Best Portable Speakers 2023

Do you want your room awash in clear, loud and vibrant audio? The best portable speakers—like the Bose Portable Smart Speaker (currently our top pick for the best portable speaker overall)—make it easy to free yourself from your headphones and share your tunes with the entire room. The latest models are also more powerful and provide better sound than ever before.

Some portable speakers run on a battery and sound great for personal use, while others can get the party started by filling a larger indoor or outdoor space with rich and loud audio. Meanwhile, if you plan to sit poolside or take the speaker camping, look for a rugged portable speaker that can withstand sand and water.

Portable speakers work sort of like wireless headphones or earbuds. They use Bluetooth to pair with your phone, tablet or computer so you can stream audio without cables. “The current iterations of Bluetooth 5 offer improvements aimed at convenience but also quality,” notes Ben Arnold, executive director and industry analyst at consumer research firm NPD. Besides increasing power efficiency, one of the most notable improvements is an “extended range over previous generations, meaning wireless speakers can be further away from their music source.” Furthermore, the latest Bluetooth specs let you pair a music source “with multiple speakers to create stereo sound.”

These speakers do a good job at producing clear, pleasing audio—whether you’re listening to music, a podcast or an audiobook. Some of these speakers are large enough to require a handle, while others are small enough to tote in your pocket (many of these are among the best Bluetooth speakers we’ve tested).

If you’re looking for a portable speaker for your home, to use outdoors in the yard, or while traveling, read on for our favorite picks for the best portable speakers currently available.

Weight: 2.3 pounds | Battery life: Up to 12 hours | Waterproof rating: IPX4

Best for: Robust, 360-degree audio you can carry with you.

The Bose Portable Smart Speaker produces full-bodied, 360-degree sound from a compact package. It has a built-in handle for carrying the speaker wherever you go. This Bose speaker is also safe to use poolside given its IPX4 water resistance rating. It’s perfect for a group, or if you plan to walk around a room: It produces an immersive sound with impressive bass and reasonable loudness heard in every direction, filling all corners of your space. In our testing, we discovered this speaker actually sounds better when you’re a few feet away from it.

Connect the speaker to Wi-Fi, to use voice commands via the built-in Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. You can control the Bose Portable Smart Speaker using the physical controls on the top surface or using the mobile app. Within your home, use the Wi-Fi connection to control the speaker from anywhere. It works with Apple AirPlay 2, Chromecast and Spotify Connect.

Excerpt from our full review: “Out of the 10 Bluetooth speakers I recently evaluated for a roundup of the best Bluetooth speakers, I found the Bose Portable Smart Speaker outperformed the competition time and again. This speaker earns the distinction of the best Bluetooth speaker overall for its well-balanced audio and robust features.”


  • Lightweight, water resistant and portable
  • Produces 360-degree, room-filling sound
  • Connects directly to Wi-Fi or pairs with a Bluetooth device


Weight: 0.7 pounds | Battery life: Up to 15 hours | Volume: 82 dB | Waterproof rating: IP67

Best for: Quality sound on a light budget.

Thanks to the Willen’s 2-inch, 10-watt, full range driver and two passive radiators, this portable Bluetooth speaker does a decent job playing music. However, it does a superb job playing audiobooks and podcasts, since like most tiny speakers, it’s unable to generate stereo sound.

The Willen is waterproof and rugged, so you can take it just about anywhere. The rubber strap on the back makes it easy to attach to a belt or backpack strap, for example. It also works as a speakerphone when paired with a smartphone. Out of all the tiny Bluetooth speakers we tested, this one offers the most impressive sound quality combined with Marshall’s signature design and durability.

Excerpt from our full review: “Three things immediately stood out when I first began evaluating the Marshall Willen Bluetooth speaker. It’s extremely compact, so it fits comfortably in my back pocket. The Marshall Willen also has a high-quality, sturdy design, with a unique joystick button on the front that controls the speaker. Most importantly, my testing revealed that this $120 speaker sounds far better than what I expected from something this size.”


  • Small and very rugged design
  • Built-in rubber strap
  • Generates up to 82 dB audio


Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore

Weight: 1.4 pounds | Battery life: Up to 27 hours | Volume: 91 dB | Waterproof rating: IP67

Best for: Robust sound in up to a 300-square-foot space.

