Best Bluetooth speaker 2021: best wireless speakers for audio quality AND portable speaker convenience

Stream music from any phone, tablet or laptop with the best Bluetooth wireless speakers for indoors and waterproof ones for the garden

Best Bluetooth speakers 2021
(Image credit: Sonos)

The best Bluetooth speakers make it easy to play music from any source, anywhere in the home you want. What springs to mind for a lot of people looking at Bluetooth speakers is small battery powered speakers, which we've got in this guide – use this handy jump link to go straight to our guide to the best portable Bluetooth speakers. 

But the best Bluetooth speakers now includes big, bold hi-fi-style speakers too, and if it's audio quality you're looking for, these are the place to start. There are wireless speakers in classic stereo designs, or big single-box units.

Whatever their shape, price or appearance, all of these Bluetooth speakers are here primarily on the basis of their sound quality and suitability for use at home. Bluetooth is a wonderfully easy and versatile way to stream music, and after years of honing and improvement, the best Bluetooth speakers can sound excellent – especially when they also utilise sound quality improving technologies such as aptX, aptX HD, AAC and/or Wi-Fi, so you can stream from your device or the cloud, in higher resolution.

Are Bluetooth and wireless the same thing?

No. All Bluetooth speakers are wireless but not all wireless speakers rely on Bluetooth, although most include it. This is going to become more of an issue as wireless speaker technology evolves. 

A lot of the best recent 'Bluetooth' speakers also feature Wi-Fi streaming from your phone or direct from the cloud for services such as Tidal, Spotify and Apple Music. Others include Alexa voice control, which can let you summon music from Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and others. You need to be subscribed to these services, of course. A great example of this is the Audio Pro C3 that is #1 in this very list.

Bluetooth also turns up as an option on speakers that are really meant to be used with Wi-Fi or an analogue or digital, wired input – Bowers & Wilkins' Zeppelin, Naim's Mu-so family and so on.

However, since far more people search for 'Bluetooth speaker' than 'wireless speaker' we're going to continue to call it that. If you're looking for the best multi-room speakers, we have a whole extra guide for those at that link.

The best Bluetooth speakers to buy

Best Bluetooth speaker: Kanto TUK

(Image credit: Kanto)

1. Kanto TUK

Bluetooth speaker disguised as a complete music system

Specifications
Power output: 260W
Battery life: none
Apt-X: Yes
AAC: Yes
Additional connections: 3.5mm input, phono, pre-amp turntable, optical digital, USB audio, 3.5mm headphone output
Reasons to buy
+Proper stereo+Good physical connections
Reasons to avoid
-No Wi-Fi streaming

If you're a Bluetooth purist – do such people exist? – looking for a great sounding speaker, TUK is one of a very small number of options right now. Most higher-end wireless speakers also include Wi-Fi and cloud connectivity to service Tidal, Spotify, AirPlay, Chromecast et al. Kanto TUK has no truck with such new-fangled notions. It supports Bluetooth 4.2 – AAC and AptX – and NO OTHER WIRELESS CONNECTIONS AT ALL!

It's also not a speaker. It's a stereo pair of attractive, compact bookshelf speakers. The right hand one contains the connections and DACs and Class D amplifiers and all that, and the right one is a slave, connected by a wire. Yes, doing 'proper' stereo Bluetooth without a wire between the speakers is a more elegant solution – but in my experience it never works satisfactorily 100% of the time. 

It's also not just a pair of speakers, either. With a pre-amped input for a turntable, a standard, line level phono input, optical digital and USB, the Kanto TUK is actually what old people would call a 'music system' or 'mini system'. 

I've been using this for some months now via Bluetooth and from a DAC attached to my iMac and after a certain amount of running in, it sounds superb – as it should for this price. Given that a stereo pair of speakers always sounds better than a one-box speaker of equivalent price, this is THE choice for those who want a music setup based around Bluetooth, with the best possible sound quality. Clearly, setup is more complicated than with a one-box but the compact size of the TUK and straightforward connectivity, make it as easy as it can be. 

I've seen reviews of this saying the bass is a bit thin, but I can assure you on a half decent pair of stands or a reasonably substantial shelf it is booming. There's a subwoofer connection as well, if you are a total bottom end fiend. A handsome and sturdy remote is included, although I can't say I've used it much. Your colour choices are the black pictured here, and its arch rival: white. The white finish looks better IMO and the casing doesn't seem to be the dirt magnet that many white speakers are. 

