The Best Bluetooth Audio Receiver for Your Home Stereo or Speakers

The Best Bluetooth Audio Receiver for Your Home Stereo or Speakers

Our pick

StarTech BT2A Bluetooth Audio Receiver

StarTech BT2A Bluetooth Audio Receiver

The best Bluetooth receiver for most people

This receiver offers high-quality audio, easy setup, reliable connectivity, digital audio outputs for higher-end systems, and range that easily covers a large room.

Buying Options

$55 from Amazon

Among all of the affordable ($60 or less) Bluetooth receivers we tested, the BT2A  offered the best combination of sound quality, reliable connectivity, range, and number of audio-output options, plus a two-year warranty.

The BT2A offers wireless convenience without sacrificing audio quality. Pairing with a Bluetooth source is easy, and reconnection with sources is more reliable than with a number of other models we tested. Its range easily covers a large living room, extending into neighboring rooms, and due to quality components and support for multiple Bluetooth-audio codecs, audio comes close to the sound quality of a direct wired connection. It includes a Toslink optical digital-audio output, so if your existing stereo has better audio circuitry, you can take advantage of it, and it includes NFC (near-field communication) circuitry for easy pairing with some Android devices.

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Upgrade pick

Audioengine B1 Bluetooth Music Receiver

Audioengine B1 Bluetooth Music Receiver

A nice upgrade for audiophiles

If you have a higher-end stereo system or speakers, the B1 offers a big improvement in sound quality, along with a big increase in price. It also provides exceptional range.

Buying Options

$190 from Amazon

If you’ve already invested a good amount of money in your existing audio system, the Audioengine B1 Bluetooth Music Receiver is a nice step up, providing sound quality befitting a higher-end system. Its built-in digital-to-analog converter (DAC)—the circuitry that turns Bluetooth audio’s digital bits into musical sound—is much better than what you’ll find in the less-expensive models we tested, and likely even better than the DAC built into your phone or tablet. The result is audio quality that’s roughly comparable to what you’d get by connecting your smartphone or tablet directly to your speakers with a cable, if not better. The B1 sports a small external antenna that helps it achieve phenomenal range for a Bluetooth device. It’s also well-built, and, like our top picks, it has digital-audio output for use with an external DAC.

Also great

Samson 30-Pin Bluetooth Receiver BT30

Samson 30-Pin Bluetooth Receiver BT30

A wireless upgrade for older speaker docks

Speaker docks are yesterday’s gadgets, but the BT30 gives them new life, adding Bluetooth capabilities via Apple’s 30-pin dock connector.

Buying Options

$23 from B&H

If you have an old iPhone or iPod speaker dock—one that uses Apple’s 30-pin dock connector—just sitting in a closet, the Samson 30-Pin Bluetooth Receiver BT30 makes it easy to add Bluetooth functionality: You just attach the BT30 to that dock connector, which provides the BT30 with power. The BT30 offers easy pairing and connections, along with range that slightly exceeds that of the StarTech receivers. Its audio quality isn’t as good as that of our other picks, but the difference won’t be noticeable through most speaker docks, and its sound is easily the best of the 30-pin models we tested, with better detail and stronger, tighter bass than the competition.

(If you’re looking for a portable Bluetooth receiver—say, for using your favorite wired headphones with a smartphone that lacks a headphone jack—we have a separate guide to Bluetooth headphone adapters. For dedicated in-car use, we recommend our top pick for car Bluetooth kits.)

Everything we recommend

Our pick

StarTech BT2A Bluetooth Audio Receiver

StarTech BT2A Bluetooth Audio Receiver

The best Bluetooth receiver for most people

This receiver offers high-quality audio, easy setup, reliable connectivity, digital audio outputs for higher-end systems, and range that easily covers a large room.

Buying Options

$55 from Amazon

Upgrade pick

Audioengine B1 Bluetooth Music Receiver

Audioengine B1 Bluetooth Music Receiver

A nice upgrade for audiophiles

If you have a higher-end stereo system or speakers, the B1 offers a big improvement in sound quality, along with a big increase in price. It also provides exceptional range.

Buying Options

$190 from Amazon

Also great

Samson 30-Pin Bluetooth Receiver BT30

Samson 30-Pin Bluetooth Receiver BT30

A wireless upgrade for older speaker docks

Speaker docks are yesterday’s gadgets, but the BT30 gives them new life, adding Bluetooth capabilities via Apple’s 30-pin dock connector.

Buying Options

$23 from B&H

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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