JBL Flip 5 vs JBL Flip Essential | Which is Better?

by Michael Dwain

JBL has taken the world by storm with its series of portable Bluetooth speakers that have proven more than capable of handling any outdoor situation keeping your favorite tunes running in the background and loud enough to get your feet grooving. 

The JBL flip series has been the most popular among youngsters and travel enthusiasts with upgraded versions every year with better audio quality, build quality, and battery back up. The two most recent editions to the flip series are the JBL flip 5 and JBL flip Essential, which look quite similar to each other but are different when comparing the internal specs. 

In this article, I’m going to be comparing both these powerhouses to help you make the right decision between the two. Some of the key features I’m going to look out for is the audio clarity from both the drivers and the bass impact between the two. Waterproof levels and build quality to check the life of the speakers. Also some of the unique features between the two that make them stand out from each other. 

So let’s start by understanding some of the basic differences between these two speakers in JBL Flip 5 vs JBL Flip Essential.

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Quick Overview

JBL Flip 5JBL Flip Essential
Build & Design6.9×18.1×7.4 cm6.4×16.9×6.4 cm
Battery4800mAh (12 hours)3000mAh (10 hours)
Power Output20W2 x 8W
Bluetooth Versionver. 4.2ver. 4.1
ConnectivityJBL Connect Plus3.5mm Aux

JBL Flip 5 vs JBL Flip Essential

JBL Flip 5

JBL Flip 5 vs JBL Flip Essential

The Flip 5 is the latest portable Bluetooth speaker from JBL, the speaker is designed to provide high-quality sound in any indoor or outdoor setting. It comes with a sturdy body made of high-quality lightweight material. 

The device supports only Wireless Bluetooth streaming with other connections like AUX port and microphone removed making it simple and powerful. The battery housed in this edition of flip supports playback of 12 hours and a controlled volume. 

The exterior body is made to be IPX7 waterproof protecting it from any water damage that might occur when using it outdoors. I wouldn’t suggest submerging the device into the water as the USB C-type charging port is exposed and might cause long-term damage. 

One unique feature the Flip 5 offers is the ability to pair other Flip 5 speakers together Via Bluetooth. This enables a speaker setting called Party Boost that enhances the speaker quality of all the speakers interconnected optimizing the experience.

A LED power button and battery indicator make it easy to keep a tab on the battery of the speaker with the addition of the new C-type fast charging port which is a huge plus as the speakers have been known for taking their time when it comes to topping up the battery. 


  • Strong and sturdy design
  • High-quality drivers for amazing sound quality
  • 11 Multiple colors to choose from. 
  • Can be paired with other JBL speakers
  • Waterproof body with external slot cover.
  • Excellent battery life
  • New USB-C type fast charging
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  • Both voice assistant and speakerphone have been disabled.
  • Lacks Low-end frequencies 
  • 3.5mm AUX input has been removed.

JBL Flip Essential

JBL Flip 5 vs JBL Flip Essential

As the name implies the Flip Essential was designed to be a pocket-friendly edition to JBL’s Flip series. The design has all the basic specs of a modern-day portable Bluetooth speaker with minimal differences from the flip 5 to make it affordable for buyers looking for something not too expensive but does the job. 

The first thing I noticed is the design that seems dull compared to the other flip speakers from JBL. It has a limited option of colors with a small JBL logo in red on the front that is laid out over a metal grill that protects the drives houses inside the speaker.

A LED illuminated power is provided in the back with a battery indicator to keep a tab on the battery left in the device. A waterproof seal covers the charging port making the speaker splash proof to a certain level. 

The size is around the same as the Flip 4 but smaller than the flip 5 as the Flip 5 is the largest speaker from all the flip series. You will receive a micro-USB cord to charge the device in the box and a protective cover. 


  • Simple design with all the essentials.
  • Comes with an affordable price tag.
  • Bluetooth connectivity enabled.
  • Supports external audio input.
  • Splash Proof.


  • Slow Bluetooth Connectivity.
  • No micro USB option.

Now that we have a basic understanding of both the portable Bluetooth speakers let’s compare some of the important features that make the speakers stand out for what they are. Let’s start with the design. 

JBL Flip 5 vs JBL Flip Essential: Design

Flip 5

The Flip 5 looks like the evolved version of all the previous JBL Flips with a simple yet amazing design with high-quality parts installed that make the speaker weigh less than one pound. 

It’s designed to fit in anywhere from the palm of your hand to docked on your office table, the speakers offer limitless options of setting it up which is what truly this speaker was meant for “musical comfort where ever you want it”

One of the best design factors is the IPX7 waterproofing that allows you to carry the speaker with you and play it while trekking through the woods while it’s raining. It is capable of being submerged in water up to a depth of a meter deep which isn’t much but can last for 30 mins without taking damage. 

