Bluetooth speakers are superbly convenient. Once you’ve made contact between the speaker and your phone, tablet or computer, you just press play. There’s no need for wires trailing around, apart from a power cable in some cases.

Many Bluetooth speakers are entirely portable, though, powered by rechargeable batteries. Others offer extra connectivity, such as wifi or line out sockets to link to other speakers, say.

Many are one-box devices, which can limit the breadth of the stereo soundstage, though some of the more recent models project sound in every direction or use advanced audio platforms – one of which is the excellent Sony 360 reality audio which works on all headphones but, for now, just one speaker, the Amazon echo studio.

Your budget will determine what you buy, but don’t expect the same audio quality from a £20 pocket-sized model as a premium speaker with multiple woofers and tweeters. Bass is light on many pocketable speakers too, unsurprisingly.

We’ve tested mostly for audio excellence but also for ease of setup, snazziness of design – it’s likely to be a feature in your living room, after all – and, in the case of rechargeable models, if the battery lives up to expectations.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Sonos Move: £349, Amazon

Connections: Bluetooth and wifi​
Power: Mains, rechargeable battery
Battery life: 10 hours

Sonos is a powerhouse when it comes to wifi streaming audio, but this is the company’s first Bluetooth speaker. Unsurprisingly, it has added wifi to this too, which allows it to connect to any other Sonos speakers you may have. But the Bluetooth connection and the battery means you can now play music in sumptuous quality when you’re outdoors or away from wifi coverage.

Although it’s portable, it’s also big and fairly heavy – both of which contribute to the excellent sound which has a wide stereo quality, perfectly crisp vocals and solid bass when it’s needed. It also has microphones inside which subtly monitor how the audio is sounding in its current environment and regularly changes its output to suit.

The “trueplay” function found on most other Sonos speakers has morphed into “automatic trueplay” here, with impressive results. This is a solid, hefty speaker with stunning sound.

Buy now

Amazon Echo Studio: £189.99, Amazon

Connections: Bluetooth and wifi​
Power: Mains only

Amazon has just released this speaker which is aimed at satisfying audiophiles as well as the rest of us. As such, it can stream tracks in the latest high-fidelity standards, Sony 360 reality audio and Dolby atmos, both of which are designed to be immersive and encompassing.

To hear such tracks you’ll need to stream them from appropriate streaming services such as Tidal and Amazon Music HD. In practice, this is a highly capable speaker with tremendously powerful sound. The multiple speakers and software smarts create a wide sound with big, loud, bassy effects – look closely and you can see the speaker that delivers the bass vibrating inside the studio.

As this is an Echo speaker, you can also ask it questions by prefacing your comments with the wake word Alexa. A lot of capability for a small price.

Buy now

Bose portable home speaker: £299, Currys PC World

Connections: Bluetooth and wifi​
Power: Mains and rechargeable battery
Battery life: 12 hours

The latest portable speaker from Bose is remarkably light, certainly compared to rivals from Sonos and Amazon. It has a useful carry handle at the top and it’s easy to plonk it down anywhere, not least because this speaker projects sound in every direction. Like the Sonos, it’s water-resistant and works on wifi when it can and Bluetooth when there’s no wifi signal around.

The audio quality is strong, though the bass is no match for other heavy-thumping models here. When connected to wifi, you can control it through the Bose smartphone app which adds extra bass and treble adjustments. Superbly easy to use – and move around.

Buy now

Apple HomePod: £279, Apple

Connections: Bluetooth and wifi​
Power: Mains only

The HomePod is Apple’s first smart speaker and it’s arguably the best-sounding one there is – though the newly released Amazon Echo Studio is roughly on a par. The chunky HomePod puts out audio in every direction and every time you move it or turn it off, it uses its microphones to listen to the room’s ambience again and optimise its output accordingly.

The sound is magnificent: rich, pervasive, precise and with enough bass to sound impressive but not overpowering. Like the Echo speakers here, you can control it with your voice, though the wake words here are “hey, Siri”. You can also connect two HomePods wirelessly as a stereo pair.

Buy now

Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2: £329.99, Ruark Audio

Connections: Bluetooth
Power: Mains

Ruark Audio is a leading British audio company, and its MR1 Mk2 has distinctive styling, with two speakers dressed in pleasing wooden cabinets (grey lacquer or walnut veneer finishes are available) connected by a two-metre audio cable, which gives versatility of placement and, therefore, a wide soundstage.

