Last updated: August 9, 2021

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If your HIFI stereo or car stereo doesn't have Bluetooth, but you want to enjoy the audio stream from your phone, all you need is a Bluetooth receiver. You don't have to invest in a whole new set-up to enable wireless transmission.

With our Bluetooth receiver test 2021 we want to help you find the ideal Bluetooth receiver for you. We have selected the best receivers on the market for you. We have also listed the advantages and disadvantages of audio Bluetooth receivers and USB Bluetooth dongles. You should be well equipped to make a conscious and considered purchase decision.




Summary

  • For devices that do not yet have Bluetooth, a Bluetooth receiver enables a wireless connection with another device, e.g. smartphone or tablet.
  • A basic distinction is made between audio Bluetooth receivers and USB Bluetooth dongles.
  • The audio Bluetooth receiver ensures wireless transmission of audio files, e.g. from your mobile phone to the stereo system or car radio. However, if you want to upgrade your computer with Bluetooth to connect your wireless headphones, mouse, keyboard, printer, etc., we recommend a USB Bluetooth dongle.

The Best Bluetooth Receiver: Our Picks

Bluetooth Receiver: Buying and Evaluation Criteria

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to choose the best adapter for you. The criteria you can use to compare Bluetooth receivers with each other include:

In the following paragraphs you will find out what the individual criteria are.

Connectivity

In our opinion, the connection option is the most important criterion you should pay attention to. Not every Bluetooth receiver has an optical connection or an HDMI connection. Not all Bluetooth receivers can be connected to a 12V car socket.

In order to make the right purchase decision, you should first ask yourself two questions:

  1. What connections does the device have that you want to connect the adapter to?
  2. Which devices do you want to connect with it?

Bluetooth version

One important thing to consider is the Bluetooth version. Due to the energy efficiency as well as the speed and security of data transmission, it is recommended to buy an adapter with the latest Bluetooth version 5.0. Bluetooth 5.0 and higher offers a greater range, so you can connect devices that are further away from each other.

Note that Bluetooth 5.0 is not always backwards compatible with its predecessors! This means you should pay attention to what the manufacturer states on the packaging.

Compatibility

However, this criterion is only important for USB Bluetooth dongles. With audio Bluetooth receivers, compatibility depends more on their connections.

Here you must pay attention to which operating system you are using.

If you are using Mac or Linux, you should check which USB Bluetooth receivers are compatible with your operating system.

Some operating systems support the Plug-n-Play option (e.g. Windows 8/10). This means that you do not need any drivers to install a Bluetooth adapter.

If such an option is not available, you can get drivers from the official website, with a download link or on the CD included with the product.

Range

You need to consider how exactly and in what environment you want to use the Bluetooth receiver. How far apart are the devices you want to connect?

An important point you should also consider is that reinforced concrete walls can prevent the possible range of Bluetooth.

As a rule, a Class 2 Bluetooth receiver with a range of about 10 metres is sufficient.

If 10 metres is not enough for you, you can opt for an adapter with Bluetooth class 1 (range up to 100 metres). However, there is one disadvantage: they are considerably more expensive.

Mass and weight

Of course, it is an advantage for you if you can remain mobile and flexible with your adapter.

USB Bluetooth dongles are nowadays almost all very compact and light.

In general, the audio Bluetooth receivers can also have a small size and weight.

However, if you want to have a stationary adapter, you have to expect that the dimensions will also be correspondingly larger. Normally, the average length of an Audio Bluetooth Receiver is 5-7 centimetres.

Battery performance and power supply

Another important criterion is battery performance and power supply.

Compared to the Audio Bluetooth Receiver, the USB Bluetooth Dongle does not need a separate power cable. It is simply powered by the device it is plugged into via USB, which is of course more advantageous and flexible.

If you don't feel like charging the Bluetooth adapter every day, we recommend choosing a device with a battery life of at least 7 hours.

Audio Bluetooth receivers, on the other hand, require an additional connection for a permanent power supply. However, some mobile adapters have a rechargeable battery. This means they only need to be wired for charging via USB to Micro USB.

Bluetooth Receiver: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

In the following, we would like to answer the most important questions about Bluetooth receivers. This will give you a deeper insight and teach you everything you need to know about the subject.

What is a Bluetooth receiver?

A Bluetooth receiver switches a non-Bluetooth device such as a loudspeaker, hi-fi system, computer, TV or car radio to Bluetooth so that it can receive audio streamed from an already Bluetooth-enabled device.

bluetooth-receiver-test

With the help of a Bluetooth receiver, you can wirelessly stream music from your mobile phone to your stereo system. (Image source: Will Francis/ Unsplash)

Do you have an older stereo system without Bluetooth, but want to listen to music wirelessly from your mobile phone? Your car doesn't have Bluetooth, but you dream of listening to your favourite tracks or podcasts or making hands-free calls without the annoying cable? The Bluetooth receiver allows you to do all that and much more!

