Which JBL Bluetooth Speaker Should You Buy?
JBL has a long history in the audio business—the company was founded in the 1940s and made the speakers used onstage at Woodstock in 1969—but now it’s mostly known for portable Bluetooth speakers in a wide range of styles and prices.
Consumer Reports has evaluated a number of JBL models and our testers have generally found them to be easy to use and versatile with good sound. But there are quite a few options, including updated models that have been introduced while their predecessors are still available for sale. So choosing the right JBL for your needs can be confusing. The roundup below, which lists models according to Overall Score, should help.
Like all products with Consumer Reports ratings, these speakers are tested in our labs by trained technicians. And, as always, the models were purchased through normal retail channels—no freebies for us.
Who it’s for: Someone looking for a fine-sounding portable speaker, even if it’s not all that portable
What’s to like: The JBL Xtreme 3 is one hefty hunk of speaker, a tiny bit bigger and a little lighter than its predecessor, the Xtreme 2. In any case, you might be surprised at how large it is when you see it in person. The Xtreme 3 sounds slightly better than its predecessor, too, although it’s very close in overall character. Like the Xtreme 2, the 3 has strong bass that goes fairly deep, but is somewhat boomy and lacks natural instrument detail compared with better-performing speakers we’ve tested. The model can play loud enough to fill a medium-sized to large room. The Xtreme 3 features an internal power bank that can charge other devices and JBL says the speaker is both dustproof and water-resistant to 3 meters, but CR doesn’t test those claims.
What’s not to like: Did we mention that it’s hefty? At more than 5 pounds and almost a foot long, the Xtreme 3 is quite a load for a portable speaker. And unlike other large portables (see JBL’s Boombox 2), it lacks a handle; you’ll have to make do with a shoulder strap. That shouldn’t be an issue if you plan to use the Xtreme 3 indoors or in your backyard. But if you plan on hauling the speaker around town, the smaller and lighter Charge 4 might be a more suitable travel companion.
Who it’s for: A party animal looking for a compact box speaker that sounds good enough for weekday duty
What’s to like: For a party speaker, the PartyBox Encore Essential is a pretty versatile device. With the tone controls in the smartphone app set for the most even tonal balance, it offers solid sound quality, according to our testers. And while it’s rather modest in size by the standards of karaoke-compatible party box speakers, it does deliver plenty of volume. An LED light show controlled by JBL’s smartphone app surrounds the single woofer. The app also lets you add DJ sound effects ranging from a horn or a dog’s bark to a variety of record scratch sounds.
What’s not to like: While the Encore Essential sounds quite good for a speaker of its size, you can get equivalent sound quality albeit at lower volumes with the cheaper, smaller Charge 4. JBL claims six-hours of battery life, so there’s a chance the PartyBox Encore Essential may run out of juice, just about the time your party is taking off.
Who it’s for: A music lover with a retro style sensibility who’s all about the bass
What’s to like: The JBL Boombox 2 is a satisfying sequel to JBL’s original Boombox. And like its predecessor, the Boombox 2 channels the giant beatboxes that the cool kids—and even LL Cool J—carried around in the 1980s and 90s. But while it exudes old-school style, the Boombox 2’s tech is decidedly modern, with solid Bluetooth streaming and a 10,000-milliamp-hour rechargeable battery that’s said to last 24 hours and can serve as a power bank for charging other devices. JBL says the Boombox 2 meets IPX7 water-resistance standards, so the speaker should stay safe from a significant splash or even a modest dunking, though we didn’t test that. Our testers find the new model sounds very much like its predecessor. The Boombox 2 is both loud and clear, with enough volume for a large room or an outdoor space.
What’s not to like: The Boombox 2 features bass that can rattle the walls, and that’s not entirely a good thing. While our testers give the speaker a solid rating for sound quality, they add that the bass can be overwhelming on certain kinds of music. The model might be just the thing for an outdoor dance party, but it can sometimes deliver too much low end for a small bedroom or home office.
Who it’s for: Someone ready to par-tay… but with a strong back and plenty of room
What’s to like: If you want a party speaker that delivers lots of volume and big bass, the Party Box 110 might be the model for you. It plays plenty loud with decent, if bass-heavy, sound and adds features like an LED light show surrounding its twin woofers and jacks for karaoke mic capability. The styling, at least when the light show is off, is more restrained than many similar speakers, which is a good thing if you want to store the thing in the family room rather than the garage. It features IPX4 water-resistance, says the manufacturer, so it’s also splashproof.
What’s not to like: At 23 pounds and 22 inches tall, JBL’s PartyBox 110 is a serious hunk of speaker, and while it has handles, you’re not going to want to carry it around a lot. While it sounds decent, the PartyBox 110 lacks some of the sonic subtlety of smaller but higher-performance speakers: Our testers heard slight plasticky distortions in the midrange. More to the point, the 110’s sibling, the PartyBox Encore Essential, offers most of the same party-centric features in a smaller, better-sounding, and less-expensive package.
Who it’s for: A bass fan looking for a loud speaker with some heft
What’s to like: The Xtreme 2 looks a lot like other modern Bluetooth speakers, but it’s significantly bigger than the models you’d toss in a beach bag. The sound quality ranks toward the top of our portable speaker ratings with strong bass, though our testers find that it falls a bit short when compared with the new Xtreme 3. The bass is a bit too prominent, but the model does deliver enough volume to fill a rather large room. The Xtreme 2 has an internal power bank that can charge other devices, and it’s reported to be water-resistant to 3 meters, a claim CR doesn’t test. It also includes a speakerphone feature that was dropped from the Xtreme 3.
