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Experts Interviewed

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2018 BLUETOOTH GOLF SPEAKER | BUYER’S GUIDE

Do you like listening to music while you play golf?

The game of golf has always upheld traditional values of etiquette for decades, but in recent years this ideology has begun to shift. Digital technology has infiltrated the golf course, creating new ways to enhance and enjoy your round. Bluetooth Speakers are a part of that shift. Love them or hate them, their popularity is on the rise, and their use is becoming more and more acceptable at many golf courses.

Regardless of whether you walk or ride, the wireless speaker can add to your enjoyment of the game. The current market includes speakers of all shapes and sizes. Some offer golf-specific features like clips for your bag or cart mounts.

If you’re considering a purchasing a Bluetooth speaker for golf, this guide is for you.

FEATURES THAT MATTER

CARABINER: While not available on every model, speakers with a properly designed carabiner can be easily attached to a cart or bag. They can also be useful if you take your speaker off the course. The size and shape of the carabiner matters and so does how it attaches to the speaker. The PUMA Soundchuck is an example of a speaker that leverages a well-designed carabiner to improve the speaker’s versatility.

SOUND: (Omnidirectional vs Directional) When listening to your favorite song, you want to hear it from every direction. Speakers that only offer directional sound are limited to whatever direction the speaker is facing. We found that omnidirectional speakers were the best-performing on the golf course. Speakers such as UE MegaBlast and PUMA Soundchuck are great examples of quality omnidirectional speakers. Directional speakers such as the JBL and Ampcaddy are not as well-suited to the golf course.

DURABILITY: Anything portable needs to be long lasting because it’s going to get dropped from time to time. This means that the speakers must be able to withstand falls and absorb impact time and time again. The LifeProof Aquaphonics AQ9 is a great example of a durable speaker. Drop it, submerge it, cover it in sand, and it will still work without a problem.

CONNECTIVITY: No matter how good a speaker sounds, it’s only as good as its connection. The best speakers for golf allow for plenty of room to wander. UE MegaBlast and the PUMA Soundchuck offer superb Bluetooth connectivity. Connections were maintained despite 40+ yards of separation. This is definitely a feature that you want to consider if you carry your phone while playing.

BATTERY LIFE: How long does your golf speaker last when it’s unplugged and paired with your Bluetooth device? The typical range is between 8-12 hours but some like the LifeProof Aquaphonics AQ9 last up to 16 hours! For a day that starts at the course and ends at the pool this extra time can come in handy.

2018 Speakers Features Chart

NamePriceColorsWaterproofShockproofBattery lifeWarrenty
AMPCADDY$149.991YY12 Hours18 Months
BagBoy Bluetooth Speaker$39.951NN5 HoursNA
Bose Soundlink Waterproof$129.954YY8 Hours1 Year
JBL Clip 2$59.955YY8 Hours1 Year
Lidl Bluetooth Speaker$7.992NN8 HoursNA
Lifeproof AquaPhonics AQ9$99.993YY16 Hours1 Year
October golf Splash Speaker$29.991YY12 HoursNA
PUMA SoundChuck Mini$79.993NY6 HoursNA
UE MegaBlast$199.994YY16 Hours2 Year

HOW WE SCORE

We’re always fine-tuning the process to make sure we’re collecting the best data possible. Continuing that trend we’ve updated and refined this year’s analysis to bring you the best buying advice possible.

We put in hours of testing utilizing data-driven protocols to test new metrics.

Over the course of the test, we played the same song over and over again with each speaker to determine who has the best quality of sound. In other categories we found out how far the Bluetooth connectivity would reach for each speaker To limit bias, we paid careful attention to the phrasing of the questions as well as the timing of when particular questions were asked.

Durability (25) – How long will the speaker last? The speakers that do well in this category can survive being dropped, getting wet, and the slow grind of everyday use. Speakers that do well are waterproof and are built to survive getting knocked around in the golf cart.

Sound Quality (50) – How clear is the music? The sound clarity is the most important part of the test because we want to listen to whatever is playing without any muffles or breaks in the song. Speakers that do well have no issues when playing songs and are loud enough that you can hear the music while on the green. Speakers that do not perform as well tend to have breaks and crackles or don’t provide robust sound that can be heard away from the cart.

User Friendliness (15) – How easy is the device to use straight out of the box? Even those of us who enjoy music on the course want to focus on the next shot, not our speakers. The speakers that do well in this category are so simple that the manual isn’t required. The speakers that didn’t perform as well aren’t particularly intuitive and require a reasonable amount of time to set up and learn the various buttons and controls.

Features (10) – How easy does the speaker fit within the cart and on a golf bag? When we play golf we do not want our speaker to be rolling around the cart and potentially breaking. Speakers that performed well in this category fit in the cup holder or were otherwise secure within the cart or bag. Speakers that did not perform as well either fit in a cart, but not on a bag or vice versa.

