When it comes to portable audio, gone are the days of Walkman CD players and hefty boomboxes for our on-the-go needs. For the here-and-now of mobile listening, there are Bluetooth speakers featuring a number of compact driver designs that you can stream your favorite tunes through, make phones call with, and use without being plugged into a power outlet (for most models).
And right now, our choice for the best Bluetooth speaker you can buy goes to the. Building upon the awesome foundation of the first-generation Emberton speaker, Marshall's latest Bluetooth powerhouse touts 30 hours of battery, adaptive stereo sound, and the ability to wirelessly link up with other Emberton II speakers.
Whether you're looking for one Bluetooth speaker or five of them, or you simply want something you can hook up to your bike for budget-friendly listening while you ride, we've put together this list of the best Bluetooth speakers you can buy today to help you with your next wireless audio shopping trip.
Marshall Emberton II
The best overall Bluetooth speaker
- Excellent sound quality
- Rugged IP67 build
- Easy portability
- Great battery life
- Sync with similar speakers
- No AAC or aptX support
- No wired playback
Why should you buy this? This Marshall speaker packs jaw-dropping 360-degree audio features and rock-solid battery life into a compact and portable package.
Who it's for: Those seeking a top-tier speaker with plenty of style and classic Marshall looks.
Why we picked the Marshall Emberton II:
Right off the bat, let's just say that we were massive fans of the first-gen Marshall Emberton. With the original speaker's impressive stereo soundstaging that delivered an excellent balance of highs, mids, and lows, along with its 20-hour battery life, it was hard to imagine how Marshall could one-up itself. But the arrival of the Marshall Emberton II proves that there were still plenty of things to amaze us with.
One of our new favorite features is called True Stereophonic. Think of it like Sonos' TruePlay capability, which allows for the speaker to automatically adapt to its listening environment. Whether you're in a regular bedroom or a massive living room, the Emberton II will do its very best to send out sound that is the best fit for the acoustic space, and the results are pretty grand.
Adding a little extra battery time never hurt either. Where the original Emberton was rated to last for up to 20 hours, the second-gen iteration throws another 10 hours on top of that metric. That's 30 full hours of playtime, with the promise that the Emberton II can return to a full charge after only three hours of re-juicing, and will deliver up to four hours of playtime after charging for only 20 minutes.
This time around, Marshall also added something called "Stack Mode," which grants the ability to multi-pair the Emberton II with other Emberton II speakers, a feature that was missing from the first-gen model.
After you factor in the IP67 rating, Bluetooth 5.1 pairing technology, and awesome Marshall app for dialing in the perfect sound with advanced EQ settings, you've got yourself one of the most powerful, feature-rich Bluetooth speakers on the market.
The best portable Sonos speaker
- Excellent design
- Lightweight and portable
- Totally water and dustproof
- Very good sound for its size
- Choice of smart speaker assistants
- Wireless charging
- No Bluetooth stereo pairing
- Doesn’t work as a speakerphone
- Less battery life than some other speakers
Why should you buy this? You want a top-notch Bluetooth speaker with plenty of features and a great price.
Who it's for: Sonos devotees who have long-awaited an ergonomic, on-the-go speaker that costs less than the Sonos Move.
Why we picked the Sonos Roam:
When it comes to wireless audio excellence, Sonos is one name that grabs plenty of limelight. And in terms of sound quality, battery life, and smart capabilities, the Sonos Roam edges pretty close to the No. 1 spot on this list (a throne claimed by the aforementioned Marshall Emberton). So what's all the fuss about this new grab-and-go Sonos speaker? For starters, it offers unparalleled sound quality for both indoor and outdoor settings, with articulate midrange and treble frequencies, rich bass, and little to no breakup at the loudest volumes.
In terms of music streaming, you can send audio to the Roam over Wi-Fi, AirPlay, and Bluetooth connections, with a simple long-press of the button on the back of the speaker to switch between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. You can expect decent battery performance, too, with up to 10 hours of juice on a single charge. If you've been looking around for a smart speaker, the Roam is compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant (Wi-Fi connection required), allowing you to fire up your favorite playlists, check the weather, and add to your shopping list, all through simple voice commands.
Best of all, the IP67 rating means the Sonos Roam is fully capable of taking a dunk in your swimming pool, but be aware that this wireless Sonos entry does not float.
