Bluetooth speakers are portable music playback devices, which can come handy whenever you want music pumping wherever you go. But if you want to take them somewhere a little bit rough, the ordinary indoor speaker that you also link once in a while with your phone or laptop may not be fitting. You need a speaker that is a little more rugged for your next outing.
Rugged speakers have the features that help it survive outdoor elements, like a protective outer shell that is water-resistant, can survive bumps and has a long battery life to keep the tunes pumping even in areas without power sockets nearby. While you’re enjoying at the beach, going on a hike, tubing down the lazy river, a portable rugged speaker is what you need to keep your tunes pumping with you.
Here’s what you need to look for in a rugged portable speaker:
1. Water and drop resistance.
Rugged speakers must at least be splash-proof, having a minimum water-resistance rating of IPX4 and above. If you want a speaker that can survive rains on a golf course, choose a speaker with an IPX5 rating and above. If you want a speaker that can be submerged into the water without causing any damage, look for an IPX7 rating. The speaker you pick must also be able to withstand drops of 6 feet or more without damaging the performance of the speaker.
The speaker can be rugged, but it doesn’t mean it has to be bulky. It has to be small and lightweight enough for you to carry around in your backpack with comfort. Other speakers may have bonus portability features like mounting hardware, a carabiner clip or handle for easy transport.
3. Sound quality
Of course, you want your speaker to produce high-quality audio because if not, why bother? The sounds must be consistent and clean, without much distortion at higher volumes.
A good portable speaker has more control functionality. Look for something that is flexible, like those that allow you to answer calls, control song playback on the speaker, or use voice commands. These are not a must, but it’s good to have the option.
Here are some of the best rugged portable speakers you can find:
The BRAVEN BRV-X is a speaker designed for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers. This speaker has a shockproof rubber exterior and an IPX7 water-resistant casing, which means it can be submerged in waters 1 meter deep for up to 30 minutes.
This speaker is small enough to be portable, yet delivers powerful and great sounds. It has two modes of play: an indoor and outdoor mode. The outdoor mode delivers a deeper and more expansive sound, while the indoor mode focuses on fuller bass. The audio delivers a crisp and clean sound with punchy bass. It also has a heavy-duty battery life of 12 hours. It even comes with a built-in noise-canceling microphone that allows hands-free phone calls while you’re on the go. To add to the awesomeness of this speaker, it also works as a power bank so you can charge your smartphone on the go.
The battery of this speaker can only offer up to 9 hours of music playback at 50% volume, but only 3 hours at maximum volume. This battery life can be extended through an extended battery for the unit that you can buy separately. It has a USB charging port so you can charge your device in the speaker.
2. FUGOO Tough
As the name suggests, Fugoo Tough is strong and durable. It touts itself as the “world’s most rugged Bluetooth speaker,” as it is shock-proof, crash-proof, and weather-proof. With an IPX67 rating, this is 100% waterproof. It has a utilitarian casing because it’s really tough, but if you want something with a different style, you can choose from FUGOO Tough’s other siblings like the Fugoo Sport or Fugoo Style. The Fugoo Tough is also available in a camouflage version.
Besides having a tough exterior, this speaker can blast powerful audio even with its portable size. It has six drivers on its four sides for a 360-degree blasting of music. This ensures there is no dead spot when you’re listening outdoors. Plus, it has an impressive 40 hours of continuous battery life along with a built-in mic that supports Siri and Google Now voice activation. Multiple accessories are also included to make it more portable and easy to carry, such as bike mount and a strap mount that provides different mounting options like hooking up with a rope or carabiner.
If you’re looking for a rugged Bluetooth speaker that looks like nothing you’ve seen before, try Outdoor Tech OT2800-B Turtle Shell 3.0. As the name suggests, it’s shaped like some kind of mechanical turtle. It looks quirky and distinctive your regular rectangular speaker, but the design is very practical. The “shell” has an IPX7 rating, making it water-resistant; and it’s also built tough to be shock-proof and dust-proof. It also floats on water, making it a perfect company ion for pool and beach parties.
When it comes to sounds, this speaker streams 360-degree audio through its two full-range bass radiator and drivers. This is possible due to its turtle shell design. It puts on a robust sound that is loud – actually, it’s perhaps the loudest rugged outdoor speaker featured here. It is equipped with a 7,800 mAhbattery that can charge your devices. It can run up to 20 hours. You can choose from 5 colors: black, electric blue, gray, mossy oak, and red.
The design of this speaker might be simple and forgettable, but it’s a winner in terms of effectiveness and efficiency. On the outside, it is tough and built to last. It is made of a sturdy metal body covered with shock-absorbing rubber. It’s dust-resistant and water resistant with a rating of IPX44.
On the inside, its 6-driver design and 15-watt output bring out a fine-tuned, crisp, clear and powerful audio. This design makes the speaker bring omnidirectional sound, so you can get a clear sound stream wherever you are. This speaker has 12-hour battery life and can be paired with devices through Bluetooth or NFC. It also has a built-in microphone so you can take hands-free calls.
If you want a rugged yet cool-looking outdoor speaker, the Ultimate Ears Boom 2 is a solid choice. At first look, it just looks fashionable, but when you look deeper, it’s actually highly durable because of the way it was crafted. It’s protected with a water and stain-resistant material that makes it rugged and ready for adventure. You can bring it with you on the waters because it is rated IPX7 waterproof. It’s actually quite small, roughly the size of a can of beer, so it’s very portable and easy to carry around. You can choose from 10 fun and vibrant colors.
The stylish cylindrical design of this speaker helps it produce loud 360-degree sound with rich treble tones and deep bass. It offers continuous playback of up to 15 hours. You can connect this speaker with another UE Boom speaker for stereo sound, but you can hook up 50 of them together via an app for an impressive playback at a massive outdoor party (yes, it’s possible, but most probably you’d use a larger speaker for that kind of party anyway). You can play music via Bluetooth or NFC connectivity. This is also compatible with Alexa.
If the speakers mentioned on this list are above your budget range, the Photive Hydra Portable Bluetooth Speaker may be an ideal purchase for you. This rugged speaker is far cheaper than the others, but it’s still a tough competitor (both figuratively and literally). Its built is dust and water-resistant (rated IPX66). The speaker is protected by a tough metal grill and encased with a smooth rubber on all sides. The accessory ports are covered by a flexible, round pop-off cap that stays on well even when the speaker is splashed with water.
The sound performance of this speaker is spectacular, considering its relatively low price. It packs a big bass punch considering its small package, and it doesn’t create distortions at high volumes. Its battery life lasts for 8 hours on a single full charge. You can connect playback devices via Bluetooth or via AUX cable inputs.
The smallest but not the least, the ECOROX Rugged and Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Speaker from ECOXGEAR is another loud and great rugged speaker. It’s a versatile speaker that has an IPX7 waterproof exterior. If ever you’re on the water and this speaker accidentally slipped off, don’t worry because about losing it to sinking because it will float. It is designed to be with you while you’re on an action by the water. On the bottom of the speaker, there is a standard camera-style screw mount so you can easily mount it on your boat, a deck of the paddleboat, canoe or even mountain bike. You can choose from four colors: black, blue, orange and red.
This speaker produces a loud sound that can fill up space and be heard over the clamor of a beach party, the rush of the river or during a relaxing shower. It’s not only loud, but it’s also pleasing too, as it provides a full sound with warm bass, clear vocals, and crisp highs. You can wirelessly stream music through this speaker via Bluetooth, even when using apps like Spotify, iTunes, and Pandora. You can use it as a speakerphone with its built-in microphone.