The best Bluetooth speakers 2024: top portable speakers for any budget

PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

The best Bluetooth speakers have become a staple household (and travel) item thanks to their compact size and convenience for listening anywhere, whether you're in the shower, mowing the lawn, chilling in your hotel room, having a house party or cleaning the kitchen. 

We've been testing the best portable speakers for years, in all shapes and sizes – and crucially, for all budgets. Audiophile sound quality and a thumping low end is always going to be a big ask if you're looking at something the size of a coffee cup, but you can get a portable speaker that delivers balanced and clear audio outdoors. These are our priorities when testing Bluetooth speakers and obviously we balance that with battery life and price – aka value for money. 

You don't need to be an engineer to know that the smaller and cheaper a speaker is, the more compact and congested the sound can become. That said, there are some very decent affordable options these days, which we've ranked among the best of the best. 

We also have a guide to the best party speakers if you want huge sound and don't need it to be especially light or portable. Similarly, if you want a more permanent speaker for your home, check out our guide to the best wireless speakers. On the other hand, if your biggest priority is a rugged speaker design in case of being knocked and dropped, our separate guide showcasing the best waterproof speakers will show you the options that can take a proper dunking.

Written by
Becky Scarrott
Written by
Becky Scarrott

I've reviewed over 150 audio products since becoming a tech journalist, ranging from super-budget earbuds to high-end Hi-Res Audio music players. Before joining TechRadar, I spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing everything the world of audio had to offer; before that, I was a professional dancer. I'll always extol the virtues of listening (and dancing) to the best musical file quality and audio gear you can stretch to.

The quick list

Want to cut to the chase and find out which Bluetooth speakers are the absolute best in the business? Below, you’ll find a roundup of our choices for different needs. You can also jump to a more detailed review of each product, and the best deals on them online.

The best Bluetooth speaker overall

Sonos Roam held in hand outdoors

(Image credit: Peter Hoffmann)
The best Bluetooth speaker for most people

Specifications

Weight: 0.95 pounds (0.43 kg)
Battery life: 10 hours
Wireless range: 40m - 240m
Frequency response: Up to 5kHz
Connectivity: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5
Drivers: One tweeter, one mid-woofer
NFC: Yes
Aux-in: No
USB charging: Yes (USB-C)

Reasons to buy

+
Big, booming, room-filling sound 
+
Rugged design for max portability  

Reasons to avoid

-
Average battery life
-
Bass can be overwhelming indoors
BUY IT IF

You own more Sonos speakers: Given that you can pair multiple Sonos speakers together, the Roam – alongside the Move 2 at #9 in this list – is perfect for a home audio system.  

You like your tech to look as good as it sounds: Sonos' minimalist design aesthetic makes it standout in the crowded Bluetooth speaker space. 

DON'T BUY IT IF

You're an audiophile: The Roam's sound quality isn't flawless due to the bass being a little unruly. Instead, look to B&O at #4 in this list for the best in portable audio.    

You're often far from a plug: With only 10 hours of battery, the Roam offers a lot less than most like the JBL Charge 5 at #7 in the list, which doubles it at 20 hours. 

What you need to know: Since its release in 2021, the Sonos Roam has remained our favorite Bluetooth speaker, winning the TechRadar Choice Awards two years in a row (2021 and 2022). While there are plenty of portable speaker options around, the Roam remains our top pick for its big, room-filling sound, compact design and long list of connectivity features, including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, which means it can work as both a portable speaker and as part of your wider multi-room Sonos system. It also has Google Assistant and Alexa onboard (when you're on Wi-Fi) to make it double as a smart speaker too. 

Audio performance: The first thing we noticed about the Roam's audio performance is that it's bass-heavy, which makes it ideal for outdoor use. During our testing, we found that the bass was powerful enough to cut through wind noise but it was a bit overbearing while inside. Despite its small stature, the Roam delivers a powerful sonic performance – even if it does lack the rhythmic accuracy you'd expect from an audiophile speaker.