A Bluetooth speaker with big sound
- Great sound at loud volumes
- Sturdy cabinet and bumpers
- Good battery life
- Effective app support
- Awesome when paired with other speakers
- Not as useful indoors
- Limited codec support
Why should you buy this? You need a Bluetooth speaker that can rock the whole neighborhood.
Who it's for: DJs, party hosts, event spaces, and any other individual or occupation that demands big sound.
Why we picked the Soundboks Go:
Sometimes you just need a speaker that can get really loud. And when it comes to big decibel levels, not many can compete with the Soundboks Go.
Equipped with dual 72-watt Class D amplifiers, a single 10-inch woofer, and a silk dome tweeter, the Soundboks Go can output up to 121 decibels of crisp, clear, and loud sound. At full volume, you can expect this titan of a speaker to last up to 10 hours, but keeping the sound at mid-levels will net you closer to 40 hours of playtime.
If you think you're going to need more juice in a pinch, you can purchase additionalso you can swap out the power source and keep the party going. And for those that require a complete mountain of sound, the Soundboks Go can be paired with up to five additional Go speakers.
The Soundboks Go can also take quite the beating. Splash-proof, dent-proof, but lightweight enough to carry around with its built-in handle, you'll be able to rock out with the Soundboks Go day or night, rain or shine.
The best boombox design
- Nice and rugged build
- Great sound quality
- LEDs are cool
- Easy pairing and app support
- Party Connect works well
- Solid battery life
- Only one custom EQ setting allowed
- Phone calls could be better
Why should you buy this? You’re looking for an awesome Bluetooth speaker experience from a chassis designed to look like a traditional boombox.
Who it's for: Sony fans that know and love the LDAC codec for hi-res audio and are looking for something of a portable nature.
Why we picked the Sony XRS-XG300:
Sony is no straggler when it comes to producing some of the best audio products you can find on shelves, and while the company may not possess the same market presence as competitors when it comes to Bluetooth products, the amazing XRS-XG300 shouldn’t be passed up.
Weighing only 6.6 pounds, the XG300 is the cosmetic equivalent of a carry-around boombox. Touting up to 25 hours of battery life, topping up the cell is simple with the included USB-C charge cable, giving you an additional 70 minutes of playtime for only 10 minutes of re-juicing. Better yet, the additional USB-A will allow you to charge up devices like phones and tablets, turning the XG300 into a bonafide power brick.
And in terms of overall sound quality, there’s onboard support for Sony’s LDAC hi-res codec, along with AAC and SBC audio formats. Sans the on-paper specs, the XG300 sounds fantastic, with plenty of low-end even without the Mega Bass function enabled and lots of articulation in the mid- and high-range frequencies, too.
The IP67 rating also means you won’t have to worry about taking the speaker to the beach or near water. While we wish the call quality could be better (although integrated call options are a bit of a rarity for Bluetooth speakers overall), the Sony SRS-XG300 is one of our favorite boombox replicas for your next aquatic excursion.
Denon Home 350
A top-notch speaker from a trusted audio brand
- Terrific sound quality
- Supports Bluetooth and AirPlay 2
- Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Can decode ALAC, FLAC, WAV, and other high-quality formats
- Requires AC power (no battery)
- A bit expensive
Why should you buy this? You expect nothing but the best when it comes to sound, and you won't buy speakers from companies that aren't well-known in the audio space.
Who it's for: Those looking for a big, balanced soundstage from a speaker that can decode high-quality sound formats.
Why we picked the Denon Home 350 Wireless Speaker:
Denon may be more widely known for the brand's top-notch A/V receivers and amplifiers, but that doesn't mean the five-letter titan isn't capable of producing some incredible speakers, too. If you've been thinking about investing in a wireless speaker that can handle many of today's leading audio formats, including FLAC and WAV encodings, look no further than the Denon Home 350.
Sporting two 0.75-inch tweeters, dual 2-inch midrange drivers, and two 6.5-inch woofers, the Denon 350 is the top dog of the company's current wireless lineup (which includes the Home 150 and 250 models), featuring the biggest and boldest sound of the bunch.
Stream your favorite music from today's top platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, and more, all through the simple-to-use HEOS app. You can also use HEOS to group multiple Denon speakers, receivers, and soundbars together for an unmatched multi-room audio experience.