What’s not to like: At more than 5 pounds and almost a foot long, the Xtreme 2 is kind of cumbersome for a portable speaker and it lacks a carrying handle. As with the Xtreme 3, the Xtreme 2 isn’t really ideal for music on the go.
Who it’s for: The fan of music alfresco in search of a Cinderella speaker that’s not too big or too small
What’s to like: Think of the Charge 4 as the smaller sibling of JBL’s Xtreme 3. Our testers find it easy to use, and its light weight and more modest dimensions make it a great choice if you’re looking for a speaker that will be traveling with you. Our testers find that the Charge 4 has admirable sound quality, and delivers enough volume for a midsized room. It also features an internal power bank to charge other devices. JBL says that the Charge 4 is water-resistant to 1 meter, a claim CR doesn’t test. And, for those who like to make a personal statement beyond the playlist, JBL lets you customize the design. I chose the color scheme and had an image and text printed on the grill cloth of the model I purchased for myself. Best of all, there wasn’t an upcharge for this special treatment.
What’s not to like: It’s not a drawback exactly, but if you have no plans to leave the house with your speaker, home models like the similarly priced Sonos One SL or the cheaper Ikea Symfonisk offer better sound quality for the money than the Charge 4.
Who it’s for: Anyone looking for a really good, inexpensive portable speaker
What’s to like: The JBL Flip 5 is a bargain. It lists for just over $100, and the street price is sometimes less. But don’t be fooled by the low cost—this JBL is a lot of speaker for the money. The classic cylindrical design takes up relatively little space in a beach bag or on a picnic table. JBL claims a battery life of up to 12 hours, and the advertised IPX7 water-resistance rating means the model can survive a dunking, which makes it perfect for the beach or any outdoor setting where a shower—or a drop in the kiddie pool—is a distinct possibility. JBL lets you personalize the design on this model, too.
What’s not to like: Compared with the best-sounding speakers we’ve tested, the Flip 5 has a few sonic shortcomings, with bass that’s a bit boomy and trebles that are somewhat subdued. But when played outdoors or in another casual environment that a speaker like this is designed for, the Flip 5’s largely forgiving sonic signature encourages you to play tunes one right after the other. Our testers find the Flip 5 to be a bit less versatile than its predecessor, the Flip 4. It lacks an aux input for plugging in an external device, and the microphone that allowed the Flip 4 to function as a speakerphone.
Who it’s for: A fan of outdoor dance parties who’s not troubled by the missing features found on its predecessor
What’s to like: Our testers find that the Charge 5 has many of the same good qualities as the Charge 4, most notably its satisfying sound quality. It’s easy to use, and able to deliver enough volume for a midsized room. JBL says the Charge 5 is dust-resistant in addition to being water-resistant like the Charge 4; these are claims CR doesn’t test.
What’s not to like: Our testers find the Charge 5 to be less versatile than its predecessor. It lacks an aux input for plugging in an external device. Also gone is the microphone that allows the Charge 4 to function as a speakerphone.
Who it’s for: Anyone looking for a really good, inexpensive portable speaker
What’s to like: The Flip 6 is very similar to the Flip 5, and that’s generally a good thing. It’s portable and just the right size to slip into a bag or even the water bottle pocket on a backpack. JBL claims it has the same up-to-12-hour battery life as the Flip 5, too, plus an IPX67 water-resistance rating, which means it can survive a dunking. It’s also dust-resistant.
What’s not to like: The Flip 6 does have a few sonic shortcomings. The bass is kind of boomy and the deepest bass is missing, while the trebles are a bit sizzly. The model has enough volume to fill a medium-sized room, but it can sound strained at higher volumes. Like the Flip 5, the speaker lacks an aux input for plugging in an external device and a microphone for speakerphone functionality. It does not give you the option to personalize its looks, either.
Who it’s for: Anyone who thinks it’s party time
What’s to like: The JBL Party Box On-the-Go, is, well, a party in a box. At least if your idea of a party involves flashing lights and amateur karaoke. The speaker has an input that allows you to use either the included wireless mic, your own microphone, or an electric guitar. The adjustable LED light feature can add visual interest to your get-together, although it’s not as adjustable as some others. Our testers find the bass to be a bit boomy, adding that the Party Box does play quite loud, providing enough volume to fill a large room.
What’s not to like: This is a big speaker and a heavy one. It’s 19 inches long and weighs more than 16 pounds, making it even heftier than the already large JBL Boombox. And while the horizontal design looks a bit like a boombox, the PartyBox doesn’t have the kind of integrated handle that makes a boombox so fun and easy to carry around. It does have a shoulder strap, which is less convenient. JBL estimates the speaker’s battery life to be only six hours at half volume, which might cut your party short if you don’t have access to an outlet. The JBL PartyBox On-the-Go has an IPX 4 rating, according to JBL, so it’s splashproof but not full-on water-resistant. All in all, if you don’t need the lights and the karaoke functions, there are better-sounding and better-performing speakers at a similar price. See the JBL Xtreme 3.
