Wireless Speaker Buying Guide

A wireless speaker gives you the freedom to listen to music wherever you want without being constrained by power cords and cables. You can use Bluetooth to wirelessly connect your smart devices to the speaker, then play music from your digital library or using online streaming services and apps like Spotify. This Wireless Speaker Buying Guide outlines the key things to consider when weighing up wireless speakers and makes it easier to choose the best one for you.

1. How will you use it?

  • Do you want to use it at home, the beach, on holidays or for adrenalin-pumping adventures?
  • If you’ll be using it at home, how heavy it is won’t be as important as how powerful the speakers are.
  • Do you want a wireless speaker that’s waterproof, sandproof or really light so it doesn’t weigh you down when you’re on the go or travelling?
  • Do you want a smart speaker with a clock you can use as an alarm or kitchen timer?
  • Do you want to be able to use your voice to ask smart speakers with Siri, Google or Alexa (the voice assistant built into smart speakers) to search for online information, switch smart lights on and off, play music, podcasts, radio stations, news and more with hands-free convenience?

2. What do you want to play?

Different wireless speakers can play music from different audio sources:

  • Smart devices: Connect smart home speakers to your smartphone, laptop or tablet using Bluetooth to play tunes via streaming apps (using your Wi-Fi or mobile data) or from your digital music library.
  • Cloud streaming: Connect smart home speakers with built-in Wi-Fi capability to your home Wi-Fi to stream music straight from the cloud for fast, stable streaming with exceptional sound quality.
  • USB: Plug in and play music stored on your MP3 player and USB memory sticks
  • Radio: Most have AM/FM radio and the latest radios have DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) radio that gives you better sound quality, more radio channels to choose from and interference-free listening
  • LP records: Some models can play your old vinyl records with the latest technology
  • CDs: As most of today’s music is digital, only some of today’s Hi-Fis can play CDs

3. Home or Portable

Home Hi-Fi Sound Systems with Wireless Speakers

  • Home stereo systems that plug into the wall and play music through wireless speakers
  • Usually have three parts that can be bought separately but are mostly a total package:
  • Audio source: Bluetooth device (smartphone, tablet or laptop), USB, radio, and CD player (most have a few sources)
  • Amplifier: Controls the music volume and balance
  • Speakers: Most have two speakers for stereo sound but some have multiple speakers for surround sound
  • Hi-Fi sound systems  come in two sizes:
  • Micro Hi-Fi sound systems  are smaller and more compact with less powerful speakers (ranging between 10 and 30 watts per channel) so suit a lounge or office space
  • Mini Hi-Fi sound systems  are larger and more powerful with speakers that reach up to 100 watts per channel so are better for big houses or public spaces. Some come with a subwoofer to give you better bass

Portable Smart Wireless Speakers

Smart home wireless speakers have a built-in, cloud-based voice assistant, so in addition to everything portable Bluetooth wireless speakers can do, when you’re Wi-Fi connected, you can also use your voice to tell your smart home speakers to do things for you:

  • Play music, podcasts and radio stations, adjust the volume and skip songs
  • Tell you the weather, your calendar, recipes, flight times and more
  • Look up whatever you want to know then tell you the answer
  • Add things to your own or shared shopping list and to-do lists
  • Set cooking timers, order Ubers or pizzas
  • Buy whatever you need from Amazon
  • Control your smart lights, TV and coffee machine

All without lifting a finger, using the power of your voice.

Just say “Hey Google” to a smart speaker with Google Assistant, or say “Alexa” to tell Amazon’s smart speakers with Alexa what you want the speaker to do for you.

When it comes to what you can tell a speaker to do, remember:

  • Different smart home speakers have different operating systems and different capabilities when it comes to voice assistance and other smart home technology.
  • Some smart home speakers are compatible with Uber, Virgin Australia or Domino’s, while others link to directly your Amazon shopping account (for more information please visit each of the brands’ smart home speaker website pages).
  • Smart home speakers’ capabilities are constantly being added to via automatic updates, so check the various smart speaker website pages to confirm which actions (like telling your smart home speaker to order an Uber) you can do on which speakers.

Portable Bluetooth Wireless Speakers

  • Light, portable and battery powered so great for travelling
  • Come with a cable so can be plugged into the wall to conserve the battery life
  • Some have in-built rechargeable batteries while others use disposable batteries
  • Great for listening to music around the house and entertaining outside
  • Perfect for BBQs and picnics
  • Some models have protective features so they can be used in more extreme conditions

4. Investing in superior sound and convenience

  • The quality of different wireless speakers can vary dramatically
  • Wireless smart speakers with built-in Wi-Fi can be used to:
      - Stream music direct from the cloud so the sound quality is crystal clear (when they?re connected to Wi-Fi), and you can just say what you want it to play.
      - Voice-control your Google Assistant, Alexa or Siri compatible smart home devices and appliances (E.g. soundbar, TV, lights, security camera, baby monitor, coffee machine etc.) and make every day easier.
  • You’ll always listen to music so it may be worth spending a bit more for better sound
  • Also think about how the speakers will direct the sound – some speakers only project music in one direction, whereas others project sound around the room in multiple directions
  • Some smart home wireless speakers:
      - Are 360-degree smart speakers that create room-filling, wall-to-wall sound
      - Can be linked to other compatible speakers for multi-room sound

5. How long will the batteries last?

  • Some portable Bluetooth wireless speakers use disposable batteries and some have a built-in rechargeable battery
  • How long will the portable battery last before you need to change the batteries or charge the speaker?

6. Do you want to control convenience?

  • Some wireless speakers have:
      - A remote control
      - An app so you can control your music from your smartphone, laptop or tablet
      - A built-in voice assistant you can ask to play music, turn lights on, Google and more
      - Gesture control so you can control the speaker with a wave of your hand

7. What extras are important to you?

  • Some Hi-Fi sound systems  can connect to your media player so you can enjoy movies with better surround sound
  • Do you want radio preset features so you can save channels and switch between your favourite stations fast without having to tune them each time?
  • Do you want to be able to record music to a USB?
  • Do you want to be able to use an app control the volume and music selections?
  • Do you want your portable wireless speaker to be waterproof or sandproof?
  • Do you want colourful lights in the speaker to create a party atmosphere?
  • Some speaker brands allow you to connect multiple compatible speakers for bigger, better sound when you have friends or family over.

8. Whole House Entertainment System

Wireless multi-room speakers can be strategically positioned around your house, in the bedrooms, kitchen and study, to create a whole-home entertainment system.

Connecting multi-room wireless speakers to your soundbar and TV sets the mood and boosts your daily happiness by making it really easy to listen to the music you love as you move around the house. You can also move all the wireless speakers into the living room to pump up the party music and your TV sound, controlling everything via your smartphone using the relevant brand’s app.

With multiple smart home speakers, you can simply say “play Taylor Swift’s new album in the kitchen and Sleep Sounds in the baby’s room” without lifting a finger.

9. Look after it so it last longer

  • Read and follow all of the manufacturer’s care instructions so your wireless speaker lasts longer
  • If it’s not waterproof or sandproof don’t expose your speaker to these elements

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