Is JBL Charge 5 Worth It? Unbiased Review

Is the JBL Charge 5 on your radar? Dive into our review to see if it's worth the buzz. Compare features, battery life, and more before you buy!

Updated on: November 17, 2023

Searching for a portable speaker that stands up to outdoor events and delivers excellent entertainment? The JBL Charge 5 is designed for durability and performance, ensuring your outdoor gatherings are always lively.

This compact powerhouse transforms any event with its impressive portability, long-lasting battery, and exceptional sound quality, making it a favorite among music enthusiasts. Yet, opinions vary, and there’s ongoing discussion about its advantages over the JBL Charge 4 and its standing among numerous alternatives. Deciding on the JBL Charge 5 ultimately depends on what you value in a speaker.

Is JBL Charge 5 Worth It

So before you decide whether to pick it or not, let’s go through its features in depth to determine its true worth.

Portability: Light but Bulky:

JBL Charge 5 Portability

The JBL Charge 5 offers a balance between portability and sound quality. It’s lightweight enough to attach to a bike or fit in a medium-sized bag, making it suitable for outdoor adventures. However, its size prevents it from fitting in smaller backpacks. If a pocket-sized speaker is what you need, the JBL Flip 5 might be a better choice, though it compromises some performance capabilities found in the Charge 5.

Impressive Battery Life:

JBL Charge 5 Battery Life

The JBL Charge 5 boasts an impressive 20-hour battery life on a single charge, outshining many rivals and ensuring your events go uninterrupted without frequent recharging. Its intuitive light indicators clearly show the battery status, adding to its user-friendly design. You can check it out on Amazon here.

It’s worth noting, though, that the battery performance of the Charge 5 aligns with that of its predecessor, the JBL Charge 4. Therefore, if you’re considering an upgrade from the Charge 4 primarily for better battery life, it may not be necessary. However, comparing the prices of both models is recommended for a well-rounded decision.

One minor drawback is the Charge 5’s recharge time, which is around 4 hours, potentially a slight inconvenience for some users.”

You can also use it as a power bank:

Mobile Charging Port of JBL Charge 5

JBL Charge 5 stands out with its power bank functionality, allowing you to charge your smartphone directly from the speaker’s battery, a handy feature during long trips when your phone’s battery is running low. Simply connect your phone to the speaker using a USB-A to Type-C cable for Android phones, or a lightning USB cord for iPhones. However, it’s worth noting that the JBL Charge 5 lacks an AUX connection, eliminating the possibility for wired audio connections—a feature commonly found in other speakers.

Bluetooth connectivity:

JBL Charge 5 Bluetooth connectivity

In terms of Bluetooth connectivity, the JBL Charge 5 excels, especially for outdoor events. It boasts a robust and stable Bluetooth 5.1 connection, outperforming many speakers in its price range, including the JBL Charge 4 which offers Bluetooth 4.2. This ensures a seamless audio experience on the go. Additionally, the speaker supports Bluetooth multipoint, allowing multiple devices to connect simultaneously, a feature highly appreciated during group trips. While the Bluetooth connection is generally stable, be mindful that running apps on your smartphone might cause minor disruptions.

Sound quality: 

JBL Charge 5 has a next-level sound quality and powerful bass response that far exceeds the performance of many other of its counterparts. Even better than the Bose speakers that fall in more or less the same price range. 

The JBL Charge 5 delivers a sound loud enough to rival a small party DJ, making it suitable for larger gatherings. Its party boost feature further enhances the audio quality, allowing for clear distinction of various elements, vocal tracks, and instruments in any tune. This impressive sound performance compensates for the speaker’s slightly bulkier design when compared to the sleeker models of Bose.

However, if you want even louder audio, you should look for the JBL Xtreme 3, which is almost double the price of the JBL Charge 5. 


JBL Charge 5 packaging

To talk about the packaging of this speaker, we all agree that unpacking is something pretty exciting for a customer, but unfortunately, that’s not the case in JBL charge 5. 

It isn’t very impressive compared to what a customer might expect. The package includes only the speaker, a charger, a protective cover, and a user guide. Nothing else! There is not even a spare battery or connection cable, which is slightly disappointing. 

In fairness to that, the protective sock of JBL Charge 5 is truly amazing and provides noteworthy protection. 


