Tech

Top 15 Best Bluetooth Speakers: The Heavy Power List

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Several years ago, one could expect portable speakers to come standard with small, tinny speakers, poor battery life, and clumsy 30-pin docking ports. Thankfully, a lot more can be expected of today’s portable speakers, which all pack a surprising punch for their small size, have a minimum six-hour battery life, and come equipped with both robust Bluetooth 3.0 (some on this list even have 4.0) connectivity and an Auxiliary 3.5 mm jack to connect older devices.

You can also expect built-in track controls and speakerphone calling on most current Bluetooth speakers. While it’s now a heck of a lot easier to share and enjoy music on the go, it’s become a lot more difficult to find the right portable speakers for the right price.

That’s why Heavy has compiled a list of the top 10 portable Bluetooth speakers across all price ranges. Those looking for a speaker set with a louder sound and stronger battery life will also want to check the suggested upgrades listed.


1. Bose SoundLink Mini 2

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Bose is a name best known for its high-fidelity sound, which is a feature they manage to deliver in the successor of their wildly popular Bose SoundLink Mini, the Bose SoundLink Mini 2. The SoundLink Mini 2 is the new golden standard for audio quality in portable speakers, as its compact audio drivers deliver a surprisingly full range of sound.

It has the same iconic look with the same sturdy metal enclosure as its predecessor, albeit a new micro-perforated steel grille. It is a hefty 1.5 pounds, which gives it a nice weight to resist vibration. Size-wise, it comes in at about the middle of the list at 2.3 x 7.1 x 2 inches. As for sound, it carries an incredible frequency response, offering rich bass tones and crisp high ends that must truly be experienced in person.

You might not believe the quality and volume that these speakers otherwise pack, especially when it comes to delivering booming lows. While Bose has obviously chosen to maintain its proprietary audio technology from the previous model, it does offer some much-needed improvements to general usability.

For instance, the speaker now supports speakerphone calling, where it previously did not. It now charges with a much-preferred Micro USB charger, plus you still have the option to use the included charging cradle. And though the battery life has been improved from 7 to 10 hours of play time, it could still be better on this speaker.

Voice prompts are also now available on the speaker to walk you through the pairing process, but this was a questionable addition because instructions weren’t necessarily needed for pairing to begin with. So while some improvements can be distracting, the SoundLink Mini 2 only further cements Bose as the #1 name for portable speakers. If you’re looking for a less portable model with higher volume and almost double the battery life, you might also consider the Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker III.

Price: $199.00

Buy the Bose SoundLink Mini 2 here.


Pros:

  • Durable aluminum enclosure
  • Amazing frequency response
  • Reaches high volume

Cons:

  • Fairly expensive
  • Voice prompts for pairing seem unnecessary
  • 10 hour battery life could be better

Find more Bose SoundLink Mini 2 information and reviews here.


Take a closer look at the newer Bose SoundLink Mini 2 — inside and out — in this photo gallery:

Bose SoundLink Mini 2: The New Best Portable Speaker

The Bose SoundLink Mini 2 is an all-around improvement on the original speaker.

Click here to read more


2. Logitech Ultimate Ears Mini Boom

If you are looking to match the attentive sound quality of Bose’s mini speakers without matching its hefty price, the UE Mini Boom is an excellent option to consider. At only $79.99, it offers a better sound than most speakers in its price range, though its two 1.5-inch full range drivers do have a notably smaller frequency response than those in the SoundLink Mini.

Less resonant bass tones aside, it earns a competitive edge with its solid volume output, as well as smaller size and better battery life. The Mini Boom measures at 3.9 x 3.3 x 6.3 inches and weighs a manageable 9.6 ounces thanks to its hard plastic casing. It also holds an excellent 10 hour battery life, and yes, it can be charged via Micro USB.

In addition to being speakerphone ready, the Mini Boom also sports the neat feature of being able to pair with a second Mini Boom via a smart phone app to double up for either a more amplified or more stereo-separated sound (after being firmware updated). This same firmware update enables features like custom equalizer settings and an alarm feature.

If you are sold on the features of this Logitech speaker but are still looking for a larger sound, the full-sized UE Boom comes even closer yet to the full range of the SoundLink Mini.

