The 10 Best Waterproof Bluetooth Speakers
10. Topmaxions Mini Wireless
- built-in metal handle
- fits in large pockets
- may break easily
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
9. MoKo Shower
- includes an fm radio
- intuitive control buttons
- a middling six-hour playback time
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
8. Zanya ABS-11
- comes with a d-ring clip
- great low price point
- not sufficiently loud
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
7. Rocktech Wireless
- built-in exterior controls
- 30-foot device pairing range
- not great sound quality
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
6. Vtin 20 Watt
- up to 33 foot wireless range
- suitable as a computer speaker
- splash-proof but can't be submerged
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
5. Zhicity Outdoors
- built-in micro sd card slot
- protective rubber liner
- unbalanced on flat surfaces
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
4. JBL Charge 3
- comes in five colors
- echo-canceling speakerphone
- can be daisy-chained for added sound
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
3. Cambridge SoundWorks OontZ Angle 3 Plus
- unprecedented 30 hours of play time
- easy access external controls
- ipx5 water resistant rating
|Model||OontZ Angle 3 Plus|
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
2. Aomais Sport II
- nfc technology pairs with one touch
- includes float accessory
- 12-month warranty
|Model||AOMAIS SPORT II|
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
1. UE Roll 2
- includes custom flotation device
- app offers bass and eq control
- supports multiple paired hosts
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
How Bluetooth Technology Came To Be
The ubiquitous Bluetooth technology is based on a frequency-hopping spread spectrum technique that was first developed in 1942. At that time, a patent was issued to Antheil George and Markey Hedy Kiesler for a secret communication system they envisioned would be used by the U.S. Navy. It was intended to be used for the radio control of remote crafts or torpedoes. Because the signals constantly jumped across multiple frequencies, they believed the enemy wouldn't be able to jam the communications.
The two were an unlikely pair of inventors for such technology. Antheil was a pianist and Hollywood composer while Kiesler was a well-known actress. The system they designed used 88 different carrier frequencies, which happens to be equal to the number of keys on a piano. It is believed the Navy passed on the technology because a piano was mentioned as part of the explanation and high-level military personnel believed that the communicating devices would have to be fitted with actual pianos. This is debatable, however.
It wasn't until 1994 that Bluetooth as we know it began to take form. At that time, the Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson introduced the idea of using a radio frequency-based communication system to replace the RS-232 cables that were currently being used.
Ericsson wasn't alone in the breakthrough, though. Both Nokia and Intel started to develop similar systems at the same time. Their focus was to wirelessly link computers and cell phones. In an unlikely move for the business sector, the three companies realized that the best course of action was to develop a standardized system that would allow products from different companies to communicate with each other rather than to develop their own proprietary systems. In December of 1996, representatives of the three companies met at an Ericsson plant in Lund, Sweden. There, they agreed to form a special interest group to handle the development of the standardized system.
The Bluetooth Special Interest group officially coalesced in 1998 and included Toshiba and IBM in addition to Intel, Ericsson, and Nokia. The first version of Bluetooth was launched just one year later, in 1999.
The name Bluetooth is an ode to the Danish King Harald Gormsson, who united the warring factions of Denmark. He was often referred to as King Blåtand, which is a Danish word that translates to blue tooth. He is said to have commonly snacked on blueberries, hence the nickname Blue Tooth. Ericsson first called the technology they were forming Bluetooth since they believed it would unite the computer and cellular companies with a single communications system. The Bluetooth logo is even formed of the ancient Germanic runes that formed his initials.
Understanding Waterproof And Water-Resistant Ratings
It is important to understand the waterproof and water-resistant ratings of electronics before using them in wet environments. Water-resistant means that water can get into a device when exposed to it certain conditions, while waterproof means that water should never be able to get into a device, though few consumer electronics are truly waterproof. Most consumers are likely familiar with the Ingress Protection rating system, though they may not know what the actual codes mean. IP ratings can be written in one- or two- digit formats. When written in a single-digit format, such as IPX-5, that number refers to water ingress. When written in a two-digit format, such as IP65, the first number refers to dust ingress resistance and the second number refers to water ingress resistance.
Only electronics with an IP rating of IPX-7 or higher can be submerged in water without damage. IPX-1 and IPX-2 mean that a device can be exposed to dripping water without damage, while IPX-3 and IPX-4 mean that a device can be exposed to sprays or splashes, respectively. IPX-5 and IPX-6 mean that a device can be exposed to low and high pressure water jets, respectively, without any harmful repercussions.
It is important to note, however, that IPX ratings above 6 are not cumulative. This means that a device rated at IPX-7 may be capable of being submerged without harmful repercussions, but if it were exposed to a high pressure jet of water, it could technically be problematic. That is why some devices may have two IPX ratings, such as IPX-5/IPX-8.
Finding The Right Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
It is important not to be fooled by marketing terminology when choosing a waterproof Bluetooth speaker. Some manufacturers may market speakers with a high water resistance rating as being waterproof. This is why it is vital to be armed with knowledge of the IP rating system. If one is familiar with what the ratings mean, they can double check the specifications to see if the device they are considering can truly be submerged in water or can only be exposed to splashes and the occasional spray.
If one only plans on using their waterproof speaker in the shower or at the beach, then picking a device with a high water resistance rating will be fine. On the other hand, if one plans on using their speaker while in the water, such as strapped to a paddleboard or inflatable float, it is important to choose a device that is capable of being fully submerged in the very real possibility that the device falls in. Another consideration should be whether the device floats. Many waterproof Bluetooth speakers will float if dropped in water. This can be very handy to ensure the device is not lost if accidentally dropped in an area with deep water.
Sound and size should also be considered when purchasing a waterproof Bluetooth speaker. Consumers must often make a trade-off between these two properties. Generally, the larger a speaker, the higher the volume it will be capable of and the better the sound quality. This is theoretical, however, and many companies are capable of making extremely compact speakers that sound better and get louder than many of their larger counterparts. JBL, UE, and Bose are examples of such companies. As can be expected, speakers from these manufacturers are often sold for a higher price than those from other companies.