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We’re living in a golden age of portable technology, where the most capable devices fit in your hand or pocket. One of those devices is portable Bluetooth speakers. These tiny sound systems have become an EDC (everyday carry) essential for music lovers. More importantly, they’re one of the best and most useful innovations to enjoy music in any environment without having to lug around a bulky boombox, fuss around with wires or figure out a power source. Even better, the best portable Bluetooth speakers are also rugged, so you don’t have to worry about taking your speaker outdoors and having it ruined by the elements.
While these speakers have different priorities in terms of the features, we looked at a combination of factors when determining our best portable Bluetooth speakers. They are:
- Sound quality
- Battery life
For this list, we also didn’t include any Bluetooth speakers that don’t run off a battery, and (mostly) left off any speakers that you can’t easily hold or carry in-hand. With that all out of the way, take a look at our best portable Bluetooth speakers and figure out which one is right for you.
1. Sonos Roam
We thought Logitech had achieved the platonic ideal of the portable Bluetooth speaker with the Wonderboom 2, but in 2021, the Sonos Roam has come through and knocked the Wonderboom squarely off its perch. Like the other speakers on this list, the Sonos Roam is a Bluetooth speaker with some impressive specs. It’s IP67 rated, which means that it’s water and dustproof. It also delivers a legit 10 hours of battery life, so it won’t go dead in the middle of a day at the beach.. But that’s only scratching the surface.
Unlike any other portable Bluetooth speaker on this list, the Sonos Roam is also a Wi-Fi speaker, which comes with a whole list of benefits when it has a network to connect to. Improved audio quality? Yup. Multi-room audio capability? You bet. Google Assistant and Alexa integration? Absolutely. No smartphone necessary? Bingo. And on top of all that, the Roam can use its special AI capabilities to automatically optimize its sound to the acoustics of the room that it’s in. The end result is a speaker that sounds incredible for its size, while costing less than speakers that pale in comparison. Frankly, it’s the new gold standard for portable audio.
2. Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
There are portable Bluetooth speakers that are newer, louder, clearer, slimmer, tougher, cheaper or better looking. But there are not any which hit the sweet spot in every single category like the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2. This has been on lists of the best portable Bluetooth speakers for years, but in 2021, it’s still one of the best. For most people, this grenade-sized speaker is great for throwing in the bag and using at the park, hanging in the shower, using in the kitchen or placing beside your bed. In addition to being rated for 13 hours of battery life, there’s an outdoor mode for making music sound better in open spaces and it will float in a pool (don’t worry, it’s IP67 rated to handle drops, dust and water). You can even pair it with a second Wonderboom 2 to get stereo sound.
It may not get as loud or offer as much bass as the UE Boom 3, but this is all relative: No truly portable Bluetooth speaker is going to replace a proper stereo system. In that context, we want a speaker that provides as much utility and convenience as possible (while still sounding good). For our money, the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 is the best portable Bluetooth speaker.
3. Sony SRS-XB33 & SRS-XB43
If you’re looking for a speaker with more oomph that you can hold in your hand, but aren’t as concerned with portability, the Sony SRS-XB33 is one of the best portable Bluetooth speakers to have around the house. Passive radiators on each side of the speaker give the SRS-XB33 some of the best bass for a speaker its size, and with a battery rated for 24 hours of playback, you don’t have to worry about constantly charging it. This speaker can also withstand all your drops, spills, and other mishaps, thanks to an IP67 durability rating. Its more powerful sibling, the SRS-XB43, comes with an even stronger spec sheet, highlighted by two woofers and two tweeters that will have your walls shaking.
4. Anker Soundcore Flare 2
For the money, you’re not going to find many portable Bluetooth speakers offering as much as the Anker Soundcore Flare 2. Speakers like the Sony SRS-XB33 will certainly outduel it in a battle of audio quality, but at half the price, it’s impressive that the Soundcore Flare 2 is even in the conversation. This speaker is rated for 12 hours of audio playback and even has LEDs that sync with the music that’s playing. If you happen to have 99 other friends who own a Soundcore Flare 2, you can link them all up to simultaneously play the same song. That said, if you’re looking for a speaker to take outdoors, this speaker isn’t dustproof.
