Thanks to highly advanced hardware and hours of battery life, today, portable speakers can do way more than just play your favorite music. They can make calls, read your weather forecasts, schedule appointments, and much more. However, they still cover the basics quite well - providing much better sound quality in ever-shrinking form factors. So, how to find truly the best portable speakers in 2020? Which ones offer the biggest value for their money? Don't worry, as we're here to help you find out!
Portable speakers started advancing with improvements in Bluetooth technology. However, let's not forget to say that improvements in battery technology and the integration of AI further contributed to this advancement. All of these came together to deliver what amounts to a revolution of portable speakers, with superior over-the-air audio experience and long-lasting battery life. Upon using a portable speaker, you will immediately realize their convenience - as they come without a mess of docks and cables. Besides, you can easily pair up your phone with these devices, open your favorite music streaming app and play your favorite tracks on-the-go.
After investing hours of listening time and reviewing more speakers than we can count, we’ve shortlisted the best ones right now. Depending on what you expect from your portable Bluetooth-powered speaker, you can pick between stylish, weatherproof, sturdy, or elegant models - or a mix of these characteristics. No matter which speaker you pick from the list, we assure you - it's a winner, offering an amazing audio experience for its small size and money.
With this said, these are the 8 best portable speakers in 2020.
1. Ultimate Ears Boom 3
During our tests, we have had bigger and advanced speakers, but none could match the sound quality and convenience of the Ultimate Ears Boom 3. It features immersive 360° sound with deep bass. For its size, it has the most balanced and pleasant sound without any distortion at high volumes.
This brilliantly designed speaker comes in a stunning, high-performance fabric that shimmers. It has a cylindrical compact build which makes it pleasingly easy to hold on-the-go. Besides, it is waterproof, dustproof, and drop-proof. This speaker provides up to 150 feet of Bluetooth range and can last up to 15 hours between charges. Additionally, the speaker has 'magic buttons' so you can directly play, pause and skip songs from the device.
Also, the Ultimate Ears Boom 3 comes with a 2-year warranty. Undoubtedly, at this affordable price, this device definitely gets a party kicking and checks all the major boxes.
- Pros: A long-lasting battery life; Super-portable and durable.
- Cons: Lacks sharpness at high volume; Relatively pricey.
2. JBL Flip 5
- Weight: 1.2 lbs.
- Battery Life: 12 hours.
- Dimensions: 3.6 x 3.6 x 8.5 inches.
- Wireless Range: 30+ feet.
- Frequency Response: 65Hz to 20kHz.
- Drivers: 44mm.
- Waterproof: Yes, IPx7.
- NFC: No.
- Aux-in: Yes.
- Charges Devices via USB: Yes (USB C - Quick Charge).
The JBL Flip 5 is a small and portable Bluetooth speaker, providing a noticeable improvement over its predecessor. It comes with long-lasting battery life, improved sound, and USB-C charging simplicity. Although the 3.5mm jack is now gone, the device has a much easier-to-access connection.
It features USB-C, which makes charging the device easier. It provides about 12 hours of battery life with just 2.5 hours of charging. Adding to that, the speaker's new racetrack-shaped driver delivers an impressive output. The speaker is available in 11 vibrant colors and has the IPx7 waterproof rating. Furthermore, it features JBL's PartyBoost technology that allows you to pair compatible speakers together for a superior audio experience.
On the negative side, the device lacks a surround 360 design which most of its competition offers. However, if it fits your needs, get one, and we promise it won’t disappoint you.
- Pros: Durable; Versatile; 12+ hours battery; IPx7 waterproof rating.
- Cons: 3.5mm port is gone; Lacks a 360-degree experience.
3. Sonos Move
- Weight: 6.6 lbs.
- Battery Life: 10 hours.
- Dimensions: 5.0 x 6.3 x 9.4 inches.
- Wireless Range: 300 feet.
- Frequency Response: N/A.
- Drivers: 4, including 2 Class-D digital amplifiers.
- Waterproof: Yes, IP56.
- NFC: No.
- Aux-in: No.
- Charges Devices via USB: Yes (USB-C).
Sonos has a speaker for every occasion in their line-up - and the company's Move speaker is their top bet on the portable outdoor speaker market. Using this smart device, you can play music, get your questions answered, check the news, set alarms, and a lot more, completely hands-free via its built-in Amazon Alexa.
Along with on-the-go Bluetooth playback with multi-room integration, it offers almost all the functionalities of a regular Sonos speaker. Additionally, it allows you to stream over Wi-Fi and connect to the rest of your Sonos system at your place.
