OontZ Angle 3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Tribit XSound Portable Bluetooth Speaker
JBL Boombox Portable Bluetooth Speaker
The fate of the party used to rely on bulky speakers that you paid hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars on. With portable Bluetooth speakers, it’s the last thing you’ll have to worry about. These little devices pack a serious boom, fit in compact spaces, and allow you to move the party zone, like transplanting it from one spot to another. Everyone loves music, and the focus on advanced audio technology has given us the unique opportunity to give you the low-down on the best portable audio equipment to keep you in full rhythm.
The Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers
JBL Charge 3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
JBL took the cake for top Bluetooth speaker on our list, thanks to their extended battery life (20 hours, so the party never stops), as well as their excellent IPX7 waterproof rating. JBL runs into a few issues with the bass. Around 75% volume, it starts to get a bit wonky, but that shouldn’t be an issue since Charge 3 is one loud speaker. You get a little LED light to indicate if Bluetooth is connected, which doesn’t always register connections, but when it works it’s a great tool. JBL supports multiple speakers in the same network, so you can turn a party scene into the ultimate outdoor space. We’re also fans of hooking this up to replace a PC or TV soundbar, because it operates while plugged into the AC adapter.
Connect multiple JBL speakers to make a surround sound experience
Twenty-hour battery supply
- Weight1.8 pounds
You can hook up three smartphones at a time
Can be used to replace soundbar on TV or PC
The bass control is weak
Bluetooth connection LED light doesn’t always work
OontZ Angle 3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Our silver medal-winning Bluetooth speaker comes from Cambridge Soundworks, bringing a slew of killer features, all on a super low budget. Connecting to the Bluetooth setup is simple, with a quick connection and a streamlined effort to listen to your tunes as soon as possible. On top of that, with OontZ Angle 3 you also get the least amount of bass distortion possible. Cambridge Soundworks understands that a higher volume at the cost of quality is not an option. Nothing comes without flaws; you don’t get the case that appears advertised on the sales page, and the controls on the speaker themselves are a bit touchy. It can take two or three presses to register, which is frustrating when you’re dealing with the volume operations. IPX5 waterproofing and a built-in microphone for answering phone calls add a little more oomph, making this one of the most viable and inexpensive options for a Bluetooth speaker. Trying to bulk-up the party on a low budget? Cambridge has you covered.
IPX5 Waterproofing for light splashes
Built to work with Amazon Echo; automate your smart home
Built-in microphone for hands-free call answering
- BrandCambridge Soundworks
- ModelOONTZ ANGLE 3 BLACK GRILLE
- Weight9 ounces
Super easy Bluetooth connectivity option
Little to no bass distortion
Sales page advertises case, only to tell you it’s sold separately
Pause/play/volume controls can take 2-3 touches for a single action
Aiwa Exos-9 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
We’re going a bit bulkier for our third pick- Exos-9, but despite the lack of mobility that smaller, pill-shaped Bluetooth speakers have, it packs a serious punch. The bass and volume are in perfect sync, so you get to avoid that droning buzz that lower-quality speakers always flood the air with. The price is a lot steeper than our first two picks, but at the cost, you’re getting every penny’s worth in features. You even get a customizable bass setting and visual equalizer, so you can play your tunes, your way. You get enhanced dual-coin subwoofers, and we dare you to see how loud those puppies can go. You also get a one-year warranty from Aiwa, but based on the quality and attention to detail, users are reporting years of use without any issues.
Dual voice-coil subwoofer for improved sound operation
Nine hours of battery life or AC adapter power source
Includes a one-year warranty
- Weight13 pounds
Customizable bass and graphic equalizer settings
Can link up two to the same sound source + smooth listening (no buzz)
Larger, bulkier model than standard Bluetooth speakers
JBL Boombox Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Coming at you with another epic JBL product, only this time, with a bit more under the hood. JBL pumped out a killer new-age Boombox, outfitted with ultra-fast Bluetooth receivers and an impressive 24-hour battery reserve. That’s enough time to party from dawn to dusk, and keep your phone charged off the battery. With all this awesomeness, you’re going to see it reflect in the price tag. Our only grievance with the speaker itself, is the miniscule interface that’s sort of nestled under the top carry plastic handle. With that in mind, you’ll still be able to enjoy the IPX7 waterproofing, as well as perfect weight balance. Lightweight enough to carry, heavy enough to stay where you put it, and powerful enough to keep the party going.
