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The best portable speakers give you plenty of options for listening: passive bass radiators, powerful drivers, and even weatherproof casings. Connectivity options like Bluetooth, AirPlay, and Wi-Fi allow you to freely move around your home, backyard, or campsite as you listen to music and podcasts while you do chores or socialize with friends and family. With weather and water resistance, some speakers are great to use at the beach or near the pool for relaxing during the summer; others offer full water resistance to prevent damage if they're accidentally knocked into the water.
Some portable speakers feature built-in microphones and virtual assistant compatibility to give you hands-free controls to answer phone calls, skip music tracks, or launch apps. With so many portable speakers on the market, it can be difficult to decide which one best suits your needs. We've rounded up our top picks from brands like JBL, Bose, and Anker to help you choose what speaker is right for you.
66 foot range
24 hour battery
Not water resistant
No bass or treble controls
The Anker Soundcore gives you everything you need in a great portable speaker: good sound, long battery life, and a durable frame. The battery gives you up to 24 hour hours of listening time on a single charge, so you can listen to your favorite music and podcasts all day and night. With two high-sensitivity drivers and a dedicated bass port, you'll get the full, rich sound you need to enjoy all kinds of music.
The frame is drop-proof, so you won't have to worry about it getting knocked around in your backpack. The sleek controls on top of the speaker let you adjust the volume and pair devices quickly and easily. With a built-in microphone, you can use Amazon Alexa to discover new music and podcasts, check the weather, or read your recipes while you cook. The speaker has a 66-foot range so you won't have to worry about your phone disconnecting if you move around your house or yard.
No bass or treble controls
Nothing grinds a party to a halt like a damaged speaker. The JBL Flip 4 features IPX7 waterproofing, which means that it resists all kinds of weather, spills, and splashes; you can even submerge the speaker for a short time without damaging it. The battery gives you up to 12 hours of listening time so you can listen to your favorite podcasts at breakfast and rock out to your best playlists after work or school.
With JBL Connect+, you can link together over 100 JBL speakers to play the same songs and podcasts so you can have multi-room streaming for parties and family gatherings. You can connect the Flip 4 to two devices like smartphones, tablets, TVs, and audio systems. The built-in mic cancels out background noise so you can use it for hands-free calling or use a voice assistant like Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant. The dual external passive radiators give your speaker a truly boosted bass experience so you can see just how powerful the Flip 4 is.
No Alexa support
The Bose SoundLink Color II delivers that signature Bose sound in a compact package. This speaker is small enough to fit into a tote bag or backpack, making it perfect to take to the beach or a friend's house. With IPX4 water resistance, you won't have to worry about splashes or light rain. You can connect it to another SoundLink speaker or use Bose's SimpleSync app to connect it to a Bose home theater system for multi-room music streaming at parties.
The rechargeable battery gives you up to eight hours of listening time. The built-in microphone lets you take calls or use Siri or Google Assistant virtual assistants to set reminders, alarms, or control other smart home equipment. Voice prompts also walk you through connecting the speaker to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth so you can be sure that it will work properly.
30 hour battery life
No battery level indicator
The Vtin Punker portable speaker features a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that gives you up to 30 hours of listening time. This makes it perfect to take to the beach or on a camping trip and listen to your favorite music and podcasts wherever you are. The body of the speaker is made of a metal shell that is dust and shockproof to resist damage from everyday use and is IPX5 water-resistant so it can be used on rainy days or near the pool.
The dual 20W speakers can fill a room up to 2,000 square feet with great sound; great for parties or gatherings with family and friends. The built-in microphone lets you use the speaker for hands-free phone calls or control your Alexa-enabled devices in your smart home network. With an auto-off feature, the speaker powers itself down after it has sat idle for a period of time, extending the battery life. It comes with a detachable carabiner clip that you can use to hang it from a backpack while you hike or up off the ground when you camp.
16 hour battery life
pair two speakers for more sound
detachable carry strap
no battery indicator
No voice controls
Having a compact portable speaker is great for those who may not have a lot of space in their home, backpack, or dorm for an external speaker. The Sony SRS-XB12 Bluetooth speaker measures just three inches in diameter and 3.62 inches tall, making it the perfect size to slip into a tote bag, backpack, cup holder, or tuck away on a desk or table corner. The passive radiator gives this mini speaker a powerful bass range despite its small size.
