The 8 Best Portable Bluetooth Wireless Speakers of 2020

Take your music on-the-go with these portable wireless speakers

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Bose Home Speaker 500 at Amazon

"It’s a speaker with a notable name that gives you sound commensurate with the brand’s track record."

Best Smart Speaker: Google Home Max at Best Buy

"If you like to crank up the volume on your portable Bluetooth speaker, then you'll like the Google Home Max."

Runner-Up, Best Overall: JBL Charge 4 at Amazon

"If a Bluetooth speaker could be labeled as perfect, it would be the closest thing."

Best Portability: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 at Amazon

"You never have to worry about nature getting in the way of your bops."

Best Budget: JBL Clip 2 at Amazon

"Not only lightweight to hold and carry, but it’s also light on the budget."

Best for Design: Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay A1 at Amazon

"Strikingly clean lines that offer booming sound."

Best for Parties: JLab Block Party at Amazon

"Great for an outdoor party or even for a multi-room audio system."

Best Battery Life: Anker Soundcore 2 at Amazon

"Promising 24 hours of playback on a single charge."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Bose Home Speaker 500

Bose Home Speaker 500

Courtesy of Amazon 

What We Like
  • Sleek aesthetic

  • Excellent audio quality

  • Integrates smartly with streaming services

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Bose app is a bit unintuitive

Bose has been in the Bluetooth and wireless speaker game for a long time — now they're taking their notable sound tech and moving into the more overt smart speaker world with the Bose Home Speaker 500. This speaker offers what Bose refers to as “room-filling sound” with the ability to use Alexa-enabled smart assistance functions. That means you can both stream music wirelessly and control it with your voice. There’s a small screen on the unit, but it just displays album artwork and is not a touchscreen — instead, they've relegated the physical controls to a series of buttons on the top.

Beyond the fact that it puts out big sound from such a compact device, the most notable thing about the Bose Home Speaker 500 is its Alexa functionalities. (Bose promises that other smart functionality, like Google Assistant, is on the way.) You can use the speaker with all the requisite platforms including Spotify, Amazon Music, SiriusXM and more. And there’s even a Bose Smart app that lets you pair this up with another unit or one of Bose's smart soundbars to give you multi-room sound and mobile device control. It's on the pricier side, but if you’re a fan of Bose, that’s expected. It’s a speaker with a notable name that gives you sound commensurate with the brand’s track record.

Best Smart Speaker: Google Home Max

Google Home Max
Courtesy of Best Buy
What We Like
  • Spectacular sound quality

  • Can be paired with other audio devices

  • Clean design

What We Don't Like
  • No lossless audio options

If you like to crank up the volume on your portable Bluetooth speaker, then you'll like the Google Home Max. Inside this low-profile speaker are a pair of 4.5-inch woofers and dual amps dedicated to a set of 0.7-inch polyester dome tweeters. The result: room-filling sound with serious bass. And at 100-percent volume, there’s almost no sound vibration (a rarity for a portable Bluetooth speaker). For even more sound, two Home Max speakers can be paired together.

Weighing almost 12 pounds, the Home Max is among the heaviest of the portable options. Fortunately, all that weight isn’t just about the audio. The Google Home Max also includes Google Assistant capabilities. You can ask it to tell you the weather, play a song, search the web, or control smart home devices like thermostats or lights.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: JBL Charge 4

What We Like
  • Powerful sound

  • Long battery life

  • Waterproof

What We Don't Like
  • No mounting options

The JBL Charge 4 has some of the best battery life among Bluetooth speakers. The 7500mAh battery can last up to 20 hours, although this will be more realistic when using an AUX cord, rather than Bluetooth. In terms of going wireless, the speaker has Bluetooth 4.2 and can connect to devices up to 30 feet away — and that’s “devices” plural. JBL Connect+ allows the speaker to buddy up with 100 other devices to play songs simultaneously for the ultimate party, surround-sound experience — or just to keep the music going from room to room.

One of the JBL Charge 4’s greatest claim to fame, aside from its battery life, is its durability. With an IPX7 rating, it is waterproof (yes, this means you can take it into the shower or bath) and also floats. The single dual ranger speakers are paired with two bass radiators for high quality-sound, comparable to many “stereo” speakers. Flaunt your personality with the JBL Charge 4’s range of ten different available colors such as teal, pink, green, yellow, blue, and red.

Best Portability: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2

What We Like
  • Portable

  • Waterproof

  • Excellent sound quality

What We Don't Like
  • Bluetooth connectivity is spotty

When you’re shopping around for a Bluetooth speaker and portability is your top priority, you'll have to consider a few key factors, one of the most important of which is size. At only about 3.5 x 4 inches, the Wonderboom 2 is a truly compact speaker — one that you won’t find difficult to stash in a beach bag.

But you also want to think about durability, how much you can "rough up" the speaker before it goes radio silent. Fortunately, this sturdy little gadget has earned itself an IP67 rating, so not only is it waterproof, it can be submerged in shallow water and even thwart some degree of dust. Durability is key for this kind of speaker because it means you can travel with it. Whether you're camping, going to the beach, or watching outdoor sports, you never have to worry about nature getting in the way of your bops.