Who it’s for: Someone who wants to see as well as hear their tunes
What’s to like: The JBL Pulse 4 is a speaker that you don’t just listen to, but one that you can watch as well. Like its predecessor, the Pulse 3, it has a transparent dome that covers an array of LED lights. The model looks less like a lava lamp than the previous option—that may or may not be a good thing—but it throws even more light. You can adjust the Pulse 4’s colors or make the LEDs pulse to the music. These adjustments are useful because they allow you to pump up the light show on Saturday night, or tone it way down to make the Pulse 4 an unobtrusive accent lamp after the guests have gone home. The sound quality is more than adequate, with solid but slightly boomy bass, a clear midrange that doesn’t distort vocals, and enough volume to fill a midsized room.
What’s not to like: You’re paying a lot for the Pulse 4’s visual effects. You might seriously consider buying the Flip 5 instead and having enough money left over for a very nice lamp. Our testers also find the Pulse 4 to be less versatile than its predecessor, which had a mic for a speakerphone and an aux jack for plugging in an external device. They also report that its controls are a bit less easy to use.
Who it’s for: Anyone looking for a cheap and cheerful companion for a hike or a bike ride
What’s to like: The Clip 4 is hardly the best-sounding speaker we’ve tested, but it does have two important things going for it—it’s inexpensive and it’s small. The tiny speaker fits easily into your palm and features a carabiner that can clip onto a backpack or a beach bag. JBL claims an IP67 rating, which means the speaker is both water-resistant and dustproof. Our testers find the Clip 4 to be easy to pair, and the prominent controls make it easy to turn up the volume.
What’s not to like: Sonically, our testers report the Clip 4 to be somewhat challenged. The highs are a little sizzly, the midrange is a bit nasal, and there’s not much bass to speak of. The performance falls well short of the similarly sized but significantly more expensive Bose SoundLink Micro, and is better suited to podcasts than music.
Allen St. John
I believe that technology has the power to change our lives—for better or for worse. That’s why I’ve spent my life reporting and writing about it for outlets of all sorts, from newspapers (such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times) to magazines (Popular Mechanics and Rolling Stone) and even my own books (“Newton’s Football” and “Clapton’s Guitar”). For me, there’s no better way to spend a day than talking to a bunch of experts about an important subject and then writing a story that’ll help others be smarter and better informed.
The 8 best JBL Bluetooth speakers
If you’re shopping for portable JBL speakers, high-quality sound output isn’t the only feature to consider. There are tons of models on the market, each designed for specific needs. The best JBL Bluetooth speakers boast the right dimensions, battery life, and level of durability for their intended use.
What to look for when shopping for the best JBL Bluetooth speakers
First, decide where your speaker will be used. If you play music or podcasts in your home, a compact model will produce satisfying sounds without taking up much room. For speakers that will be used outdoors or in larger spaces, you may want a bigger, heavier model. Another option is to look for speakers that have PartyBoost technology. This feature allows you to connect multiple JBL speakers to one music source for stereo sound, replacing a single large speaker with multiple smaller ones.
Battery performance is another important factor. Most portable JBL speakers are powered by rechargeable batteries, and maximum playing times vary between five and 24 hours. If you keep your speaker in the shower or use it for relatively short activities like workouts, five hours between charges can go a long way. But if you’re using it for entertaining, longer battery life will minimize the risk of having music cut short in the middle of a party. There is also a Bluetooth-enabled plug-in model which eliminates the need for charging altogether.
Next, consider how much wear and tear your speaker will endure. Many JBL speakers come with an IP (Ingress Protection) rating, which indicates their resistance to foreign substances including dirt and water. While some speakers aren’t waterproof and must be kept indoors, others are rated IPX7, which means they can withstand being submerged in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. However, most models are rated IP67, meaning that they’re both waterproof and dust-tight (which is a must if you’re looking for a speaker for the beach or lake).
Finally, look for design elements that match your needs. Some speakers come with latches or carabiners for easy carrying, while another has a power bank for charging devices. Carrying straps, flashing LED lights, and even bottle openers are among the other bonus features that are built into various models.
With all this in mind, scroll down to see the best and latest JBL Bluetooth speakers available on Amazon right now.
Shop the best JBL Bluetooth speakers
In a hurry? These are the top picks:
- The overall best speaker: JBL Flip 6
- The best budget speaker: JBL Go 3
- The best premium portable speaker: JBL Boombox 2
- The best compact speaker: JBL Clip 4
- The best multitasking speaker: JBL Charge 5
- The best speaker for entertaining: JBL Xtreme 3
- The best light-up speaker: JBL Pulse 4
- The best professional-grade speaker: JBL Professional IRX108 8-Inch Loudspeaker
1. The overall best speaker
JBL Flip 6
The JBL Flip 6 is an all-purpose speaker that suits a variety of needs. Despite its handheld size, it doesn’t skimp on sound — in fact, one Amazon reviewer claimed that it’s loud enough to play on a baseball field. A lanyard makes it easy to carry, and the IP67 rating means you can safely use it in wet environments. The speaker is PartyBoost enabled, so you can connect it with other compatible JBL models, and its battery runs for a generous 12 hours between charges.
Helpful review: “Needed a water and humidity resistant Bluetooth speaker and this one fits the bill. Plus-plenty of volume and the best base response from a small Bluetooth. It’s really water resistant and likely waterproof if there’s an accident. The battery is pretty much as rated, about 10-12 hours depending on how much volume you use. […] All in all, a good product, solid and performance wise.”
