We are living in a golden age of portable technology, where the most capable devices fit in your hand or pocket. But portable Bluetooth speakers have been one of the best and most useful innovations, giving people music wherever they’re at without having to lug around a bulky boombox, fuss around with wires or figure out where they’re going to find 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
For this list, we also didn’t include any Bluetooth speakers that don’t run off a battery, and (mostly) left off any speaker that you can’t easily hold in your hand. With that all out of the way, take a look through our best portable Bluetooth speakers and figure out which one is right for you.
1. Sonos Roam
BEST PORTABLE BLUETOOTH SPEAKER OVERALL
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 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. 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
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. It will also withstand all your drops, spills and other mishaps thanks to an IP67 durability rating.
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. 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.
6. Bang and Olufsen Beosound Explore
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 design department. That distinction goes to Bang and Olufsen’s all-new Beosound Explore speaker which is the best designed Bluetooth speaker we’ve seen in years. Reminiscent of a tin can, the Beosound Explore is anything but, packing IP67 weather proofing, Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity and an insane 27 hours of battery life into a speaker that looks to sit between the Wonderboom 2 and the Boom 3 when it comes to size.
But more than just looks Bang and Olufsen products have always delivered high-end audio quality, and with a pair of 1.8-inch drivers powering this portable bluetooth speaker, you can be certain this little thing has some knock to it. Best of all is the price, which at $199, is one of the most accessible audio products Bang and Olufsen have ever made. While we ultimately still lean towards the Sonos Roam, we think the aesthetes of the world are going to have to give this one a long, hard look.
7. Ultimate Ears Megaboom
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 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.
8. Marshall Emberton
BEST RETRO DESIGN
Don’t let the nostalgic stylings fool you here: The Marshall Emberton is not a gimmick and boasts more sound than its size would indicate. The Emberton uses Marshall’s True Stereophonic technology to give you omnidirectional sound, while a single brass-colored control knob lets you play, pause, skip or advance tracks and adjust your 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.
9. 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.
10. Bose SoundLink Color II
BEST PREMIUM DESIGN
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.
11. TriBit XSound Go
BEST BUDGET SPEAKER
When it comes to the budget speakers, you shouldn’t be expecting immersive sound or big bass. But a speaker can give you audio that doesn’t sound tinny or distorted for under $50 should be considered a success. The TriBit XSound Go is the best portable Bluetooth speaker that fits this bill, all wrapped up in a compact, ruggedized package. With a look that’s not dissimilar from the Beats Pill, the XSound Go promises 24 hours of battery life. It even has the ability to pair up with a second speaker for stereo sound.
12. 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.
13. JBL Clip 3
BEST BUDGET MINI SPEAKER
For those who want a compact Bluetooth speaker that’s a little easier on the wallet, the JBL Clip 3 is the way to go. As the name implies, this diminutive puck has a carabiner clip integrated into its design, which lets you know right off the bat that it’s meant to go wherever you go. But for its size, this little thing offers impressive sound quality and it only weighs a half-pound, so it won’t slow you down.
14. Anker Soundcore 2
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.
15. JBL Xtreme 2
The JBL Xtreme 2 reeeeaaaaallllly pushes the limits as far as what should qualify as one of the best portable Bluetooth speakers. Because the Xtreme 2 comes with a carrying case and lets you hook a shoulder strap onto it, we’ll let it slide. Yes, it’s the size of two footballs, weighs as much as a baby and costs as much as video game console. But because of that, it has the components necessary to deliver some of the cleanest and loudest audio you will find on this list. And the JBL Xtreme 2 is one of the best portable Bluetooth speakers if you’re having any sort of large outdoor gathering.