If you want a truly waterproof speaker, you can’t be overly precious about how it looks. Practicality trumps matte oxidized aluminum finishes and Danish design. Still, we did our best to find something decent looking that can stand up to the demands of summer, which may or may not include an inflatable raft and a thunderstorm.
Our best in class award goes to the loud and popular JBL 4. This portable powerhouse is small enough to throw into your beach bag and big and beefy enough to rock a pool party (and your neighbors' pool parties) without distortion even at high volumes. Not loud enough? Download the JBL Connect+ app and link a bunch of speakers together.
BUY: JBL 4, $100; amazon.com
But is it really waterproof? Lots of speakers claim to be water-resistant, but the package on the JBL Flip 4 actually shows the speaker submerged in water. We dunked it several times with no interruption in service. While that's not quite the same as accidentally leaving it in a pool for a week, we can say for sure that the speaker passes the hurricane-vase-at-the-InStyle-offices test.
VIDEO: We Put JBL's Waterproof Speaker to the Test
Wins for: Sound, All-weather Usability
- 12 hours of playback
- "Bass radiator" vibrates to beat
- Can be linked to other JBL speakers for even bigger sound
See the rest of InStyle's 2017 Best of Tech picks here.