Free Lifetime Tech Support
Main Content
Black JBL Speaker

Wireless Speakers Buying Guide

Our wireless speaker buying guide is here to help you bring high-volume music wherever you go, or outfit your home with WiFi home speakers designed to stay in one place. Learn more about which speakers are right for you before you buy with our guide.
Wireless Speaker Buying Guide
Wireless Speaker Buying Guide Video Wireless Speaker Buying Guide Video
Still have a question?
Wireless Speaker Buying Guide
1 year ago

Getting Started

A good wireless speaker (or a complete set of wireless speakers) is an absolute must-have in this day and age. Whether you consider yourself a complete lover of all music genres, a devotee of punk or just want to bring some tunes along to your next picnic at the nearby park, it seems like everyone has them. And while you might have one of these audio electronics from years back, technology is constantly improving, and it might be time to take a look (and lend an ear) to some of the newer offerings on the market. Features like multi-device connectivity, boosted bass and better control make it worth upgrading. Explore all the different ways you can connect to your audio below.
Bluetooth Speaker beside a skateboard outside

The Classic Bluetooth Wireless Speaker

Bluetooth wireless speakers have been around for decades, but users truly started making connections with them at the dawn of the era of smartphones. They operate simply, if invisibly: they receive radio frequency waves instead of direct plug-in feeds via HDMI or AUX cables, all using the RF standard. Others use a form of WiFi—we'll discuss that later. But these wireless speakers are almost always portable and come in many sizes, from ones you can attach to a backpack to large party-sized models that come with a handle and rolling wheels attached. Expanded high-tech features make different products more appealing to different lifestyles, too. If you live near the water or have a pool and love hosting gatherings, a splashproof or water-resistant version might be for you. A dustproof one might be the right option for those who hike and listen at the same time. Other features include voice assistant connection and ultra-long battery life. They come in multiple colors, too: explore our collection to get a good idea of just how many kinds of wireless speakers are out there.
When it comes to the AV source, modern models are pretty versatile with what they can connect to. Most users connect to their audio device via smartphone for a simple experience that's familiar and easy to control. That being said, Bluetooth wireless speakers can often connect to electronics like tablets, laptops, TVs and computers. That allows you to watch films on your laptop and hear high quality, bass-driven sound, or share DJ duties between a family member with a smartphone and another with a tablet. This flexibility and ease is just part of what has made Bluetooth wireless speakers so popular.

How Expensive Are Bluetooth Speakers?

Finally, you might notice a complete spectrum of prices for these audio blasters, from small models with prices under $50 to higher-tier versions that cost hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars. Why the difference? Think of it the same way you would a TV. You could purchase a small model that has low resolution and poor speaker quality for next to nothing. There's also the largest model on the market with an OLED screen, smart technology and 8K resolution that could completely empty out your wallet. The same goes for Bluetooth wireless speakers: simple connectivity and wireless charging may not cost much. But if you're hoping for prolonged battery life, better sound quality, a bit of weather resistance and other advanced features, you'll find it in a higher-priced model.

What Are Some Of The Cons Of Bluetooth Speakers?

When it comes to the cons of these speakers, there aren't many, but they shouldn't be overlooked. The short-range connection often can't go very far from it's source (your smartphone) without getting lost. That signal is further stressed by any interference between your wireless speaker and the source, like walls, ceilings or even objects. And if you're a stickler for high fidelity, these audio electronics might not be for you, either: these speakers compress music more than Wi-Fi models designed for the home. But if you're more interested in a portable, powerful way to bring your music along with you, Bluetooth is absolutely the way to go.
Wireless Home Speaker on a kitchen shelf

Wi-Fi Connected Wireless Speakers For The Home: How Do They Work?

Wi-Fi speakers for the home operate on a completely different system. Instead of sending out radio frequencies that your smartphone or other devices connect to, these speakers patch in to your home's own internet network. With that connection established, you have very little interference from things like walls and ceilings. As long as there's a Wi-Fi connection, you should be able to play your music, podcasts and other audio through these wireless speakers for the home.
The history of home audio goes as far back as the phonograph, and people have been listening to vinyls and records for the better part of a century. But home audio gets a complete makeover with wireless speakers for the home. Instead of a collection of bookshelf speakers, floorstanding ones or even versions placed in the wall, these Wi-Fi connected versions are created to make big sound with little hassle. No need to run wires from one end of the room to the other or spend time on a rigorous setup. These devices are designed to create the same kind of big, high-fidelity sound, though, and you can even create a multi-room system. Play the same music or podcast in the living room, the dining space, the basement and outside. Place one of these wireless speakers for the home in any area that connects to your Wi-Fi and you'll have sound.

Is Setup For Wireless Systems Hard?

The process of playing music is easy here. It usually involves downloading an app onto your smartphone or tablet, completing the setup process, and making sure that your media source is connected to the same network. One of the most popular brands in this realm is Sonos, and the Sonos app makes it easy to do just about everything. Group different units together to create a home theater system, or create a collection made just for the living room or master bedroom. Even connect different streaming apps with your Sonos app to keep everything in one place. You'll have a multi-spatial sound setup in minutes, and it will be ready to go whenever you need it.
That being said, not all wireless speakers for the home are the same, just like with the Bluetooth variants. Nearly all of them are wired, but some are rechargable and even portable, allowing them to function via both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Some come with smart capabilities too, and the ability to talk to voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Explore different models to get just the kind of sound you want. Pick out a single noisemaker, or build a complete system with a soundbar, subwoofer, receiver and more. Control it all from your smartphone with just a tap, or with only your voice.

Which Should I Choose?

When it comes to picking out the wireless speaker that's right for you, think about your lifestyle. Do you spend more of your time on the go, and aren't bothered by short-range connectivity issues? Then a Bluetooth model might be best for your needs: take it wherever you need and choose the one that has the best features for you, from a party box complete with a karaoke mic to a pocket-sized model designed just for biking. But if you're looking for a home system that can play music or podcasts (and can stay plugged in with no need to charge) then Wi-Fi speakers might be the right choice for your home sound system. If you're still not sure, our experts will be able to help you choose. Call us at 800-860-3577 to speak to our knowledgable staff. We've been helping people find the right audio equipment for their lifestyle since our start over 80 years ago, and while the technology has changed, one thing hasn't: we're always ready to help.