The 10 Best Speakers to Buy in 2018

Buy the top Bluetooth, budget and bookshelf speakers (and more) for your home

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These days, we're obsessed with our music, and that means sound quality is more important than ever before. But since speakers come in all shapes and sizes, it's essential to choose the one that's right for you, and make sure it's within your budget.

So whether you’re looking the best Bluetooth speaker, affordably priced speakers for your computer, or are looking to be the life of the party at your next summer barbecue, we’ve compiled a list of the best speakers for 2018 that’ll suit you for any occasion.

Our Top Picks

Best Home Audio Subwoofer: Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer

Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer
Courtesy of Amazon.com

The Polk Audio PSW10 comes with a warning for its power. Seriously, this 10-inch powered subwoofer has the capability of emitting 85 decibels (dB), which is more than a freight train.

The Polk Audio PSW10 is equipped with one 10-inch polymer-composited dynamic balance cone driver to deliver a fully balanced explosive sound. It is designed with laser-based Klippel measurement technology for improved linearity and deep, precise sound. It’s a big one too: the unit measures at 14 x 14.38 x 16.12 inches and weighs 26 pounds. Due to its sheer power, the PSW10 has a non-resonant all-MDF enclosure construction with 0.75-inch-thick baffles and internal bracing so you won’t break the system at maximum volume. But just in case you do, Polk Audio provides a five-year warranty for the PSW10. With a bandwidth of 40Hz to 200Hz, 50 watts of continuous power and up to 100 watts of dynamic power, the subwoofer does a magnificent job at filling the bottom end of your home theater system.

Read more reviews of the best Polk Audio speakers available to purchase online. 

Best Budget: AXESS SPBT1031 Portable Bluetooth 

Speaker

Coming in at under $20, the Axess SPBT1031 still packs in plenty of special features. These speakers are small but remarkably powerful, with two two-watt horn outputs and a five-watt subwoofer. It also has a frequency range of 100 Hz and 20KHz and delivers up to 4ohms.

The Axess weighs 2.9 pounds and measures 11.5 x 6.3 x 6.7 inches, making it easily portable and suited for both indoor and outdoor use. It even comes with a handy shoulder strap for easier transport. The device is Bluetooth-enabled and has a range of 32 feet. For non-Bluetooth devices, there’s also 3.5mm auxiliary jack so you can directly connect it to your phone or other music player. The battery is also pretty impressive, promising at least 14 hours of playback on a single charge.

Best Studio Audio Monitor: Mackie CR Series CR3 - 3" Creative Monitors

Mackie CR Series CR3 - 3" Creative Monitors
Courtesy of Amazon.com

For the person who requires studio-quality sound and performance for their multimedia creations, spring for the Mackie CR Series CR3. The No. 1 Best Seller in Studio Audio Monitors on Amazon.com won’t cost you an arm or leg either.

At six pounds and measuring 11.5 x 8.5 x 15.3 inches, the Mackie CR Series CR3 is the largest speaker set on the list The speakers emit an ultra-wide frequency range perfect for full-range multimedia, pumping out 80 HZ to 20 kHz – you’ll be able to hear pin drops.

The 50-watt integrated amplifier, precision designed high-frequency waveguide, premium transducers, and all-wood cabinet design make for an acoustic sound that will capture everything bit of audio. You don’t need to turn the audio up too high, as the small stereo tweeters coupled with bottom heavy sub create a balanced sound without mumble. Two professional-grade isolation pads are included, so you can minimize unwanted bass buildup and also tilt the monitors up or down for more focused listening.

No, it doesn’t come with the fancy out-of-box Bluetooth connectivity, but it does include all the wires you need: a 1/8” stereo RCA cable for connecting your computer’s audio output directly to you monitors, a 1/8” to 1/8” cable for your smartphone, and the 6’ speaker-to-speaker cable so you can connect the left/right speakers together.

Best for Office Desk/Workplace: JBL Charge 3

Measuring 3.43 x 9.09 x 3.48 inches, the JBL Charge 3 is capable of connecting up to three devices in total (smartphones, tablets, etc.) directly to the speaker through Bluetooth technology. The JBL offers up to 20 hours of playtime, thanks to a 6000mAh battery, as well as IPX7-rated waterproofing.

The Charge 3 provides a deep bass response and can sit both horizontally or vertically (but horizontal is the best placement for maximum audio performance). And it’s more than just a music player: You can even take conference calls directly from the JBL. The noise and echo-canceling speakerphone add crystal-clear calling directly from your smartphone.

Aside from audio performance, the build quality of the Charge 3 is both durable and sturdy enough to throw into a backpack for a weekend getaway since it weighs only 1.76 pounds.

Check out our other reviews of the best JBL speakers​ available on the market today.

