The 15 Best Waterproof Bluetooth Speakers

Jun 30, 2021

Category: Tech

Packing up and heading off-grid usually means having to forgo a great many of the creature comforts that we enjoy at home. Traditionally this has meant going without music, podcasts, and audiobooks — or at best listening to them via headphones — though advancements in battery potency, Bluetooth technology, weatherproofing, and audio transducers have collectively given way to a host of increasingly rugged portable speakers that allow you and your friends to relish in high-quality sound from practically anywhere, no matter the climate or conditions.

However, because these camp-friendly speakers can vary so widely in terms of both the level of durability they possess and the quality of the sound that they afford, it can be exceedingly difficult to sort through the droves of available offerings to hone in on the handful of leading models that are worthy of your consideration. Below, we’ll not only be delving into the best portable waterproof speakers but will also be exploring the crucial differences between waterproof and water-resistant, as well as what factors to take into account when shopping.

Waterproofness 101

The Difference Between Waterproof & Water-Resistant

Though the two are at times used interchangeably, waterproof and water-resistant are two different things. As its name implies, the latter is resistant to water, and can typically stand up to rain, sweat, splashes, and some light spraying. Unless in a torrential downpour, water-resistant products tend to be able to survive most weather, however, they aren’t fully sealed and as such are unable to be dunked or submerged in water — a feat that plays a pivotal role in distinguishing waterproof items from those of the water-resistant variety.

The ability to withstand water and the elements is especially important when it comes to portable speakers, too, as a water-resistant jacket succumbing to heavy rain means you’ll likely get wet, as where speakers are susceptible to being destroyed should water manage to find its way inside. To help give a more objective metric or understanding of an item’s imperviousness to water, most manufacturers will cite an IP — or “Ingress Protection”— rating, which is a scale that gives a more clear understanding of exactly how well a given product can stand up to the elements.

Starting from IPX-0 — which denotes that a product offers zero protection against water — these rating codes include everything from items that are lightly resistant to splashing or mist, all the way up to offerings that can be fully submerged under at least a meter of water indefinitely without issue — an ability that carries an IPX-8 rating. For a more thorough look at the differences between the two and for a complete description of the different IP codes, you can check out our guide on the difference between waterproof and water-resistant, though as a rule of thumb we would advise opting for a speaker with an IPX-4 rating, at the very least.

Off-Grid Audio

The Areas To Consider When Buying A Weatherproof Bluetooth Speaker

For most of us, our experience with shopping for speakers is primarily limited to browsing tower and bookshelf units intended for in-door at-home use. While there is some overlap, purchasing a portable waterproof speaker is a very different process, and as such there are a handful of unique areas that are crucial to take into account. Below, we’ll be highlighting half a dozen of the most pivotal aspects to factor into your purchase before making your final selection.

Size: Portable Bluetooth speakers widely vary in size, from diminutive handheld items to boombox-style speakers. The best way to determine the speaker size that’s right for you is to consider your intended use(s). If you plan on utilizing the speaker on a backpacking trip or alone in your tent at night, a smaller speaker is probably your best bet, though if you plan to mainly do drive-in camping and/or are looking to provide tunes for a larger number of listeners, then a larger speaker is likely the way to go.

Water-Resistance: One of the main areas that separate camp-friendly Bluetooth speakers from regular units is the former’s ability to stand up to the elements. By examining the locale, climate, and conditions that you plan on utilizing the speaker in, you should be able to get a general sense of whether you’ll need a speaker that’s waterproof or merely water-resistant. You can glean more specific information on a speaker’s ability to withstand water by referencing its IP code.

Durability: As important as waterproofing is to a portable outdoor speaker, it isn’t the only factor that can destroy one, which is why overall durability and the ability to withstand dirt, dust, impacts, and abrasions is equally critical. This area primarily boils down to the materials, design, and construction technique(s) used to create the speaker. Today’s portable waterproof speaker market is largely comprised of items made from rugged plastics, polycarbonates, and metals, and are more often than not fully or semi-sealed — keeping out not only after, but also dirt, grime, and debris.

Battery Life: Because portable Bluetooth speakers are designed and intended for use outdoors and off-grid, it’s immensely important that they come equipped with powerful batteries that afford extended music playback time. Fortunately, technological advancements in this area have given way to some increasingly potent cells, some of which can power even full-size boombox-style speakers for up to 40 hours.

Portability: A speaker’s weight and physical dimensions obviously play a major role in determining its overall portability, though there are additional factors that can also hugely add to a speaker’s conduciveness to travel, camping, and other off-grid use. This includes speakers with integrated carabiners or mounting systems, loops or attachment points, and/or slings and carrying straps — the latter two of which are wildly useful when dealing with larger speakers.

