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The best Bluetooth speaker for 2024: 15 portable options for every price range

In an overcrowded space, we narrowed down the best speakers in every price range.

Photo by Jon Turi / Engadget

Choosing the best portable Bluetooth speaker can be a daunting task with the amount of options available today. Whether you're gearing up for a camping trip, a beach outing, or a backyard barbecue, finding the right speaker that delivers on sound quality, durability, and portability is crucial. We've tested dozens of Bluetooth speakers across various price points to help you navigate this crowded market. While many of them sound impressive, comparing them head-to-head allowed us to identify the features that make certain models stand out.

If you’re looking primarily for a speaker that works with a voice assistant like Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri, check out our top picks for the best smart speakers. However, for those seeking a versatile portable Bluetooth speaker, we've put together a selection of top performers that cater to a wide range of use cases and preferences. Whether you're after powerful bass, long battery life or rugged design, our recommendations will help you find the best match for your needs.

Photo by Jon Turi / Engadget

Features: Built-in power bank to charge other devices | Battery life: Up to 12 hours | Assistant support: None | Weight: 1 pound | Wireless range: 120 feet | USB charging: Yes

If you’re just looking for a small, cheap Bluetooth speaker that can kick out some decent volume, the Tribit StormBox Micro 2 fits the bill. The audio quality here is fine; it doesn’t stand out in terms of fidelity, but the volume you get from this affordable little speaker is what makes it a good choice. If you’re bopping about outdoors on your bike or chilling in the park, it’s usually more about portability and volume anyway. The rubbery rear strap works well on relatively thin things like belts, backpacks and bike handlebars.

While it’s small and affordable, the speaker features a USB-C charging port for your devices in a pinch and you can wirelessly connect two of them for party mode or stereo sound. It also supports voice assistants for both iOS and Android users, and if you want to take calls on your phone via speakerphone, that’s easy to do as well.

$60 at Amazon

Features: IPX7 waterproof, custom EQ settings using companion app | Battery life: Up to 13 hours | Assistant support: None | Weight: 1.9 pounds | Wireless range: 120 feet | USB charging: Yes

Soundcore has been releasing some very able speakers lately and one of its newest is a quality personal portable. The Motion 300 is of the pint-sized variety, but offers 30-watts of punchy and bright output. It’s IPX7 rated so it can handle a bit of water, and it works with the Anker Soundcore app that allows a fair amount of customization from EQ settings to button brightness. It also supports hi-res audio using the LDAC codec for Android users with a compatible device.

The Motion 300’s size and frequency range don’t quite allow for a ton of bass, but it’s relatively loud and thumpy, especially when it has surfaces to reflect off of. Soundcore has even extended its high-frequency range to 40kHz, and while its utility is debatable, the Motion 300 does sound crisp in the high-end spectrum. You can also enable adaptive audio, which helps optimize its sound delivery depending on the speaker orientation (on its back, standing up or hanging from its removable button-fastened strap).

The speaker’s design merges a funky style with office-machine chic, from the playfully speckled soft touch exterior to the metallic, logo-emblazoned grille. Its 1.7-pound weight and clutch-purse size makes it better as a handheld or stowed in your bag rather than hanging from a backpack or bike handlebars. Ultimately, you get great sound in a small package with features you can tweak to your liking, all at an approachable $80 price tag.

$80 at Amazon
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Features: IP67-rated design, support for stereo pairing | Battery life: Up to 14 hours | Assistant support: None | Weight: 1.2 pounds | Wireless range: 131 feet | USB charging: Yes

The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 is a tiny yet powerful portable, delivering the biggest sound in its size range that we tested. It’s still a cute, barrel-shaped small speaker with a nubby little strap that probably needs a carabiner to help attach it to most things. This model offers up to 14 hours on a single change, and underneath, you can easily access the protected micro-USB port whenever you need to refill. But this refreshed model includes a couple of bright new colors, an extra hour of battery life and improved wireless range. With an IP67 rating on top of the company’s five-foot drop test durability, it can go with you almost anywhere and survive to tell the tale.

The audio quality is punchy and bright enough for what you’d expect at this scale and price range. Although there’s no app support or connectivity with the rest of the Ultimate Ears speaker lineup, you can easily pair it with speakers like the Wonderboom 2 or Megaboom 3 for stereo sound. There’s also an outdoor mode button on the bottom that boosts the mid and high range to help the audio carry over a greater distance.

