Best Portable Speakers
Everyone loves to listen to music, whether you’re playing something light for around the dinner table or cranking up some Top 20 hits for a pool party. Over the years the way we listen to music has changed. Technology has improved and we are now blessed with the ability to take speakers with us wherever we go and have access to infinite music at our fingertips at all hours of the day. But, admittedly, the world of speakers can be a little overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re supposed to look for. That’s why we have created this buying guide chock full of the knowledge and tips you need before you purchase a new portable speaker. We’ve looked over the ten best products that are currently available and go into these in depth below.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 3.4 hrs of research
Long battery life
Great customer service
- Anker Soundcore
- JBL Flip 4
- Doss Touch
- Sony XB10
- Aomais Sport II
- Sonos Original Play
- Ultimate Ears Boom 2
- Bose Soundlink II
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. Anker Soundcore
Long battery life
Great customer service
Bass not be enough for audiophiles
Anker is a company that produces a lot of technological devices such as portable chargers, cables, and, of course, portable speakers. This affordably priced speaker packs a great punch in a sleek and lightweight package.Read more
Thanks to the full-range drivers that are present in this speaker from Anker, users will find that it produces deep lows and rousing highs. Even if you crank the volume, you should find that there is no distortion but instead a crystal clear sound.
This cute little speaker has a lightweight and rectangular design. The edges are curved for a sleek look and there are buttons on the top of the speaker for you to use to control it. It is available in three different color options – black, blue or red.
This speaker is equipped with a lithium-ion battery that is designed to provide up to 24 hours of use.
Thanks to the Bluetooth 4.0 technology that this speaker is equipped with, users are able to connect easily to their favorite compatible devices and enjoy up to 66 feet of wireless range.
Our research indicates that this speaker is not waterproof.
2. JBL Flip 4
Looks and feels durable
Lots of connectivity features
Max volume has no distortion
Range is great
Some concerns regarding battery life
JBL is one of the most recognizable names in the world of audio equipment. With a full line-up of home and car speakers, headphones and portable speakers, you would be hard pressed in finding something that this company doesn’t carry. The Flip 4 is a great addition to their portable speaker line up because it packs the sound that the brand is known for into a small, convenient and entirely portable package.Read more
f you love yourself some bass, you are going to love the sound provided by the Flip 4. JBL is known for its big and loud sound quality, and this speaker is no exception to the rule. The sound is crisp and loud and should surpass your expectations.
This device has a cylindrical shape and is constructed from a rugged housing made of rubber. The speaker portion of the device is comprised of a durable fabric that you don’t need to worry about getting destroyed. It comes in a few different color options including black, blue, red, camouflage, gray, teal, white and ocean blue.
The Flip 4 provides up to 12 hours of playtime thanks to its rechargeable Li-ion battery. The amount of life you get out of this speaker may change depending on how loud you are listening to your music.
This device from JBL has outfitted with Bluetooth 4.2 technology for seamless streaming from your favorite compatible devices. You are able to connect two mobile devices to Flip 4 at the same time. It is equipped with a speakerphone so you can stay connected to your loved ones with clear phone calls. The Flip 4 is also compatible with Siri or Google Assistant so you can have access to any information you need via your speaker. One more connectivity feature of this product is JBL Connect+. This technology will provide you with a way to wirelessly link up to 100 different compatible speakers, thus providing you with a further amplified audio experience.
Flip 4 has a water resistance rating of IPX7. This means that this speaker can withstand immersion in water up to 1 meter so a little rain or a spillage won’t destroy your device. We definitely wouldn’t recommend making a habit out of submerging it, though.
3. Doss Touch
Budget-friendly price tag
Battery life as advertised
Provides better wireless range than advertised
Some find the touch controls difficult to use
This handy little speaker from Doss provides a whole lot of benefits for a relatively small investment. If you’re looking for hi-def sound and 12 hours of battery life in a durable and sleek compact package, this might be the right speaker for you.Read more
Users should expect a great audio experience from the Doss Touch portable speaker. With a hi-def stereo sound and excellent volume capabilities, this speaker will prove to be a worthwhile addition to your speaker repertoire whether you plan to use it just around the house, partying or even while out enjoying mother nature camping. It has a 12-watt full-bodied stereo sound thanks to the enhanced bass the speaker is equipped with.
