The best Bose speaker for home that we've tested is the Bose Home Speaker 500. This wired-only model comes with built-in support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant via Wi-Fi, and the voice assistants can understand you even if you're far away or talking in a noisy environment. It also comes with a display screen that shows the time and information about the music you're listening to, which is handy. This stereo speaker has a pretty neutral mid-range out-of-the-box, so vocals and lead instruments reproduce clearly, though they may sound a bit dull due to the underemphasized treble. You can customize its sound using the bass and treble adjustment features in the Bose Music app. It's Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatible, and it also supports multi-room pairing, so you can pair multiple Bose Home Speakers together to play audio across different rooms in your house at the same time.
Unfortunately, its wired-only design means it isn't very portable, and it's a bit too big and bulky to carry with one hand. While it gets pretty loud, there's some compression when you play it at max volume, which can be disappointing if you want to use it at parties. Also, like many small speakers, it struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass, which can be disappointing if you love bass-heavy music. However, if you're looking for a smart speaker to use in your home, it's a solid choice.
The Bose Portable Smart Speaker is the best portable Bose speaker that we've tested. This well-built model is pretty small and lightweight, and its built-in carrying handle makes it easy to carry with one hand. It even has an IPX4 rating for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. Out-of-the-box, it has a slightly boomy sound profile that adds extra thump and punch to your music, making it ideal for fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM. You can customize it using the bass and treble adjustments in the Bose Music companion app. It also has built-in support for Google Assistant and Alexa voice assistants, but they require a Wi-Fi connection.
Unfortunately, it only lasts for a little over five hours off of a single charge, which may not be suitable for long days on the go. It doesn't get very loud, either, and there's a lot of compression when you play it at max volume, so it isn't suitable for use in a large room or at a crowded party. It also has to downmix stereo content into mono to play it, which doesn't sound as immersive. However, it's still a versatile smart speaker that's easy to bring with you on the go.
The best outdoor Bose speaker we've tested is the Bose SoundLink Revolve II. This small, well-built speaker is rated IP55 for dust and water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. It has a very good battery life, lasting over nine hours from a single charge, making it suitable for long listening sessions spent outdoors. That said, battery performance can vary depending on usage, and your experience may vary. It has a neutral sound profile, making it suitable for listening to a wide variety of audio content. It also has excellent directivity thanks to its 360-degree design, so you perceive its soundstage as wide and spacious. Since it doesn't have any voice assistants built-in, it uses those from your smartphone and does an excellent job of hearing you from far and in noisy environments.
Unfortunately, it struggles to reproduce the deep thump and rumble in low-bass that fans of bass-heavy music tend to enjoy, and there aren't any sound customization features you can use to tweak its sound to your liking. Also, it doesn't get very loud, and there are compression artifacts at max volume that can affect the clarity of your audio at louder volumes. If you're looking for a similar speaker that can get louder, check out the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II, though its voice assistant performance isn't as good. That said, if you're looking for a good Bose speaker you can use outdoors, this one is still a solid choice.
If you're shopping on a budget, the best Bose speaker we've tested is the Bose SoundLink Micro. It has a lightweight, portable design with a built-in carrying strap, and it even has an IPX7 rating for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. It reproduces a balanced mid-range, so vocals and lead instruments are clear and present in the mix, though they can also sound a bit dark due to the underemphasized treble range. It's compatible with the Bose Connect app, so you can pair it with other SoundLink Micro speakers to create a stereo pair or amplify your music across a crowded party. It even supports voice assistants from your paired smartphone, and it can hear you even if you're far away from it.
Unfortunately, like most small speakers, it struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass, which can be disappointing if you like bass-heavy music like EDM. Also, it doesn't offer any sound customization features. It doesn't get very loud, either, and it has to downmix stereo content into mono to play it. However, if you're looking for a portable Bluetooth speaker on a budget, it's still a solid choice.
Overall, Bose makes a large selection of speakers that can please many different types of listeners, including smart speakers, portable Bluetooth speakers, and speakers for musicians. Their speakers are Bluetooth-compatible and offer balanced sound profiles out-of-the-box, but they 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.
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.