$65 at Amazon
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$100 at Verizon$62 at Daily Steals
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Features: IPX7 waterproof, custom EQ settings using companion app | Battery life: Up to 12 hours | Assistant support: None | Weight: 2.3 pounds | USB charging: Yes

This nondescript wedge of a wireless speaker could easily slip under your radar, but it’s worth a listen. It has a bright and bassy output, which is helped along by Qualcomm aptX support for hi-res audio. This Anker Soundcore device has a solid, slightly heavy build with a metal front speaker grille, a soft-touch rubberized exterior (that loves your greasy fingerprints) and IPX7 water resistance. While it’s not the lightest or most portable, it has good sound, especially for the price. Plus the app offers EQ customization, so you can fine tune to your liking.

There’s also a 3.5mm aux input for wired connections. You can use it as a speakerphone when taking calls as well, or easily play music from your devices. That’s fortuitous, as we found that this small speaker works well as a mini soundbar alternative and the wired input offers a foolproof connection. Aside from that, you can easily charge the Motion+ thanks to its standard USB-C charging port and it should last up to 12 hours on a single charge.

$100 at Amazon
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Features: IP67-rated design, support for stereo pairing | Battery life: Up to 12 hours | Assistant support: None | Weight: 1.2 pounds | USB charging: Yes

JBL’s Flip 6 deserves high marks for overall sound quality, durability and volume considering its size, and those features make it the best JBL speaker for most people. As with most JBL speakers, it has a good dynamic range from solid lows to crisp highs with volume tipped towards higher registers. The cylindrical shape works well on its side or even standing on its end to save desk space. It has a capable carrying (or hanging) strap and raised buttons you can discern in the dark.

The JBL Portable app gives you a 3-band EQ to customize the sound profile if desired and if you have two Flip 6 speakers, you can run them as a stereo pair. If you happen to have a mix-and-match assortment of different PartyBoost-enabled JBL devices, you can connect multiple speakers for a bigger sound. And with a USB-C charging port, it’s a versatile device that’s easy to take with you on the move.

$99 at Walmart
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$130 at Adorama$130 at Amazon
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Features: Built-in mic for assistant support and phone calls, IP67-rated design | Battery life: Up to 12 hours | Assistant support: Google Assistant, Siri | Weight: 1.3 pounds | Wireless range: 30 feet | USB charging: Yes

While the $99 Bose SoundLink Micro is half the size, we found that it's definitely worth the extra $50 if you trade up to the SoundLink Flex. While it’s still not a room filler, the speaker offers some bright, dynamic finesse to your tunes, along with a significant amount of bass for its size. It’s similar to the scale of a small clutch bag, with a very small strap for carabiner-type hanging. Much of the exterior is sheathed in soft-touch silicone, except for the powder-coated steel speaker grilles. Like others in this range, the speaker is IP67 rated so it can handle the elements and sound good doing it.

Setup and connecting to the speaker should be done from within the aptly named Bose Connect app. You can also turn off voice prompts (which can become annoying) and pair with similar speakers for either party mode or stereo.

Note: Some users running Android 12 may encounter connectivity issues with the Bose Connect app. The company is working to resolve the problem.

$149 at Adorama
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$149 at Verizon$149 at Amazon
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Features: IP67-rated design, support for stereo pairing | Battery life: Up to 30 hours | Assistant support: None | Weight: 0.26 pounds | USB charging: Yes

The recently released Emberton II Bluetooth portable from Marshall has a bumped up set of specs that make it a better value than the previous gen. This clutchable rectangular slab still has a pair of 10-watt full-range drivers and passive radiators to deliver the brand’s signature sound. It may not be the loudest in its size range, but it focuses more on balanced output than raw power. There’s still 360 sound as well, making it a good companion for small get togethers. Although, with its 60hz low end threshold, you’ll find a better bass response when there are surfaces to reflect off of, and not so much if it’s in the middle of a table.

This new model now offers up to 30 hours of listening on a charge (10 hours better than before) and a more rugged IP67 rating. There’s also a new ability to pair with another Emberton II or Willen II using the new “Stack Mode”. The range between them is limited, however, so stacking them probably is the best way to go. Additionally, Marshall is offering a more environmentally friendly product than before, using 50 percent post-consumer plastics in its construction.