5. Ultimate Ears Hyperboom
The saying goes that high performance comes with a high price tag. Whoever came up with that must have had the UE Hyperboom in mind. Yes, it looks gigantic and doesn’t exactly scream portable, but if you can flex those muscles and lift it by the rugged handle to the backyard, you’ll be rewarded with sonic bliss. This thing is equipped with two 4.5-inch subwoofers, dual passive radiators, and soft-dome tweeters that create audio powerful enough to fill an entire city block. Big bass and crisp midrange are guaranteed. IPX water resistance also means you can spill some drinks on it and not worry about the speaker short-circuiting. Battery life is something else you won’t have to be concerned about with the Hyperboom rated at 24 hours.
6. Bose SoundLink Flex
Bose might be the king of noise-cancelling headphones, but when it comes to portable Bluetooth speakers, they’re just getting their feet wet. Well, the SoundLink Flex cannonballs the brand into the pool. Proprietary PositionIQ technology feeds listeners dynamic sound that automatically adjusts based on how it is positioned. Features like waterproof protection, the ability to pair with other Bose speakers, and 12 hours of battery life are all greatly appreciated. However, our admiration for the SoundLink Flex comes from its intelligibility, which is best demonstrated through the built-in microphone that allows for flawless voice command use and excellent call quality. Trust us, you’ll want this around when needing to jump on a last-minute conference call before boarding a business flight.
7. TriBit XSound Go
When it comes to the budget speakers, one can’t expect immersive sound or big bass. However, any speaker capable of producing sound that isn’t tinny or distorted for under $50 should be considered a success. The TriBit XSound Go is a portable Bluetooth speaker that fits this bill, all wrapped up in a compact, ruggedized package with 8W power drivers that pumps out rich sound and punchy bass. With a look that’s not dissimilar from the Beats Pill, the XSound Go fits into any carry-on bag and sits nicely on a bookshelf or desk. A full charge promises 24 hours of battery life. In addition, you can pair this speaker with a second unit for stereo sound, a feature you won’t find on my speakers in this price range.
Related: The Best Smart Speakers
8. Marshall Stockwell II
Ever stumbled upon an audio product that just oozes nostalgic swag? Well, that’s practically everything Marshall creates, but the Stockwell II’s retro aesthetics and performance are just too attractive to ignore. If the amp-inspired design doesn’t already give you live concert vibes, then the powerful 360-degree sound with strong bass and bright highs surely will. There are some cool features to play with such as adjustable bass and treble knobs. Another one is the option to pair this speaker with two Bluetooth devices, so you can take over DJing duties when wifey’s music selection starts putting the party to sleep. A rugged design showcased by a steel metal grille, IPX4 water resistance, over 20 hours of playtime, and a cool guitar-inspired strap for portability round out this handsome model.
9. Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3
BEST BIG BLUETOOTH SPEAKER
The Ultimate Ears Megaboom is the best Bluetooth speaker for someone who wants something that can fill a large room or backyard with clear sound and big bass and absolutely does not care about size. This tank scrapes the upper limit of speakers that you can hold in one hand, but with that comes full and powerful sound, which is great if you’re entertaining friends or want to throw a party for one. In addition to being IP67 ruggedized (you can literally take this waterproof portable speaker underwater with you) and rated for 20 hours of battery life, the Megaboom also looks great, so you don’t necessarily have to keep it out of sight when you’re not using it.
10. Bang and Olufsen Beosound Explore
BEST BATTERY LIFE
The Sonos Roam might rule the roost when it comes to the best Bluetooth speakers, but one superlative it can’t claim is in the battery department. That distinction goes to Bang and Olufsen’s all-new Beosound Explore speaker, which packs 27 hours of playtime and great battery management into a premium-built design. Reminiscent of a tin can, the Beosound Explore is anything but, packing IP67 weather proofing, Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity, and 1.8-inch drivers that help produce high-end audio.
