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Don’t Buy a JBL Charge Until You Read This

JBL Charge 4 vs Flip 5

Don’t Buy a JBL Charge Until You Read This

With a global spend of $7.2 billion in 2022, the portable Bluetooth speaker market is a seriously massive sector of the audio industry today. There are so many different options from such a vast number of brands that it can be hard for a person to know what to choose. One of the most popular options in recent years has been the JBL Charge.

However, you shouldn’t buy a JBL Charge until you’ve read this comprehensive guide. What is the latest model? What kind of hardware does it have? And what about its audio specs? And what do people have to say about it? Let’s review.

JBL Charge: The Basics

ProductCharge 5
ManufacturerJBL
Battery Life20 hours
Size8.7 in. x 3.76 in. x 3.67 in.
Weight2.11 lbs.
Price$179.95

History of the JBL Charge

Audio equipment manufacturer JBL first released the JBL Charge — their now-iconic portable Bluetooth speaker line — in 2013. Owned by Harman International Industries (itself a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics), JBL has been working in the speaker industry as far back as 1927.

Excellent Pick
JBL Charge 2+ Splashproof
  • 20 hours of playtime
  • Noise- and echo-canceling speakerphone
  • Connect up to 3 smartphones or tablets to the speaker via Bluetooth
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Despite decades upon decades of industry experience, the JBL Charge was nevertheless one of their earliest Bluetooth products. Intended as a successor to the JBL Flip (released one year prior in 2012), the goal was to create an even more powerful and longer-lasting portable speaker than ever before.

JBL marketed the JBL Charge as a social music player that users could take and play anywhere, indoors or out. This marketing strategy proved to be an effective one: the JBL Charge received praise for great sound quality, long-lasting battery life, and even a USB port that — true to its name — could be used to charge other devices.

Our Pick
JBL Charge 3 Waterproof
$129.95
  • 20 hours of playtime
  • IPX7 Waterproof
  • Balanced sound
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/16/2024 10:33 am GMT

Its cylindrical shape, combined with its compact size, made the JBL Charge effortlessly portable. Likewise, its rubberized exterior made the speaker durable and splash-resistant. All in all, an impressive portable Bluetooth speaker from the start. Then JBL made it better.

In the years that followed, JBL released a number of new and improved Charge speakers — each with new and improved specs and features to match. The JBL Charge 2, launched in 2014, updated the design and added dual passive radiators for better bass.

Reliable Pick
JBL Charge 4 Waterproof
$104.95
  • Bluetooth streaming
  • U to 20 hours of playtime
  • IPX7 waterproof
  • Durable
  • Dual passive radiators
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/16/2024 10:33 am GMT

2016’s Charge 3 added improved waterproofing and more powerful drivers. 2018’s Charge 4 improved battery life and brought USB-C charging. 2021 brought the Charge 5, the latest model in this family of wireless Bluetooth speakers. It boasts the longest battery life yet, plus improved sound quality over its predecessors.

What’s Included When You Buy A JBL Charge

Now that we know enough about the history of the JBL Charge, let’s focus on all the technical components of the JBL Charge 5. What comes in the box? What’s inside the speaker itself? And how does this translate to its overall audio quality?

We know that the JBL Charge family has been a popular choice among those in the market for a high-quality portable Bluetooth speaker. But what are the specifics of the Charge 5? Let’s break down everything that’s included when you buy a JBL Charge 5 — from the hardware to the audio specs and the extras in the box.

JBL Charge Hardware

Output Power40 W
Size8.7 in. x 3.76 in. x 3.67 in.
Weight2.11 lbs.
Battery Life20 hours
Charge Time4 hours
Speakers1 x long excursion driver
1 x tweeter
2 x bass radiators
ColorsBlue, Red, Grey, Teal, Camo, Black

The JBL Charge 5’s hardware specs tell the story of a Bluetooth speaker made to deliver the highest-quality sound experience in such a portable format. At around 8.66 inches tall and weighing around 1.9 pounds, the JBL Charge 5 is small and light enough to be carried around with ease.

Featuring a pair of sound drivers and two JBL Bass Radiators, the JBL Charge 5 has a remarkably rich and bass-heavy sound for such a tiny speaker. Looking beyond these speaker specs, the JBL Charge 5 also boasts excellent battery life with up to 20 hours of playtime.

JBL Charge Audio

Bluetooth Version5.1
Bluetooth ProfilesA2DP 1.3, AVRCP 1.6
Frequency2400 MHz-2483.5 MHz
Bluetooth ModulationGFSK, π/4 DQPSK, 8DPSK
Bluetooth Power≤ 20 dBm (EIRP)
JBL PartyBoostYes
Dynamic Frequency Response Range60 Hz-20k Hz

To control the audio on the JBL Charge 5, users simply press the buttons on the control panel on top of the speaker. This control panel lets users adjust the volume, activate their voice assistant of choice, and skip, pause, or play tracks.

The JBL Charge 5 also comes with the signature PartyBoost feature. This lets Charge 5 owners connect multiple PartyBoost-enabled JBL speakers together for an even bigger, even louder listening experience. This is achieved with the help of Bluetooth 5.1, which provides a stable and reliable connection from up to 30 feet.

Extras Included

Included in the BoxUSB-C Cable
Quick-Start Guide
Safety Sheet
Warranty Card

JBL Charge Reviews

Based on the specs and features above, it’s clear why the JBL Charge 5 is seen as such a successful continuation of the JBL Charge line. From its hardware to its audio specs, the Bluetooth speaker has the makings of everything a person could want from a portable JBL product.