$120 at Amazon
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$170 at Nordstrom$182 at Macy's
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Features: Built-in power bank to charge other devices, IP67-rated design, support for stereo pairing | Battery life: Up to 20 hours | Assistant support: None | Weight: 2.1 pounds | USB charging: Yes

If you’re willing to spend a little more for bigger sound, more hours of battery life and a USB-C charging port to charge your devices, the midrange JBL Charge 5 is a great upgrade over the Flip 6. It has the same bright output and capable low end, but in a slightly larger package. If you’re looking for a smallish portable speaker, but something capable enough to entertain a few guests, this works.

$176 at Walmart
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$180 at Adorama$180 at Amazon
Orange Amps

Features: Retro design with carry strap, 3.5mm aux input | Battery life: Up to 15 hours | Assistant support: None | Weight: 6.6 pounds | USB charging: No

The Orange Box portable Bluetooth speaker from legendary guitar amp maker Orange is essentially a no-frills product with great analog sound and ‘60s-era bohemian chic. For Orange Amp fans, it’s a faithful mini-version of a classic (although you can’t plug in your guitar). It’s not particularly heavy, but it is a bit chunky and the wooden frame means there’s no waterproofing or ruggedness rating. Battery life is average with up to 15 hours run time and you’ll want to keep track of that DC power cable since it doesn’t offer a USB charging port.

That said, we like this speaker in part for its natural charm and unique design (at least as far as Bluetooth speakers go). There’s a 3.5mm aux input, a mechanical power toggle switch, a cool domed power light and several dials for volume and EQ. The front-facing grille is audio transparent fabric emblazoned with the classic Orange logo. It’s also a proper piece of kit built for a long life, with authorized repair centers across the globe.

Most importantly, you get both analog and digital amps pushing 50 watts of bright, clear and unadulterated output with plenty of low end, at least for nearby listeners. It also supports aptX, so if you have high-quality files or hi-res streaming, you’ll get the most out of it.

This speaker is ideal for Orange Amps fans or those who like no-fuss operation, natural analog sound quality and generally want a mid-sized device they’ll keep close to home. Most styles of music sound great on the Orange Box, but the speaker really shines with songs that have live instrumentation or anything that can benefit from an analog touch.

$299 at Orange Amps
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Features: IP67-rated design, support for stereo pairing | Battery life: Up to 20 hours | Assistant support: None | Weight: 3.9 pounds | USB charging: Yes

Marshall launched the Middleton in January 2023 and positioned it as the new flagship for its portable Bluetooth speaker line. It’s the largest of the company's IP67 rugged portables (measuring 4.3 x 9 x 3.75 inches) and offers a significantly louder output, with 50-watts of 360-degree sound. There are dual woofers and tweeters for the front and back, with passive radiators along each side. It also offers Stack Mode, which lets you pair with any other Middleton, Emberton II or Willen speakers nearby to expand your listening experience.

The Middleton can be managed through the Marshall Bluetooth app, but it also includes most of those same controls on the top. There’s a Bluetooth button (which doubles as the Stack Mode control) and a multi-use joystick for power on/off, volume control and track selection (forward or back). You also get bass and treble controls, which are a welcome addition and a first for one of Marshall’s speakers without physical knobs.

It has that traditional Marshall look, made with a soft-touch exterior composed of 55-percent post-consumer recycled plastic and is 100-percent PVC free. It also has a carry strap you can easily fit your hand through. Any dust, dirt or prints on the outside can be scrubbed off with a damp cloth, and even the exposed USB-C and 3.5mm input port components are waterproofed. That USB-C port can be used to recharge the speaker, or power up your other devices with its 9,600mAh battery.

Of course audio purists should know that it only supports SBC, but the sound quality is still top notch for most people. And while Marshall devices are usually priced at a slight premium, the good sound quality and decent low-end capability definitely makes this model worth checking out.

$300 at Nordstrom
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$300 at Amazon$300 at Bloomingdale's
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Features: IPX4-rated design, Wi-Fi connectivity | Battery life: Up to 12 hours | Assistant support: Alexa, Google Assistant | Weight: 2.3 pounds | USB charging: Yes

We did test a couple smart home speakers, including the Bose Portable Smart and I decided to compare it with its closest Bluetooth equivalent: the Revolve+ II. While that’s best suited for portability, has a loud bright sound that will carry outdoors and long battery life, its low end is a little less pronounced than its smart companion. If you’re willing to spend more and appreciate bass, the Bose Portable Smart speaker is a big improvement. It has a well-rounded low end and a bright dynamic sound with plenty of nuance that makes for a great listening experience.

