JBL Bluetooth speaker

Are JBL Speakers Worth the Money? (With Examples)

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I used to think that the market was rigged since whenever I searched for wireless portable speakers, one brand dominated the search results – JBL. The speaker and audio giant has been around for quite a few decades and is well-known for its wireless speakers with solid features and amazing sound quality. 

JBL speakers are often a bang for a buck deal since they have the perfect balance of everything you need in a portable wireless speaker. They have a high-quality Bluetooth chip, stellar room-filling sound, advanced features, and a weatherproof design. 

Let’s dive a bit deeper and check out some of the best JBL speakers you can get on the market. Before that, check out the following chart that gives you a quick look into the specs of those speakers:

SpeakersJBL Pulse 4JBL Charge 5JBL Partybox 300JBL Flip 6JBL Xtreme 3JBL Clip 4
PriceCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on Amazon
Weight2.78 pounds2.10 pounds61.29 pounds1.21 pounds4.34 pounds0.53 pounds
Waterproof IPX7IP67Not WaterproofIP67IP67IP67
Battery Life12 hours20 hours18 hours12 hours15 hours10 hours
Bluetooth Version4.

1. JBL Pulse 4 (Best in Aesthetics)

JBL Pulse 4

The JBL Pulse 4 is the fourth generation of Pulse speakers that started the trend of LED Bluetooth speakers. The Pulse series has gone through numerous design and tech upgrades to make the JBL Pulse 4 a remarkable portable speaker. The first thing I noticed about this speaker is its weight. Weighing nearly 3 pounds it feels like a solid chunk in my hands and the glass or acrylic body doesn’t improve the grip.

The main highlight of this speaker is the lights. The cylindrical speaker is meant to sit vertically and mesmerize you with all of its RGB glory. Both the white and black color variants have a unique transparent exterior with the RGB lights covering 360 degrees. The lights can also be customized with built-in buttons and the companion app and the colors change while synced up with the music.  

While the speaker has a decent build quality I wouldn’t risk ground impacts due to the glass-like plastic body. The transparent body is also a fingerprint magnet and I find myself wiping those off quite often. However, I have no issues carrying the speakers to a pool party or by the lake since it has an IPX7 rating. In my immersion test, the speaker floats on water which would make it easier to find if I accidentally bumped it into the lake.   


At the top, you get physical buttons to control volume, skip tracks, and pair with your phone or other compatible JBL speakers. The speakers also have the PartyBoost feature that allows you to connect the speakers with other JBL speakers for stereo sound or for volume boost. The battery life is also decent with 12 hours of playback at around 60 percent volume. 

When it comes to the frequency response, this speaker is highly accurate at the mid-range. That means acoustic songs with lead instruments and vocals shine on this one. However, the sub-bass response is passable at best. The treble range is also underemphasized and may sound a bit dull. Unfortunately, there’s no EQ on the companion app to change its sound profile either. However, I had no complaints with the soundstage given the speaker’s price range.     

The connectivity on this speaker is also great with Bluetooth 5.1. It can connect up to two devices at a time and its low latency makes it suitable for watching videos as well. However, I found latency to be high with iOS devices. I would have loved to see some sort of smart-assistant support on this speaker. 


  • Long battery life
  • Good soundstage
  • The sound doesn’t get to distorted at max volume


  • Low-bass response is unimpressive
  • No smart-assistant support

2. JBL Charge 5 (Best battery life)

JBL Charge 5

At a glance, the JBL Charge 5 seems like a cosmetic redesign to the popular JBL Charge 4 and the Charge 3 with an overdone logo at the front. However, there are quite a few changes under the hood. The Charge 5 isn’t much bigger than its predecessors and is a perfectly mid-sized speaker that easily fits into my backpack. It’s meant to be placed horizontally on a flat surface and also comes in different colors to suit your style.

At just around 2 pounds I didn’t find this speaker weighing me down while on the move. It also has an impressive build quality and feels solid in my hands. With an IP67 rating, it’s certified to be highly resistant to dust and can be immersed in water up to 1 meter for half an hour. To keep its ports secured, the back has a sealed compartment that hides a USB-A port and a type-C charging port. 

To control your music, you get a few buttons on the speaker’s body. As usually with JBL speakers, there are volume control buttons and a sound indication when you reach maximum volume. While I could skip to the next track by double-tapping the play/pause button, there’s no way to go back to the previous track. The connectivity has also improved on this device. Unlike its predecessors, it has the PartyBoost feature, a significant upgrade over the JBL Connect+ feature. 

This speaker uses Bluetooth 5.1 to connect to my phone and other portable media playback devices and the latency was insignificantly low with both Android and iOS devices. However, that’s the only option you get for playing music. There’s no AUX port and the USB ports allow you to use the speaker as a power bank or charge it up. However, the speaker makes up for it with its beefy battery life. With four hours of charging time, it can deliver 20 hours of playtime. 