Dimensions: 7 inches wide by 2.8 inches high | IP rating: IP67 | Maximum play time: 12 hours | Charging time: 2.5 hours | Available colors: 8
2. The best budget speaker
JBL Go 3
Boasting more than 17,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, the JBL Go 3 is the most wallet-friendly of JBL’s Bluetooth speakers. The diminutive 3.4-by-2.7-inch speaker runs for five hours on a single charge, and as one enthusiastic Amazon reviewer put it, the “Audio quality is surprisingly robust for the size.” A sturdy loop makes it easy to attach to objects like a bike handle or shower hook, and it’s rated IP67, so it will stand up to the elements.
Helpful review: “It fits in your hand, goes anywhere, looks adorable, and connects easily to bluetooth. The controls are simple and easy to use. My daughter and I take it everywhere, including to the beach and paddle boarding. I’m somewhat careful but it goes in with wet clothes, gets banged around in the truck, and it always works. Battery life is great.”
Dimensions: 3.4 inches wide by 2.7 inches high | IP rating: IP67 | Maximum play time: 5 hours | Charging time: 2.5 hours | Available colors: 8
3. The best premium portable speaker
JBL Boombox 2
The Boombox 2 packs a high-tech sound system in a nostalgic package. This speaker can run for up to 24 hours on a single charge, recreating the deep and heavy bass that thumps on a nightclub dance floor. As one reviewer put it, “The bass is nothing short of immersive with a sound that just seems to envelop the room.” A built-in power bank lets you charge your device so your playlist never has to pause, and the PartyBoost feature allows you to link up with other JBL speakers for amplified sound. Note that it’s rated IPX7, so it can withstand water but not dirt or dust.
Helpful review: “Sounds great at low volumes and awesome at high volume. No degradation of sound quality at higher volumes. Crank it up for larger areas like a backyard or pool (it is waterproof). Two of these would rock any any larger area or venue. I was also impressed by the the long rechargeable battery life, easy to carry handle and simple controls. Pairing to my smartphone was quick and easy.”
Dimensions: 19.1 inches wide by 10.1 inches high | IP rating: IP67 | Maximum play time: 24 hours | Charging time: 6. 5 hours | Available colors: 2
4. The best compact speaker
JBL Clip 4
The Clip 4 is a compact portable speaker that’s ideal for casual listening. A built-in carabiner allows you to clip it onto belt loops, backpacks, or other objects, and an IP67 rating means it’s durable enough for outdoor use. The battery lasts up to 10 hours per full charge, and six fun color options add some style to its substance.
Helpful review: “This little thing bumps! I had a big block portable speaker before and got tired of lugging it around when I went skating. Now I can just clip this onto my backpack and all my friends can hear the music even when I’m kinda far away from them.”
Dimensions: 3.4 inches wide by 5.3 inches high | IP rating: IP67 | Maximum play time: 10 hours | Charging time: 3 hours | Available colors: 6
5. The best multitasking speaker
JBL Charge 5
The Charge 5 combines a quality speaker with a built-in charger for your compatible devices. The battery provides up to 20 hours of continuous play time on a full four-hour charge, and an IP67 rating means it’s both waterproof and dustproof. Dozens of Amazon reviewers endorsed this speaker for its excellent sound quality, but those who want to take their listening experience to the next level can link it to additional speakers using the PartyBoost feature.
Helpful review: “I wanted to buy a speaker that I can take on trips and not worry about the battery dying on long days out […] it looks and sounds high quality. The addition of a tweeter and the new sleek design, It’s a completely different beast from the previous generations. If you want something light and easily portable that doesn’t compromise its sound than the Charge 5 is the way to go.”
Dimensions: 8.7 inches wide by 3.67 inches high | IP rating: IP67 | Maximum play time: 20 hours | Charging time: 4 hours | Available colors: 6
The best speaker for entertaining
JBL Xtreme 3
With its deep bass output and 15-hour battery life, the Xtreme 3 is tailor-made for all-night dance parties. A built-in strap allows for easy transport, and an IP67 rating indicates that it’s suitable for any outdoor setting. The PartyBoost-enabled speaker doubles as a power bank for mobile devices and tablets; it even comes with a built-in bottle opener to simplify hosting duties.
Helpful review: “OMG the sound quality. For speakers that size, this little guy sounds immaculate. The bass is rich, the highs are crisp, and the mids aren’t muddy. It also gets REALLY loud; I’m not sure I’ve even turned it up all the way before. Halfway is usually plenty, even when working in a large sound stage.”
Dimensions: 11.75 inches wide by 5.35 inches high | IP rating: IP67 | Maximum play time: 15 hours | Charging time: 2. 5 hours | Available colors: 3
7. The best light-up speaker
JBL Pulse 4
For a speaker with a flashy bonus, the Pulse 4 pairs high-quality sound with a 360-degree LED light show. Settings can be customized using an app, and a 12-hour battery life will keep music running for the duration of any party. With an IPX7 rating, the speaker is waterproof (but not dust- or dirt-proof), and you don’t have to limit its use to outdoor gatherings. According to one satisfied Amazon reviewer, it “is beyond perfect for my shower […] For such a small, rechargeable speaker, the bass is VERY strong and the best of any speaker I own.”
Helpful review: “Sound quality is amazing, love the lights… best investment ive made. Super happy.”