This 360-degree portable comes as a combo WiFi/Bluetooth speaker primarily geared toward smart home use with the occasional outing. It’s rated IPX4, so not the most weatherproof, but good for casual outdoor listening. The battery is rated for up to 12 hours, but since this is an always-on smart device, you’ll need to be more attentive at keeping it topped up. There’s a charging dock accessory for use around the house, but as an away-from-home portable, you should power it down when not in use. To take the odd call and use the speakerphone function, it’s easy to navigate and produces clear sound, whether you’re at home or away.

Smart features: WiFi, voice and app control, support for Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Spotify Connect, Amazon Music, Chromecast (built-in), Apple AirPlay 2 and SimpleSync connectivity with Bose Bluetooth speakers.

Note: Some users running Android 12 may encounter connectivity issues with the Bose Connect app. The company is working to resolve the problem.

$399 at Adorama
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$399 at Amazon$399 at QVC

Features: IP67-rated design| Battery life: Up to 15 hours | Assistant support: None | Weight: 4.3 pounds | USB charging: Yes

If you’ve enjoyed any of the smaller JBL speakers out there and are willing to spend a bit more, the Xtreme 3 is a good all-around choice. It’s big enough to warrant a shoulder strap, but still only about the size of a football. There’s a pleasant dynamic sound here with hefty lows and a lively high end that seems slightly better balanced at this size than the smaller options from JBL in this range.

This is easily a favorite if you want something under $400 with a little more gusto than your average portable, but still being IP67 weatherproof. It has enough output to breathe life into a small soiree or backyard hang, although while it’s quite loud, it’s best when it’s close by or indoors where the bass can resonate to its fullest.

$227 at Walmart
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$280 at B&H Photo$380 at Adorama
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Features: IPX2-rated design, support for multi-host functionality | Battery life: Up to 20 hours | Assistant support: None | Weight: 10.8 pounds | USB charging: No

If you didn’t know about Marshall’s history in amplifiers and rock music, the design should clue you in. The Tufton is the largest portable Bluetooth speaker from the company, looking much like an amp itself (as do most of them). It has physical knobs at the top and a carry strap to help move it about. While it may appear as rugged as concert gear, it’s less impervious to the elements as some with just an IPX2 rating, so it’s protected from light splashes from above.

Whether or not you’re a fan of the brand, the rich and distinctly thumping output may make you one. We felt pulled into the sound while listening to the Tufton, a bit more than most other speakers we tested at this scale. It’s dynamic, warm and, dare we say, analog in its audio presence. It’s also multi-directional with a supplemental driver on the back along with a bass port.

There’s no app to adjust the EQ, just the physical controls including a Bluetooth connect button, a power/volume knob and two for bass and treble. Once powered on, you can use the volume knob to set a max headroom and adjust volume on the fly from your source. The bass and treble knobs help you choose the tone of your adventure, from a purely flat soundscape to an enhanced one. We just wish you could see the dial indicators in the dark. Other features include aptX support and quick-charge capabilities that provide four hours of listening time in just 20 minutes, plus great standby battery life.

$450 at Amazon
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$450 at Best Buy
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Features: IPX4-rated design, support for multi-host functionality | Battery life: Up to 24 hours | Assistant support: None | Weight: 13 pounds | Wireless range: 150 feet | USB charging: No

The UE Hyperboom is an all-arounder with good looks, portability, plenty of connectivity options and a loud and punchy (albeit compressed) output. The technical fabric exterior (which now includes a white option) lets it live among your furniture without screaming “party box,” while the optical input offers a possible TV speaker alternative. The large capacitive buttons on top let anyone adjust the volume, pause or play the music and select from two concurrent Bluetooth connections or a hardwired input (3.5mm or optical). On the edge with the silicone carrying handle there are the wired ports, plus one for charging USB devices and another for power. You can expect to get up to 24 hours of battery life, and the Hyperboom is good at holding a charge on standby.

This capable and loud (roughly 100dB) speaker will please most people as long as the party is of primary concern over fidelity. The ability to remotely power your device on or off using the UE app is also a welcome feature. Plus you can easily expand the sound to other Ultimate Ears Boom speakers (except Wonderboom) using the PartyUp feature. The IPX4 rating means a few spilled drinks won’t hassle it, but it’s not the best Bluetooth speaker choice for all-weather adventures.