While you wouldn’t risk taking Bang & Olufsen’s $2,000 Beosound 1 outdoors, the much more affordable Beosound Explore can go anywhere, anytime. It is durable and waterproof, with a robust IP67 dustproof and water resistance rating. It produces 360-degree sound that resonates clearly whether you are indoors or outdoors.

This speaker can fill a 50- to 300-square-foot room with booming audio, although it isn’t as loud as some speakers. Use the mobile app to customize how your audio sounds. This is the perfect Bluetooth speaker for camping, boating, or taking on any outdoor adventure.


  • Outputs 360-degree audio
  • Long battery life
  • Rugged and waterproof


Weight: 13 pounds | Battery life: Up to 24 hours | Volume:  100 dB | Waterproof rating: IPX4

Best for: Filling a large party space with clear—and loud—music.

While it’s not a device meant to be handheld, the Ultimate Ears Hyperboom is portable and can sit on almost any surface. It represents Ultimate Ears’ biggest and loudest portable speaker, but volume isn’t this speaker’s only strength. Hyperboom’s extreme bass and adaptive equalizer provide a booming listening experience no matter what type of audio you pump through it

Hyperboom is truly a party-oriented speaker. It offers three times the loudness and six times the bass as its smaller sibling MegaBoom 3. The Hyperboom has an IPX4 rating, which makes it splash-resistant but not fully waterproof. It can outlast even the most dedicated party animal, since its rechargeable battery plays for up to 24 hours. The speaker’s audio travels up to 150 feet away.


  • Customizable and adaptive equalizer
  • Supports multiple streaming music services
  • Long battery life


  • Not fully waterproof
  • Rather heavy
  • Expensive

Weight: 1.2 pounds | Battery life: Up to 12 hours | Volume: 75 dB | Waterproof rating: IP67

Best for: Pumping bass anywhere, especially when paired with additional JBL speakers.

The JBL Flip 6 is a small Bluetooth powerhouse with up to 12 hours of continuous play per battery charge. While the sound is quite clear for a speaker of this size, the Flip 6 stands out particularly for the power of its bass. You can position this speaker either vertically or horizontally. Its IP67 rating means you can take the Flip 6 outside without worrying about damage from dust or water.

The speaker works with other JBL-branded speakers supporting the “PartyBoost” features to link up for stereo sound or multi-speaker sound, a nifty capability for celebrations and gatherings.


  • Links with other JBL “PartyBoost” speakers
  • Good battery life
  • Excellent bass


  • No speakerphone when paired with a phone

Weight: 0.8 pounds | Battery life: Up to 12 hours | Volume: 90 dB | Waterproof rating: IP67

Best for: Taking your speaker anywhere—the shower, pool or beach.

The Tribit StormBox Micro 2 may be small enough to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand, but it produces size-defying sound. It is highly portable, with a rubber strap so you can attach the speaker securely to a belt, backpack or bike handle, for example. The internal battery can recharge your smartphone while you’re on the go, but this decreases how long you can play the speaker on battery.

If you’re looking for a durable and low-cost Bluetooth speaker option, both your wallet and your ears should fall in love with the StormBox Micro 2. The entire unit measures 3.9 x 3.9 x 1.7 inches. And its IP67 rating means you can safely take it into the shower and hang it with no worries of water ruining your listening session.


  • Ultra-small size and lightweight
  • Large buttons to control the volume
  • Pair two StormBox Micro 2 speakers to listen in stereo


  • Not as powerful as larger and more expensive speakers
  • No stereo sound

Anker Soundcore Motion Boom

Weight: 5.3 pounds | Battery life: Up to 20 hours | Waterproof rating: IP67

Best for: Partying all day without plugging in.

The Anker Soundcore Motion Boom Plus is a retro “boombox” style speaker whose loudness really packs a punch. It comes with an adjustable shoulder strap and built-in handle for easier transport. Built into this stereo speaker are two 30-watt woofers, two 10-watt tweeters and two passive radiators. The speaker works well indoors and out. It even floats if you need tunes during the pool party.

Using PartyCast mode, pair multiple Anker speakers together for an even louder and more intense listening experience. And with the Soundcore app, you can adjust how audio sounds.


