We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of our links. The LA Times newsroom or editorial staff was not involved in the creation of this content. Learn more

Best Portable Speakers for Taking Your Music Anywhere

  1. Liztek PSS-60 Ultra-Portable Wireless Bluetooth speaker
  2. Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Portable Speaker
  3. Ultimate Ears BOOM Wireless Portable Speaker
  4. JBL Flip Bluetooth Wireless Portable Speaker
  5. Jabra Speak 510 Wireless Bluetooth Portable Speaker
  6. Bose SoundDock XT Portable Speaker
  7. Bowers & Wilkins Z2 Wireless Music System Portable Speaker
  8. Bose SoundDock Series III Digital Music Portable Speaker
  9. Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi Smart Portable Speaker
  10. Logitech Speaker Stand for iPad Portable Speaker
  11. Buyer's Guide

While most of us listen to music on our smartphones with headphones, sometimes you want to break out your tunes for all to hear. This growing trend of using smartphones as a primary music library has resulted in the rapid expansion of the portable speaker market.There are many to choose from, but the top-rated portable speakers are lightweight, powerful, and compatible with many different types of portable devices.

We've chosen best portable speakers in 2022 that can be used completely free of wires, with rechargeable batteries and the ability to connect devices using Bluetooth. All of the following picks are also compact and highly portable, sometimes being small and light enough to fit into a jacket pocket. With so many good options to choose from we've left many popular models out, but each of the following speakers offers some of the best sound quality and portability currently available. As a result, most of our picks aren't focused on being especially budget-friendly, but still offer good value for money.

Compare The Best Portable Speakers Of 2022

Liztek PSS-60 Ultra-Portable Wireless Bluetooth speaker - Best Overall

With this Bluetooth speaker, you are guaranteed crisp and clear sound with long-lasting battery life! Also, you get to use it on most of your devices, even those that may not have Bluetooth functionality. The Liztek PSS-60 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker is equipped with Bluetooth 3.0 technology which empowers it to deliver rich and deep sound in its portable size package.

This speaker works for iPad, iPhone, iTouch, Nexus, Blackberry, Samsung, Techno, and all other Mp3 players and Smartphones. The speaker has two very powerful 40mm acoustic drivers built in a tiny size but gives a broad audio spectrum. The in-built lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries can last as much as 6 hours of playtime. Weighing only 8.3 ounces, this speaker is easy to carry and plays all audio devices using its 3.5mm Jack. If you don’t have Bluetooth, the PSS-60 allows you to directly connect your device to the speaker using a standard headphone jack.

Ultimate Ears BOOM Wireless Portable Speaker - Honorable Mention

The Boom wireless Bluetooth speaker from Ultimate Ears stands out for its 360 degree sound output and excellent versatility. This speaker is sized and shaped roughly like a tall can, and can be placed horizontally or vertically. Either way, it offers big and full sound for its size. The Boom is designed to be durable and rugged, with stain and water-resistance that allow it to be used outdoors.

The speaker is easy to use, and can be paired via Bluetooth, NFC, or a 3.5mm aux cable. It can remember up to eight devices, pairing automatically with them as they come into range. You can also purchase a second speaker to create a wireless pair (stereo or double) using the UE Boom app for iOS and Android. Battery life is excellent with up to 15 hours of use, and the speaker can also be used as a speakerphone. Sound quality is very good, although bass is somewhat lacking, an issue typical with smaller speakers.

JBL Flip Bluetooth Wireless Portable Speaker - Honorable Mention

JBL has updated their popular Flip wireless Bluetooth speaker, adding several performance upgrades to what is essentially the same exterior design. The JBL Flip 2 now has better speaker and speakerphone clarity thanks to enhanced noise cancellation, a higher power rating, and the ability to charge using micro-USB.

Unfortunately, nothing has been done to address the Flip's major weakness, it's short battery life. At four to five hours, this speaker lags behind the leaders in this market. However, the Flip 2 remains an excellent overall choice, as well as being a marked improvement over its predecessor.

This portable speaker can be used horizontally or vertically, and can be paired to devices using Bluetooth or NFC. It has solid range and is simple to use, with sound output being good overall. The JBL Flip 2 is quite a bit more affordable than some of the top portable wireless speakers available, making it a good value.

Jabra Speak 510 Wireless Bluetooth Portable Speaker - Consider

The Jabra Solemate offers solid overall performance and a unique design. This wireless Bluetooth speaker can be paired with devices using Bluetooth, NFC, or a 3.5mm aux cable. It can also be connected to a computer or other device using the USB port, which doubles as a charger. The integrated subwoofer and dual tweeters produce sound with defined highs and relatively strong bass, although some quality is lost at higher volumes.