Doss designed the Touch to be a rectangle shape with elegant touchscreen buttons on the top of the speaker. The device is available in four different colors – white, black, blue or red. This speaker is fairly compact and users should find that it fits nicely into bags or backpacks.
Doss guarantees that the Touch will provide up to 12 hours of playtime if it is being used at 75% volume. Higher listening volumes will result in shorter battery life. It takes around three or four hours to charge to the full battery.
This device is equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 technology and will provide around 33-feet of wireless range.
This device is not waterproof.
Affordable price tag
Every genre of music sounds great
Easy to hook to a backpack
Instructions leave something to be desired
Though we had never heard of this brand name before doing the research required for this review, we have to say we were blown away by the value provided in their portable speaker. If you are looking for rugged durability and powerful sound in a small, compact package the Apie portable speaker might just be what you’re looking for.Read more
Though Apie may not be a household name (yet, at least), we have to admit even we were surprised by the audio quality provided with this product. The hi-def stereo sound provides the right amount of punch and volume to get you through whatever activity you are doing. You should find that this device doesn’t distort even if you are listening to high volumes.
While this device is not as aesthetically pleasing or modern looking as some of the other options on our list, what it lacks in style it makes up for in rugged durability. This looks like something you can take with you on your day's long hiking trips with absolutely no worry about it breaking on you. It is an army green color and even has an attached carabiner so you can clip it to a backpack or bag. It’s very compact in size, measuring just 6 inches by 2.7 inches.
This device is outfitted with a rechargeable 2200mAh battery that is designed to last for around ten hours of audio time. That said, however, this battery life will depend upon what volume you are listening to music at.
The Apie speaker uses Bluetooth 4.1 and users should find that this technology will cut back on the time it takes the speaker to connect to their compatible devices. The speaker also features a built-in microphone as well so you are able to take calls while this device is connected to your smartphone.
This device has an IPX6 rating. Thanks to the rubber material used to construct this speaker, it is water, shock and dust proof. Users will find that their device would be protected against splashes of water and rain but will not be immersible.
5. Sony XB10
Can easily be hung from a backpack or bike handlebar for music on the go
Extra bass is great
Instructions are lacking
Sometimes issues with music cutting in and out despite being near the device
Here we have another heavy hitter brand in the audio realm. Sony is probably the most recognizable brand name on our portable speaker list and for good reason. They have been around for decades and produce some of the highest quality electronic equipment. The XB10 is a great addition to their portable speaker lineup. Read on to find out why.Read more
The “XB” in the title of this speaker stands for Extra Bass. Sony has equipped the XB10 with a passive radiator to provide listeners with an enhanced low-end response. In layman’s terms? Despite this speaker’s small size, it will provide a bass boosted listening experience that most people will come to appreciate.
This small round speaker packs a lot of punch in its compact design. It is incredibly lightweight and because it is so tiny (just 3.6” x 3.4”), you can throw it into any bag or purse without worrying about it taking up a lot of space. It comes in a number of different color options – black, blue, green, white, red and yellow – so you can be sure to choose a color that best suits your fancy.
The XB10 provides up to 16 hours of playback thanks to the rechargeable lithium ion battery it is equipped with.
This device will provide the average amount of wireless range at just around 33-feet. It is able to connect wirelessly to your compatible devices thanks to Bluetooth technology. The XB10 also has NFC tech so you can pair it to your device by simply tapping them together. Another great feature that will help you to stay connected is the built-in microphone. This will allow you to take calls from your smartphone through the speaker. You can also pair two of these speakers together for an even more immersive listening experience.
Of course, Sony would outfit this device with a water-resistant design. They’re one of the leaders in the electronics world, why wouldn’t they? The XB10 has a waterproof rating of IPX5 which means it will be protected from water sprays from a nozzle. This simply means you will be able to use this outdoors for a time when it is raining without worrying about destroying your device. We wouldn’t suggest to leave it for extended periods in that type of weather, however.