  • Produces loud, clear stereo audio
  • Retro boombox design with modern features
  • Excellent battery life


Weight: 14.7 pounds | Battery life: Up to 24 hours | Volume: 92 dB | Waterproof rating: IPX7

Best for: Filling a large room or outdoor space with loud and clear stereo sound.

JBL has an impressive range of portable speakers, and the JBL Boombox 3 is its flagship for this size, with high-end features and louder volume than other models. The Boombox 3 has fresh design, so you get a three-way speaker system that delivers sharper clarity and richer bass, no matter how loud you crank up the volume. The speaker’s handle has durable metal and a silicone coating.

The Boombox 3 can produce rich stereo sound using one 80-watt subwoofer, two 40-watt midrange drivers and two 10-watt tweeters when it’s plugged into an external power source. On battery power, the Boombox 3 gets 60 watts of power from the subwoofer, 30 watts of power from the midrange drivers and 8 watts of power from the two tweeters. You can pair two devices to this speaker—such as your smartphone and computer. Because the Boombox 3 supports the PartyBoost feature, you can use two Boombox 3 speakers at once to generate even louder sound—all controllable from the JBL mobile app. The speaker also works as a power bank to recharge your phone.


  • Waterproof and dust proof
  • Outputs more powerful audio than its predecessor, with less audio compression
  • Loud but clear stereo audio


  • Expensive
  • Narrow soundstage

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3

Weight: 0.9 pounds | Battery life: Up to 14 hours | Volume: 87 dB |  Waterproof rating: IP67

Best for: A floating pool or beach companion.

The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 is tiny and compact, just like its predecessor. While this four-inch tall (3.7-inch diameter) speaker fits easily in hand, it fills a decent size area with loud, 360-degree audio. It’s waterproof, durable and even floats; you can even keep it next to you while you’re floating in the pool or soaking in the tub.

The battery lasts up to 14 hours—one hour longer than the Wonderboom 2—a solid time given the speaker’s small size. Don’t worry about having to fumble around with tiny buttons, either. The Volume Up and Volume Down buttons on the side of the speaker are impossible to miss. You can pair this speaker with two devices simultaneously so you can have multiple DJs; and pair two Wonderbooms together to get true stereo sound from the two speakers. Two downsides of this speaker are its lack of a microphone and its use of an older micro-USB charging port.


  • Excellent (mono) sound quality and volume for its small size
  • Generates 360-degree sound
  • Pair with two devices at once


  • No speakerphone
  • Uses micro-USB charging

How We Chose The Best Portable Speakers

We combined research with hands-on testing and experience, and we spoke with product experts and industry leaders to help us determine the products that make the cut. We carefully evaluated each portable speaker’s design, sound quality, volume, battery life, waterproof rating and more. We also paid attention to what sets each portable speaker apart from its competition. For example, we looked for speakers that offer 360-degree audio, true stereo sound, or an extended Bluetooth range.

How To Choose A Portable Speaker For Yourself

With portable speakers, the key feature to consider is sound quality. After all, you want to hear your audio clearly—with no distortion and at the volume you choose. A higher price does not always mean better sound quality, though. In some cases, you are paying a premium for a brand name. The physical size of the speaker may also affect sound quality and maximum volume.

Keep in mind, on their own, most portable speakers do not generate true stereo sound, although some offer 360-degree audio and other digital enhancements to make the audio you’re listening to sound really rich and full. What you hear from the speakers is different and less immersive than what you’d get listening to the same audio using wireless headphones or earbuds.

While sound quality is what’s most important when focusing on speakers, appearance may also be a consideration. After all, you don’t want some ugly box sitting in your living room for all to see. Many portable speakers come in a choice of colors, so choose one with an aesthetic and vibe that fits your lifestyle.

Here are some other factors to consider when choosing a Bluetooth speaker to meet your personal needs.

Battery Life

Determine if a speaker is battery powered or needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet to function. If the speaker has a battery, look for one that lasts at least 10 hours between charges. Also, pay attention to how long the speaker’s battery takes to recharge and if you can use it while recharging.


If you want to fill a larger room or space with sound, look for a speaker with a higher maximum volume (measured in decibels). For personal use or sound in a smaller room, a speaker that produces up to 70 dB audio should suffice.

