18 For the music lover The best portable Bluetooth speaker
18. For the music lover: The best portable Bluetooth speaker
If you’re shopping for someone who loves listening to music or podcasts,consider giving the gift of our favorite portable bluetooth speaker, the JBLFlip 5 speaker. It’s the best portable Bluetooth speaker we’ve tested, andit’s waterproof, meaning it can be used anywhere, rain or shine. A portablespeaker is always great to have to bring on hikes, use at home, or listen tooutside. They’re especially great for outdoor socially distant gatherings.Get the JBL Flip 5 Portable Bluetooth Speaker on Amazon for $99.95
Cheapest Portable Bluetooth Speaker
If your choice is based on price, then the OontZ Angle 3 is the cheapestoption we reviewed. The OontZ Angle 3 is also ultra-compact and lightweightweighing only 9oz. Even though it’s cheap, the OontZ Angle 3 comes withpremium features like a speakerphone, bass radiator, and an IPX5 waterproofrating. For its size, the Angle 3 makes some serious noise. Cheap in price butby no means in quality.If you’re after the best audio quality, then the Marshall Kilburn is way aheadof the competition. The best description of the Kilburn is it sounds likebutter. Smooth sounding with rich bass and exceptional clarity in the mids andhighs.
Loudest Portable Bluetooth Speaker
If you want to get a party going, there’s only one portable speaker for it.The Altec Lansing XPEDITION 4 delivers 200W of power output with some seriousbass as well as flashing lights to get a party started. If you pair a secondXPEDITION 4, you’ll have 400W of sound. No speaker portable Bluetooth speakercan match the power and sound of the XPEDITION 4. The Altec Lansing XPEDITION4 is also our best waterproof and best bass portable Bluetooth speaker.Sometimes size does matter. If you want the most compact portable speaker,it’s a close call between the OontZ Angle 3 and Sony XB10 with almostidentical size and weight. While the Angle 3 delivers good sound, the SonyXB10 does a significantly better job. Both speakers have an IPX5 waterproofrating with a built-in speakerphone and bass radiator. The XB10 is, however,$100 more than the Angle 3.For its size, the OontZ Angle 3 is surprisingly loud! Not only is it loud butalso produces a significant amount of bass for such a small speaker.
What is a portable Bluetooth speaker?
Portable Bluetooth speakers are compact and lightweight, most of which be heldin the palm of your hand and easily fit in a backpack or laptop bag. These arenot necessarily party speakers but more for some easy listening backgroundmusic. Having said that, we have a couple options pushing the boundaries ofwhat a typical portable Bluetooth speaker should look and sound like.
OontZ Angle 3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker Conclusion
The OontZ Angle 3 is a great portable Bluetooth speaker for any occasion.Because it’s so lightweight and splashproof, you can literally take the OontZAngle 3 anywhere. At under $30, the OontZ Angle 3 is an affordable choice,especially for students looking for a dorm room speaker. Due to the Angle 3size and weight, you can put the speaker in your carry on to take on flights.Perfect for travelers looking for something to take on the road. Be sure topurchase the OontZ Angle 3 Carry Case for safe transportation and storage.The DOSS Touch is another popular portable Bluetooth speake. The DOSS Touchhas a more stylish and sophisticated aesthetic while still offering soliddesign features and good sound.The Bluetooth speaker measures 6.6” wide and stands just 2.9” high weighingjust shy of 20oz making it compact lightweight enough to go in a backpack orlaptop bag.The DOSS Touch features two full range speakers delivering 12W of power. Thereis no bass radiator but the DOSS Touch still manages to produce a good basssound. The mids and highs are clear while the overall sound quality is good.Not quite as good as the JBL Flip or Sony XB10, but you’ll be pleasantlysurprised for a Bluetooth speaker under $30.The focal point of the DOSS Touch is its touch-sensitive control surface onthe top of the Bluetooth speaker. Back-lit LEDs illuminate each element makingit easy to see and adjust. In the center is a large blue LED circle. Runningyour finger in circular motions left and right adjusts the volume up and down.There is a play/pause doubling as call answer/reject, track skipforward/backward and a Mode button to switch between the inputs.The DOSS Touch features three inputs, ⅛ inch AUX, micro SD and Bluetooth.Bluetooth pairing is quick and easy with voice prompts to inform you whenpairing and paired. Once paired, the DOSS Touch will pair automatically to thesame device when powered up. A paired Bluetooth device can be controlled viathe touch controls as mentioned above. The DOSS Touch has a built-inmicrophone so it can be used as a speakerphone for making and receiving calls.The speaker has a ringing tone and also alerts you via a voice prompt of theincoming call.This portable Bluetooth speaker has a built-in rechargeable battery whichlasts up to 12 hours at 75% of continuous playing time. This is above averagewhen compared to other compact portable Bluetooth speakers. From flat, thebattery will fully recharge between 3-4 hours. The DOSS Touch comes with themicro USB for charging but does not include a socket adapter. So you’ll eitherneed to charge on your laptop or purchase this separately. You can also useyour phone adapter. Check the voltage and current specs before plugging in!