Design: Its slick design means the Sonos Roam won’t look out of place in your home. But it also has a rugged, waterproof and dust proof build that makes it ideal for listening to music outdoors. The battery life isn't huge, though. It's enough for a day out, but if that's a priority then check out either JBL Charge at #7 in the list or the B&O Beosound A1 Gen 2 at #4 in this list instead.

Value: Compared to similar priced Bluetooth speakers we've tested, you’re getting a lot of features for your money here. Sonos has also now added the Sonos Roam SL to its lineup, which is a slightly cheaper version of the Roam that lacks a microphone – but it's otherwise identical in terms of specs. If you’re concerned about privacy and want to save around $20 / £20 / AU$30, then the Roam SL could be exactly what you want.  

Read our full Sonos Roam review

The best budget Bluetooth speaker

Tribit Stormbox Micro 2 held in a hand over a yellow table

(Image credit: TechRadar)
The best cheap Bluetooth speaker

Specifications

Weight: 0.69 pounds (0.315 kg)
Battery life: 12 hours
Wireless range: 36m
Frequency response: 70Hz-20kHz
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3
Drivers: One
NFC: Yes
Aux-in: No
USB charging: Yes (USB-C)

Reasons to buy

+
Surprisingly big sound 
+
Doubles as a phone charger
+
Unbeatable value 

Reasons to avoid

-
No 3.5mm jack
-
Audio quality is easily beat
BUY IT IF

You love to listen to music while on the move: As the smallest and lightest speaker on this list, the Stormbox Micro 2 is by far our most portable pick.

You don't want the music to stop: At 12 hours, this doesn't have the longest battery life but it is above average. If you need 30 hours, look to the Blast at #5 on this list

DON'T BUY IT IF

You want the best sound quality: It's a small speaker, which is why it goes for such a low price, don't expect big volume and class-leading detail.

You value a good control app: While Tribit does have an app for some of its other products, this isn't one of them so you won't be able to access settings through your phone. 

What you need to know: Considering its extremely small size, the Tribit Stormbox Micro 2 is the best-sounding and most fully-featured mini Bluetooth speaker we've had the pleasure of testing. It's not the most powerful or the loudest out there, but at this size and price you can't currently buy better. 

Audio performance: We particularly enjoyed the bass response here, which is where small speakers usually fall down. Tribit is keeping quiet about the exact specifications of the driver in this model but whatever it is, it delivers impressive bass for such a small footprint. And battery life is superb, up from the 8 hours of the original Micro to a travelling or beach day-friendly 12 hours.

Design: The Micro 2 is a brilliantly pocketable portable speaker that delivers a surprisingly loud audio performance, which makes it an excellent option for listening to podcasts or just watching TV shows on a mobile device. It's also a great option if you're looking for a stereo pair of speakers for a small room: you can pick up two of these for what you'd pay for one of its better known rivals.

Value: If you're looking for a speaker to toss in a bag or clip to a bike, you'll find it hard to get a better speaker for such a low price. It's superb, and its flaws are very minor – only that there's no wired connection, really.

Read our full Stormbox Micro 2 review

The best mid-range Bluetooth speaker

JBL Flip 6 held in someone's hand by a pool

(Image credit: Carlos Pedrós)
The best Bluetooth speaker at a mid-range price with no frills

Specifications

Weight: 1.2 pounds (0.54kg)
Battery life: 12 hours
Wireless range: Not listed
Frequency response: 63Hz - 20kHz
Connectivity : Bluetooth 5.1
Drivers: 16mm dome tweeter, 45x80mm bass driver and 2x passive radiators
NFC: No
Aux-in: No
USB charging: No

Reasons to buy

+
Brilliantly balanced bass  
+
Extremely easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-
Pairing restricted to Flip 6 speakers
-
No Alexa or Siri support
BUY IT IF

You're a technophobe: JBL has made the Flip 6 extremely easy to use. Just connect the speaker to your phone or laptop and that's it!

You love the great outdoors: The Flip 6 has one of the most hardiest shells, boasting an IP67 rating, which makes it both water and dust resistant.  

