Looking for the best portable speaker for your particular needs can be a tricky task. It’s nothing to do with the shortage of options either – every online and physical manufacturer from Apple to Ultimate Ears is vying for a bite of the Bluetooth cherry and by association, your hard-earned cash. The trick is knowing what model is most worthy of your hard-earned money. That’s where we come in. Fret not, because we’ve rounded up our pick of the best Bluetooth speakers across all shapes, sizes, and prices to ensure you discover a product you’ll be over the moon with.
You may be browsing Shoppok for hours but still having difficulty with which portable Bluetooth to buy. We will help you sort out that problem in this article.
Even with nearly every major tech company making a smart speaker for your living room and kitchen, portable speakers still have a place near and dear to our hearts. It’s fun and easy to ask an Amazon Echo or Google Home to play your favorite track or tell you the weather, but smart speakers have a few crutches—first and foremost, stable Wi-Fi.
They also often aren’t portable or waterproofed for the great outdoors. By (mostly) forgoing smarts, Bluetooth devices are nearly always more versatile, more rugged, and more portable, and they’ll work with any smartphone. They also sound as good or better than many of their smart-speaker equivalents. In the past few years, we’ve tested hundreds of Bluetooth audio devices and researched dozens more online, and we can happily say they are still some of the best small devices you can listen to.
It’s worth considering your priorities in terms of functionality too. Will your Bluetooth speaker be used purely at home? In that case, you’ll want something mains-powered so you’re not forgetting to charge it. Do you want to be able to build a multi-room system around it? A smart Bluetooth sound device with a built-in virtual assistant might be something to consider. Want more flexibility, ie. the ability to chuck it in a bag and know that it’ll function outdoors without issue later on? It sounds like a rugged, portable speaker with a built-in rechargeable battery could be your best shot at long-term compatibility and musical happiness.
These top five portable speakers are the best for both home and travel and can be bought even with a discounted price at Shoppok.
1. UE Megaboom 3
Thanks to its excellent sound quality, long battery life, and travel-ready ruggedness, the UE Megaboom 3 is the best Bluetooth audio device you can buy right now. This big, bold portable speaker pumps out rich 360-degree sound complete with crisp highs and satisfying low-end and maxes out at 100 decibels of noise. And with an IPX7-rated design, it can survive drops, splashes, and a fall into the pool without skipping a beat.
The Megaboom 3 is a bit on the bigger side compared to other Bluetooth audio devices, and unlike many of its competitors, it doesn’t have Alexa or Google Assistant support or other smart features. But if that’s not a dealbreaker, the Megaboom 3’s sound quality and ruggedness can’t be beaten for the price. You can also pair it with older Megaboom and Boom models for a stereo sound experience.
2. Tribit StormBox
You probably haven’t heard of Tribit, but its line of Bluetooth audio devices sounds a lot better than they should for the price. StormBox is one of our favorite models. 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 thump if a little muddy.
With 20-ish hours of battery and an IPX7 waterproof rating (not dustproof but able to be submerged in water), it’s a great companion for backyard tunes, a trip down the river, or other informal gatherings.
3. JBL Flip 5
A What Hi-Fi? 2020 Awards-winner. If all you want is a Bluetooth audio gadget that sounds as good as you can currently buy for around £100 ($100, AU$119), you’ll be hard-pressed to better the fantastic Flip 5. JBL’s newest offering looks great for the price and is rugged enough to cope with a day at the pool.
The Flip 5 is waterproof to an IPX7 rating, boasts a 12-hour battery life, and has a USB-C charging port, meaning it goes from flat to fully juiced in just 2.5 hours. It’s a pleasure to use and scores highly for portability, with a wrist strap that slips comfortably over our hand. There’s also a PartyBoost button that helps you pair two PartyBoost-enabled speakers to create a stereo pair or link over 100 PartyBoost-compatible devices in mono.
The audio is impressively weighty and agile, with a good punch of bass and a real sense of openness and texture. Assuming you don’t mind the lack of an aux-in port or inbuilt microphone (as seen in the Flip 4), you’ll almost certainly be wowed by this speaker’s sonic chops. A superb performer.
4. Anker Soundcore 2
The Anker Soundcore 2 is the best portable audio device for folks shopping on a budget. For just $40, this tiny powerhouse delivers loud, well-balanced audio within an IPX5-rated design that can survive splashes, dust, and snow. The speaker lasts a whopping 24 hours, thanks to Anker’s best-in-class battery technology (the brand is also known for its reliable chargers), and the Soundcore 2’s dual neodymium drivers ensure you’ll get powerful sound in any setting.
The Soundcore’s compact, 6.5 x 2.1 x 1.77-inch design makes this speaker perfect for tossing into your bag for a quick road trip, and it comes in vibrant blue and red color schemes in addition to the standard slick black. Its low cost makes it ideal for environments where you wouldn’t mind it getting a little roughed up, too.
5. JBL Charge 4
The fact that we really like the JBL Charge 4 should come as no surprise to those who read our Charge 3 review. Not only is this one of the sweetest-sounding portable audio gadgets around at this end of the market, but it also serves up a whopping 20 hours of playback from a single charge. Impressive.
JBL has fine-tuned the sound in this latest iteration to please even pickier ears. Obviously, there’s a limit to the bass floor in a speaker of this size, but the low-end is tasteful – and there’s plenty of punch.
You get a nice array of features for the money, too. The IPX7 water resistance means Charge 4 can handle being submerged in water to a depth of 1.5m. And unlike the Flip 5 (above), you can also use the Charge 4 to juice up your phone – or any other device that will charge over USB from a 5V supply.
The Flip 5 (above) is cheaper and lighter, but the Charge 4’s rugged design, excellent battery life, and ‘battery sharing’ make it a near-perfect speaker for camping, beach trips, and home use.