Price: $79.99 (20 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Logitech Ultimate Ears Mini Boom here.


Pros:

  • Reaches high volume
  • Great sound for the price
  • Lightweight but durable

Cons:

  • Relies on smart phone app for the otherwise great EQ and Double Up features
  • Lacking in low-end sound
  • May be outclassed by full-size UE Boom

Find more Logitech Ultimate Ears Mini Boom information and reviews here.


Take a closer look at the Logitech Ultimate Ears Mini Boom — including specs and color options — in this photo gallery:

Logitech Ultimate Ears Mini Boom: Great Value in a Bluetooth Speaker

The Logitech Ultimate Ears Mini Boom is a great option for shoppers who want quality sound in a small package without a hefty price tag. See how it measures up to competitors.

Click here to read more


3. Jawbone Mini Jambox

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When most speakers go as small as Jawbone’s Mini Jambox, not much can be expected for their sound. However, Jawbone, one of the original innovators of Bluetooth speakers, remains a top contender for portable and affordable speakers while still maintaining deep and crystal clear sound.

As the Jawbone is even smaller than Logitech’s Mini Boom, one cannot expect the volume to be comparable of that or larger speakers, but for a speaker that will easily fit into a pants pocket, the sound is phenomenal.

Its size is an impressive 6.6 x 1.6 x 5.4 inches and weighs the lightest 9.1 ounces (tied with the OontZ Angle) even with an anodized aluminum case. The Jawbone also looks great, with 9 different colors and 5 different design options.

It offers app control to access a 10 band equalizer, as well as optional voice prompts with different voices available. The voice prompts will inform you of low battery life, caller ID from speakerphone calls, and new Bluetooth connections. Connecting over the Bluetooth 4.0 interface is quick and easy, and not only does the Jawbox support Multi Play through two Jambox speakers, but you can also share control of one speaker between two devices for effortless DJing.

The speaker can reach 10 hours of battery life and charges via Micro USB. While the Mini Jambox is almost half the size of the less portable Big Jambox, those looking for larger sound may prefer the original Jambox, which though double in size, gets much fuller sound and tops out at 15 hours of play from one charge.

Price: $103.95 (19 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Jawbone Mini Jambox here.


Pros:

  • Faster pairing with Bluetooth 4.0
  • One of the lightest and most portable
  • Connects with 2 devices simultaneously

Cons:

  • Unlabeled controls can be challenging at first
  • Casing can scratch easily
  • Design does not allow for easy tilting

Find more Jawbone Mini Jambox information and reviews here.


Take a closer look at the Jawbone Jambox Mini — including specs, color options, and internal parts — in this photo gallery:

Jawbone Mini Jambox: Full, Portable Sound

The Jawbone Mini Jambox offers one of the best combinations of compact size and full sound in a portable Bluetooth speaker. See how it measures up to competitors.

Click here to read more


4. Grain Audio PWS.01

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Though it comes at a premium price, Grain Audio’s PWS.01 is one of the most stunningly beautiful Bluetooth speakers available. Its FSC Certified walnut with hand-applied oil finish make this hefty 1.5 pound speaker a delight to hold, and I often find myself picking up the sample unit I was given just to admire these qualities.

There is rubber trim around the corners which can protect from drops, but the rubber feet at the bottom cannot stop the rumble of the bass at max volume from moving the speaker. At 7 x 2.5 x 3 inches, it is not pocket size, but its ornate wooden finish and elegant metal grille make it a beautiful addition to any room you bring it to.

Extra features are sparse, as there is no speakerphone calling, NFC tapping, or EQ adjustment capabilities. But that is because to Grain, these features are a distraction from the main function of this speaker, which is playing beautiful music.

One area of disappointment for this speaker is the battery life, which is on average 8 hours from a Micro USB charge. Again, sound does come first for Grain Audio, but it is still a disappointment to not get more playback time for the price of this speaker.

Sound-wise, the PWS.01 has a lot going for it. Its dual 2-inch proprietary loudspeakers and bass-isolating passive radiator produce clear, balanced sound with an emphasis on authentic audio reproduction. The lows rumble with the same intensity as the SoundLink Mini 2 without sounding artificially boosted. The high end is clear but somewhat soft, lending a warm, natural aesthetic to the sound.