DON'T BUY IT IF

You want the best possible sound quality: Without Wi-Fi like the Sonos Roam at #1 in this list, the Flip 6 is restricted to Bluetooth's limited bandwidth.

You tend to run out of charge often: If this is feature you value, then we suggest looking at the JBL Charge 5 at #7 in the list as it can also charge your phone.  

What you need to know: There's not a lot that a portable speaker needs to do outside of delivering good quality audio while on the go – and if that's all you need, then look no further then JBL. The Flip 6 is a no frills Bluetooth speaker that is easy to use and sounds great. It was released in 2021 so we're expecting a new model to be announced soon but until then, it remains our top pick at this mid-range price point. Being a JBL speaker, it also offers access to features like being able pair up to 100 speakers from the brand at once to create an even larger sound system, but there is no reverse charging with this model – instead check out at #7 in the list if that's something you need.  

Audio performance: Given that the Flip 6 doesn't have a lot of features, its main focus is on delivering clear and accurate audio – yes, it does one thing but it does it very well. While we were reviewing the Bluetooth speaker, we  described its sound as warm and well-balanced, which was surprising for a speaker of this size. Its small stature does mean that the treble can sound a little harsh at times when played at loud volumes but there's still a lot of clarity and detail on offer.   

Design: Unlike a lot of other portable speakers on the market, the Flip 6 doesn't have an obscure shape to it. Rather, it comes in a classic cylinder style that fits in the side pocket of any backpack. There's also a wide range of colors to choose from so there's plenty of options to make sure it matches your gear. It is also extremely rugged, and can withstand a splash of water so you don't have to worry too much about it breaking or running out of battery with its 12 hours battery life. 

Value: The Flip 6 is an ideal speaker for anyone who wants to simply play their music, crank it up loud, sit back and enjoy for a reasonable price – no matter whether you're listening at home or on the go. It's also priced slightly lower than the  JBL Charge 5 due to it not having the extra phone charging feature, which places it firmly in the mid-range part of the market.       

Read our full JBL Flip 6 review

The best Bluetooth speaker for sound

the beosound a1 2nd gen portable speaker on a beach

(Image credit: Bang & Olufsen)
The best small Bluetooth speaker for audiophiles

Specifications

Weight: 1.2 pounds (0.54kg)
Battery life: 24 hours
Wireless range: 30m (100ft)
Frequency response: 55 - 20,000 Hz
Connectivity : Bluetooth
Drivers: N/A
NFC: No
Aux-in: No
USB charging: USB-C

Reasons to buy

+
Exceptional, audiophile level sound
+
Solid but lightweight design

Reasons to avoid

-
Alexa but no Wi-Fi
-
Buttons not raised 
BUY IT IF

You appreciate a well designed speaker: Bang & Olufsen is renowned for its Scandi style and the Beosound A1 embodies that minimalist charm effortlessly.

You're an audiophile: This speaker values premium sound quality above all else and really does pull it off. It is by far the best sounding we've come across with Bluetooth.   

DON'T BUY IT IF

You want a speaker with big, powerful sound: This is better suited to a more intimate environment. For something bigger, look at UE's Hyperboom at #8 in this list.

You're known to be clumsy: Yes, it's waterproof and dust proof but it isn't as tough as say the JBL speakers in this list like the Flip 6 at #3 and Charge 5 at #7.  

What you need to know: Bang & Olufsen didn't make too many changes to the second generation of the Beosound. The A1 is quite similar in looks to its predecessor but there are some helpful improvements at the feature level. One of those features is Alexa support, although being a Bluetooth speaker without any Wi-Fi support, this does require you to connect to your phone so can be a bit slow sometimes.  

Audio performance: Despite being a small speaker, the Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) delivers an exceptionally clear and crisp sonic performance. It manages the difficult task of balancing treble with the mids and bass to produce a smooth sound. During our review, we found the sound quality to be so accurate that it was as if we were listening to our favorite songs for the very first time. The way it manages to control the bass, while still delivering a punchy and exciting sound is outstanding for a Bluetooth speaker. 