Runner-Up, Best for Office Desk/Workplace: Libratone ZIPP Mini Speaker

The Libratone ZIPP Mini Speaker has 360 degrees of FullRoom audio with a four-inch woofer, dual one-inch soft dome tweeters and two four-inch low-frequency radiators. The Zipp Mini makes audio playback easy via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as AirPlay on iOS, DLNA on Android or Spotify. With more than 10 hours of battery life, the Zipp Mini can more than get through the length of a standard workday. A convenient carrying handle makes moving the Zipp Mini around a desk incredibly simple. The speaker also doubles as a speakerphone for conference calls.

Best for Parties: Ion Audio Party Rocker Max

Make your speakers the life of the party with the Ion Audio Party Rocker Max. The front grill’s LED grid and lighted dome disperse a shower of dazzling color over the dancefloor. This 100-watt speaker packs a powerful punch, with an eight-inch woofer and a wide-dispersion tweeter that produce a pumping bass and rich sound.

The Ion Audio speaker promises 75 hours of playback and has a rechargeable battery to keep the good times going. It’s Bluetooth-enabled, so you can access your carefully-curated party playlist from a phone or tablet, as well as a 3.5mm aux input for non-Bluetooth devices. As an added bonus, the Party Rocker Max has dual microphone inputs for karaoke. Even with all these features, it’s easy to transport thanks to the built-in wheels and telescoping handle.

Best for Outdoor: Fugoo Sport XL Portable Rugged Bluetooth Speaker

The Fugoo Sport XL Portable Rugged Bluetooth Speaker offers exceptional sound with a durable build. Powered by eight symmetrically placed drivers, four tweeters, two mid/sub drivers and two passive radiators, the 360 degrees of sound coming from the Fugoo is outstanding. The IP67 rating means the Fugoo can withstand three feet of water submersion for up to 30 minutes and even has dust, mud and shock protection. In addition, there's a 35-hour of battery life and the internal power doubles as a portable power bank for quickly charging phones or tablets. For Apple and Google device owners, Siri and Google Now control are both built in for quick voice commands. The full duplex speakerphone also assists with hands-free calling.

Check out our other reviews of the best outdoor speakers available on the market today.

Runner-Up, Best for Outdoor: Cambridge SoundWorks OontZ Angle 3

With two precision acoustic drivers and a triangular shape that enhances audio clarity, Cambridge SoundWorks' OontZ Angle 3 delivers crystal clear sound whether you're streaming music at the beach, in your dorm room or in the shower. The ultra-portable speaker weighs less than 10 ounces, measures 2.76 x 5.24 x 2.52 inches and features a proprietary passive bass radiator design that ensures distortion-free sound — even at the loudest volume.

The speaker is IPX5 water-resistant, rainproof, sand-proof and splashproof and can play at two-thirds volume for up to 12 hours. Via Bluetooth, you can connect to tunes on a variety of devices including iPhones, tablets, laptops, Chromebooks and Amazon Echo, as well as non-Bluetooth devices with an AUX cable. Five-star Amazon reviewers — more than 19,000 of them — remark that the speaker pairs easily and quickly and plays better than Bluetooth speakers more than three times the cost. 

Best Wireless/Bluetooth: Marshall Kilburn Portable Bluetooth Speaker

With a design that’s more classic than contemporary, the Marshall Kilburn Portable Bluetooth Speaker is a superb choice for audio fans who want a unique look. Powered by dual 3/4-inch dome tweeters and a lone four-inch woofer, the Kilburn adds a sound that lives up to its rock ‘n’ roll promise. Weighing under seven pounds, the Kilburn remains light enough to move around and has a top carry handle. Unlike today’s speakers that offer fine-tuning via an app or touch controls, the Marshall sticks with an analog knob to fine-tune the sound coming from your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone, tablet or computer. The Kilburn has nearly 20 hours of battery on a single charge.

Check out our other reviews of the best wireless/bluetooth speakers available on the market today.

Best Bookshelf Speakers: Sony XB40 Portable Wireless Speaker

Measuring 5.31 x 12.44 x 7.51 inches and size and weighing 4.18 pounds, the Sony XB40 Portable Wireless Speaker has the ideal size and sound for a bookshelf. Boosted by the inclusion of Sony’s EXTRA BASS and ClearAudio+ technology, the XB40 offers automatically adjusting audio for even deeper bass. The XB40 can connect and stream to nearby devices via Bluetooth, NFC, as well as LDAC technology.

As a bonus, the XB40 can connect to additional XB40 speakers via a wireless party chain connection for creating true stereo sound. When it comes to audio playback, rest assured that there’s more than enough juice inside the XB40 for more than 24 hours of battery life on a single charge. For a little extra flair, Sony adds a multicolored line light and a flashing strobe for after-hours playback, as well as IPX5 water-resistance.

Take a peek at some of the other best bookshelf speakers​ you can buy.