Regardless of what we do for work or whatever else we stay busy with, everybody needs to cut loose every now and then. Some people relax with yoga or meditation, but jamming out at a party with your friends is a proven stress reliever that can really get the good endorphins flowing.
That’s why party speakers exist to instantly transform an ordinary backyard gathering into a worthy one that would make Andrew W.K. proud with “Party Hard” on blast in the background. Party speakers come in all shapes and sizes, so no matter the situation, you can count on one to bring the party anywhere. Although, you may be scratching your head on what makes them different from other portable Bluetooth speakers you may be familiar with already.
You could just blast some music from your phone, but the difference between using a speaker specifically designed for parties is like night and day.
What The Experts Says
There’s a BIG range when it comes to party speakers, but these are just some of the critical features we’ve heard from experts on what to look for in a part speaker. Not surprisingly, audio performance ranked highest based on the feedback we heard from people who actually use them religiously. Beyond that, people are also obsessed about their size and available inputs.
- High fidelity audio
- Good battery life
- Various auxiliary inputs for peripherals
- Ambient light system
“Audio quality is important because if an actor or a singer is singing a little bit too loud in that microphone, you don’t want it to crackle out or or peak,” explained Theresa Pittius. She’s one of the co-founders of The Prep, a New Jersey based professional training studio for performing artists. Hosting various events, she’s constantly bringing a party speaker for her artists.
“I definitely look for an XLR connection because XLR mics have the best quality microphone for vocal audio,” said Pittius on the importance for party speakers to have a diverse set of auxiliary inputs. “We’ll connect our XLR mic to the speaker and then we would Bluetooth the instrumental through. We’re dealing with Broadway performer and vocalists, so we want to make sure that the vocals are very clear and crisp and aren’t overpowered by the instrumental.”
The Best Party Speakers: At a Glance
JBL PartyBox 310
Best For: Professionals or serious partiers that want to make their gatherings and events stand out.
Review: JBL Party Box 310 Speaker Offers a Dance Club in a Box
- 18 hours of battery life
- IPX4 splashproof protection
- 240 watts of audio power
Why We Chose It: Not only is it one of the most powerful wireless speakers on the market, but it’s also the most robust complete with mic inputs, lights, and banging audio.
JBL is one of the top names in audio, and they have been for a long time. This might not be a budget pick, but sometimes you get what you pay for. The PartyBox 310 comes with two built-in wireless speakers, reliable Bluetooth connectivity, and can perform light shows in sync with any music you throw at it. It’s also super durable, featuring a shock-proof and splash proof build.
SPY’s Tech Editor, John Velasco, loved the fact that it came with a Bluetooth microphone when he checked it out. “Now you don’t have to pay extra to have a mic because it already comes with one, much like a karaoke machine you can take anywhere,” said Velasco. Let’s call it an extra treat because anyone can instantly start singing along to their favorite songs.
- Long battery life
- Suitcase-style handle and wheels for easy transport
- Customizable light show
- It’s on the expensive side
JBL PartyBox On-The-Go
Best For: Beach parties, camping, and van lifers who are always on the go.
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- 6 hours of battery life
- IPX4 splashproof protection
- 100 watts
Why We Chose It: This speaker is the perfect combination of portable and powerful.
If you can’t decide whether you want something powerful or portable, this could be the speaker for you. We love this JBL speaker’s amazing features, especially considering how easy it is to move it from place to place! It boasts up to 6 hours of playtime before you’ll need to recharge its battery, and it’s durable enough to take to the beach or pool thanks to its splash proof protection.
- Easily portable
- Synchronized light display
- Included microphone
- Not as loud as some other party speakers
Philips X5206 Bluetooth Party Speaker
Best For: Bass heavy lovers that want people to hear when the beat drops.
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- 14 hours of battery life
- Trolley design with built-in carry handle
Why We Chose It: This speaker is loaded with features and has incredible bass.
This speaker from Phillips was an easy choice to add to our list. It has a great battery life, a loud sound output, and can use wired or wireless bluetooth audio connections. Additionally, there are four unique lighting modes to add some ambience to your choice of music, which goes great with the speaker’s fantastic thumping bass capabilities.
- Deep bass
- Guitar and microphone inputs
- Wired or wireless audio connection
- Fairly heavy
- 24 hours of battery life
- Customizable light show
- 105 Db sound
Why We Chose It: We were impressed by the capabilities of the W-King speakers at such an affordable price.
The W-King speaker may be our budget pick, but it holds its own against many name brand, higher priced speakers. The 24 hour battery life is stellar, and its sound output (105Db or 80W) is respectable as well! The only caveat with this speaker is that it can’t get wet, so it wouldn’t be an ideal choice for the beach or a pool party.
- Insanely long battery life
- Fantastic bass
- Loud sound output
- Not waterproof
JBL Flip 6 – Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Best For: Small parties and kickbacks
Review: Further Improvements to a Nearly Perfect Bluetooth Speaker
- 12 hours of playtime
- IPX7 Waterproof protection
- Only 1.21 pounds
Why We Chose It: Aside from being one of our favorite Bluetooth speakers in general, this is the only entry on our list you could carry with you on an airplane.
There’s a reason that SPY’s contributor Erin Lawrence called the JBL Flip 6 a “nearly perfect Bluetooth speaker.” From its excellent battery life to its waterproof construction, this speaker is one of those electronics you’ll likely hang onto for a long time. Though it certainly isn’t big enough to provide sound for a rave or a big frat party, it’s perfect for small get together with close friends or even just listening to some tunes solo.
- Small and portable
- Good battery life
- Not loud enough for big parties
Best For: Professionals, musicians, and artists that crave control with the way the audio sounds.
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- 400 Watts for powerful sounding audio
- XLR line output for to connect additional speakers
- Built-in equalizer to adjust frequencies
Why We Chose It: You gain a bit of control of how the audio sounds coming from the speaker with its built-in equalizer settings to balance out low and high frequencies.
Having trained a number of talented students who have gone on to star in several major film and Broadway productions, Theresa Pittius appreciated how she had the ability to tune the sound of Rockville’s speakers. “We really prefer XLR capable portable speakers for our vocalists with the big Broadway belts,” said Pittius.
That’s why she raved about the utility of Rockville’s line of speakers, mainly for the fact that they offer ample inputs and on-board controls. These are two critical features she stressed that are important in party speakers when they’re being used for performances.
Not only is there an XLR input for connecting a microphone to the Rockville BPA10, but there’s even a line out port to connect another speaker to it. Vocalists will also love that the built-in equalizer will allow adjustments to the low and high frequency ranges — so that instrumentals played on the speaker don’t overpower the vocals when someone is singing.
How We Chose the Best Party Speakers
SPY.com exists to find you the best products for the best prices possible. When it comes to party speakers, there are so many out there that it can be difficult to find one that meets your needs. We’ve interviewed people and experts that actually use party speakers for a living, to give you insights on what’s most important.
Through interviews and our own hands-on experience using them, we picked out products based on the following criteria:
- Price: We found quality speakers all across the price spectrum to accommodate any budget.
- Portability: Obviously, some of these speakers are pretty big, so we tried to find ones that have built-in features that make them easier to transport.
- Ambient Lights: Things like party lights that can elevate your experience even further.
- Auxiliary Inputs/Outputs: Having a robust set of inputs are great for connecting microphones and additional speakers.
- Connectivity: These speakers offer incredible range, so you can stream audio from a source without the need to be close.