Design: Thanks to its circular shape, it can also achieve a full 360-degree soundstage that is surprisingly immersive for such a small device. It's also simply stunning to look at. It has been designed with a slick, minimalist look that makes it feels very classy thanks small details like a thin leather strap. However, although it has an IP67 water and dust resistance rating, it is not the most rugged of Bluetooth speakers we've tested and didn't feel it would be best suited for say a muddy hike. 

Value: Bang & Olufsen is known for being a premium audio brand and so the Beosound A1 is a top shelf Bluetooth speaker. Despite this, it is half the price of our top premium pick, the Sonos Move 2 at #9 in this list. As a result, we think the Beosound A1 is best suited to hardcore music lovers who appreciate a beautifully designed speaker. 

Read our full Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) review

The best Bluetooth speaker for parties

Tribit Stormbox Blast on a blue table outside

(Image credit: TechRadar)
The best Bluetooth speaker for room-filling sound

Specifications

Weight: 12 pounds (5.45kg)
Battery life: 30 hours
Wireless range: 40m
Frequency response: Not specified
Connectivity : Bluetooth
Drivers: 2x 4.2-in 30W woofers, 2x 1.2-in 15W tweeters
NFC: No
Aux-in: Yes
USB charging: USB-C, plus USB-A for charging your device

Reasons to buy

+
Big, powerful sound that packs a punch 
+
Oodles of snappy bass 
+
USB-C charging for other devices 

Reasons to avoid

-
No mics so no voice assistant 
-
No protection from dust 
-
Button to boost bass lacks control 
BUY IT IF

You like to have your music up loud: Like its namesake, the Stormbox Blast really does knock your socks off with its powerful room filling sound.

You're all about the bass: Like the UE Hyperboom at #8 in this list, this really does deliver exceptionally balanced bass that doesn't overpower the sound. 

DON'T BUY IT IF

You don't want a dumb speaker: Okay, this isn't dumb by any means but without any mics, you won't be able to use voice assistants like Alexa or Siri.   

You want something portable: The Stormbox Blast is reminiscent of a hefty boombox. Look at the Stormbox Micro 2 at #2 in this list for something more compact.   

What you need to know: The Tribit Stormbox Blast isn't going to be for everyone. Its heavy, has flashing lights that don't turn off completely (the best you can do is make it so they only flash when you're switching the volume levels) and doesn't have the same smart features as some of the other Bluetooth speakers in this list. But if you're after a dedicated party speaker that is powerful enough to be heard when outdoors, then it is hands down the best. 

Audio performance: If you're looking for a portable speaker that you can take into the backyard without annoying the neighbors, then this isn't it. We think it's important to note that during our tests, we found the difference of two to three volume increments was enough to go from too quiet to too loud indoors, so if you want quiet background playlists then we'd suggest looking at the Beosound A1 at #4 in this list.  

Design: Out of all the speakers we've seen, the Stormbox Blast is definitely not the subtlest of looking device we've tested. But that's where the criticism ends. The Stormbox Blast is the biggest and most powerful Bluetooth speaker in Tribit's ever-growing arsenal of portable speakers and it sounds every inch as detailed – even at higher volumes – as models from better-known audio specialists at three times the price. 

Value: Compared to other portable speakers of this size, the Tribit Stormbox Blast offers the best value we've found. Its priced at the middle end of the market, which means its closest rivals are speakers like the JBL Flip 6 at #3 in this list. If, however, you can afford to spend a bit more and still want that big room-filling sound, then we would point you in the direction of the UE Hyperboom at #8 in this list, which like the Stormbox Blast has banging bass. 

