When I looked at the options for buying waterproof speakers, JBL and Ultimate Ears looked to be the most popular units.
I ended up buying them both and figured I would just gift whichever one was less fitting to me to my mother.


There’s not enough difference to squabble over in terms of price. They are both under $150 and Amazon applies discounts from time to time.

Battery Life

JBL Charge 3 wins hands down here. UE Boom 2 has 15 hours but JBL has 20 and will also let you borrow some to recharge your phone. I’m one of those people who is always looking for a charger, so this definitely gave it bonus points for me.

Sound Quality

For me I liked the UE Boom 2, maybe because the music I like has a lot of bass beats. It just seemed more balanced and clear when I played my jams, especially when turned up as loud as they could go. The UE Boom 2 also has 360-degree sound output. With that said, JBL 3 might sound better for my mom who likes Jazz and Orchestra, interestingly the JBL has stereo speakers and the UE Boom needs to be paired with another one to have this feature.

Does Size Matter?

JBL Charge 3 is just under 2 lbs and UE Boom 2 is lighter than that. Boom 2 also fits in places the JBL Charge doesn’t, like my pocket or my water bottle holder on my bike.

Extra Features

JBL Charge 3 uses an app to pair the speaker to more speakers, see the battery life, use the equalizer or choose to join party mode.
The UE Boom 2 app uses Alexa, Siri or Google Now so you can ask it to play a song by an artist. If Logitech are trying to get in on the smart speaker action, then who knows what I might be able to do with it next. You can also use the app as a remote control and it’s also got the option to tap the unit for some basic functions. Great if you don’t feel like talking.

For me, I had to go with the UE Boom 2 even though I was very torn with JBL Charge 3 having a phone charger. At the end of the day, my mom needs something simple and will really enjoy the JBL while I like to keep up with the Jones’s and I want to look like I’ve got the latest thing.