The max volume is not extraordinarily loud, but is satisfactory, and most importantly, it distortion-free even at full blast. Even though this isn’t the most compact speaker out there, the sound is so good that it actually makes you want to bring it everywhere. The passive radiators and acoustic qualities of the wooden finish all add up to one the best portable speaker experiences out there.

Price: $249.99

Buy the Grain Audio PWS.01 here.


Pros:

  • Beautiful, authentic walnut paneling
  • Amazing frequency response
  • Distortion-free loudness at max volume

Cons:

  • 8 hour battery life could be better
  • Very high price tag
  • Rubber feet cannot hold speaker in place during bass-heavy tracks

Find more Grain Audio PWS.01 information and reviews here.


5. TDK Life on Record TREK Max A34

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Late last year, TDK reintroduced their new, improved model of their wildly successful A33 speaker from 2012. The TREX Max A34 continues TDK’s effort to make a better, more weatherproof speaker, and while bulky, is a solid pick for outdoor use.

This is the largest speaker on the list, with dimensions of 11.8 x 5.1 x 5.2 inches and a weight of 3.6 pounds – but hey, not every portable speaker needs to fit in your pocket. The rugged weatherproof features on the TREK Max means it is more likely to end up in a hiking backpack than in your office. The speaker’s IP64 rating means that its case will keep out even the finest of sands, and is water resistant but not capable of full submersion.

Durability is not the TREK Max’s only appeal though, as it also come equipped with two 1.5 inch audio drivers and two rear 3-inch passive radiators, which means a powerful, distortion-free sound. Of course, given the fact that it is more than double the size of the smallest speaker on this list, its 15 Watt output is loud.

While it has convenient NFC tapping functionality, the TREK Max only supports Bluetooth 2.1, which does not adversely affect the audio quality, but might mean better battery life with an upgrade. That said, the TREK Max still boasts about 8 hours of battery life, though it only charges via an AC Adapter. It also has handy features such as speakerphone calling, a charge out port to power your mobile devices, adding further value.

Price: $129.99 (48 percent off MSRP)

Buy the TDK Life on Record TREK Max A34 here.


Pros:

  • Weatherproofed for outdoor use
  • Charge out port
  • Reaches high volume

Cons:

  • Largest and heaviest on the list
  • Charges only via AC adapter (not USB)
  • Slower Bluetooth connection when not using NFC

Find more TDK Life on Record TREK Max A34 information and reviews here.


Take a closer look at the TREK Max A34 at its best in various outdoor conditions in this photo gallery:

TDK Life on Record TREK Max A34: The Most Rugged Outdoor Speaker

Late last year, TDK reintroduced their new, improved TREX Max A34, which continues TDK’s effort to make a better, more weatherproof speaker. Check out its durable build, charge out features, and more.

Click here to read more


6. Sony SRS-X5

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While the larger speakers have the list spotlight, the Sony SRS-X5 deserves an, ahem, big nod for the full range of sound (50 Hz to 20 kHz) that comes out of their 20 Watt speaker system.

The SRS-X5 might be best compared to the big brothers of most of the speakers on this list, but at 2 x 8.8 x 4.8 inches and 2.6 pounds, it is not that much bigger than the Bose SoundLink Mini.

The built-in subwoofer mean great low-end bass sound, but because of its size, the speakers require an AC adapter for charging. This does however mean you get a charge out port, as well as some other nice features like NFC pairing, Bluetooth 4.0, and speakerphone calling.

It should also be known that Sony’s SRS line goes even bigger, offering the 32 Watt SRS-X7 for more stationary listening.

Price: $158.00 (21 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Sony SRS-X5 here.


Pros:

  • Amazing sound range
  • Charge out port
  • Faster pairing with Bluetooth 4.0

Cons:

  • Larger and heavier build
  • No built-in track controls
  • Charges only via AC adapter (not USB)

Find more Sony SRS-X5 information and reviews here.


Take a closer look at the Sony SRS-X5 — including specs, color options, and internal parts — in this photo gallery:

Sony SRS-X5: Bigger Bluetooth Speakers with Bigger Sound

The Sony SRS-X5 is a large but powerful pair of Bluetooth speakers. Check out its photo gallery, plus features, price, and specs.