Read our full Tribit Stombox Blast review

The best Bluetooth speaker for charging

JBL Charge 5 on a shelf in a home

(Image credit: Lewis Leong)
A Bluetooth speaker that also charges your phone

Specifications

Weight: 2.11 pounds (0.9kg)
Battery life: 20 hours
Wireless range: 30 ft (10 m)
Frequency response: 65Hz–20kHz
Connectivity : Bluetooth 5.1
Drivers: N/A
NFC: No
Aux-in: No
USB charging: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Even sound at low to mid volumes
+
Doubles as a charger for your phone
+
Great battery life of up to 20 hours

Reasons to avoid

-
Takes a while to charge 
-
Missing aux input
-
Some distortion at high volumes
BUY IT IF

You want a speaker that sounds detailed: Compared to its predecessor, the Charge 5 has an additional tweeter that makes it have better clarity, with more impactful bass.   

You tend to need a charger while on the go: With 20 hours of battery life, the Charge 5 can top up your device's battery life thanks to a USB-C port.  

DON'T BUY IT IF

You want to play music extremely loudly: It may not have the big sound that the Tribit at #5 and UE at #8 can deliver, but it holds its own against the loudest.

You want delicate audiophile sound: It sounds great, but it's still made for impact outdoors, not for refined ears. Think fun and energetic, not classy and controlled.

What you need to know: There aren't a lot of speakers on the market that are extremely small and portable and have detailed sound alongside helpful features like reverse charging, but JBL has pulled it off with the Charge 5. It's priced a little bit more than JBL's more streamlined Flip 6 at #3 in this list, but that's down to the added tech, which we think makes it's a worthwhile pick if these are the three main things you need out of a Bluetooth speaker.  

Audio performance: One of the big highlights of the Charge 5 is its balanced sound, which has a striking amount of clarity. The only downside is that it unfortunately starts to distort at high volumes. Because of this wouldn't advise turning it up past 60% of the volume bar as this is where we found it started to struggle. For the optimum volume, we found the sweet spot was more between 50–60%.   

Design: The cylinder-shaped speaker looks exactly the same as the Flip 6 except for a waterproof USB-C charging port and flap hiding the USB-A port that can be used to charge up your smartphone. There's no aux input for a 3.5mm jack but you do still have access physical buttons for playback, volume, power, pairing and dedicated party sound mode that turns up the volume up to 11 (use this sparingly).  

Value: The only thing about the cost of the Charge 5 is that it puts it squarely in line with the Sonos Roam at #1 in this list, which we think is by far the better all-rounder based on its added connectivity features like Wi-Fi that unlocks multi-room pairing and access to voice assistants. But frankly, there's no reverse charging so this will be the biggest point to consider if choosing between the two.   

Read our full JBL Charge 5 review

The best Bluetooth speaker for battery life

Tribit StormBox Flow on a bench

(Image credit: Future)
The best Bluetooth speaker for battery life

Specifications

Weight: 660g
Battery life: 30 hours
Wireless range: 40m
Frequency response: 50~20KHz
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3
Drivers: 10W (25W total power)
NFC: No
Aux-in: No
USB charging: Yes (USB-C)

Reasons to buy

+
Class-leading battery life
+
Simple to use

Reasons to avoid

-
Dull design
-
Can struggle at high volumes
BUY IT IF

You take long vacations: Going away, don't have the necessary adapter, want music to last the whole trip? You'll get a whopping 30 hours from this.

You like a clean, fuss-free aesthetic: Look, it's not the last word in design, but it's durable, solid, and does the job of playing your music very well indeed. 

DON'T BUY IT IF

You like to pump up the volume: the Tribit Stormbox Flow sounds best up to 75% volume, because of its bass-heavy tuning. Crank it up further and things get a little congested.

You're concerned about baggage weight allowance: considering its bijou dimensions, the Tribit is heavy, at 660g, so if you're struggling with flight carrier weight stipulations it may be a little much.

What you need to know: It's one of the newer products in this list, arriving in August 2023 and Tribit's making quite a name for itself in this particular arena – ie. Bluetooth belters at around $79 / £79. It's not winning any awards for design, but it is IP67 water- and dustproof and it has a loud, likeable, bass-heavy sound that'll work for many a summer gathering – at home or on the road. 

Audio performance: For a little speaker, the Stormbox Flow can boom out tunes at the pool party, or give you some impressive sound-per-pound audio if you're chilling at home. The bass is arguably the most impressive aspect – although it does get a little cluttered and bloated you turn things up beyond 75% volume.

