These are our favorite portable speakers of all shapes and sizes, from clip-ons to a massive boom box.
THEY MAY NOT be smart, but the best Bluetooth speakers still have a place near and dear to our hearts.
It’s fun and easy to ask an Amazon Echo or Google Nest speaker to play your favorite track or tell you the weather, but smart speakers have a few crutches—first and foremost, stable Wi-Fi. By (mostly) forgoing voice assistants and Wi-Fi radios, Bluetooth speakers gain portability, with the ability to venture outside of your house and withstand rugged conditions like the sandy beach or the steamy Airbnb jacuzzi. They’ll also work with any smartphone and sound as good their smart-speaker equivalents.
We’ve tested hundreds of models in the past few years, and we can happily say they are still some of the best small devices you can listen to. Here are our favorites right now.
Be sure to check out all our buying guides, including the Best Soundbars, Best Wirefree Earbuds, and Best Smart Speakers.
Updated May 2021: We’ve added the Sonos Roam and updated links and pricing throughout this list.
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UE Boom 3
There are bigger and badder Bluetooth speakers, but none match the fun and convenience of the Ultimate Ears Boom 3 (9/10, WIRED Recommends). It puts out some of the most pleasant, balanced sound for its size. The waterproof cylinder comes in multiple colors, lasts 15 hours between charges, and gives you 100 feet of Bluetooth range. On top of all that, it has a two-year warranty.
★ Bigger and boomier: If you really need to get a party kicking, the Megaboom 3 ($185) is a beefier model that amps up the bass.
You probably haven’t heard of Tribit, but its line of Bluetooth speakers sound a lot better than they should for the price. The StormBox is my favorite model. It has dual firing drivers and passive radiators in a 7-inch-long pill shape. No, it can’t fuel a trance dance party on its own, but its sound clarity is impressive, and it has a fun extra bass button that adds some surprising, if slightly muddy, thump.
With 20-ish hours of battery and an IPX7 waterproof rating—which means it’s not dust-proof but can be submerged in water—it’s a great companion for backyard tunes, a trip down the river, or other informal gatherings.
Best for Home
If you want a Bluetooth speaker that can fill any room (or patio) but lives a lot of its life inside, the Sonos Move (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is a good one to build a home network around. Sonos invented wireless multiroom speakers. Its speakers connect to nearly every streaming service, and they work with Google Assistant or Alexa. They also sound amazing by every measure. The Move streams music over your Wi-Fi network, but it can also function as a Bluetooth speaker when you take it outside.
It gets 11 hours of battery life, plus it’s splash-resistant. We shot a hose at it, so we know it can handle getting wet. It also has a charging dock for when the outside fun is over.
Best for Pool Parties
UE Wonderboom 2
The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom was a WIRED Gear of the Year award winner in 2017, and that’s because it was the best pool companion you can own. The Wonderboom 2 is even better. The little 4-inch ball of joy now sports IP67 water and dust resistance. It gets 13 hours of battery (three more than before), has a 100-foot Bluetooth range, floats, and pumps out surprisingly potent audio while doing it.
UE says it’s “drop-proof” up to 5 feet, but you can honestly play some light catch with it on the lawn and it won’t be any worse for wear. Just wash it off when you’re done. You can even pair two together for proper stereo sound.
JBL Clip 4
We like the latest JBL Clip model more than its three predecessors. It’s the size of a hockey puck—small enough that you can take it with you on almost any adventure. It’s waterproof and has a carabiner clip up top so you can snap it to all kinds of stuff. It also has more controls (volume, play, Bluetooth, power) than other micro speakers, and its sound is surprisingly bold, making this a great one to hang off of packs or harnesses while on weight-limited outings.
Best Smart Bluetooth Speaker
The larger Sonos Move is great if you want a speaker that usually lives inside, and which you can occasionally carry outside. But it’s not the kind of thing you’d want to throw in a backpack. That’s where the Roam (9/10, WIRED Recommends) comes in. This tiny Sonos speaker has all the same smarts as its bigger siblings, but with an IP67 dust- and water-resistance rating and 10 hours of listening time. It’s about the size of a 16-ounce beer can and easily fits in cup holders and knapsacks alike.
Tribit Stormbox Micro
The Tribit StormBox Micro has become one of our favorite tiny speakers for bike rides because it has a stretchy silicone strap that’s just taught enough to stick to bike handlebars or a backpack strap. If a friend has one, you can pair two together for ride-alongs. It has an IP67 dust- and water-resistance rating, which means you can ride in any weather, and its eight-hour battery life makes it great on longer rides.
★ Also handlebar-ready: Bose also makes a great speaker of a similar design called the SoundLink Micro ($99), which was previously our top bike-handlebar pick. It sounds about the same but is twice as expensive as the Tribit.
JBL Jr. Pop Speaker
Buying your under-10 child their own Bluetooth speaker might seem indulgent. But after she’s lost your UE Roll 2 ($200) (also a fine speaker) for the second time while listening to her kid-friendly podcasts, you might want to consider JBL’s affordable, adorable kid speaker.
It’s less than 4 inches across, comes in a wide variety of colors, and has a button strap for attaching it to a backpack strap or a car seat. The multicolor flashing lights serve as a dual-purpose night-light while traveling and for soothing bedtime meditations. The sound is clear and less beefy than some of our other picks. But to be honest, do you really want your kids blasting Megadeth at the volume it deserves?
