JBL Charge 4 Vs Charge 5 – Why Do I Recommend JBL Charge 4

The JBL Charge 4 and Charge 5 are popular portable Bluetooth speakers, offering powerful sound and long battery life. While the Charge 5 boasts improvements in sound quality, durability, and connectivity, the Charge 4 remains a solid choice for budget-conscious consumers. This comparison explores their features, strengths, and differences to help you decide which speaker best suits your needs.

JBL Charge 4 Vs Charge 5 Side by Side Comparison

Features/SpecificationsJBL Charge 4JBL Charge 5
Dimensions8.66 x 3.74 x 3.66 inches8.7 x 3.76 x 3.67 inches
Weight2.12 lbs (965g)2.11 lbs (980g)
Battery lifeUp to 20 hoursUp to 18 hours
Charging time4 hours4 hours
Bluetooth version4.25.1
Waterproof ratingIPX7IPX7
Frequency response60Hz – 20kHz65Hz – 20kHz
Output power: 30W RMS30W RMS40W RMS (20W woofer + 20W tweeter)
ConnectivityBluetooth, 3.5mm aux inputBluetooth
Voice assistant integrationNoNo
USB port for charging devicesYesYes
Available colors10+ options6+options
PriceCheck JBL Charge 4 Price at AmazonCheck JBL Charge 5 Price at Amazon

Why Do I Recommend JBL Charge 4

While the JBL Charge 5 is the newer model with some improved features, there are several reasons why the Charge 4 remains a compelling option:

  • Cost-effectiveness: The Charge 4 is generally priced lower than the Charge 5, making it a more budget-friendly option without sacrificing too much in terms of quality.
  • Proven reliability: Having been on the market longer, the Charge 4 has established a track record of durability and consistent performance.
  • Familiar design: If you’re already accustomed to the Charge 4’s design and controls, you may prefer to stick with what you know.
  • Comparable sound quality: While the Charge 5 offers some audio improvements, the Charge 4 still delivers excellent sound that satisfies most users.
  • Longer playtime: The Charge 4 boasts a slightly longer battery life of up to 20 hours compared to the Charge 5’s 18 hours.
  • Aux-in port: Unlike the Charge 5, the Charge 4 features a 3.5mm aux input, allowing for wired connections to non-Bluetooth devices.
  • Wide color options: The Charge 4 is available in a broader range of colors, giving you more choices to match your personal style.
  • Compatibility with older JBL Connect+ speakers: If you own other JBL speakers with Connect+ technology, the Charge 4 will integrate seamlessly.
  • Slightly lighter weight: The Charge 4 is about 60 grams lighter than the Charge 5, which may matter for those prioritizing portability.
  • Familiar charging port: The Charge 4 uses a more common USB-C port for charging, whereas the Charge 5 has a proprietary charging port.

What can both do?

Both the JBL Charge 4 and Charge 5 share several capabilities that make them versatile and popular choices for portable audio. Here’s a list of features common to both models:

  • Deliver high-quality audio playback for various music genres
  • Connect wirelessly to Bluetooth-enabled devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops
  • Provide long battery life for extended listening sessions
  • Offer water resistance for worry-free use near water or in outdoor settings
  • Function as a power bank to charge other devices via USB
  • Allow for stereo pairing with another compatible JBL speaker for enhanced sound
  • Produce loud, room-filling sound despite their compact size
  • Offer easy-to-use controls for power, volume, and playback
  • Provide visual battery level indication
  • Support multi-device connectivity for seamless switching between audio sources
  • Deliver clear and punchy bass response
  • Offer portability with a built-in carrying strap
  • Provide firmware updates for potential feature enhancements and bug fixes
  • Allow for vertical or horizontal placement without affecting sound quality
  • Offer a rugged design suitable for outdoor use and travel

Common Strengths Between the JBL Charge 4 and Charge 5

Despite their differences, the JBL Charge 4 and Charge 5 share several strengths that have contributed to their popularity:

  • Impressive sound quality: Both speakers deliver clear, balanced audio with powerful bass
  • Durable construction: Built to withstand the rigors of outdoor use and travel
  • Long battery life: Offering 18-20 hours of playtime on a single charge
  • Waterproof design: Allowing for worry-free use near water or in wet conditions
  • Portable form factor: Compact and lightweight for easy carrying
  • Power bank functionality: Ability to charge other devices on the go
  • Wireless connectivity: Bluetooth pairing for convenient, cord-free listening
  • Party Boost/Connect+ feature: Option to connect multiple speakers for enhanced sound
  • Stylish appearance: Sleek design with fabric covering and exposed passive radiators
  • User-friendly controls: Intuitive button layout for easy operation
  • Brand reliability: JBL’s reputation for quality audio products
  • Versatility: Suitable for indoor and outdoor use in various settings
  • Good value for money: Competitive pricing considering the features offered
  • Wide compatibility: Works with most Bluetooth-enabled devices
  • Minimal distortion: Maintains audio clarity even at higher volumes

How they compare in various aspects

Sound Quality

While both speakers offer excellent sound quality, the JBL Charge 5 does have a slight edge in this department. The Charge 5 features a new speaker configuration with a separate tweeter, resulting in improved clarity in the high frequencies. This enhancement is particularly noticeable when listening to genres with a lot of treble content, such as classical music or acoustic recordings.

The Charge 5 also boasts a higher output power of 40W RMS compared to the Charge 4’s 30W RMS. This increase in power translates to louder maximum volume and potentially more impactful bass. However, it’s worth noting that the difference in volume may not be immediately apparent in most listening situations.

The Charge 4, while slightly less powerful on paper, still delivers impressive audio performance. Its balanced sound signature and punchy bass have earned it many fans over the years. For most casual listeners, the difference in sound quality between the two models may be subtle.