Pair two of them up in stereo mode (like we did, because they're affordable little speakers, so this is a viable and cost-effective option for a desktop or party) and it’s even more compelling, with a much wider soundstage, just don’t be surprised if you lower the volume a little more than usual. Another tip for the best listen: stick to the XBass sound mode, for the punchiest, crispest sound through the low end. 

Design: Tribit's a little hit-and-miss when it comes to design flourishes and, truth be told, you won't be bowled over by how the Stormbox Flow looks. There's nothing offensive or ugly about it, but there's nothing particularly classy about it either. Also the power button takes a bit of getting used to for timing. Other than that, it's a solid home run here – oh, and did we mention the awesome 30-hour battery? 

Value: Compared to similarly-priced Bluetooth speakers, the battery life here offers immense value for money. In fact, value for money is one of Tribit's main selling points as a brand, and the Stormbox Flow proves it. Yes, the Stormbox Micro 2 (above) is a great little thing, but if you want a slightly larger, louder product that'll last out your entire trip without needing a charge, you may have found it. 

Read our full Tribit Stormbox Flow review

The best premium Bluetooth speaker

Sonos Move 2 being lifted by its handle

(Image credit: Future)
The best Bluetooth speaker for big sound for a big price

Specifications

Weight: 6.61 lbs / 3kg
Battery life: 24 hours
Frequency response: Not specified
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, USB-C
Drivers: 2x angled tweeters, 1x midwoofer
Aux-in: Yes (via USB-C adapter)
USB charging: Yes
Waterproof rating: IP56

Reasons to buy

+
Huge volume headroom  
+
Premium materials and finish 

Reasons to avoid

-
Extravagantly expensive 
-
Not really stereo sound
BUY IT IF

You want to go from indoors to outdoors: Sonos has essentially added portable features like waterproofing and a carry handle to one of its elite home speakers.    

You're looking for a long battery life: Like its namesake, the Sonos Move 2 can keep moving for a full day, with one charge lasting a full 24 hours.   

DON'T BUY IT IF

You're on a budget: Sonos isn't as affordable as the likes of the Tribit Stormbox Micro 2 at #2 in this list, and that comes down to its premium features, design ando sound.   

You want to take your music wherever you go: There is a handle to make it easy to carry, but at 3kg it isn't the lightest so isn't best suited for constant manoeuvring.

What you need to know: If you're after a Sonos speaker for your home but also want the ability to be able to take it outside with you, then the Move 2 is the Bluetooth speaker you've been looking for. It's both flexible and reliable, and looks classy to boot. There's both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, a USB-C port that can be used for a 3.5mm jack with an adapter, multi-room support including through the Sonos control app, a 24-hour battery life, and you can charge your phone from it. 

Audio performance: The Move 2 also delivers premium sound to match its premium price tag. It has a three-driver speaker system, made up of two angled tweeters and one central midwoofer. Although we found the audio quality to be excellently balanced with great detail, the stereo sound wasn't very convincing, but that's okay. 

Design: Sonos has also updated the design of the Move 2 from its predecessor, slightly. It has new plastic finish, slightly different curved edges, a new top panel, is splash-proof and comes in an olive color, which is a new option in addition to black or white. It's sleek and good looking but loses points for the lack of a proper handle, because it weighs 3kg, and that weight isn't balanced when you lift it.

Value: It's a lot more heftier and heavier than your average portable speaker though, and a has a larger than average price tag to match of $449 / £449 / AU$799, which is a lot more than most options. As a result, the Move 2 is firmly a premium speaker, but you do get a lot of features for the price. 

