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Whether you’ve been tasked to DJ a party or heading to tailgate before the big game, taking your music on the go has never been easier thanks to a number of new Bluetooth speakers that deliver premium sound quality in a portable package. While portable speakers have been around for years, these models lead the pack with enhanced audio features, longer battery life, and road-tested durability, making them a foolproof — and shatterproof — pick when it comes to playing your tunes.
While you can’t deny the power (and the surround sound experience) of a full home audio system, these wireless speakers deliver impressive bursts of sound without being tied down to a single room or outlet. That means you can set a playlist for the pool, beach or campsite without worrying about plugging in to power up.
Some of the most popular speakers these days also come with smart home capabilities, letting you control your music and your connected devices using just your voice. What’s more: all of the speakers on this list are easily paired with another speaker, letting you create a room — and house — full of rich, immersive and enveloping sound.
1. Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen)
The Amazon Echo gets a lot of hype for its Alexa-enabled features, but it really deserves some kudos for its audio capabilities too. This second-generation Echo Plus boasts a nice upgrade, in the form of premium Dolby speakers supported by a 3.0” (76.2 mm) neodymium woofer and 0.8” (20 mm) tweeter (for contrast, the entry-level Echo Dot has just a 1.6″ speaker). Engineered for high quality audio, the speakers deliver room-filling 360° sound, with surprisingly crisp highs and a powerful, dynamic bass response. While you can pair the Echo Plus with your smart home devices to control your lights, security cameras, door locks and more, you can also pair the speaker with a second one for true stereo sound. Control the music playing in each room, or “drop in” on the other rooms to make an announcement (I.e. “Time for dinner”).
Alexa lets you use your voice to search for songs, artists and playlists across Amazon Music’s library of 50 million+ songs. (Try a free trial here to get instant access to Amazon Music Unlimited and enjoy unlimited skips, no commercials and unlimited free off-line listening). The Echo Plus is also compatible with Apple Music, Spotify and more. Purchase: $149.99 on Amazon.com.
2. Anker Soundcore Flare Wireless Speaker
Serious sound and a light show? There’s a lot to like about this best-selling speaker from Anker, which delivers powerful, multi-directional sound in a portable package. The company’s “BassUp” technology analyzes the frequencies in your music to intensify the bass and turn up the contrasts in every song, while back-to-back dual drivers churn out clear, full-range audio.
The pool party-proof speakers are perfect for pumping out music through the day and well into the night, and its durable construction withstands bumps and keeps out water, dust, dirt and debris. A bonus: the Soundcore Flare features a halo of LED lights at its base, which illuminates and pulses to the beat of your music. Anker touts it as, “a completely immersive audiovisual experience from a portable speaker.” Want an even more expansive experience? Pick up a second Flare speaker and connect your two devices via Bluetooth for stereo sound, then use the included app to choose between five color themes and five illumination patterns for a truly customized light and sound show. Purchase: $59.99 on Amazon.com.
3. JBL Xtreme Portable Bluetooth Speaker
As its name suggests, these popular JBL speakers hold up to even the most extreme conditions, making them a solid choice for road trips and parties. The splash-proof coating means the speakers stay powered up even in the rain (just avoid dunking it in water completely) while the rugged shell holds up to any accidental bumps or drops. Performance-wise, the speakers feature a 2 x 20W audio amplifier, and dual external passive radiators that give you full, booming bass. You can connect up to three phones to the speaker at the same time, to take turns playing DJ. The built-in rechargeable battery gets you up to 15 hours of playtime, making this a great portable speaker to take to events, tailgating and the beach. Use the JBL Connect app (get it here) to wirelessly link multiple JBL speakers for an easy DIY “surround sound” experience. Purchase: $149.95 on JBL.com.
4. Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 Portable Speaker
One of the best-reviewed speakers on the market, the Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 delivers immersive, well-balanced sound with rich trebles, and deep, accurate bass. The rechargeable battery gets you up to 15 hours of cord-free listening, and reviewers say the speakers deliver super robust, 360° sound without the distortion and muddiness that comes from other similarly-priced devices. Ultimate Ears says the BOOM 3 is virtually indestructible, using the same materials found in motorcycle jackets and firefighting equipment. The speakers are also completely waterproof, and will float if accidentally dropped or dragged into the pool.
Use the Ultimate Ears app to pair multiple speakers together for stereo sound. Unlike some of the other models on our list, the pairing works with all generations of the BOOM and MEGABOOM family, not just the latest version. Purchase: $149.99 on Amazon.com.
5. Bose SoundLink Revolve Portable Speaker
This tumbler-sized speaker from Bose packs a lot of power into its portable size, with lush, loud and life-like audio. Bose is well-known for its technical advancements and these speakers feature a super efficient transducer, dual passive radiators and an omni-directional acoustic deflector that spreads sound evenly, filling the room with deep, consistent audio in all directions. The battery provides up to 12 hours of playtime on a single charge, while the Bluetooth capability lets you easily pair two (or more) speakers together for stereo sound. What we like: the slick, minimal design is literally seamless (the aluminum body is assembled without a single seam, nail or fastener), and its light weight (under 1.5 pounds) and grippable shell make it easy to control or re-position as necessary. The Bose SoundLink Revolve is rated IPX4 for water-resistance (a couple splashes won’t do any harm; just avoid full submersion). The set comes with a USB cable and wall plug adapter. Purchase: $199.00 on Amazon.com.
6. Cavalier Maverick Wireless Smart Speaker
The ultimate in performance and craftsmanship, this portable speaker comes from American audio brand, Cavalier, and marries handsome good looks with muscular acoustics and full-bodied sound. Two active stereo drivers and dual passive radiators combine with the 20W stereo speaker to produce rich, detailed audio, picking up even the most subtle notes and beats in every song. The battery gets up to 10 hours of playback, while the chic, circular base doubles as a charging stand. Use the built-in Alexa capabilities to control your tunes with your voice, and let the Maverick double as a smart hub to control your other connected devices too, like your smart light bulb, doorbell and thermostat. We like the attention to detail paid to the speaker’s design, crafted from a industrial-strength metal, Japanese acoustic fabric, real wood trim and genuine leather, which will patina beautifully over time. Pair the speakers for multi-room compatibility, and start enjoying your music wire-free and worry-free throughout your house. Purchase: $249.99 on Amazon.com.