One of the tried-and-true methods of grabbing the attention of your students is using audio content to demonstrate the lesson at hand or set the mood in the classroom. So today’s topic is the 5 best Bluetooth speakers for classrooms.
Before kicking things off, we have to say that we found the Ultimate Ears BOOM 2 model as the best, truly premium speaker, but it just might not be your ideal pick. With that in mind, we’ll take a look at some of the finest Bluetooth speakers for teachers in the classroom that money can buy!
5 Best Bluetooth Speakers for Classrooms – Our Picks
Our top picks among Bluetooth speakers for classroom use are:
– Ultimate Ears BOOM 2 Portable Waterproof & Shockproof Bluetooth Speaker
– Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker II
– Soundcore Motion+ Bluetooth Speaker with Hi-Res 30W Audio
– Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 5 Bluetooth Wireless Speaker
– JBL Boombox – Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker
When it comes to lists of the best Bluetooth speakers in general, the first Ultimate Ears Boom model was pretty much a constant mainstay. It was definitely appreciated by industry aficionados all around the world, which made the coming of the Ultimate Ears Boom 2 an intriguing proposition.
It’s safe to say that this speaker does not disappoint. First of all, it sells at around 200 bucks; not bad at all considering the quality of sound that you get from it. Naturally, like all other speakers on this list, it can be used in conjunction with any tablet or smartphone. As long as your device is Bluetooth-capable (and what device isn’t these days?) you’ll be able to use it to control the UE Boom 2.
When it comes to the appearance of the speaker, it hasn’t made any huge departures from the previous model. These are two physically very similar speakers, not counting a couple of purely cosmetic shifts.
One of these is that the new model comes in more color variants than the previous one, there are six distinct shades of the UE Boom 2. Also, we’ve noticed that the weave on the speaker’s cover is tighter this time around; a welcome change, seeing as that means a more durable device. There are a couple of more manufacturing changes of this sort. For instance, the port flaps for the input and output cables are less flimsy and integrate better into the overall unit.
The biggest change that you’re bound to notice is the addition of better waterproofing. While the previous model was somewhat water-resistant, this one is fully submersible according to the iPX7 standard. This can be a great feature for classrooms containing younger children, there’s no telling where they might drop the speaker if left unsupervised.
Ultimate Ears also claims that water can’t get into the device and ruin it even if you don’t close the port flaps; a truly remarkable feat of design.
But now, onto the part that truly matters, the insides. And this is where the biggest changes have happened. For one, the audio driver for this speaker has been utterly revamped. This has resulted in two excellent improvements, first of all, the speaker can achieve a top volume that’s 25% higher than its predecessor; which was already loud enough. Apart from that, the overall sound quality is noticeably better.
The importance of this cannot be overstated, seeing as classrooms can be extremely noisy places; if the children can’t be outmatched by your Bluetooth speaker, it won’t do you much good as a teacher.
Interestingly enough, you can also control the UE Boom 2 using gesture controls. For many users, this would be nothing more than a fun feature they’d use only once or twice. But for busy teachers, this could provide an extremely easy way of controlling the speaker; a welcome inclusion for sure.
Also, you don’t need to use a computer to update the firmware on this device. Instead, there are options to do so using the UE app for smartphones. This app also contains all the controls you need, including access to the power button. There’s practically nothing you have to do physically to control this speaker, except for plugging it in when it needs to be charged.
– Louder and better than the previous model
– Resistant to water
– Solid battery life
– A bit expensive
Our next pick comes from a solid manufacturer, and it’s the best product that they’ve made as of yet. The Bose SoundLink Mini was a hit way back in 2013, and the company is back seven years later with a new and improved model, the SoundLink Mini II.
However, importantly this device manages to add a couple of neat new features while simultaneously fixing some of the most obvious shortcomings of the old device. Also, it comes in two different colors; not a great choice, but not that important for a classroom.
