Because wired speakers are much more static, making them more suitable for your office or living space; they afford a set of Bluetooth speakers or a Wi-Fi speaker sure to sound when you want to be independent of cables, sockets, etc. Freebirds time!
For many however, the notions of “Bluetooth” and “Wi-Fi” may mean much, but the peculiarities are the ones that distinguish them in 2 totally different ways. First, as for the Bluetooth speakers and the Wi-Fi speakers, we briefly address about what the product offers, from connectivity to ergonomic character. Let’s begin:
Bluetooth has long been the technology chosen for wireless music playback, but this is not the only option available. Connecting to a portable speaker via Wi-Fi is possible for some time, but only recently, thanks to manufacturers such as Sonos or Chromecast, it has become more easily accessible to consumers.
Both technologies covered in this article have their individual advantages and disadvantages, and just like most things, the choice is limited to what you think is ultimately most important. So, let’s overview each technology and see what suits you.
Bluetooth or Wi-Fi: what’s the difference?
The biggest difference between the two technologies is that Bluetooth can transmit music from your phone or tablet to a Bluetooth speaker. A Wi-Fi speaker accesses music from the Internet or from a device connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
You can control a Wi-Fi speaker via a smartphone, but you have to stay within the radius of a router’s signal. Music will continue to play, even if you answer a phone call or move to another room. Ready to break out those dance moves?
For Bluetooth speakers, the phone or other devices must remain within the range of the speaker (about 10 meters away).
Bluetooth was originally designed to replace the 1995 short-range data cables and was later adapted to manage stereo sound. Most electronics now have this integrated technology, and if they do not have it, it is very cheap and easy to add an external module.
Availability – as mentioned above, it is in almost any electronic device.
Cheap – it’s pretty cheap to build a portable speaker that uses Bluetooth technology. Or if you want to add this function to an older system, the external Bluetooth modules are also quite cheap.
Sound quality – Although Bluetooth has come a long way in recent years, audio files still have to be compressed to be transmitted correctly. However, Bluetooth 4.0 has been an important step in improving quality.
Will you hear the difference? We do not know how to answer this question because every person is different. Some people can hear the differences, and others do not.
Operating distance – Companies claim a maximum distance of 10 meters, but probably 5 meters is more realistic. You also need to know that the walls of the signal path shorten this distance far enough.
Wi-Fi uses the same basic idea as Bluetooth, except that instead of being connected directly to an audio source such as a phone or tablet, you will use a Wi-Fi router to transmit the audio signal from the source to the speakers. Wi-Fi is almost as common as Bluetooth on playback devices, but not as customary on portable speakers.
Wireless speakers connected to the Internet or to the content source via the Wi-Fi system represent a superior solution for a Bluetooth connection, both through audio quality and stability.
Wi-Fi speakers can connect online to streaming services on their own (TIDAL, Deezer, Spotify, Apple Music, etc.) without the need for a mobile phone or tablet to stay there.
In addition, many of the models can be configured in a multiroom network to play independent content in each room or linked in “party mode” to play the same content throughout the house. Perfect for your sorority or fraternity mixer!
Running distance – is great. With Wi-Fi, you do not have to worry about losing your audio signal as long as you have a Wi-Fi signal. So if your network is configured to cover the whole house, then you can hold the phone in your pocket and do not have to worry about losing your audio signal.
Sound quality – Wi-Fi has a much larger bandwidth than Bluetooth, giving it the ability to stream audio without loss. This means that all the information that leaves the audio source will be received by your portable speaker. Do you need this? Maybe yes, maybe no. Some prefer listening to a perfect sound, others do not take this into consideration.
Zones – With the use of software and multiple receivers, Wi-Fi lets you configure different audio areas that can be controlled from a single device. You can listen to the same music in all areas with separate volume or listen to different music depending on the area. This is very useful if you have multiple home speakers.
Price – Wi-Fi is still expensive. Prices have dropped quite a lot lately, but because it is not a standard like Bluetooth, it costs more.
Setup – Configuration can be more complicated, especially if it does not have a quality router. Most systems use an application and WPS to connect to Wi-Fi. What it literally means is that just pressing a single button will connect.
So, what’s best for your needs? It depends: if you want a smaller system and do not want to fret when leaving the room while listening to music, maybe Bluetooth suits you. Or, you can have multiple speakers and you want to use them all at the same time, and the sound quality is extremely important, then you should choose Wi-Fi.
The natural question at the end of this article is the following: How to choose between a Bluetooth speaker and a Wi-Fi speaker? The truth is that the answer is based on where you want to listen to your favorite artists, as well as the simplicity/complexity of the music playback system.
So, if you want to listen to the music room while working or cleaning, or want to pack music, when you go to a picnic, some Bluetooth speakers under $200 are welcome because everything is simpler with such a system playback. If you want to make it a breeze, however, and the number of portable speakers should be as many as you want, the Wi-Fi speakers are still preferred in this case. It’s all about you!