DOSS Touch Bluetooth Portable Speaker Conclusion
The DOSS Touch is a great budget portable Bluetooth speaker. Good soundquality with no distortion, solid design features, and appealing aesthetics.You also get premium features like a built-in speakerphone for taking calls.The DOSS Touch is not water or dustproof, so if you need a portable Bluetoothspeaker for outdoors, then you might be better off choosing one of the IPXrated options in this article.The Anker Soundcore 2 is the second edition of the hugely popular AnkerSoundcore. The Soundcore 2 has become as popular as it’s predecessor withimprovements in both design and sound quality. The biggest improvement is theSoundcore 2 is the speaker is now IPX5 rated. Other improvements includeimproved bass response utilizing Anker BassUp technology as well as betterclarity in the mids and highs and a slight bump in volume.The Anker Soundcore 2 features two full-range drivers delivering a total of12W of power. Pretty standard for compact portable Bluetooth speakers. Asmentioned, there have been improvements in the Soundcore’s bass which is nowmore defined without being muddy or distorting. The mids and highs are clearwith good intelligibility across all music genres.Like the original Soundcore, the Soundcore 2 is completely rubberized aroundthe sides and rear to protect against moisture and dust. Behind the frontgrille, around the speaker drivers, there is further dust and, moistureprotection to give the Soundcore 2 an IPX5 rating.The inputs are covered but a watertight rubber seal where you’ll find the ⅛inch AUX input and micro USB charging port.The Soundcore 2 allows for two input connections, Bluetooth and ⅛ inch AUX.Bluetooth pairing is excellent and once paired, will automatically connect tothe same device when powered up. Bluetooth range is up to 66ft which is betterthan most compact portable Bluetooth speakers.On top of the Bluetooth speaker, you’ll find an identical control panel to theoriginal Soundcore with the power button, volume up/down, play/pause andBluetooth pairing. Really simple layout with a trendy minimalist design.The Soundcore 2 features a built-in battery with 24-hour battery life. This isbased on continuous play at about 60% volume which is double the lifespan ofother compact portable Bluetooth speakers.
Anker Soundcore 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker Conclusion
The original Anker Soundcore is one of the best budget portable Bluetoothspeakers to hit the market in the last 18 months or so. With the improvementsmade to the Soundcore 2, you’re getting an exceptional portable Bluetoothspeaker for under $40. The Soundcore 2 is compact and lightweight making iteasy to put in a backpack, laptop bag, or even a large pocket on a pair ofjeans. The Anker Soundcore 2 offers great sound with a simple, trendy designat an affordable price. Available in black, blue, and red.Another hugely popular compact portable Bluetooth speaker in the last 18months has been the AOMAIS Sport II. The AOMAIS Sport II measures 7.6” wide by2.9” high and weighs a little under 20oz which is heavier than most compactBluetooth speakers but still small enough to be included in the compact rangeof portable speakers.The Sport II has rugged design features with a rubberized exterior to protectagainst water, dust and the occasional bump or drop. The speaker has a goodsolid feel with a nice weight which seems like it’s built to last. The SportII carries an IPX7 rating which means it can be submerged to a depth of 1m forup to 30 minutes. You also get a cool blue floatie with the speaker so it canfloat around the pool playing music. The Sport II straps on to the floatie soif it flips over, the speaker won’t sink.The Sport II features dual full range speakers in the front with a bassradiator out the rear producing an impressive 20W. This is close to doubleother compact Bluetooth speakers on the market. Want even more power? AOMAISallows you to pair two Sport II speakers to have 40W of stereo