Are you looking for the best portable speaker on the market? You clicked on the right page. Lately, major companies such as Sony, Bose, Sonos, and JBL have introduced powerful wireless speakers, making it challenging to pick out the most suitable option without in-depth research.
If you want to land the best wireless speaker, there are many things to consider, including price, sound quality, durability, and portability. The hard part is that you have to dig deep into the features of every portable speaker you find on the web or see in stores before deciding on one.
Fortunately, you no longer need to worry about doing the research yourself because we have already done all the groundwork to provide you with a list of the best portable speakers based on various factors. Here are the best portable speakers you can buy today.
- Best Overall: Sonos Roam
- Best on a Budget: Anker Soundcore 3
- Most Durable: Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 3
- Best for Premium Sound: Sonos Move
- Best Battery Life: JBL Charge 5
- Best for Portability: JBL Clip 4
Best Overall: Sonos Roam
- Wi-Fi compatibility
- Compatible with Apple AirPlay 2, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant
- Waterproof, lightweight, and durable
- Automatic Trueplay tuning
- 10 hours of playtime
The Sonos Roam comes out as the best portable speaker overall because of its powerful sound, fast connectivity featuring Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5, and excellent smart features. But that’s not all; with these incredible features, the Sonos Roam is fairly priced at $169.
Another plus about Sonos Roam is the IP67 rating for water- and dust resistance. Therefore, you won’t have to be extra careful while swimming or on the beach as the Sonos Roam is water-resistant and dustproof.
Looking at the sound quality, Sonos Roam has been designed with a tweeter and mid-woofer to give the best sound quality despite its size. Unfortunately, the Roam lacks the sub-bass, which could make it sound better, especially if you like loud music. But that shouldn’t be a problem, as you can always connect the Sonos Roam to other Sonos speakers in your home via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
The ease of use and fast connectivity also made Sonos Roam the best overall portable speaker on our list. You find all the control buttons on one side of the speaker consisting of a play/pause button, volume up and down, and microphone mute.
You can also use the Sonos app to pair two Roam speakers and easily control them via the app. Other significant functionalities you will enjoy on the Sonos app include excellent connectivity to the Sonos Radio service, the ability to choose your favorite streaming services, and selecting the voice assistant you wish to use.
One of the drawbacks of Sonos Roam is its battery life. It promises up to 10 hours of playback which doesn’t match some of its immediate competitors, such as UE MEGABOOM 3, offering up to 20 hrs of battery life. Apart from the short battery life, the Roam doesn’t support phone calls. The mic on the speaker is only useable with the voice assistant and the automatic Trueplay feature.
|Excellent smart features||Limited battery life of up to 10 hours|
|Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5 connectivity||Doesn’t support phone calls|
|Can connect with other Sonos products||Lacks sub-bass|
|Durable speaker with IP67 rating|
|Very portable (0.43 kg)|
Check out the Sonos Roam on Amazon.
Best on a Budget: Anker Soundcore 3
If you are looking for an affordable portable speaker, the Anker Soundcore 3 should top your list. It is designed in different colors, and the black one is the cheapest, costing $51, while the blue, red, and silver cost $56.
At such a low cost, the Anker Soundcore 3 promises up to 24 hours of playtime, which is better than what most brands offer. In addition, it’s waterproof with an IPX7 rating, making it convenient for use around the pool or bathroom.
Another amazing fact about this affordable portable speaker is the PartyCast technology which enables you to pair up to 100+ to other Soundcore speakers. On top of the PartyCast technology, you get the Soundcore App with 4 EQ modes, allowing you to customize the sound based on your preference. Finally, the Soundcore 3 offers 16W of stereo sound, making it appropriate for both indoor and outdoor spaces.
|Good battery life||Not perfect while playing at higher volumes|
|IPX7 waterproof rating||The rubber case can easily display marks|
|Reliable Soundcore App and EQ modes|
|Can pair with up to 100 other Soundcore speakers|
Check out the Anker Soundcore 3 on Amazon.