When connected to a smartphone or computer, the Solemate can also be used as a speakerphone for both standard and Skype calls. This wireless speaker uses a non-slip rubber sole to keep it in place, and features a rugged and splash-resistant design. Battery life is decent, making the Jabra Solemate an overall solid choice.

Bose SoundDock XT Portable Speaker - Best iPhone Dock

The SoundDock XT Series is available in two color combinations but can be used with almost any type of iPhone available right now. Plug your iPhone into the unit and not only is it ready for hours of music, but the dock will charge your device while it’s docked. Volume controls are integrated into the dock, but all other functions are accessed from your phone's touchscreen just as they would be if you were listening through a pair of ear buds.

If your iPhone isn't lightning compatible, it's no problem as there's a 3.5mm auxiliary input for plugging in 30-pin Apple or Android phones, DVD players, a tablet, laptop, or any other sound source you prefer. But of course, these are all standard items for a dock like this.

The real selling point with Bose is the sound quality you're going to get through the speakers. The company's proprietary speaker design and signal processor engineering combine to deliver rich, full, highly detailed sound reproduction. Whether you play your music at low levels, or you prefer to really crank the volume, the Bose SoundDock XT delivers the same consistent clarity and layered subtleties to your music.

Best of all, perhaps, is the size of the dock. It's small and compact enough to place in just about every room of the house. The XT takes up little to no space, but delivers a sound profile of docks that measure three times the size.

Bowers & Wilkins Z2 Wireless Music System Portable Speaker - Best iPod Dock

Bowers & Wilkins have built a pretty powerful dock that offers deep, full sound in a small package. It's equipped with a Lightning connector so it's compatible with the latest iPod and iPhone models. If you want to stream wirelessly from iTunes or any networked Mac or PC, the Z2 has got you covered by way of the AirPlay service.

The minimal, curved cabinet houses two 3.5-inch full-range drivers, fiberglass cones, and the latest class D amps to deliver superior sound. B&W's Flowport port openings at the back of the unit incorporate a dimpled design for enhanced air flow which results in a deeper bass response for a richer overall sound experience.

There's even an app to help you connect, set up, and control the settings on your dock, all of it quite effortless to perform. At a price tag of around $300, its one of the more expensive choices on our list, but you certainly get your money's worth in terms of performance and looks.

Bose SoundDock Series III Digital Music Portable Speaker - Best iPod Dock

Bose has upgraded their SoundDock into an even better unit than the one we featured here previously, optimizing sound output for a more well-rounded audio experience. The Series III still carries the company's proprietary acoustic design which offers a warmer sound that still puts a strong emphasis on the bass instead of keeping to a neutral audio spectrum.

They've carefully calibrated their speaker output to produce a rich, natural sound for more accurate reproduction of your music. It's compatible with any Apple product as the SoundDock III works with 30-pin iPods and iPhones or those that use a Lightning connector as well. The Series III also lets you connect mp3 players and smartphones through the unit's auxiliary input, offering even more content sources for your music.

Securely docked devices can be charged while in use through the unit's AC power connection and this as fully shielded unit is certified by Apple so you won't encounter any interference. Size-wise, it's compact enough to fit in any room without taking up much space and a full-function remote lets you control both the dock and your device at once.

Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi Smart Portable Speaker - Best iPad Dock

Dock solutions for iPad users who want to watch content in landscape mode have been few and far between. Fewer still are docks that cater to users of older iPads that use Apple's 30 pin connector and its newer Lightning connector used on the iPad 4 and mini. Belkin's created a solution for these users with the Thunderstorm. The Thunderstorm is speaker dock and is as powerful as it is it portable. The docks is designed around its full frequency speakers and unlike other speaker docks, it is designed to be portable, with a cover to protect the screen and provide support to prop up the dock when its in use. However, this dock is not a full featured dock — it isn't designed to connect with a desktop or laptop. But with solutions like wifi syncing and iCould, having an actual physical connection between your iPad and computer is becoming less of a concern.

Logitech Speaker Stand for iPad Portable Speaker - Best iPad Dock

Logitech is known for their solid, well-built computer speakers with excellent fidelity. It's a no-brainer that they'd bring that same expertise to the exploding tablet market, and specifically the iPad. Integrating their speakers into a stand that docks in landscape and portrait mode allowing it be viewed at practically any angle, it also charges the device. Volume and power are available through the stand. The addition of a 3.5mm audio plug allows the stand even more flexibility, as it can be used with other MP3 players and audio sources. The Logitech Speaker Stand for iPad makes it a perfect choice for those using their iPads with keyboard as a replacement for a conventional PC.

Buyer's Guide

The future of audio is fast turning wireless, and with products like Apple’s Airpods and other competitors entering the mainstream, you have endless remarkable options to choose from.

