Waterproof Speakers: Are They Getting Better?

There are several excellent waterproof speakers on the market. But two brands stand out as fan favorites: JBL and Ultimate Ears. I’ve had this post in the queue for a long time, but I was focusing on other products. Then, during Amazon’s Cyber Monday Deals Week, most of the speakers I wanted to test were half off. Merry Christmas to me! Each brand sells at least four different waterproof Bluetooth speakers. I bought one mid-level and one high-end speaker from each brand. I have three uses for waterproof speakers:

  1. While I’m in the hot tub, I like to jam, but my phone’s speakers aren’t loud enough to play over the jets. With the waterproof speakers, I can place it on the tub without fear of it falling in.
  2. I like to set these speakers next to the shower, and I don’t have to worry about steam ruining the speaker.
  3. I wanted to experiment with Echo Dot and a Bluetooth speaker (you can pair them with all four that I reviewed.)

Plus, it’s nice to have a portable speaker that has a long battery life. It’s not always convenient to be tied to a wall. You can’t go wrong with any of the speakers from the JBL or UE collection. All three speakers that I looked at are better than 95% of waterproof speakers on the market. I tried JBL Xtreme (pictured above) too, but I decided it didn’t belong in this post because of its bulk. I kept UE Megaboom for myself and gifted my brother JBL Charge 3. He loves it!

Sonos Still Going Strong

How does one improve perfect? Send it to polishing school, teach it to listen and make it smarter. We’re not talking about your six year old – although a similar approach could work there too – we’re talking the evolution of the Sonos PLAY:1 to the Sonos one.

The Sonos PLAY:1 is already a great product. An easy add on to your home entertainment system, it is a powerful speaker while being sleek and small. The Sonos one raises that already high bar with the ability to listen to your commands. The six far field microphone array allows you to change the music volume, switch tracks or albums by simply giving the one a holler. With 55 music services available, depending on the country you’re in, you have ample choice.
After a quick setup Amazon’s Alexa is available to help you sort through the endless music selection suddenly available at the touch of a, well, you really just need to ask. Setup is relatively easy, and after spending some time you have the versatility to initiate actions in different rooms. Simply name the speakers according to where they are and ask for a action, for example: “mute bedroom”. Although there are still some kinks and restrictions in the voice system, Sonos are actively solving them and updates are a regular occurrence.

With great power comes great responsibility but Sonos has that covered. You can easily switch off the microphone on the unit with a simple push of a button, and confirm whether the mic is turned of by looking at the one of two lights on the speaker (the other light indicates the connection status of the speaker). This ensures complete privacy but also ensures no accidental voice commands.

Two class D amplifiers powers a tweeter and a mid range woofer to produce top quality deep sounds that easily fills a room. The speaker is humidity resistant, enabling you to rock out in the kitchen or chill out in the bathtub with your favorite tunes and at the same small dimensions as the PLAY:1 (161x120x120mm) it fits seamlessly into any space. Add another Sonos one and sub to set up a surround sound system.
Sonos one retails at roughly the same price as most competitors but with the higher sound quality

and stable connection standard, it is definitely the better buy. Available from the Sonos website.