$400 at Amazon
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$450 at B&H Photo$450 at Walmart

Features: App connectivity with custom sound profiles, swappable battery | Battery life: Up to 40 hours | Assistant support: None | Weight: 20 pounds | USB charging: No

The Soundboks Go is a great speaker if you’re looking for a portable Bluetooth option that provides a big sound for larger spaces, although it comes at a price. This unpretentious black rectangle is half the size of its more professional sibling the Soundboks Gen 3. It packs one 10-inch woofer and a 1-inch domed tweeter, both powered by two 72W RMS amps for massive sound and chunky bass, even at a distance.

At 20 pounds, this party speaker is fairly easy to lug around and looks about the size of carry-on luggage. You can even get the optional shoulder strap, which helps for longer missions. It has a flexible TPE handle on top, silicone bumpers around the edges and ABS+Polycarbonate exterior and grill. The IP65 rating also marks it as a resilient device in most environments.

The sound makes a big statement here. Output levels are rated at up to 121dB, with clear mids and highs projecting clearly across large areas. The low end also has a significant presence at a distance, matching up with 40Hz frequency response. It's definitely capable enough to support large gatherings.

The speaker is easy to connect to via Bluetooth and the partner app offers EQ customization, audio profiles and OTA firmware updates. There’s a solitary 3.5mm stereo input on the Go, but its wireless expansion shines, letting you connect up to five Soundboks Gen 3 or Go speakers at the touch of a button with its built-in SKAA wireless support.

Lastly, the battery pack is removable, swappable and also long-lasting for a speaker this size; at low to mid volume, it’s rated at up to 40 hours runtime. For transparency, Soundboks also lets you know to expect around 10 hours of play at full volume. You can also run this while charging, but there are strict warnings about keeping the volume low while doing so (it’s not recommended unless you're desperate).

$699 at Amazon

IP ratings (Ingress Protection) are the alphanumeric indicators you often see in a product’s spec sheet that define water and dust resistance. It’s usually a combo of two numbers with the first indicating solid object ingress and the second being water. The former goes from 0 (no protection) to 6 (dustproof). The water-resistance rating goes from 0 (no protection) to 9 (protected against immersion and high pressure jets). When an X is used instead of a number, that means the product wasn’t tested for resistance. If it’s waterproof, it may have some innate resistance to solids, but there’s no guarantee.

IP67 is a common rating these days indicating highly resistant and potentially rugged speakers suitable for outdoor adventures. These are safe for quick dunks in the pool or tub and should be more than OK in the rain or in the shower. They’re also good options for the beach, playground and other rough environs.

Additionally, speakers with ports and a high rating will often include a tight-fitting cover over the charging or auxiliary ports. If you plan on using the ports, that may limit the product's rated ability to fend off the elements.

When looking for the best portable Bluetooth speaker, consider the IP rating and also how you plan to use your Bluetooth speaker when making your decision. It may be worth splurging on a better sounding model with a lower IP rating if you’ll mostly be using it indoors, for instance.

The focus of this guide is on the best. portable Bluetooth speakers, and while “portable” can be a relative term, these devices are generally for people who are likely to find themselves far from a power outlet. These days, around 12 hours of runtime seems to be the baseline but obviously, the more battery life you can get out of a speaker, the better.

That said, be careful when looking at battery specs, as they frequently list a maximum runtime (“up to” x amount of hours). This usually means they tested at a low to mid volume. If you like your tunes loud, it can often end up cutting the expected usage time in half or more. Luckily, some manufacturers also list the expected hours of battery life when used at full volume and that transparency is appreciated. Bear in mind, however, that not all of the best portable Bluetooth speakers use the same charging port. Some support USB-C charging while others use micro-USB.

Additionally, if your Bluetooth speaker also happens to have WiFi connectivity, they're usually designed for always-on functionality. Unlike normal Bluetooth speakers that go to sleep after a short period without use, these will usually stay awake (to listen for your commands) and slowly run down the battery. If you're out and about, you'll want to remember to turn these speakers off manually when not in use to maximize battery life.

Bluetooth range is tricky business. Some companies list their product’s longest possible range, usually outdoors and in an unobstructed line-of-sight test environment. Other companies stick with a 30-foot range on the spec sheet and leave it at that, even though they may be running Bluetooth 4.x or 5.x. That’s likely underselling the speaker's potential, but unpredictable environments can affect range and there’s little point in promising the moon only to get complaints.

I’ve seen signal drop issues when crouching down, with my phone in the front pocket of my jeans, and barely 30 feet away from a speaker inside my apartment. I ran into this issue across several devices regardless of their listed Bluetooth connectivity range.