JBL Charge 5 design

JBL Charge 5 maintains its signature robust design, balancing durability with impressive sound quality. The cylindrical shape, measuring 8.7 x 3.8 x 3.7 inches, features bass radiators at both ends and a variety of easily accessible buttons on its textured surface. Available in colors like black, gray, blue, red, and camouflage, it stands steady on any flat surface thanks to its silicone feet.


JBL Charge 5 Buttons

The speaker hosts a range of buttons including Power, volume controls, Connect+, Partyboost activation, Bluetooth, and play/pause. However, it lacks a quick skip backward function, though you can skip forward with a double press of the play button.

Water and Dirt resistance: 

JBL Charge 5 Water and Dirt resistance

JBL Charge 5 offers an IP67 rating, ensuring protection against water, dust, and debris, making it a reliable choice for outdoor events. It can withstand submersion in up to 1m of water for 30 minutes, and its dust resistance is a step up from the JBL Charge 4.


JBL provides a generous one-year product exchange warranty, standing out even when compared to brands like Bose.

App Compatibility:

JBL Charge Portable app interface

The speaker works seamlessly with the JBL Portable app, facilitating firmware updates and use of the JBL Partyboost feature without additional devices. The app is user-friendly, though it lacks a battery power display and equalizer settings, which could enhance sound customization.

Upgradability / JBL party boost:

A highlight of JBL Charge 5 is its upgradability. It can connect to multiple Partyboost-compatible speakers, enhancing sound quality for larger gatherings. The JBL Portable app facilitates this feature, allowing for easy transition between party and stereo modes.

Comparing JBL Charge 5 with other counterparts

While JBL Charge 5 offers great value, its features are quite similar to the JBL Charge 4, making an upgrade unnecessary if you already own the latter. For louder output, JBL Xtreme 3 is an option, though it is pricier and less portable. The JBL Flip series offers better portability at a lower price but lacks some features of the Charge 5. Bose soundbars provide superior performance and design but at a higher cost. Refurbished JBL products are also worth considering for their discounted rates and one-year warranty. UE MEGABOOM 3 stands as a worthy competitor, offering similar features and powerful bass at a better price.

User Opinions on the JBL Charge 5: Is It Worth Buying?

The JBL Charge 5 has garnered a variety of opinions from users across different platforms, painting a picture of a product that has its highs and lows.

Positive Feedback:

  • Impressive Sound Quality: Users have expressed astonishment at the sound quality that the JBL Charge 5 delivers, especially given its compact size. One user, who owns high-end speakers worth thousands of dollars, was blown away by the Charge 5’s performance, stating it brought about 95% of the true audiophile experience and 100% of the enjoyment of listening to music.
  • Portability and Volume: The speaker’s ability to fill a room and maintain clarity even in crowded spaces like pools and bars has been highlighted. Its portability is a significant plus for users who want to take their music on the go.
  • Value for Money: Compared to high-end audio equipment, users find the Charge 5 to offer an impressive experience at a fraction of the price.

Mixed Opinions:

  • Bass and Sound Quality: While the bass is generally considered good for the speaker’s size, it does not compare to larger, more expensive systems. The sound quality is praised for certain types of music but may not satisfy all genres.
  • Volume and Battery Life: Some users have noted that the speaker doesn’t get as loud as expected, and the battery life does not live up to the advertised 20 hours, especially at higher volumes.

Negative Feedback:

  • Soundstage and Audio Fidelity: Users looking for a refined audio experience, particularly for genres like classical and jazz, have found the Charge 5 lacking. The soundstage is described as almost non-existent, and the audio can come across as mono and lacking in depth.
  • Comparison to Other Brands: When compared to other brands like Denon, some users feel that the Charge 5 falls short, particularly in delivering a neutral sound and spatial separation.

Final verdict

Okay, so let’s sum things up now. JBL Charge 5 offers excellent performance at a competitive price. It is one great choice to set your outdoor parties on fire without worrying about battery shortage, rainstorms, or Bluetooth lapses. The features it packs are hard to find in any of its counterparts that fall within the same price range. It’s worth noting that the JBL Charge 5 is quite similar to the JBL Charge 4, with only a few upgrades. So, if you already have the JBL charge 4, there isn’t much need for you to go for JBL charge 5. Nevertheless, JBL Charge 5’s volume output and bass response are comparatively better than the previous release. 

Lastly, the final decision depends on your preferences, needs, and of course, the budget. 

I’m Shaun Conroy, an audiophile & founder of HiFi Audios. Holding a Bachelor’s in Sound Engineering, I bring deep expertise in audio devices and offer insights & recommendations to fellow enthusiasts.

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