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The best portable Bluetooth speakers for 2019

AndroidPIT marshall stockwell 2 handle2
© nextpit

Summer has landed in most of the Northern Hemisphere and as temperatures soar and we all head to the parks and beaches in search of some outdoor relaxation, it’s time to take a look at the best portable Bluetooth speakers for soundtracking your open-air party in 2019.

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What to consider when buying a portable Bluetooth speaker

Before spending your hard-earned cash on the first Bluetooth speaker you see, consider a couple of important things first. Obviously, if you need your speaker to be portable, it’s worth checking the battery life. More is always better, of course, but a lot of Bluetooth speakers can also charge your smartphone at the same time, a feature that always comes in handy. Doing this will reduce the total playback time though.

Another important factor is protection against dust and water. Who can really predict the weather these days? If there’s a sudden downpour you’ll want to make sure your speaker has some kind of waterproofing, preferably IPX7, so that it doesn’t get damaged.

anker model zero speaker 02
Some portable Bluetooth speakers are well-designed for carrying.! / © NextPit

Size and weight are obviously key factors in portability but remember that sound quality is always compromised to achieve both of these. The smaller the size, the smaller the speakers, and the smaller the sound. Why do you think those big cabinets with four 12-inch speakers in them sound so great? Finding the right balance between portability and sound quality here is key.

Marshall Kilburn II

Legendary guitar brand, Marshall, has really shaken up the Bluetooth speaker market in the last couple of years. With design tropes from its famous amplifier range and a heritage sound, the audio arm of the company is truly capable of taking on some of the more popular audio speaker brands in 2019. The Marshall Killburn II, the company’s best portable Bluetooth speaker, is loud enough for any picnic.

AndroidPIT marshall kilburn ii 9821
Typical Marshall styling. / © NextPit

The sturdy leather strap across the top makes the Kilburn II very portable, even though it weighs around six pounds. Sure, it’s not the lightest speaker on this list, but it’s worth the extra effort for the sound quality and pure volume you gain. The Marshall can produce a maximum sound pressure of 100.4 dB SPL at a distance of one meter - nice!

On the downsides, the IPX2 certification only protects against light splashes of water, so you will have to run for cover if it starts to rain. There’s also no Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, so be prepared to operate it by yourself.

  • Battery: 20 hours or more with one charge.
  • Weight: 2.5 kg
  • Aux-in: yes
  • Price: $299.99

Also from Marshall: Marshall Stockwell II (pictured above)

Anker Soundcore Flare Plus

If you want something portable that you can just throw in a backpack and won’t cost you a fortune, look no further than the Soundcore Flare Plus. The design of this speaker offers true 360-degree sound, making it perfect for plonking in the middle of a table or a circle of friends sitting around together. Unlike the Kilburn II, it’s also water resistant thanks to IPX7 certification.

Anker Flare Speaker 03
The Soundcore Flare and Flare Plus (left). / © NextPit

The Flare Plus also comes with a light ring at the bottom, which can illuminate to the beat of the sound. A Party Mode is designed for rapid color changes and a pulsating disco vibe. It’s great for when your picnic turns into a bit of a late one. At 25W, delivered through two 2-inch full range speakers, the sound doesn’t get super loud, but it’s perfect for creating an ambiance you can still talk over. The speaker has a battery life of around 20 hours of continuous playback.

  • Battery: 20 hours
  • Weight: 490 grams
  • Aux-in: yes
  • Price: $99.99

Also from Soundcore: Anker Soundcore Model Zero.

Ultimate Ears Boom 3

Ultimate Ears, a sub-brand of Logitech, has a couple of portable Bluetooth speakers in the shape of the Boom 3 and Megaboom 3. The cylindrical design makes them easy to carry and small rubber flaps covering the MicroUSB port allow for protection against sand and dust. Both are also IP67 certified against water. Despite the compact size of the Mageboom 3, it is still pretty heavy though.

AndroidPIT ue boom3 megaboom3 hero
 The UE Boom 3 and Megaboom 3. / © NextPit

Speaker management is done via the BOOM app for Android and iOS. This is quite handy for picnic parties as you can pass a phone around and the ‘DJ’ can not only select the track but also handle the EQ and volume settings right from the phone. Both speakers have a maximum sound level of around 90 dB. Battery life for the Boom 3 is 15 hours, whilst you’ll get 20 hours for the Megaboom 3.

  • Battery: 15 - 20 hours
  • Weight: 540 - 600 grams
  • Aux-in: yes
  • Price: $149.99 - $199.99

Also from Ultimate Ears: Ultimate Ears Blast and Megablast.

Sony SRS-XB501G

Ok, so it’s not cheap or small, but if you are looking for the ultimate portable party speaker, the Sony SRS-XB501G is the one. It’s bigger and heavier than everything else on this list, but when you need to turn things up to 11, there is nothing that will sound as good as this.

Not the most portable, but definitely the loudest on this list. / © Sony

The design is a bit old-fashioned, but I guess they call that old-school or retro these days. One thing that is also a bit dated is the functionality. There’s no Google Assistant is built into this thing, so you can’t call up tracks using just your voice. For the price, you’d maybe expect to have that. Still, for pure sound and performance, the Sony is a great speaker for taking to the park.

  • Battery: 12 hours
  • Weight: 2.7 kg
  • Aux-in: no
  • Price: $299.99

Also from Sony: Sony SRS-XB41.

JBL Charge 4

JBL has carved out a really nice segment of the portable speaker market for itself, and it’s done this with quality products. The Charge 4 is one of the best-selling, and for good reason. In the summer, you see these everywhere. The price is a big reason for the speaker’s popularity, but it’s more than just a competitive price to performance ratio that makes this a no-brainer for our list.

wireless bt f01
The JBL Charge 4. / © JBL

The power output comes in at 30W which should get you to around 80 dB without too much breakup. There is also IPX7 certification for waterproofing, meaning you will be fine with this at the beach. It also comes in no fewer than 12 different colors.

  • Battery: 20 hours
  • Weight: 960 grams
  • Aux-in: yes
  • Price: $199.95

Also from JBL: the JBL Flip 4 is worth a look.

Tronsmart T6 Plus

If you want to go budget, the market can be a bit of a minefield. One good option though is the Tronsmart T6 Plus. It features up to 40W output and it's IPX 6 waterproof so that you can even wash it under running water if it gets dirty on your travels. Bluetooth 5.0 is supported for a stable wireless connection, and TWS allows you to pair two speakers at the same time for stereo sound.

androidpit tonsmart element t6 plus 5
The Tronsmart T6 Plus. / © NextPit

There are three stock EQ settings for chose from: Vocal, 3D, and Extra Bass. You can play music from an SD card, USB flash drive, or a 3.5mm line-in as well as Bluetooth as well. Not bad for the price.

  • Battery: 15 hours
  • Weight: 997 grams
  • Aux-in: yes
  • Price: $69.99 (save 15% with discount code: 7WBGIFFU in the US and 20% with code: ZTW2YZHB in the UK.

What is your favorite portable Bluetooth speaker? Leave your recommendations in the comments below.

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David McCourt

David McCourt

David enjoys staying abreast of the latest technology and newest Android apps. Outside of the office, he can be found playing snooker and writing bad 00s indie songs.

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