If you’re hosting a patio party and duck inside, it’s wise to keep any wireless Bluetooth speakers relatively close by just in case. It’s hard to gauge what aspects of any environment may interfere with a Bluetooth signal. In general, take range specs around 100 feet or more as a perfect-world scenario.

This is a minor mention for those out there who use a speaker for their computer output, or as a mini soundbar solution for setups like a monitor and streaming box. It’s annoying to find that your speaker’s latency isn’t low enough to avoid lip sync issues. Luckily, it seems that most speakers these days don’t often have these problems. Only a handful of the few dozen speakers I tried had persistent, noticeable lip-sync issues. Aside from occasional blips, all of our picks worked well in this regard.

If you plan to frequently use a speaker for video playback, look for devices with the most recent Bluetooth versions (4.x or 5.x) and lower latency codecs like aptX. Also make sure the speaker is close to the source device as distance can be a factor. To avoid the issue altogether, though, consider getting one with a wired auxiliary input.

While there's a lot to like about the Sonos Roam, there are plenty of other Bluetooth speakers with more features and better battery life. In our review, we gave the Roam a score of 87, praising it for its good sound quality, durable waterproof design and ability to work well within an existing Sonos speaker ecosystem. But the price is just fine at $180, and we found Bluetooth speakers that offer more at lower price points. Plus, the Roam taps out at 10 hours of battery life, and all of our top picks can run for longer than that on a single charge.

The Monoprice Soundstage3 offers relatively big sound at a midrange $250 price, with a variety of inputs rarely found on a portable Bluetooth speaker. The boxy, minimalist design is no nonsense, even if it's more of a less-rugged, bookshelf-styled homebody. While the speaker puts out crisp highs alongside booming lows, we found the bass can overpower the rest of the output, so it's not for everyone. And after using the speaker for many months, we also found the low-slung, poorly labeled button panel along the top can be a bit annoying to use. If you want a speaker for road trips, favor mids and highs, and plan on using physical buttons for volume control and input selections, there are better options out there.

Fans of JBL’s bluetooth speaker sound profile who want to crank up the volume, but also want a rugged and portable option, may enjoy the JBL Boombox 3. It’s a decent grab-and-go speaker with a very loud output, although it's not as good as some of the loud-speaker styled options for long-throw sound and big outdoor areas. However, the price for this speaker line remains prohibitively expensive compared to other options with big sound that cover a bit more ground. If the JBL brand is your thing and you like the rugged, portable form factor, we recommend looking for discounts, or shopping around and exploring the available options including the (less portable) JBL PartyBox series.

Soundcore speakers have generally been good and often reasonably priced. The Motion X500 loosely falls into that category. It has a tall, metallic lunchbox vibe with a fixed handle and pumps out a respectable 40 watts of crisp, clear sound for its size. It can get pretty loud and serves up a good dose of bass, although its primarily a front-facing speaker.

There’s LDAC hi-res audio support for Android users, but the main selling point on this is spatial audio. This is done through an EQ change and the activation of a small, up-firing driver. There’s a slight benefit from this if you’re up close and directly in front of it, but it’s not a total game changer for your listening experience. The original pre-order price of $130 made it a decent option in terms of bang for your buck. But it went up to $170 at launch, making it less appealing even if it’s still a good middle-of-the-road option if you want small-ish, clear and loud. If you can find one on sale for the lower price, it’s definitely worth considering. There’s also the larger and louder X600 ($200) if the overall concept is working for you.

Bluetooth technology lets devices connect and exchange data over short distances using ultra high frequency (UHF) radio waves. It’s the frequency range that’s carved out for industrial, scientific and medical purposes, called the 2.4GHz ISM spectrum band. This range is available worldwide, making it easy for companies to use with devices for global markets.

Bluetooth speakers include this tech, which lets them communicate with source devices like smartphones, tablets or computers in order to exchange data. The two devices pair by sharing a unique code and will work within the proscribed range for the device and Bluetooth version.

Ever since Bluetooth 4.0 was released over a decade ago, new iterations usually improve on range, use less power and offer expanded connectivity with features like multipoint (allowing more than one device to be connected at the same time, for instance).

If you want to play music while you’re out-and-about on something other than headphones, a portable Bluetooth speaker is probably what you want. There’s a broad range of devices for all types of circumstances. Many adventurous people will want a relatively lightweight portable that’s rugged enough to handle the elements while also packing enough charge to play for hours on end. Others may simply need a speaker they can move around the house or use in the backyard. In this case, you can choose larger less rugged models that may offer better sound.