So you want to know what are the best portable speakers you can buy right now. No doubt its getting confusing with thousands of speakers on the market its not easy telling the bad from the good. Its almost impossible to get to compare more than a limited few at a time in your local electronics store so you might be missing out on something better for the money. Luckily we have had access to some of the best Bluetooth speakers, portable speakers & travel speakers available in 2018 and have put this list of the best one together to make sure you get the most bang for your buck.
What size is best for a portable speaker?
For the purposes of this list we will only be including 2 sizes of Bluetooth speaker. Pocket-able ones which we consider to be ultra-portable and ones that will fit in a bag or backpack, we consider these transportable. When I say in a bag I don’t mean filling up the full volume of your backpack either. No, these speakers are meant to just be an accessory you bring with you when you travel.
Key considerations when purchasing Bluetooth speakers
Just so you know our though process when putting together this list you should probably know what we consider to be important factors in the buying process. I have had plenty of travel speakers over the years and have a well defined idea of what I think makes the best one. What might be best for you could be completely different but here are some key areas to consider before you buy.
Bonus features (SD card inputs, Battery bank etc)
Sound Quality - By far the most common question we get asked on this topic is what is the best sounding Bluetooth speaker? The answer to this can relate to size and price but there are some really good cheap Bluetooth speakers if you look hard enough and do the research. In my opinion the Minirigs 2.0 Bluetooth speaker i by far the best sounding speaker for its size I have heard to date.
Build Quality - Build quality is incredibly important. You, of course, intend to travel with this speaker and as a result it is destined to lead a far tougher life that a speaker that never moves from your home entertainment system or bedside table. Inevitably over time these speakers will take a few knocks so you want something that is going to hold up well.
Size - I touched on this above but size is pretty important and not just in terms on how you intend to transport the speaker. Size plays a big roll in a lot of the other factors we listed. Smaller size usually means smaller driver and (the majority of the time) a degradation in sound quality. Bonus features will also take a hit as there is less room in a smaller chassis to have extra functionality. Finally size usually has a big impact on battery life. Its common sense, the smaller the housing the less room for a large capacity battery.
Battery life - Battery life should play a huge roll in your buying decision as I assume most of you will be using the speaker via Bluetooth. To make this list of the best portable speakers I set and absolute minimum of 8 hours of playback from a charge. That said that is a little to short for me and I would consider 12 hours to be the starting point for a decent battery life.
Bonus Features - Some of these speakers have bonus feature that may or may no be useful to you when choosing between two different models. Personally I focus on sound, build and battery life first and if there are any extra little tricks then fine its a nice little bonus.
10 Best Portable Speakers List
Minirig 2.0 Bluetooth Speakers
Top of the line sound
80 hour battery life
Ability to daisy chain multiple Minirig speakers
You probably haven’t heard of them before but in my mind no other speaker comes close to the Minirig. This is the speaker I use on a daily basis, I really cannot stress enough how good this speaker is.
So whats so good about the Minirigs? Well it wills in 4 separate categories where I believe it is head and shoulders above the competition. Firstly there is the sound, Rich, full, spacious and hard hitting bass it also gets very very loud and remains distortion fee even when pushed to the max.
Secondly build is incredible, I weigh 100kg and can stand direct on the speaker and its metal chassis doesn’t even squeak. Thirdly, Battery life oh you thing 12 hours from JBL is decent… How about 80 hours? Absolutely insane and it feels like you never have to charge it. Finally Value for money, the Minirigs is exceptional value for money and other companies just can’t compete.
UE Roll 2
The UE Roll 2 is a hugely popular Bluetooth speaker with its cool design decent sound and portable form factor. Its a small UFO shaped disc that gets decently loud and has reasonably clear audio despite its tiny size.
We really liked this speaker for travel as it has a number off useful features. Range is 100 feet so you can roam around without losing connection. There is a built in loop that you can use to hang it from and it is very light weight.
Battery life is pretty short however with just 9 hours from a single charge.
JBL Clip 2
Built in carabiner clip
The JBL Clip 2 is very similar in design to the UE Roll 2 but is much smaller and lighter.
One of the smallest speakers on this list it did impress us with a number of cool tricks. There is a built in carrying clip that we thought was a gimmick at first but we ended up using all the time when travelling and camping.
It is waterproof with a IPX7 rating so no need to worry if it gets left outside. Sound is good for the size but it does start to thin out a bit at this sort of size and the battery life wasn’t great at just 8 hours playback from a single charge.
Bose Soundlink Micro
Awesome design and build
Strong sound with decent bass
Only 6 hour battery life is very poor
We reviewed the Soundlink Micro in full earlier this year and loved it. Bose put together a solid little bluetooth speaker that has better sound than the JBL Clip and UE2 roll but costs just a bit more.
We were big fans of the rugged rubber finish that we think will do a great job of keeping the Soundlink micro safe. Yet again this is another waterproof speaker and just like the others there is a hanging/carry strap to make life a little better.
Of course there has to be one massive let down and that is that the Micro only holds a total of 6 hours charge which was by one of the poorest we have heard.
JBL Go 2
Very good value for money
Battery life is bordering on unacceptable
The JBL Go 2 is one of the best value speakers on the list because for the price it was extremely hard to find fault with it. However just like the Bose Soundlink it suffers from a woefully poor battery life. 5 hours of music is all you get from a single charge.
That’s a shame because the sound and build are really befitting of a much more expensive speaker.
Still a good buy if you are on a tight budget as it has good sound and is capable of pushing volume quite loud without distortion.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A1
Top of the line sound quality
Bang & Olufsen are a premier speaker maker so its no surprise that their portable travel speakers inherit that eye watering price tag of a premium product.
However it does show in the design as the Beoplay A1 is the best looking speaker on our test by far. Sound is incredibly impressive thanks to its ability to throw music in ever direction and this thing gets very loud without distortion.
Battery life when played at moderate levels will easily exceed 20 hours which makes the A1 our second best performer on this list.
House of Marley Chanti Mini
The House of Marley Chanti Mini is awesome because they are doing something different with their design. The materials on the outside include metal denim and wood and I have to admit I was charmed by it.
Sound is also very good although lacking in out and out volume. Its also not fully waterproof but does carry an IPX4 splash resistant rating meaning it should survive some rain and spills.
Battery life again is on the low end at just 6 hours although we found it did recharge slightly faster than other models on test.
Great sound when tiny size is considered
If you only have the price of a couple cups of coffee to spend on your portable speaker, want something that is incredibly small but still well built and doesn’t sound like someone rattling a tin can then the EWA is the way to go.
This little banger is under 2 inches long and it still impressed us with sound that bested our laptop speakers. The battery life (again size considered) was admirable at 6 hours on moderate volume. It also comes with a snug fitting carry case to keep it safe in transit.
Muve Acoustics Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Cheap and good quality
3.5mm input jack point
The MuveAcoustics Bluetooth speaker is a cheap yet cheerful offering that shows you don’t always have to pay out for a big name.
For the most part this has all the features of the UE roll but a little bit less definition and bass in the sound department.
Still for under $20 this is an absolute steal and we really liked the build quality and hard volume control function.
Anker Soundcore 2
Some of the best sound under $50
IPX5 outdoor certified
Amazing battery life (24 hours rated)
The Anker Soundcore 2 is an incredibly popular travel speaker because really it can do hardly anything wrong.
Its price is spot on and makes a lot of the big name speaker companies look pretty foolish.
You get mammoth battery life of 24 hours and IPX5 waterproof certification that keeps both water and dust at bay.
Sound is loud and clear and the bass actually has some depth to it unlike the often tinny rattle at around this price.