Bluetooth speakers are great for pool parties and Spotify jam sessions alike. Plus, they boast impressive sound quality and volume, are conveniently portable, and some even have voice assistant integration. Find the best Bluetooth speaker for your budget and needs below.
What to Look for in a Portable Bluetooth Speaker
While it’s easy to buy the first Bluetooth speaker you see because it looks cool or is super cheap, there are actually a number of other important factors you ought to consider as well. Being in the know about these features can help you choose the best possible speaker for your needs (and budget):
- Audio Quality: High-quality audio is the name of the game here, so expect the best Bluetooth speakers to provide high-quality audio that sounds clear and full, not tinny or crackly. They should also have well-balanced bass or at least an option for a bass booster. In addition, it’s important not only for your Bluetooth speaker to be able to play audio loudly but to maintain the fidelity of the audio at high volumes.
- Ease of Use: These wireless speakers should be super easy to use, with large clearly labeled buttons that let you control everything on the speaker itself without requiring a companion mobile app. A few even allow you to take phone calls, so you won’t have to dig for your phone and disconnect it just to take a call. Bonus points if it comes with a convenient loop that you can attach to your backpack or hang on a hook.
- Durability: While not everyone wants a Bluetooth speaker to use in the shower or throw into the pool, such durability should still be expected. The vast majority of Bluetooth speakers can handle spills, rain, and even complete submersion in water, and they usually have a rugged fabric or tough rubber build that can handle whatever you throw at it (or throw it at). Most can also handle a good amount of dust and even the occasional drop, so they’re perfect for camping, keeping out on your back patio, and using around energetic kids and pets.
- Battery Life: What’s a party without good music? Keep the music going by choosing a Bluetooth speaker with plenty of playing power that won’t die mid-song. On average, these speakers can run anywhere from 10-15 hours on a single charge, though some can last well over 20 hours; keep in mind, however, that loud volumes and bass boosters will drain a battery faster. These speakers usually come with a cord for charging and allow you to continue playing music while juicing it up.
- Price: Like most audio gear, the really good stuff is often the priciest, so if you’re looking for supercharged drivers and high-quality components, be prepared to pay the price. But here’s a hot take (and audiophiles should stop reading at this point): most people can’t tell the difference in audio quality after a certain point, so ultimately there’s no real need to drop a small fortune on a Bluetooth speaker when so many budget-friendly options do the job just fine.
- Extras: For most people, having a portable speaker with decent audio quality and battery life is enough. For the rest, it’s the extras that can make or break a speaker. Some speakers have cool extra features that allow you to take phone calls, have Alexa or Google voice assistant integration, or offer an AM/FM tuner. If you’re looking for a more robust speaker, these are some of the fun extras you can expect.
Best Overall: Anker SoundCore Flare
With its stylish looks, impressive sound quality, and affordable price, the Anker SoundCore Flare is an easy choice for the best overall Bluetooth speaker. Though pricier options may offer even better audio, the SoundCore Flare promises stellar audio quality without busting your budget. In fact, the 12-watt speaker has back-to-back dual drivers working with passive bass radiators to give you 360-degree sound, so everyone in the room can hear the audio clearly. It even has a boost mode to push audio volume even further. And Anker didn’t forget about bass—it’s boosted by neodymium drivers that intensify bass frequencies.
One of the coolest things about the SoundCore Flare is its halo of rainbow LED lights that phase, pulse, and even match your music’s beat, which makes parties (and solo listening experiences) way more exciting. It has five customizable light modes you can choose from, and a mobile app for Android and iOS, so you can adjust its equalizer so it sounds and looks perfect. The Flare has an IP67 rating, so you can leave it outside or chuck in the pool without worry. Its battery can last up to 12 hours and recharges via micro-USB.
Anker Soundcore Flare Black & Blue (Black)
The SoundCore combines great audio quality, fun LED lights, and ease of use with a low price.
Best Premium Option: JBL Xtreme 2
The JBL Xtreme 2 is a portable Bluetooth powerhouse and a great find if you’ve got the budget for it. It’s a little larger than most of the other speakers in our lineup, and it’ll look terrific wherever you place it, whether it’s on a shelf in an office or on your entertainment center. The Xtreme 2 has four drivers and two bass radiators for that sweet sound, and a 10,000 mAh lithium ion battery capable of playing your favorite music for up to 15 hours per charge.