Best of all is the price, which at $199, is one of the most accessible audio products B&O have ever made. While we ultimately still lean towards the Sonos Roam, we think the aesthetes of the world who value lengthy playtimes are going to have to give this one a long, hard look.
11. Anker Soundcore Motion Boom
The boombox has evolved over the decades, going from monstrous bass-blasting machines that ate up endless D-batteries to cordless, portable-friendly speakers that maintain the loud sonic legacy of their predecessors. Anker does b-boys proud with the Soundcore Motion Boom, a more compact version of the classic sound system that is sturdier and longer lasting. The waterproof design and built-in handle make the Motion Boom outdoor-ready, while the 24 hours of battery life is enough to keep parties bumping for an entire day. It’s also dope that you can personalize sound via adjustable EQ to control how loud or bassy you want sound.
12. Tribit StormBox Micro
BEST BUDGET MINI-SPEAKER
Tribit isn’t a household name like Bose or even Ultimate Ears, but this Amazon darling has put out some great affordable speakers, including the StormBox Micro. Designed with a tear-resistant silicone strap, you can attach this speaker to handlebars or backpacks and make some serious noise when cycling through Central Park or lounging by the jacuzzi. The IP67 waterproof protection will often entice you to go with the latter scenario. Built-in XBass tuning DSP technology keeps bass punchy, which plays nicely with mids and highs for well-balanced frequency range. Pairing two of these speakers gets you stereo sound in any environment. Add 8 hours of battery life and up to 100 feet of wireless range, you can see why this is our favorite budget mini-speaker.
13. Bose SoundLink Micro
BEST MINI SPEAKER
If the UE Megaboom is the best portable Bluetooth speaker for those who prioritize sound quality over everything else, the Bose SoundLink Micro is for those who want the smallest possible speaker (that’s still good). This waterproof speaker fits in the palm of your hand and promises more bass than other speakers its size. It can even attach to a bike handle or a bag, thanks to an integrated strap, and will let you control Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa if your phone is connected.
14. JBL Clip 4
BEST SHOWER SPEAKER
For those who want a compact Bluetooth speaker that’s a little easier on the wallet and can withstand wet conditions, the JBL Clip 4 is the way to go. As the name implies, this diminutive puck has a carabiner clip integrated into the design, letting you know right off the bat that the speaker is meant to go wherever you go. Since it’s waterproof, we find it to be the perfect shower companion, entertaining us with strong audio performance during washes, while taking up very little space. To get 10 hours out of this tiny bass blaster is also pretty impressive.
15. Marshall Emberton
BEST RETRO DESIGN
Don’t let the nostalgic stylings fool you here because the Marshall Emberton is far from a gimmick. This miniature version of the audio staple’s fantastic multi-room speakers boasts more sound than its size would indicate. It uses proprietary True Stereophonic technology to deliver omnidirectional sound, while a single brass-colored control knob lets you manage playback and adjust volume. But perhaps the best thing about the Emberton is how it incorporates the iconic look of all those Marshall stacks you’ve seen at concerts without making itself look dated or kitschy. The 20+ hours of playtime is sweet too, along with all four bold colorways: Black, Forrest, Cream, and Black & Brass.
We named this one of the best Christmas gifts for men in 2021, and it was a clear choice when putting together our list of the best portable Bluetooth speakers of the year.
16. Anker Soundcore 2
BEST BUDGET SPEAKER
There is no shortage of cheap Bluetooth speakers flooding the market, but there aren’t many that provide audio you would consider good. Anker has made its name developing quality products that outperform their price tag and the Soundcore 2 is no exception. This has everything you’d expect from a quality budget speaker: IPX7 waterproofing, 24-hour battery life, the ability to pair with other Anker speakers. This may be a no-frills speaker, but it’s perfect if you need an occasional speaker for personal use, or when you’re with a couple of friends.
17. Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 7
BEST PREMIUM DESIGN
Harman Kardon’s design pedigree speaks for itself. Minimalist, yet striking, the heritage audio brand continues to release gorgeous wireless speakers that double as décor centerpieces. The Onyx Studio 7 is no exception. What’s not to love about the planetary-inspired shape or ring-like handle to either carry the speaker around or stand it up on a flat surface? However, our love of the Onyx Studio 7 isn’t just skin-deep. This speaker has dual tweeters hidden behind the elegant black cloth grille that creates an “immersive, multi-directional soundscape” with bass-forward sound. 8-hour battery life may not seem like much, but that’s enough time for guests to admire this beauty during house parties.
18. JBL Xtreme 3
BEST GRAB-AND-GO SOUND SYSTEM
The JBL Xtreme 3 pushes the limits for what should qualify as one of the best portable Bluetooth speakers. While it’s huge in size compared to some of the other compact offerings on this list, the speaker comes with a shoulder strap to easily lug it around, therefore making it portable. On top of that, it’s a sonic beast with four drivers and JBL Bass Radiators that deliver immersive sound with deep bass and lots of detail. It also comes IP67 waterproof and dustproof, so you can leave it by the pool area and not worry about short-circuiting the internals. Add 15 hours of playtime into the equation, you can see why the Xtreme 3 is a must for any large outdoor gathering.
19. Beats Pill+
BEST FOR IPHONE USERS
Nothing beats a classic. Double entendre aside, the Pill+ is the closest you’re going to get to a portable speaker from Apple. It’s designed to connect instantly with iOS/macOS devices, much like the AirPods, and doesn’t skimp on audio performance either. Sound is rich and free of distortion, offering a nice blend of boomy lows and well-defined highs that can be enjoyed at high volume. Being able to use the Pill+ as a speakerphone is clutch for fielding voice calls on the go. We also love how the product doubles as a portable charger, letting you juice up other devices via USB port. Just make sure to fully charge this bad boy to get the 12 hours of use that Beats advertises.
20. LG XBOOM 360 RP4 Omnidirectional Speaker
BEST FOR 360 SOUND
Omnidirectional audio isn’t anything new to the category, but only a handful of tech brands have done the technology justice. We can add LG to that list. The XBOOM 360 RP4 is unique, a portable speaker suitable for both indoor and outdoor play and can produce 360-degree sound for immersive, detailed listening. It supplies 120 watts of power to a 5.25-inch woofer and 2-inch horn tweeter when plugged in, but you’ll also get 10 hours of portable use between charges. You can play music over Bluetooth, USB, or Aux-in sources. Furthermore, the conical shape and built-in mood lighting give this speaker a futuristic lantern-like look. Combine that with DJ effects that can be added to playlists through the companion app, and you’ll transform the living room into a Las Vegas nightclub.
21. Sony SRS-XG500 Bluetooth Speaker
When we first tested and reviewed the Sony SRS-XG500 Bluetooth Speaker, we noted that it was basically a modern incarnation of the 90s-era jukebox. And if you can forgive the terrible name (what is it with Sony and mathematical product names?), this is a deeply impressive speaker. As you would expect from a Sony product, this portable Bluetooth speaker offers incredible sound quality, and the Super Bass function puts other portable speakers to shame. This large speaker also boasts 30+ hours of playtime, and even a 10-minute charge will give you 3 hours of playback. Yes, it’s a large speaker, but it’s durable enough to take to the beach and will have everybody in the vicinty asking, “Where did you get that, and where can I get one?”
If you don’t mind the size or the price, this is one of the best portable Bluetooth speakers of 2021.
22. JBL Flip 5
The JBL Flip 5 may not boast as many superlatives as some of the other speakers on here, but it’s an all-around solid package that has stood as one of the most popular speakers on Amazon. It combines a compact size with solid sound, good battery life and a reasonable price to go with IPX7 waterproofing, 12 hours of battery life and the ability to pair it with other JBL speakers. One thing that does make it unique is that you can personalize the look of the Flip 5 through the JBL site, so you can ensure that nobody else has a speaker like yours.