sound. That’sthe same amount of power as the average TV soundbar! At under $30, you caneasily purchase two AOMAIS Sport II and still come out cheaper than mostpremium brands like JBL, Sony or Altec Lansing.In terms of sound quality, the AOMAIS Sport II is good for a speaker under$30. There is a decent amount of bass and if you place the speaker on it’sback facing up or with the rear against a wall, the bass is accentuatedsignificantly due to the rear bass radiator. The mids and highs are good butnot as clear as premium brands like JBL, Sony or Altec Lansing. Still, atunder $30, it’s better than you would expect for sure.The AOMAIS Sport II features a ⅛ inch AUX and Bluetooth inputs. The Bluetoothis quick and easy to pair and also has the option of NFC pairing for Androiddevices. Bluetooth range is a standard 33ft with solid connectivity. The SportII includes a built-in microphone so you can make and receive calls whilepaired via Bluetooth. The speaker has voice prompts so you know when it’spowered on, pairing, paired etc.The control panel on the Sport II is extensive but nicely laid out so as notto be cluttered. There is a power button/Bluetooth pairing, play/pause, trackskip forward/backward, and volume up/down. There are LED indicators for power,battery life, and Bluetooth so with a quick glance you know what’s going on.On the bottom of the speaker is a threaded insert for mounting the Sport II ona tripod, or anywhere you choose. This is great if you want to mount the SportII on your bike using a bike mount.
AOMAIS Sport II Portable Bluetooth Speaker Conclusion
The AOMAIS Sport II takes things up a notch in the budget end of the compactportable Bluetooth speaker range. The Sport II features 20W of sound, built-inspeakerphone, IPX7 waterproof rating and can be paired with a second Sport IIfor double the sound all for under $30. These are features usually found inBluetooth speakers double or even triple the price. The AOMAIS Sport II offersgreat features, good sound at an affordable price.Consider adding the AOMAIS Speaker Sling Cover which has a handle and extrarubberized protection so you can carry the speaker to parties outdoors.The APIE is another popular portable Bluetooth speaker. The design resemblessomething you might find issued to you in the Army with its military greencolor, carabiner clip, and rugged exterior. To add to its outdoor survivefeatures, the APIE is both waterproof and dustproof.The APIE features two full range speakers in the front with a bass radiator inthe rear producing 10W of power. The speaker produces a decent amount of basswith good clarity across the mids and highs. Sound quality is on par with theother portable Bluetooth speakers in the $30 price range.The speaker is ultra-compact at 5.9” wide by 2.7” high and weighs only 12.4ozmaking it easy to carry around or for traveling. The carabiner clip can beattached to a backpack, bike or anywhere you want for hands-freetransportation with your music on the go. The APIE features a 10-hour batterylife which is more than enough for most outdoor adventures. Actual batterylife will depend on the volume you operate the speaker at.The APIE has a waterproof rating of IPX6 which means it can handle sprays fromjets from all angles. So safe for the shower or beside the pool, but not inthe pool. The AUX and charger inputs are located behind a watertight rubberseal to prevent water or dust from getting in. The entire speaker, except thespeaker grille, is covered in rubber to protect against water as well as theodd bump, knock or drop.With the APIE you have the option of cable connection through the ⅛ inch AUXor wireless with Bluetooth 4.1. Bluetooth pairing is quick and easy with solidconnectivity. The Bluetooth range on the APIE is a standard 33ft.The APIE has a small control panel on the top of the speaker with poweron/off, play/pause, volume up/down, and a Bluetooth pairing button whichdoubles as a call answer/reject. The APIE includes a built-in microphone forhands-free calling.
