10 Reasons to Avoid New Boomboxes Today

The man cover his ears from loud noise wafting out from big sound speakers with funny faces. On black background. Image.

10 Reasons to Avoid New Boomboxes Today

Key Points

  • Boomboxes, known for their retro charm, may not live up to expectations due to sound quality issues and impracticality.
  • Modern boomboxes often sacrifice sound quality for booming bass, resulting in unbalanced audio output.
  • The bulkiness of boomboxes and limited battery life make them less practical compared to sleek Bluetooth speakers.
  • Boomboxes can be expensive, with the price often reflecting the retro design rather than the device’s actual features.
  • Alternative options to boomboxes include Bluetooth speakers, smart speakers, and stereo systems, which offer superior sound quality and convenience.

The world is loving the retro charm of the resurging boomboxes. However, a closer look at this throwback tech trend reveals a few pitfalls. Whether it’s the sound quality, the ease of use, or the price, these “new” boomboxes might not be all they’re cracked up to be. Let’s delve into the reasons to avoid boomboxes today, but first, a bit of background.

Some Background on the Boombox

This video provides a detailed explanation of the exciting history of boomboxes.

Born in the 1970s and booming through the 80s, the boombox was a vital part of popular culture. Recognizable by their substantial size and booming sound, they brought a sense of mobility to music. This allowed it to sound through urban streets, beach parties, or anywhere that music lovers congregated. Fast forward to today, several brands are bringing back the spirit of this vintage gadget.

These modern versions of boomboxes come packed with numerous features. These include Bluetooth compatibility, USB ports, and the ability to play vinyl records. Despite their vintage allure and these modern features, the new versions of these iconic music machines may not necessarily align with the needs and expectations of every music enthusiast.

Reasons to Avoid a New Boombox

While boomboxes are a staple of pop culture and carry a nostalgic charm, several practical considerations might dissuade you from purchasing a new one.

Sound Quality

Boomboxes are infamous for their loud sound, but loudness doesn’t necessarily equate to good sound quality. Often, the booming bass, a signature feature of these devices, comes at the expense of the fidelity of mid and high-range frequencies. This unbalanced audio output can lead to a muddy or distorted music experience, especially when the volume is cranked up.

Modern boomboxes try to rectify this problem with equalizer settings. However, they still lag behind dedicated audio systems or high-quality portable speakers that prioritize balanced sound profiles.


In an era where minimalism and compactness are king, the bulkiness of a boombox is a significant setback. In an attempt to retain the oversized aesthetic of their 80s ancestors, modern boomboxes can be hefty, making them cumbersome for everyday use or travel. When pitted against the legion of sleek, lightweight Bluetooth speakers flooding the market, boomboxes can seem like a relic from an impractical past.

Limited Battery Life

The impressive volume and multitude of features of boomboxes often come at a heavy cost – a rapidly depleting battery life. Some boomboxes offer rechargeable batteries to mitigate this issue, but it doesn’t eliminate the inconvenience of frequent charging. If your boombox will often be part of your outdoor adventures or gatherings, be prepared for it to run out of juice at the most inopportune times.


Modern boomboxes can pack a hefty price tag, especially those that emulate vintage aesthetics and functionalities. In many cases, you’re shelling out a significant sum for the retro design and nostalgic factor rather than the device’s actual sound quality or features. For the same price, you could purchase advanced sound systems or multiple high-quality portable speakers.

Value and price symbol. Businessman turns wooden cubes and changes the word price to value or vice versa. Beautiful grey table, grey background, copy space. Business value and price concept.
Some users might not think the high price of boomboxes is worth it


©Dmitry Demidovich/Shutterstock.com

Incomplete Retro Experience

Despite their outward appearance, modern boomboxes can disappoint those seeking a fully fledged retro experience. Many lack the ability to play cassettes or vinyl records, offering only USB or Bluetooth inputs. If you yearn for the authenticity of a vintage audio experience, an original 80s boombox or a dedicated record or cassette player might be a more satisfactory option.

Environment Impact

Boomboxes, particularly those powered by non-rechargeable batteries, pose considerable environmental challenges. The manufacturing, usage, and disposal of batteries contribute to pollution and resource depletion, putting a strain on the environment. If ecological responsibility is a crucial factor in your purchasing decisions, the environmental footprint of a boombox might be a deal-breaker.

Limited Radio Reception

Despite many modern boomboxes offering AM/FM radio functionality, the quality of the reception can be subpar. Reception can be particularly weak in rural areas or places with high interference levels. If you envision your boombox as a reliable way to tune into local radio stations or catch a game, the inconsistent reception might leave you frustrated.

Bluetooth Connectivity Issues

Bluetooth has become a standard feature in modern boomboxes, providing the convenience of wireless connectivity. However, it’s not always as seamless as one would hope. Users have reported issues ranging from difficulties in pairing devices, lags in sound transmission, to intermittent signal losses. If a smooth, uninterrupted listening experience is a priority, potential Bluetooth issues might be another reason to reconsider purchasing a new boombox.

Durability Issues

Modern boomboxes may not be as durable as their vintage counterparts. They are often made from cheaper materials to keep costs down, leading to issues with longevity. Over time, you might find that buttons stop working, the CD player starts skipping, or the battery life dwindles even more.