Best Bluetooth speaker: Sonos Move

(Image credit: Sonos)

2. Sonos Move

Best compact Bluetooth speaker

Specifications
Power output: Not quoted
Battery life: 10 hours
Apt-X: No – SBC is supported however
AAC: Yes
Additional connections: 3.5mm input, phono, pre-amp turntable, optical digital, USB audio, 3.5mm headphone output
Reasons to buy
+Superb sound quality for a small-ish speaker+Also supports Sonos multi-room
Reasons to avoid
-Bluetooth is clearly not the main draw here

• Read our Sonos Move review

This is more like what many people would consider a classic Bluetooth speaker than the Kanto TUK. But really, it is a Sonos multi-room speaker, designed to be connected via Wi-Fi. However the Move has been ruggedised, and had a battery and Bluetooth connectivity added, so you can use it outdoors. 

Basically a Sonos One that you can take in your garden, the Move also includes Amazon Alexa or Google voice assistants (although not when in Bluetooth mode) and multi-room streaming support from a vast range of music services (although not when in Bluetooth mode). 

Sound quality is excellent, and there's some genuinely clever software that automatically optimises the sound to its surroundings every time you move it. You can have some fun with the Move putting it in the most acoustically unpromising positions you can think of – it nearly always ends up sounding good, indoors or out.

Sonos Move is not the most handsome thing, but you soon realise it's design is excellent. A massive, recessed 'handle' on the back makes it easy to transport, and as well as being rugged, the base and paint finish are cunningly designed so it doesn't get marked and scarred by a life of being hefted about and placed on patios. 

Sonos' app provides support for any music service you can think of or subscribe to, as well as allowing voice control of tunes via Alexa or Google. When you're in Bluetooth mode however, Move functions like any other Bluetooth speaker – you send music from your phone or other devices, from whatever music apps you happen to have installed. 

Audio quality takes a noticeable hit when you switch to Bluetooth, compared to Wi-Fi or cloud streaming. Even so, it sounds way better than any other portable Bluetooth speaker I can think of. The battery life of 10 hours isn't bad, but do remember to replace the Move on its elegant charging stand when you're not using it outdoors or in the bathroom – the battery continues to drain even in standby mode, which can be an annoyance. Don't forget Sonos has a new Bluetooth speaker now too – here's our Sonos Roam vs Sonos Move guide.

Best Bluetooth speaker: Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3

3. Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3

Best waterproof Bluetooth speaker

Specifications
Power output: Not quoted
Battery life: 20 hours
Apt-X: No
AAC: No
Reasons to buy
+Fully waterproof – and it floats!+Rugged too+Lively and loud sound
Reasons to avoid
-Playlist selection is a bit unwieldy

The Megaboom 3 is right at the opposite end of the portable speaker spectrum from Audio Pro's list-topper. It's fully focussed on the outdoors, being waterproof and very rugged. Actually it's not just waterproof – it even floats, so if it's accidentally (or deliberately) dropped in the pool, it's easily retrieved.

Unlike the Addon C3, the Megaboom 3 probably won't win approving nods from audiophiles but while it may be targeted at those who want dance, pop and rock tunes in the outdoors, its small footprint and attractive design mean it can function perfectly happily in the kitchen. The cooly muted colours it comes in are, in fact, about the only quiet things about it.

Ultimate Ears has absolutely piled on the bonus features here, with the ability to pair two in stereo as well as the option to chain anything up to 'hundreds' of them (!) for even greater volume. 

A 'magic button' on top lets you easily play, pause and skip tracks and, uh, not-so-easily control playlists. It's cool that UE has added this functionality but it has two problems: it only works with Apple Music and Deezer playlists, and you can only skip forwards through your playlists, one at a time. So if you have hundreds of playlists, this could be of rather limited use (or at least, you'll get RSI skipping to the one you want).

With 20 hours of battery life, impressive bass and volume, 360º sound, and build quality that renders it essentially unkillable, the UE Megaboom is by far the best outdoor speaker you can get. And as noted, you don't need to wait for summer to come back to enjoy it, as it does work well (for pop music in particular) in the kitchen, bedroom or elsewhere.

• If you want a very similar speaker with Alexa built in, as on an Amazon Echo device, UE also does the Megablast. This doesn't float but it it waterproof and does let you control Amazon and Spotify playlists and choons with the power of your voice (and Alexa).