The Denon Home 350 looks sleek and modern, sounds bold, and is equipped to give you everything you could possibly want from a Bluetooth speaker. And while the 350 model is a bit on the pricey side, you'll be getting quality and performance out of every last invested penny.
JBL Flip 6
The best rugged speaker for outdoorsy types
- Solid build quality
- Loud and clear sound
- Lightweight and portable
- Excellent water and dust protection
- EQ offers some sound tweaking
- Works with JBL Portable app and PartyBoost
- Can't stereo pair with non-Flip 6 JBL speakers
- Doesn’t work as a speakerphone
- Not drastically different from Flip 5
Why should you buy this? JBL's Flip line is tried and tested for rugged, portable, and great-sounding speakers.
Who it's for: Those who want a versatile, waterproof Bluetooth speaker without emptying their pockets.
Why we picked the JBL Flip 6:
Time and time again JBL's Flip line of rugged, super-portable Bluetooth speakers land on our Best-of lists, and continuing the tradition is the California-based company's latest, the Flip 6.
A mighty speaker is once again packed into its small, cylindrical form that owners of the Flip 5 and Flip 4 have come to love. JBL has managed to shave a bit off the size, though, this time out making it a tad smaller at just 7 inches high by 2.6 inches wide by 2.8 inches deep, and weighing in at just 1.21 pounds, perfect for just about any backpack or beach bag.
And while its diminutive size is what matters most to fans of the Flip, the Flip 6 ups the ante on the other feature most people with their eye on this speaker admire — its ruggedness. The Flip 6 goes one step further than the 5, upgrading from IPX7 to IP67, which essentially makes it dust-tight, too, in addition to it already being safe for the shower, rain, and submersion in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. And as our reviewer put it, "Let’s not forget the beach, either, as the Flip 6 holds up just fine in saltwater and sand, making it a good option for any number of outdoor activities.
But how does the JBL Flip 6 sound? The answer: Remarkable for such a small package. As with the Flip's previous versions, this latest kick at the can sounds bold and clear, with ample bass and a wider-than-you'd-expect soundstage — audiophiles won't agree, but this speaker isn't for them. And it gets loud, too, and manages to stave off distortion. Plus, JBL's PartyBoost feature is here as well, which allows you to link two PartyBoost-compatible speakers for extra volume and stereo sound, or link even more together for a synchronized sound that can be spread around a whole house.
The only other piece of the puzzle JBL was missing with the Flip 5 was its lack of app support. That has been remedied with the Flip 6, giving users the ability to use the JBL Portable app to do a handful of things including, perhaps most importantly, the ability to adjust the speaker EQ, something previous versions have never been able to do.
Lastly, on the battery front, the Flip 6 stays the same with up to 12 hours on a charge, which is still plenty for an entire day's worth of tunes. A USB-C charging cable juices it up, and you can keep the music playing while it does so.
At roughly $130, the JBL Flip 6 is a rugged go-anywhere Bluetooth speaker for those who place a premium on big, bold sound that bests many speakers of the same size for more money.
Tribit StormBox Micro
Best budget Bluetooth speaker
- IP67 weather resistance rating
- Exceptional Bluetooth range
- Good sound quality
- Lightweight, portable design
- Boring aesthetic
- Battery could be better
Why should you buy this? You want a small speaker with a big sound.
Who it's for: Anyone looking for a portable and competent Bluetooth speaker without spending a lot of money.
Why we picked the Tribit Stormbox Micro:
Whether you're an avid mountain biker, rock climber, or an all-around nature-lover, the Tribit Stormbox is the perfect, compact Bluetooth speaker to take on your next wilderness outing. Rocking an IP67 rating, this tiny titan can stand up against full water submergence and is totally protected from dirt and debris of any kind. If you're planning on making a day out of your next outdoor adventure, the Stormbox will deliver up to eight hours of playtime on a single charge and features an LED battery indicator for letting you know just how much juice you have left.
Don't let the size fool you when it comes to sound, either. The Tribit Stormbox Micro's patented XBass tech provides a deep low-frequency underbelly, with plenty of shine in the midrange and treble layers, too. Sure, it may not get as loud or provide as much clarity as some of the other offerings on this list, but for the size, durability, and quick-access USB-C recharging, the Stormbox is a solid contender for those that don't want to break the bank on their next speaker purchase.