Sound Quality: The whole purpose of a speaker is to emit sound, so it should come as no surprise that the quality of that sound is of immense importance when judging a speaker’s performance or quality. Largely owed to the array of drivers being utilized, a speaker’s sound quality can somewhat be understood by examining its frequency range and maximum decibel output, though it never hurts to read reviews from experts in the space to get a more robust sense of audio quality. While on the subject, it’s also imperative to note that breakthroughs in transducer technology have allowed for some incredibly small speakers to achieve genuine hi-fi sound with crisp highs, punchy yet clear miss, and rich and deep lows.

Outdoor Audio Excellence

The Best Portable Waterproof Speakers On The Market

Now that you’re fully up to speed on the finer points of camp-stye speakers and IP ratings, let’s dive into our choices for the best waterproof portable speakers that money can currently buy.

JBL Clip 4

Designed to let you take your tunes with you no matter where you go, JBL’s fourth-generation Clip is a small but powerful waterproof Bluetooth speaker that weighs just over half a pound and features a body-integrated carabiner — elements that together make for one of the most travel-friendly camp speakers on the planet. Boasting a 2,400 to 2483.5MHz frequency range, this 5-watt speaker is also available in half a dozen different color options, including two-tone and camo variants.

IP Rating: IP67
Battery Life: 10 Hours
Weight: 0.53LBS
Water Protection: Waterproof

Purchase: $70

Speaqua Vibe 2.0

Designed specifically for use at the beach, on the river, or out on the lake, the Barnacle Vibe 2.0 is a shock and waterproof speaker with an integrated four-in-one mounting system — that is compatible with GoPro mounts — and dual-speaker pairing. Rather than pairing with a device to play music, the speaker here itself packs 8GB of storage, allowing roughly 2,000 iTunes songs to be stored on the IP68-rated gadget.

IP Rating: IP68
Battery Life: 8 Hours
Weight: 1.63LBS
Water Protection: Waterproof

Purchase: $90

CAT Worksite Speaker

Whether it’s rugged work boots, tool chests, or heavy machinery, Caterpillar produces immensely hardwearing gear, gadgets, and equipment for contractors, construction workers, and other laborers, at a fair price. And such is the case with CAT’s plainly-named Rugged Wireless Speaker. Backed by a lifetime warranty, this highly durable work site speaker is heavily resistant to water, dust, extreme temperatures, and impacts — the latter of which is helped along by the TPE bump guards encompassing the speaker

IP Rating: IP68
Battery Life: 30 Hours
Weight: 2LBS
Water Protection: Waterproof

Purchase: $100

Marshall Emberton

Marshall’s Emberton is a mid-sized portable speaker that combines powerful, modern-day transducer and Bluetooth tech with the famed audio brand’s iconic retro-themed design language. On top of a battery that offers more than 20 hours of playback time — and can receive five hours of music via a 20-minute charge — the Emberton also packs a solid metal grille, Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, a 30’ range, and (most importantly) Marshall’s True Stereophonic 360° sound.

IP Rating: IPX7
Battery Life: 20+ Hours
Weight: 1.5LBS
Water Protection: Waterproof

Purchase: $130

Sonos Roam

First released in March of 2021, Sonos’ Roam model is a small, 6.61” x 2.44” x 2.36” speaker that punches well above its weight in terms of sound quality and comes loaded with a host of cutting-edge technology. This includes Class-H digital amplifiers, Trueplay tuning technology, and Apple AirPlay 2 integration, as well as compatibility with Siri, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant. The Roam can also be paired with other Sonos speakers.

IP Rating: IP67
Battery Life: 10 Hours
Weight: 0.95LBS
Water Protection: Waterproof

Purchase: $169

JBL Charge 5

It’s hugely important for a portable Bluetooth speaker to boast a powerful and long-lasting battery, though JBL has taken this concept to the next level with its Charge 5 speaker. This 30-watt Bluetooth speaker’s Lithium-ion cell not only provides around 20 hours of music playback time but also allows the device to act as a mobile power bank for juicing up other gadgets while off-grid. And, like JBL’s Clip 4, the Charge 5 is offered in a plethora of color and pattern options.

IP Rating: IP67
Battery Life: 20 Hours
Weight: 2.11LBS
Water Protection: Waterproof

Purchase: $180

Alpine Turn-1

Though Alpine is undoubtedly best known for its automotive-focused offerings, the Japanese brand produces some equally top-notch portable speakers such as the Turn-1. Sold with a 3’ carrying strap, this 40-watt speaker is equipped with a pair of mid-range drivers, two tweeters, and dual external passive radiators — a configuration that has been specifically selected and tuned for open-air outdoor use.

IP Rating: IP67
Battery Life: 12+ Hours
Weight: 3LBS
Water Protection: Waterproof

Purchase: $200

Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore

Bang & Olufsen’s most rugged speaker to date — by a very wide margin — the Beosound Explore manages to cram the elite Danish audio outfit’s hi-fi sound into an incredibly durable and compact package. Despite only standing at 4.8” (and 3.1” in diameter), this Scandinavian-designed speaker is constructed around a polymer-reinforced Type 2 anodized aluminum housing that contains a pair of 30W Class D Amp-backed 1.8” full-range drivers with a 56 to 22.700Hz frequency range and True360 omnidirectional 360-degree sound.