The mid-ranges sound full-bodied and there’s plenty of bass. You can also use these speakers to improve the sound from your TV instead of a soundbar. It’s mains-only but an optional battery pack is available for £59.99.

Buy now

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay P6: £249, Amazon

Connections: Bluetooth
Power: Battery
Battery life: 16 hours

The P6 has dazzlingly good looks in its anodised aluminium casing and leather strap and is a joy to use. It also has great audio. The bass is bigger than might be expected but the overall sound is clean, detailed and very enjoyable. Vocals are precise and sharp while mid-tones are clear and easily audible.

Although it’s a small gadget, the output is wide and spacious, sending music in every direction evenly. Battery life is above average. Choose from natural and black colourways.

Buy now

JBL Clip 3: £36.99, Amazon

Connections: Bluetooth
Power: Battery only
Battery life: 10 hours

This is a cool little speaker that’s a lot of fun. The sound is no match for the pricier models here but sounds way better than its price point or size suggest. It also has strong water resistance so it won’t matter if you drop it in a puddle or a swimming pool. It’s light enough (220g) to be carried anywhere and an integrated carabiner means you can clip it to your jeans or backpack easily.

Buy now

Bowers & Wilkins T7: £299.99, Bowers & Wilkins

Connections: Bluetooth
Power: Mains and battery
Battery life: 18 hours

The T7 is tiny but very powerful with spectacularly elegant sound. It’s room-filling with no distortion, rich detail and decent bass. It’s more powerful than many other much bigger speakers. The rectangular styling is a bit plain but the transparent honeycomb effect around the edges is eye-catching and attractive in an understated way. Rubber edging means it’s good to the touch, too. Bluetooth connection is easy and controls, through the squishy buttons on the top, are great.

Buy now

Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation: £749, John Lewis & Partners

Connections: Bluetooth and wifi
Power: Mains only

Naim is a high-end audio company whose products cost many thousands of pounds. But this offering uses audio smarts from those very expensive high-end speakers at a more affordable price. There’s great build quality, an attractive design and amazing sound quality.

Multiple internal speakers are angled to create a wide soundstage, with a base that lights up and a solid, aluminium back that doubles as a heat sink to keep the speaker cool. A big volume dial sits on the top of the speaker that is solid and turns with a satisfying weight. There is plenty of bass without overpowering the vocals or mid-notes. Voices stay consistently front-and-centre which makes for an appealing and faithful sound.

Buy now

Amazon Echo Show 5: £49.99, Amazon

Connections: Bluetooth and wifi​
Power: Mains only

The Show 5 is one of four smart speakers from Amazon that have displays: Echo Show, Echo Show 8 and Echo Spot are the other three. This one has a 5.5in display and is the perfect size to work as a super-smart alarm clock. It has a camera for video calls but if that concerns you privacy-wise, there is a shutter which can physically slide across the lens. The audio is excellent, especially given the speaker’s small size, though bigger speakers here sound better.

Buy now

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A1: £159, Amazon

Connections: Bluetooth
Power: Battery
Battery life: 24 hours

The beautifully crafted A1 is a smaller speaker than the P6 above but follows the same design rules of aluminium casing and leather strap. Small or not, it still sounds great. Like the bigger model, it has decent 360-degree sound and a bigger, bassier sound than you would expect from the size – it can fill a room. The volume is pretty punchy, too. It’s splash and dust-resistant so you can take it most places, though it’s not fully waterproof.

Buy now

Ruark Audio MRx: £399.99, Ruark Audio

Connections: Bluetooth and wifi​
Power: Mains only

Ruark’s one-box speaker sounds tremendous, and is recognisable from the same design studio as the MR1 above with its curved edges and wooden or lacquer finish. Although it’s mains-only, it’s light enough to be easily moved from room to room and suits most locations – you can even stand it on its end if you prefer and the sound adjusts accordingly. The audio is clean and transparent, the kind you might expect to pay a higher price for.

Buy now

The verdict: Bluetooth speakers

The Sonos Move, with its solid, powerful sound and great looks, wins our best buy. The Amazon Echo Studio also has exceptional sound quality, on a par with the Apple HomePod. For complete portability and great sound in one package, the Bang & Olufsen P6 is exceptional.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.