Click here to read more


7. JBL Charge 2

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JBL is another big brand for sound, and one that makes its way to most top lists for Bluetooth speakers. As the name suggests, the big appeal of the Charge 2 is its ability to both hold a strong charge (for a 12 hour battery life), and share it with USB-powered devices through a charge out port. Even with all that power, it can be plugged into any other USB port with its 5V USB adapter, which is a big plus.

It is a medium-sized device, measuring at 8.5 x 6.5 x 4 inches and weighing 1.3 pounds, but still manages to pack a powerful sound with its two 5 Watt speakers. That said, it has been reported to have a slightly lower maximum volume than the original Charge, but with less compression needed to achieve high volumes, the Charge 2’s sound is clear and dynamic.

One cool feature of the Charge 2 is its Social Mode, which allows for three people at once to DJ in turn, trouncing the Jawbone’s two person Multi Play feature in larger gatherings.

You can also expect to see speakerphone calling and NFC tapping on this speaker. The upgraded JBL Pulse offers overall improvements as well, namely a built-in light display.

Price: $140.96 (6 percent off MSRP)

Buy the JBL Charge 2 here.


Pros:

  • Charge out port
  • 12 hour battery life
  • Connects with three devices simultaneously

Cons:

  • No available carrying case
  • Less maximum volume
  • Clumsy volume up/down controls

Find more JBL Charge 2 information and reviews here.


Take a closer look at the JBL Charge 2 — including specs, color options, and features — in this photo gallery:

JBL Charge 2: Best Battery Life in a Bluetooth Speaker

The JBL Charge 2 is a long-lasting powerhouse of a speaker, which delivers a loud, balanced sound and charges USB devices. Compare the Charge 2 against other top Bluetooth speakers in its price range.

Click here to read more


8. HiddenRadio2

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Emerging from a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, the HiddenRadio2 succeeds the original HiddenRadio as one of the most funded speaker on any platform. This is for good reason as well, as the HiddenRadio2 combines high-fidelity 360° sound with a one of a kind form factor.

The distinguishing feature of this speaker is its Magic Lift, which expands or contracts the speaker from within its plastic casing. Fully expanded, the speaker is 3.4 x 3.4 x 4.3 inches, and shrinks by more than an inch when closed for incredible portability.

At 1.1 pounds, it is also fairly light weight, though this comes at the cost of a lighter material used for the plastic casing than other speakers. On the same note, the lifting mechanism is somewhat loud, but both of these issues are balanced out by the quality of the other parts of the speaker, and of course the crystal clear sound the speakers pump out.

This cylindrical speaker utilizes its shape to deliver balanced sound in all directions at an impressive maximum 90dB volume. For its size, its proprietary Neodymium Dual System Setup delivers a great range of sound, capturing higher highs and lower lows than other speakers of this size. And the HiddenRadio2 is able to deliver this quality sound without wrestling with distortion or frequency muddling. Some additional features of this speaker help stretch the sound quality even further, too.

The HiddenRadio2’s MultiPoint feature allows two speakers to be synced to one phone to either spread the audio across multiple rooms, or to reveal new stereo depth. Both of these combining modes (plus Bluetooth pairing) have dedicated buttons underneath the speaker, but everything else is controlled through the capacitive touch controls on the top cap.

This speaker’s controls are among the best that I have sampled, and are fully intuitive after first use. They can be used to play/pause, adjust the volume, answer a call, or even bring up Siri. This device uses Low Energy Bluetooth 4.0 to connect from an awesome range of up to 100 feet, and can use a forthcoming smartphone app to control clever uses like music schedules, alarms, and push notifications.

Other standard features like NFC and speakerphone are present, but because of its retracting surface, there is no auxiliary port on this speaker. The speaker charges via Micro USB and gets an impressive 12 hours average battery life, rounding this out as a great all-around speaker.

Price: $199

Buy the HiddenRadio2 here.

