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The Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers of 2024

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You might not sing as well as you think in the car or shower. That’s because a lot of things sound good until you put it next to something that sounds objectively better. Such is the case with portable Bluetooth speakers, which often sound good for their size. But how good is a completely relative matter.

Our experts have been writing about speakers, headphones, earbuds, and other audio products for over a quarter century. During that time, both the audio quality and battery life of personal audio products have improved by leaps and bounds. In fact, today, we’re blessed with high-resolution audio on the go that — dare we say — may even rival vinyl.

Specifically for this buyer’s guide, we conducted online research and identified 25-plus portable Bluetooth speakers ranging in price from $40 to $600. (We might’ve gone just a bit overboard in the initial research, all in the name of being thorough.) After careful consideration, we narrowed down the candidates to a more manageable group that we then tested, compared, and contrasted under real-world conditions.

Below are the best portable Bluetooth speakers resulting from that testing. To help you more easily find the best portable Bluetooth speaker for your particular needs, we’ve included a comparison chart, a buyer’s guide, and a frequently asked questions section.

The Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers of 2024

Best Overall Portable Bluetooth Speaker

  • Power Output
    85W
  • Weight
    10 lbs.
  • Bluetooth Version
    5.0
  • Weatherproof Rating
    IP67
  • Battery Life
    25 hours
  • Connect Up To
    2

  • Excellent sound quality

  • Designed for outdoor use

  • Extremely loud, yet clear

  • Highly durable

  • Terrific battery life and power bank functionality


  • Heavy

  • Expensive

  • Proprietary charger

  • Polarizing style

Best Budget Portable Bluetooth Speaker

  • Power Output
    7W
  • Weight
    9.6 oz.
  • Bluetooth Version
    5.3
  • Weatherproof Rating
    IPX7
  • Battery Life
    24 hours
  • Connect Up To
    2

  • Inexpensive

  • Small and lightweight

  • Clear, crisp sound

  • Great battery life

  • Powerful for its size


  • Sounds a little thin

  • Not very bassy

Most Stylish Portable Bluetooth Speaker

  • Power Output
    60W
  • Weight
    4 lbs.
  • Bluetooth Version
    5.1
  • Weatherproof Rating
    IP67
  • Battery Life
    20 hours
  • Connect Up To
    2

  • Powerful for its size

  • Iconic styling

  • Great design for ease of use

  • Fun sound

  • Tougher than it looks

Best Portable Bluetooth Boombox

  • Power Output
    80W
  • Weight
    3 lbs., 11.2 oz.
  • Bluetooth Version
    5.3
  • Weatherproof Rating
    IPX7
  • Battery Life
    24 hours
  • Connect Up To
    100+

  • Blends great power and strong battery life

  • Affordable

  • Highly connectable

  • Super bassy

  • Waterproof and floats in water


  • Super loud sound starting up/powering down

  • Light show not great

  • Buggy app

Best Large Portable Bluetooth Speaker

  • Power Output
    240W
  • Weight
    36 lbs., 6.4 oz.
  • Bluetooth Version
    5.4
  • Weatherproof Rating
    IPX4
  • Battery Life
    18 hours
  • Connect Up To
    Unlimited

  • Beastly powerful

  • Hot-swappable battery

  • Customizable lighting and sound effects

  • Guitar inputs and optional wireless mics

  • Handle and wheels help transportation

Best Portable Bluetooth Speaker for Bass

  • Power Output
    45W
  • Weight
    13 lbs., 14.4 oz.
  • Bluetooth Version
    5.2
  • Weatherproof Rating
    IP67
  • Battery Life
    30 hours
  • Connect Up To
    100

  • Fantastically balanced sound

  • Tons of bass

  • Terrific battery life

  • Many inputs and physical settings

  • Subtle lighting effects


  • Pretty expensive

  • A bit unwieldy

Best of the Rest

  • Power Output
    10W
  • Weight
    14 oz.
  • Bluetooth Version
    5.3
  • Weatherproof Rating
    IP67
  • Battery Life
    12 hours
  • Connect Up To
    10+

  • Excellent sound for its size/price

  • Compact and rugged

  • Microphone

  • Built-in strap


  • Confusing buttons

  • Weak battery life

  • Unhelpful app

  • Power Output
    40W
  • Weight
    2 lbs., 4.8 oz.
  • Bluetooth Version
    5.3
  • Weatherproof Rating
    IP67
  • Battery Life
    24 hours
  • Connect Up To
    2

