Before diving into a completely waterproof, Bluetooth-capable speaker, assess what you need. Where are you going to be using it? How often? This guide will help you decide what features to look for when choosing a speaker.
Here are some questions to take into account when searching for a speaker:
- What are you going to be using the speaker for?
- If needed, is the speaker weather-rated or waterproofed?
- Will the speaker work with your device or music source?
- Does the speaker offer wired or wireless connectivity?
- What is the power source? Does it come with rechargeable batteries or will you have to plug it in?
- If it runs on batteries, how long is the battery life?
Water Protection: IPX Waterproof Ratings
|Rating||Protects From:||Duration||Level of Protection|
|IPX1||Dripping water while device is horizontal||For up to 10 minutes||Very Light Protection|
|IPX2||Dripping water while device is rotated 15°||For up to 10 minutes||Very Light Protection|
|IPX3||A spray of water while device is rotated up to 60°||For up to 5 minutes||Light Protection|
|IPX4||A splash of water||For up to 5 minutes||Light-Medium Protection|
|IPX5||A spray of water (12.5 Liters per minute)||For up to 3 minutes||Medium Protection|
|IPX6||A spray of water (100 Liters per minute)||For up to 3 minutes||Medium-Heavy Protection|
|IPX7||Complete water submersion up to 1 meter deep||For up to 30 minutes||Heavy Protection|
|IPX8||Submersion greater than 1 meter (Exact depth defined by manufacturer)||For greater than 30 minutes||Very Heavy Protection|
Bluetooth: Bluetooth connectivity is the most preferred connectivity by most consumers. Since Bluetooth requires no network connection, there is virtually no limit to where you can take your speaker and device, as long as they are within about 33ft of each other. Easy to use, the most recent Bluetooth version (4.1) offers high functionality and battery efficiency.
WiFi: WiFi connections offer a higher quality sound than Bluetooth; although, speakers with WiFi connectivity tend to be more expensive and limited. Their range is limited to wifi network areas, so trips to the beach or the park wouldn’t be possible.
Wired: Wired speakers use less battery power than wireless speakers and are typically less portable. Most wired speakers come with a 3.5mm aux cable that is very useful when you do not want to use Bluetooth. Be sure to check if the speaker has a cable included.
A subwoofer is a loudspeaker that reproduces bass, or low-pitch audio frequencies. This integrated component appears in some portable speakers to deepen and enrich the sound quality for a less distorted, clearer sound.
Rechargeable Batteries: Rechargable batteries are the most common power source for portable speakers and lithium-based batteries are the most common rechargeable battery type. While the exact length of time varies by product, these batteries usually last between 8-12 hours on a full charge.
Non-Rechargeable Batteries: Non-rechargable batteries are simple and easy to use. Once the batteries are out of energy, quickly pop in some new batteries and be on your way. Unlike rechargeable batteries, you do have to buy new batteries each time you need more power.
Depending on what you’ll be using your speaker for, the following extra features may be necessary:
Floatation: If you’re going to be bringing your speaker to the pool or the beach, this feature saves your speaker from sinking if it is accidentally dropped or if you want it to wade in the pool with you.
Storage: Some speakers feature storage space for your device or other small necessities. If you’re going to be heading out on an adventure, this feature allows you to contain all of your gear in one place.
Speakerphone: This feature allows you to take conference calls and hands-free calls while connected to the speaker. Speakers with a speakerphone feature commonly fade out the audio streaming when the phone rings.
Choose Your Speaker
When choosing a speaker, keep in mind what you’ll be using it for and where. Waterproof properties and an integrated subwoofer are ideal features for outdoor use. Ultimately, it is based on your preference and what you will be using the speaker for the most.