Related: The Best Smart Speakers
23. Marshall Stanmore II Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
BEST FOR PARTIES
Like the smaller Emberton speaker featured already, the Marshall Stanmore II speaker also recreates the vintage look of Marshall stacks. And like the Emberton, it’s so much more than a pretty face, as it delivers the pristine audio quality you would expect from one of the world’s most trusted maker of audio equipment. The Stanmore has a lot of features we’re looking for in the best portable speakers. For parties, it’s easy for multiple hosts to connect to the device at once, so anyone can step in as DJ at a moment’s notice. Thanks to Bluetooth 5.0 and aptX technology, you can enjoy clear lossless sound even when your device is 30 feet away from the speaker. Unlike most Bluetooth speakers, this product also supports wired connection, and you can plug in using RCA or 3.5mm inputs.
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24. Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1
With luxury products, you are typically paying for the luxury design and materials rather than performance, which often lags behind products with similar specs that are far cheaper. That is not the case with the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1. You will not find a better-looking portable Bluetooth speaker on this list, and it’s one that offers a level of sound normally found in much larger speakers. In addition to having battery life rated for 18 hours, it also has integrated support for the Alexa voice assistant. But just because this is a premium product doesn’t mean it’s fragile: the Beosound A1 is also IP67 rated, so you can take it virtually anywhere you please (as long as you’re OK getting it a little dirty).
While some may take qualms with the fact that it only has mono sound, any benefits from stereo in speakers this small are minimal when considering the context in which they’re used. And ultimately, the bottom line is this: You will pay an arm and a leg for this speaker, but you will absolutely get your money’s worth out of it.
25. Bose SoundLink Color II
The signature Bose sound is one that cannot be topped for some audio enthusiasts, and in that case, the Bose SoundLink Color is a great choice. For a speaker its size, the SoundLink Color II offers impressive audio that promises not to distort, even at the highest volumes. And for those who want a bit of a visual pop from their SoundLink Color II, Bose has a handful of vibrant hues to choose from.
26. DEWALT 20V MAX Bluetooth Speaker
BEST GARAGE SPEAKER
If you’re hard at work in the garage, on an outdoor worksite, or inside on a remodeling project, you’re going to want a speaker you’re not afraid to knock around a little. The DEWALT 20V MAX is your answer — it’s worksite tough just like everything else in DEWALT’s extensive line of wireless tools. This speaker runs on the same 20V rechargeable battery as many of DEWALT’s other tools, but it can also can run on AC power. It has an impressive 100-foot Bluetooth range, and the bass reflex port gives it an extra bit of oomph to be heard over your other power tools. While it’s not going to win any awards for audio quality, it’s a great option for tough, dirty environments.
27. EWA A106 Portable Mini Bluetooth Speaker
If you’re looking for a portable rechargeable Bluetooth speaker and just a speaker, without a microphone or Alexa or any other bells and whistles, and you’re also looking for a bargain, the EWA A106 is for you. The 3-watt driver won’t make the gang at Bose lose any sleep, but the EWA A106’s sound definitely outperforms the price. It streams your favorite music services and podcast/audiobook apps, it’s a super-light 6.2 ounces, and it comes with a metal clip for extra portability. The battery lasts up to six hours when played at 50% volume, and four hours if you decide to crank it. For twenty bucks, this little guy is a steal, and over 23,000 Amazon reviewers agree with an average 4.5/5 rating.
28. Bitty Boomers
BEST FOR THE KIDS
Does your kid like Funko POP! figures? Then they’ll love Bitty Boomers, which evoke the same cool look of their favorite cartoon and superhero pals but are also fully functional Bluetooth 5.0 speakers. Here’s another great selling point – the Bitty Boomers can also be used as selfie remote controls. Connect the speaker to your phone and short-press the power button while the camera app is open, and it takes the picture for you. The selection here is amazing: Star Wars, Marvel, Spongebob, Disney, Fortnite, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and more. All have the same 50-foot range and 5-hour battery life. These are perfect Bluetooth speakers for any little one you know.