Dimensions: 5.51 by 4.45 by 9.69 inches | IP rating: IPX7 | Maximum play time: 12 hours | Charging time: 3.5 hours | Available colors: 2
The best professional-grade speaker
JBL Professional IRX108 8-Inch Loudspeaker
This 8-inch JBL loudspeaker is designed for performances, presentations, and public speaking events that are held in large spaces. However, a number of Amazon reviewers have also used this as a home speaker. Although it isn’t waterproof and must be plugged into an outlet to operate, its performance makes it a worthy investment. “You will feel like [you’re] at a club on a dancefloor […] I don’t think you can get this loud of a sound with this much bass with a speaker that runs on a battery,” reported one satisfied reviewer. For higher performance, the PA is also available in a 12-inch version.
Helpful review: “This is a nearly perfect self powered speaker. Plenty of power for clean sound in most small/ mid size venues and even larger paired with a sub. […] The weight is very light for a speaker of this quality. It’s sturdy and solid, but very light. All in all, I strongly recommend this product – I will be buying another after having used this for a few small gigs.”
Dimensions: 12.32 inches wide by 19.15 inches high | IP rating: N/A (not waterproof) | Maximum play time: N/A | Charging time: N/A | Available colors: 1
RATING OF 10 JBL PORTABLE SPEAKERS
Relationship with JBL transforms music. Here everything is decided by sound and bass, so the speakers are considered the standard. Among them, there will definitely be a suitable one for you.
For fans of the brand: JBL T600BT: a review of headphones for $ 100
JBL Flip 6: a full-range speaker and high-end protection
The Flip line is recognizable by its elongated body with an intuitive button layout and a catchy palette of colors. Compared to the JBL Flip 5, the 6th version is a subtle upgrade to an already excellent Bluetooth speaker. Flip 6 is stronger and more suitable for outdoor use. It is not afraid of water, the case is reliably protected from moisture ingress according to the IP 67 standard (it is not afraid of fresh water).
It has the latest version of Bluetooth and the sound quality has improved significantly. It is easy to operate and quickly syncs with your smartphone. This model does not have built-in microphones for voice assistants and phone calls. There’s also no phone charging port, AUX input for wired listening, and Wi-Fi connectivity. This speaker is designed to play music, and it does it perfectly.
Is JBL Flip 6 worth it: a comparison of pros and cons
The advantages are in four aspects:
- Portability is a fat trump card, because acoustics take up a minimum of space, it is convenient to take it with you anywhere;
- autonomy up to 12 hours of continuous listening to music;
- IP67 dust and water resistant works where dusty, damp or wet;
- Powerful bass and surround sound in the open air, and in particular the sound of low frequencies is well manifested where there are no walls.
Disadvantages are related to the comfort of use: there is no microphone and voice assistant. It is not possible to charge a smartphone, as is implemented in more functional models.
Flip 6 is a great speaker for everyday use, if you do not need dozens of functions and complex controls. In this model, everything is simple – turn it on and listen.
Learn more about this device: JBL Flip 6: a 7-part overview of the potential
JBL Pulse 4: bright, impressive, memorable
JBL portable speaker ratings are indispensable without this model. It impresses with bright circular RGB lighting throughout the body. For ease of use around the top ring are buttons for power, Bluetooth pairing, volume up and down, play and pause. There is also a button for setting the LED indicators and PartyBoost, which connects the speaker to other Pulse 4s to create a stereo pair or multi-room system (up to 100 speakers).
The Pulse 4 has a balanced midrange that perfectly reproduces vocals and lead instruments. With a 360-degree design and excellent directivity, you can replace a large and open soundstage while listening. At a party or gatherings with friends, such acoustics have no equal. The column conquers not only with its appearance, but also with a powerful sound.
Advantages and disadvantages of JBL Pulse 4: is everything so perfect?
|Good mids and vocals
|Not enough bass 9 No aux connector
|Battery with autonomy up to 12 hours
|Light and compact
For more details: JBL Pulse 4: 5 parameters overview of the updated model
JBL Go 3: ultra-compact but loud 9000 7
This affordable and simple Bluetooth speaker is designed for ardent audiophiles. Easily fits in the hand, although its protection is no joke: IP 67 protection allows the senses to have fun near the water.
External differences in the new lines of the brand are often insignificant, but not in the case of JBL GO 3. Due to the rubberized surface, the speaker does not slip and feels good in the hand. Despite its small size, it sounds loud, pleasing to the ear with clear sound and rich bass. At maximum volume, the speaker does not produce distortion, but, on the contrary, fills every centimeter of space around with high-quality sound. Fans of audiobooks and podcasts will love the sound of vocals from GO 3. Here it is really impressive.
Pros and cons
Among the main advantages of the model:
- IP67 rating, submersible up to 1 meter.
- Autonomy up to 5 hours of use.
- Attractive price: up to 1 500 UAH.
Despite the water resistance, the column sinks in water, and this is a significant disadvantage. It will be problematic to hold the device by the cord or hang it on your hand, because it is too short. Otherwise, the JBL GO 3 is a good model with optimal performance.