You can pair two of these speakers to your smartphone, tablet, computer, or home theater system at once for bigger sound or multi-room casting of your favorite music. The detachable strap allows you to clip it wherever you need to get the best sound out of your mini speaker. The body features an IP67 dust and water resistance rating so it can be used near a pool or in the bathroom while you shower. The battery gives you up to 16 hours of listening time.
color LCD screen
The Bose Home 500 is a top-of-the-line portable speaker that delivers plenty of premium features as well as Bose's signature, full sound. The body of the speaker is made of anodized aluminum for durability as well as style. With several colors available, this speaker will fit into just about any home decor. With Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and AirPlay 2 connectivity, you'll be able to connect just about any smartphone, tablet, or Bose home theater system to this speaker. There is also a 3.5mm headphone jack for you to have a hardwired connection when you need it.
Alexa voice controls are built into this speaker, and the eight microphone array ensures that the speaker will hear you no matter where you are in the room. The Spotify music app is also integrated into this speaker so all your favorite songs and playlists are at your fingertips. The color LCD screen clearly displays song and album titles as well as album art provided by Spotify or Pandora. With Bose's SimpleSync app, it's easy to connect the Home 500 to your Bose home theater system for multi-room casting of your music.
The buttons aren’t really buttons but capacitive touch sensors, so you just touch the surface and the magic happens. The color LCD display, on the other hand, is not touch-sensitive. It simply displays album artwork for what’s playing and any system messages, like what device it is connected to. — Benjamin Zeman, Product Tester
No native voice controls
You don't have to empty your bank account to get a great portable speaker with amazing sound. The OontZ Angle 3 has a price tag under $30 but still gives you rich, room-filling sound. The dual 5-watt acoustic drivers take advantage of the speaker's triangular design to let you listen to your favorite songs without getting muffled or blocked by the speaker housing. The passive radiator faces downwards to use a table or desktop to amplify your music's bass range for a more powerful listening experience. With a 100-foot range, you won't have to worry about your phone disconnecting from the speaker as you move around your home or backyard.
The speaker has an IPX5 water resistance rating so you can use it at the beach, by the pool, or in the bathroom while you shower. The rechargeable battery gives you up to 14 hours of listening time. You can connect this speaker to iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, macOS or Windows computers, and even Echo dot smart speakers for hands-free voice controls.
IPX7 water resistance
40 hours battery life
can charge devices
No AirPlay 2 connectivity
If you're looking for a portable speaker to take with you on longer camping trips or vacations, the AOMAIS GO is a great option. This portable speaker features an IPX7 water resistance rating; it can withstand being submerged up to 33 feet for up to 30 minutes before it becomes damaged. The frame also drops and dustproof for strength and durability. This speaker has two 15 watt drivers, two 10 watt tweeters, and two passive radiators to give you tons of bold sound.
You can connect two of these speakers together for more power when having outdoor get-togethers with family or friends. The built-in carrying handle makes it easy to take this speaker wherever you need to go. The rechargeable battery gives you up to 40 hours of listening time and reaches a full charge in as little as four hours. It also sports an emergency power supply for charging mobile devices in emergencies.
Final Verdict: If you're looking for the perfect trifecta of sound, price, and portability, it's tough to beat the Anker Soundcore. For those looking to spend a little more for a top quality speaker, the Bose Home 500 delivers premium features like touch reactive controls and a color LCD screen.
Taylor Clemons has worked in a variety of fields including manufacturing, marketing, and e-commerce. She has written for TechRadar, GameSkinny, and her own website, Steam Shovelers.
Benjamin Zeman has over 20 years of experience in the tech industry and has been writing for Lifewire since April 2019. With a background in the arts, he has an understanding of how well-designed tech products fit into our lives. He has written for SlateDroid.com, AndroidTablets.net, and AndroidForums.com
Battery Life: When choosing a portable speaker, it's best to look at battery life as the most important factor to help you make a decision. Some speakers only last a few hours while others can last a full day or longer. The speakers with longer battery lives are great to take on camping trips or to use when hosting gatherings and parties with family or friends.Water Resistance: There are several different levels of water resistance. The lower ratings protect your portable speaker from occasional splashes like spilled drinks or getting caught in a light drizzle. The highest ratings keep your speaker from getting damaged even if it is fully submerged in deeper water for a longer period of time.Connectivity and Compatibility: It's important to make sure your portable speaker is compatible with every device you might want to connect it to. Some speakers support Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, or Chromecast connectivity, while others require a hardwired 3.5mm auxiliary connection to be used with smartphones, tablets, or home theater systems.