This Is My Favorite Speaker for Cooking or Hanging by the Pool, and It's on Sale Right Now

It’s also waterproof, unlike my phone.

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JBL Charge 5 Portable Bluetooth Waterproof Speaker Tout

Food & Wine / Tyler Roeland

When I’m embarking on a long baking project, like laminating biscuit dough or baking several batches of cookies, one thing that helps me take my mind off the tedious tasks ahead is to listen to music. But using my phone has its pitfalls. If I want to change the song or adjust the volume, the screen gets smeared with butter or flour, and if it's anywhere near my work station, it inevitably ends up splattered with some kind of liquid. And forget about trying to use my bulky laptop, which just gets in the way. 

That doesn’t mean I have to give up enjoying background entertainment in the kitchen, though. The solution is a lightweight, portable speaker — and right now the JBL Charge 5 is $40 off at Target. It’s my favorite speaker for listening to music when I’m baking, but I also take it with me on any outdoor adventure that could be improved by a custom playlist. 

JBL Charge 5 Portable Bluetooth Waterproof Speaker


To buy: JBL Charge 5 Speaker, $140 (originally $180) at

The JBL Charge 5 comes with a built-in powerbank that lets you charge your phone while using it, and the volume controls, as well as Bluetooth and power buttons, are on top. Simply press the Bluetooth button to connect it to your computer or phone, and start your favorite playlist. And although it looks round, it has a flat side, so it rests on countertops without rolling. 

There are two key features that make this speaker a worthy investment. First of all it’s waterproof, which is crucial for any electronics you’re going to use in the kitchen. I could be measuring out a cup of milk or olive oil, only for the bottle to tip over — and when electronics get soaked, disaster usually follows. I’ve never completely ruined a phone while baking, but I have definitely coated it in flour and greasy fingerprints as I attempt to toggle between music and the recipe I’m trying to follow. With this speaker, I don’t have to worry as much about making a mess, because its impervious to liquids, and can be wiped clean with a dab of warm water and soap on a cloth. 

Secondly, it’s compact. The problem with using my computer to play music, especially since I have small counters, is that it takes space away from my stand mixer, mixing bowls, and baking mat. But measuring in at just 3.76- by 8.7- by 3.67-inches, I can place this speaker in the corner of my counter, and  I don’t need to touch it again. That leaves my hands free to focus on my ingredients — and my phone’s screen free to display the recipe.

Another aspect of this speaker that I love is that the sound is so clear and crisp compared to the speakers on both my computer and my cell phone, which are much more shallow. If I turn on my stand mixer for instance, I can still hear whatever it is I’m listening to over the buzz of the whisk. It can play for about 20 hours before it needs to be charged, so I don’t have to worry about the battery dying. 

The fact that it’s portable lets me use it for so much more than cooking. In the summer, we uncover the pool and host frequent hamburger and hot dog cookouts in our backyard. I always bring it outside for music during these parties. Bottom line: Anywhere we want to listen to music, we bring the speaker.

If you love listening to music or podcasts while you’re cooking or baking, but you hate making a mess of your more expensive electronics, this JBL portable speaker will change your life. Now that it’s 22% off, this is the perfect time to pick one up. 

At the time of publishing, the price was $140.

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