Best 40 Watt Bluetooth Speaker – Summer means more time outside, and for most people, music is an essential component of the day’s entertainment. The portable Bluetooth speaker category has exploded in the last few years to become the stereos of 40 years ago – minus the dual-band deck and tethered features to enjoy music streaming.
Whether you want to enjoy your playlist outside by the pool, beach, lake or river, or get ready for a sudden summer shower, the waterproof and water-resistant external Bluetooth speakers pump out the tunes and provide peace of mind. There are many options, from small speakers that fit in your pocket to big ones that can rock a block party.
Best 40 Watt Bluetooth Speaker
Expert: For over three decades I’ve been testing audio equipment for a variety of outputs, from Audio to Rolling Stone. I’ve written about music for over 25 years and interviewed dozens of great artists and producers to find out what their recordings should be like. What to Look for in Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers
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Sound quality comes first when evaluating audio equipment and overall aesthetic style. But equally important are a number of robust features that make the speaker easy to use and enjoy extended use. Sound and style are subjective, and while you can use your ears and eyes to gauge these qualities, certain features can make or break audio equipment, no matter how good it sounds or how it looks. Of course, price is also taken into account, and with a higher cost comes more power and generally better sound quality. Prices here range from $60 to $350, so you can find a speaker that fits your budget and needs.
Look for the longest battery life, but keep in mind that ratings shown are usually lower when the speaker is played at high volume or when light functions are activated. The external Bluetooth speakers tested here offer between 6 and 24 hours of battery life, though this varies depending on volume levels and whether the built-in lights are on. On average, expect 10 to 12 hours of jamming.
Bluetooth is a wireless technology that uses radio frequency to share data over short distances. Make sure the speaker is connected not only via Bluetooth but also via Wi-Fi, which provides better range, and the music won’t be interrupted when you make a phone call. Wi-Fi also gives you the option of multi-room audio by connecting to other Bluetooth speakers of the same brand or Apple Airplay or Google Chromecast if you plan to make the speaker part of a larger home audio system.
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How do you plan to use your Bluetooth speaker outdoors? Do you throw it in your backpack on the way to summer events or does the speaker live by the pool? What kind of music do you listen to and is it for personal listening or as a source of music for family gatherings and celebrations? Are you using it for hands-free phone calls or listening to podcasts and audiobooks? All these answers help determine how big or small a speaker size should be.
If you plan to blast your music in the presence of water, look for a waterproof or water resistant speaker. Be sure to refer to the product’s IP rating, which stands for Ingress Protection. IP ratings are written as IPXX, with the first X denoting resistance to dust and particles, and the second to liquids. Dust resistance IP ratings from 0 to 6; Water IP ratings range from 0 to 9. The IP67 rating means that a product is theoretically immune to damage from, for example, beach sand and is protected against submersion up to one meter for 30 minutes. It’s important to remember that all IP fluid tests are done in fresh water, as testing in saltwater and chlorinated pools will result in corrosion.
Photo by Doug Newcomb // Available in Lagoon Blue or Sunset Red, this bright speaker, the Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3, reflects light that illuminates the beat as you play.
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As a surfer, kiteboarder, paddleboarder and swimmer, I never stay out of the water and rarely go without my music. During the summer, I work as a host at a beach park in Hood River, Oregon, located on the Columbia River, so it’s a watersports center. I tested the speakers in early season/spring conditions in the Columbia River Gorge with rain and wind and removed the waterproof speakers on a stand board. While I mostly evaluate the sound of the speakers outdoors, I also listened indoors as they can do double duty as a desktop or desktop speaker. I used a variety of streaming music, including high resolution files. I also looked at features like battery capacity, lighting effects, and the ability to connect to other equipment or additional speakers. In the end, I appreciated how they looked and felt.
JBL offers a wide lineup of Bluetooth speakers (I own a few and currently rock the Flip 5), but the Charge 5 is my favorite speaker I’ve tested here in terms of sound quality. It produces clean, clear and loud sound with a tall floating speaker for increased volume, a separate tweeter for better high frequencies and a bass radiator at each end for enhanced low frequencies. It has 20 hours of playtime on a full charge and has a built-in USB power bank so you can charge other devices while blasting tunes. IP67 waterproof and dustproof rating means you can take this speaker anywhere. However, the Charge 5 is one of the least aesthetically pleasing of the bunch.
This portable speaker is small enough to easily slip into the pocket of my board shorts, but the integrated rubber straps make it easy to attach to a bike handlebar, belt clip, or just about anything. Are you going to the pool or the beach? An IP67 rating means it’s water-ready. It can also act as a portable charger and has a water-resistant USB-C charging port. Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity offers a range of 120 feet. While the 2-inch speaker, passive radiators, and XBASS technology reproduce sound for its size, the StormBox Micro 2 had the worst output of any speaker I’ve tested.
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The Audio Pro A15 is the best speaker I’ve tested, and its light gray fabric finish stands out in a sea of black Bluetooth options. Compatibility with Apple AirPlay2, Google Chromecast and Audio Pro’s multi-room software positions the A15 as an ideal part of a larger audio system and has Spotify Connect. The A15 supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and has six preset buttons for quick access to your favorite music source or playlist. Still, with just 11 hours of battery life, you’ll want to have a power outlet nearby for charging, and with its IPX2 rating, the A15 can only withstand light rain.
The problem with many portable Bluetooth speakers is that the sound gets worse when they’re not pointed at you. This outdoor model not only provides 360-degree sound, but also features dual speakers, passive radiators and bass boost to deliver significantly low-end for its size. At just 20 watts of power, it reaches its limits faster than larger, more powerful speakers. It’s a fun after-dark speaker as the dual ‘lifeline’ lights, one on top and one on the bottom, vibrate to the beat of the music. Its IPX7 waterproof rating means it’s pool ready and can withstand a dip in a beverage. PartyCast Technology lets you connect an unlimited number of Flare 2 speakers with synchronized sound and lights.
If you need music for a big outdoor party, this is your jam. With a 5.25-inch woofer in a ventilated cabinet and a 1.75-inch soft dome tweeter powered by 100 watts, the JBL PartyBox Encore Essential is the most powerful speaker I’ve tested, and it has solid sound quality too. Beat-synced (and switchable) two-stage bass boost and variable lighting make this speaker the life of the party. Wired microphone input is perfect for karaoke. The app lets you control your music, update your settings and customize the light show colors.
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If you want to get your voice underwater, this speaker can handle it. Its IP67 rating means it’s waterproof, with a USB-C charging port, USB-A charging outlet, and a waterproof cover for the auxiliary input. Also, it comes with a convenient strap. A single 3.5-inch titanium driver provides balanced sound, but also has a bass boost that adds 2-3 dB of power. Another useful option is to increase the clarity of podcasts and audiobooks. The 20-hour battery life should see you through most outdoor activities. Single-speaker audio is of lower quality than mono and two-stereo audio, and owners say in online reviews that adding a second speaker only doubles the mono audio.
Outdoor and waterproof, this speaker is a reliable companion and ideal boat music first companion when swimming. Two 2.5 inch net
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