Pros:

  • 360° audio delivers amazing range
  • Magic Lift allows compact form factor
  • Intuitive touch control system
  • Enhanced Data Rate support on Bluetooth 4.0 LE

Cons:

  • Lifting mechanism is somewhat loud
  • Plastic casing could be nicer
  • No auxiliary port
  • Limited manufacturing

Find more HiddenRadio2 information and reviews here.


9. Beats Pill 2.0

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Though audiophiles may roll their eyes at “over-marketed” Beats products, there is no denying that this Apple subsidiary makes a quality speaker for those a full-range speaker for experiencing the deep lows of electronic and hip hop tracks. True, Beats is a brand name you end up paying a little extra for, but the powerful low-end sound in a portable package is often a worthwhile investment for bass heads.

In the case of the compact Pill 2.0, the speaker does not have the strong bass sound you’d expect from a Beats speaker because of its size. But even though many listeners expect more from the Pill 2.0 for this game reason, I can discern that the speaker provides an excellent dynamic of sound considering its physical limitations as a portable speaker.

That said, most would still probably agree that the Bose SoundLink Mini offers a better bang for your buck in this price range. Yet it is hard to discount the smaller size and element of style that Beats brings into the equation.

The highly stylized Pill 2.0 comes in a variety of colors, and is easy to carry around at 9 x 6 x 3 inches and a weight of 10.9 ounces. The included carrying case makes it even easier to go mobile with the Pill, although you should note that the case is a tight fit and does not have extra space for the charger or other accessories.

Speakerphone calling is possible, as well as NFC tapping, and use as a Bluetooth receiver via Aux Out, meaning that the Pill does not fall short on extra features. The Beats Pill 2.0 gets about 7 hours of battery life, and also offers a USB charge out port to charge other USB-powered devices.

Like the Jawbone Mini Jambox and the Logitech UE Mini Boom, the Pill 2.0 can use its Beats Bond feature to pair with other Pill 2.0 speakers via NFC and produce either an amplified sound or a more rich stereo sound. If you’re after a louder but less portable package, there is also the Beats Pill XL, which touts almost double the power time at 15 hours (plus a handy Fuel Gauge to keep track of power), as well as a louder bass sound.

Price: $169.00 (15 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Beats Pill 2.0 here.


Pros:

  • Reaches high volume
  • Includes carrying case
  • Portable and stylish
  • Double up on sound with Beats Bond

Cons:

  • Fairly expensive considering performance
  • 7 hour battery life could be better
  • Sound is somewhat unbalanced (could use an EQ feature)
  • Larger speakers are needed to truly capture the Beats signature sound

Find more Beats Pill 2.0 information and reviews here.


Take a closer look at the Beats Pill 2.0 — including specs, color options, and features — in this photo gallery:

Beats Pill 2.0: Best Looking Bluetooth Speaker

The Beats Pill 2.0 is a stylish and feature-packed Bluetooth speaker that makes portable music a delight.

Click here to read more


10. Inateck Hi-Fi Wireless Speaker

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German electronics company Inateck, in addition to an interesting lineup of electronic products, offers a fairly competitive Hi-Fi Wireless Speaker as well. Inateck’s speaker weighs less than 1 pound and measures 6.5 x 2 x 2.4 inches, putting it towards the middle of the other speakers in size, but it definitely stands out in its price.

It is a very affordable speaker considering that it has up to date Bluetooth 4.0 connection, an impressive 15 hour battery life, plus nice features like speakerphone calling and a Micro USB charger. Its two 3 watt speakers produce a surprisingly loud volume output, and while the drivers do fall a little short in low-end delivery, the sound is otherwise solid.

The only sound you won’t like out of this speaker is the shrill, irritating chirp sounds that play when you turn it on, connect via Bluetooth, or try to turn up past the max volume. The low bass and annoying chirps are easy to look past though, especially considering that this speaker gets louder and lasts longer than most other Bluetooth speakers its price.

The speakers come with a vivid hexagonal design over its red grill, and overall looks pretty sharp. Though while the plastic casing isn’t a detriment to the Inateck speaker, it is nothing special and could be higher quality. Then again, for the price, you are getting a great performing speaker as it is, so there is really not much more to ask from this device.

Price: $49.99 (71 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Inateck Hi-Fi Wireless Speaker here.


