Take your music with you with a portable Bluetooth speaker.
Portable Bluetooth speakers are one of the best ways to take those excellent audio waves with you everywhere. Compatible with practically every device out there, Bluetooth speakers will make sure that, as long as your phone, tablet, or laptop is around, your music is loud!
We've rounded up some of the best portable Bluetooth speakers that you can take with you just about anywhere!
- Sony SRS-X5
- Bose Soundlink III
- Bose Soundlink Mini II
- UE Boom 2
- UE Roll 2
- Riva Turbo X
- Anker SoundCore
- Amazon Tap
Sony has a whole line of Bluetooth speakers that vary in size, but, if we are talking about the best portable speakers, it would be a shame to forget about the SRS-X5.
Let's get to the most important part of any speaker: the sound quality. It works on a 2.1 channel system, meaning it has a dedicated driver for bass to deliver a great low-end without muddling the rest of the sound at all, which, from this 2.5-pound machine, is impressive, to say the least.
We aren't the only ones who think the Sony-X5 is worth your money, CNET gave it 4 out of 5 stars:
"For a relatively compact wireless speaker, the simple but classy-looking Sony SRS-X5 offers excellent sound with strong bass."
Sony clearly had functionality on the brain when designing the SRS-X5. Not only does it work with Bluetooth, but it also has NFC compatibility and a standard 3.5-millimeter jack, so you should have no problem getting all your favorites devices to play through it. On top of what you can plug into it, Sony has also thrown in a USB port for charging your phone or tablet on the go, making the SRS-X55 one of the most versatile Bluetooth speakers in its class.
Bose Soundlink III
Bose has always focused on sound quality before anything, and that mantra continues with the Bose Soundlink III. Whether you are listening to your music directly from your phone or tablet via the AUX input or you're wireless playing via Bluetooth, the sound quality is truly impeccable. And, at only two pounds, the Soundlink III feels very light for its size, so it's not a pain to lug around.
Although the Soundlink III doesn't have the ability to charge via Micro-USB and lacks some more fancy features you may see in other portable Bluetooth speakers, the sheer performance concerning sound quality is practically unmatched. The bass that pumps out of this small speaker is incredible, and we mean that wholeheartedly. The low-end always sounds warm and full even at high volumes which can typically be a problem for speakers this size. Also, if you love blasting your music as loud as possible, the Soundlink III delivers in spades, perfect for keeping the party pumping!
CNET has praised the Soundlink III for being a great improvement over its last model.
"Though it remains somewhat pricey, the Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker III is a superlative portable wireless loudspeaker, improving on its already impressive predecessor."
This speaker is perfect for audio junkies who want a simple great sounding speaker.
Bose SoundLink Mini II
The Bose Soundlink Mini 2 is an incredibly well-rounded wireless speaker, offering top-notch audio quality and portability. It only weighs about 1.2 pounds making it perfect for carrying it around wherever you go.
The Wirecutter has extensively tested Bluetooth speakers and enjoys the performance of the Soundlink Mini II
"It's shocking to hear how much better the SoundLink Mini II comes across than most competitors, with clearer voices and a fuller sound closer to what you might expect to hear from a decent small stereo system."
A charging base keeps it going while you're home. Meanwhile, a big battery provides up to 10 hours of tunes while you're away. Plus, you can pair two devices simultaneously to bring in your calls and music from anywhere.
UE Boom 2
Living up to its onomatopoeic name, the UE Boom 2 is an impressive speaker, offering 360-degree sound in a truly portable package.
The Boom 2 has a very high water-resistant rating, allowing it to be submerged in three feet of water for 30 minutes and emerge just fine. It's also protected against dirt and mud, but you can hand-wash the speaker with warm, soapy water just in case it gets messy.
UE Boom 2's battery will last you approximately 15 hours of playing time and has a Bluetooth range of 100 feet, giving you more than enough time and space to enjoy all the sounds you want to hear. Plus, if you find yourself lacking the volume you want from just one UE Boom 2, you have the option to set up another one to make a stereo pair and raise the roof.
Asking around on Twitter, I got plenty of responses from people telling me the UE Boom 2 was there favorite purchase of all time.
The UE Boom also has the added pleasure of a controller app that you can use to skip songs, adjust volume and pause music without having to touch the speaker at all.
UE Roll 2
The UE Roll 2 has a cool design meant to follow you wherever you go. It has a great waterproof rating, meaning it can even follow you to the beach and the convenient strap allows you to hang it from anywhere. Plus, it also comes with a little life preserver that allows it to float, meaning you can bring this speaker to a pool party.
This is Wirecutter's top pick in their portable Bluetooth speaker roundup, citing its versatility and portability as key selling points.
"The UE Roll 2 sounds full, with smooth reproduction of everything from bass notes to cymbals, and it plays loud enough to fill a hotel room or a spot at the beach with sound."
Volume on this little guy is impressive and can be even more impressive if you pair another UE Roll 2 with it. It has an app you can download, which allows you to completely control playback from afar.
Riva Turbo X
The Riva Turbo X is often overlooked due to its slightly higher price point, but fans of the Riva Turbo X will tell you to look twice.
When it comes to portability, the Riva Turbo X is a tad on the big side; however, when it comes to power, the Riva Turbo X is the real deal. The Wirecutter was quick to mention how sleek and sturdy the design was, citing it as "refined and elegant-looking."
If you're looking for a Bluetooth speaker to blow the doors off your place, the Riva Turbo X will have you smiling — and probably covering your ears.
Although Anker is usually praised for its battery banks, the Anker SoundCore is a surprisingly good little speaker.
With only five buttons atop this rectangle, the SoundCore is pretty minimalist in its design. It won't look out of place anywhere, and it's only $70, which is a big hit with its fans.
Battery life is where the Anker SoundCore stands out above all the rest; a full charge will last you roughly 24 hours of playback, which is perfect for taking it camping or on a road trip away from wall outlets.
I couldn't leave the Amazon Tap off this list because you're not going to find a more useful Bluetooth speaker.
On top of being powered by Dolby Audio and offering 306-degree sound, the Amazon Tap has Alexa. You simply have to tap the speaker and ask Alexa to play Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, you name it, and it starts playing instantly. Plus, if you're using the Tap at home (or anywhere with a Wi-FI connection) Alexa becomes even more useful.
The Amazon Tap will give you nine hours of playback time on a single charge, and it comes with a nice charging cradle that keeps it upright and looking great even when it's refilling its tank.
How do you take your music with you?
Are you constantly listening to your favorite jams on a portable Bluetooth speaker? Why do you love it and what kind do you have? Let us know in the comments below!
This article was originally published in May 2016. It was updated in January 2017 with a whole new list, swapping out a few old selections for new and better ones.