Read our full Sonos Move 2 review

The best Bluetooth speaker for design

Ultimate Ears Epicboom on a navy and orange sofa, held in a hand

(Image credit: Future)
Best for big sound plus looks

Specifications

Weight: 2kg
Battery life: 17 hours
Wireless range: 55m
Frequency response: Not specified
Connectivity : Bluetooth 5.3
Drivers: 2 x 45mm active mid-high frequency transducers; 1 x 120mm woofer
NFC: Yes
Aux-in: No
USB charging: USB-C

Reasons to buy

+
Gifted, room-filling audio
+
Boom app adds useful features
+
UE's strong design aesthetic

Reasons to avoid

-
No wi-fi streaming support 
-
PartyUp isn't compatible with key UE speakers
-
Strap doesn't really aid portability
BUY IT IF

You appreciate UE's iconic aesthetic: If you adored the mug-sized 2019 Wonderboom, you'll love this much bigger version.

You've just redecorated your apartment: Few audio products will look as good next to the clean, chic lines in your newly-updated bedroom, den or kitchen as this speaker. 

DON'T BUY IT IF

You want a speaker that'll work over wi-fi: No dice here. For all its talents, it is just a Bluetooth speaker, unlike the Sonos Move 2 listed above.

You're on a tight budget: UE kit doesn't often come with a tiny pirce-tag (the Wonderboom being a notable exception) but this one of the priciest options on this list, owing to its size, newness and talent. 

What you need to know: Epicboom arrived in September 2023 and, we mean this, it is finally something to get excited about from Ultimate Ears. It is surprisingly big, very talented and essentially does for big Bluetooth speakers what the Wonderboom 2 did for mug-sized options – level up the game in terms of audio prowess. But this is also a fair wedge of money for a Bluetooth speaker and however likeable it is, it won't play nice with your home Wi-Fi to create a multi-room system, where cheaper options from Sonos (above) can. 

Audio performance: It's meaty, it's zealous, it's fun, it's resoundingly tight through the bass even at high volumes. It's basically everything that made Ultimate Ears a household name in this product category. If we were worried, we needn't have been; this is where Ultimate Ears' engineers shine.

Design: Those big tactile plus and minus signs for volume are back along its body, and the flecked rubberised plastic is now much more eco-conscious. The wrist strap is somewhat surplus to requirements (don't allow it to take the full weight of the thing on your arm – it's 1979g and that might hurt) but it's a beautifully crafted thing – and it offers truly omnidirectional sound too. 

Value: The Boom companion app here is an excellent addition. That said, at this level we might have expected wireless connectivity using your home broadband (hey, Sonos!). Another fly in the ointment is this: although a fan-favorite feature within UE's Boom app, PartyUp, lets you pair multiple compatible Ultimate Ears speakers to beef up the audio, it's limited to Epicboom, Boom, Boom 2, Boom 3MegaboomMegaboom 3, and Hyperboom speakers. Want to pair it with your beloved Wonderboom 2 or newer Wonderboom 3? Sadly, that's not possible, because PartyUp is not compatible with any Wonderboom, Blast or Megablast UE speaker. Harrumph! 

Read our full Ultimate Ears Epicboom review

Other Bluetooth speakers to consider

At the start of April 2024, we decided to remove the Cleer Audio Scene. We originally recommended it as an alternative to the JBL Flip 6 with an aux-in but it has since been surpassed by newer models. Of course, if a 3.5mm port is important to you then we’d recommend looking at the Tribit Stormbox Blast at #5 in this list. There are other options, too, like the Orange Box, for example, but as a whole, an aux-in does not appear to be readily available among top Bluetooth speakers. If the Stormbox Blast or Orange Box are not as portable as you’d like, then the Cleer Audio Scene can still be found available to buy.  

We also dropped the Ultimate Ears Hyperboom as the best Bluetooth speaker for powerful sound. While it packs in tons of bass, this entry was too similar to other recommendations we have included such as the Sonos Move 2 at #8 in this list and Ultimate Ears Epicboom at #9 in this list. If big sound is what you're after, we'd also recommend looking at the Brane X speaker that was launched in December 2023. The reason why we haven't included this in our list more permanently is because it has limited availability at the time of writing. When that changes, we'll look to reconsider the ranking of our list to best reflect what's available in the market. 

