There is probably nothing more essential to own in terms of basic gadgets — besides a good pair of headphones — than a travel speaker. And luckily for us, there are plenty of great models that won’t cost you your organs.
But first, a few things to consider, besides audio quality and Bluetooth capabilities. How often will you be traveling with it? If often, you’ll want lightweight speakers. Where will you be using it most? If outdoors, look for rugged and waterproof models. Using it for a long period of time outdoors or taking it on a long trip? Battery life is key. Looking for voice assistant capabilities? You’ll want a model that is compatible with your Google Assistant or Alexa.
We’ve pulled together a little guide to the best tried and tested models available right now, no matter what your needs are.
Best all-round speaker: Sonos Move
This portable speaker is one of the best out there in terms of sound quality, especially for its $399 price tag. It’s the first speaker model from Sonos with a battery and Bluetooth audio support, and also has seamless Wi-Fi-to-Bluetooth connection conversion. Its always-listening mic makes it easily compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for easy voice control and smart home features. In terms of it being a “portable” speaker, it’s waterproof and dust-proof, but pretty heavy and not the most compact. It also has a 10-hour battery life.
Runner up: Bose SoundLink Revolve Portable Bluetooth Speaker
For a great party speaker, look no further than the Bose SoundLink Revolve Portable Bluetooth Speaker. What’s cool about this model is that it gives 360-degree sound, meaning that you can move it around a room and it won’t lose its sound quality. It’s not fully water- and dust-proof, but it’s designed to handle being knocked about, affordable, and looks great. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery will give you 12 hours of play and is compatible with Siri and Google Assistant.
Best budget speaker: Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM Wireless Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
For a solid, low-cost portable speaker, look no further than the WONDERBOOM from Ultimate Ears. This ultra-rugged speaker is one of the best out there in terms of sound quality under $75, has IPX7-rated waterproofing — and it floats. It’s also pint-sized and easily attachable to your bag or backpack, meaning you can listen while you walk.
Best durable speaker: Bose SoundLink Micro Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker
When nature calls, ahem, this is the speaker you’ll want to take outdoors with you. Super compact and lightweight, and known to be one of the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers out there, Bose SoundLink Micro Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker also gets reeeeeally loud. While not compatible with voice assistants, it does have a built-in mic for calls, and at $99 is incredibly affordable for its sound quality and durability.
Best party speaker: Sony High Power XB60 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
For flashing LED lights and big bass, you’ll want the High Power XB60 Portable Bluetooth Speaker from Sony. Now, “portable” is a relative term — this speaker is big, so while you can move it, you won’t be able to take it on your next hiking trip. This sound has extra bass, adding low-end power to every song, a 14-hour battery life, and strobe lights that make you feel like you’re in a club. The Wireless Party Chain via Bluetooth connectivity feature means you can pair it with up to 10 compatible wireless speakers, and synchronize the lights between them.
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