Most Durable: Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 3
The Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 3 is among the few portable speakers that can be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes without damage. It has IP67 water and dust resistance, making it suitable for outdoor activities. Besides complete protection against dust and water, the WONDERBOOM 3 has been designed to float on water.
The UE WONDERBOOM 3 cylindrical design enables the speaker to burst sound in all directions. This powerful speaker, with oversized volume control and a special Magic Button, is easy to control. The aforementioned button lets you control your playlist and quickly start playing music when the speaker is off.
|Powerful sound that plays in all directions||The Magic button functionality only supports Apple Music or Deezer (for Android users)|
|It has a rugged build||Poor bass quality in full volume|
|Long battery life|
|Floats on water|
|Water and dust resistant|
Check out the Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 3 on Amazon.
Best for Premium Sound: Sonos Move
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity
- Up to 11 hours of battery life
- Automatic Trueplay balances sound depending on the environment and content
- IP56 rated for resistance to humidity, rain, snow, dust, salt spray, UV rays, and extreme temperatures
- Built-in Alexa
Sonos has designed many portable speakers with incredible features, but the Sonos Move has some extra features that make it have premium sound. Firstly, it’s designed with a single down-firing tweeter, a mid-woofer, and two Class-D digital amplifiers, enabling it to maintain sound clarity and dynamic range in low and high volumes.
You get complete control of your music with the Sonos app, enabling you to browse music, podcasts, and audiobooks easily. Unlike other portable speakers, the Sonos Move includes Trueplay room correction, ensuring that the audio output suits your surroundings. It’s also portable with a built-in handle and comes with an advanced charging system, allowing you to use either the USB-C or the charging dock.
|Excellent wireless connectivity options||No real EQ|
|In-built handle for portability||Limited battery life of up to 10 hours|
Check out the Sonos Move on Amazon.
Best Battery Life: JBL Charge 5
- Features a long excursion driver, separate tweeter, and dual JBL bass radiators
- Up to 20 hours of playtime
- IP67 waterproof and dust-proof rating
- PartyBoost feature
- Built-in power bank
The JBL Charge 5 is one of the portable speakers with a long battery life that lasts up to 20 hours. It is the best on our list because it enables users to charge their phone or any external device using the USB-A port.
You should highly consider the battery life of the portable speaker you buy if you plan to use it outdoors. The good news is that many wireless speakers have been designed with powerful batteries lasting up to 24 hours on a single charge.
Unfortunately, you don’t get fast charging with the JBL Charge 5. It takes 4 hours for the speaker to fully charge. But this shouldn’t be a problem because you won’t have to charge it every time, thanks to the powerful lithium-ion battery.
Another plus of the JBL Charge 5 is the IP67 dust and water resistance rating. So, you can carry your speaker anywhere as it can’t be damaged when exposed to dust or submerged in water.
|Balanced audio quality||No fast charging|
|Includes USB-A port for charging smartphones||No EQ on the App|
|Water and dust resistant||Lacks aux jack|
|Get extremely loud|
Check out the JBL Charge 5 on Amazon.
Best for Portability: JBL Clip 4
The JBL Clip 4 should be on your list if you seek an ultra-portable speaker. It is designed with an integrated carabiner that enables you to clip it on anything you are carrying. So, if you love bike riding, going for morning runs, or taking a walk while listening to music, JBL Clip 4 should be your next speaker. It comes in multiple colors, weighs 0.239 kg, and measures 3.4 x 5.3 x 1.8 inches.
Despite its small size, it is designed with a compact speaker that supplies impressive sound. However, you may find the bass losing its value at maximum volumes. The best part about JBL Clip 4 is the IP67 water and dust resistance.
