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Monster SuperStar BackFloat review: A buoyant Bluetooth speaker with a thick skin

Monster's floating waterproof Bluetooth speaker is fun to use in the pool, but it needs a substantial price cut before we recommend you go out and drop $150 on one.

Justin Yu Associate Editor / Reviews - Printers and peripherals
Justin Yu covered headphones and peripherals for CNET.
Justin Yu
4 min read

I've reviewed a handful of ruggedized portable Bluetooth speakers in the past, but the waterproof Monster SuperStar BackFloat is unique, thanks to its ability to float on its back with the speaker firing up in the air -- the company makes it a point to encourage users to throw it in the pool.


Monster SuperStar BackFloat

The Good

The Monster SuperStar BackFloat is a portable Bluetooth speaker with a tough outer shell that protects it from water, dirt and dust. As the name implies, it can also float on its back with the speaker pointed up to add music to a pool party. It also includes a well-padded play-through case and features speakerphone capabilities.

The Bad

It's more expensive than competing waterproof speakers, it can't handle deep bass well, and the sound distorts at higher volumes.

The Bottom Line

The Monster SuperStar BackFloat's sound quality won't blow you away, but its travel-friendly design and unique ability to float on water makes it a fun accessory for your next pool party.

It comes with an acoustically transparent mesh case that protects it even further if you're playing it in rough environments, and I like how it easy it is to remove and clean the silicone skin that wraps around the speaker.

The price is ambitious at $150 (no UK or Australian pricing available right now, but it converts to roughly £95 or AU$207) for a speaker that distorts at high volumes, but if you can find it for less, the Monster SuperStar BackFloat could be a fun addition to a pool party, camping trip or even the bathtub.

Monster SuperStar BackFloat

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Unlike the nonrugged Monster SuperStar speaker , the BackFloat has both speaker drivers and the passive bass radiator on the front of the unit. Most of the speaker's casing is matte-black, but you can choose between neon-green or neon-blue trim, which seems like slim pickings compared to the UE Roll , another waterproof Bluetooth speaker that comes in a variety of bright designs.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The speaker gets its waterproofing from a removable silicone skin that surrounds the bottom of the unit and snaps into a lip around the top edge. Monster receives a toughness classification from the International Protection Marking standard that rates the degree of environmental protection for electronic devices. The BackFloat earned an IPX6 rating, which means it can officially withstand a powerful jet of water for at least three minutes.

In our anecdotal tests, the speaker survived a handful of sustained underwater dunks and streams of water from a showerhead with no issues, but we wouldn't recommend you keep it submerged for more than a few minutes at a time. If you decide to play music on dry land, you can also prop the speaker up vertically and aim it wherever you please.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The right side of the BackFloat has a pull-down window that covers a 3.5-inch auxiliary port for connecting external devices directly to the speaker, as well as a Micro-USB port for recharging the internal battery. Monster rates the battery life at seven hours on a full charge, and the unit will automatically power off after an hour of inactivity.

It's easy to link the speaker to any Bluetooth audio device by holding down the connection button on top to put it in pairing mode. After that, your music player will display the BackFloat and connects as soon as you select it. A female voice announces that the pairing is successful, and you can control the volume and power using the corresponding buttons on top.

Sarah Tew/CNET

For business-casual users that want to take a meeting in the pool, the BackFloat has an integrated microphone that offers decent sound quality for conference calls. You can also use the Bluetooth button to answer and end phone conversations.


The sound quality of the BackFloat is decent at midlevel volumes and gets steadily more distorted as you pump it louder. Like most Bluetooth speakers, the intended use of this device is to add a secondary background soundtrack to a beach party or bath time, but don't expect it to shock you with room-filling sound.

Sarah Tew/CNET

That said, the bass radiator does a good job adding an extra level of low-frequency rumble to your songs, provided you keep the volume at appropriate levels. You can feel a lot of the punchier beats while listening to tracks like Major Lazer's "Lean On" through the BackFloat, though it suffers with really deep bass tracks like "All Eyes on You" by Meek Mill, where the production features long, sustained hits.

One quirky side note worth mentioning: the speaker has a tendency to walk around on a tabletop if you're playing bass-driven music, even if you keep it propped up on its side. Even though it's technically shock-proof, you may want to keep an eye on it if you set it on a table raised high above the ground.


You can spend less on a budget Bluetooth speaker like the JBL Clip+ , but it won't be as tough as the BackFloat, whose unique ability to stay afloat earns it extra points for ingenuity and practical application in the pool or other wet environments like the shower. The Logitech UE Roll is another waterproof option that requires an additional accessory for use in the pool, but you get a price break at $100 bucks, which I consider to be the sweet spot for Bluetooth speakers. The Monster SuperStar BackFloat is a good-sounding speaker that does the job, especially in the outdoors, but I'd like to see the company lower the price to $100.


Monster SuperStar BackFloat

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 8Sound 6Value 6