Durability and Weather Resistance

Both the Charge 4 and Charge 5 are built to withstand outdoor use, but the Charge 5 takes durability a step further. While the Charge 4 carries an IPX7 rating, which means it can be submerged in water up to 1 meter deep for 30 minutes, the Charge 5 boasts an IP67 rating. This not only provides the same level of water resistance but also adds dust protection.

The added dust resistance of the Charge 5 makes it a better choice for beach outings or dusty environments. However, for most users, the water resistance of the Charge 4 will be more than sufficient for poolside or rainy day use.

Battery Life and Charging

Interestingly, the older Charge 4 has a slight advantage in battery life, offering up to 20 hours of playtime compared to the Charge 5’s 18 hours. While this difference is minimal and may vary depending on usage patterns and volume levels, it’s worth considering if you frequently find yourself away from power sources for extended periods.

Both speakers take approximately 4 hours to fully charge, which is reasonable considering their battery capacity. They also both retain the ability to charge other devices via USB, turning them into portable power banks when needed.

One notable difference is in the charging port. The Charge 4 uses a standard USB-C port for charging, which is widely compatible with many modern devices. The Charge 5, on the other hand, has switched to a proprietary charging port. While this change may have been made to enhance water resistance, it does mean you’ll need to carry a specific charger for the Charge 5.


The Charge 5 has a clear advantage in terms of wireless connectivity, featuring Bluetooth 5.1 compared to the Charge 4’s Bluetooth 4.2. This newer Bluetooth version offers improved range, stability, and potentially better audio quality when used with compatible devices.

However, the Charge 4 has one connectivity feature that the Charge 5 lacks: a 3.5mm aux input. This allows the Charge 4 to connect to non-Bluetooth devices or to be used in situations where a wired connection is preferred. The absence of this port on the Charge 5 may be a dealbreaker for some users who rely on wired connections.

Both speakers support JBL’s PartyBoost feature, which allows you to connect multiple compatible speakers for a more immersive audio experience. However, it’s worth noting that the Charge 4 uses the older Connect+ technology, while the Charge 5 uses PartyBoost. This means that while you can pair two Charge 4s or two Charge 5s together, you cannot pair a Charge 4 with a Charge 5.

Design and Aesthetics

The overall design of the two speakers is quite similar, with both featuring a cylindrical shape, fabric covering, and exposed passive radiators at the ends. The Charge 5 has a slightly more modern look with redesigned buttons and a more prominent JBL logo.

One area where the Charge 4 has an advantage is in color options. It’s available in a wide range of colors (more than 10), allowing for greater personalization. The Charge 5, while still offering some variety, is limited to 6 color options.

Price and Value

As the newer model, the Charge 5 is generally priced higher than the Charge 4. This price difference can be significant, especially when the Charge 4 is on sale. For many users, the question becomes whether the improvements in the Charge 5 justify the higher price tag.

If you prioritize the latest features, slightly better sound quality, and enhanced durability, the Charge 5 may be worth the extra cost. However, if you’re looking for a great portable speaker that offers excellent value for money, the Charge 4 remains a compelling option.

Here are some FAQs about JBL Charge 4 Vs Charge 5

How does the fabric covering of the JBL Charge 4 compare to the Charge 5 in terms of durability?

The fabric covering on both models is highly durable, but the Charge 5’s fabric may be slightly more resistant to wear due to improvements in material quality. However, both are designed to withstand regular use and outdoor conditions.

Can the JBL Charge 4 or Charge 5 be used as a speakerphone for conference calls?

Neither the Charge 4 nor the Charge 5 has a built-in microphone for speakerphone functionality. They are primarily designed for audio playback rather than two-way communication.

Is it possible to adjust the EQ settings on the JBL Charge 4 or Charge 5 without using an app?

No, neither speaker has built-in EQ adjustment capabilities. Any EQ changes would need to be made on the connected device or through a third-party app.

How do the passive radiators on the JBL Charge 4 and Charge 5 differ in design and performance?

The passive radiators on both models are similar in design, but the Charge 5’s may be slightly larger and more robust, contributing to its enhanced bass response. However, the difference is subtle and may not be noticeable to casual listeners.

Can the JBL Charge 4 or Charge 5 remember multiple paired devices, and if so, how many?

Both speakers can remember multiple paired devices, typically up to 8. This allows for easy reconnection without going through the pairing process each time.

Is there a difference in the standby battery drain between the JBL Charge 4 and Charge 5?

The standby battery drain is similar for both models, but the Charge 5 may have a slightly lower drain due to more efficient components. However, the difference is minimal and unlikely to significantly impact overall battery life.

How do the JBL Charge 4 and Charge 5 perform in extreme temperatures, both hot and cold?

Both speakers are designed to operate in a wide range of temperatures, but extreme conditions can affect battery life and performance. The Charge 5 may have a slight edge in temperature resilience due to newer components, but both will function well in most outdoor conditions.

Can the firmware of the JBL Charge 4 and Charge 5 be updated, and if so, how?

Yes, both speakers support firmware updates. These are typically done through the JBL Portable app, which can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices. The app will notify you when updates are available and guide you through the process.

How do the JBL Charge 4 and Charge 5 handle multi-point connection?

Both speakers support multi-point connection, allowing them to be connected to two devices at once. This feature works similarly on both models, enabling easy switching between audio sources.

Is there a difference in the power bank capabilities between the JBL Charge 4 and Charge 5?

Both speakers offer power bank functionality, but the Charge 5 may charge external devices slightly faster due to improved circuitry. However, the overall capacity and functionality are similar, with both able to charge smartphones and small devices while playing music.