Includes IPX7 waterproofing (also good against dust buildup)
Twenty-four hour battery reserve keeps devices charged as well
Lightweight to carry easily, heavy enough to stay in place
- Weight6.25 pounds
Seriously high sound output with no bass buzz
Durable build; withstands a lot of damage (we may have dropped it)
One of the highest prices on our list
Small and awkward interface
Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker
Turn up the volume, and dance like Ferris Bueller down the hall. Bose has been one of the key standards in sound technology for years, but they’ve really done it with their SoundLink. You endure a couple of issues, which we always like to get out of the way first. The build is great, but the venting around the 360 degree speaker is easy to scratch the paint off of, and a little too fragile for our liking. You get to connect two speakers together at a considerable distance, but the Bluetooth connectivity to your device does take a little bit longer than we would like. All in all, those issues are minor in comparison to the excellent bass and volume functions of the SoundLink, giving you a chance to either amp up the party, or make use of your day off with some loud tunes flooding the house.
360 degree sound emittance
Durable aluminum body
IPX4 waterproof rating (indoor use preferred)
- Weight1.46 pounds
Pair up to two speakers up to 50 feet away
Twelve-hour battery life
Speaker venting easy to scrape/dent
Bluetooth connection takes longer than it should
Tribit XSound Portable Bluetooth Speaker
We hadn’t heard of Tribit, and after using this Bluetooth speaker, we’ll never be able to forget them. For a very low initial cost, they offer a great blend of features that just about anyone can get behind. You get rich bass and excellent volume control, but after you peak about 80% volume, the bass will drop out. Using Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity, you’ll get an ultra fast connection to your device, but if you try to stream video from YouTube to hear the audio through the speaker, you’ll run into some buffer issues. Music screaming services and internal files work fine, but it encounters a bit of drag when you hit this point. The price, IPX7 waterproofing, and extra long twenty-four hour battery bring a lot to the table, giving you more than enough to work with and enjoy about this portable, powerful XSound Bluetooth speaker.
Twenty-four hour battery
Rich bass and immersive sound
IPX7 waterproof rating
- Weight13.4 ounces
Lightweight and portable; excellent for anywhere
Uses modern Bluetooth 4.2 ultra-fast connection quality to device
If you’re streaming a video (to hear the audio), you’ll encounter some buffer/lag
Bass drops out at 80% volume and above
ION Audio Block Rocker Portable Speaker
It’s about more than just getting the right audio; it has to work for you. ION Audio brings us a truly portable Bluetooth speaker, equipped with rollaway wheels, and a telescoping handle for easy movement. By the pool, campsite, or anywhere else you can think of, you’ll have access to crisp, clear audio. This power reserve lasts up to fifty hours at a full charge, and allows for charging of your devices. As time goes on, the max volume fades. After about six months of use, users report only getting about 75-80% of the previous maximum audio output. Block Rocker goes quite loud, so it shouldn’t be an issue for the long haul, unless you’ll be using this for professional purposes. The Bluetooth connection can be weak at times. You should have your device within close proximity to avoid those issues, and after that, you’re ready to straight up and fly right with ION Audio.
Comes with AM/FM radio setting
USB power bank helps recharge your devices
Easy linking to your smartphone
- BrandION Audio
- Weight24.6 pounds
Wheel it around with the telescope handle for easy maneuverability
Fifty-hour power reserve
Max volume will fade after six months to about 80% of total capacity
Low Bluetooth connectivity range
Soundcore Flare by Anker
One of the leading battery and audio companies on the planet dropped the ultimate addition to your home. To air it out right away, Soundcore Flare works beautifully for streaming music, but not so much for aux connection. There seems to be a lesser-grade hardware to transmit the sound from your device when directly plugged in. While the inclusive app isn’t anything to boast about, the sound quality that does escape this tower-style speaker is breathtaking. The 360 degrees of sound actually evenly distributes throughout the room, giving you an even balance of sound. Mess around with the precision equalizer to keep your perfect sound for your preferred genre, all while enjoying the flashing LED five-color display to match along with the beat of your music. Last but not least, for this level of quality through a name brand, they’re practically giving it away at their standard price.
