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The best Bluetooth speakers 2021: the top portable speakers for any budget

The Sonos roam Bluetooth speaker on a piles of rocks
(Image credit: Sonos)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

The best Bluetooth speakers of 2021 are must-have devices for any music lover, thanks to their portable, durable designs and fantastic audio performances. It’s not hard to see why they’ve become the go-to sound solution for music fans looking to take their tunes wherever they go. 

Whether you’re heading out to your backyard, relaxing at home, or heading down to the beach, the best Bluetooth speakers are an essential purchase – and if you are headed down to the beach, be sure to check out our guide to the best waterproof speakers, too. 

Nowadays, many of the best portable speakers also come with voice assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant built-in. This means that some of these wireless speakers can double up as smart speakers, which you can use to control your smart home devices, ask questions, and play your music using your voice alone. 

In fact, our latest addition to this list and our new pick for the very best portable speaker you can buy in 2021 is the Sonos Roam, which can seamlessly switch from Wi-Fi to Bluetooth, integrate into a Sonos system, and comes with both Alexa and Google Assistant onboard.

If that all sounds a bit daunting, there are plenty of pair-and-play devices out there too – for many, the best Bluetooth speaker offers a simple setup above all else. 

There’s a huge range of portable speakers out there to pick from, which means you might not know where to start. Luckily for you, we’ve done the research and the testing, which means we’re in a prime position to select the very best Bluetooth speakers you can buy in 2021.

The best Bluetooth speakers you can buy

Our top picks

The Sonos Roam Bluetooth speaker in black

(Image credit: Sonos)

1. Sonos Roam

The best Bluetooth speaker you can buy

Specifications
Weight: 0.95 pounds (0.43 kg)
Battery life: 10 hours
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
+Powerful audio performance+Easily portable design
Reasons to avoid
-Fairly pricey-Bass can be overwhelming

The Sonos Roam is our pick for the best Bluetooth speaker on the planet, with a powerful sound, rugged design, excellent connectivity features, and smart home control. A bass-heavy audio performance makes it ideal for use outdoors, while a clever Automatic Switching feature means it's easily used indoors, too – though audiophiles may dislike the overwhelming low frequencies and rhythmic handling.

Following in the footsteps of the Sonos Move, the Sonos Roam comes with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, which means it can work as a portable speaker as well as part of your wider multi-room Sonos system – and with Google Assistant and Alexa onboard, it doubles up a smart speaker too. 

In spite of its (relatively) low price you’re getting a lot for your money here. Its slick design means the Sonos Roam won’t look out of place in your home, while a rugged, waterproof and dustproof build and a decent battery life make it ideal for listening to music outdoors.

Read more: Sonos Roam review

The sonos move bluetooth speaker in black

(Image credit: Sonos)

2. Sonos Move

The best-sounding Bluetooth speaker

Specifications
Weight: 6.61 pounds (3kg)
Battery life: 10 hours
Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n, 2.4 GHz, and 5GHz) and Bluetooth 4.2
Drivers: One down-firing tweeter, one mid-woofer, two Class-D digital amplifiers
NFC: No
Aux-in: No
USB charging: Yes (USB-C, and comes with charging dock)
Reasons to buy
+Integrates with a home Sonos speaker network+On-the-go tunes
Reasons to avoid
-Not as feature-rich when using Bluetooth-Cant be used as rear cinema speakers

Here’s the thing about the Sonos Move – it’s so good, you might want to consider it not only as your on-the-go party station, but also as your main in-the-home wireless speaker too.

With two quality drivers, a solid app that unlocks playback from hundreds of wireless sources, multi-room capabilities and smart audio-tuning tech which tweaks the output based on the speaker's immediate surroundings, the Sonos Move is engineered well beyond your average Bluetooth speaker. It's a versatile speaker, one that stands solidly alongside the built-for-home Sonos speakers that the company made its name on.

It’s not perfect – it’s heavy as a byproduct of its incredible sound, it’s expensive due to its rich feature set, and it sadly can’t be used as rear channels for a home cinema set-up. But if you’ve got the money, it’s hard to fault the Sonos Move when it comes to hunting down the very best Bluetooth speaker in the world.

