wireless speaker has internet radio voice control with Google Assistant, which allows you to control the speaker hands-free plus perform tasks like setting calendar reminders. There’s also multi-room support to connect other speakers, and the beautifully warm, well-balanced sound will do justice to whatever you listen to. See how easy it is to use and what music services are supported in our expert review.
Table notes: Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct at July 2018.
Not found the product for you? Browse all of our wireless and Bluetooth speaker reviews.
And here are three to avoid
Portable Bluetooth speakers can get an easy ride. They may be used less often than home speakers 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.
There used to be a clear divide between Bluetooth speakers and multi-room speakers that instead work over wi-fi and allow you to connect multiple speakers in different rooms together to spread sound throughout your home. However, now many of the latest speakers, especially those that you can control with your voice, give you the choice of connecting via Bluetooth or wi-fi.
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. Wi-fi connections are usually more complex to set up, but are worth the effort as they can produce better sound than Bluetooth, although the gap is narrowing. See our speaker connections guide for more on the differences.
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.
Below we've highlighted three inferior home Bluetooth speakers that you should steer clear of to avoid a costly mistake, even if you see them discounted.
Home Bluetooth speakers to avoid
This speaker has a distorted, boisterous overpowering bass. It’s a shame because there is clarity to be found in the sound. However, once the bass takes hold, any sense of nuance and balance goes out the window. Make sure you avoid this speaker if you see it on the high street.
Don’t feel you can be safe just by getting a speaker from a well-known brand. This big brand Bluetooth and wi-fi speaker with Google Assistant doesn’t know the meaning of subtlety. Bass rumbles with a great deal of boom. The speaker sounds like its constantly grumbling, with bass dominating the overall sound. One member of our expert listening panel noted it was a ‘relief’ when the speaker stopped playing. Avoid it at all costs.
This high-end speaker from a respected brand is both very expensive and very disappointing. It's one of the worst-sounding home speakers we've tested at our lab in recent years, and by far our most costly Don't Buy. To buy one would be a very expensive mistake, proving that paying more is no guarantee of money well spent.
Buying the best home Bluetooth or wireless speaker
Home speakers with Bluetooth can be a doddle to use, so many people who aren’t looking for battery-powered portable models will choose them over wi-fi-only speakers as some multi-room models can be more fiddly 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 or tablet is compatible, as most 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, tablet or phone, close to the speaker (say, within 10 metres) or the music will cut out, but you won't be dependent on your wi-fi signal so you can even plug it in the shed.
Some Bluetooth speakers also have a built-in microphone for calls – these used to be more common on portable models, but with the rise of voice-controlled speakers, they are now common on home speakers as well. Read our guide to how to buy the best smart speaker for more on models with voice control.
If you like to tinker with the sound of your speaker, look for one with a built-in equaliser that allows you to tweak the levels of bass or treble. This is a welcome addition to any speaker, but these sound adjustments won't save a bad speaker from mediocrity. If it sounds average, or worse, you might be able to improve the sound to your taste a bit, but it won’t work miracles.
Some speakers aren't easily put into either the portable or home speaker camp. Some bulky speakers have batteries, which means they're technically portable, but their weight will give you sore shoulders if you sling one in your backpack.
These heavier speakers may not be good for use on the move, but you can carry them from room to room, which is useful if you're doing a bit of spring cleaning and you want to keep your music playing in the same room as you. They can also be great for taking on holiday or to a campsite in the car, using for a garden party, or when you’re out of range of a mains plug to avoid messy extension cable trip hazards. To choose one of these models, visit our top portable speakers guide.