If you lack the multi-room capabilities of a Sonos system (or you’re venturing outside), the Bluetooth speaker is your best tune-blasting friend. A descendent of the boom box, you can now find these little boxes at a variety of levels of “affordable.” Whatever type of free-roaming music lover you are, there’s a little Bluetooth box for you.
JBL Charge 3
Best for Listening and Charge Devices: The Charge 3 is an impressive Bluetooth speaker with two powerful 1.7-inch drivers and 20 hours of battery life. Its two main selling points are its IPX7 water resistance (you can submerge it) and its charging capability; its USB output lets you charge your smartphone or tablet. If you have other JBL Connect–enabled speakers, you can connect them all to the Charge 3.
UE Boom 2
Best for 360-Degree Sound: The original UE Boom is a classic. Its newest iteration is louder and has less distortion; plus, it adds IPX7 waterproofing. The Boom 2 isn’t as loud as the JBL Charge 3; what you’re paying extra for is its portability (it’s slightly lighter), better bass balance and its superior 360-degree sound stage.
Bose SoundLink Mini II
Best Design: The Bose SoundLink simply looks more sophisticated than other ultracompact wireless speakers in its price range. The tiny speaker weighs less than 1.5 pounds, but it still produces the full range of sound and deep bass that listeners have come to expect from the Bose SoundLink series. Battery lasts 10 hours, and the speakers’ simple Bluetooth pairing functionality includes voice prompts.
Best for the Amateur DJ: The SRS-XB40 is the biggest of Sony’s latest Extra Bass (XB) Bluetooth speakers. It has LED lights that run around its perimeter and pulsate to the rhythm of your music, which you can tweak via app. Also pretty neat: the XB40 is splash-resistant (IPX51) and can stand up straight or rest horizontally. It’s available March 2017.
Cambridge Audio Yoyo M
Best Desktop-Like Portable Speakers: If you’re going for the refined mobile office, go for the Yoyo Ms by high-end speaker manufacturer Cambridge Audio. Each speaker is wrapped in worsted wool and engineered with a full-range driver and subwoofer, and either of the two can be set as either the left or right speaker. Additional features include a USB port for charging your devices and touch-sensitive panels on the top of each speaker that let you control playback.
Best Big and Refined Speaker: The Oslo, by Danish speaker manufacturer Vifa, is a large, 5.3-pound portable Bluetooth speaker that sounds amazing. It’s built with four drivers — two full-range and two 65mm woofers — and has a battery life of 8 hours. If that minimalist, wool grille appeals to you, you should spend the extra bread.
The Best Rugged Bluetooth Speakers
No plug, no jacks, no need to check the weather report. Just durable music wherever you need it. Read the Story