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The Best Waterproof Bluetooth Speakers to Battle The Elements

Best Waterproof Bluetooth Speakers 0 Hero

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.

Best Waterproof Speakers

waterproofness 101

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 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 clearer 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.

what to look for

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 in which you plan on utilizing the speaker, 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 are 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.

JBL Clip 4

  • Available in a variety of colors
  • Integrated carabiner
  • Great volume and bass for the size
  • Doesn’t display battery life on phone

Best Starter Speaker: 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.

This is the perfect option for those who like to have tunes while camping or at the pool, but don’t want to worry about storage. At just 0.53 lbs, this speaker is super lightweight, and thanks to the carabiner, it can easily clip onto your backpack or pants to take the party with you on the go. You’re also getting a pretty impressive (for the size and price range) 10 hours of battery life and sound quality.

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

Marshall Emberton

Marshall Emberton Bluetooth Portable Speaker
  • 360-degree sound
  • Able to connect to other Middleton speakers
  • Audio settings built into the speaker
  • Great battery life
  • Stack Mode can be inconsistent

Best Retro Speaker: 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.

On top of the retro look, this speaker has a rugged, water-resistant construction that allows it to be submerged in up to 3ft of water for 30 minutes. Additionally, it’s capable of connecting to other Middleton speakers to give you a bigger sound. Coming in at 1.5 pounds, it’s also super easy to transport and fits into the palm of your hand.

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

Sonos Roam

Sonos Roam
  • Great for both home audio and outdoor listening
  • WiFi streaming
  • Can connect to other Sonos speakers
  • Trueplay tuning technology
  • Battery life could be better

Best Outdoor/Indoor Speaker: 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, and Google Assistant. The Roam can also be paired with other Sonos speakers to expand your home audio setup, or to pair with a friend who also has a Roam speaker.

You’re getting up to 10 hours of battery life which is solid, but certainly on the lower end when it comes to Bluetooth speakers. However, given the light weight (0.95 lbs), it’s worth the trade-off as you’re getting a speaker that’s very easy to carry, with high-quality Sonos sound. And the ability to stream via WiFi adds to the listening options, and makes this a great addition to your home audio setup (especially if you have other Sonos speakers).

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

JBL Charge 5

JBL Charge 5
  • Powerful sound for the size
  • Can act as a mobile power bank
  • Convenient carrying case included
  • Battery life can vary

Best Speaker for Bass: 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.

A convenient gSport carbon fiber case with a velvet interior and integrated mesh pocket is also included with this speaker, not only protecting it when traveling, but also providing space for the charging cable and other accessories. You’re also getting a powerful bass sound thanks to the dual JBL bass radiators, producing a deep sound that’s quite impressive for the size.

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

Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Explore
  • Stereo pairing
  • 360-degree sound
  • Very impressive battery life
  • Custom settings via B&O’s app
  • Bass could be better

Best Sounding Speaker: 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.

While the sound quality, build quality, and portability are certainly impressive, the 27 hours of battery really makes this one a winner, and one of the longest-lasting waterproof speakers in this price range. On top of that, a variety of EQ settings and customization options are available through the Bang & Olufsen app, so you can get a personal listening experience every time.

IP Rating: IP67
Battery Life: 27 Hours
Weight: 1.4LBS
Water Protection: Waterproof

  • 360-degree sound
  • Base is compatible with wireless charging
  • Impact absorbing bumpers
  • Voice control
  • N/A

Best Versatile Speaker: 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.

This is a great pick for both indoor and outdoor listening, with a sleek design that can easily complement any home setup, and a rugged construction for outdoor adventures. There’s also a built-in mic for the previously mentioned voice controls, but also for taking calls. If you have other Bose speakers, you can also connect them with the SounLink Revolve+ II for multi-room sound, or link up with friends who also have a Bose speaker.

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

The Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers Right Now

Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers 0 Hero

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.