But how do actual users feel about it? These things may look good on paper, but how do these specs and features shake out in practice? Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly cited comments and concerns in the JBL Charge 5’s reviews.

All in all, the JBL Charge 5 has received far more positive reviews than negative ones. Of all the positive things users have praised, the speaker’s sound quality, battery life, and durability have received the most accolades.

Best Battery Life
JBL Charge 5
$179.95
  • Features a long excursion driver, separate tweeter, and dual JBL bass radiators
  • Up to 20 hours of playtime
  • IP67 waterproof and dust-proof rating
  • PartyBoost feature
  • Built-in power bank
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01/16/2024 10:47 am GMT

From its clear, balanced sound to its powerful and impressive bass, the JBL Charge 5 is seen as a great little Bluetooth speaker that doesn’t sacrifice quality for portability. Not to mention, the Charge 5’s 20-hour battery life on a single four-hour charge certainly doesn’t hurt things, either.

From its strong waterproof and dustproof rating to its easy-to-use controls found on the top of the speaker, users have found there’s no limit to the kind of typical daily uses the JBL Charge 5 can handle. At the pool, at the beach, or even in the backyard, the JBL Charge 5 is built to handle daily life’s most common elements.

The biggest — and, for some, the only — qualm really has to do with the price of the speaker. At $180, the Charge 5 is well outside some people’s price range. Even when on sale for $140, the speaker remains one of the more expensive portable Bluetooth speaker options.

When to Expect the JBL Charge 6

Because the JBL Charge 5 was released in 2021, it’s only natural to wonder when the next in the long line of JBL Charge speakers might be released. Looking back at past release schedules for the JBL Charge family, the portable Bluetooth speaker company came out with a new model every other year for the first several models.

(The first Charge arrived in 2012, the Charge 2 came in 2014, the Charge 3 came in 2016, and the Charge 4 was released in 2018.) Then, the Charge 5 bucked the trend and took three years to be released.

If the Charge 6 follows this new three-year cycle, then it would make sense to expect this next Charge model in 2024. But, if it returns to that two-year cycle that defined the Charge family for so many years, it could feasibly arrive in 2023.

Either way, as of this writing, there has been no word from JBL on a Charge 6. Looking beyond official announcements, we don’t even have any rumors surrounding the Charge 6 or what it might include. For this reason, it seems safe to assume the speaker will not be arriving for quite some time — likely 2024, not 2023.

Should You Buy a JBL Charge?

All in all, the Charge 5 has been an incredibly satisfying and positively received product from JBL. From its superb sound quality to its long-lasting battery life to its rugged and durable design, the JBL Charge 5 is an all-around great portable Bluetooth speaker.

If you’re in the market for a portable Bluetooth speaker and can justify or afford the $180 price tag, then the JBL Charge 5 seems like a very reasonable choice. (And, in the end, if you end up buying one but ultimately decide it’s not for you, JBL offers a 30-day return policy.)

  1. JBL Charge 2+ Splashproof
    • 20 hours of playtime
    • Noise- and echo-canceling speakerphone
    • Connect up to 3 smartphones or tablets to the speaker via Bluetooth
    Buy Now on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

  2. JBL Charge 3 Waterproof
    $129.95
    • 20 hours of playtime
    • IPX7 Waterproof
    • Balanced sound
    Buy Now on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/16/2024 10:33 am GMT
  3. JBL Charge 4 Waterproof
    $104.95
    • Bluetooth streaming
    • U to 20 hours of playtime
    • IPX7 waterproof
    • Durable
    • Dual passive radiators
    Buy Now on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/16/2024 10:33 am GMT
  4. JBL Charge 5
    $179.95
    • Features a long excursion driver, separate tweeter, and dual JBL bass radiators
    • Up to 20 hours of playtime
    • IP67 waterproof and dust-proof rating
    • PartyBoost feature
    • Built-in power bank
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/16/2024 10:47 am GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the battery like on a JBL Charge 5?

The JBL Charge 5 delivers up to 20 hours of listening time on a single charge. To recharge the portable Bluetooth speaker back to 100%, however, you’ll need to set aside four hours.

It uses a USB-C charger and comes equipped with a 7500mAh rechargeable battery. All in all, a very long-lasting portable speaker with an impressive battery life.

Can the JBL Charge 5 get wet?

Yes, the JBL Charge 5 is waterproof as well as dustproof. The portable Bluetooth speaker carries a rating of IP67, which means that it can be submerged in water up to 1 meter deep for as long as 30 minutes without doing damage to the speaker. From the beach to the pool to a surprise rain shower in your backyard, the JBL Charge 5 can handle the elements quite well.

Can the JBL Charge 5 charge my phone?

Yes, the JBL Charge 5 lives up to its name by supplying users with a built-in power bank. This charging slot allows users to charge their other devices — from smartphones to tablets to anything else with a USB-C compatible charger. Be warned, however: This feature is very convenient, but it will drain the speaker’s battery faster.

What is the Bluetooth range of a JBL Charge 5?

Because the JBL Charge 5 utilizes Bluetooth 5.1, it has a Bluetooth range of up to 30 feet. It can also be linked to other compatible JBL-branded speakers to increase its range. With that being said, walls and other forms of interference might shorten that 30-foot range to something slightly lower.

How many devices can be linked to the JBL Charge 5?

The JBL Charge 5 can connect to as many as two devices at one time. Additionally, it can switch between them seamlessly. This means two phones, a phone and a laptop, a phone and a tablet, or any other two Bluetooth 5.1-compatible devices can be linked to one single JBL Charge 5 for seamless playback between the two.

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