Bose Soundlink Revolve+ Series II
Amazing Bose sound, with smart speaker skills
- 17-hour battery life
- 360-degree sound
- Remembers the last eight connected devices
- On the expensive side
Why should you buy this? It has a wide soundstage and support for multi-room audio and smart assistants.
Who it's for: Anyone looking for a Bluetooth speaker that can function as a smart home speaker.
Why we picked the Bose Soundlink Revolve+ Series II:
The smart home speaker niche is quickly growing, and Bose’s Soundlink Revolve+ Series II is one of the best all-around.
With an IP55 rating for dirt, debris, and water-splash protection, the Revolve+ Series II is perfect for a day at the beach and pool parties. And not to worry if you've got a big yard to fill with sound, for like its predecessor, the Series II is designed for an immersive 360-degree sound that sounds great no matter where you place it. The speaker is also smart enough to remember the last eight Bluetooth devices that were linked to it.
In terms of battery life, the Series II sees a decent boost in charge, netting you 17 hours on a single charge as opposed to the original Revolve's 13 hours.
Speaking of smart: Thealso features built-in Alexa support for controlling your smart home, managing your daily schedule, streaming your favorite music services, and more. While it's one of the higher-priced offerings of our roundup, the portability, performance, and feature set of the Revolve+ Series II are hard to beat.
A multi-use Sonos speaker
- Superb build quality
- Integration with Sonos systems
- Sounds especially good outdoors
- User-replaceable battery
- Sonos app doesn’t work over Bluetooth
- Big size, big price
Why should you buy this? It's a Sonos speaker that can also do double-duty as a rechargeable portable Bluetooth speaker. Need we say more?
Who it's for: Sonos owners who want a portable Bluetooth speaker that will work with their whole-home sound system.
Why we picked the Sonos Move:
Multiroom audio is something several companies claim their wireless speakers can do, but we've never come across a multiroom system that is as easy to use or as powerful as Sonos. So when Sonos finally introduced a battery-powered portable speaker that can effortlessly switch between Wi-Fi-based whole-home audio and go-anywhere Bluetooth connectivity, we were all ears.
The Sonos Move is pricey at $399, but it justifies that price through a build quality that goes well beyond most of the products on this list. Despite looking like the rest of the Sonos line of indoor-only speakers, the Move is just at home outside, with an IP56 rating for dust and water resistance. That means get-togethers, unexpected rainstorms, or even trips to the beach are no problem for the Move. Just don't immerse it in water — it isn't waterproof.
It has a big, bold sound that easily fills a room with warmth and depth that surpasses most of its competitors in this size range. Cleverly, the Move integrates a new form of Sonos' excellent TruePlay EQ technology — one which requires no user intervention. It simply measures the room acoustics via the built-in mics and adjusts accordingly, and will do so every time you move it.
Of course, those mics would be under-utilized if they were only for Auto-TruePlay. They also serve as your smart speaker interface. Like the Sonos One and Sonos Beam, you get a choice of Alexa or Google Assistant. This won't work when using Bluetooth, but it's pretty handy when at home.
The Move's battery is good for 10 hours of use between charges, which is frankly a little underwhelming for a portable speaker. But we have to give Sonos props for its decision to make the battery user-replaceable — a rarity in this category and a huge help in keeping the Move from an early trip to the landfill.
Filling out the Move's benefits is AirPlay 2, which lets you stream directly to the speaker from any iOS device or MacOS computer. It's a higher stream quality than Bluetooth and makes the Move an ideal source for better-than-iPad sound quality for YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, or any other video source you can think of.
If we have one criticism of the Sonos Move it's that you don't actually want to move it much. It's very heavy compared to every other portable model on this list and its built-in carry handle isn't comfortable for anything beyond a trip from the kitchen to the patio.
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
Best floatable speaker for the pool
- Great bass
- Can float in water
- Rugged and built to last
- Sound quality is good, but not excellent
Why should you buy this? For its size, this latest version of the Wonderboom is still the most capable micro waterproof speaker you can find that still produces decent sound.
Who it's for: Those who value portability but aren't willing to sacrifice sound quality or durability.