For book lovers: Top 10 audiobook apps
JBL Clip 4: portability and power in one model
One of JBL’s best outdoor speakers. It is in the form of a clip, which is convenient to attach to clothing. The Clip 4 is an improvement over the JBL Clip 3. The previous output was only 3W, while this model has a maximum output of 5W. Also to be commended is the quality speaker and passive heatsink that improve the overall bass response. The manufacturer added USB-C charging to the Clip 4 and ditched the headphone jack, so there’s no wired playback. If you’re looking for a simple yet durable speaker, this is a great choice.
Advantages and disadvantages
Clip 4 has a strong and reliable carabiner, Bluetooth 5.1. As well as a loud speaker, large buttons for controlling tracks and good protection against dirt, dust, splashes and water exposure when diving into fresh water.
But no microphone and AUX socket. Lacks PartyBoost for pairing with other devices and fast charging. Although these shortcomings do not affect the decent sound of the legendary four.
Interesting article: What is IP68: TOP 3 gadgets for which moisture protection is important
JBL Flip 5: the younger, but not the worst version of the cult Flip 6
It is similar to the well-known Flip 6, but with a more affordable price tag – up to 5 thousand hryvnias. The JBL Flip 5 is renowned for its durability and water resistance. She has a high level of dust and moisture protection IPX7. This means that the acoustics will not break when wet or completely immersed in water.
The Flip 5 sounds about average: loud, with good mids and vocals. The speaker is powerful, so the bass is deep. As the first portable acoustics, it pleasantly surprises the inexperienced ear.
Advantages and disadvantages of JBL Flip 5
The fifth series is not much different from the sixth. But there are some parameters that can affect the choice of listener.
The main advantages of Flip 5:
- High degree of protection;
- autonomy up to 12 hours;
- USB-C charging – simplifies charging and connecting devices to the speaker;
- budget compared to other models from the rating.
There are also disadvantages:
- Lack of an equalizer – there is no way to adjust the sound depending on the genre and personal preferences;
- no 3.5 mm jack for wired listening;
- Bluetooth below version 5.
JBL Xtreme 3: Impressive Bass and Loudness
Designed to deliver the penetrating signature JBL sound with crystal-clear mids and plenty of bass. The Xtreme 3 is equipped with four speakers and two JBL bass drivers that deliver breathtakingly detailed sound. This speaker is ideal for noisy parties and listening to music.
The sonic performance of the JBL Xtreme 3 is superior to all other speakers. Compared to the JBL Flip 5, the model has developed high frequencies, and the vocals sound more natural. In terms of stereo sound, the Xtreme 3 also impresses with good sound separation.
JBL Xtreme 3 pros and cons
Wireless speaker wins music lovers with sound and power. The model also has functional advantages, for example, the ability to charge Bluetooth devices using the speaker as a power bank.
Battery life lasts up to 15 hours. Additional protection against moisture and dust according to the IP67 standard challenges those who prefer outdoor activities. Compared with the advantages of the model, the lack of a speakerphone and a variety of options cannot be considered significant disadvantages. The column is decent in terms of functionality.
Detailed review: JBL Xtreme 3: sound overview + 7 important parameters
JBL Charge 5: premium sound and great performance in one speaker
This device is built like a tank with an absolute waterproof coating. Equipped with optimized long-throw drivers and tweeters for exceptionally clear sound. Compared to the younger version of Charge 4, the fifth series has a louder sound, high bass and increased autonomy – up to 20 hours.
The speaker is especially good for electronic music, rock and hip-hop, where you can listen to a melody and be influenced by rich bass at the same time.
JBL Charge 5: pros and cons
Significant advantages of the model include:
- the PartyBoost function will allow you to connect with another JBL and listen to tracks simultaneously from several devices;
- clear and spacious sound;
- IP67 protection standard.
Minuses are conditional. The column is quite large, it is problematic to take it with you. For home use and parties, this is a great option, although there is no microphone and no possibility for wired listening. thanks to the inherent features – including support for the Voice Assistant. The column works like Google Home: you can ask to play music from Google Play, Spotify and a number of other services, request information about the weather, news, sports, conversion of units of measurement and ask other questions.
Quite heavy for a portable one – 735 g. In comparison, the weight of JBL Flip 5 is only 540 g. Nevertheless, the manufacturer managed to keep a balance between powerful speakers and convenient acoustics for traveling.
Advantages and disadvantages Link 10
The main advantages of the model:
- Attractive design – housing made of durable black plastic, with convenient controls on the top panel;
- reliable protection against moisture and dust,
- a large number of functions: voice assistant, Spotify radio and Pandora.
- No JBL Connect support, which makes it impossible to create a stereo pair;
- when playing heavy sub-bass, slight sound distortion is heard;
- small autonomy – up to 8 hours.
The need for frequent charging is a significant drawback of the model. All other disadvantages can be forgiven for high-quality sound and modern options that turn an ordinary speaker into a multitasking device.
In the theme of smart home: Smart socket: how to set up in 3 steps
JBL Boombox 2: loud and deep sound that instantly fills the space
Bass from huge speakers is impressive. At maximum settings, you can feel the rattling of the floor, which only emphasizes the power of this speaker. In terms of volume, JBL Boombox 2 is also not inferior to competitors. The sound is clear and the bass is rich.
The manufacturer took care of autonomy seriously. Built-in battery provides up to 24 hours of listening time. There is also a nuance. When playing at maximum volume, autonomy drops to 8 hours, but this is also a worthy indicator for such powerful acoustics.