Best Bluetooth speaker: Bluesound Pulse Flex 2i

4. Bluesound Pulse Flex 2i

Best Bluetooth speaker – also has Wi-Fi streaming and can be made portable

Specifications
Power output: 25W
Battery life: none (6 hours with optional battery pack)
Apt-X: Yes
AAC: Yes
Additional connections: AC Wi-Fi, 3.5mm input, USB audio, 3.5mm headphone output
Reasons to buy
+Sounds brilliant for the compact size+Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth for streaming+Well designed app
Reasons to avoid
-Quite drab looks

The winner of the T3 Award for Best Bluetooth Speaker of 2019, the Pulse Flex 2i is actually rather more than just a Bluetooth speaker. With Wi-fi and ethernet included, it's actually like a more portable Sonos. It's Airplay 2 compatible, and also works with popular streaming services including Tidal and Spotify, and internet radio.

Considering how small it is, sound quality is little short of remarkable. With a wired connection it's even capable of playing hi-res audio files, for audiophiles, but Tidal (CD quality) and even the likes of Spotify (compressed MP3) sound wonderful.

The versatility needn't stop there, as you can add a battery pack (£69) and carry it with you wherever you may roam. Although not for very long, as battery life is only 6 hours.

Compared to the Audio Pro speaker at #2, Bluesound's champ is bordering on ugly,  but since it sounds even better than the C3, has even more connectivity, and boasts an app that actually works, we'll set aside our aesthetic reservations.

Best Bluetooth speaker: Audio Pro Addon C3

5. Audio Pro Addon C3

The best Bluetooth speaker for the home – also with Wi-Fi streaming

Specifications
Power output: Not quoted
Battery life: 9 hours
Apt-X: No
AAC: No
Reasons to buy
+Superb sound, chic Scandinavian looks+Very compact+Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth for streaming
Reasons to avoid
-No Apt-X or AAC-Audio Pro's app could be slicker

There are Bluetooth speakers that are more like updates to the old hi-fi mini systems – you plug them in, they're mainly for streaming but have a line in, and the emphasis is on superior sound quality. Then there are your classic portable Bluetooth speakers with battery power and go-anywhere convenience. The Audio Pro Addon C3 however – and a number of the other Bluetooth speakers listed here – are a hybrid of the two. 

The C3 looks extremely stylish, sounds superb but is very petite, has a natty carry handle, and nine hours of battery life. It also piles on AirPlay and Spotify Connect via Wi-Fi, as well as Audio Pro's own app, so you can even use it as part of a very chic multi-room setup. There's a line in as well.

Audio Pro's app is dire, but you don't actually need to use it other than for multi-room control. If you use AirPlay from a laptop or mobile you can bypass it entirely and still have multi-room. Although one thing you should definitely use the app for is to set up the 5 preset buttons on the front of the C3 – these then give instant access to your favourite web radio stations or Spotify playlists.

Slightly surprisingly when connected via Bluetooth there's no support for the audio-improving Apt-X (Android) or AAC (iOS) codecs. However music played via Bluetooth still sounds excellent. This isn't a cheap box for playing pop music in the park – although it will do that, so long as you keep it dry – it's a very musical, high quality speaker that happens to use Bluetooth.

What you've got here is a super-portable speaker with Wi-Fi streaming for higher quality and multi-room, with Bluetooth for total convenience. It's a stunner, especially if you can avoid using Audio Pro's quite crappy app.

Best Bluetooth speaker: Bose Soundlink Revolve

Another great portable Bluetooth speaker for the home

Specifications
Power output: Not quoted
Battery life: 14 hours
Apt-X: Yes
AAC: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Great sound+True 360 degree audio+Very portable
Reasons to avoid
-Resembles decapitated Dalek

If you are after a speaker with the tiny footprint and 360º audio of the UE Megaboom 3, but more refined sound and less ruggedised looks (not that the Megaboom is unattractive), look no further than Bose's Soundlink Revolve.

For its size, this is a superb sounding speaker, and Bose's excellent app makes it easy to pair two into a stereo duo. Audio quality is high and portability is exemplary although unlike the Ultimate Ears speaker, this is not waterproof, so don't chuck it in your hot tub.

Best Bluetooth speaker: Marshall Kilburn 2

7. Marshall Kilburn II

Best Marshall Bluetooth speaker, great for rock and dance

Specifications
Power output: 36W
Battery life: 20 hours
Apt-X: Yes
AAC: No
Reasons to buy
+Great sound with rock, hip-hop and dance+Long battery life+Splash resistant

This speaker is badged as a Marshall, but obviously it doesn't come direct from the same sweat-stained factories as its legendary guitar amps. But it still rocks, and this Mk 2 model is notably better than the (excellent) first Kilburn in terms of both sound and looks.