IP Rating: IP67
Battery Life: 24 Hours
Weight: 1.4LBS
Water Protection: Waterproof

Purchase: $200

Bose Soundlink Revolve+ II

The Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II is a versatile speaker that lends itself equally well to both at-home and off-grid, outdoor use. Compatible with Siri and Google voice and controllable via voice commands, the speaker features an extruded metal housing with soft bumpers to absorb impacts and a base that’s compatible with wireless charging. The SoundLink Revolve+ II’s grab handle also makes this speaker easy to carry or attach to a bag or backpack.

IP Rating: IP55
Battery Life: 17 Hours
Weight: 2LBS
Water Protection: Heavily Water-Resistant

Purchase: $299

DemerBox DB2 Indestructible Waterproof BT Speaker

Constructed around a crushproof Pelican hard case, the DemerBox DB2 is a ridiculously rugged, all-conditions portable Bluetooth speaker with a class-leading 40+ hours of battery life. Made by hand in America, this speaker’s hard case also boasts dry internal storage for EDC items and other small pieces of gear. The DemerBox DB2 also comes in a trio of classic military hues (coyote, black, and OD green) as well as three additional vibrant color options.

IP Rating: IP68
Battery Life: 40+ Hours
Weight: 5.44LBS
Water Protection: Waterproof

Purchase: $349

Transparent Light Speaker

Though it looks like an old-school camp lantern, this item is actually a cutting-edge speaker that conceals a 2.5” full-range driver and a 3” woofer that emit true 360-degree sound. Built around a custom borosilicate glass cylinder, the speaker features a vibrating LED diffusor lens that allows users to choose between a variety of different “flame” modes including borosilicate glass cylinder — all of which react to the music like a fire-based visualizer. And while it isn’t waterproof, it does boast an IPX2-rating.

IP Rating: IPX2
Battery Life: 10 Hours
Weight: 1.3LBS
Water Protection: Water-Resistant

Purchase: $350

Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM

If you’re interested in partying off-grid, then it really doesn’t get much better than the HYPERBOOM speaker. Representing Ultimate Ears’ largest and most powerful speaker to date, the HYPERBOOM features a pair of 4.5” drivers, dual 1” tweeters, and two 3.5” woofers that provide up to 100dB of volume and a 45 Hz to 20KHz frequency range. Sold with a shoulder carrying strap, this robust mobile speaker also features an adaptive EQ, a whopping 150’ range, and an equally impressive Lithium-ion battery that provides 24-hours of listening and can be used to recharge tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices.

IP Rating: IPX4
Battery Life: 24 Hours
Weight: 13LBS
Water Protection: Heavily Water-Resistant

Purchase: $399

Porsche PDS50 Speaker

Crafted from solid aluminum, the Porsche Design PDS50 wireless speaker is another diminutive product with incredibly rich sound and a host of integrated tech. IPX4-rated, this German-made speaker sports a unique layered design that rests atop of Qi-compatible wireless charging dock, customizable RGB lighting. a minimalistic control pad and a 3” driver supplemented via a single 1” tweeter. Adorned in a high-gloss finish, this sleek speaker also bears classic Porsche Design branding.

IP Rating: IPX4
Battery Life: 20 Hours
Weight: 1.1LBS
Water Protection: Heavily Water-Resistant

Purchase: $399

Sony XG500 X-Series

Part of Sony’s recently released X-Series lineup, the SRS-XG500 is a modern-day boombox with robust sound, ample durability, and plenty of tech. Utilizing Sony’s advanced X-Balanced Speaker Unit — which allows for powerful rich audio quality at higher sound levels without compromising crispness or clarity — the XG500 features a quick-charging 30-hour battery, 1/4” jack inputs for electric guitars or microphones, and a pair of LED visualizer rings with customizable RGB lighting.

IP Rating: IP66
Battery Life: 30 Hours
Weight: 12.34LBS
Water Protection: Heavily Water-Resistant

Purchase: $448

Soundcast VG7SE

The Soundcast VG7SE is a completely uncompromising speaker aimed at discerning listeners that want to experience the best possible audio quality while off-grid. A wildly impressive 40 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response is afforded via class-D amp-backed quad 3” full-range drivers and a single downward-firing 7″ long-throw woofer, which are helped along by an SPL Neodymium motor design, aluminum cones, and butyl rubber surrounds. IP64-rated, this top-of-the-line outdoor speaker also boasts a replaceable battery pack with 40-hours of playback time and a weatherproof rubber keypad.

IP Rating: IP64
Battery Life: 40 Hours
Weight: 24lLBS
Water Protection: Heavily Water-Resistant

Purchase: $700

The 12 Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers

Want to check out an additional selection of mobile-friendly portable audio devices? Then be sure to head over to our guide to the best portable Bluetooth speakers for a dozen of the finest travel-ready transducers that money can buy.

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