Color-changing LED base
Able to sync up to two Flares together
Precision equalizer keeps sound and bass on-point
- Weight1.17 pounds
360 degrees of sound works evenly on all sides
Inclusive app is sub-par, which messes with the Bluetooth connectivity a bit
Lower quality when fed through aux cable (hardware issue)
Bose SoundLink Micro
Introducing the micro model of the previously-reviewed SoundLink: Bose put their best efforts forward, giving you a perfect blend of bass and volume to keep your audio playing in a crisp, clean format. They took a step-up from their larger model, by creating a much more durable casing that’s ready to withstand bumps in the night, and normal wear-and-tear. The battery life is less than desirable, only giving you six hours before needing another charge. The built-in speakerphone system to take calls with also lacks any form of clarity, and we don’t recommend you purchase this with that in mind as a key feature for yourself. That being said, SoundLink Micro does come with an IPX7 waterproof rating, and a reasonable wireless range of up to thirty feet from the streaming source. Bose slapped an excellent price on this model, given their quality and attention to detail.
IPX7 waterproof rating
Tear-resistant strap for on-the-go music
Wireless range of up to 30 feet
- Weight10.2 ounces
Durable build resists common damage and frequent bumps
Clear, balanced use of bass and volume throughout every test
Only six hours of battery life
The built-in speakerphone for taking calls is poor quality
JBL Clip 2
You can’t stay away from JBL when you’re talking about sound quality. They went ahead with a micro model, and made one of the best miniature Bluetooth speakers we’ve ever used, while still boasting a ton of power. For starters, Clip 2 is one of the most inexpensive models on this list, and most of the entire exterior is tough as nails. Most; the loop that holds the included lanyard isn’t as strong, and some users have reported it cracking or breaking off entirely, rendering the carry option useless. As with most of these Bluetooth speakers, they’re quick to add-in a microphone option to answer calls, but few have actually made them decent enough quality to worth marketing, which stands for this model, too. Altogether, having IPX7 waterproofing and a perfect balance of bass and volume could be the saving grace of your day.
IPX7 waterproof rating
Connect up to two Clip models together
Integrated 3.5mm cable
- Weight6.6 ounces
Low cost for excellent JBL quality
Durable; withstands knocking around hooked to a bag
Lanyard is strong, but plastic loop on device is not
Speakerphone mic is low quality
Harman Kardon Mini Portable Speaker
We’re winding down the list, but Harman Kardon still brings us something to be hopeful for. This mini portable speaker rests at a fair price, offering an even balance of bass and volume, no matter what setting. The sound quality will last through the ages, but the physical build may not. There’s poor construction on the cord’s quality, and a thin exterior plastic shell. We don’t recommend this for outdoor use, as one slip and fall to the pavement below could be the end. So long as it’s kept in a safe spot, you’ll be able to benefit from the lightning-fast Bluetooth connectivity, and the ten-hour power reserve to keep the music flowing from dusk until dawn. Last but not least, they made it possible to hook up to three smart devices at a time, so you can pass the buck from DJ to DJ.