  • Powerful for its size and weight

  • 360-degree sound

  • Solid battery life

  • Easy to use buttons

  • Power bank functionality


  • Takes 7 hours to fully charge

  • Power Output
    20W
  • Weight
    2 lbs., 6.4 oz.
  • Bluetooth Version
    5.2
  • Weatherproof Rating
    IP67
  • Battery Life
    20 hours
  • Connect Up To
    2

  • Sounds good

  • Solar power extends battery life

  • Dual 10W drivers

  • Waterproof

  • Insightful app


  • Button layout is not intuitive

Portable Bluetooth Speaker Comparison Chart

How We Tested Portable Bluetooth Speakers

The GearJunkie staff likes to rock out wherever and whenever the mood strikes us. So we always have a Bluetooth speaker at the ready, whether stashed in a pocket, lashed to a backpack, tossed into a duffel bag, or cached in our vehicle.

During several weeks of real-world testing, we piped our top playlists through each of the 25 curated speakers. For starters, we did dedicated solo listening sessions, which inevitably evolved into side-by-side comparisons. We listened both indoors and outdoors, at varying distances. Starting at a low-to-mid-level volume and then gradually working our way up to “11,” we listened for natural timbre, crisp highs, and beefy lows, among other audio qualities. Some of the results were predictable, but a few definitely surprised us.

In addition to sound quality, we rated all the entries based on such factors as power, ease of use, versatility, price, and special features. To keep this resource as current and comprehensive as possible, we’ll continue to cull and assess additional portable Bluetooth speakers for future iterations of this guide.

Why You Can Trust Us

It’s no secret that we at GearJunkie like to take along our audio while running or working out. But we’re social types too, so when we’re ready to kick back and crank out some tunes at the beach or around the campsite, we reach for a trusty Bluetooth speaker. Because of how we roll, any speaker we choose has to not only sound good, but also be willing to take a beating.

Our lead tester, Scott Tharler has been writing about audio products and other consumer electronics for over 25 years. Throughout that time, Tharler’s attended CES more than two dozen times, where first-hand he’s gotten to experience everything from $25 MagSafe phone speakers to 3,000W soundbars to six-figure floor-standing behemoths.

In other words, we’ve heard literally hundreds of speakers since before 2010, when the original Jambox dropped our jaws and forever changed the portable speaker market. All that to say, we know a thing or two about the history, evolution, and capabilities of portable Bluetooth speakers.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Perfect Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Over the years, we’ve seen and heard speakers that hover, look like disco balls, mimic space creatures and women’s clutches, and a variety of other creative form factors. But we’ve also researched and auditioned countless “normal-looking” speakers.

So we know that selecting a portable Bluetooth speaker is a daunting task. In fact, even just pinning down a style and size can be quite a challenge. To be sure, making an informed decision about finding the right portable speaker requires dedicated thought and research.

Fortunately, this guide packs all the essential info you’ll need to choose the best portable speaker solution for you. You’ll learn why you should and shouldn’t consider particular types of Bluetooth speakers and which features matter most. Practically speaking, it’s everything you need to know about purchasing a portable Bluetooth speaker that’ll go from pairing to blaring in no time.

Power

Figuring out how powerful you’ll want your speaker to be is a great thing to consider either once you’ve defined your use case — or to help you do so. For instance, let’s say you want a small speaker for under $100 that fits in your pocket, clips to your bag, or takes up very little space inside it. You’re looking at something like a JBL Clip 4 Eco, Skullcandy Kilo, or Klipsch Austin, all of which operate in the 5- to 10-watt range, which is enough for anything within five or ten feet.

Moving up to the 10W to 20W level — speakers such as the Cleer Scene, Outdoor Tech Bolt, and Urbanista Malibu — the sound will easily fill most rooms and be great for picnic areas, campsites, and medium-sized gatherings.

Anything 40 watts and above is very powerful, with the formidable Sony Ult Field 7 and monstrous JBL PartyBox Stage 320 able to respectively rock a house and a whole city block. But beware, just because a speaker lists more watts on a spec sheet doesn’t necessarily make it better.

Size and Weight

Naturally, the size and weight of a speaker play a big part in where, when, and how often you take it along. But to help you determine whether it’s worth getting in the first place, we did some calculations to determine the value of each speaker relative to its size and weight.

We discovered that the Marshall Middleton (our choice for Most Stylish) cranks out the most watts per cubic inch — or, to put it plainly, that it’s the most powerful relative to its size. At under four pounds yet able to crank out 80 watts, the Soundcore Boom 2 (our choice for Best Boombox) was the most powerful relative to its weight.