Pros:

  • 15 hour battery life
  • Reaches high volume
  • Bluetooth 4.0

Cons:

  • Annoying system sounds
  • Lacking in low-end sound
  • Low quality plastic casing

Find more Inateck Hi-Fi Wireless Speaker information and reviews here.


Take a closer look at the Inateck Bluetooth Speaker — including specs, schematics, and features — in this photo gallery:

Inateck Hi-Fi Wireless Speaker: Best New Contender

Lesser-known Bluetooth speaker makers Inateck deliver a surprising value in their BSP-10 Plus, which impresses with great battery life and volume.

Click here to read more


11. The OontZ Angle

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Figuratively speaking, the OontZ Angle is a lightweight heavyweight, that can provide a big impactful sound in one of the smallest packages. Plus, for less than $40, the OontZ Angle is also light on the wallet. At 5.3 x 3 x 2.7 inches and 9.1 ounces, the Oontz Angle is the smallest speaker on the list, and is tied for the lightest (with the Jawbone Mini).

Its dimensions considered, the Angle can still brighten up a small room with surprisingly crisp and balanced sound. However, since sound and portability are the Angle’s main functions, you won’t see many extra features.

It does have a microphone for speakerphone calling, but NFC connection, speaker linking, and EQ utilities are absent, which for users with simpler needs means an easier experience overall.

The Angle can also achieve up to 12 hours of playtime off one battery charge. Previous models of this speaker used the antiquated Mini USB charger, but the most current version on Amazon now ships ready for far more convenient Micro USB charging.

All in all, there is not much to be said against the Oontz, as the high value audio speaks for itself. Some will be charmed by the simplicity of the OontZ Angle, and those who won’t, have many upgrades to choose from, including the improved, weatherproof OontZ Angle Plus, which is just a couple bucks more.

Price: $27.99 (72 percent off MSRP)

Buy the OontZ Angle here.


Pros:

  • More affordable than high-end brands
  • 12 hour battery life
  • One of the lightest and most portable

Cons:

  • Uses dated Mini USB cable instead of Micro USB
  • No speakerphone calling
  • No NFC support

Find more OontZ Angle information and reviews here.


Take a closer look at the OontZ Angle — including specs and features — in this photo gallery:

The OontZ Angle: Best Budget Bluetooth Speaker

Though the OontZ Angle may not stack up against top price speakers, its incredibly low price and great value make it a contender for portable audio needs.

Click here to read more


12. Klipsch GiG

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Rounding out the list is Klipsch’s entry into the portable speaker world, the sturdy and stylish GiG. Its single multifunctional button controls all aspects of the GiG, and its 20 Watt speakers provide a full range of sound.

Unfortunately, the speakers do not sound as good as you would expect from full-size Klipsch audio equipment, but considering the physical limitations of its dimensions (8.9 x 3.2 x 6 inches and 1.5 pounds), it can still compete with most of the other speakers in its price range with a round, punchy sound.

The GiG gets 12 hours of playtime from a Micro USB charge, and can perform NFC connection, speakerphone calling, and even pull up Siri on iOS devices. Possibly the coolest feature is the GiG’s case design, which allows many angles of articulation to direct sound wherever it needs to be focused.

Though it could be a little cheaper, the GiG is a strong contender among midrange speakers, and is a solid option for a portable speaker. Klipsch does also offer several larger speakers such as its KMC 1 model.

Price: $94.75  (53 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Klipsch GiG here.


Pros:

  • 12 hour battery life
  • Great frequency range
  • 20 Watt speakers reach high volume
  • Easily angled case

Cons:

  • Not the best value in its price range (unless it’s on sale)
  • Micro USB power adapter is bulky
  • One button control may be confusing at first
  • No charge out feature despite needing AC power

Find more Klipsch GiG information and reviews here.


13. Creative Sound Blaster Roar 2

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(Amazon)

The Creative Sound Blaster Roar 2 is the newest version of the critically acclaimed Sound Blaster Roar, with the same incredible set of extra features in a slightly more compact form. At 2 inches x 4.3 inches x 7.4 inches, this is a fairly large speaker, and one of the heaviest at 2.2 pounds, but is still portable to carry around.