The only sad part is that it doesn’t support surround home-theater setups, and you might want to check some of Sonos' alternatives to fill that void. However, the Sonos Move does what it is designed to do and we’re immensely impressed by it. That price tag may be a problem for some, but compared to what it offers, it definitely compensates for its cost.
- Pros: Versatile; Impressive sound; Excellent connectivity.
- Cons: Pricey; Not the most lightweight option.
4. JBL Charge 4
JBL has an incredible portable speaker series, and the Charge 4 speaker is another product that comes with excellent value in a small package. This is a clear upgrade over the previous generation and for its price range, it’s a no-brainer.
Let's not forget to mention this speaker's powerful battery. The brand estimates Charge 4's battery life to be about 20 hours, but it may vary based on how you use it. Adding to that, the device can take rough treatment and it sounds great. It features a JBL Connect+ button which can link up to 100 compatible speakers to play the same audio. Furthermore, it can recharge your phone (acts as a portable power bank), and also comes with the IPx7 waterproof rating.
It is a bit bulkier compared to other options on the list but that’s only a deal-breaker until you listen to its sound quality.
- Pros: Long battery life; Powerful sound.
- Cons: Charging requires more than time than usual; Lacks 360-degree sound.
5. Bose SoundLink Mini II Limited Edition
Even in 2020, the SoundLink Mini II remains one of the best-sounding portable speakers. Via this model, Bose has integrated the power of custom-engineered drivers with sleekness of anodized aluminum to create a portable speaker that looks and sounds equally good. Also, the device has a built-in speakerphone to pick calls and access your virtual assistant.
That said, this portable speaker has started showing its age. It lacks modern features like NFC, waterproofing, and multipoint Bluetooth. It’s easy to write off this speaker but when it comes to its sound quality, it punches way above what its size might otherwise suggest. With sparkling highs, deep bass, and a lush midrange, it delivers up to 10 hours of listening per charge.
This speaker is a fascinating piece of hardware to demonstrate how small speakers don’t need to compromise on sound quality.
- Pros: Built-in speakerphone; Voice prompts; 10+ hour battery life.
- Cons: Not water-resistant; Lacks multipoint Bluetooth.
6. UE Wonderboom 2
The UE Wonderboom 2 is a slightly upgraded version of the previous generation. The little tweaks in design, battery life, bass response, and outdoor boost make it a fantastic companion for an outdoor setting. Adding to that, it’s got the IP67 waterproof and dustproof rating, which qualifies it for beach parties and pool gatherings.
Its small size should not confuse you. This device features improved bass response which adds intensity and warmth to the music that the previous generation was lacking. You can also wirelessly add two Wonderboom 2 speakers for an enhanced stereo experience. And on top of that, it comes with an 'Outdoor Mode' - which further enhances the sound when using the speaker outdoors.
Based on its features, ruggedness and sound quality, this is easily one of the best portable speakers you can buy in 2020.
- Pros: IP67 waterproof rating; Great battery life; Good-looking design.
- Cons: Doesn't feature MicroUSB charging.
7. Tribit XSound Go
The XSound Go is a big blast in a small package that performs way above its price tag and class. This speaker has an incredible battery of 24 hours of playtime on a single charge. With its dual 6W high-performance drivers and a premium passive bass radiator, it produces magical sound quality. Even when cranked to the maximum volume, the speaker refuses to distort its sound.
With its IPX7 dust- and water-resistant rating, it can easily survive around beaches and pools. It features Bluetooth 4.2 to effortlessly connect compatible devices up to 66ft range.
Frankly, its sound quality compensates for its average looks. For a buyer on a strict budget, it can’t get any better than Tribit's XSound Go.
- Pros: IPx7 waterproof rating; Impressive sound quality.
- Cons: Takes plenty of time to charge.
8. Bose Portable Home Speaker
Bose's Portable Home Speaker is a 'smart' option since it comes with built-in Alexa and Google Assistant. You can control the speaker with your voice and use it to access all your music and podcasts from various available streaming services, Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, and more.
Its minimalist chic design blends well with its advanced functionalities. It has strong connectivity options, impressive battery life, and smart features.
The device is a solid piece of hardware that refuses to sacrifice sound quality at any level. This outdoor-friendly speaker has weather-ready robustness with a portable lightness that lets you listen to it on-the-go.
- Pros: Impressive design; Integration with Alexa and Google Assistant.
- Cons: Pricey.
We recognize that we expect a lot from our portable speakers. An ideal option should serenade us in all sorts of situations from beaches to bedrooms to our parties. There are tons of options on the market and if you think there is something that we have missed in this overview of the best portable speakers in 2020, comment below and let us know. We'd love to hear from you!