The best portable speakers sound great and best of all you can take them anywhere. As we look forward in 2021 there’s every reason to feel optimistic. Time at home, meeting friends or holidays on the beach – now’s the time to upgrade your sound system.
How to Choose the Best Portable Speaker
Should you want to do your own research, there are 1000s of user reviews, numerous videos and plenty of physical shops where you can listen to a variety of portable speakers. However, if you want to avoid sifting through all the reviews and don’t feel motivated to spend an afternoon on the high street, no problem.
Verum has done all the hard work and shortlisted the very best portable speakers starting from only £30.
Spending more gets you better sound quality, longer battery life and a host of extra features. Although more power also translates to a bigger device.
What’s great is that you can get a decent portable speaker for under £30, that won’t disappoint. Read on to find the right speaker for your budget…
Best Cheap Portable Speaker:
The Sony SRS-XB01 Compact Portable is tiny and weighs less than your mobile phone. Perhaps surprising for such a small device is the impressive sound quality. Not much bigger than a couple of bars of soap it is certainly portable and for anyone who wants a big brand for little money, this is the best buy.
Sony states the battery will last up to six hours between charges. However, as with all portable speakers, this is very dependant on how loud you like your music.
User reviews clearly show that owners love the sound quality. Although it’s important to remember that this portable speaker is tiny and shouldn’t be compared to bigger speakers costing ten times more! This Sony model costs little more than a Domino’s pizza!
The IPX5 rating makes it fine for taking it into the bathroom or outside on a wet day, but unlike many of its more expensive competitors, this tiny speaker will not tolerate being dropped in your bath or a swimming pool.
In summary, if you want a tiny portable speaker, big brand and are on a tight budget, then the Sony SRS-XB01 is the one for you.
SPECIFICATION | WEIGHT: 160g | SIZE: 82x58x57 | PLAY TIME: Up to 6 hrs | Range n/a – 20kHz | Battery 800mAh | Rating: IPx5
Sony SRS–XB01 | Verdict price £24 | Check best price on Amazon
Best Portable Speaker Under £50:
The Sony SRS-XB12 is the best small speaker you can buy for under £50. Similar to its cheaper sibling is tiny and lightweight. For the extra cash, you get better sound quality, longer listening times and it’s fully waterproof.
Although Sony doesn’t publish their portable speaker frequency response, the consensus is that the Sony SRS-XB12 delivers deeper bass than the SRS-XB01.
Best Small Portable Speaker
Inside this tiny portable speaker is a lithium battery which will deliver up to a claimed 16 hours of music between charges. This is assuming you don’t have the volume cranked too high.
Depending on where you want to listen to your music, it’s worth noting that the IP67 rating means it’s not only waterproof but also impenetrable to dust, making it truly portable. It’ll even keep going on a building site.
For a truly portable Bluetooth speaker, that has quality sound and brand to match, the Sony SRS-XB12 is hard to beat.
SPECIFICATION | WEIGHT: 243g | SIZE: 74x74x92 | PLAY TIME: Up to 16 hrs | Range n/a – 20kHz | Battery 1400mAh | Rating: IP67
Sony SRS-XB12 | Verdict price £40 | Check best price on Amazon
Best Value Portable Speaker:
Tribit MaxSound Plus
The Tribit MaxSound Plus is great value for money. However, what really makes it stand out is the sound quality and bass.
It’s bigger and heavier than the Sony speakers detailed above, but along with superior sound & bass, you also get a longer battery life. The extra size and design enable the Tribit MaxSound Plus to deliver lower frequencies than numerous models costing much more.
All Day Battery
The big lithium battery gives a claimed 20 hours of listening between charges. The IPx7 rating means you can not only take this portable speaker into the bathroom but should you drop it into the bath, all is ok.
Owners love the sound quality delivered by the Tribit MaxSound Plus – so if you’re ok with the size and weight and don’t want to blow a load of cash, this is the portable speaker for you.
SPECIFICATION | WEIGHT: 595g | SIZE: 65x68x198 | PLAY TIME: Up to 20 hrs | Range 80Hz – 20kHz | Battery 2200mAh | Rating: IPx7
Tribit MaxSound Plus | Verdict price £60 | Check best price on Amazon
Best Portable Speaker under £100:
JBL FLIP 5
The JBL FLIP 5 is the best portable speaker you can buy for under £100. The sound quality is highly regarded, it has a decent battery life and it’s waterproof.
All About the Bass
The bass is excellent. The lower frequency response is right down at 65Hz, which is amazing for a unit that’s a similar size and weight to a pint of beer.
Along with the great sound, you get an IPX7 rating making it fully waterproof – good for both the beach & bathroom.
The huge battery will keep your music pumping out for a claimed 12 hours. What’s important to note is that the battery is double the size of most other speakers.
There’s so much to like about the JBL FLIP 5 Portable Bluetooth speaker and if you’re looking for the perfect speaker under £100 – this is it!
