The Best Portable Bluetooth Speaker

The Best Portable Bluetooth Speaker

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Our pick

UE Wonderboom 2

UE Wonderboom 2

The best portable Bluetooth speaker

The Wonderboom 2 has a natural sound and a cool design, and it’s built to survive almost any outdoor adventure.

Buying Options

$100 from Amazon

The UE Wonderboom 2 is as euphonious as Ariana Grande but as tough as Lara Croft. In our blind tests, our panelists picked this Bluetooth speaker as the all-around most versatile choice. With clear vocal reproduction and a decent amount of bass for its size, it offers satisfying sound for small areas. It has an IP67 rating and is one of the most rugged Bluetooth speakers we’ve tested, able to survive a 5-foot drop and a dunking in 1 meter of water—but because it floats, it’ll probably never dive that deep. The Wonderboom 2’s only downside is its battery life, which at 8 hours is adequate but not impressive. We like the Wonderboom 2’s compact design, even if the almost-spherical shape makes this model a little tougher to pack away in a suitcase pocket or laptop bag.

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Upgrade pick

JBL Xtreme 2

JBL Xtreme 2

For large rooms and big gatherings

The Xtreme 2 easily fills a large room (or a small parking lot) with satisfying sound, and its rugged, waterproof design makes it trunk-friendly.

Buying Options

$350 from Amazon

May be out of stock

If you want a portable Bluetooth speaker that approaches the sound of a good small stereo system yet is rugged enough to take almost anywhere, the JBL Xtreme 2 is a terrific choice. For its size, the Xtreme 2 is one of the best-sounding portable Bluetooth speakers we’ve tested. Our listeners praised its ample bass, high maximum volume, and overall clear, clean sound. It has an IPX7 rating, which means it can survive submersion in 1 meter of water, and it includes a handy, strong carrying strap. The Xtreme 2 also delivered 19 hours of battery life. But it’s much larger and pricier than the UE Wonderboom 2.

Budget pick

Tribit XSound Go

Tribit XSound Go

Very good sound for under $35

The Tribit XSound Go is the best speaker we’ve heard in its price range, and it’s compact and waterproof to boot.

Buying Options

$33 from Amazon

If you want to spend the bare minimum on an all-around good portable Bluetooth speaker, the Tribit XSound Go is a great choice. Its sound is obviously clearer and louder than that of almost all other budget Bluetooth speakers. The XSound Go is small enough to slip into a laptop bag or an already stuffed suitcase, and it will run 10½ hours on a charge. Plus, it has an IPX7 rating, which means it’s sufficiently waterproof to survive a half-hour dunking in 1 meter of water, and it has a speakerphone function. Tribit recently upgraded the XSound Go with USB-C charging and stereo pairing.

Also great

Sony SRS-XB33

Sony SRS-XB33

The midsize sedan of portable BT speakers

The SRS-XB33 has a detailed, clear sound, with a rugged design and lots of features.

Buying Options

$130 from Amazon

If you need something that sounds a little louder and fuller than the UE Wonderboom 2, but that’s more portable and affordable than the JBL Xtreme 2, the Sony SRS-XB33 finds a nice middle ground. The successor to our previous pick, the SRS-XB32, the new XB33 is a little bulkier and a little better, with deeper bass and a somewhat more detailed and natural sound. It’s powerful enough to fill a 15-by-20-foot room, and we got about 16 hours of battery life. It’s also built to take punishment, with an IP67 waterproof and dustproof rating. Like its predecessor, it has multicolor lights and strobes. However, it’s about 2½ times bigger and heavier than the Wonderboom 2, so it’s nowhere near as portable.

Also great

UE Hyperboom

UE Hyperboom

For pool parties and tailgating

The Hyperboom plays loud enough to fill a backyard, yet offers sound quality comparable in many ways to that of a good small stereo system.

Buying Options

$400 from Amazon

The UE Hyperboom might be the closest thing we’ve found to a portable Bluetooth speaker that does everything well. It plays almost twice as loudly as the JBL Xtreme 2, so it’s ideal for pool parties and tailgating. It also sounds beautiful, with smooth and natural vocals, ample deep bass, and surprising ambience for a one-piece speaker—so you’ll want to use it indoors too. At 14.3 inches high and 16.6 pounds, it’s impractical for airline travel, but it’s compact and light enough that most people can carry it easily. It also has an IPX4 rating, so it’ll survive all the splashing that goes on around a pool. In our tests, it played at a fairly loud volume for 27.5 hours on a single charge.

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Source: The NY Times
Keyword: The Best Portable Bluetooth Speaker

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