Anker Soundcore Flare
Anker is known for affordable accessories that actually work, and the Soundcore Flare is a good example. It’s a very capable soda-can-sized waterproof Bluetooth speaker with a beat-driven LED light ring and 12 hours of battery life. It has dual drivers and passive radiators for 360-degree sound, plus an app with some equalizer settings. It doesn’t sound as good as more expensive speakers, but it’s certainly good enough for most situations.
The newer Soundcore Flare 2 ($69) also has lights on the top but otherwise sounds the same. If you’re looking for better sound (but at a higher price), LG’s Xboom Go PL5 ($130) has impressive clarity and booming bass for such a small package. The lights on either side pulse with the music, and you can use the app to tinker with different lighting effects.
Rock & Roll
Marshall Stockwell II
If you’re a music fan or just love the classic Marshall guitar amplifier design, this Bluetooth speaker is ready to rock. As with all Marshall products, you pay a price for the style, but the audio lives up to expectations. For a speaker that’s about as big as four old DVD cases stacked, standing upright, it sounds killer, with a smooth, balanced, and refined sound.
The exterior has a durable-feeling, splash-resistant silicone finish, and the front and back are covered with a steel grille. It has a front-facing woofer and a tweeter on each side, powered by a battery that lasts around 20 hours (USB-C charging with a 3.5-mm jack too), depending on how much you tweak the stylish volume, treble, and bass knobs up top. The battery indicator is also handy. You’ll enjoy toting all 3 pounds of it around with its carry strap, which has a leather feel on the outside and red velvet on the inside.
If you want a little more power and heft, the Marshall Kilburn II ($250) is similarly excellent, and the Marshall Emberton ($150) is a great extra-portable addition to the amp company’s Bluetooth line. Like the Stock well II, it has a built-in battery gauge.
Ultimate Ears Hyperboom
With 24 hours of battery life, a rugged design, and huge yard-filling sound, the Ultimate Ears Hyperboom (9/10, WIRED Recommends) is the perfect speaker for a party. Intelligent algorithms use data from a built-in mic to analyze where you’ve placed the speaker, ensuring the best possible sound, much like the Sonos Move. This is a better option than the Sonos if you have no interest in a future home network of speakers.
It doesn’t have lights or cup holders like some other party speakers, but this is the best-made large Bluetooth speaker we’ve tested. It’s been dropped from trucks, left out in the rain, and used at summer barbecues. It’s even got a big silicon strap, inviting you to take it everywhere.
JBL Boombox 2
Think of JBL’s Boombox 2 as the modern equivalent of a 1980s boom box, complete with a handle and some intense bass. Break-dancers from the past would have killed for a speaker that was completely waterproof and had 24 hours of battery life. The Boombox can connect to multiple smartphones at a time, so you don’t have to DJ by your lonesome. With a 20,000-mAh battery onboard, it can also charge your gadgets for days.
Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd Gen)
At $250, Bang & Olufsen’s round, IP67-rated Bluetooth speaker has a luxe price tag, but it’s one of the best-sounding small speakers we’ve ever heard. With the included leather strap, excellent controls, and super-durable build, it quickly became a favorite. If you’re willing to spend a lot more for the best of all portable worlds—looks included—this is the tiny luxury option to beat.
For the Living Room
Vizio 2.1 Soundbar and Sub (SB3621NS-H8)
Vizio makes some of the best soundbars for the money, and if you’re tired of dealing with cables to and from your TV, this small bar and subwoofer combo does the trick. This Vizio doesn’t have a flashy name, but it does have a Bluetooth connection, so you can easily pair it to your TV and cell phone or tablet for quick streaming. It’s also easy on the eyes, with a simple rectangular subwoofer that might fit under your couch and brushed metal accents.
For Proper Hi-Fi
KEF LSX Speakers
KEF’s astonishing LSX wireless speakers utilize the company’s concentric driver design and beautiful enclosures to fill any medium-size room with audiophile-grade sound. They’re spendy, but you get Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet, making them a great solution for those who like streaming audio directly to the speakers rather than from a phone.
Bose SoundLink Revolve+
It’s not the cheapest, cutest, or most waterproof, but the Bose Revolve+ makes us smile. It’s probably the lantern-style fabric handle. It’s completely unnecessary but makes moving it from room to room a small joy. You can swing it around and spread songs anywhere you go. People will like what they hear too. Is a fun handle worth a $100 price bump? Probably not, but it is convenient.
Pretty Good Speakers
Here are a few other good products that didn’t quite make the cut.
The DemerBox DB2 ($349)is a perfect companion to your boldest outdoor adventures, in large part because it serves two purposes: It’s a loud portable speaker with 40 hours of built-in battery life, and it’s also a crushproof Pelican case. Load it up with any particularly fragile items, plug the bass port with an included rubber stopper, and you’ve got yourself an everything-proof box to keep your stuff safe.
The Denon Envaya (3 sizes)are great speakers, but they were out of stock as of this update. They feature IP67 dust- and water-resistance ratings, and some of the best sound you’ll find for their moderate prices.
The Oontz Angle 3 Speaker ($40)has thousands of positive reviews on Amazon and is easily the best dirt-cheap Bluetooth speaker we’ve ever tested. If you just want something to sing along with in the shower—and you’re not a stickler for great audio quality—snag one of these.
Bose’s SoundLink Revolve ($179)is nowhere near as endearing as the Boom 3, and it isn’t waterproof (only splash-resistant), but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a beer-can-sized speaker that sounds as clear and deep-throated. The controls are easy to use, with verbal audio cues and simple Bluetooth pairing, and the 12-hour battery life is long enough to make it through any party. This one doesn’t have a handle.