This model weighs a little over a pound, which is basically nothing making it an extremely portable speaker. Also, we should mention that the overall design hasn’t changed much compared to the predecessor. Although, that’s not such a bad thing; the 2013 Mini was one of the best-looking Bluetooth speakers on the market.
One of the most practical improvements is the 10-hour battery life; eliminating the need to charge the device multiple times during a single workday at the school. Also, if you want to use it as a speakerphone, there’s a small microphone built into this version of the speaker.
As expected, you won’t need an AC adapter to charge it anymore, seeing as this speaker uses a USB charger that’s standard for such devices nowadays. It also comes with a handy docking station, which you can use to charge the device wirelessly.
Many people have commented that the sleek look of this speaker and its previous iteration reminds quite a lot of a speaker that would be hypothetically sold and made by Apple. The aluminum enclosure is pretty much unibody, and though it’s not heavy it’s certainly substantial due to the sturdy materials used in its manufacturing.
One of the biggest selling points of this speaker is its ability to pair itself with two controller devices. It can maintain two separate audio streams; also, it remembers a maximum of eight different devices. Though this is neat for household use, where multiple people may want to use it in quick succession; you’re pretty much the only one who’s going to be using it as a teacher in the classroom, so that feature is somewhat moot.
Still, the SoundLink Mini II is definitely an impressive feat of audio design. For one, the sound volumes and quality that it can churn out is something to behold for a device of its small size. The bass feels hefty and yet perfectly clean.
– Beautiful design
– Excellent sound for its size
– Great build quality
– Charging cradle
– No stereo separation to speak of
Our next pick is a bit more budget-friendly than the first two Bluetooth speakers for teachers that we’ve reviewed. While, unfortunately, the Soundcore Motion Plus did somehow slip below plenty of people’s radars in 2019; it’s worthy of inclusion here, that’s for sure.
For one, it’s probably the most cost-effective speaker that you can snag for around a hundred bucks or less; which is how much it goes for these days. Sure, we should mention that it’s a bit bigger than what you’d consider another speaker; but it manages to be compact enough to remain portable.
And when you compare its sound quality, volume, and fullness to other speakers in the same price range, it’s safe to say that the Soundcore Motion Plus blows most of them completely out of the water.
Speaking of water, this speaker is completely waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about anyone spilling something over it. The speaker weighs more than two pounds, making it one of the heaviest choices on its list; but definitely not without plenty of upsides. We’re not just talking about its price either. For example, the device has an extremely powerful battery.
This is no big wonder, seeing as the speaker is manufactured by Anker. This company is most well-renowned for its battery technology and range of portable chargers. Thus, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the Soundcore Motion Plus delivers a glorious sound across twelve uninterrupted hours of use.
If you’re a sound enthusiast, you’ll be happy to learn that you can make plenty of tweaks to the sound of the speaker via the Android and iOS companion app. While that may not be important for school teachers in the classroom, it’s still a neat feature. Furthermore, if you get two Soundcore Motion Plus models; you can pair them together to increase the volume or make a stereo sound system. Bear in mind that two of these cost one more expensive speaker; so that’s not such a bad investment at all.
As for charging, the speaker uses a standard USB-C port. This port and a 3.5mm jack are found beneath a gasket made of rubber; its purpose is to prevent any water or excess moisture from wrecking the speaker.
The volume keys, pairing buttons, and playback settings are found on the top of the device. There’s also a handy button for bass boosting.
Anker’s new speaker manages to put on quite a show for a hundred bucks. Compared to any similarly priced competitor, this model simply sounds a lot better; plus, it can pump out more bass and pure volume. And the quality and smoothness of the sound don’t suffer at higher settings for volume either.
There’s no getting around the fact that the Motion Plus has a higher glass ceiling for volume and quality compared to other mini Bluetooth models. Of course, it can’t quite hold a candle to higher-tier models; but if you’re just looking for a simple Bluetooth speaker for your classroom that won’t set you back a significant amount of money, this is definitely more than a sound choice.