APIE Portable Bluetooth Speaker Conclusion
If you’re looking for an affordable rugged portable Bluetooth speaker withmilitary looking design features, then the APIE Portable Bluetooth Speaker isgoing to be your best option. At just over $26, the APIE is the cheapestportable Bluetooth speaker we feature in this article while still holding itsown against the under $30 competition. The APIE includes premium features atan affordable price offering you the best value for your money.The SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker II is the second edition of theSoundLink from Bose. There have been significant improvements on both buildand sound quality making the SoundLink II significantly better than theoriginal.The biggest adjustment is a significant improvement in build quality. Theoriginal was made of plastic and the grille would flex when some pressure wasapplied giving it a less than premium feel. Not something you’d expect from apremium brand like Bose. The SoundLink II has a solid outer casing with soft-touch silicone cover in a trendy matte finish giving the speaker a high-quality look and feel.The SoundLink II is also now IPX4 waterproof rated making it splashproof. Theoriginal had no waterproof features.Another upgrade in the SoundLink II is the addition of a built-in microphone.As well as making and receiving calls, you can also use the SoundLink II forvoice commands to Siri or Google Now when paired via Bluetooth.The SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker II features two 1.5” full range drivers(Bose doesn’t specify wattage). Unlike many competing compact portableBluetooth speakers, SoundLink II doesn’t have a bass radiator. The result isthe speaker does lack some bottom end when compared to other models, however,the bass the SoundLink II delivers is more natural with good definition. Themids and highs are exceptionally clear with no distortion or change in audioquality when played at higher volumes.The SoundLink II features Bluetooth 4.2 with a ⅛ inch AUX input. Pairing theSoundLink II is quick and easy with the ability to store 8 devices for theSoundLink II to switch between. There is also NFC for instant pairing onAndroid devices. Voice prompts help assist you through powering on and pairingso you know when these actions have been completed.The SoundLink II control panel offers a lot of functionality and control viathe multi-function button. Using this one button, you can play pause, skiptracks, make calls with voice command, answer/end/reject/mute/hold calls aswell as switch between active calls. This is an advanced call feature youwon’t find on budget models. The call quality on the Bose SoundLink II is alsosignificantly better than cheaper brands.Other controls on the panel included power on/off, volume +/-, Bluetoothpairing, and input switching.
JBL Xtreme Portable Bluetooth Speaker Conclusion
While the JBL Xtreme is bulkier than other portable Bluetooth speakers, itdoes offer exceptional sound quality with a premium build and aesthetic. TheXtreme delivers a lot more bass than the cheaper models without sounding woolyor distorting. At 40W, the JBL Xtreme is the most powerful and loudestportable Bluetooth speaker we received for this article. If you pair a secondXtreme using the JBL Connect feature you’ll have a whopping 80W of power.That’s more than enough to get a party going!The XB10 is part of Sony’s hugely popular Extra Bass range which includesportable Bluetooth speakers and headphones. There are several Bluetoothspeakers in this range with the XB10 being the most compact and lightweight.The speaker stands just 3.5” high and weighs 9.1oz. To put this inperspective, the Sony XB-950 headphones weigh 9.9oz. So the XB10 is lighterthan a pair of over-ear headphones!Sony doesn’t specify the power output on the XB10 but I can confirm thisspeaker packs a serious punch for the compact size. When standing upright, theXB10 features a speaker on top with a bass radiator on the bottom. True to thespeaker’s name, the XB10 produces some serious bass for a speaker this size.At 100% power, the bass does start to distort, 80% seems to be the sweet spot.The speaker comes with a nifty miniature strap with a ring which can be usedto hang from a backpack. The ring doubles as a stand for the XB10 so you canlie it on its side to face the speaker directly at you. This is verydirectional so you only want to use this when you want sound directed to aspecific area. Standing the speaker upright delivers maximum bass with 360degrees of audio distribution. Better suited to play when you have 2 or morepeople. The mids are slightly muddied by the bass boost, which I’ve found tobe “normal” for extra bass audio products. The highs, however, are crisp andclear. Overall sound quality is great with a good balance between the bass,mids, and highs.The XB10 allows for ⅛ inch AUX and Bluetooth inputs. The speaker featuresBluetooth 4.2 with NFC for quick pairing and excellent connectivity. A built-in microphone enables the XB10 to be used as a speakerphone. Call quality isgood even though your voice sounds slightly distant to the person on the otherline. You can also press and hold the play/pause button to use Siri or GoogleNow voice commands.There is also the standard volume up/down and an ADD button. The ADD buttonallows you to connect to second Sony XB10 which you can then choose betweenrunning the speakers in mono or stereo.The Sony XB10 is covered in a premium silicone available in six trendy colorswith an IPX5 waterproof rating protecting the speaker from sprays of waterfrom all angles. This will not protect against any form of submersion so don’ttry!
