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11 Best Bluetooth Speakers 2024

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Weight: 0.94 pounds | Dust and water resistance: IP67 | Battery life: 14 hours

Among all the speakers I’ve tested, none have impressed me quite as much as the Wonderboom 3, mainly owing to the quality of sound it’s able to produce in such a small package. It’s about the size of a small candle and can easily fit into a backpack, carry-on, or even a tote, yet it’s loud enough to hear from across my living room, all the way into my kitchen.

Pairing is simple: All you have to do is hold the pairing button and it shows up in your phone or tablet’s Bluetooth menu right away. It will connect immediately when powered back on. You can easily pair two Wonderbooms together for a stereo experience with a couple button pushes.

At louder levels, usually around 80 percent or higher, sounds can start to get muddled, especially with genres like hip-hop or metal (I tested with Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter II and Lamb of God’s Sacrament), and the vocals can drown out instrumentals. It’s not enough to detract from how good the Wonderboom sounds, though. When kept below that threshold, songs sound as clear and vibrant as on other UE speakers such as the Boom. As for podcasts and audiobooks, I was able to play those at louder volumes without audio quality suffering, and could hear them over the water running as I washed my dishes.

The Wonderboom 3 is larger than the JBL Clip 5, so it’s slightly less portable, and its elastic loop is less effective than the Clip 5’s metal clasp for attaching it to things, but the speaker also produces clearer sound, likely owing to its larger size.

To test its IP67 rating, I dropped the Wonderboom into a pool of water in my sink three times while playing music. The music sounded muffled and quite terrible at first, but once the water dripped out, the speaker was back to sounding good as new. You absolutely should not try this, but know that if you’re using this as your pool-party speaker, it’s safe. It has a plastic door that covers the charging port when not in use to prevent water from sneaking in and mucking things up. It’s rugged enough to withstand being carried with you on your next vacation, or just getting moved from room to room.

While its sound is impressive for its size, you can get much better sound out of a larger speaker. Still, it’s the most portable speaker I’ve tested that gets closest to the sound quality of bigger speakers, like the Pulse 5. Also, frustratingly, Ultimate Ears speakers still use micro-USB for charging (they come with the cable, which helps), while companies like JBL and Sony have moved on to USB-C. It’s not a dealbreaker, but if you hate having too many cables to worry about, it’s something to consider.

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