You might have a Bluetooth speaker from as far back as the mid-1990s that works great, but with the choices getting better, bigger and, in many cases smaller, keep in mind, the Bluetooth technology inside also changes.
Bluetooth 5.0 is the latest, and with it, you’ll get increased wireless range, speed and can increase the number of devices simultaneously connected.
So, since I have persuaded you to add a portable Bluetooth speaker to your holiday shopping list, in no particular order, here are a bunch of recommendations with some cool features on each. Regular prices are listed but check around for holiday specials.
Braven’s BRV-X/now 2 rugged portable speaker has a durable construction. You can take it for a swim since it has an IPX7 waterproof rating. This allows it to float alongside you while broadcasting your playlist with 20W of output. The sound is perfect for a variety of tunes in high and low volumes. Inside is a battery for 18 hours of playtime, USB-C charging, and built-in microphones for noise-canceling hands-free calls. You can pair two BRV-X/2 speakers with the wireless stereo pairing technology. The 8.28-by-3.18-by-3.46-inch speaker has a carry strap, tie-down loops and a standard USB charge-out port for charging another device from the speaker’s battery.
If you want to go a little smaller, Braven has a similar-designed speaker in a smaller (2.75-by-2.75-by-3.75-inches) body, the BRV-MINI rugged portable speaker. With a 12-hour battery life before a USB-C charge is needed and its smaller size, it’s ideal for using two devices in wireless pairing, for a perfect stereo experience; the speaker also floats. Each has a 5W output, and the perfect amount of bass from the integrated passive radiator. A lanyard attaches directly to the top of the speaker for easy hanging at a campsite.
Details: www.Zagg.com $99.99 for the BRV-X/2 and $39.99 for the BRV-MINI, both available in black, blue, gray and red
Speaker, with lights
The Anker Soundcore Flair Mini is a cylindrical, 360-degree speaker with built-in LED lighting effects. It has eight individual LEDs and five lighting modes, seven for a glowing effect to personalize the lights and sound to your music.
You’ll get about 12 hours of play from the internal and rechargeable 2600mAh battery. The 10W Flair Mini has a rounded body (3.4-by-2.8-by-5.6-inches) to broadcast the 360-degree sound, which was nice, smooth and crystal clear. It’s built with IPX7 waterproof protection, which is stated by Soundcore to withstand rain, spilled drinks and complete submersion for 30 minutes. The internal technology also allows for pairing a pair of Flare Mini’s.
Details: www.soundcore.com, $39.99.
A tough sound machine
The tough-looking DemerBox DB2 is a great sounding Bluetooth sound system built into a rugged 100-percent waterproof and crush-proof Pelican Case. Inside the box are a pair of 3-inch, 8 ohms, aluminum cones with rubber surround drivers, resulting in loud, clear sound, which is enough to be the life of a tailgate party.
The case has latches to keep it shut and there are holes to attach a lock for extra security since it opens with storage room for valuable items like your smartphone, wallet, and keys. Inside is a USB charging port for charging a smartphone or whatever needs a boost of power.
Measuring 10.62-by-9.68-by-6.87-inches with a 5.44-pound weight, the speaker is easy to carry with the built-in handle. The latest DemerBoxes have multiple pairing modes to include up to six DemerBox speakers paired together and 40-hour battery life before a charge with the included AC adapter is needed. The DemerBox DB1 is a little smaller with a smaller case (9.44-by-7.80-by-4.29-inches) a 40-hour battery life and many of the same features of the DB2.
Details: demerbox.com $299 for the DB2, $199 for the DB1, both are available many color combinations
Ultimate Ears Boom 3 is one of my favorites with its powerful and booming sound coming from the 360-degree sound speaker (diameter of 2.8-inches and a height of 7.2-inches) with two 2-inch drivers and two 2-by-4-inch passive radiators inside a body covered in two-tone fabric.
You can select your favorite sound from four presets and a customized tuner. With the latest Bluetooth technology, up to eight Bluetooth devices can be paired along with up to two source devices. A 15-hour USB rechargeable battery is inside and a charging dock ($39.99, sold separately) is available for wireless charging. The Boom 3 features the Magic Button to select your music choice directly on the speakers and Android users can use the button to access Spotify.
The Magic Button already works with Apple Music on iOS and Deezer Premium on Android. The Boom 3 has IP67 water and dust-proof rating,
Details: www.ultimateears.com, $149.99