Also, it has a reliable battery that can last up to 10 hours on a single charge. On the downside, you can’t pair this portable speaker with other JBL speakers, so it doesn’t support the PartyBoost mode on the app.
|Powerful sound despite its small size||No speakerphone capabilities|
|IP67 water and dust resistance||Doesn’t support PartyBoost Mode on the app|
|Ultra-portable speaker||Poor sound quality on max volume|
|10-hour battery life|
Check out the JBL Clip 4 on Amazon.
How to Pick the Best Portable Speaker: Step by Step
Many portable speakers are being introduced on the market today. These speakers share common features, and picking one over the other is tough. For this reason, we provide a guide that will help you easily distinguish the best portable speaker. Here are the things to look out for.
The battery life of the portable speaker you intend to buy is crucial because it saves you from the frustrations of multiple recharge periods. Therefore, you should aim for a portable speaker with reliable battery life, preferably one that can last 10 hours or more.
Fortunately, many wireless speakers are investing heavily in batteries. So, finding one with good battery life won’t be much of a challenge. Remember that the correct battery life depends on how you intend to use it. For instance, you should aim for a wireless speaker with the highest battery life if you will use the speakers outdoors for an extended period.
When we talk about portable speakers, size is a great determinant of whether you should buy them. Well, there are claims that bigger portable speakers have better sound quality than small ones. But that is not true, as the size of the wireless speaker doesn’t determine its properties.
Therefore, depending on your needs, you will know the best portable speaker to buy. For instance, if you’re looking for a portable speaker for your outdoor activities such as hiking, jogging, or bicycle riding, you should find a small-sized speaker. However, you shouldn’t be hard on yourself about the correct size if you plan to use it indoors or around your home.
Audio quality is a factor most buyers ignore in favor of other aspects, such as price. But it would be best to find a portable speaker with premium sound that doesn’t lose its quality in low and high volumes. Check the sensitivity, frequency response, and impedance to specify a portable speaker with the best audio quality.
A higher sensitivity rating indicates the speaker is very loud. On average, most speakers have a sensitivity of about 87-88 dB. But if you love loud music, you should aim for over 90 dB sensitivity rating.
Regarding the frequency response, note that a lower frequency results in better sound quality. Therefore, look for one ranging between 20Hz and 20kHz. Finally, check that the speaker has a low impedance (between 6 to 8 ohms).
Water and Dust Resistance
You will probably be using your portable speaker outdoors. Therefore, you need to buy a speaker that will not be damaged when exposed to dust or submerged in water. Luckily, you can study the IP rating on the properties of a speaker to determine if it’s completely water and dust resistant.
IP67 is usually the highest IP rating, meaning the speaker can’t be damaged, even when submerged in water up to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes. This IP rating also means the portable speaker is dustproof. You can also check for the IPX7 rating, which indicates the speaker is fully waterproof.
What to Know Before Buying a Portable Speaker
Before spending money on a portable speaker, you should understand your needs. Here is a question you should answer: “Where will you use the speaker the most?” That way, you will be in a better position to choose the best wireless speaker on the market.
For instance, you shouldn’t focus much on water and dust resistance if you’re purchasing a speaker for home use. However, you should consider a rugged and waterproof speaker if you will be using it mostly outdoors or in the shower.
Once you understand your needs, check on the connectivity of the speaker. It would be best to find a portable speaker with an auxiliary connector because it will come in handy when connecting other audio devices directly. In addition, aim for a speaker with a microphone, as it helps you answer calls directly through the speaker.
Using the Best Portable Speaker: What It’s Like
Portable speakers are very convenient in that you can carry them anywhere you are going. There have been great advancements over the years, and now these portable speakers have a powerful sound similar to wired speakers.
Another advantage is the ability to pair multiple portable speakers together; therefore, you can wirelessly connect the speakers around your house. It is also easy to control the portable speakers through your phone or the buttons.
If you are using smart speakers, you can use voice assistants to control your speakers from a distance. Finally, these speakers have remarkable battery life lasting up to 24 hours on a single charge. So, you can always enjoy your music without depending on direct electric power.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Geobor/Shutterstock.com.