Choosing a Bluetooth speaker can be confusing and time-consuming, as millions of Bluetooth speakers are available in all shapes and sizes. Additionally, some technical words in the speaker’s specifications are hard for a typical user to understand. Hopefully, this Bluetooth speaker buying guide helps to answer some of the questions.
This article will help you understand the jargon and choose the best Bluetooth speaker.
The article covers the following;
What is a Bluetooth speaker?
A Bluetooth speaker is a wireless portable audio device that uses Bluetooth technology to connect to a source device such as a smartphone, tablet or computer to play audio content like music and podcasts.
So, what is Bluetooth technology? Bluetooth is a wireless technology that uses a radio frequency to share data over a short distance, eliminating the need for wires.
Bluetooth speakers are popular due to their portability and ease of use. They are frequently utilised at outdoor events, picnics, and travel, where a more substantial, stationary speaker system might not be feasible.
These speakers are available in various sizes, shapes, and designs to accommodate a range of tastes and application scenarios. While some Bluetooth speakers concentrate on producing high-quality audio in a small and fashionable package like JBL’s Go 3, others are made for rugged outdoor use and resist exposure to elements like water, dust, and shocks.
In addition, many Bluetooth speakers come equipped with extra features like playback control buttons, and some even have voice assistant integration.
How does a Bluetooth speaker work?
Have you ever wondered how those nifty Bluetooth speakers play your favourite tunes without any pesky wires getting in the way? It’s like a magical musical experience. Let’s uncover the mystery of how Bluetooth speakers work their magic.
First and foremost, let us discuss Bluetooth. No, it’s not some enigmatic alien technology. It is a wireless communication standard that allows devices to communicate with one another. In the case of Bluetooth speakers, Bluetooth earbuds, and Bluetooth headphones, this technology allows your phone, tablet, or laptop to stream music to these devices wirelessly.
The first step to making the magic happen is pairing your device with the Bluetooth speaker. Your phone and the speaker need to exchange a few secret handshakes, or in this case, codes, to establish a connection.
Sound into Signals
Now, let’s dive into the science. Music is made up of sound waves. Your phone or other music-playing device transforms those sound waves into digital signals, like coded messages that can be sent wirelessly via Bluetooth to speakers, headphones and Earbuds. These digital messages are sent using a Bluetooth antenna. Both the sender and the receiver will have an antenna.
The Bluetooth chip
Inside your Bluetooth speakers, earbuds and headphones, there’s a tiny but powerful component called a Bluetooth chip. This chip is like the device’s brain, receiving the digital signals from your device via the antenna and translating them into something the speaker can understand.
Bluetooth chip decodes the signals and passes them onto the amplifier. The amplifier takes the decoded signals and makes them strong enough to drive the speaker’s cone, which vibrates and produces sound.
Now, the speaker is dancing to the beat of your music. The speaker cone moves back and forth, creating vibrations that we perceive as sound. Some have more than one speaker, such as Anker Soundcore motion+ Bluetooth speaker.
Powering up – Integrated
Of course, all this magic requires power. Bluetooth speakers have built-in rechargeable batteries that keep them juiced and ready to go. So, you can take your tunes anywhere from the beach to the mountains; no wall outlets are required.
In a nutshell, Bluetooth speakers work by wirelessly receiving digital signals from your device, translating them with the help of a Bluetooth chip, amplifying the sound, and then letting the speaker produce the music you love.
So, the next time you marvel at the seamless music flow from your phone to that compact Bluetooth speaker, remember, it’s not magic – it’s the fascinating world of wireless technology making your musical moments portable and wireless.
Bluetooth speaker buying guide
How to choose a Bluetooth speaker?
Let us explore the Bluetooth speaker buying guide by looking at some key features.
Power Output – Watts & volume
So, when browsing speakers, look at the power output, which is usually measured in watts. This little number tells you how loud your speaker can be. Aim for a higher wattage for outdoor parties; a lower one might do the trick for personal use.
But remember that the watt is not the only factor that describes the speaker’s loudness. More complex factors must be considered, but wattage can be a good indicator of the maximum volume. Be mindful of comparing the wattage of speakers. For example, a 50W speaker will not be twice as loud as a 25W speaker.
|0 – 9 W
|Small rooms with little to no background noise
|10 – 19 W
|Middle-sized rooms with little background noise
|20 – 29 W
|Middle to large-sized rooms with background noise
|Large-sized rooms with background noise
Noise levels are measured in decibels (dB). The higher the decibels, the louder the noise. Sometimes, speaker manufacturers do have the dB in their specifications. The graphics below show different noise levels so you can understand the scale of dB noise levels.
Ever heard of frequency response? It’s all about a speaker’s ability to handle different tones. A broader range means better sound quality, capturing everything from bass to high notes. Look for speakers with a balanced frequency response for a killer music experience across all genres.
The frequencies we can typically hear range from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, and the table above shows how we interpret low-frequency bass to high-frequency treble.
For example, SOUNDPEATS Mini Pro HS Wireless Earbuds have a wide playback band of up to 20Hz to 40kHz.
Bluetooth Version and Range
Check the Bluetooth version – higher versions mean better connectivity and energy efficiency. Also, consider the distance range between your device and the speaker. More range gives you flexibility in where you place your speaker.
If you want a portable setup, remember battery life. Longer battery life equals more playtime without constant recharging. Consider your usage habits and choose a speaker that fits your needs.
Battery capacity is measured in “mAh,” an acronym denoting milliamp-hour, a measurement unit for electric power across time.
It’s commonly employed to gauge a battery’s energy capacity: higher mAh signifies greater energy storage, resulting in an extended battery lifespan.
NFC (Near Field Communication)
Want an easy-peasy pairing process? Look for NFC. Just tap your device on the speaker; there is an instant connection. It’s not a must-have, but it makes setting up a breeze.
Water & Dust Resistance and IP Rating
Are you considering outdoor adventures or poolside parties? Check for water and dust resistance. The IP rating will tell you how protected your speaker is. Higher ratings mean better durability against the elements.
For charging, see what options are available. Some speakers support wireless charging, while others use USB-C or micro-USB. Also, check how long it takes to fully charge from a flat battery, as some models offer fast charging. Pick what suits your style and is compatible with your other devices.
Wi-Fi-enabled speakers open up a world of possibilities, such as connecting to your home network and streaming music. They can sync with home networks and access online streaming services. Perfect if you want more features and connectivity.
Voice Assistant Integration
Imagine a speaker who listens! Look for ones with voice assistant integration, like Alexa or Google Assistant. They are rightly called “Smart Speakers“. It’s handy for managing music playback and getting things done with your voice. Obviously, speakers with this feature would be more expensive than without it, so decide whether it would be helpful.
Size and weight – Portability
How portable do you want? Think about size and weight. Compact, lightweight speakers are perfect for outdoor adventures like hikes and camping, while larger models might prioritise sound quality over portability. Choose based on where you plan to use it most because the price varies depending on the target market.
Lastly, if you dream of simultaneously having tunes in every corner of your home, opt for speakers that support multi-room audio. They let you synchronise playback across different speakers for a seamless audio experience.
When picking out a Bluetooth speaker, focus on power output, frequency response, Bluetooth version, and range. Consider extras like NFC, water resistance, charging options, and voice assistant integration based on your preferences. The size and weight impact portability, and if you want tunes echoing through your home, go for multi-room audio.