The Xtreme 2 is IPX7 rated, so it’ll survive a poolside soiree without issue, and its integrated hooks, carrying strap, and bottle opener make it the perfect portable party companion. It’s built with rugged metal, rubber, and fabric, so it remains durable while looking stylish, and you can pair multiple JBL speakers together for a stereo experience using the JBL Connect app for Android and iOS. Slim minimalist buttons atop the speaker let you easily power on the device, navigate through tracks, and pair it with your phone or laptop.
JBL Xtreme 2 - Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker - Blue
This speaker is bigger and full of powerful components for high-quality sound.
Best Budget Option: Tribit XSound Go
If you’re less interested in having perfect sound quality and are really just about having something inexpensive on which you can play your tunes, the Tribit XSound Go is the speaker to beat, plus it has a few nice extras to pad the deal. The petite speaker has dual 6-watt power drivers and passive bass radiators, so it still manages to produce clear crisp audio whether you’re listening to loud punk music or a quiet low-key podcast.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Tribit XSound Go is its solid battery life. Despite being so small, it has an unbeatable battery life—it can play continuously for up to 24 hours. And not only is the six-watt speaker small enough to fit in your hand (with its included strap), it looks stylish enough just sitting on your desk. Of course, if you want to go crazy, its IPX7 rating means you can take it poolside or leave it on your back patio when the sprinklers come on. The speaker uses Bluetooth 4.2 technology, and it’ll stay connected 66 feet away from the device it’s paired to.
Tribit XSound Go Bluetooth Speaker - Speakers Bluetooth Wireless with Rich Bass, IPX7 Waterproof, 12W Powerful Sound, 24H Playtime, Portable Speaker with Built-in Mic & 66 ft Bluetooth Range, Black
Get great sound on a portable Bluetooth speaker without spending tons of money.
Best Portable Option: Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2
The Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 is a perfect companion for all kinds of outdoor activities like pool parties, hikes, and even tinkering with stuff out in your garage. In addition to being downright adorable and coming in five different color schemes, it boasts powerful sound that won’t get lost out in the open. It offers 360 degrees of sound, so you can hear lyrics and chords perfectly wherever you are in relation to the WONDERBOOM 2, and its new outdoor boost button increases volume and clarity is perfect for listening in wide open spaces.
The WONDERBOOM 2 has large easy-to-use buttons for turning the device on or off and adjusting the volume as well as playing, pausing, and skipping tracks, or toggling the outdoor boost. The battery lasts up to 13 hours (though using the outdoor boost will diminish this), and its IP67 rating means it’s tough enough to power through a fair amount of dust and water exposure.
Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 - Deep Space
Take this tiny yet powerful speaker with you on adventures and marvel at its massive sound and great quality.
Best Large Portable Option: Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM
Whether you’re looking for a powerful yet still portable Bluetooth speaker option for parties, or something solid that’ll do the trick when you’re playing through your old vinyl collection, the Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM has your back. The speaker measures 14.33 inches tall by 7.5 inches wide and deep, and has large buttons on top for adjusting volume and playback. Four devices can pair with the HYPERBOOM at a time via two Bluetooth inputs, one optical input, and one auxiliary connection, and you can switch between them by simply pressing a button. The USB charge-out port even lets you charge your phone while the speaker plays.
The UE HYPERBOOM’s adaptive equalizer automatically adjusts to its surrounding environment. It can produce massive full high-quality sound at any volume and keep rocking up to 24 hours at a time, making it perfect for parties. However, it only has an IPX4 rating, so while it can handle a quick splash, it shouldn’t be tossed in your pool (though there are other speakers up to that task if that’s what you need). You can also connect other Ultimate Ears speakers to it from the BOOM, MEGABOOM, and HYPERBOOM series if you want a stereo effect or need to cover a huge area in sound, and manage one-touch playback from the Android and iOS apps.
Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM Portable & Home Wireless Bluetooth Speaker, Loud Speaker, Big Bass, Water Resistant IPX4, 150 Ft Range – Black
This hefty speaker puts out massive sound while still remaining portable and stylish.