Speaker How To

Bluetooth VS WiFi Audio – Which Is Better?

Bluetooth VS WiFi Audiobluetooth vs wifi

As technology advances, we find more ways to enjoy our music and devices, and even further advances in connectivity continue to pop-up.

Right now on the market, there is a large debate over what’s better, Bluetooth or WIFI?

Before we can decide, we have to do our research. What exactly is Bluetooth and how does it work to connect your devices together? In addition, what is WIFI, and why does everyone think it’s superior to Bluetooth?

Which came first? Bluetooth or WIFI? Although for some this may be a simple question, for others it may be the very question they have been trying to answer. Those of you on my site today who may be scratching their heads and wondering the same questions, I hope I can help answer them today!

Join me in the Bluetooth VS WIFI Audio battle!

What Is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is widely known, and unless you were abducted by aliens for several decades, you would have heard about Bluetooth before. If you’ve connected your phone to a speaker or headset, you would have even used Bluetooth numerous times around your home. Although these were easy setups to complete, do we really know what Bluetooth is? Let’s go back to the beginning.bluetooth vs wifi

Bluetooth was created in May 1998, over 23 years ago. In layman’s terms, Bluetooth is the technology that allows you to exchange data between two devices within a certain amount of distance. They use UHF radio waves from 2.402 GHz to 2.48 GHz. Originally created to replace the RS-232 data cables, Bluetooth is mainly used as an alternative to wire connections of any kind. Remember when your MP3 player had to connect to your stereo system from a long and thick cord. There wasn’t much freedom back then haha!

Each Bluetooth connection was enhanced, and versions upgraded through the decades for faster connectivity and longer reaches of connectivity. The most recent version update was in 2021 on July 13, taking Bluetooth 5.2 to Bluetooth 5.3. Currently, with the newest update, this connectivity can range up to 400 meters at best, barring any obstructions in the way. That’s crazy!

Currently there is a community of Bluetooth SIG members actively expanding the capabilities of Bluetooth technology. Some of their most recent developments are focused on:

  • LE (low energy) audio, supporting Bluetooth for hearing aids;
  • Bluetooth audio sharing;
  • Bluetooth direction finding;
  • Bluetooth mesh networking, connecting hundreds of systems together (complex security systems etc);
  • Bluetooth high speed;
  • Longer Bluetooth ranges.

There is so much more that Bluetooth is capable of that we have yet to discover. If you’d like to look into it further, check out the official Bluetooth site!

What Is WiFi?

Believe it or not, WiFi was developed before Bluetooth on September 21st, 1997, over 24 years ago! It is used in a similar fashion as Blueooth, through radio waves. They most commonly use between 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz radio bands, higher than Bluetooth.bluetooth vs wifi

We know and use WiFi mostly for access to the internet via any wireless-capable device, such as your laptop, tablet or smart phone. As with Bluetooth, WiFi is a means of communicating data wirelessly in a fixed location or “network”. Similar to Bluetooth, an international association of companies called WiFi Alliance monitors, develops and maintains LAN (local area network, aka your home WiFi network usually password protected) technologies and products.

In order to have Wifi, you have to have a device that receives and transmits a wireless signal. This is usually referred to as a router by your internet company. This router receives and then transmits internet connections to multiple devices on the same network without having to connect to a phone line. The Wifi is transmitted from your internet company via an outside connection (said phone line) that would be made within your home. Very similarly, a phone or device with a data connection can be a mobile hot spot as well by drawing in data from their cellular company and transmitting it to other devices within your home.

Bluetooth VS WiFi Audio

Both Bluetooth and WiFi are wireless technologies that connect your devices. Although they may sound similar, they have some distinct differences.

WiFi was created to connect your devices to the internet, while Bluetooth was created to connect your devices to each other.

However, WiFi has begun to be a dominant player in connecting similar devices together. This creates competition for Bluetooth.

Bluetooth is great if you’ve got two phones side by side that you’re trying to pass information through to. However, for larger scaled connection, WiFi takes the cake. Having a larger bandwidth (allowing more information to pass through at one time) really sets WiFi apart from Bluetooth. This also creates a faster connection.

Bluetooth is less secure, and not the most effective at passing large amounts of information through at one time.

Although it seems as though WiFi takes the win on this debate, its important to understand the usefulness of Bluetooth.  Bluetooth works great for a headphone to smart phone connection, or mouse to laptop connection as they are close connections and have less interference.

