Smart Shoppers Guide: Bathroom Speakers

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Many of us like to listen to music, podcasts, or the radio while we administer our daily ablutions in the bathroom, on that we can agree. But there are a few bathroom entertainment topics which bring out differences in opinion: whether or not we sound good singing along in the shower and just which features our bathroom audio devices should sport.

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Should the speaker contain its own battery so that precious bathroom wall outlets aren’t used by something as trivial as a stereo? Electric toothbrushes, face washers, and razors would seem to take priority. Must it have a clock on its front that you can see from inside the shower? It is oh-so-easy to get lost in one’s own thoughts or playlist and run late for work without checking the time.

Should your phone be docked, connected via Bluetooth, or via an auxillary cable? Some people don’t care to attach their phones to the bathroom speaker, insisting, somewhat archaically, on AM/FM radio instead. And, of course, any addition to the bathroom must be somewhat petite and able to blend in with existing decor. Boxy black behemoths need not apply.

Personally, I favor a clock and look askance at Bluetooth in the bathroom. Why? Shelf and counter space in bathrooms is at a premium. You’re going to need a clock of some sort in there—why not combine it with speakers? And Bluetooth in the bathroom might not always make the most sense. Its not as though your smartphone is coming with you in the shower (unless it is in a waterproof case, of course), so there’s no harm in tethering it temporarily via a dock or auxiliary cable to a speaker, especially since Bluetooth wears down a battery faster than a wired connection (or a dock, which typically charges the device while it is connected). You don’t need to lose 15% of your day’s battery supply before you’ve even walked out the door.

But, those are just my preferences. Below are an assortment of bathroom-appropriate speakers with features that should meet any requirements (and a few you’ve probably never considered).

1. Eton Rukus Solar, $149.99 Because I think Bluetooth is a drain on smartphone batteries in the morning, I’ve included a Bluetooth speaker that pays back its battery-appetite with solar powered recharging. The Rukus offers up to a full 8 hours of playback time as long as you keep it near a window with good light, while also charging your smartphone via USB.

2. Boom Urchin, $149.99 This bubble of a Bluetooth speaker would do just fine sitting inside the shower on the shampoo rack: its water resistant and features a removable silicone skin. The perk here is you get to control the music from inside the shower—skip tracks and play with the volume until it is just right.

3. Kohler Moxie Shower Head, $199.00 Need your music to rain down upon you? Here’s a shower head with a Bluetooth speaker embedded inside it. The Moxie lasts for 7 hours of playtime, recharges via USB (outside of the shower), and may just drown out the sound of your own voice.

4. iHome iP16GX, $59.99 This is the bathroom speaker I used for 2.5 years. It’s cheap, it blends in, its loud, and its got a clock and an alarm. The AA batteries lasted for months. But, it only works with iPods and iPhones with the 30-pin connector. Once I got my iPhone 5, it became useless. If you’ve got an iPhone 4S, I highly recommend it.

5. Muji Splash-Proof Speaker, $69.50 Okay, so you can actually bring your phone into the shower with you. This case protects it from moisture and amplifies it, too. You’ll be able to set alarms and check the time via the plastic touchscreen.

6. Lexon Titanium Clock Radio, $125.00 This well-designed aluminum AM/FM clock radio puts the LED clock right into the speaker grille. It is available in four muted color schemes, including the bathroom-friendly bamboo. You can plug your phone or laptop into the speaker via an aux port.

7. LCD Display Radio Alarm Clock, $40.00 This tiny speaker (only 6.3 inches wide) is a great-looking bargain. It plays FM radio and contains aux port for your external music devices, and its clock takes up the entire front face so you can see it from the shower. It can be powered via USB or with AA batteries.

(Images: Ashley Poskin / Paige Blackburn House Tour, Rachel Rosmarin, as linked above)

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