Read the full review: Sonos Move review

The UE boom 3 portable speaker in dark blue

(Image credit: Ultimate Ears)

3. UE Boom 3

The former best Bluetooth speaker is still great for travelling with

Specifications
Weight: 1.2 pounds
Battery life: 15 hours
Wireless range: 30+ feet
Frequency response: 90Hz-20kHz
Drivers: Two 1.75" drivers and two 1.75" x 3" passive radiators
NFC: Yes
Aux-in: No
USB charging: Yes
Reasons to buy
+IP67 waterproof/dust-proof+Powerful sound+Rugged design
Reasons to avoid
-Audio could be clearer

While we weren't as impressed with the UE Boom 3 as we were with its predecessor the UE Boom 2, this is still one of the best Bluetooth speakers money can buy in 2021. This is a speaker that can get loud and not distort at higher volumes; be light enough to carry on a camping trip but remain durable enough to tumble in a bag unprotected. 

It's both water and dust-proof, and now has a one-touch mix button that lets you pull up your favorite playlists without ever picking up your phone. 

There are certainly more detailed portable speakers out there, but at a price that's relatively affordable to all, the UE Boom 3 hits all the right notes for the third year in a row. 

Ultimate Ears now lets you customize your UE Boom 3, so you have even more options when it comes to color and pattern combinations.

Read the full review: UE Boom 3 review

The JBL flip 5 bluetooth speaker in navy, lying on its side

(Image credit: JBL)

4. JBL Flip 5

A fun, no frills portable speaker

Specifications
Weight: 1.2 pounds
Battery life: 12 hours
Wireless range: N/A
Frequency response: 65Hz - 20kHz
Drivers: 40mm
NFC: No
Bluetooth version: 4.2
Aux-in: No
USB charging: No
Reasons to buy
+Engaging, entertaining sound+Easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-No 3.5mm input-No mic for hands-free calls

The JBL Flip 5 is proof that the best Bluetooth speakers aren't always the ones with the most impressive specs.

JBL’s Flip 5 is a simple soul with Bluetooth-only playback and modest features, but if you desire a rugged, great-sounding portable speaker and can sacrifice voice control or hands-free call functionality, you won’t be disappointed.

Thanks to its neat design and IPX7 rating it's suitable for use outside as well as in, making it an ideal outdoor speaker, too – and it's not too pricey at $119.95 / £119.99 / AU$149.95. 

Coming in a range of cool colors – including an eye-catching camo print – there's now a limited Eco Edition that's made from 90% recycled plastic, while the portable speaker’s entire packaging is biodegradable.

Read the full review: JBL Flip 5 review

[Update: Don't miss our JBL Boombox 2 review – we were mightily impressed by this portable speaker's IPX7 waterproof rating, long battery life, and distortion-free sound.]

The bose portable home bluetooth speaker in silver

(Image credit: Bose)

5. Bose Home Portable Speaker

A great Sonos Move alternative

Specifications
Weight: 2.4 pounds
Battery life: 12 hours
Wireless range: N/A
Frequency response: N/A
Drivers: N/A
NFC: No
Bluetooth version: 4.2
Aux-in: No
USB charging: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Great design+Well-balanced sound
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Lacking in bass

The portable smart speaker market is booming, with the Bose Portable Home Speaker offering the smarts of Google Assistant and Alexa alongside Bluetooth connectivity, the market is already growing fast.

The Bose Portable Home Speaker isn’t the brand’s first outdoor-friendly speaker, and it shows: gorgeous minimalist design meets weather-ready robustness, with a light build and handle that lends itself to listening on the go. 

It doesn’t quite meet the sonic dexterity of the Sonos Move, or the value for money of the UE Boom 3 and JBL Charge 4 – but if you love that Bose sound and build quality, this is the portable speaker for you.