6. Aomais Sport II
IPX7 rating makes it feel safe to take with you near water
Easy pairing process
Rugged and durable design
Buttons on top of device are hard to see and press
While this brand name may not ring any bells, we do believe taking a chance with their Sport II speaker would benefit you as a consumer. This device comes with an affordable price tag and a host of special features that make it a great option to take with you to the beach, in inclement weather or even if you’re just hosting a party at home.Read more
This device from Aomais is outfitted with fantastic sound quality. A 20-watt sound provides users with a crystal clear sound and a balanced bass listening experience. If you were to invest in a second Sport II speaker, you would be able to use them together for a surround sound experience. Plus, Aomais provides their customers with a 12-month warranty if you were to find something to happen to your speaker.
This speaker is tall and rectangle in size with a rugged and durable design. It has touch buttons on the top so users are able to control the audio playback right on the speaker. While the main color of this speaker is black, consumers are able to choose between three color accents – orange, green or deep orange.
This device has a rechargeable Li-battery that is designed to last you around 12 hours or so. This estimate for the device’s battery life is based upon using the speaker at 50% volume. If you were to be using it at a higher volume, you should expect a much shorter battery life.
You can connect your phone and other compatible devices to your speaker thanks to the Bluetooth 4.0 technology provided. This device has the average amount of wireless range for Bluetooth speakers – 33-feet. It does also feature a built-in mic so that you can take calls from your smartphone via your speaker.
This device is waterproof with a rating of IPX7. This rating means that it can be immersed in water up to one meter in depth for 30 minutes. We really wouldn’t suggest putting this rating to the test but it is nice to know that there are waterproofing features here. You can take the speaker with you to the beach or pool without worrying about it getting destroyed if someone were to splash it.
7. Sonos Original Play
Great sound quality
Easy to set up
Works great as part of a larger system
Music won’t cut in and out
Can’t play music from Spotify or Apple Music
This device from Sonos is slightly less portable than other options on our list as you can't really take it anywhere where there is no Wi-Fi connection, but we still decided to add it to our list because it has so many great features. Read on to find out more.Read more
As the old saying goes, ‘good things come in small packages’ and this is definitely the case with the Play:1. This device packs a surprisingly rich and powerful sound in a small package. The sound comes from two Class-D amplifiers and especially-built drivers that Sonos has outfitted this device with.
This tiny device is just 4.7” by 6.3” in size, making it a perfect companion to bring along with you in your bag or purse. It is humidity-resistant so you are able to use it outside or in your washroom during your shower without worrying that the heat will destroy it. It comes in either black or white.
This device from Sonos requires a Wi-Fi connection in order to work. This means it is slightly less portable than other options on our list. You won’t be able to take it with you to the beach or to the pool, but you also won’t need to worry about the battery dying on you.
The Play:1 is compatible with devices that are equipped with Amazon Echo or Alexa. Users are able to control their music with the Sonos app. This application will let you search music, send your music to other rooms in your house and if you have friends or family over that also have the Sonos app, they will have the same ability. Your new device has access to over thirty different streaming services so you have access 24/7 to your favorite radio stations, podcasts or audiobooks.
This device can be paired with other similar speakers so as to provide you with a true surround sound experience in the comfort of your own home. In fact, some reviewers suggest purchasing more than one so you can accomplish just that.
The Play:1 is one of the options on our top ten list that doesn’t actually use Bluetooth to connect to your devices. You will need Wi-Fi access in order to use this device. The bonus of this connectivity feature is that you will not experience audio dropout as you might with some of the Bluetooth-enabled devices on our list.
This device is not waterproof.
8. Ultimate Ears Boom 2
Rugged and durable construction
Reviewers suggest that the Panther edition does not come with a charger
While this product is the most expensive option on our top ten list of best portable speakers, we think it provides a lot of value and unique features that set it apart from other seemingly similar options.Read more
This device is equipped with two 45mm drivers that are designed to provide a fully immersive 360-degrees of surround sound. Deep bass, smooth and powerful sound, strong highs and bright mids will make your listening experience with this speaker truly memorable.
If you like having options for what your speaker will look like, the UE Boom 2 provides the most variety. It is available in thirteen different color and design options including blue, red, green, purple/orange and white. The speaker itself is 2.6 inches by 7.1 inches in size and is cylindrical in shape.