Another two Bluetooth speaker that we're looking forward to becoming more widely available are the JBL Clip 5 and the not yet announced successor to the Sonos Roam. JLB's Clip 5 is pitched as having support for next-gen Bluetooth Auracast, which is a highly-anticipated upgrade that is also set to feature in its upcoming Xtreme 4 and Go 4 models. And while no official details have been announced about the Roam 2, it is rumored to arrive in June. 

How to choose the best Bluetooth speaker

What's the best Bluetooth speaker brand?

The best Sonos speakers are great if you want to bridge the gap between indoors and outdoors, with the ability to form part of a wider multi-room system – and you can be sure that they’ll sound fantastic, too. 

JBL is well known for making some of the best waterproof speakers affordable prices, and it’s line of party speakers even come with built-in light shows.

If waterproofing is a priority then look out for models from Ultimate Ears, which combine fun, colorful designs with rugged builds – many of which can withstand a dip in the pool.

Consider high-end audio brands such as Bose and Bang & Olufsen if you want a combination of stylish design and great sound – but be prepared for relatively high prices. If you want to save money then Tribit and Anker offer strong speakers that won’t break the bank.

Is JBL or Bose better?

Both JBL and Bose produce a range of speakers, some are small and compact whereas others are big enough to fill a room with sound at a party. Bose tends to make products that are at the premium end of the spectrum in terms of both excellent audio performance, design and price. JBL is more affordable and its products tend to fall in the mid-range when it comes to quality. 

The brand you choose is all about what you're looking for. If you value quality sound above all else, pick a Bose option, like the Bose SoundLink Flex. But the JBL Flip 6 pushes this speaker out of our list because it's a fantastic all-rounder, sounds good and handles drops, knocks and splashes well. Bose might be the better audio tech brand, but we think JBL outperforms in the portable Bluetooth speaker competition, especially when it comes to sheer value for money.

Is Bose better than Sonos?

Both Bose and Sonos create excellent-sounding audio tech that tends to be at the premium end of the spectrum. We love Bose products and often recommend them, but in terms of the best Bluetooth speakers and portable speakers, we think Sonos is the better option.

The Sonos Roam has been sitting at the top of our best Bluetooth speakers list for some time now and we love that it seamlessly becomes part of your Sonos Wi-Fi multi-room setup indoors, too.

How we test the best Bluetooth speakers

We've tested and thoroughly reviewed all of the Bluetooth speakers in this guide ourselves by listening to them on their own and by comparing them to the current class-leaders. Basically, if it's listed here, you know we think it's worth it over the myriad rival models we've reviewed (because plenty do not make it here, believe us). 

We test countless portable speakers every year at TechRadar, and that means we know exactly which features and specs to look out for. It's important for us to compare the performance of these speakers against the specs claimed by their manufacturers, which is why we take the time to make sure the battery life and connectivity is as good as the brands say they are. 

We test each Bluetooth speaker in a range of environments and against its chief competitors too, so you know that the product will work just as well in the great outdoors as it does in your home. We live with these speakers in our homes to make sure that their performances are consistent, and we don't finalize our testing until we are certain of the sound quality.

On this, we test the audio performance using a range of musical genres and stream from various sources, to ensure that these speakers can handle everything from thumping dance tracks to softly-spoken podcasts. 

With more years in this game than we'd care to admit behind us, we are truly confident that our star-rated reviews are the best indication of the quality of the Bluetooth speakers in this list. There are no sales teams involved in our verdicts, which means if we don't like it for sound, design, usability and features, we simply won't recommend it. 

The latest updates to this Bluetooth speakers guide

April 4, 2024
Removed the Cleer Audio Scene as best for aux-in and Ultimate Ears Hyperboom as best for powerful sound. Added in a new 'Also consider' section that highlights upcoming new releases to look out for.  

March 4, 2024
Added Tribit Stormbox Flow and Ultimate Ears Epicboom to this buying guide. Updated biog and key points. Reworte intro to reflect current tech updates in the category. 

January 25, 2024
Updated write-ups for each product to include extra summaries from key points of their respective reviews.