Read the full review: Bose Portable Home Speaker review

The anker soundcore flare portable speaker with an array of LED lights flashing at the bottom

(Image credit: Soundcore)

6. Anker Soundcore Flare 2

The best budget Bluetooth speaker

Specifications
Weight: 1.29 pounds
Battery life: 12 hours
Wireless range: 20m / 66ft
Frequency response: N/A
Drivers: Dual drivers and passive radiators
NFC: No
Aux-in: No
Bluetooth version: N/A
Weatherproofing: IPX7
Charges devices over USB: No
Reasons to buy
+Great sound quality+Speakerphone feature+IPX7 water-resistant
Reasons to avoid
-No 3.5mm AUX jack

The Anker Soundcore Flare 2 is an excellent go anywhere, do anything Bluetooth speaker. The design fits well in the home and its rugged construction allows it to join you at the beach or poolside. While it lacks a built-in voice assistant, its sound, build quality and excellent app make it a great value.

Compared to the competition, the Flare 2 fits better in the home and sounds better than the UE Wonderboom 2. However, the UE is more rugged and smaller, making it easier to toss in a bag or backpack. Those wanting more bass but still want a party speaker with lights will want to check out the JBL Pulse 4, which gets louder, has more bass impact and a full-body lightshow but is over twice the price.

Read more: Anker Soundcore Flare 2 review

The ue wonderboom 2 bluetooth speaker in light pink with white buttons

(Image credit: Ultimate Ears)

7. UE Wonderboom 2

The best outdoor speaker gets a refresh

Specifications
Weight: 0.93 pounds
Dimensions: 104 x 95.3mm (H x D)
Battery life: Up to 13 hours
Wireless range: 100 ft (33 m)
Frequency response: 75 Hz – 20 kHz
Drivers: two 40 mm active drivers and two 46.1mm x 65.2mm passive radiators
NFC: No
Bluetooth version: N/A
Aux-in: No
USB charging: No
Reasons to buy
+Great sound for its size+IP67 dustproof/waterproof rating+30% better battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Restrictive soundstage

The original UE Wonderboom has been at the top of our best waterproof speaker list since its debut and for good reason: it’s rugged, plays louder than its diminutive sound suggests, and could be paired to other UE Wonderboom Bluetooth speakers to amplify sound. 

And although the UE Wonderboom 2 looks nearly identical to the original, Ultimate Ears packed in a slew of upgrades that make the Wonderboom 2 even better, like the increased battery life (up 30% compared to the original), better bass response, and the new Outdoor Boost feature that helps the speaker get even louder than before.

The UE Wonderboom 2 is a fantastic rugged and waterproof speaker you’ll actually want to take with. Its small size doesn’t mean small sound, however, as the speaker gets extremely loud and sounds great. While it can’t match the bass response of larger speakers like the UE Boom 3 or the Bose SoundLink Revolve, the improved bass adds warmth and intensity to music that the original was lacking. 

All said, for $100 / £90 / AU$129, the UE Wonderboom 2 is still one of the best waterproof speakers you can buy - and our recommended option for those looking to bring their speaker to the beach or pool. 

Read the full review: UE Wonderboom 2 review

The JBL Charge 5 in navy with the JBL logo in white

(Image credit: JBL )

8. JBL Charge 5

The best mid-range speaker

Specifications
Weight: 2.11 pounds
Dimensions: 8.7 x 3.76 x 3.67 (W x D x H)
Battery life: Up to 20 hours
Wireless range: 30 ft (10 m)
Frequency response: 65Hz–20kHz
Drivers: N/A
NFC: No
Bluetooth version: 5.1
Aux-in: No
USB charging: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Balanced sound quality+Gets extremely loud+Long battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Long charge time-No more aux jack

Looking for a portable speaker that can charge your phone while it's blasting music? Check out the new JBL Charge 5 that launched in 2021 and is available now around the world for $179 / £159 / AU$229.

In terms of features the JBL Charge 5 is relatively basic compared to something like the JBL Pulse 4 – which provides a customizable lightshow for users – but for this fifth generation JBL has incrementally improved sound quality and volume while still offering all-day battery life. 

Physical controls remain the same with slightly raised buttons on top of the speaker. There are buttons to control playback, volume, power, Bluetooth pairing, and “Party Boost” that turns the volume up to 11. 

Around the back, the JBL Charge 5 has a waterproof USB-C charging port as well as a flap hiding the USB-A port that can be used to charge up your smartphone. The Charge 5 drops support for the 3.5mm aux jack from the JBL Charge 4, which is a bummer for some who have legacy devices they want to hook up. 

