I’ve been going a little crazy with speakers as of late, partly to complete a more proper home stereo, partly in a bass battle with the neighbors. I keep running to Goodwill to see what I can find. I had found a great Bluetooth speaker on Amazon about a year ago that was also a power bank, so I wasn’t necessarily looking for was another set of Bluetooth speakers. I kept coming across them, though, ending up owning a total of four (technically five). I justified this by saying they all have their purpose and their place, so I couldn’t say no to buying them. I now have quite the little collection of them, each with their own pros and cons, so it’s time to do a side by side comparison of them to find out which one ranks best.

The first speaker is a bright red Auvio PBT500 (previously mentioned here.) Auvio’s a sub-brand of Radio Shack. I picked it up for $12.99, and it retails for $50.00. I did my research and product inspection after I brought it home and I was actually surprised with its sound quality. It’s Li-ION battery powers two 2-watt speakers with its deep bass that’s created by the ported bass reflex on the back of the device.


Pros

Music controls
Speakerphone capabilities
8-hour playback
Auxiliary line-in

Cons

Lack of USB output
Cheaper material

Next was this little guy, the Logitech Mini Boombox. It had a price tag of $14.99, originally retailing for $50.00, a typical price point for Bluetooth speakers. It is Li-ION powered. What really caught my eye were the illuminated red capacitive buttons on top of the device. I was even more impressed when I paired the device and started to play some music. It’s quite the little powerhouse. Its lithium-ion battery offers a playback time between 3-5 hours (though I’ve mostly experienced it closer to the former), and powers two 3-watt speakers and a passive radiator for bass.


Pros

Great small size
Speakerphone capabilities
Auxiliary line-in
Capacitive music controls

Cons

Mini USB in place of Micro USB for port for charging
3-hour playback
Lack of USB output

I found a bigger speaker, the Creative D100, hiding among the space heaters. It caught my eye since it was out of place. I originally thought it was part of a surround sound system, but I saw the Bluetooth button and quickly grabbed it. It was $19.99, and retails for $60.00. It doesn’t have a rechargeable Li-ION battery, though, powered instead by 4 AA batteries. Creative boasts that it has up to 25 hours of playback, though it stipulates “actual battery life may vary with usage and settings”, as well as the type of batteries as well I’m sure. It sports two 3-inch full range drivers with ported bass reflex for rich sound.


Pro

Auxiliary line-in
Ability to swap out for fresh batteries

Cons

No speakerphone capabilities
No music controls aside from volume control
Lack of USB output

I actually found the first Bluetooth speaker I picked up on Amazon. I was looking for a speaker that also doubled as a power back and ended up with the Photive Blade, which I purchased it for $49.95. It was a steal considering its abilities and amazing aluminum build quality. It boasts two 3-watt drivers and a passive radiator for bass. It actually has two independent batteries, one for power back output and a 550 mAh battery for speakers.


Pros

15-hour playback time
3000 mAh power bank
15-hour playback time
Music controls
Auxiliary line-in
Speakerphone capabilities

Cons

Thin design does not allow for deep bass

Bluetooth Sound-off

Bluetooth Sound-off. Photo by Jason Mueller.

There is also an odd contender in this line-up, the Kinivo BTE40 (previously mentioned here). A small Bluetooth receiver that can be used with a wide range of devices. While this is not its own set of speakers, it can make any set of speakers Bluetooth. On its own it has a run time of 5 hours, and it can also be powered by its Micro USB charge port. Just for demonstration, I paired it up with a set of computer speakers that could be powered by a small portable power bank. Its performance, pros and cons will vary greatly depending on what it is coupled up with, but I could not leave out such an adaptable and powerful little device. Other great plusses to this Bluetooth adapter are supporting speakerphone/call abilities and on-device controls.

Out of these 5 devices, it is hard to crown a clear winner. They all have their own little edge over the other. They all have their place for me. When it comes down to it, with all the choices out there, you’d be hard pressed not to find a decent set of Bluetooth speakers that will definitely make for a rockin’ summer.