Interestingly, the Sony Ult Field 7 was at the bottom of the pack in terms of power relative to its size and weight (despite the fact that it’s plenty loud as a speaker).

Battery Life

Of course, knowing how long you’ll be able to listen to music is important. Of our nine featured speakers, the worst battery life was 8 hours, which is a testament to how far battery tech has evolved in the past few years. For perspective, the average battery life for those same nine speakers was over 21 hours. But that’s a little skewed, since we tended to feature speakers that boast great battery life.

For all 25 speakers we tested, the average battery life was a little under 17 hours. The Sony Ult Field 7 wins the title for best battery life (30 hours). At 24 hours, the Skullcandy Kilo far and away claims the best battery life relative to its size. Lastly, another good reason to look for strong battery life is because some speakers — such as the Klipsch Nashville and JBL PartyBox Stage 320 — can reverse charge your phone, acting as a power bank when you need it.

The JBL PartyBox was the only one we saw with a battery you can swap in and out of the speaker to charge externally.

Sound Use Case

Before we jump into assessing what sound qualities to listen for, it’s important to consider how certain sound-related aspects of your use case affect what makes a speaker right for you.

Setting

Most importantly, you should consider whether you’ll be primarily indoors or outdoors — or want a speaker that does both well. For mostly indoors, consider the size and acoustics of the room(s) where it’ll be. For instance, the same speaker will perform differently in a small, thickly carpeted den with curtains versus a large, open, brick-walled loft. Similarly, outdoors is a totally different game.

Without walls to bounce off, the sound needs to be bigger and more V-shaped (elevated bass and treble) to be heard. Some speakers even have an indoor/outdoor switch to attempt to compensate for this effect.

Directionality

If you close your eyes and can quickly tell where the sound’s emitting from, you have a directional speaker. To tell how directional it is, place the speaker down on a table, rotate it, and notice how much it sounds quieter/different throughout the rotation. By contrast, a 360-degree speaker sounds consistent as you revolve around it.

For speakers like this, such as with the Tribit StormBox Pro, you can optimize the soundstage by placing them in the center of the room, rather than plunking them in the corner.

Distance

Related to both setting and directionality, distance encompasses two factors: both how far away you’ll be listening to the speaker and how far away the speaker will be from your phone (or other source device). That might be the same distance if you’re sitting in one place. But if you’re at a backyard barbecue or other party setting, you’re likely to be moving around.

Likewise, at any one time your guests are likely to all be standing at different distances from the speaker. So in addition to considering whether you’ll be indoors or out and where the speaker should be placed given its directionality, you should give thought to the distances it’ll need to serve. So when you’re testing, don’t sit right up against a larger speaker or across the room from a tiny one. Listen at the distance that it’s meant for.

Sound Qualities

These aren’t the types of qualities that you can ferret out just by browsing spec sheets online. But if you have an opportunity to actually audition a speaker before purchasing it, here are some sound attributes to pay attention to, for whatever genre(s) of music you prefer.

Clarity and Distortion

Speakers — and, for that matter, earbuds and headphones — exhibit different sound signatures at different volumes. Aside from just being quieter at lower volumes, a speaker may sound more clear. Whereas, at higher volumes it may sound distorted, characterized by a fuzzy, frazzled, unpleasant quality.

Very rarely, you may find a speaker with extremely low distortion at any volume, such as the incredible Devialet Phantom. But back here on Earth, most of the portable speakers you’re likely to encounter will have a cracking point. So it’s good to test out speakers at a variety of volumes, listening for changes in sound signature and clarity.

Impact and Detail

Just as some actors are both muscular and funny, and some cars are both fast and nimble, some speakers are able to deliver both slam and finesse (as with our top choice, the Turtlebox). But oftentimes, you’ll have to choose one or the other.

Taken to the extreme, a speaker with tons of impact will blow you away; and one with plentiful detail will bring you right into the room, making you feel like you’re listening to a live performance. But in reality, all speakers have these qualities in varying degrees. So when you hear a speaker, listen for how much impact and detail it displays in the kinds of songs you enjoy.

Brightness and Darkness

Often associated with treble, brightness describes a sense of both clarity and detail in the upper frequencies. To say a speaker is bright means that it’s able to retrieve and produce clear, open high notes. “Sparkly” is right at the precipice of being too much detail.