Overall, the JBL Charge 5 sounds like a bigger portable speaker than it is. It dishes out an impressive amount of bass for its size without sacrificing on the mids or highs.

Read the full review: JBL Charge 5 review

The ue hyperboom portable speaker in black

(Image credit: Ultimate Ears)

9. UE Hyperboom

Powerful sound for parties both big and small

Specifications
Weight: 13 pounds
Battery life: 24 hours
Wireless range: Approx. 150 ft
Frequency response: 45 - 20,000Hz
Drivers: N/A
NFC: Yes
Aux-in: N/A
USB charging: No
Reasons to buy
+Excellent sound+Smart dual connection function+Stylish design
Reasons to avoid
-Fairly heavy

Ultimate Ears Hyperboom is a powerful party speaker that will ensure the party atmosphere, both indoors and outdoors. Its Ultimate Ears' largest Bluetooth speaker to date, but still keeps the company's stylish and discreet design, and adds two Bluetooth radios so you can switch seamlessly between two phones. 

Despite being party-centric (read: packing tons of bass), it also delivers a very well-balanced soundscape. Here you never get the feeling that you are playing bass to make a party at the expense of other elements in the music, and almost no matter what you put on music, you get a pleasant experience.

In terms of features, the Ultimate Ears app allows you to connect the Hyperboom to other UE speakers and use them together, you can switch audio source and adjust volume, and you can select four different playlists in Amazon Music, Deezer or Spotify that can be started by holding down the Play button in three seconds.

For parties small and large, it's a great pick.

Read the full review: UE Hyperboom review

The Sony SRS-XB23 bluetooth speaker tilted on its side

(Image credit: Sony)

10. Sony SRS-XB23

A powerful canister of sound for all your outdoor adventures

Specifications
Weight: 1.3 pounds
Battery life: Up to 12 hours
Wireless range: 30 feet
Frequency response: 20 - 20,000 Hz
Drivers: X-Balanced Speaker, dual passive radiators
NFC: Yes
Aux-in: Yes
USB charging: No
Reasons to buy
+Good sound quality+IP67 rating (waterproof)+Stereo pairing and Party Mode
Reasons to avoid
-Lower peak volume

The entry-level Sony SRS-XB23 is a rock-solid $99 (around £80 / AU$150) portable Bluetooth speaker that features an IP67 rating and a 12-hour battery life.

In terms of performance, it can get pretty loud without a massive amount of distortion and the passive radiators help the bass to sound clearer than it has on any of Sony’s previous models. That's because the XB23 uses Bluetooth 5 and supports three major codecs – SBC, AAC and LDAC, the latter of which you’ll find on newer Android devices and sounds absolutely great.

Outdoor adventurers will love the ruggedness of the speaker while us kick-back-and-relax folks will enjoy how snugly it fits into a lawn chair's cup holder. 

Read the full review: Sony SRS-XB23 review

Looking for something a little bigger? Check out our Sony SRS-XB33 review, where we put the more powerful Bluetooth speaker to the test.

The beosound a1 bluetooth speaker in silver, with a brown carrying strap

(Image credit: Bang & Olufsen)

11. B&O Beosound A1 (2nd gen)

A Bluetooth speaker with Alexa

Specifications
Weight: : 1.2 pounds
Battery life: : 18 hours
Wireless range: : 30m (100ft)
Frequency response: : 55 - 20,000 Hz
Drivers: N/A
NFC: No
Aux-in: No
USB charging: USB-C
Reasons to buy
+Crisp sound quality+Lightweight design
Reasons to avoid
-Flawed Alexa support-Buttons are tricky to find

Visually near imperceptible from the original A1, the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) is an appealing and highly portable Bluetooth speaker that comes with (admittedly flawed) Alexa support. 

Ultimately, we were impressed with the B&O Beosound A1. A marked improvement over its predecessor, there's better battery life, and waterproofing, although we're not so sure how much we'd like to take it outside the home. 

With a consistently crisp sound and a chic design, the Beosound A1 is still a fine example of why Bang & Olufsen's good reputation precedes it.

