Portable tunes use to be simple: boombox or bust. Now? There’s are a staggering number of wireless audio choices. And while many use Wi-Fi, AirPlay, or NCF to stream music, Bluetooth remains the go-to technology. Not only have there been major improvements in audio quality (can you hear those crisp clean highs?), range (most allow you to walk 100 feet away), and battery life (want to listen for 12 hours straight? No problem), but there are also portable Bluetooth speakers to satisfy every type of listener. Want a sledgehammer-proof speaker to toss in your truck bed? An easy-to-control, rugged Bluetooth speaker for the kids? How about a pool-friendly Bluetooth speaker that floats beside you in the water? Done, done, done. We checked out the contenders and arrived at these outstanding models. So, without further ado, here are the best Bluetooth speakers to stream now.
Bose SoundLink Revolve
The name of the game when it comes to high-end audio, Bose doesn’t disappoint with its newest wireless Bluetooth speaker — the handheld Revolve’s 360-degree design that ensures everybody at the party hears tunes loud and clear. Bose isn’t usually known for its tough gear, but the Resolve’s built to withstand both drops from cliffs (thanks to integrated bumpers) and clouds (it’s IPX4-rated splash resistant). The speaker, which lasts 12 hours on a single charge, can also access Google Now and Siri at the touch of a button, so with or without a phone nearby, you can easily queue up the tunes.
Most waterproof Bluetooth speakers don’t play well in the deep end. But the UE Roll 2 comes packing an inflatable life preserver that actually lets it float. Bonus: it can also be pulled along by its built-in bungee cord. Cannonball-splashes and epic submersions are no match, as it can play for a solid 30 minutes in up to three feet of water. It’s powerful despite the deceptive, compact size and 15-percent louder than its predecessor. Not only that, but it has a range of 100 ft. and a 10-hour battery life.
The ION Audio Pathfinder
The ION Audio Pathfinder is a beast. Built specifically to weather a storm (go ahead and leave it in the rain, see if it cares), the 100-watt Bluetooth speaker rocks an eight-inch woofer, three-inch tweeter, and IPX4-rated water-resistant case. The beefy 31-pound ION is surprisingly portable thanks to an integrated telescoping handle, wheels, and a side carrying handle, plus the battery can run for more than 75 hours on a single charge. So it’s ready for an entire weekend getaway. If that weekend happens to call for flashing LED dance lights and a Karaoke microphone, then all the better ⏤ the ION has those too.
Best Portable Bluetooth Speaker For Kids: Sol Republic Punk
The pint-sized Sol Republic’s refreshingly simple design and fat buttons for power and volume make it ideal for kids. Also, while the sound reportedly stays crisp at max volume, it tends to distort when it’s cranked high, meaning it’s better for bedroom use. That said, the puck-shaped speaker is easy to take to a friend’s house too. It’s got a range of up to 60 feet and lasts about eight hours per charge.
The JBL Pulse 2
Talk about trippy: once the music starts, Pulse 2’s metallic grill that morphs into an interactive light show that syncs with the music. Even cooler, that light show can include any color you want ⏤ simply point and shoot the speaker’s “prism sensor lens” at the color and it registers. The splash-proof Bluetooth speaker’s room-filling sound is enough to keep a basement party bouncing and it rocks a 10-hour rechargeable battery. A noise and echo canceling speakerphone lets you can call the kids between sets.
The Braven XXL
Fondly reminiscent of a good old boom box, the Braven XXL weighs a whopping 18 lbs. and measures almost 2 feet in length. But … it comes with a shoulder strap so you can lug it around town while blasting the jams. The Bluetooth speaker is built like a tank for the outdoors ⏤ perfect for a weekend camping trip or Saturday afternoon tailgate outside the game. As for actual audio, there are four HD drivers so music blasts from both sides, and a down-firing subwoofer “pushes earth-shaking bass from the bottom.” And not only does the battery get 14 hours of uninterrupted play on a single charge, but it’ll charge a phone in the process.
The bem Wireless Mobile Speaker
This tiny cube looks more like a STEM building block than an actual Bluetooth speaker, but for $20, you can’t beat it. It’s light, easy to toss in a diaper bag, and when not on, you’re likely to forget you even brought it. The bem’s sold in an array of colors, and it includes an actual AC adapter rather than just USB charging cable. #oldschool.
Ultimate Ears MegaBlast
The MegaBlast’s strength lies with its versatility. Inside, it’s domestic bliss, connecting via WiFi to Amazon’s Alexa for a full range of voice controls from music selection to smart home controls. Outside, its 16-hour battery is waterproof (3 feet for 30 minutes) with 360-degree rich sound at up to 93 decibels, or right at the level of your neighbor’s gas mower you want to drown out.
Outdoor Tech Big Turtle Shell Ultra
Like others on this list, the Big Turtle Shell Ultra has its niche, and that’s the great outdoors. For car camping tunes, this is it. Throw it into a river or drop it down a mountain and it keeps pumping out 78 decibels of quality sound. Pair it a second unit to turn the tunes up to 11. While the 12-hour battery is shorter than some on this list, its secondary features of a three-setting lantern and a USB port to charge a phone, GoPro, or other device make it the more desirable for nights under the stars.
Fugoo Tough XL
Waterproof, drop-proof, dirt-proof, and with drivers to spare, the Tough XL is both the most rugged on our list and one of the best sounding. Its rigid exoskeleton is so strong that you can literally drive a car over it. But it’s the other features, when put head-to-head, that blow the competition out of the water. A massive 32-hour battery life doubles the longest on this list, while the 98-decibel sound is the loudest. At 120 feet for Bluetooth, it has hands down the farthest reach. Simply put, this was better than we thought wireless speakers could be.