How To Choose Your Next JBL Bluetooth Speaker

Key Points

  • JBL has a long history in pro sound and JBL Bluetooth speakers have excellent sound.

  • JBL speakers come in many sizes and all offer excellent sound quality, even at full volume.

  • The loudest JBL Bluetooth speaker is the JBL PartyBox 1000 with 1,100 watts of JBL Original Pro Sound.

When it comes to sound, speakers, and audio, JBL knows its stuff.

The company makes excellent audio products because it started in professional sound. JBL (named for the company’s founder, audio engineer James Bullough Lansing) was first launched in Los Angeles in 1927 during the Golden Days of Hollywood. JBL started building loudspeakers for movie sets, live musical concerts, and stage performances. Its innovation and market domination in the world of live sound continues to 2023, which is why you see JBL loudspeaker systems in the best concert venues around the world from intimate clubs to massive stadiums. Companies from the NBA to the New York Yankees to the Coachella music festival use their professional audio systems.

That professional quality and the audio tradition continue even for JBL Bluetooth speakers made for home use. The company highlights this connection to the professional audio world with what it calls "JBL Original Pro Sound technology" built into every Bluetooth speaker.

What Is the Best JBL Bluetooth Speaker?

When choosing the best JBL Bluetooth speaker, a lot depends on your personal use and what you use the speaker for.

Do you need a loud Bluetooth speaker to entertain large groups of people in different settings, including outside? Do you want to stream music with a big bass component or mainly listen to podcasts and spoken word content? Consider the size. Maybe you want something compact and portable to take with you in a pocket or purse when traveling to stream content. Perhaps you want something permanent and stylish for your home, where you can constantly connect your devices and multiple speakers and enjoy whole-house music.

Another factor is durability. Do you use your JBL Bluetooth speaker at home or do you need a waterproof and dustproof unit for outdoor and beach use? Fortunately, JBL makes all kinds of Bluetooth speakers for all these different usages.

JBL Bluetooth speaker pairing with phone

JBL Charge 5

The best JBL Bluetooth speaker for all-around use is the JBL Charge 5, as it combines the fantastic sound quality of other JBL Bluetooth speakers with a built-in power bank so you charge your devices while you listen to great music.

Tim Gideon of PC Mag says, "The waterproof speaker's build is now also dust-tight, so you can pop it in a bag and take it to the beach without worry." The incredible sound comes from a JBL-optimized long-excursion driver, a separate tweeter, and a dual JBL Bass Radiator at low and high volumes.

All of this means you get great sound whether the speaker sits on your desk or plays tunes for you and your friends on the beach. The JBL Charge 5 is also compact — about the size of a 16 oz can of Monster energy drink.

JBL Charge 5 Bluetooth speaker

JBL Xtreme 2

If you want the best JBL Bluetooth speaker for your home, choose the JBL Xtreme 2. Although the speaker is portable, waterproof, and dustproof, its modern style and compact size work great on a desktop or kitchen countertop. The Xtreme 2 is about the size of a loaf of bread and offers dramatic sound quality whether you're listening to your favorite podcast or the newest Beyonce track. You have four drivers and dual JBL Bass Radiators to deliver that great sound, which delivers a pounding bass experience (if you want it). 

The JBL Xtreme 2 Bluetooth speaker also functions as a one-touch speakerphone with noise and echo-canceling technology, giving you crystal-clear sound quality for your phone calls. If all that's not enough, you can use the Xtreme 2 as a power bank and charge your device as you stream music. The JBL Xtreme 2 charges in about 3.5 hours and gives you 15 hours of streaming on a full charge.

Like many other JBL Bluetooth speakers, the Xtreme 2 has a 3.5 mm audio input jack as an alternative to Bluetooth streaming.

JBL Xtreme 2 Bluetooth speaker

Size Matters: What's the Biggest JBL Bluetooth Speaker?

JBL makes a wide range of Bluetooth speakers, with varied sizes for different applications. There are small, portable tabletop Bluetooth speakers like the JBL Go 2, about the size of two slices of sandwich bread, and huge party-sized units like the JBL PartyBox 1000 that need their own handles and wheels for portability.

The biggest JBL Bluetooth speaker is the JBL PartyBox 1000: a full-size loudspeaker system with 1,100 watts of JBL Original Pro Sound. JBL pro audio loudspeakers power some of the biggest concerts in the world, and they know loudspeakers. Using TWS (True Wireless Stereo) you can pair two PartyBox 1000 units wirelessly to create a serious stereo PA system.

Stream your content via Bluetooth, from a USB thumb drive, or plug in a microphone and even a guitar to create your own music. The creativity doesn’t stop there: The JBL PartyBox 1000 also has a DJ Pad to play piano, guitar, and drum sounds, and record loops. The unit has a USB port to charge your devices as you dance.

The JBL PartyBox 1000 also comes with a very cool feature, available with other JBL PartyBox-series Bluetooth speakers, the Air Gesture Wristband. Gone are the days of having to change volume or tracks with the controls on your device or the PartyBox; now, with a wave of your hand (while wearing the Air Gesture Wristband), you can control all kinds of functions like a modern-day wizard. You can change tracks and adjust the volume using the wristband controller.