Given its price, the frequency response on this speaker is alright. Its fairly neutral sound signature makes it suitable for playing a wide variety of music. It isn’t here to impress the bass heads since it lacks the pleasing rumbles and thumps while playing bass-heavy genres like hip-hop and EDM. Fortunately, the companion app has a graphical EQ that lets me finetune the sound profile according to my needs. 

The JBL Portable app for this speaker is remarkably well made. It shows everything from its battery life to PartyBoost connections and more. There’s also a simple EQ that allows the uninitiated to swipe up or down on the bass, mids, and treble. However, I was easily able to switch to the Graphic EQ settings.  


  • Phenomenal battery life
  • Weatherproof design
  • Room-filling sound


  • At maximum volume, the sound gets noticeably distorted
  • No AUX input

3. JBL Partybox 300 (Most Powerful speaker)

JBL Partybox 300

When I got my hands on the JBL Party Box 300 I had to remind myself to calm down instead of rushing out of home and blasting the neighborhood with some sick EDM tracks. Anyone who isn’t familiar with the Partybox lineup would be shocked by the sheer size of this speaker. It’s almost as big as my kid and packs quite a punch. 

Despite being one of the few Partybox speakers with a built-in beefy battery I would be lying to myself if I said this thing was portable. With a volume of over 18 gallons and weighing over 35 pounds, this thing is heavy. However, it comes with a strong handle so that you can shove it in your car’s trunk and take it into the woods to scare away all the animals. While you can power this speaker via a wired connection I got a battery life of around 18 hours. Impressive!

The speaker also has plenty of lights to become the center of attention at a party. The subwoofers are surrounded by RGB ring lights and there are four flashing LEDs on four sides. Unfortunately, there’s no app to control the lights or the speaker in any way. While the speaker has decent build quality, it’s mostly plastic that isn’t resistant to scratches and doesn’t have a waterproof rating due to the numerous exposed ports at the back. 

Coming to ports, it has plenty. Apart from the standard AUX port, it has RCA inputs and outputs and also ports for a mic. You can also use this speaker as a guitar amplifier. There’s a USB port as well to use the built-in battery for charging your phone or laptop. Ok, now let’s talk about sound. 

This speaker sounds very different when it’s plugged into a powered source compared to when it’s running off of battery power. That’s because when it runs on the battery, the woofers get limited power to extend the battery life. These woofers have a very good bass response and a bass boost mode to bring up the rumble by another level. The sound signature is pretty balanced and would suit most genres.  

If you’re wondering about the loudness of this speaker it can get very loud. Its dynamic range is excellent and it was able to fill up most rooms in my home at half the maximum volume. So, I took it out with me on a camping trip and hooked it up to the car battery to get the most out of the speakers. Even in an open environment, it was loud enough for me to hear the sound from far away.  


  • Gets very loud
  • Compatible with Bluetooth
  • Doubles as a power bank


  • No app support
  • Needs a wired power connection for producing rich bass

4. JBL Flip 6 (Most Affordable Speaker)

JBL Flip 6

The Flip series is JBL’s most familiar line of Bluetooth speakers and the JBL Flip 6 is a predictable improvement over its predecessors that delivers consistently high quality. When it comes to the design there are numerous welcome subtle changes. While there’s no noticeable change in shape and size, the JBL branding is enlarged on the front. This speaker also has less plastic compared to the Flip 5 and feels a lot more stylish and modern. 

The little bit of plastic on the body houses all the control buttons and the strap. The speakers also come in plenty of colorful options and it’s small enough to be chucked and forgotten inside a compact rucksack. Under the hood, there have been some impressive changes as well. The Flip 6 boasts separate tweeters and dual-passive radiators to produce extra detail and power. The total power output of 30 watts is also quite a bit of a step-up over the Flip 5’s 20 watts.

Overall the Flip 6 has a nice warm sound signature with decent levels of mid-bass and clear vocals. However, at higher volumes, the speaker may sound a bit harsh. Thankfully, the speaker is compatible with JBL’s companion app and has a graphic EQ. I found myself tweaking the bass by 2 levels while decreasing the treble by 2 when I was listening to the speakers with over 60 percent volume. 

The Flip 6 is an improvement over the Flip 5 in every way except the battery life. Don’t get me wrong. 12 hours of battery life is good for a day or two. However, I expected some improvement with the newer generation. However, I like how the speaker alerts me to unplug the charging port if it detects water or any type of contaminant in the charging port of the speaker. That’s a cool feature that prevents me from frying the speaker. 

The Flip 6 is also more durable than the Flip 5 with an improved IP67 waterproof rating. It’s also built very well and held up to my low-tech impact test of falling from the desk to the floor quite a few times. However, I wouldn’t encourage you to deliberately chuck this around on hard surfaces or drop it from a height. Just be aware that it can take a few impacts if the situation calls for it. 