Why we picked the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2:
Mini Bluetooth speakers often suffer from terrible audio quality and volume levels that simply can't keep up with their larger cousins. The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 defies this tendency and does it in a fully floating, waterproof package.
If you need a boost in bass for your next outdoor event, hit the boost button to get a push in volume and clarity. As many images will indicate, the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 is a floating water companion like no other, thanks in part to its IP67 rating that covers full submergence. And with 13 hours of battery life, you can have the Wonderboom 2 in the pool with you all day long before recharging the speaker. While it may not touch the sound quality of speakers like the JBL Flip 5 or the Soundlink Revolve+ Series II, the Wonderboom 2 is perfect for getting tossed around and thrown in your beach bag.
We test Bluetooth speakers the way normal people live. We run every speaker through a rigorous process over the course of several days. That includes playing them in all sorts of scenarios, be it in the park or at the beach (for portables), in the listening room, or at the office, and playing back from our device library and streaming services like Spotify. We also test range, connection stability, and interference in areas with a lot of radio frequency interference.
Finally, we compare each speaker to some of our go-to models, both in their class and price point, as well as a level or two above to find out if they can punch above their weight.
These days, it seems like you can't turn around without knocking over a Bluetooth speaker. With so many to choose from, it can be hard to nail down which is best for your needs. The first things we recommend thinking about before deciding are how and where you'll be using your Bluetooth speaker.
If you're primarily using it indoors and leaving it there, for example, then the field of choices opens up dramatically in terms of size and durability considerations — you can go as big and feature-filled as your budget will allow.
If you're an on-the-go type, you're going to want to consider portability and ruggedness. There are plenty of portable Bluetooth speakers with durable rubber features that can withstand being dropped and banged around inside a backpack. And if your travels should take you to the great outdoors, poolside, or beachfront, consider getting a speaker with a good IP rating to stave off any water or dust. IP67, for example, will actually let you submerge the device for a short period of time (read below for more on that).
When it comes to sound features, give some thought to how you want to use your Bluetooth speaker. If you're fussy about sound, put sound quality at the top of the list. If you want something loud to fill a room at get-togethers, you may want to err on the bigger side, although there are several smaller speakers that pump out some volume, too, and even compact speakers that can be chained together and placed around the room for the ultimate in flexibility and a big sound.
The good news is that there are plenty of Bluetooth speakers to choose from that are bound to hit on every one of your priority needs, making it easier than ever to find the right fit.
- Pairing (or Bluetooth pairing): When using Bluetooth speakers, pairing means the literal process of connecting wirelessly between your speaker and your specific device.
- IPXX: IP stands for “Ingress Protection,” and this number serves as a rating for electronic devices. This first number represents exactly how resistant your tech is to dust; the second number measures water resistance. It’s a simple process to follow, and the higher the number, the most resistant it is to that environmental influence. For example, a device with an IP67 rating means that this device is dust-tight and can be submerged underwater for up to 1 meter, or about 3 feet, for 30 minutes. If you’re hoping to bring your Bluetooth speaker to the pool, lake, or anywhere near water, we recommend you consider only using devices with a rating of at least IPX7.
- NFC: Shorthand for Near Field Communication, this oft-touted feature is actually quite limited when it comes to Bluetooth speakers, allowing select phones to pair with a speaker with a quick touch. Since pairing is often as simple as pressing a button, and speakers will be remembered by your device once paired, it's not seen as a must-have feature.
- AptX: Another feature limited to phones and devices outside of Apple’s periphery, AptX is a codec (or group of codecs) said to allow Bluetooth streaming at “near CD quality” resolution. Apple products do not use AptX, but Android users may find it improves performance when paired with high-quality tracks and high-performance speakers. AptX Adaptive is the latest and greatest version of this codec, but both the source device and Bluetooth speaker must support it for you to get any benefit.
- Passive radiator: This term represents a kind of driver that helps magnify bass within your speaker. If you have a sealed speaker enclosure, which means there are no portholes, a passive radiator essentially reacts to slight changes in the air pressure within the enclosure. Each fluctuation results in sound. Passive radiators do not have to be powered by amps. Furthermore, the device is often lighter than other traditional drivers or speakers because it comes with no magnet or voice coil. That production design saves you a bit of cash, creates a more compact and portable device, and upgrades your speaker’s overall sound.
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