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Which wireless and Bluetooth speaker brand?

Most reliable wireless and Bluetooth speaker brands

By Oliver Trebilcock

Article 1 of 3

If you're looking for the perfect wireless speaker, our latest customer survey can help you choose wisely. These are the best speaker brands around.

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

We survey thousands of Which? members every year to find out which audio brands you recommend. While some big-name brands get a thumbs up from customers, others are let down by frustrating faults and poor reliability in general.

This year's survey shows that many wireless and Bluetooth speaker owners are dealing with faulty wireless connections, poor companion mobile apps and unresponsive controllers.

To see which premium and budget-priced speakers have impressed our audio experts, see our wireless and Bluetooth speaker reviews. Alternatively, keep scrolling to see how the likes of Bose, JBL and Sony faired in our most recent reliability survey. 

Below, we've rounded up the results of our reliability survey for each big-name brand. We've got the details on reliability scores, customer scores and common product faults affecting popular brands.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings in the table below. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Which wireless and Bluetooth speaker brand stays fault-free longest?

The graph below shows how the brand that stays fault-free for longest compares to the worst brand and the average. Which? members can see how brands compare for faults and which are the best and worst in the table underneath.

Brand name % faults after one year % faults after five years
 2% 3% 
 4%  8%
 3%  8%
 6%  8%
 5%  6%
 1%  3%
 2%  6%
Table notes
1 Results based on June/July 2017 reliability survey of 1,709 wireless and Bluetooth speaker owners. Data correct at August 2017.

Key

Member Content

How wireless and Bluetooth speaker brands compare

The results of our latest reliability survey show that, generally, wireless and Bluetooth speakers are reliable products. An impressive 99% of speakers from the top-performing brand remained fault-free after one year, and only 3% were faulty after a total of five years. 

The worst performer of this year's survey saw 6% of its speakers affected by hardware faults one year on from purchase. After five years, 8% members reported a fault with their device. Although that's the highest fault percentage recorded this time around, it's still fairly low.

Unsurprisingly, a big-name brand that produces high-end, premium Bluetooth speakers has recorded the lowest number of faulty devices after one year. Although in this case that suggests you get a better product for more money, our expert testing proves that's not always the case. We've uncovered plenty of Best Buy wireless and Bluetooth speakers over the years that are suitable for buyers on a budget.

When it comes to gathering data for our survey, we take the severity of faults recorded into account. Older wireless and Bluetooth speakers that have developed faults are judged less harshly, as they're likely to have been used for longer. We make sure we ask thousands of Which? members about their experiences with products from big-name brands to judge real-world performance.

Common wireless and Bluetooth speaker problems

As well as collecting reliability data from survey participants, we've also rounded up the most common faults affecting wireless and Bluetooth speakers.

Of the Which? members quizzed, only 2.9% told us that the first fault they encountered was related to sound on their speaker stopping entirely. We found:

  • 37% developed faulty wireless connections
  • 11% developed faulty physical connections
  • 10% stopped working with the companion mobile app
  • 8% developed a fault with the power adaptor
  • 6% had the control buttons on the device or remote stop working.

A much more substantial 37% of respondents said they'd had issues with faulty wireless connections (via wi-fi or Bluetooth). Our 2017 survey has found that this is by far the biggest issue impacting broken wireless and Bluetooth speakers - more so than faulty physical connections and deterioration of sound quality. After digging a little deeper, we found that this specific issue was mentioned by 65% of one large brand's customers - around 20% more than the brand behind it.

If you've had issues connecting to your speaker wirelessly, double check that Bluetooth on your smartphone or tablet is enabled - it's likely that the speaker will need to be paired correctly before it will work as it should. 

Physical connections can be a little trickier to solve, but in some cases simply swapping out a cable could be the answer. If you think that your aux cable is faulty, try hooking it up to another speaker in the house. As for unresponsive companion mobile apps, we suggest jumping onto Apple's App Store or the Google Play Store and making sure that you have the latest version of the app downloaded. Usually, developers will iron out bugs in newer versions.

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