The Wonderboom 2 improves on its predecessor in terms of sound quality, too. Increased bass response and amped-up "outdoor boost" functionality make it the perfect outdoor party companion. You'll get about 100 feet of Bluetooth range and around 13 hours of battery life, depending on your usage as well. And if you care about color, you'll be relieved to know the Wonderboom 2 comes in Bermuda Blue, Crushed Ice Gray, Deep Space, and Radical Red flavors.

Best Budget: JBL Clip 2

What We Like
  • Waterproof

  • Integrated carabiner makes for an easy carry

  • Integral 3.5mm audio jack

What We Don't Like
  • No previous track button

  • Bass could be better

The JBL Clip 2 is not only lightweight to hold and carry, it’s also light on the budget. In fact, it’s one of the most budget-friendly Bluetooth speakers that still delivers a quality sound. The speaker features a clip you can use to attach it to your backpack or your belt loops. Use the speaker’s controls to play or pause songs or skip tracks, all without having to take out your phone. The JBL Clip 2 may be small, but the eight-hour battery life rivals that of some of the larger Bluetooth speakers. It’s waterproof and while it does float, it can be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes.

Alice says...

The JBL Clip 2 has since been superseded by the Clip 3, which is virtually identical to its predecessor but lacks the integrated 3.5mm audio jack. This might annoy some but shouldn't pose too much of a problem given the rising ubiquity of Bluetooth. The Clip 3 weighs just slightly more but boasts an extended battery life making it a pretty clear upgrade.

Best for Design: Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay A1 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

What We Like
  • Long battery life

  • Rugged design

  • Excellent audio performance

What We Don't Like
  • Mono audio only

  • Expensive

  • No navigation controls

Sometimes the best-designed products are almost the simplest and that’s exactly where the Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay A1 Portable Bluetooth speaker knocks it out of the park. The basic circular design mimics the look of a hockey puck, but with strikingly clean lines that offer booming sound. With a battery life that hits around 24 hours at regular music volume (recharging 2.5 hours from zero-to-full), the 1.3-pound all-aluminum dome is both dust- and splash-resistant to help protect against the elements. The sound has peak power of around 2X140 watts.

Connection to the A1 is easily done through B&O’s Play application available on both Android and iOS (in the app you can also personalize the audio experience, set up wireless stereo pairing for even bigger sound and update the software on the A1). Beyond music, the A1 doubles as a speakerphone with an omni-directional microphone that sits on the bottom of the device and can pick up 360 degrees of voice recognition no matter where the A1 is in relation to your body.

Best for Parties: JLab Block Party

What We Like
  • Outdoor EQ modes

  • Connects with up to 8 additional speakers

  • Powerful bass

What We Don't Like
  • No navigation controls

  • No speakerphone

For serious parties, the JLab Block Party is what you need. You can connect up to eight of these speakers together for a full sound. The multi-speaker system is great for an outdoor party or even for a multi-room audio system. It even includes indoor and outdoor modes, with the speakers equalized to play the optimal sound based on the amount of sound-absorbing surfaces nearby. (The outdoor mode may be better for houses with a lot of sound-absorbing surfaces). There’s a built-in status indicator to let you know how much battery time is left, and the speaker features buttons for volume, power, as well as to play or pause the music.

Best Battery Life: Anker Soundcore 2

What We Like
  • Inexpensive

  • Durable

  • 24-hour battery life

What We Don't Like
  • Bass could be stronger

  • Really not loud enough for most outdoor environments

The Anker Soundcore 2 is a surprising little Bluetooth speaker for a lot of reasons. First of all, its small form factor (just over six inches long and only about 12 ounces) doesn’t hold back the surprisingly deep and booming sound quality. It does lack a bit of detail, but considering it’s so small, sports IPX5 waterproof, and delivers a 66-foot Bluetooth range, it’s pretty solid. But, as our category choice here denotes, the real “wow” factor is the battery life. Anker promises 24 hours of playback on a single charge — that’s a whole day of music without the need to plug it in. Considering that most other speaker options promise only 10–15 hours, this one blows them all out of the water. Plus, with a unibody design and a few sleek colors to choose from, it's pretty stylish too.

What to Look for in Portable Bluetooth Speakers

Sound quality - The best way to test sound quality is, of course, by listening in person — but in the age of online shopping, that’s not always possible. Perhaps the most important spec to consider is sensitivity, measured in decibels (dB). This indicates how loud the speaker will get; the higher the sensitivity rating, the louder the speaker will be. An average speaker is around 87 dB to 88 dB, but 90 dB would be excellent.

Battery life - It’s handy to be able to bring your speaker on the road with you, but you might as well be carrying a brick if its battery dies. Most Bluetooth speakers will average about 8 to 24 hours per charge, depending on how loud you’re playing your music. Another thing to consider is how long a speaker takes to recharge its battery — in some cases, a 10-minute top-up can prolong battery life for hours.

Waterproof - If you’re taking your portable speaker to the beach, you’ll want to be sure it won’t be drowned by an unexpected wave. Many models have waterproof ratings ranging from splash-resistant up to IPX7, which means it can be submerged for up to 30 minutes and still work.