Portable Speaker Comparison: Which is Best for Travel?

portable speaker

Bose

A portable speaker instantly transforms any travel experience. Turn a beach day into a beach party, relax with ambient noise, or listen to podcasts in your hotel room without draining your phone battery.

There are so many portable speakers on the market at so many price points, and with so many features, it can be hard to choose which is best for travel. We did the research for you, and the answer is: it depends on the type of trip you’re taking.

For a tropical trip, you’ll want a waterproof speaker. For a bachelorette party or other celebration, one that also lights up can be fun. Or maybe portability and price are all that really matter–we have the smallest and cheapest option here too. Of course, we also included a splurge, because if you’re really into music, you want the highest-quality sound possible.

Whatever your needs or budget, these are the best portable speakers for travel.

Best Portable Speakers

bose portable speaker Amazon Customer Reviews
  • High-quality, reputable brand
  • 360-degree sound
  • Voice control and Bluetooth Connect app
Price: $299.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
waterproof portable speaker Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Waterproof
  • Small and portable
  • Small and portable
Price: $62.89 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
best portable speaker Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Great sound quality for price
  • Waterproof
  • 24-hour battery
Price: $36.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
bluetooth portable speaker Amazon Customer Reviews
  • High-quality sound
  • Light effects
  • Connects to other JBL speakers
Price: $136.44 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 2. For Beach Trips: Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM

    Pros:
    • Waterproof
    • 360-degree sound
    • Small and portable
    • Good Design award winner
    Cons:
    • More expensive than a few other portable speakers
    • Larger than a few other portable speakers
    • Shorter battery life than the Bose SoundLink

    If your vacation includes pool or beach time, you’ll want a waterproof portable speaker. This one from Ultimate Ears has rave reviews from CNET, Wirecutter, and more for its clear, 360-degree sound despite its size; its long battery life (10 hours); and the ability to be plunged in water and still work.

    The speaker connects via Bluetooth to any device, and can also be connected to other UE devices to double up on sound. It won the Good Design Award, one of the most prestigious design and innovation awards in the world.

    The waterproof capabilities allow it to be dropped up to one meter for 30 minutes. It weighs 1.32 pounds and is 4.2 x 4.6 x 5.2 inches. The portable speaker comes in 10 colors.

    VideoVideo related to for beach trips: ultimate ears wonderboom2018-10-14T11:09:42-04:00

  2. 3. A Good Basic Affordable Portable Speaker: Tribit XSound Go

    Pros:
    • Affordable
    • Great sound quality for price
    • Waterproof
    • 24-hour battery
    Cons:
    • Takes four hours to charge
    • Not as much bass as pricier brands
    • Not as as high-quality sound as some brands

    This budget-priced portable speaker is attractive, waterproof, and most importantly delivers great sound for the money. It’s small (6.7 x 2.2 x 2.3 inches and 0.84 pounds) and has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

    It looks like most generic portable speakers, but is dust-proof and more durable. It’s IPX7 rated, meaning it’s fully waterproof. The lanyard on the top allows you to hang it easily at a pool, on a tree while camping, or in your hotel shower.

    It has a 24-hour battery life, which is much longer than most. The flip side of this is that it takes four hours to fully charge. A CNET review found sound stayed clear throughout battery life, and said while in general sound was great for the price, the bass was always a bit low. An Amazon reviewer said it was “like a small studio speaker, very impressive,” and another said it was “perfect for trips and outdoor hangouts.”

    VideoVideo related to a good basic affordable portable speaker: tribit xsound go2018-10-14T11:10:27-04:00

  3. 4. For Party Trips: JBL Pulse 2 Portable Speaker

    Pros:
    • High-quality sound
    • Light effects
    • Connects to other JBL speakers
    • Splashproof
    Cons:
    • More expensive than other brands
    • Short battery life due to light effects
    • Not as high-quality as some speakers

    Traveling for a party of some kind? Bring along the JBL portable speaker, which combines great sound with a light show. Multi-colored lights flash to the beat of the music, turning any room into a party.

    Plus, the portable speaker is splashproof, so you don’t have to worry if someone spills on it. The rechargeable battery delivers 10 hours of sound and five hours of light effects. You can adjust the lights to be more of a flashy effect, or just give off a glow and light up a room. With the companion app, you can choose which color will glow.

    If you don’t want to play music, the app also includes ambient sounds like waves and birds. The speaker connects to your device via Bluetooth, and if you have two they can connect to each other for amplified sound.

    The portable speaker weighs one pound and is 8.3 x 3.9 x 6.7 inches.

    VideoVideo related to for party trips: jbl pulse 2 portable speaker2018-10-14T11:11:02-04:00

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