The bigger, the better

JBL Charge 4

Smaller but fierce

JBL Flip 4

The JBL Charge 4 is literally a powerhouse. It can act as a power bank to charge your phone while you jam out to tunes very loudly. The sound profile isn't exactly well-balanced, but if you're listening outdoors or just pumping jams for a party, it's more than passable.

$131 at Amazon


  • 20-hour battery life
  • IPX7 water-resistant
  • Doubles as a power bank
  • Gets very loud


  • High end is lacking
  • Heavy for a portable speaker

JBL's smaller Flip 4 is perfectly portable with great sound, even though its bass response is lacking.

$78 at Amazon


  • IPX7 water-resistant
  • 12-hour battery life
  • Lightweight
  • Well-balanced sound


  • Bass lacks oomph
  • Playing at high volume diminishes battery life

Size matters

The real defining factors between these speakers is size. The Charge 4 is over 2 pounds, making it less portable, while the Flip 4 is only just over a pound. In terms of sound, these are both hard 7s out of 10, with the Charge 4 having better base and the Flip 4 having better highs. Here's how they compare in specs.

JBL Charge 4 JBL Flip 4
Battery life Up to 20 hours UP to 12 hours
Weight 2.12 pounds 1.14 pounds
# of color options 10 6
# of drivers 1 2 (stereo)
Water resistance IPX7 IPX7
JBL Connect Connect Connect+
Charge time 5.5 hours 3.5 hours
Frequency response 65Hz - 20kHz 70Hz - 20kHz

Most of the above spec differences are simply due to the difference in size between the Charge 4 and Flip 4. Of course, the larger speaker will have the larger battery and drivers, making for longer battery life and a wider frequency range. That, of course, also means the larger speaker is considerably heavier, which you should factor into your decision if you plan on taking it everywhere with you.

IPX7 water resistance simply means both speakers can be submerged in up to 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes without harm. The "X" value refers to dust ingress, which means it has not been tested for that.

Size and bass versus mids and portability. Both are great, though.

As mentioned, in terms of sound, both of these are quite good, though they each come just shy of greatness. The size of the Charge 4 lends itself to powerful bass, but that, unfortunately, muddies up the highs, especially when you're listening in smaller rooms. It also has a single driver, so it lacks the stereo effect of the previous Charge 4 and Flip 4. It makes up for it, though, with a passive radiator that really amplifies the bass. The Flip 4 has weaker bass, simply because its drivers are smaller, though its midrange to high end is crisp and clear.

Both speakers also provide reasonably good speakerphone quality, with some background noise cancellation. So the true deciding factor here is, as mentioned, size. Do you want a large, loud speaker that isn't exactly ideal for popping in your backpack and taking off (though it does have the ability to charge your other devices)? Or do you want a smaller speaker that's great for in the house and by the pool but couldn't exactly power a full-on party?

One other potential feature you may desire is the ability to pair up JBL speakers. While the Charge 4 has these abilities for other JBL Connect speakers, the Flip 4 outshines it with the ability to connect to over 100 Connect+-enabled speakers. That "+" really makes the difference.

For my money, the Charge 4 is the best option, because it's likely that the times you'll be lugging it around in a backpack will be few and far between, and the option to have it louder is always better. In that way, it's just more versatile. It also has a 7,500mAh battery pack inside so it can charge your phone through the included USB port. Win, win!

Loud and large

JBL Charge 4

Get the party going and keep it going

With 20-hour battery life and larger-than-life sound for its size, the Charge 4 is the perfect speaker for enjoying tunes in the living room, by the pool, and anywhere else the party might take you. It may be lacking in the treble department, but we'll give it a pass since it charges our phones.

Fun for less

JBL Flip 4

Less expensive means fewer features

The smaller Flip 4 boasts JBL Connect+, which is a "nice to have," but its good sound, solid battery life, and portability still make it a worthy contender, even if it doesn't get quite loud enough.

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