JBL Charge 5 vs Flip 5: Is The Charge Worth Upgrade?

Let’s compare the JBL Charge 5 and the JBL Flip 5 to see if the Charge is worth the upgrade or if the Flip offers a better value. The Charge 5 and the flip 5 are two of JBL’s mid-priced portable speakers that we will examine today. So chances are, if you’re looking for a new portable speaker, these are probably on your shortlist.

Now that we’re back to these speakers, I’ll go over their key features, battery improvements, sound quality advancements over their predecessors, and more. The big question you’ll probably be asking yourself if you’re deciding between these two speakers is whether the charge 5 is worth the $40 premium over the flip 5, for the charge 5 at $159 and the flip 5 at $119.

The short answer to whether the Charge 5 is worth the upgrade is that it depends on you and your lifestyle. Remember that these are RRPS, so don’t take these prices as gospel.

Charge 5Flip 5
+ Balanced sound quality
+Gets extremely loud
+Excellent battery life
+USB-A port for charging mobile devices
+Updated dustproofing
Fully waterproof design
+ Simple design,Excellent sound,11 color options,Able to pair multiple JBL speakers
+ Good sound quality, waterproof, long battery lifeExcellent sound quality, very loud, long battery lifeExcellent sound quality, water resistant, great battery lifeGood overall sound, great volume, great battery life, waterproofGood sound quality, waterproo
Distortion at high volume
Slow recharging
No more aux jack
App lacks EQ
No speakerphone
Basic app
Need compatible models to use PartyBoost,Checking battery life requires you to press the top buttons,No speakerphone or voice assistant functionality
Not the best sounding nor most portableExpensive, relatively large and heavyExpensive, relatively heavyNot the strongest bass, a bit priceyLarge and heavy

Overview Of Speakers

The charge 5 is a newer speaker than the flip 5 and will replace the charge 4 in march of 2021. It has an RRP of $159 and comes in a selection of nine colors, which I’ve displayed on the screen for you.

According to how you look at it, they have made your decision easier or harder with all those options because choosing a color is frequently the most difficult. I now favor using this black to keep things simple. However, since charge 4, they have made several improvements.

One of the most significant changes this time is removing a 3.5-millimeter input port on the charge 5, which I know would be a deal breaker for some of you. However, there aren’t any improvements to the battery or recharge time, and the design hasn’t been updated to look more modern, in my opinion. It also has a more prominent bass driver, a 20 mil dome tweeter, and protection against dust ingress.

Now that we have the flip 5, which was released in August 2019 but hasn’t yet been updated due to its continued success, it costs $119 and has an even more comprehensive selection of 11 colors this time. I know that many of you are curious about how both of these speakers compare to charge 4.

There is also an eco edition, which I like because it is made of 90% recycled plastic. It’s great to see significant electronics companies doing their part more frequently these days, but that edition is only offered in two colors, which makes me somewhat colorblind.

Make those colors what you will, but if you compare the speakers’ dimensions, the charge 5 is 223 millimeters wide while the flip 5 is only 181 millimeters wide. The charge 5 is also a slimmer speaker overall, weighing about half a kilogram less than the flip, and you will notice that difference in a backpack.

For instance, the flip 5 is more convenient if you’re packing these in hand luggage because it’s smaller and lighter than the charge, so you won’t even notice it in your bag, but I can confirm that you do with the charge 5. You also get this convenient little travel strap with the flip 5, but not with the charge 5, and I believe that says a lot about how JBL intended to use the flip 5.

While the Charge 5 would prefer to sit in one spot around the house, this is really for the adventurer or traveler who might need that strap to clip to their bag while on the go. It is still portable so that it can be enjoyed outside, but it’s more for listening indoors and out. You can also see on the bottom you’ve got these rubber feet to help keep it stable in one place so that you don’t get on the flip again, making it feel like it’s more of a speaker to be docked.


Currently, both speakers share a reasonably similar design, taking on a cylindrical shape, housing a separate driver and tweeter, and having passive bass radiators at each end.

Charge 5 vs Flip 5

One of my favorite aspects of JBL portable speakers is how this touch controls both feel and look. You have a play, pause, and volume controls, this party boost feature, a power button, and Bluetooth pairing with the latter two illuminating. In the middle, you’ll notice that the JBL logo is more prominent on the charge than the flip. You may or may not like it, but I like it and think it fits the JBL brand quite well.

The battery life indicator, illuminated on both speakers, is also handy; you don’t get a battery life indicator on all portable speakers, but I think that’s a handy feature for instantly checking battery life. The buttons feel friendly, tactile, and long-lasting, so they should stand the test of time quite well.

Charge 5 vs Flip 5

When you’re on the go, both speakers have USB-C charging ports, which is nice to see, but the Charge 5 differs in that it has a USB-A port as well, allowing you to charge your phone or another device—which you’ll use more frequently than you think—under this small cover.

They feel durable when you think of the speakers and move them around a little. They both use this tough fabric you can’t move, so I would have complete confidence dropping these on the floor, and they wouldn’t even show a chip. This is a rare feature on a portable speaker for when you’re out and about.