– Excellent sound quality at this price range
– Clear, decent bass, and higher volume
– Long battery life
– Less compact than other portable speakers
Moving on, we’ve got the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 5. This mouthful of a name comes to us from the line of speakers created by Harman Kardon. We should point out something right away, while the previous installments in this series were great examples of iterative design, the newest model is something of a bigger departure from its predecessors.
Plenty of the changes that we’ll describe below have arrived due to constructive criticism from consumers. Sure, all of the models that came before definitely had a lot going for them; but they always seemed to be leaving enough room to be improved upon as well. The Harman Kardon electronics company seems to have understood this, hence the Onyx Studio 5.
First of all, we should point out that this isn’t a speaker for the faint of heart. You won’t find this to be the most portable model on this list by far. That’s something consistent with the previous speakers from the Onyx studio line as well. The whole device was practically one giant speaker, supported by two tiny feet. It appeared as one gigantic black disk; a somewhat unorthodox aesthetic choice for the classroom to be sure.
Well, the fifth version of this speaker made more than a few changes to the old model. For one, there are no more feet. It’s not a bad idea if you ask us, meaning that you won’t need as much space on your desk to situate the speaker. Also, it will survive an uneven surface a bit better than the previous ones. Not to mention the rattling that used to happen on higher volume levels.
Unfortunately, the changes in design haven’t been extensive enough to warrant blanket praise. There are a couple of features missing; some of which are found in far less expensive Bluetooth speakers on this list. For example, the fifth Onyx Studio is still not shockproof or waterproof. The latter is especially a big minus in our book, seeing as competing models in this price range practically all have waterproof qualities.
After all, what if you want to bring this speaker to a pool party or a beach; life extends beyond the classroom. Also, while you can pair this device with another identical 5th-generation speaker, there’s a profound lack of backward compatibility with older Onyx Studio models.
Though, if you do decide to pair up two of the 5th-generation Onyx speakers, you’ll be getting your money’s worth for sure. Two of those fill up a classroom quite sufficiently, with some truly amazing bass qualities.
– Minimalist design
– No feet like previous models
– Great bass
– Lack of microphone
– No backward compatibility
Our final pick is simultaneously the most expensive one, the JBL Boombox. This is a portable, yet quite a big speaker. It can provide you with immense depth of bass, as well as incredibly high volumes. We’ll tell you right away, while this may be one of the best Bluetooth speakers for teachers in a classroom; it’s not for teachers that are solely going to use it for such purposes.
This is a device for people who enjoy sound in every aspect of their lives, from parties to home sound systems. Or, for someone who doesn’t have a limited budget for this particular purchase. Otherwise, we couldn’t quite justify paying that much money for what is ultimately going to be a classroom speaker.
Still, if you do decide to buy this JBL model, you certainly won’t need another Bluetooth speaker for a very, very long time. While the device is quite a bit bulkier than the other choices we’ve reviewed so far, it’s also more durable and robust.
Also, the IPX7 waterproof standard bears mentioning; this speaker can safely be submerged for about half an hour. Obviously, that’s still not something we recommend trying out; if nothing else, because Bluetooth will function choppily underwater.
As for the appearance of the speaker, on its front face, you’ll find controls for playback, the Bluetooth pairing button, and the usual power controls. Apart from the obvious volume controls, there’s also an option to link up two Boomboxes, or a Boombox and another JBL speaker. Finally, there’s a small LED screen that lets you see the remaining battery life at a glance.
– The most powerful audio performance on the list
– Functions as a charger for smartphones as well
– Very expensive
– Bulky and heavy
5 Best Bluetooth Speakers for Classrooms – Wrapping Up
If you’re someone looking for a premium portable speaker, the JBL Boombox is certainly a fine choice. But let’s face it, that’s only good for those with deeper pockets. So when the value for money factor is included, we’d have to recommend the Ultimate Ears BOOM 2 as the best product on the list. Make sure you are staying safe and have a good one, folks!