The battery is designed to last up to 15 hours. As with most portable speakers, the volume at which you are listening to your audio will impact the overall battery life. The louder you listen to your music, the less amount of playtime you will get from your speaker.
Users are able to pair up to eight different Bluetooth enabled devices with this speaker and even. This device also uses NFC technology so you can tap your NFC-enabled devices right onto the speaker to begin listening to your music. The UE Boom 2 provides a whopping 100-feet of a wireless range which is far further than other options on our list. The included micro USB cord will charge the speaker in a flash.
Similar to a number of other options on our top ten list, the UE Boom 2 has a waterproof rating of IPX7. This means that it is submersible in water up to 1 meter in depth for 30 minutes. Not to sound like a broken record or anything, but we wouldn’t recommend our readers test out the limits of the waterproofing capabilities of any of the products. These ratings are made more or less for accidents.
9. Bose Soundlink II
Great sound quality in a small package
Easy to set up
Battery notifications when you turn the device on
Great customer service
No wall plug included
In the last spot on our top ten list is another recognizable brand name in the world of home audio equipment. Bose is a well-respected name in the industry and you will see just what makes them so great as you learn a little bit more about the Soundlink II portable speaker we are reviewing here today.Read more
This device is equipped with two 40mm full range drivers. This feature allows the speakers to provide users with a powerful sound they’ll rave about. Bose definitely didn’t pull any punches with the Soundlink II. If you are a fan of the Bose brand, you will love this speaker.
This speaker is available in four different color options – blue, red, white or black. It is 5.2” by 5” in size, making it incredibly compact and portable for your adventures on the go. Don’t let its small stature be mistaken for fragility, however, as this device has a rugged construction.
The lithium-ion battery that this device is equipped with will provide users with around eight hours of playback.
This device is equipped with Bluetooth 4.2 technology and has NFC capabilities as well. Folks will find that it is easy to pair their devices via Bluetooth and that the NFC tech will make connecting even easier. Do you have a Siri or Google Assistant connected device? You can use this speaker to access the voice controls for these features! The wireless range is slightly below average for with product at 30 feet.
This product has a waterproof rating of IPX4. This means that it is splash proof and can be used outdoors in a gentle rain.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Sound quality is important no matter which product you choose.
The sound quality is perhaps the most important criterion to look at as you begin your hunt for the right portable speaker for you. Whether you prefer booming bass, excellent clarity, or full-bodied sound, there is a speaker on this list whose sound quality will give you the ol’ razzle dazzle.
Don’t discount aesthetics in your decision-making process.
While the main reason you may be purchasing a portable speaker is to listen to music, let’s not discount the importance of design as well. With how many speakers there are on the market, you don’t have to resign yourself to one that you don’t find aesthetically appealing. We have included a number of different sizes and styles of portable speakers in our buying guide and do believe that there is something here that everyone will find appealing. Whether you are into a more modern aesthetic, prefer something a little more rugged looking or if you find yourself drawn towards more traditional styles, there is sure to be a speaker on this list that will call your name.
How long your battery lasts depends on a number of factors.
Let’s face it, with the way technology has taken over our lives in recent years, battery life is an important criterion for many of the products we are buying for ourselves these days. It’s important to know not only how long your portable speaker will last on one charge but also how long it will take to charge it to full battery as well. It would be unfortunate if you planned to take your battery with you to the beach for the day or to a party only to find that your tunes fizzle out halfway through the day. One can expect the battery life to last between 12 and 24 hours on one charge, depending on which speaker you choose and at what volume you are listening too.
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, Siri, Alexa – there are so many connectivity options.
Because you are on this buying guide searching for products that are designed to be portable, connectivity is a huge factor to consider. You don’t want to purchase a speaker and then have to be tied down to an outlet. The amount of wireless range provided with these products is different for each one. The typical Bluetooth range is around 33-feet, meaning your speaker can be around that far away from the device it is connected to before audio starts to cut out. There are some exceptions to this rule and some of the products on our list actually have further wireless range than what is considered to be average.
Other connectivity considerations to think about as you are searching for the right portable speaker for you is how they connect. Is it via Bluetooth? What version of BT? Does it have NFC compatibility? Do you need to connect it via Wi-Fi?