Add up to three smart devices to keep the music flowing
Ten-hour power reserve
Quick Bluetooth connectivity
- BrandHarman Kardon
- Weight1.29 pounds
Built-in microphone of superior quality
Offers excellent bass at all volume levels
Thin exterior ABS plastic makes this an indoor-only Bluetooth speaker
Poor cord quality
Ultimate Ears UE Roll Black Volcano Speaker
We’ve saved a stellar one for last. FLoat the Black Volcano speaker on the water if you dare, because it’s rocking an IPX7 waterproof rating. You get a battery life of nine hours, but it takes more than half that time to receive a full charge from the AC adapter. This was designed for the pool, made apparent by the 65 foot range for mobile devices. Audio quality doesn’t dip whether it’s connected by aux cable or Bluetooth, but it doesn’t get louder than 85db. If you’re still not certain which portable Bluetooth speaker is right for you, we’ve got a comprehensive guide for you to consult below, pulling all of the details out into the light.
Nine-hour power reserve
Upkeeps quality from aux to Bluetooth and back
- BrandUltimate Ears
- Weight11.7 ounces
Fantastic affordable price
Long mobile range on our list (65 feet)
Takes over five hours to charge
Only up to 85db of sound
Portable Bluetooth Speaker Buying Guide and FAQ
Electronics, and specifically audio equipment, come with a slew of picadillos. We’ve ironed-out all the details of what you should be looking for, breaking them down into their mos basic elements. Remember those days when people used to brag about their sound systems sitting in the trunk? While these won’t be as massive, you’ll be able to boast about your capabilities and their portable, micro size. Let’s get into it.
How We Chose Our Selection of Portable Bluetooth Speakers?
We took a look at just about every single feature imaginable, and cross-referenced customer reviews, Gear Hungry reader reviews, and our own personal accounts. Based on the following criteria, we came to a conclusion on the list.
- Each spec of the audio quality
- Bass features (tested at all volumes)
- Size and weight for portability
- Battery life during personal use vs. what the manufacturer said
- Waterproof capabilities
- Overall cost and value
- Aesthetics and overall practicality of the design
- If they work while charging
- Overall range
- Ease of connectivity
- Life expectancy
We’ll cover some of these in a broken-down fashion in our next section, giving you some insight into the main attributes to look for. It’s all about function, and with electronics, a bit of flair never hurt anyone.
Features to Look for in Portable Bluetooth Speakers
Audio Quality - This is measured in a signal to noise ratio, on a scale of one to one-hundred, measured in decibels. This is the more simplistic way to display the audio quality to consumers, because they actually measure it in sound control tests of wattage output, an SPL level, and capture the quality a meter away. Basically, a 90-100 decibel radio is ultra high quality.
USB Charging - Most of these devices are going to outlast the battery on your smartphone or tablet. Having a USB plug-in option to piggyback off of the main power supply, in order to keep your device running and the music flowing, is basically a necessity.
Volume Capability - Better volume doesn’t always mean better sound; it’s all about the audio quality corresponding to the volume level in a proper way. If you have a high audio quality, you’ll be able to boost the volume and still enjoy crisp, clear quality sound. If you’re going to host the party, a higher volume limit is definitely in order.
Battery Life - Nobody’s ever heard of a good party only lasting for two hours. Your battery life matters immensely, but if you forget to charge the battery, having the ability to play while charging is an added benefit.
Size - These days, it’s not about the size of the audio equipment, it’s about the capabilities. Size is all based on preference, and how much you’re willing to drag around. Moat portable Bluetooth speakers are going to be between one and two pounds, and rarely more than that. We also recommend Bluetooth speakers for creating a little more fun at the campsite; lower weight is better for everybody.
Waterproofing - The best things in life are waterproofed. You can use these in the bathroom while you’re bathing, or have it by the pool without worrying about splashes (keep in mind, they’re not built to go underwater). There are different IPX ratings on waterproofing, which we’ll discuss further into the guide.
Design - Two words dictate how we arrange and test products here on Gear Hungry: function, and flair. If you’re getting a highly-functional device that’s well worth the money, you shouldn’t have to glare at an eyesore. We threw design into the mix of reasons why we picked this list, and so should you.
Wireless Range - Your speaker has to move wherever the party does. Most Bluetooth speakers have a fair range away from your device, but if you don’t want to sacrifice access to your phone to display your tunes (especially if you’re using a streaming service or YouTube, where you can’t exit the app and keep the music playing), you’ll need a higher range. If you’re at your house, connecting your speaker to your PC or laptop that’s inside the house can be a viable option, but it all rests on a reliable signal strength and wireless range.