Read more: Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd Gen)

The urbanista brisbane portable speaker in black

(Image credit: TechRadar)

12. Urbanista Brisbane

Scandi design meets decent sound

Specifications
Weight: 1.5 pounds
Battery life: 10 hours
Wireless range: 30m (100ft)
Frequency response: 80-20,000Hz
Drivers: 2 x 52mm
NFC: No
Aux-in: No
USB charging: No
Reasons to buy
+Great audio performance+Second speaker pairing
Reasons to avoid
-Could be more rugged-Unremarkable looking

The Urbanista Brisbane might not look exciting, but beneath its unassuming package lies a powerful Bluetooth speaker. Loud and rich-sounding, it's a well-priced addition to anyone's home, with a good battery life and the option to pair it with another Brisbane for true stereo sound.

For the price, the Urbanista Brisbane is ultimately a bit of a bargain. You'll find better sound quality out there, but it'll cost you a lot more. All in all, this mid-range speaker could be a great choice for anyone who wants the freedom of wireless listening without sacrificing volume levels.

Read the full review: Urbanista Brisbane review

The 1more portable bluetooth speaker in black, with the 1More logo in silver

(Image credit: 1MORE)

13. 1MORE Portable BT Speaker

A luxurious Bluetooth speaker for the office and the home

Specifications
Weight: 268g
Battery life: 12 hours
Wireless range: N/A
Frequency response: N/A
Drivers: N/A
NFC: No
Aux-in: Yes
USB charging: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Great sound quality for the size+Impressive bass response at low volume
Reasons to avoid
-Limited IPX4 rating-Average battery life

The 1MORE Portable BT Speaker sounds great for the price. It has an impressive amount of bass at low volumes but drops off at higher volumes. 

This Bluetooth speaker is good for traveling professionals who want better sound quality, a speakerphone, and some water resistance, but those who want a more rugged speaker should look elsewhere – the IPX4 rating won't really cut it if you're expecting your speaker to get wet.

Read more: 1MORE Portable BT Speaker review

Best Bluetooth speakers at a glance

  1. Sonos Roam
  2. Sonos Move
  3. UE Boom 3
  4. JBL Flip 5
  5. Bose Home Portable Speaker
  6. Anker Soundcore Flare 2
  7. UE Wonderboom 2
  8. JBL Charge 5
  9. UE Hyperboom
  10. Sony SRS-XB23
  11. Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd gen)
  12. Urbanista Brisbane
  13. 1MORE Portable BT Speaker

Choosing your Bluetooth speaker

How to pick out the best Bluetooth speaker

Which speaker type is best for you?

There are lots of speaker styles to choose from – that's why we've put together lots of guides on the best speakers you can buy in 2021. 

Looking for some hi-res audiophile speakers to go with your record player? Check out the best stereo speakers. Bored of your TV's lackluster audio? Try one of our best soundbars  or Dolby Atmos speakers on for size.

If you need a speaker you can take everywhere, make sure you look at the best waterproof speakers

For total control of your smart home, invest in one of the best smart speakers, which come with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Siri built-in.

Apple fanatic? Try out the best AirPlay speakers.

There are so many new Bluetooth speakers on the market these days that it can be tricky to figure out which one you need. However, there are plenty of specific features to look out for, even if it does feel like the choice is endless.

The first thing to consider is where you want to use your new Bluetooth speaker. Some portable speakers are built with durability in mind, and will feature rubberized builds to prevent damage from drops and lightweight designs to make them easy to carry around. 

To ramp up that durability, many Bluetooth speakers come with waterproof and dustproof designs – look for an IPX4 rating or higher if you want to take your portable speaker outdoors. 

Of course, you can absolutely use your new portable Bluetooth speaker solely inside your home – and that means you can choose from a wider range of designs that will look great with your decor.

You should also consider how you’re going to use your new portable speaker. If you're a party person, you might want the ability to connect two speakers together or a speaker with multipoint pairing that allows multiple devices to connect at a time. 

With any Bluetooth speaker, battery life, sound quality, and connectivity are features you don’t want to overlook. Sure, some concessions can be made for budget models, but we’ve done our best to take these in the utmost consideration when creating the list above.

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