However, buying the right product isn’t always as easy as purchasing the most expensive one you can afford. Plus, if you want the most bang for your buck, our guide is a quick and easy way to make sure you get your money’s worth on a reliable product that will serve its useful life satisfactorily.

What Should You Look for When Buying Portable Speakers?

Battery Life

While most wireless speakers nowadays last around 8-20 hours on a single charge, it is important to check the battery timings and how accurately they are advertised. We believe that this factor is what could make or break the deal for you.

Anything with battery timing longer than 10 hours will certainly be enough, while there are products in the market that could last for even 15 hours.

Sound Quality and Range

This one honestly comes down to the user themselves as sound quality is a subjective assessment, which has to do with whether you’re into crisp treble or deep and punchy bass. However, as a general rule of thumb, going for the latest Bluetooth technology, which is v5.2 as of now, will ensure maximum efficiency and bitrate, and minimum data loss.

Choosing a speaker with a higher range of connectivity means it will disconnect on you less often. Bluetooth disconnection when moving from one room to another can be very frustrating! Anything beyond 30 feet is ideal for most situations.

Water/Dust Resistance

The dust resistance feature is a no-brainer if you plan on being outdoors a lot and you don’t want to worry about your speaker. It’s also a good idea to look for the water-resistance feature if you go to the beach often or plan on listening to music in the swimming pool.

Alexa/Google Home Compatibility

Your primary concern right now probably has a lot to do with the points mentioned above, however, this small and convenient addition can be a pretty huge plus point. Not only that, but the Internet of Things technology is on the rise, and everyday items are becoming rapidly compatible with AI software such as Siri and Google. So, having this neat feature will definitely go a long way to making sure you are satisfied with your purchase—even long after newer products are available.

How Much Do Portable Speakers Cost?

Price ranges from $70 for smaller, easy to carry portable speakers to upwards of $400 for weighty and premium products. In between, there is a spectrum of seemingly endless products and brands, and which one suits you primarily comes down to the budget you can allocate, and how much you expect from your speakers.

How We Choose Our Top Picks for Portable Speakers?

Brand

Buying branded products is a sure-fire way to assure the quality of your product. It is hard to go wrong with the industry leaders like JBL, Bose, Anker, Sony, UE, and Sonos.

However, it can also be easy to get carried away with unnecessary spending, or if you’re uninformed, overpaying for a product simply because of the brand value. Accordingly, we try to select recognizable brands while keeping the negatives on the down-low.

Price

Price is also quite a significant factor when it comes to picking the best portable speakers out there.

Budget Entry-level purchases can start from as little as $40 but will probably be far less worth in terms of per dollar returns in usability. We recommend setting aside at least $60-80 for a reasonable product from the lower ends of brands such as JBL or UE.

Midrange$100 - $300 gets us into the midrange, with the most recognizable and most sold products lying within this price range. This is where you can get the best of both worlds, with a compromise that can benefit you the most.

PremiumWhile upwards of $300 may seem overkill for a portable speaker, the perks and sheer quality on some of the high-end speakers are pretty mind-blowing. If you have the budget and the appetite for it, there are options in this range that can simply not disappoint.

Quality

No matter what brand a portable speaker is or how much it costs, it is not especially useful if it doesn’t sound good or doesn’t last long. While sound quality depends on the listener as previously mentioned, some objective standards do make a difference, such as high bit rate, and minimal disconnections, and hardware glitches.

Well-renowned brands do not fall prey to substandard audio technicalities, however having something that is constantly being moved and carried around be fragile to being dropped is a bit of a downer, to be light. Our selected products are also ones that can guarantee to take some hard hits without breaking apart.

FAQs

Is battery life as good as advertised?

More than 24 hours of battery life seems like a bit of a stretch, right? I mean, a full day’s worth of constant use on a single charge? Well, as it turns out, these products are actually well-tested to stand up to the mark of their advertising. Ever-increasing playback time is the most marketable feature for companies when comparing with their competitors. Rest assured, the timing advertised is the time it takes a fully charged portable speaker to discharge on medium volume.

Will my device be compatible?

If you’re wondering about different brands and their compatibility, yes, all laptops and phones are very quick and easy to pair. Any reputable branded wireless speaker will not face any problems as they all use the same Bluetooth technology that is present in all our devices. They may be marketed specifically for their own brands, such as the AirPods only being for Apple products, but they are just as easy to use with any other device. The same logic applies to all the portable speakers mentioned above.

Can I pair more than one device?

Any devices that can connect with Wi-Fi will surely have this feature, but direct Bluetooth multi-pairing is still a rarity with most products, however not unheard of. Most portable speakers of the same brand will usually allow for this but it’s something you have to look out for.

bestcovery team.jpg
Our research team searches out the best of everything so that you can confidently pick the perfect products and services for your needs.
Related Content
Go to top