Final grades were awarded based on total scores. Best Overall is our highest overall scoring the best Bluetooth Speaker, and awards are awarded to the top three speakers. In addition, more specific Best in Class recognitions are awarded to speakers in certain categories (like best value) that push the industry envelope.

THE BEST BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS OF 2018

UE MegaBlast

UE MegaBlast

"BEST BLUETOOTH SPEAKER OF 2018"

Sound Quality
1st
Ease of Use
1st
Durability
3rd
Features
4th
Total
95
1

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What We Liked

The Ultimate Ears MegaBlast is the “BEST BLUETOOTH SPEAKER OF 2018″. The stylish speaker is on the larger side but it still fits inside a normal cart cupholder. The UE provides outstanding sound quality and retains that quality at higher volume levels due, in part, to its omnidirectional design. Setup is both intuitive and quick. The MegaBlast is the most expensive product we tested but its performance and versatility justify the additional cost.

Pros

  • Premium sound quality
  • Stylish unit with different color options
  • Simple and intuitive smart device connectivity
  • Omnidirectional design
  • Optional charging dock

Cons

  • The largest speaker tested
  • The highest price speaker tested
  • Not the best for walking/carrying as it only fits in your water bottle pocket
PUMA Sound Chuck

PUMA Sound Chuck

"BEST VALUE"

Sound Quality
3rd
Ease of Use
1st
Durability
6th
Features
1st
Total
90.5
#2

Shop & Support

When you shop online consider using our special link. It helps support this site and other golfers around the world. #ConsumerFirst

What We Liked

The PUMA SoundChuck Mini is the “BEST VALUE SPEAKER OF 2018”, offering plenty of bang for relatively few bucks. Sound quality is excellent for such a small speaker, and the fashion-forward will appreciate the multiple color options. It is not the loudest speaker, but it’s not the quietest either. The PUMA can clip on with ease to your golf bag or fit in your cup holder and still produce quality sound. Connectivity is excellent, which makes it ideal for golfers who play with their phone in their pocket.

Pros

  • Fits easily in your cart or bag with the same sound quality
  • Easy to use
  • Stylish speaker with different colors available
  • 360° surround sound
  • Functional clip for cart and golf bag
  • Outstanding Bluetooth connectivity range

Cons

  • Long cable cord can be cumbersome
Bose Soundlink Waterproof

Bose Soundlink Waterproof

Sound Quality
2nd
Ease of Use
1st
Durability
7th
Features
7th
Total
89
#3

Shop & Support

When you shop online consider using our special link. It helps support this site and other golfers around the world. #ConsumerFirst

What We Liked

The Bose Soundlink Waterproof speaker offers outstanding sound quality even with the volume turned up. The speaker has a rubberized outer coating which helps keep it from sliding around inside a golf cart. The Soundlink provides easy connectivity for those who do not want to read the manual and want instant access to their music. It’s not without some drawbacks, however. It doesn’t fit well in every cart, nor does it fit well in most bags – and when it does, sound quality depreciates.

Pros

  • Great looking speaker
  • Waterproof
  • Offers good battery life
  • Easy setup
  • Multiple colors available

Cons

  • Doesn’t fit well in a golf bag and the sound quality is compromised when it does
  • Can be hard to secure in a golf cart

2018 Bluetooth Speaker Buyer's Guide

NameSound QualityEase of UseDurabilityFeaturesTotal
UE MegaBlast1st1st3rd4th95
PUMA SoundChuck3rd1st6th1st90.5
Bose Soundlink Waterproof2nd1st7th7th89
Lifeproof AquaPhonics AQ95th1st1st2nd88
JBL Clip 25th1st3rd3rd86.5
AMPCADDY4th1st3rd6th86
October Golf Splash Speaker8th8th2nd7th76.5
BagBoy Bluetooth Kit9th7th8th5th74.5
Lidl Bluetooth Speaker7th8th9th9th72.5

 

The Rest of the Field

LIFEPROOF AQUAPHONICS AQ9 – If you are someone who, in addition to playing golf, likes to camp, or go to the beach, you should give serious consideration to the Aquaphonics AQ9. It attaches to nearly anything, its lightweight, offers good sound, and is nearly indestructible.

AMPCADDY – This speaker was specifically created for golf, and the company has done a good job of getting the product into the hands of various “social influencers.” Unfortunately, the AMPCADDY failed to live up to the hype. Connectivity is poor; often disconnecting only 10-12 yards from the phone (the best in category stayed connected up to 40 yards away). The directional speaker limits the sound quality. The clamp is excellent for attaching to a cart but limits the speaker’s versatility in nearly any other scenario.

JBL CLIP 2 – For the size of this speaker, the Clip 2 is one of the best tested. For only $59 this is overall a solid speaker option. Great for walking the course, the design of the carabiner limits functionality inside the cart.

BUDGET SPEAKERS – If you are just looking for something that makes a little noise, the 3 budget speakers (LIDL | $7, BagBoy |$25 and OctoberGolf | $29) tested are adequate though not remarkable.