Prolonged use and close range exposure to audio louder than 70 dB can damage your hearing. Meanwhile, anything louder than 120 dB will cause immediate harm to your ears. With this in mind, a speaker that offers a 360-degree (or “spatial”) room-filling sound field so you can hear the audio in all directions. You won’t need to position yourself directly in front of or next to the speaker.

Waterproof (IP Rating)

Depending on where you place the speaker, whether a speaker has a water resistance or waterproof rating may not matter. However, if you plan to take the speaker outside—or might want that option—go with a speaker with at least a water-resistant rating.

All Bluetooth speaker manufacturers use an industry-standard system to rate a product’s ability to withstand dirt, dust and water. This is a standard created by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). What you’ll see advertised is a speaker’s IP (ingress protection) or IPX rating.

Let’s break down what these ratings mean. With two-digit IP ratings, the first digit refers to the protection against solid objects (sand, dirt or dust) and the second digit notes the protection against water.

For protection against solid objects, the scoring scales up to 6, where a higher number reflects the amount and size of the individual solid objects the device can withstand. A 3 indicates the device is good against solid objects 2.5 millimeters in size or larger, while a 6 indicates the device has protection against dust particles. If they did not test the device against solid objects, the rating shows as IPX, where “X” confers the lack of testing, and the number that follows the X reflects the level of waterproof rating.

The second digit of an IP rating (or the single digit of the IPX rating) can be between zero and eight. A 1 indicates protection against water drops (so it’s water-resistant, not waterproof). A 4 means you can splash water on the object from any angle without causing damage, while a 7 means you fully submerge the product in water, up to a 3-foot depth (and an 8 provides protection in water up to 13 feet).

An IP68 rating, for example, means the speaker is both resistant to dirt/dust (including sand) and is waterproof. You can temporarily submerge the speaker in up to 13 feet of water without sustaining damage, so if you get caught in a sudden rain shower while using a speaker outside, or if it accidentally gets dropped in a swimming pool, you have nothing to worry about. An IPX6 rating means the speaker can get wet or float, but it has no protection from sand.

Size And Weight

Again, depending on where you plan to use the speaker and how large of an area you want the sound to reach, the size and weight of the speaker itself is an important consideration. This is also important if you plan to carry around the speaker. Choose a speaker with a size and weight that best meets your needs.

As a general rule, the larger the speaker, the more power it has for playing loud music in a large party space. The smaller speakers are better suited for a more intimate listening experience—as an alternative to wearing headphones or earbuds when enjoying your favorite audio.

Bluetooth Range

The wireless Bluetooth range of a speaker depends upon which iteration of Bluetooth is inside the speaker. At the least, most Bluetooth speakers can sit about 33 feet away from the source. Some Bluetooth speakers use a more advanced version of Bluetooth (Bluetooth 5.x, with the most recent version being 5.3), which expands the wireless range to a maximum of 150 feet. Note that to achieve this, both your source and destination devices need to use the latest Bluetooth technology.

Voice Assistants

Some Bluetooth speakers work with a voice-based digital assistant, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple Siri. Watch If a speaker has a smart assistant built in, you need to connect to a Wi-Fi network to access the digital assistant directly. Otherwise, the speaker has a microphone but interfaces with a smart assistant via a paired phone.

Special Features

If you plan to use the speaker at a beach, near a pool or on a boat, look for one that can float. If you drop a speaker into the water, it’s one thing not to damage it. It’s another thing altogether if it sinks and becomes difficult or impossible to retrieve. While many speakers are waterproof, not all can float, so look for this feature.

Many speakers use a proprietary mobile app to handle the speaker’s settings, and to provide features like pairing two speakers together or adjusting the audio equalizer.

Mono, Stereo Or Spatial 360-Degree Sound?

Most Bluetooth speakers can produce loud and vibrant sound, but it’s not truly stereo sound unless the single portable speaker unit uses two (or more) internal speakers. But if you purchase two of the same Bluetooth speakers (or in some cases, two speakers from the same manufacturer), you can often pair them together to produce true stereo sound.

Several of the Bluetooth speaker designs are not true stereo, but they offer spatial 360-degree audio. Two examples of this are the Bose Portable Smart Speaker and Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore. These speakers radiate music in all directions. As a result, if you place the speaker in the center of the room, it fills the entire space with audio. You do not need to be directly in front of the speaker to hear the audio.

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