Beyond the pro-quality sound, you get a light show, too. The PartyBox 1000 comes with dynamic full-panel lighting that pulses and strobes to the music. Different settings can create different moods, from low-key to full-on disco parties.

What If You Need Big Volume From Your Bluetooth Speaker?

If you need big, big sound, the loudest JBL Bluetooth speaker is the JBL PartyBox 1000. With 1,100 watts of power, it's loud enough to entertain a whole backyard party. The PartyBox 1000 is a large unit (76.5 lbs), so large it has its own extendable handle and built-in wheels so you can roll it around. If you want something loud but more usable and portable, the JBL Boombox 3 is the loudest Bluetooth speaker you can get. 

JBL Boombox 3 Bluetooth speaker

The JBL Boombox 3 is the size of a small, old-school boombox and you can carry it by its large handle. Three-way speakers and patented JBL Original Pro Sound bass technology give you excellent, loud, much bigger sound than you might expect from a Bluetooth speaker of this size.

Distortion removal technology means you get that fantastic sound even at very high volumes. Remember: JBL is the leading loudspeaker company for live concerts, and they know loud, clean sound. The unit comes with an > 80 dB signal-to-noise ratio, which is the level of high-fidelity audio components.

Adding to the usefulness is that the JBL Boombox 3 is dust- and waterproof so that you can take it anywhere, including the beach or pool. You can stream from up to two devices via Bluetooth and link multiple JBL PartyBoost-compatible speakers to add even more sound. Once you charge the JBL Boombox 3, it will be about 24 hours before the battery recharges.

Connectivity is Blue

Connecting your JBL Bluetooth speaker is easy and usually takes one step on the speaker and one step on your own device.

After fully charging your speaker, go to your phone's Bluetooth settings (or tablet or another device) and turn on Bluetooth. Turn on the connection setting on your device, making it “visible” to other Bluetooth devices. Then power on your JBL Bluetooth speaker and touch the Bluetooth button once. The JBL speaker now appears on your device in the list of Bluetooth connections available.

In most cases, you must confirm the connection on your device and you're good to go. Most devices remember the connection, so whenever you turn on your JBL Bluetooth speaker, the device recognizes and connects automatically.

If you need to reset your JBL Bluetooth speaker, turn it off using the power button. Wait at least 10 seconds before powering it back up. To perform a hard reset to factory settings, press and hold “Play/Pause” and “Volume +” simultaneously for at least 10 seconds. The speaker powers off and then powers on again, reset to factory settings. Also, turn Bluetooth off and on, on your source device and “forget” the JBL Bluetooth Speaker in your device settings, then re-pair the speaker with your device.

JBL Bluetooth Speaker

If you want to connect your JBL Bluetooth speaker — like the JBL Boombox — to Alexa, that is easy to do as long as you can access the Alexa app. Fully charge, power on, and put your JBL speaker into pairing mode by pressing the Bluetooth button once. Then find “Devices” and then “Echo & Alexa” in the Alexa app (on your device) and select it. The JBL Bluetooth speaker appears in the list of new devices available for pairing. Tap the JBL Bluetooth speaker listing to pair a new device, and it connects. Now you can use your JBL speaker for Alexa voice commands and other functions.

Troubleshooting FTW

The robust design and construction of JBL Bluetooth speakers, developed over the years of experience the company has with professional audio equipment, means they are pretty much bulletproof. Be sure to read and follow all instructions carefully — especially regarding charging. Also, note the speaker’s waterproof specifications (or lack thereof) to ensure years of trouble-free use and no Bluetooth connection problems.

If your JBL speaker keeps shutting off, it is probably for one of two reasons: battery or Bluetooth connection. Check the battery level and ensure the speaker is fully charged using an appropriate charger (experts recommend 5V 3A for units without a charger). If the speaker comes with its own charger or power cord, be sure to use the one that came with it.

If the speaker is wet, dry off the charging port before charging, as the water can interfere with the charging process. 

Another reason the speaker would keep shutting off is if it is losing or has lost its Bluetooth connection. This can happen if your source device shuts off; this stops the Bluetooth connection, and your speaker shuts off after a few minutes of not having a Bluetooth connection to conserve battery life.

You may also have Bluetooth connection issues; it may shut off if the speaker does not detect a Bluetooth signal. Try to have a clear line of sight between the source device and the Bluetooth speaker with no walls or obstacles. Turn off unused Bluetooth devices, as they can cause interference. Keep the Bluetooth speaker away from the Wi-Fi router, which can cause interference. When outdoors in open spaces, keep the source device close to the speaker, as Bluetooth does not work well in those circumstances.

Although not necessary to operate your Bluetooth speaker, the JBL Portable app allows you to do additional speaker configuration (including EQ adjustment) and enable important software/firmware updates for your speaker. It is advisable to keep your speaker updated, as firmware updates can fix bugs and connectivity issues.

Bluetooth speaker with laptop

JBL Speaks Volumes

If you're in the market for a Bluetooth speaker, check out the wide range of JBL Bluetooth speakers. From small, portable Bluetooth speakers like the JBL Go 2 to massive rolling units like the JBL PartyBox 1000, all their Bluetooth speakers come with JBL Original Pro Sound Technology. That means JBL Bluetooth speakers have fantastic, clean sound quality when playing softly or at full volume.

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