My Verdict

Sonos speakers are a great example of why WiFi could be considered the winner in this debate. All of their devices are connected via WiFi networks, therefore allowing more information to pass between the speakers. This creates a unified connection and seamless stream of radio stations and networks. However, it’s not the best to have too many devices on your network, as it begins to slow.

This is where Bluetooth finds its most usability. Allow those small connections to bounce on a different network, and your WiFi to operate at full capacity. You would also need a network to operate outside of the home or office with WiFi, where Bluetooth allows devices to connect without a network regardless of where you are.

With WiFi being a bigger and faster connection, I can see WiFi taking over as technology develops.

Hopefully I helped answer some questions, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts below!

Talk soon,

-B

8 Comments

  • nelsonpriest

    I think I am going to side with the wifi audio speakers but you’re right they come with their fair share of problems. The bluetooth speakers can be used just about anywhere unlike the wifi speaker. This review is quite a troublesome one though. I’m really keen to see what other people’s replies will be.

    • Brooke

      I think at the end of the day, even though wifi sup[ported a bigger network, Bluetooth is mobile. I don’t have to connect to a network to get my headset and phone to connect with each other. This will really divide peoples thoughts.

      Wifi is always a good choice at home for numerous devices such as your printer, or speaker system. 

      Talk soon!

  • Andy

    Hi. This is an interesting topic that I hadn’t really stopped to consider before. I must say that my own experience with Bluetooth is that connections sometimes drop. It also seems to be aimed at connecting simpler devices. So while the Bluetooth speaker in our kitchen will connect to either my phone or my wife’s phone, each time one of us wants to use the speaker we have to pair the devices again. It is quite possible that technology has changed in ways I haven’t caught up with. So here’s a question. Do you think there is a real battle between the two technologies each competing for the same technical space? Are the developers of WiFi and Bluetooth each trying to enhance their standards to overtake and make the other redundant?

    Thanks, Andy

    • Brooke

      Hey Andy!

      Great question! I think at the end of the day the more appealing each can make themselves appear, newer devices will want to have their new products support these features. Using a similar example I used in my verdict on this article, Sonos could have gone with either Bluetooth or Wifi. They chose to make their focus on wifi because they knew they wanted a product line that could all connect and support each other on one network. Wifi was critical in making this happen because Bluetooth can’t support that. 

      If I was apart of either Bluetooth or wifi, I’d want to expand and further my development to be more appealing to the next big thing. The happier my clients are with the system, the more likely they are to purchase products with the same next time. 

      At the end of the day, you will have to pay as a product developer to have your product licensed as Bluetooth, and internet companies love when wifi is in demand (which it probably will be for forever).. so the financial gain is there for both parties.

      Although I can’t speak to any actual competition, I can assume there has to be some kind? I hope this answers your question 🙂

  • Zach Lenz

    Love the layout and flow of your website! I like the dark tones giving a relaxed mood, sets the tone for a good evening vinyl record session. I found your article noting key differences in wifi and bluetooth speakers very informative and comprehensive, and I definitely learned something new! I have a family member that would go head over heels for that Sonos Turntable Setup… Well done!

    • Brooke

      Hey Zach!

      Thanks for the comment! I am glad you enjoyed the comparison between Bluetooth and WiFi. 

      Don’t get me started on that turntable! I am absolutely in love! I am still trying to figure out if my Dad stored his records away or not. If I find them my next purchase will be the Sonos vinyl set.

      Talk soon!

      -B

  • Alketa

    Hi B, Thank you for sharing this. I enjoy your way of writing and the information about Bluetooth and WiFi mostly. Years ago, I used Bluetooth to share data from my phone. Now, is wifi is my first choice to share data and have access to the internet. Wifi saved me a lot of money from roaming every time that I traveled outside of my country. Anyway, I think that everyone knows now how to benefit from Bluetooth or Wifi. Fortunately, every smartphone has access to Bluetooth or Wifi options. So, everybody must appreciate that and use them at his convenience.

    Thank you

    Best

    Alketa

    • Brooke

      Hey Alketa!

      Yeah we are very fortunate that accessing either Bluetooth or wifi is very simple and accessible. Everyone understands how both operate in their personal worlds and should take advantage of that!

      I appreciate you commenting on my writing. I try very hard to eliminate unnecessary words and sentences for an easy read 🙂

      Talk soon!

      -B

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.