The new generation also features Bluetooth 5.1 and brings it up to the latest wireless innovations in technology. I got a decent range of 40 meters in outdoor conditions and the signal didn’t drop out when I was in the same room. It can also pair up to two phones or wireless sources at the same time and can switch between them with ease.   


  • Impressive bass with powerful audio for the size
  • Adjustable EQ on the app
  • Completely waterproof and dustproof


  • No AUX input
  • Lacks speakerphone functionality

5. JBL Xtreme 3 (Best Build Quality)

JBL Xtreme 3

The JBL Xtreme 3 is basically a refined upgrade of the Xtreme 2. The Xtreme 3 distinguishes itself from its predecessors with some noticeable design changes. For instance, the body is a bit more curved, either side has prominent bumpers for drop-protection and the stands on the feet on the base are hidden really well. The JBL branding is also enlarged and more prominent. 

Even if you’re the clumsiest klutz in the world, you can’t drop it enough times to damage the speaker. It also comes with an IP67 rating and that means it isn’t afraid of water. I dunked it in the pool and even carried it on some dusty biking trails. The speaker is still fine. The Xtreme 3 also has two hooks that allow me to attach a strap and carry it on my shoulders without any fatigue. It’s also noticeably lighter than the Xtreme 2 and that helps with portability. 

As usual, the charging ports at the back are completely sealed. What’s unusual is the USB-C charging port. This allows me to charge one more device with a single charging adapter and a much sleeker charging cable. More points for convenience and portability. When it comes to battery life, the speakers deliver around 15 hours of playtime and around 8 hours at full volume. It also charges faster than the Xtreme 2. 

Now let’s talk about the most important part – music. The Xtreme 3 has dual front-firing woofers, dual tweeters, and dual passive radiators on the sides. While the speaker has an output rating of 50 watts, it can only push those numbers when it’s plugged into a power source. When I play it on battery power, the sound profile is significantly muted. If you listen to bass-heavy genres you may not find any difference between the Xtreme 2 and the Xtreme 3. 

However, there’s a lot of improvement on the high frequencies and that makes this speaker sound brighter. This can make the speaker very harsh at higher volumes. To fix this I had to lower the treble on the graphic EQ on the JBL companion app. However, I turn off the EQ in outdoor settings since the emphasized higher frequencies have more room for traveling farther and decaying better. 


  • Built like a tank
  • Can be linked with numerous JBL speakers 
  • Outdoor-friendly


  • Expensive enough to wait for a sale
  • No smart features  

6. JBL Clip 4 (Most Compact Speaker)

The JBL Clip 4 is aptly marketed as JBL’s ultra-portable Bluetooth speaker. It is small enough to fit in my hands. I’ve often seen people use the Clip series from JBL while on a hike, walking their dog, or even while riding a bike. If you want a small speaker for your bedroom, I’d recommend the Flip 6 or Pulse 4, depending on your budget. Clip 4 is for that niche customer who wants that ultra-portable speaker. 

The Clip 4 is ultralight with a mostly fiber body and has no problems tolerating bumps and scrapes from rough use in both indoor and outdoor conditions. With an IP67 rating, you shouldn’t have any reason to fear the elements when you take this speaker out of your home. One of the biggest design changes on this speaker is the carabiner that lets you attach the speaker to your backpack, bike or luggage handle, or something else. I found it to be much lighter than Clip 3. 

The Clip 4 has also been upgraded with a USB-C port for charging and that means fewer cables and adapters on my commute and travel. While there’s no audio jack on the Flip 4, it shouldn’t be a problem since most people including me don’t plan to hook up a 5 Watt speaker to their phone via wires anyway. With Bluetooth 5.1, the speaker also has almost zero latency while watching movies and pulls off a playtime of around 10 hours with ease. 

Unfortunately, the speaker can only be connected to one device at a time. No multi-pairing or PartyBoost feature. Moreover, it can’t play higher resolution audio via Bluetooth either since it only supports the SBC codec. With a higher output power, the Clip 4 sounds significantly better than its predecessors. In comparison, the Clip 3 with its 3.3-watt output sounds rather shallow. 

On my sound test, Clip 4 sounds much more open than both Clip 3 and Clip 2. Due to its ultra-small form factor, it doesn’t have a decent bass output. I guess that’s why JBL decided to focus on the mids and highs with this one. When I listen to it up close, the speaker sounds a bit harsh and bright. However, from a distance of at least 3 feet, the bright speaker sounds much more balanced and rather loud for its size. 


  • Speaker is waterproof
  • Has a built-in carabiner
  • Rich and crisp audio


  • Onboard controls are limited
  • Doesn’t offer a lot of value  


JBL speakers sound great and the branding is a stamp of high quality. You’ll always find something that suits your budget and needs. Take a look at the above-mentioned speakers and you may find what you need. I hope this article was able to help you.

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