The bass drivers on the side of the speaker are installed with tubular housing so that they absorb and prevent and external damage that can happen when kept in your bag or travel luggage. 

JBL Flip Essential

The Flip Essential has a very simple design that does the job of making it the perfect speaker for people who would like to listen at home for entertainment. It takes a lot of its inspiration from the older generation speaker from JBL the Flip 3. The main difference you can notice is that there are lesser options and buttons on the JBL Flip Essential. 

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The well-insulated body offers excellent damage absorption in case the device falls offering value to the product for long-term use, even the rear panel is fitted with insulated rubber for extra protection. The body has IPX7 water resistance similar to the Flip 5. 

The outer casing is made of a durable and sturdy cloth-type material that is very similar to the cloth that was provided to the previous versions of flip. An AUX port is provided which the Flip 5 lacks for external inputs into the speaker. The device uses the old version of the micro USB which increases the hours for it to charge when compared to the C-type fast charging on the Flip 5.

Verdict: In terms of external design, damage absorption, and waterproofing both the speakers are excellent and pretty much the same. If you like the new fast charging and color options the Flip 5 is the one for you. 

JBL Flip 5 vs JBL Flip Essential: Music Quality and Speaker Control

Flip 5

The Flips 5 has been introduced with new drivers that are mounted on a racetrack shape frame that provides 20W amplification which is the best quality speaker and amplification installed in the Flip series so far. 

All external connection options have been removed on the flip 5 like the AUX port and built-in microphone. This is done with the understanding that most phones don’t have an AUX port either and are all digital with the latest Bluetooth version. 

The speakers are well sealed inside the casing and can still work underwater, but it’s not suggested to try it out. 

The device has a Play/Pause button, Volume control, and Party Boost Button on top of the speaker for an easy user interface. 

Flip Essential

On the first look itself, you will find the Flip Essential to be minimal in its design offering only three control options on the outer case that is volume control, Bluetooth on/off toggle, and play/pause. If you’re a minimalist this is more than enough.

The device can be connected to a wireless device that allows the speaker to be connected to your phone as a remote. It also has the ability to accept and execute voice commands if prompted which the Flip 5 lacks.

There are two passive bass drivers that are well insulated from external damage and can provide a good output with good low end. The speakers are shielded with cloth-type material that does not restrict sound coming out of the speaker but offers enough protection to avoid any sort of external damage. 

Verdict: Flips 5 easily takes the cake for this one as it has 20w of amplified output power, this is the highest output from the JBL series of Flip.

JBL Flip 5 vs JBL Flip Essential: Waterproof

Flip 5

The Flip 5 is waterproof and carries a rating of IPX7 which means that it can be be left submerged underwater for a period of up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1m. Based on tests conducted, you will be able to submerge the speaker for a few minutes without any damage to its components. However, the charging port does not have any cover, but it can be washed and dried.

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Flip Essential

The JBL Flip Essential carries the same waterproof rating as the Flip 5 and the only difference we noticed is that the Essential comes with a rubber cover for the charging port. According to the tests we performed, the cover prevents water from entering the charging port but upon using it for a long period of time, the cover flap tends to get lose and will not remain in place.

Verdict: Technically both speakers are waterproof with the same rating. The only difference is that the Flip Essential has a cover that protects the charging port from water damage


Is the JBL Flip Essential worth the money?

Considering its size and pricing, the JBL Essential is a great speaker if you’re looking for something with a decent battery life, power and ease of use.

What will happen if you over-power the JBL Flip?

It’s possible to over charge your speaker and this can drain the battery in the long run. It’s ideal to take the speaker off charge the moment it reaches 100%.

Is it safe to use the JBL Flip 5 and Essential while charging?

It’s safe to play music on the JBL Flip range of speakers while they are charging. However, refrain from plugging in the speaker to a direct flow of current and connect the USB cable to an alternating source instead to ensure longevity of the battery.


Both speakers have their own market and can perform excellently in most settings, but the Flip 5 is the winner here. The fast charging and upgraded speaker driver are what make it stand out from the JBL Flip Essential.

If both these factors don’t bother you the Essential is still a brilliant choice to have at home entertainment with voice command.

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Author Profile

Greetings! My name is Michael and this is my website.

I've been specializing in audio equipment and accessories for a while and have a little something in store for every kind of hi-fi enthusiast.

Based in California, I keep attending special launch events across the globe. This has helped me understand the products better, and with a unique hands-on experience I'm able to provide you with easy to understand reviews about the best in audio tech from around the world.

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