And even though it won’t fit into a pants pocket, this is a speaker you will want to take everywhere, as it offers enough extra features to serve as a standalone device. Carrying this speaker is made even easier with Creative’s carrying case, which I got to test out along with the sample Roar 2 I was given to review.

The Roar 2 sports many extra built-in features, including standards like NFC pairing and speakerphone calling, though the tinny and echoey speakerphone calling is far from the best use of the built-in microphone.

In fact, a small cluster of buttons on the control panel offers you the ability to use the microphone to record better sounding audio onto an SD card that you place into a nearby SD card slot.

This SD card slot can also read high quality audio files, which means that this speaker has a fully integrated .MP3 player solution. There is even a dedicated set of play/pause, tracking, and shuffle toggle buttons for the built-in player, though they don’t work with Bluetooth audio. There is also a Micro USB port to connect your Roar 2 to a PlayStation or PC as a speaker, and you can presumably connect to some other devices.

No matter what source you are playing from, audio sounds excellent, and the Roar 2’s top-firing speakers and side-firing passive radiators lend it a strong omnidirectional sound stage.

The sound is almost universally improved with use of the Roar button, which when pressed once enhances volume and sound stage. When pressed a second time, it activates Tera Bass, which gives the audio a boomier sub sound and a more rounded sound. Even without this feature, the bass hits harder than other speakers, as the internal subwoofer is driven by a separate amplifier from the mids and tweeters.

One downside to the sound is that the built-in voice assistant interferes with some features, including the Roar button. Other than that, audio is pristine with no distortion, and a wide sound that helps fully envelope you in your music.

The Roar 2 has a decent 8 hour battery life, but has the awesome benefit of charging via either USB or AC adapter, but also has a 1A charge out port. With so many possible audio sources, plus the ability to provide a USB charge, the Roar proves to be one of the most useful Bluetooth speakers you can own. And despite its inherent bulkiness and plethora of buttons and controls, the Sound Blaster Roar 2 looks great in either black or white, and is well worth making your portable speaker.

Price: $169.99

Buy the Creative Sound Blaster Roar 2 here.


Pros:

  • Strong bass and sound staging
  • Charge out port
  • Built-in .MP3 player and audio recorder

Cons:

  • Heavy and somwehat bulky
  • Subpar speakerphone quality
  • No tracking buttons

Find more Creative Sound Blaster Roar 2 information and reviews here.


14. Taco Dual Bluetooth Speakers

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The Taco Dual speakers is a new take on stereo-paired Bluetooth speakers from ideaUSA. Rather than tacking on the ability to pair their speaker with a second full-price model, ideaUSA has cut to the chase and released a two-piece speaker system built for capturing deep stereo sound. The dual speaker design is a double-edged sword though, because while have two speakers create one sound makes for better audio, it also limits the portability of the unit.

True, they can be played as one speaker, but the excellent stereo experience that the pair provide make it worth the more cumbersome setup. For once, the voice assistance is a big helpfor pairing without being too annoying, and also helps utilize the speakerphone and NFC features. One issue with the controls, however, is that volume controls are accessed by long-pressing the tracking buttons, and go up very slowly with beeps for each increment. Everything else is fairly easy to use, even with two sets of each button.

The sound of this speaker is surprising considering their size of 2.5 x 8.3 x 2.5 inches, especially in the low-end. Bass frequencies are clear and robust, and can cause the speakers to vibrate off the table if they aren’t placed on their included non-slip pads. Part of this boosted bass sound comes from the upward angle of the speakers, which helps immensely with driving bass and providing stereo sound. Highs and mids also came through clear in the sample unit I was shipped, making for a balanced and wide frequency range. The speakers get quite loud, but distort the sound a little at max volume. This is no matter, because the power from two speakers will be enough to serve most needs.

Each speakers get 12+ hours of battery off a Micro USB charge, and the unit does come with two cables for simultaneous charging. Connection is fast and easy with the latest Bluetooth 4.1 standard, and the speakers sync with one another up to about 30 feet apart. All in all, two quality speakers in one is a great value, and despite their goofy name, the Taco Dual speakers deliver a high quality sound.

Price: $65.99 (61 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Taco Dual Bluetooth Speakers here.