JBL Boombox 2 pros and cons in the table 043 Extreme volume great for indoor and outdoor listening
Overall, the JBL Boombox 2 continues to be one of the best large speakers on the market today. If you are looking for truly powerful acoustics, then this model will meet your expectations.
And a few more tips: 10 points for choosing the right portable speaker
JBL PartyBox 100: big and futuristic
The sound power of this speaker is more than enough for noisy parties and large events. In addition, bright circular RGB lighting creates a special atmosphere.
Speaker does not support JBL’s proprietary Partybox software. It will not work to control the backlight remotely, and the number of modes when switching on the device itself is less.
Having heard the sound from the PartyBox 100, you can forget about this minor minus. The speakers sound balanced and clear, and after turning on the special bass boost function, electronic music plays in completely different colors.
JBL PartyBox 100: is it worth buying?
The manufacturer has managed to maintain a balance between the sound and design of this musical giant. It even won the EISA Awards for Best Product in the Party Speaker Category.
Among the main advantages of the PartyBox 100:
- high-quality sound,
- reliable assembly,
- recognizable design,
- availability of AUX connectors for headphones and instruments,
- autonomy up to 12 hours.
The disadvantages are the lack of remote control and overheating if used for too long.
Each speaker in our JBL portable speaker rating has its pros and cons. You need to choose from your own preferences and the rhythm of life. For travelers, small models with good protection against dust and moisture are suitable, and those who want to plunge headlong into music will like large speakers with powerful speakers.
It may be useful: How to connect a microphone to a portable speaker – 2 ways
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JBL’s Top 10 Best Speakers – 2023 Ranking
Today, many people associate JBL with high sound quality. It is not at all surprising that many users are looking for portable equipment from this particular manufacturer. We understand this trend, and we present to your attention the ranking of the best JBL speakers. At the same time, a small clarification regarding the fact that our selection contains those models of gadgets that are on sale in Ukraine will not hurt. They can be divided into two classes:
At the same time, we decided to create conditional groupings, dividing the product range into budget and high-quality models, among which there are quite a few portable mono speakers.
See also: 15 best portable speakers from different manufacturers.
- JBL Best Inexpensive Speakers
- JBL Go Essential
- JBL Clip 3
- JBL Go
- JBL Clip 4
- JBL Go 3
- The best JBL speakers for price and quality 3
- How to choose a JBL portable speaker?
- Which JBL portable column is better to buy in Ukraine?
JBL Best Inexpensive Speakers
This category contains budget mono speakers with modest sound parameters. Actually, for this reason, it is difficult to find frequency response tests for these gadgets on the network. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that it is not necessary to count on high quality reproduction of bass, midrange and high frequencies from inexpensive speakers, because they belong to the amateur class.
JBL Go Essential
Opening the top 10 JBL portable speakers, the balanced Go Essential model allows you to listen to music for a long period of time without recharging. In particular, customer reviews indicate autonomy at the level of 5-6 hours. The product has a waterproof housing according to the IPx7 standard. Thanks to its durable, compact design, you can take this device with you literally anywhere. A low-power speaker (3.1 W) is connected via a Bluetooth connection. Finally, it is worth adding that this model has excellent compatibility with various devices based on both iOS and Android.
- housing protection;
- compact body;
- good sensitivity;
- signal to noise ratio.
- volume level;
- lows and mids.
JBL Clip 3
Another reasonably priced speaker from JBL with a good range of options for its price range. This gadget also has protection against moisture according to the IPX7 standard. We are pleased with the convenience of software for connecting the device to a smartphone, there are many settings. There is a speaker function and a metal carabiner, but the sound parameters are not high. The bass is not rich, although the vocals sound nice. If you do not bring the sound level above 70%, then you can get aesthetic pleasure from music. For walks, this may be enough. Autonomy is enough for 3 hours of work. As for the strengths of this device, we note the absence of delays when using a wireless connection, the harmonic distortion coefficient is low.
- no delays;
- harmonic distortion;
- has a carabiner;
- waterproof housing;
- very compact model.
- battery life;
- low bass.
This is one of the oldest budget speakers, which still attracts with good value for money. This model supports power in the range from 3 to 4 W with a frequency range from 110 Hz to 20 thousand Hz. The signal-to-noise ratio is 85 dB, which is comparable to the Apple Watch. Explicit wheezing and noise were not found, but the volume is clearly not enough. In nature, you can’t count on high efficiency, but for home use this is definitely a high-quality solution. Autonomy lasts for 5 hours, pleases the ability to receive a call with one button. There is a good microphone equipped with noise reduction.
- power for this size;
- good autonomy;
- legendary line.
- old model;
- not enough volume.
JBL Clip 4
Another JBL entry-level portable speaker with good sound compared to previous models. At medium volume, there is a really deep sound of vocals and bottoms. At the same time, the Clip 3 line (the previous generation) had less distortion, although one could not count on such a bass. The power of 5 W, as it turned out, is enough even for listening to music in nature or on the street. There were no delays when using a Bluetooth 5.1 wireless connection. At the same time, the rugged case, protected according to the IP-67 standard, weighs around 250 grams. Inside is a fairly large battery, which is enough for 10 hours of battery life.
- good volume;
- bottom quality;
- smart design;
- moisture and dust protection standard;
- comfortable body shape.
- more distortion.