SPECIFICATION | WEIGHT: 540g | SIZE: 181x69x74 | PLAY TIME: Up to 12 hrs | Range 65Hz – 20kHz | Battery 4800mAh | Rating: IPx7
JBL FLIP 5 | Verdict price £99 | Check best price on Amazon
Best Portable Speaker under £200:
UE Megaboom 3
The Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 takes Bluetooth speakers to another level. Great bass & sound quality come together with a robust design & all-day battery life. It’s clear that every detail regarding the Megaboom 3 has been considered and designed to go beyond expectations.
Most bluetooth speakers handle the high notes with ease, but compact design and a decent bass presents a bigger challenge. Yes, this model from UE is bigger & heavier than cheaper models but it also delivers a deeper bass, right down to 60Hz. And yes, it’s loud.
The UE Megaboom 3 is rated at IP67. This means it’s fully waterproof and dust proof. It can be submerged in a bath or swimming pool for upto 30 minutes & equally, it can survive anything from a building site to a sandy beach. Backing this up is a 2 year warranty.
Great Sound Quality & Easy to Use
This Megaboom 3 sounds great & it’s easy to use. Yes, you can control it from your phone, but there are also good controls on the speaker. Volume is easily adjusted, there’s a light to show pairing and a magic button. This allows you to play, pause & skip tracks directly on the speaker. Plus, for the ultimate party, you can pair up to 150 speakers!
This is an amazing speaker. It sounds great, it’s easy to use & the design makes it anything but fragile. For great sounding music anywhere & everywhere, choose the highly recommended Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3.
SPECIFICATION | WEIGHT: 925g | SIZE: 87x87x225 | PLAY TIME: Upto 20 hrs | Range 60Hz – 20kHz |Battery 2850mAh | Rating: IP67
UE MEGABOOM 3 | Verdict price £170 | Check best price on Amazon
Best Loud Portable Speaker:
JBL Xtreme 2
The JBL Xtreme 2 Bluetooth Speaker, compared to all others, is a monster! The sound quality is superb, it’s big, it’s heavy and it has a massive battery. The bottom end of the frequency response is 55Hz, lower than any other Bluetooth speaker Verum has considered. Delivering this incredible bass, the JBL Xtreme 2 Bluetooth Speaker weighs in at approaching 2.4kg – this is heavy, but the sound quality justifies the workout required to lug it around.
Big Sound & Deep Bass
Inside is a massive battery, that will keep your music playing for up to a claimed 15 hours. Plus, there’s a USB out, allowing you to charge your phone while out and about. And yes, it’s waterproof, only don’t drop it in the sea as it will sink! If you need a tiny, lightweight speaker then this clearly isn’t for you, but if great sound quality is top of your list then choose the JBL Xtreme 2.
SPECIFICATION | WEIGHT: 2393g | SIZE: 136x288x132 | PLAY TIME: Up to 7 hrs | Range 55Hz – 20kHz | Rating: IPx7
JBL Xtreme 2 | Verdict price £250 | Check best price on Amazon
What makes a good portable Bluetooth speaker?
- Sound quality is top of the list. And while all of the Verum best buys sound good, the more you spend the better the quality. The good speakers use clever design and electronics to enhance the bass. Although, as a general rule, a bigger unit will deliver deeper bass.
Getting technical, humans can hear a frequency range of 50Hz up to 20kHz. The higher frequencies are relatively easy to deliver, but the lower rumbles (50Hz) present manufacturers with more of a challenge, especially with smaller units.
- The size & weight of your perfect portable speaker depends on where you’re planning to listen to music. If the speaker is going to spend the majority of its time at home, then buy bigger. If it needs to go everywhere with you, then clearly – size matters.
- A waterproof speaker is good to take on holiday but also, perfect for the bathroom. Look for IPx7 or IP67 ratings, which mean that the speaker can be submerged in water. The difference between the IPx7 and IP67 rating relates to dust. An IP67 device is not only waterproof, but it’s also impenetrable to dust, making such a device good for DIY or a building site.
- Battery life is key when you’re out and about. All our recommendations use Lithium batteries. Generally, the bigger the battery [measured in mAh] the longer the run time. Stating the obvious, the louder you like your music, the shorter the battery life.
Whatever your budget, there’s a great Bluetooth speaker to match. Choose any of the Verum recommended models & you’re certain to get the best portable speaker for you.
Best Buy Bluetooth Speakers
Best Small Speaker
Sony SRS-XB12 | Verdict price £40
See price on Amazon
Best Budget Buy
Tribit MaxSound Plus | Verdict price £60
See price on Amazon
JBL FLIP 5 | Verdict price £99
See price on Amazon
Bluetooth speakers – size, sound & spondoolies
Choose any of the models detailed above and you’re guaranteed to be buying the best Bluetooth speaker for your budget. Spend more for deeper bass, longer life battery and go-anywhere credentials. 2021 will soon sound better!