Pros:

  • Impressive frequency range
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • 12 hour battery life

Cons:

  • Distortion at max volume
  • Volume controls are hard to access
  • Dual speaker configuration limits portability

Find more Taco Dual Bluetooth Speakers information and reviews here.


15. Marley Chant

bluetooth speakers, bluetooth speakers review, best bluetooth speakers, house of marley, marley chant

The Chant by House of Marley is a small, charming speaker that borrows from reggae aesthetic with its recycled hemp case and its natural bamboo styling. House of Marley is an environmentally conscious brand that makes their products from blended bio-plastic and recyclable aluminum, and the end result quite nice. The speaker is 4.4 x 4.4 x 5.9 inches, and comes with a snug carrying case with a cable pocket and carabiner, making it easy to strap to a backpack or handlebars. The onboard controls are simple and easy to access, allowing you to leave the speaker in its case at all times.

The battery life is a bit of a disappointment, however, as the speaker maxes out at around 6 hours of playtime off a dated Mini USB charge, which really limits its use outdoors. It still offers versatile use though, as has speakerphone functionality, a 3.5mm jack, and the potential for easy transportation.

Given that House of Marley prides their sound quality above all else, it is unfortunate that because of the Chant’s size, Marley’s “Signature Sound” is not as fully present in it as it is in larger pairs like the Marley Get Together. But the Chant’s 2-inch full range driver does offer decent performance, as mids are precise and its high-end has an energized sound to it as well. Bass response is limited in impact, but this is more an issue of the size than the hardware. And despite the Chant’s 2-inch passive radiator, the sound is fairly directional, which can be awkward given the upward direction the speaker faces.

Head on, the speaker reaches a peak for clarity, but from the side this is muddled a bit. The Chant does make up for this with solid volume, loud enough to brighten up small outdoor excursions. The bottom line is that sound in smaller speakers never quite lives up to larger speakers, but when that sound presented in a nice enough package, a small speaker can seem like something more, and that’s where the Chant can be special.

Price: $49.99 (29 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Marley Chant here.


Pros:

  • Portable design clips to a backpack easily
  • Solid volume
  • Light weight and durable

Cons:

  • 6 hour batttery life could be better
  • Sound overly directional
  • Mini USB charge port

Find more Marley Chant information and reviews here.


Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

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13 comments

  1. For me the power of the speakers versus the price is the most important part. I don’t really buy speakers for their connectivity or their other options. I want a speaker that does its main job well and also does it on a budget. These were some great options and I like what you said about how far the speakers have come.

  2. I got the Thodio iBox XC from my wife for my birthday last month, totally blown away by it, 200 watts, 51 hour battery, HD Bluetooth, o and did I mention it’s built out of 0.7” solid hard woods?!? http://store.thodio.com

  3. As far as I can see you don’t list the power output of the speakers so hard to compare – I am mainly Interested in the volume output.

  4. It would have been a decent list if the author included the audio output power and frequency response for ALL the speakers listed! Not just one or two! Not knowing the output wattage of them all doesn’t help ME pick one over another! And not knowing how low the bass response goes down or how loud each one can go without distorting does NOT help me choose anything, so this list IS a complete waste and IS only plugging some of the big name brand garbage companies that probably PAID this tool to write this bogus list!… I got my wife the Soundfreaq-2 for Xmas, it pairs fine with her old iPad and does give better sound than the iPad’s built in speaker, but, it’s isn’t that loud overall and the bass isn’t that deep and it does distort at max volume, but for the under $50 price it works fine, but, I would NOT buy another Soundfreaq brand product again due to it not having low bass, high enough output or clarity at higher volumes!

  5. I’m looking for a portable Bluetooth speaking to use in a factory that operates machinery. Working in an area of 50m2. What would you suggest are the smaller ones just as compatible to the boom boxes ? Or should I be looking at something bigger for the range expected.

  6. The best Bluetooth speaker I’ve had for the money is the Nakamichi BTSP80. I’m really disappointed it isn’t on this list.

  7. I just want to know…can you play your Jebson bluetooth speaker while it is charging. Some say you can other say no…which is correct. I don’t read it that you can…Can anybody let me know. Thanks. John