JBL Go 3
JBL’s best value speaker in 2023 is the acclaimed Go 3 with excellent signal-to-noise ratio and clear vocals. The third generation of this series has an enlarged 1.5-inch speaker with up to 4. 2 watts of power. For this form factor, this is definitely a good decision, leaving the competition behind. At the same time, we see good results in the bass and treble reproduction tests even when using the maximum sound level. This is rare for the budget class. It is not at all surprising that this line has received such a wide audience of buyers. The time of the declared autonomy is 5 hours, but in practice this figure is about 4.5 hours, and it takes about 2.5 hours to charge the product, which is considered the norm.
- autonomy time;
- bottom quality;
- high power for size;
- signal-to-noise ratio;
- comfortable design.
The best JBL speakers in terms of price and quality
This section presents more powerful portable speakers from the company that attract with more solid sound parameters. At the same time, the number of options and the quality of the body in some cases may even be inferior to budget solutions.
The JBL column rating is replenished with the Flip series, which stands out from the budget lines with a louder speaker and an extended list of options. However, since the release of this model, six new generations have already appeared. The reason for the appearance of this series is due only to a pleasant price tag. The design includes two 5 W speakers at once, which made it possible to recreate surround sound. When using Bluetooth, no special distortions were found. Pleased with the presence of a large lithium-ion battery that guarantees battery life at 5 hours. The case is more massive than inexpensive counterparts, but not as durable. You can use a smartphone on any system to play sound.
- good autonomy;
- two speakers;
- surround sound;
- minimum distortion.
- outdated series.
JBL Tuner 2
Another good mid-range portable speaker for hiking. The device is equipped with a radio receiver and a neat display. The invention weighs a little more than 500 grams, and stands out for its rather stylish and neat appearance. The case is protected according to the IPX7 standard, so getting caught in the rain with this column is not scary. The built-in emitter has a power of 5 W, and the battery lasts for 12 hours of battery life. Considering the comments of buyers, we can conclude that the column pleases with a fairly solid quality of mids, but the bottoms are not ideal. Pairing with other devices is carried out using the Bluetooth 4.2 standard.
- bright backlight;
- autonomous operation;
- waterproof housing;
- good vocals.
- not the deepest bass.
JBL Charge 5
Another powerful JBL portable speaker with two 10W and 30W speakers. There are several versions to choose from, one of which has a rubber plug, but experts recommend taking the usual modification. That’s what we’re talking about. This gadget pleases with the presence of two Texas Instruments chips at once, acting as a good amplifier. An advanced solution based on the Texas Instruments PCM5121 chip is used as a converter. We get good sound in all frequencies with minimal delays without distortion. Autonomous work reaches the mark of 20 hours. The case is implemented according to the IP-67 protection standard. The total power of the column is 40 W with a frequency range of 65 to 20,000 Hz.
- sound quality at all frequencies;
- good, protected case;
- total sound power;
- minimum distortion.
- there is a TL version, not very successful.
JBL Flip 6
In terms of value for money, one of the most interesting JBL portable speakers is the JBL Flip 6 line. Compared to the previous generation, this device has a higher output power – now 30 watts. In addition to the loud sound, it should be noted the waterproof case, the presence of Bluetooth v5. 1 and a 10W tweeter. JBL PartyBoost proprietary technology is provided, which is responsible for saturated bottoms. The dimensions of the column have not changed, although the predecessor had only one driver. It should be noted very clean and high-quality vocals, good high frequencies. For the home, this is definitely a top-end solution that can provide music even to a large room up to 35 squares.
- top model for the home;
- increased volume;
- build quality;
- good frequency response;
- powerful bass.
- not found.
JBL Xtreme 3
JBL’s best speaker of 2023 is the powerful Xtreme 3 series speaker, as you can tell from its name. High-end stereo speakers are already used here. Two 70 mm woofers were implemented at once to reproduce bass and two more 20 mm each to improve volume. There are passive emitters on the tanks. The total sound level is 100 W, and this is enough to organize a party even on the street. The signal is transmitted via Bluetooth 5.1 in conjunction with the lossless SBC codec. A portable speaker is used to play songs of different styles. The battery lasts for 15 hours of operation. It is not at all surprising that this gadget supports the Power Bank function.
- stereo sound;
- sound power;
- SBC codec;
- high autonomy;
- Power bank function.
- not found.
How to choose a JBL portable speaker?
In fact, the criteria for choosing equipment from this manufacturer are no different. Nevertheless, if you don’t know how to choose a speaker from JBL, you should familiarize yourself with the range of products and have at least a figurative understanding of what devices you can get in a particular class, or rather, what parameters you can count on:
- Housing – virtually all models of this brand have a rugged housing, but the standard can vary from IPx7 to IP-68. The first digit in this classification indicates the degree of protection against dust, and the second against water. The older the values, the better the technology protection is implemented.
- Autonomy – can vary from 3 to 20 hours. The latest solutions also support the power bank function, so with their help you can quickly restore the battery of a smartphone or smart watch.
- Frequency range – for the budget segment, it is considered an acceptable norm from 110 Hz to 20000 Hz.
- Form factor – there are mini-models (usually inexpensive) and elongated in the classic style from JBL. Different segments can be equipped with additional accessories, ranging from a retainer for a satchel to a hand strap.
- Sound tests – if you want to get a more detailed picture of the sound quality of a particular gadget, we recommend finding resources on the network to measure the volume-to-frequency ratio, wireless connection delay, and harmonic distortion.