And for most folks, “sizzle” means it goes too far, giving high-end detail that comes off as sibilant and harsh. Conversely, if a speaker is dark, it lacks openness and detail — similar to how you would sound if you cupped your hands over your mouth while talking.

Warmness and Coolness

These temperature-minded terms are just shortcuts. We might otherwise refer to a warm sound as “big,” “beefy,” or “fun;” and a cool sound as “flat,” “pale,” or “anemic.” But essentially, we’re attempting to describe whether a speaker’s sound is fuller or thinner. It’s a little tricky to put into words, but you can usually tell when your music sounds ample and satisfying … or not.

Lows, Mids, and Highs

You might revel in a kick drum that knocks you off your chair, or one that resolves in a more satisfyingly subtle way. You might seek a bass groove with the kind of rumble that rearranges your internal organs, or prefer a tight, low-end tone. Similarly, you might or might not listen to a lot of pianos, trumpets, acoustic guitars, and/or vocalists — all of which sit in the mid-level frequencies. And lastly, a crisply rattling high hat might put a smile on your face, or make you cringe.

Everyone has their own desires, tolerances, and abilities to hear various frequencies. So, simply saying that you like bass, mids, or treble is fairly meaningless. Applying the above terms to those categories is way more helpful and descriptive. For instance, you might say that you enjoy a warm, impactful bass, pronounced mids, or a clear, bright treble. That points more precisely to a sound signature that could potentially match your tastes to an actual speaker.

Style

To some degree, a speaker’s style has to do with its form factor. In particular, how unique (and ideally, appealing) that form factor is. In this regard, the multifacetedness of Outdoor Tech’s Turtle 4.0 (not to be confused with Turtlebox, something totally different) comes to mind, along with the triangularity of the Sonos Roam. The Cleer Scene also stands out, as it’s not quite cylindrical but has its own interesting shape.

Style could also relate to how colorful the speaker is, such as the very orange Sony Ult Field 1 and Turtlebox Audio Gen 2 we tested — the latter of which displays quite a polarizing marine-minded, outdoorsy style. So it’s interesting that in the end, we declared a black rectangular cube as the most stylish.

But there’s just something so classy, classic, and oozing rock ‘n’ roll DNA about the Marshall Middleton. Rather than a mindless tone or disembodied British female voice, when you power on the Middleton it plays a cool electric guitar riff. Now, that’s style!

Durability

We need to be able to take our speakers anywhere, knowing that they might meet with heat, dust, rain, and the occasional tumble. For your speaker, factor in where you’ll be taking it and how well you’ll take care of it. (Though as we can attest, accidents do happen.)

Weatherproofness

The Ingress Protection (IP) rating consists of two numbers. The first has to do with protection from dust and other small particles. It’ll likely either be an X — meaning that it doesn’t protect against dust — or a 6, meaning that it does. The second number has to do with liquids (i.e. water).

If it’s a 7, it can be submersed in shallow water; a 6 indicates it’s fine in the rain, and less than that means a splash won’t kill it, but you’ll want to keep it from getting wet. All that said, IP67 — the most popular rating of all the speakers we tested — means it’s totally safe against dust and water.

Impact Resistance

Whether you’re clumsy, rough, or careless, it’s good to know how well-insulated your speaker will be from a drop. The protocol for this is Mil-Std-810, a standard developed by the U.S. Army to indicate that your speaker (or other product) can withstand extreme shocks and temperatures.

Raycon’s appropriately named The Impact Speaker has earned this designation. But even if we didn’t know that, we’d be able to tell from its rubberized corners and tough-looking plastic edging that it’d be just fine taking a nosedive off the tailgate (and probably higher).

Ease of Use

When it comes to speakers, nothing’s more frustrating than struggling to change the track or volume when the mood hits you. So having controls that are easy to find and use is tantamount to your enjoyment of the speaker.

Physical Controls

Most of the speakers have volume buttons that either display or are actually in the shape of plus and minus signs. That’s easy enough to figure out when you’re looking right at them. But which of these you can operate without looking is a different story.

We look for how isolated the volume controls are. In other words, when your fingers search for the buttons, how many do they find? If it’s two, that’s easy. Three is similar, just with a play/pause button in the middle. But more than that, we have to remember where the volume controls are, either on one side or flanking all of them.

As noted above, the JBL PartyBox Stage 320 has some cool features and effects that you can activate from its physical control panel.

