You have to hand it to those ’80s breakdancers—hauling around an old-school boombox all day is one hell of a workout. Fast forward a few decades, and we don’t think twice about bringing music with us wherever we go. Thanks to Bluetooth, it’s as simple as pairing a smartphone to a pair of headphones—or better yet, a portable speaker. Today’s Bluetooth speakers pack quality audio and big sound into some very small packages. While you don’t need a ton of upper body strength to carry one around, you do need some patience to find the right one for your needs. This guide will get you started on your search.
How to Choose the Best Bluetooth Speaker
There’s a huge variety of Bluetooth speakers available, from waterproof hunks of plastic that can accompany you on a week-long camping trip to stylish statement pieces that look as good as they sound. When shopping for a speaker, it’s important to consider where and when you’ll use it (i.e. inside your home or mostly outdoors). Considerations like waterproofing are important if you plan to head outside, and if you’re staying indoors, keep in mind the kind of space you need to fill with sound. A smaller speaker that works well for a studio apartment won’t sound as loud in a house, for example. In addition, there are lots of other features and extras available, from voice assistant integration to multi-speaker pairing and more.
The list below includes the top Bluetooth speakers on the market today. We compared models from brands like JBL, Sonos, and Marshall and rounded up speakers that fill a variety of needs and offer a deep range of features. If you’re looking for quality sound wherever you go, these speakers won’t disappoint.
JBL Link Portable
The JBL Link Portable offers a long list of features that make it a great all-around speaker. It connects to your devices via Bluetooth or WiFi for easy streaming, its waterproof construction keeps it safe from spills and other mishaps, and the 360-degree speaker design fills rooms with sound. Plus, it’s integrated with Google Assistant for hands-free playback and access to your music.
The Sonos Move makes a great pick for starting a home audio setup. It’s integrated with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice-activated commands and searches, boasting powerful sound that automatically tunes to its location. You can also pair it with other Sonos speakers to play music throughout your house.
Anker Soundcore Flare
The Soundcore Flare delivers high-quality audio at a very reasonable price. Like the JBL Link Portable, it has a 360-degree design that sends sound in all directions, and you can even pair it with another Flare to fill larger spaces. Added bonus: Colored LEDs on the bottom pulse to the beat of your music.
UE Wonderboom 2
No pool party is complete without a Wonderboom 2. It’s fully waterproof (IP67-rated) and it floats, so this is an ideal speaker anytime you’re hanging out near water. Its small size makes it easy to carry around or throw in a bag, and it offers 13 hours of battery life too.
Outdoor Tech Buckshot 2.0
The Buckshot takes portability to the next level. Its small size and rugged construction (shockproof and water-resistant) make it a breeze to attach to a bike or clip onto a bag. It’s well-suited to all sorts of outdoor adventures.
Klipsch The One II
Most Bluetooth speakers aren’t exactly designed to be statement pieces, but The One II isn’t your average speaker. It combines a full Bluetooth-ready wireless stereo setup—including twin amplifiers and a 4.5-inch subwoofer—with striking midcentury modern design (that’s real wood veneer on the top).
Marshall Woburn II
Like the Klipsch speaker above, Marshall’s Woburn II doesn’t compromise on aesthetics, but it delivers bigger sound and is a solid choice for larger spaces. With 110 watts of power on tap and 5.25-inch subwoofers, the Woburn II delivers rich, enveloping audio and showcases the iconic design cues of Marshall’s guitar amps.
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