The Bose Home Speaker 500 is the best home speaker by Bose that we've tested. This wired home speaker offers fantastic voice assistant support with Alexa and Google Assistant built-in and can register your commands in noisy rooms and when you're far away from the speaker. It also comes with a screen that displays the time, volume, and information about the track you're listening to. Its default sound profile is fairly neutral, making it suitable for listening to a wide variety of audio content. Its balanced mid-range ensures vocals and lead instruments sound clear and present in the mix, though higher-pitched voices and instruments sound a bit dull at times. Fortunately, there are bass and treble adjustments featured in its companion app, which you can use to tweak its sound to your liking. It's also Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatible, and it supports multi-room pairing, so you can pair multiple Bose Home Speakers together to play different audio across different rooms in your home at the same time.
Unfortunately, due to its wired design, it needs to remain plugged into a power outlet to work, so it isn't very portable. Like most speakers its size, it lacks some low-bass, so you can't feel the deep thump and rumble typically present in bass-heavy music. Also, although it gets loud enough to fill a large room with sound, there's some compression present at max volume that degrades the quality of your audio as you bump up the volume. That said, it's still a solid choice if you're looking to add a smart speaker to your home.
The best Bose portable speaker we've tested is the Bose Portable Smart Speaker. This versatile speaker is battery-powered, so you don't have to worry about having to wire it to a power outlet, and it comes with a built-in carrying handle to help you transport your favorite tunes along with you wherever you go. It has an IPX4 rating for water resistance that certifies it to withstand small splashes of water, and it offers outstanding voice assistant support with Alexa and Google Assistant built-in. Its sound profile is slightly boomy out-of-the-box, making it suitable for fans of bass-heavy genres like hip-hop or EDM. You can also tweak its sound profile to your liking, thanks to the bass and treble adjustments in its companion app.
Unfortunately, it doesn't get very loud, and there's a lot of compression at max volume that affects the quality of your audio when the speaker is pushed to its louder volume levels. Despite its boomy sound profile, like most speakers its size, it lacks thump and rumble in the low-bass range. Also, its battery only lasted a little over five hours in our tests, which isn't very suitable for long days on the go. That said, battery life can vary depending on your usage, and your experience may vary.
The best Bose Bluetooth speaker to use outdoors that we've tested is the Bose SoundLink Flex. This sturdy speaker is rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, certifying it to be fully dust-tight and immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes, so you don't have to worry about it getting too wet or dirty when taking it outside with you. It's easy to take with you when you're out and about, and there's a small carrying strap built into its side, which you can use to attach it to your bag. Out-of-the-box, its sound profile is pretty neutral, making it suitable for listening to a wide variety of audio content. It also supports Google Assistant and Siri through your smartphone and is excellent at registering your commands from far and in noisier environments.
Unfortunately, like most speakers its size, it lacks a thumpy and rumbling low-bass, and you can't tweak its sound to your liking. Its battery also only lasted around seven hours in our tests, so you have to recharge it if you're using it for a full day outdoors. If you're looking for a Bose speaker with longer-lasting battery life, the Bose SoundLink Revolve II lasted over nine hours in our tests. While it isn't as well-built as the Flex, it's still rated IP55 for dust and water resistance, meaning it can withstand a bit of rain. If you're looking for a good Bose speaker to bring along with you to the beach or on a hike, the Flex is still a solid choice.
The Bose SoundLink Color II is the best budget Bose Speaker we've tested. This compact stereo speaker is shaped like a square and comes in many colors. It's rated IPX4 for water resistance, meaning it's certified to withstand small splashes of water. It has a balanced mid-range that ensures vocals and lead instruments sound clear and present in the mix, though they can also sound a bit dull or dark at times. It also supports Siri and Google Assistant through your paired smartphone, and it's great at registering your commands from far and in noisier settings. Additionally, it can be paired to other compatible speakers when you want to create a stereo pair or when you want to amplify your audio across a large space.
Unfortunately, like most small speakers, it lacks thump and rumble in the low-bass range, and there isn't a graphic EQ or presets you can use to adjust its sound to your liking. It also doesn't get very loud, and there's some compression present at max volume that impacts the quality of your audio at louder volumes. It's important to note that while it retails for a bit more than our $100 price point, we haven't tested any cheaper Bose speakers that perform better than it yet. If you're looking for a budget Bose speaker, it's worth considering.
Overall, Bose makes a large selection of speakers that can please many different listeners, including smart speakers, portable Bluetooth speakers, and speakers for musicians. Their speakers are usually Bluetooth-compatible and offer balanced sound profiles out-of-the-box but lack premium sound customization features like graphic EQs or room correction features. They also may have to downmix stereo content into mono to play it, which isn't very immersive-sounding. You can use them with voice assistants, either from a paired device or via built-in support.
Apr 28, 2022: Updated text for clarity; no changes to product picks.
Jan 28, 2022: Checked text for accuracy and verified product availability. No changes were made to recommendations.
Nov 29, 2021: Replaced the Bose SoundLink Revolve II with the Bose SoundLink Flex since it's better-built.
Aug 31, 2021: Replaced the Bose SoundLink Micro with the Bose SoundLink Color II since it's a slightly better-performing speaker overall.
Jun 02, 2021: Added the Bose SoundLink II as the 'Best Outdoor Bose Speaker'.
Bose is a well-known brand that offers many different types of speakers; depending on your listening habits, you may prefer one over others. They make well-built Bluetooth speakers with a balanced and neutral sound out-of-the-box, and their smart speakers come with built-in voice assistant support. However, their models tend to lack a lot of extra sound customization options.