The flip will hold up with an active lifestyle, but because the charge is a tiny bit heavier, I’d say it will take more of a thud.

Sound Quality

Let’s get right to the difference in sound quality since I know most of you are interested in that. Based on the demo, the charge 5 is noticeably louder and bassier than the flip 5, as you might expect.

Charge 5 vs Flip 5

Although the vocals are not the clearest I’ve heard on the market, and the charge 5 boasts a 50 mil by 90 mil bass driver compared to the flip 5’s 44 mils by 80 mil driver, I think they share quite similar performances with the mids and the highs. However, the speakers should be all you need for what you will use.

The flip is a great-sounding speaker in its own right; it does an excellent job for its size, but in my opinion, it can’t match this bigger and more powerful speaker. The charge 5 is pumped up more; the bass is more prosperous; the clarity and mids are better, and the volume is more impressive, being that more prominent speaker.

Both sound better in a closed-off area than being taken outside or into a bigger room, where some of the basses are lost, as is typical for all speakers.

Now that the charge 5 can quickly fill a medium-sized room, we can also say that it can serve as a respectable home speaker when you occasionally want to listen inside and is more potent than the flip when you want to take it away. The flip 5 is ideal for a personal speaker and has enough power to play music in the background at a reasonable volume.

As the charge 5 is 25% more expensive than the flip 5, the question is, “Do you get 25% better sound quality in the charge 5?” I’d say the answer is unambiguous; in fact, it’s closer to about 40% better sound quality. However, in the end, it will depend on how you intend to use these speakers.

If you plan to listen at home, the charge will fill a small to medium-sized room, and you probably won’t need more bass. On the other hand, if you travel frequently and portability and durability are your top priorities, the flip 5 is all you need because of its smaller size and increased ease of grab-and-go.

If you could just turn the bass up on both of these speakers, it would make a significant difference, and many other brands do allow you to do this, so you have to enjoy the sound quality of these speakers right out of the box. I do need to point out this drawback with both of these speakers.

Key Specs

Now let’s talk statistics. The charge and flip both have very similar weatherproof ratings, allowing them to be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes up to one metre deep. However, as with anything, I wouldn’t recommend trying this out; it’s just for peace of mind. The flip has not been tested against dust ingress, so keep that in mind. As a result, the charge has an ip67 rating, while the flip has an ipx7 rating.

The Charge has a 20-hour battery, whereas the Flip has a 12-hour battery, and we do have to say that things like volume and temperature, among many other factors, will impact the battery life overall. In terms of charging times, you can expect the Flip to take about 2.5 hours to fully charge, while the Charge takes about 4 hours, which is expected since the Charge has that long battery.

One thing to note is that the charge 5 has Bluetooth 5.1, whereas the flip has Bluetooth 4.2, which means slight improvements to your device’s range and battery life drainage. Additionally, a higher standard of Bluetooth means it won’t compress the audio quality much.

The last feature to mention is the party boost button, which allows you to compare up to 100 other JBL devices to play the same music in perfect synchronicity or pair it with another speaker to create a stereo pair over Bluetooth. The only drawback is that you can’t pair the new JBL Charge 5 with the Charge 4 or any of the predecessors that use JBL Connect.

It effectively prevents you from integrating any older speakers with a newer model. This is something to keep in mind when shopping around. I will add that the most likely explanation for this change is that speakers connecting via party boosts can hold a connection from a further distance than using connect plus. It’s a more reliable method of connecting speakers.

Price & Verdict

Charge 5
Flip 5

So let’s start to wrap things up and give you our recommendation for the best speaker between the JBL Charge 5 and the Flip 5. As we discussed in our post on portable speaker comparison, you will have difficulty finding a more durable speaker than these two for the price.

I don’t think you should base your decision solely on which sound you prefer just from our sound test; instead, I think you should think about how you will use these speakers. Not too long ago, the jbl came out joint top for durability compared with the Sonos Rome, Marshall Emberton, and the ultimate ears boom.

The charge 5 is the obvious choice if you want an entirely portable speaker to take with you on the go, but if you want to listen both indoors and outdoors and you don’t need it to be especially small or suitable for adventures, I think the flip 5 is the way to go.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I need to return to charge 4. While you can still purchase the charge 4 from some retailers for a reasonable price, you would be purchasing an outdated speaker, so that is something to think about.

If you currently own the Charge 4 and are wondering whether you should upgrade to the Charge 5, my sincere response is probably no. The Charge 4 is a great speaker, and there haven’t been enough updates for me to feel the need to upgrade at this time.

If you found a charge 4 for a reasonable price and aren’t sure whether to choose that or the flip 4, that is a pretty tricky question overall; I would say the charge 4 offers slightly more because it is bigger, has a better battery life, and has a more powerful sound performance. However, if you are torn between the two, there are slight improvements to the feature set of the 5 and a step up in sound performance too.

I hope that helped you make your decision because it depends on how you plan to use the speaker, so that might be something to think about again.