Keeping a boombox in good working condition can require more maintenance than modern portable speakers. With more mechanical parts, like CD players and cassette decks, there are more things that can break or need cleaning. These maintenance issues can add to the overall cost and inconvenience of owning a boombox.

Alternatives to New Boomboxes

Considering the drawbacks, you might want to explore alternatives to new boomboxes:

Bluetooth Speakers

Offering superior portability, sound quality, and battery life, Bluetooth speakers easily outperform modern boomboxes. They come in a diverse range of prices and styles, which means you can find a device tailored to your needs and budget. They are often equipped with advanced audio technology, such as noise-cancellation and surround sound features, enhancing your listening experience even more.

Lasts All Day
Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker
  • Great sound with deep bass and excellent clarity
  • Battery life lasts 24 hours on one charge
  • Can connect to Bluetooth devices up to 66 feet
  • IPX5 waterproof and robust construction
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
12/02/2023 11:35 am GMT

Smart Speakers

Smart speakers stand out with their excellent sound quality and the added convenience of voice control and smart home integration. Giants like Amazon, Google, and Apple all produce their own smart speaker variants, each offering a unique blend of sound quality, intelligence, and smart features. These speakers also deliver personalized experiences like setting reminders, making calls, or controlling other smart devices, apart from providing rich audio.

Amazon Option
Echo Dot 5th Gen (2022)
  • Built-in microphone off button and in-app privacy controls
  • The LED display enables clock, weather, song titles, and more
  • 3.5 mm line out
  • The Alexa app is compatible with Fire OS, Android, and iOS devices 
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12/03/2023 08:25 am GMT

Stereo Systems

Investing in a proper stereo system and shelf speakers might be the best decision for those where sound quality is non-negotiable. Though stereo systems may lack the portability of a boombox or Bluetooth speaker, they compensate by delivering a superior audio experience that is hard to match. Stereo systems are designed to reproduce sound accurately and can support various audio formats. They often allow customization of audio settings to suit your personal preferences.

Great Sound
Magnavox MM442 3-Piece Top Loading CD Shelf System
  • Top-loading CD player
  • LED display and built-in USB port
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • High-quality finish and materials
  • EQ function and total 10 RMS output
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12/02/2023 11:40 am GMT

Reasons You May Still Want to Purchase a Boombox

Despite the potential downsides, you might still consider buying a boombox. After all, these devices offer the nostalgic charm of the 80s and 90s, often coupled with excellent audio quality. They’re also versatile, with options to play CDs, cassettes, and even connect to modern devices through auxiliaries or Bluetooth. Further, their portability makes them a fantastic choice for outdoor gatherings or events where you want to enjoy music without relying on electricity.

Classic Player
Sony Stereo CD/Cassette Boombox Home Audio Radio, Black
  • Bundle Includes: Sony Stereo CD/Cassette Boombox Home Audio Radio and DVD/CD Lens Cleaner
  • Radio: FM/AM Tuner, Digital Tuning and 30 Station Presets
  • Audio: AUX Audio Input fr Digital Music Players
  • Recording: Built-in Cassette Tape Deck with Recording Function
  • Stereo: Full-Function Stereo Sound Playback CDs, CD-R/RW and MP3 CDs
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12/02/2023 11:41 am GMT

Wrapping Up

Indeed, while modern boomboxes may evoke a sense of nostalgia and a yearning for retro aesthetics, they come with an array of substantial drawbacks. Issues ranging from subpar sound quality to high cost and impracticality can often outweigh their vintage charm. Evaluating your audio requirements, it’s likely you’ll discover that other contemporary audio options such as Bluetooth speakers, smart speakers, or stereo systems could provide a superior listening experience, better value for money, and convenience.

Summary Table

Reasons to Avoid a New Boombox
Sound Quality
Limited Battery Life
Incomplete Retro Experience
Environment Impact
Limited Radio Reception
Bluetooth Connectivity Issues
Durability Issues

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I look for if I decide to buy a portable speaker instead of a boombox?

Consider factors like sound quality, battery life, portability, durability, and price. Check out reviews and ratings to see how the speaker performs in real-world situations.

Are modern boomboxes the same as the ones from the 80s?

While they may resemble their 80s counterparts in style, modern boomboxes differ significantly in terms of features and capabilities. Most now include modern features like Bluetooth connectivity and digital tuning.

Are boomboxes worth the price?

The price of a boombox really depends on what you value and are looking for. If you value the nostalgia and style of a boombox, it most certainly may be worth the price. However, if you’re looking for the best sound quality or portability, there are definitely better options available on the market.

How do I maintain a boombox?

To maintain a boombox, you need to clean it regularly and remove the batteries if you’re not using it for extended periods. On top of this, you should avoid exposing your boombox to moisture or extreme temperatures.

What's the difference between a boombox and a Bluetooth speaker?

The main difference between a boombox and a Bluetooth speaker is in the design and aesthetic. Boomboxes often have a retro look and are typically bigger in size. Meanwhile, Bluetooth speakers come in various styles and sizes. Sound quality and features can also​​ vary significantly between the two.

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