Wireless speakers use either Bluetooth to connect to your music-playing device; or WiFi to connect to a streaming service. We tested budget options as well as pricier models, and consider what to look for when buying.
Overall score breakdown
Overall score is based on:
Sound (45%): Scored by our panel of experts. A variety of audio tracks, including music and spoken word, are judged on each device.
Ease of use (30%): Considers the clarity and accuracy of the manuals supplied and the ease of setting up the speaker, as well as connecting it to a device and sending music to the speaker.
Sound signal (10%): Tested by looking at several factors, including having the audio source in different positions, using various audio sources, interference, obstruction and degradation.
Battery (10%): Based on how long the battery lasts when listening to audio. For models without a battery, this score is omitted and Sound is weighted at 55% instead.
Features (5%): Rewards speakers with a variety of connectivity options and helpful features such as physical buttons or a voice assistant.
About our test
Our panel of expert listeners judge the quality of a variety of music, spoken word, and other sounds on each device and score them out of 10. These scores are collated into an overall sound score.
The tracks are:
Here to Stay - Pat Metheny Group
War - Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Your Song - Rita Ora
Galway Girl - Ed Sheeran
a radio play of Harry Potter
a speech about mathematician Pierre de Fermat.
The panel also listens to pink noise, which is like white noise but noticeably deeper because it has equal energy per octave.