Today many of us have our entire music collection on our smartphones or tablets, or alternatively we may use popular online music streaming services such as Spotify or Google Play. The options for playing our music via mobile devices include using headphones, listening to music via built-in speaker, plugging our smartphones into some kind of dock with dedicated speakers, or using wireless speakers. Wireless speakers are rapidly becoming the more popular option as you can keep your mobile device on you and still have full control of music playback yet enjoying much louder and higher-quality audio than any built-in speaker could offer!
However, before you choose the best wireless speakers there are a number of options you need to be aware of, first of all you need to decide whether you want a portable set-up that you can use without being near a power socket, or a speaker system that uses mains power. Wireless speakers powered via a mains socket will usually offer better-quality sound and more volume, but are obviously not as portable.
There is also a choice to be made in terms of the actual wireless technology, with Bluetooth and Airplay being the main options. Bluetooth is by far the most common wireless standard as it is available on virtually all smartphones and tablets. But even the Bluetooth standard has different levels of quality with Stereo A2DP quite common and delivering MP3 like quality, but the Bluetooth aptX standard is much better as it’s near-lossless but not all devices will support it, hence Bluetooth speakers are much more popular.
Apple devices don’t use AptX, however they all support Apple’s own AirPlay standard, which is less common in portable wireless speakers, usually only found in high-end mains-powered wireless speakers, but it does offer the best quality for compatible devices as it’s lossless and there is no further compression of music tracks. However portable Bluetooth speakers are much more common and cheaper. If you have an Apple device it may be a good idea to consider buying wireless speakers which have both Bluetooth and AirPlay capability, Airplay speakers with Bluetooth offer the ability to use your speaker set-up with other gadgets you might buy in the future. Bluetooth has a useful range of about 10m, so it’s best used within the same room, whereas AirPlay uses Wi-Fi so your playback device needs only to be within range of your wireless router. You can also buy Wi-Fi speakers with both Wi-Fi and Ethernet ports. Waterproof speakers are another option which is becoming more popular, Bluetooth shower speakers allow you to listen to your favourite tunes while in the shower or lounging by the pool!
There is a huge choice of wireless speakers which can vary wildly in size, shape, and even the type of wireless connection technology they use, but whichever system you choose, we recommend you stick to the top well known brands such as SoundBot, BOOM, SpeakStick, Bose, Harman Kardon or Cambridge Audio for best results.