Bluetooth receivers are available for every taste! Larger and smaller, mobile or stationary, with different ranges or battery capacities, etc. With our help, you're sure to find one that suits you best.

What types of Bluetooth receivers are there?

If you want to buy a Bluetooth receiver, there are basically 2 types you can choose between: Audio Bluetooth Receiver (AUX) and USB Bluetooth Dongles. In the following, we will tell you about the advantages and disadvantages of the two alternatives.

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Audio Bluetooth Receiver Wireless transmission of audio, better acoustics and sound quality Extra charging cable required, mostly rather stationary use, only audio transmission, difference between transmitter and receiver
USB Bluetooth Dongle Wireless transmission and reception of different data, nano size, several devices can be paired and used at the same time, no additional power source required, reasonable price Mostly only compatible with Windows, one USB port always remains occupied, in some cases additional driver installation required

If you want to listen to music on your HIFI stereo or in your car, you need an audio Bluetooth receiver (AUX). Compared to USB Bluetooth dongles, only the audio files can be transmitted. It also requires an additional power supply. However, according to the manufacturers, the transmission quality of the sound is significantly better.

If you want to enable the Bluetooth function on your PC, you can opt for a compact USB Bluetooth dongle. This allows you to connect your wireless accessories such as headphones, printer, mouse, keyboard etc. simply and wirelessly. The advantage of the USB Bluetooth receiver is that it is manufactured in a mobile nano size.

What's more, it does not need an additional power cable. One thing to keep in mind is that most USB Bluetooth dongles are only compatible with the Windows operating system. So if you use Mac or Linux, you need to look closely at the characteristics.

How much does a Bluetooth receiver cost?

There are a number of different Bluetooth receivers on the market, with a wide range of prices. Depending on the type, manufacturer and size, you will have to pay different prices. Depending on what devices you want to connect and your other needs, you should make your choice between receivers.

bluetooth-receiver-test

If your car stereo doesn't have Bluetooth, you can upgrade it with a Bluetooth receiver and play music wirelessly from your phone. (Image source: Humberto Arellano/ Unsplash)

Overall, USB Bluetooth receivers are much cheaper than audio Bluetooth receivers. Prices start as low as 6 euros! But they tend to serve a different purpose. If your computer does not have Bluetooth and you want to connect other wireless devices such as headphones, printer, mouse, keyboard, you need a USB Bluetooth dongle.

Type price range
Audio Bluetooth receiver approx. 15 to 30 euros
USB Bluetooth dongle approx. 6 to 17 euros

However, if you want to upgrade your HIFI stereo system or car radio with Bluetooth, you will need an audio Bluetooth receiver. The price here varies between 15 and 200 euros. However, we can tell you with certainty that you can find a decent audio Bluetooth receiver within the price range of 15-30 euros.

What are the alternatives to a Bluetooth receiver?

A new device that has Bluetooth seems to be the only possible alternative. Most modern electronic devices are already manufactured with a built-in Bluetooth chip.

But that doesn't mean you have to throw away your beloved HIFI stereo or buy a new car with built-in Bluetooth. In the age of consumption, we all expose ourselves to the danger of always satisfying our needs for new consumer goods. Therefore, we recommend that you think about whether you really need a new device or whether it is enough to upgrade your old one with a Bluetooth receiver.

What is the difference between USB Bluetooth adapters and USB Bluetooth dongles?

The two terms are used as synonyms in relation to Bluetooth, so there is no difference!

bluetooth-receiver-test

Your laptop doesn't have Bluetooth, but you want to pair it with your wireless headphones, mouse or keyboard? With the help of a Bluetooth USB dongle you can upgrade your computer and use all devices without annoying cables. (Image source: Davide Boscolo/ Unsplash)

However, not everything that is called a dongle is related to Bluetooth. For example, WIFI adapters are also sometimes called dongles.

What is aptX?

If audio quality is important to you, you should look for aptX support. This codec improves the perceived sound. Therefore, aptX is mainly relevant for audio Bluetooth receivers.

The aptX codec is characterised by its higher encoding speed. When the audio files are compressed, the decompressed audio signal has almost no loss of quality.

Conclusion

With the help of a Bluetooth receiver, you can retrofit a HIFI stereo system, a car radio, a computer, etc. with the Bluetooth function. When buying a Bluetooth receiver, you should consider the following purchase and evaluation criteria: Range, connectivity, Bluetooth version, mass and weight, battery power, power supply and compatibility.

We have listed two types of Bluetooth receivers for you above: the Audio Bluetooth Receiver and the USB Bluetooth Dongle. If you want to use an adapter mainly for audio purposes at home or in the car, we recommend an Audio Bluetooth Receiver. However, if your computer does not have Bluetooth, but you want to connect your wireless headphones, for example, you need a USB Bluetooth dongle.

Picture: 123rf.com/ 73593584

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