Sony XB10 Extra Bass Portable Bluetooth Speaker Conclusion
At under $60, the Sony XB10 is an absolute steal offering great sound withpremium features. The speaker is so light and compact you can pack it in abackpack or laptop bag without feeling the extra weight. Great for travelersand those on the go.Altec Lansing is well known for producing high-quality professional andconsumer audio products. They are an American brand started back in the 1920’sand are most famous for their participation in the original 1969 WoodstockFestival where Altec Lansing speakers were used for the PA. Skip forward topresent day and they’re still rocking with arguably the best portableBluetooth speaker on the market, the Altec Lansing XPEDITION 4 (ALP-XP400).The XPEDITION 4 is an absolute beast, which is fitting since the speaker has aBEAST Mode, which we’ll get to in a bit. The speaker carries an IP67 whichmeans the XPEDITION 4 can be submerged to a depth of 1m for 30 minutes. TheXPEDITION 4 is built to float face up so you can still play music while thespeaker floats around the pool. You do lose a lot of bass with the speakerfloating around the pool so it’s best to have the speaker out of the water.The XPEDITION 4 features dual 4” woofers, a 1” tweeter and dual bass radiatorsdelivering a staggering 200W of power. That’s 10 – 20 times the power of mostof the portable Bluetooth speakers we feature in this article. The bass theXPEDITION 4 delivers is mind-blowing for a speaker of this size. You canactually see the 4” woofers flex back and forward with the bass line and kickdrum which is awesome to watch for hip-hop, dubstep and bass especially. Themids and highs are really clean and crisp with good clarity at both low andhigh volumes.As mentioned, the XPEDITION 4 features what Altec Lansing call BEAST Mode.There is a small button on the front of the speaker which switches in and outof BEAST. When activated, the XPEDITION 4 comes alive with a serious bassboost. The bass boost on the XPEDITION 4 is much cleaner than any otherportable Bluetooth speaker which tend to go a little loose and wooly. TheXPEDITION 4’s bass retains a good amount of definition without muddying themids or highs. The overall sound is amplified and more exciting in BEAST Mode.Not that running the XPEDITION 4 in this mode will eat into your battery life.The XPEDITION 4 features a 24-hour battery which, again, is more than themajority of portable Bluetooth speakers on the market. The speaker also comeswith a USB charging port to top up mobile devices.The XPEDITION 4 offers the choice of Bluetooth or ⅛ inch AUX inputs. Bluetoothis really quick and easy to pair with solid 33ft range and connectivity. Thereis also NFC for Android devices.Aside from producing some incredible sound for the party, the XPEDITION 4 alsofeatures two separate light modes. There are color changing LEDs around thespeakers as well as strobe lights to the left and right of the speaker grille.Each light can be independently controlled by switching between a fast or slowlight pattern. In addition, LEDs light up the buttons and around the volumeknob. At night, the XPEDITION 4 looks and sounds like a party starter.One thing to note is that the XPEDITION 4 is not as portable as most of theother Bluetooth speakers in this article. The speaker won’t fit in a laptopbag or handbag but may fit in some larger backpacks. The XPEDITION 4 comeswith a shoulder strap and the speaker has a handle so it’s really easy to pickup and carry around. The speaker weighs a little over 10lbs making itlightweight to carry.Want even more power? If you have a second XPEDITION 4 you can link them for astereo pair of speakers with a total of 400W of power!
Marshall Kilburn Portable Bluetooth Speaker Conclusion
The Marshall Kilburn is the closest you’re going to get to audiophile qualityin a portable Bluetooth speaker. The speaker is suited to all genres of musicwith instrumental music like rock, jazz, blues and the like being the mostexciting to listen to. The detail in the mids and highs with rich, warm bassdelivers good separate and clear soundstage. This is of course when comparedto other portable Bluetooth speakers.The Kilburn is on the large side of portable speakers so if you want somethingfor traveling, you might want to consider one of the more lightweight optionswe feature in this article. The Kilburn also doesn’t have all the featureslike Bluetooth controls, hands-free calling, and waterproofing. Marshall hasinstead focused on building the best-sounding portable Bluetooth speaker whichI believe they have achieved, and then some.