But the Marshall Middleton easily sports the coolest controls of any of these speakers. The main button is round and gold, with highly tactile concentric circles where you put the tip of your finger. Pressing away or towards you controls the volume up or down; left or right either scans or skips the track back or forward; and pressing down pauses or plays your music.

It feels unlike any other speaker button we’ve tried. For bonus points, the Middleton also features separate rockers for controlling the bass and treble right on the device. We’ve certainly seen bass boost buttons, but nothing like this to make fine adjustments.

App Controls

In addition to duplicating some of the basic physical controls right on the speaker, its companion app may offer a whole host of functionality. You can adjust the equalizer to hone in on whatever sound signature strikes your fancy. As with the JBL PartyBox Stage 320 — which has its own PartyBox app aside from other JBL products — and Soundcore Boom 2, you can adjust the available light show colors and patterns.

Speaking of light, the solar Urbanista Malibu uses its app to report how much extra playtime you’ve gained from the sunlight it’s absorbed. Apps also facilitate firmware updates, which can increase your speaker’s battery life and other functionality. And you can use them to add speakers to create a stereo or multi-room set-up, depending on your speaker’s connectability.

Connectability

As of when this buyer’s guide is posted, 5.4 is the most current Bluetooth version. Each iteration of Bluetooth has evolved to include additional capabilities, often in the form of increased connection consistency and maximum distance from the source. But the last few versions — starting with 5.2 — have included a very cool feature called Auracast, which you may want to look for.

As with the JBL PartyBox Stage 320, it allows multiple phones at once to be connected and take turns sending music to the speaker. Additionally, all of the speakers on our shortlist can be paired with a second identical speaker to create a stereo set-up of left- and right-channel speakers.

And a few of them — the Sony Ult Field 7, Soundcore Boom 2, and JBL PartyBox Stage 320 — can connect up to 100 or more speakers to create a potentially massive speaker network, based on each brand’s own proprietary wireless networking protocol.

We’ve already alluded to light shows and solar charging, but we’ve seen a ton of additional features. These include a built-in microphone for taking calls, wireless microphone accessories for karaoke, guitar inputs, a handle, strap and/or wheels for easier transporting, and an SD card reader for playing your personal library of songs.

We’ve also seen a built-in carabiner, tripod mount, and/or strong magnets (as with the Outdoor Tech’s Bolt and Raycon’s The Impact Speaker) to attach it to stuff. And last but certainly not least, a bottle opener (as on Scosche’s BoomBottle MS). For sure, no speaker has everything on this list. But at least you can use it to figure out which of these features might be nice (although not necessary) for your speaker to have.

Price

For what it’s worth, the average price of our nine favorite portable Bluetooth speakers was almost $260. But that’s skewed by a disproportionately low number of speakers that cost $100 or less. Overall, the average price of the 25 speakers we examined for this guide was just over $180.

Having said that, there are plenty of great speakers out there for under $150—including about three-fourths of the larger group we tested. In the end, it’s all just a matter of how heavily you weigh each of the above considerations in this buyer’s guide against the price tag. Therein lies the inherent value of a portable Bluetooth speaker.

FAQ

A Bluetooth speaker is a wireless speaker. Bluetooth is a common wireless standard for directly connecting an end device, such as a speaker, to a source device, like a phone, tablet, or laptop.

By comparison, Wi-Fi is another type of wireless connection, where a speaker — such as the Sonos Move 2 — connects to a source device indirectly via an Internet-connected network. In other words, all Bluetooth speaker connections are wireless, but not all wireless speaker connections are Bluetooth.

One of the main disadvantages of Bluetooth speakers is that they’re still susceptible to losing their connection when separated from their source device by thick walls, floors, and ceilings, along with other wireless interference.

All portable Bluetooth speakers need to be recharged at some point. And some are trickier to pair than others. But having said that, Bluetooth speakers’ range, battery life, and pairing have all improved over the years.

How powerful a speaker you need depends mostly on where you intend to use it (indoors or outdoors) and how far away the furthest person actively listening will be. But in general, 5 to 10 watts should be enough for small personal spaces indoors. And 10 to 20 watts is adequate to fill an average-sized room and be good for small to medium gatherings outside.

Yes, a Bluetooth-enabled TV (or projector) can connect wirelessly to an external Bluetooth speaker — especially in the case of a projector, making for an excellent outdoor movie night set-up.

We tested and ranked the best running headphones of 2024, including pairs from Beats, SoundCore, and JBL.

A good portable power station will keep you off the plug for days or even weeks at a time. We’ve tested the latest, including Anker, Goal Zero, and more.



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