Some of the speakers on our list also have other connectivity features such as built-in microphones so you are able to take calls through the speaker. Some even have the ability to pair with Siri or your Google Assistant so you can use voice controls.
Pool or beach day? We have you covered!
While this might not necessarily be a deal breaker for you specifically, some folks do prefer to have a portable speaker that is able to withstand a number of different weather and water situations. If you plan on taking your speaker with you on a boat for a day at sea, you will want to ensure the speaker you are buying is water-resistant so as to avoid any disappointments if you were to get splashed while on your boat. There are a number of different water ratings and we wanted to be sure that you were fully informed of what kind of spray or jet your new speaker will be rated to, if any at all, well before you decide to make your purchase.
We live in exciting times when it comes to new and up and coming technology. As you may have noticed if you’ve read our buying guide, a number of the options on our list are equipped with access to your Google Assistant, Siri or Alexa, thus effectively making your portable speaker a smart speaker. When you are able to pair your speaker with this kind of tech, you will have access to almost all the information you like. Need to know the weather forecast? The sports score? Breaking news updates? Ask your speaker!
Pay close attention to the dimensions of the product you are looking at purchasing. Because these items are designed to be portable, they are all a reasonable size. But if you don’t have much space for storing your speaker when not in use, you may wish to choose one that is a bit smaller.
Other Factors to Consider
Because this is a buying guide for portable speakers, one might want to consider the weight of the product they are buying prior to purchasing it. That said because these speakers are all designed to be wireless and portable, they are all relatively light in weight. It is still something you should look at in any case, so you know how much the item you are buying is (or isn’t) going to weigh you down as you transport it.
We always like to argue that durability is one of the important considerations to take into accounts as you begin to research any type of product that you are buying. Nothing is quite as disappointing as investing your money into something only to have it die on you well before its time. It’s true that things are made like they used to be and while your Grandma might be able to get away with using her sixty-year-old bunny ears television, you and I both know that flat screen you bought five years ago is itching to break down on you. No, we are not talking about televisions in this buying guide, but the example still stands. We scoured the reviews on all of these products to determine that they are not only durable in nature but we wanted to make sure that they will last you long after the technology that was used to construct them has fizzled out and new-fangled tech has taken its place.
We understand that brand loyalty is a very real thing and we respect that. Why purchase something from an unknown brand when the brands you already know and love are designing similar products? We were sure to include a number of well-known and trusted brand names on our list so if you know yourself to be a fan of the JBL or Bose brand and sound, don’t worry, we got you covered. Though, that said, you might be doing yourself a disservice by not branching out and trying some of the lesser known brand names. We won’t waste your time trying to convince you that you should try Sonos when all of your home speakers and headphones are JBL, but at least give our review a look over to see what you could be missing out on.
Frequently Asked Questions
The great thing about having access to voice controls like Siri or Google Assistant with your speaker is that you don’t need your smartphone nearby to get access to all of the important information you might find yourself needing. If you need to know what the weather will be like in an hour or what is happening with the football game, you can simply ask your speaker instead of having to go get up and find your smartphone. Work smarter, not harder!
Of course! A number of the options on our list are ruggedly constructed and made for use outdoors. Some can even get wet or be submerged, although we really don’t recommend that. We do go in depth into each of the ten products above to let you know which ones are water-resistant so please be sure to give those a read through.
One of the greatest benefits of investing in a portable speaker is the simple fact that you can take your music with you wherever you go and share it with your friends and family easily. The audio experience provided by the speakers on our list is high-quality as they are often outfitted with amplifiers built into them so they’re able to provide full-range audio on the go.
Some other features you may want to keep an eye for as you are researching are: whether or not the device can be combined with other speakers to provide a more immersive and 360-degree sound, whether or not the product comes with a carrying case, how (if at all) water-resistant the speaker is, if there is a warranty on the product, and if it has voice controls. Ultimately, you want your new device to have fantastic sound quality and battery life and everything else is just extra.
Honestly, no. We were pretty surprised to see that the majority of the speakers that made our top ten list are under $30. There are some products above the $100 mark, but there really is no need to spend big money on devices like this anymore when there are so many affordably priced and equally durable products on the market.