Price - Price is a factor in everything you do. No matter which way you slice it, you’re going to save a hefty chunk of change by opting for a portable Bluetooth speaker over a large sound system. We have a fairly diverse selection of prices on our list, each with their own benefits. We believe you get what you pay for.
Q: Why do You Need a Portable Bluetooth Speaker?
A: Everybody enjoys tunes; they keep the party alive, your mood mellow, and a comfortable environment at a party. These are just a handful of the occasions and locations we’ve used these portable Bluetooth speakers, giving you a bit of inspiration, and a goal in mind for your purchase.
Hiking Trip - As much as you want to, you can’t hike the whole time. When it’s time to take a rest and put up the blow-up tent for the night, it’s also time to put on some calming music and just enjoy your stress-free day out in the wilderness. If you’re going couples camping, it’s also the perfect way to set the mood to rekindle a missed connection.
Outside by the Pool - Lounging or doing olympic laps, some rocking tunes can put the wind in your sails, or allow you to work on that tan. Who says you can’t multitask?
The Gym - Incase you didn’t know, we’ve big advocates for getting your own home gym equipment and making the perfect atmosphere to work out in. Putting on some inspirational, motivational music can help keep your mind in the moment when you’re trying to rock it for that perfect six pack. Eye of the Tiger, anyone?
These also work perfectly to keep summertime cookout festivities going well into the night. Silence is the secret assassin of get-togethers, whether it’s a lofty shindig, house party, or just grilling and letting the sun cascade down.
Q: How to Pair and Connect Speakers with a Bluetooth Device
A: Technically, you’ll be pairing the speaker with your device. First thing’s first; you have to make it discoverable. Next, you have to go into your device’s Bluetooth settings. Unless you’re in a densely-populated apartment building, you should have no problem locating the speaker’s name. Just to be safe, look at the paper insert that comes with your new speaker, and find the unique identifier number to pinpoint where your speaker is in the dropdown list of options when you flick Bluetooth on.
Instructions may appear on-screen, depending on which brand you go with. Some of them (none on our list) may opt for you to register the product now. You’ll now match your Bluetooth device (which is searched) to the speaker (which is waiting to receive a signal). You’ll get a visual and/or audible notification, stating that you’ve successfully paired your devices.
Q: Does a Bluetooth Speaker Drain my Parent Device Battery Faster?
A: If your phone or tablet, or whatever you’re using, has a lock screen, just be sure to keep it locked while your tunes are playing. It’s going to use the same amount of battery as if you were attached to a Bluetooth headset. In general, if you play music on a device through its own speaker, it’s going to take up a little less battery than if you’re using Bluetooth; that’s not exclusive to Bluetooth speakers. Your device has a Bluetooth receiver, and it takes power to operate. If the Bluetooth setting on your device is on, it’ll use a little more battery, period.
Understanding the Difference in IPX Waterproof Ratings for Your Bluetooth Speaker
Waterproofing is great, but it’s good to know exactly what your waterproof rating can handle. There are different grades, measured in IPX ratings, as follows:
- IPX0: You won’t see this displayed from advertisers or manufacturers, because this boasts absolutely zero protection from water. Your device will get damaged and possibly destroyed.
- IPX1: Protection from drops of water (not rain) for five minutes.
- IPX2: Able to take trickle-sized splashes of water, needs to be dried immediately.
- IPX3: As long as your item is upright, it’ll withstand very light splashes for a minute or two.
- IPX4: Protects against one or two light splashes of water, for no longer than three minutes.
- IPX5: Withstands a minimal amount of sprayed water for a short amount of time.
- IPX6: Withstands light sprays of water for a small amount of time.
- IPX7: On average, your device will last for up to a half-hour between two and three feet of submersion.
- IPX8: These blend into manufacturer specifics. Usually, you’ll get some sort of a system where they measure a certain amount of feet underwater that it can handle, but only for a certain number of minutes.