Audio is loud and proud, rich and powerful with plenty of bass, and cleverly processed with a strong 'faux-analogue' sound. Built as a compact speaker for small to medium rooms, it is nonetheless still battery-powered, and portable via a natty strap.

Pairing is swift and the audio, while coloured so as to sound 'rocky', can be tweaked all over the place using the old-skool bass and treble tone knobs.

The looks might still not be to non-rockers' tastes, but Marshall has toned down the 'heavy metal' styling in recent years, and this sits quite happily in any home that isn't overloaded with chintz.

The audio is still not what you'd call subtle, but there's little to beat the Marshall Kilburn for sheer room-filling oomph. The addition of basic splash- and moisture-resistance makes it suitable for bathroom use, so long as you don't leave it too near the bath.

It's part of a range of excellent Marshall Bluetooth speakers and also, nowadays, some excellent multi-room Wi-Fi speakers.

Best Bluetooth speaker: Marshall Stanmore 2 Voice


8. Marshall Stanmore II Voice

A larger Marshall Bluetooth speaker for rockin' out, my dude

Specifications
Power output: 80W
Battery life: N/A
Apt-X: Yes
AAC: No
Reasons to buy
+Great sound with rock, hip-hop and dance+Alexa built in+Attractive styling
Reasons to avoid
-Slightly odd interface

If you want a rather more serious Marshall-badged speaker in your rockin' home, this is probably the one to go for. The Stanmore II Voice takes the musical virtues of the  KIlburn II but loses battery power and a bit of moisture proofing.

Instead what you get is a very stylish, plug-in speaker with 80 combined Watts of power (2x 15W plus a 50W woofer) and Alexa built in. It is a little bit of a faff setting it up, and once that's done you have to press a button every time you want to pair it, or it defaults to a Wi-Fi setting that as far as I can see, is only needed for the aforementioned setup.

However, maybe you don't need to pair it. 

That's because Alexa, used in conjunction with Amazon Music or Spotify (with other services to follow now Amazon has opened up Alexa to third parties), makes for a great audio experience on the Stanmore II. Nobody is going to mistake it for audiophile sound, but being able to order up any tune in the world, and have it blasted out, is highly enjoyable. Eventually, Marshall reckons Amazon will also allow third-party speakers to use its multi-room system, but we'll see about that. 

Even if you don't have Amazon Music or Spotify, Alexa's usual bag of tricks and Skills is on hand, and it's excellent as an apt-X Bluetooth speaker, too. 

If you only want to use it as a Bluetooth speaker, you're better off with the vanilla, Alexa-less version of the Stanmore II..

UE Hyperboom

(Image credit: Ultimate Ears)

9. UE Hyperboom

A big Bluetooth speaker with a huge engine

Specifications
Power output: 229W
Battery life: 24 hours
Apt-X: No
AAC: No
Reasons to buy
+Excellent sound overall+Twin Bluetooth connections+Easy to get going with
Reasons to avoid
-Large and not pretty at all

This is a great alternative to the Sonos Move, though is just about as expensive, so you'd hope it would be. There's no multi-room tech here – it's all about Bluetooth and big, big sound. UE has always been great at squeezing big sound from fairly compact speakers, so maybe it's no surprise that when it doesn't have to be compact any more, the sound is really off the leash. The sheer scale of the audio here, and how well it maintains its poise while being so big and loud, is beyond what the Sonos Move can manage, though that's the higher quality speaker overall, we'd say.

If what you want is a party machine, this'd probably be our choice, though. You  could practically hold a damn concert in the park with one of these. Having the ability to pair two devices is great for a bit of flexibility too.

10. Ruark MR1 Mk 2

An even more compact stereo Bluetooth speaker than the TUK

Specifications
Power output: 20W
Battery life: N/A
Apt-X: Yes
AAC: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Effortless stereo+Great sound+Optical and line inputs
Reasons to avoid
-Not entirely wireless

If you decide the Cambridge Audio YoYo (M) is both too stupidly named, and too much of a pain to setup,  this excellent offering offers full stereo, without the need to pair two speakers, as they're wired together. 

With a 3.5mm input and an optical digital one and an output for an active subwoofer, this could be the basis of a neat little system, but it's also mighty fine as a Bluetooth-only setup.

Audio is in line with most Ruark products, in that it's more Manilow than Metallica; more Stone Roses than Stormzy. But that's fine. In my opinion, the more upfront sound of the Cambridge Audio YoYo (M) is better – and it's cheaper too – but I know loads of older folks and acoustic heads love the Ruark sound. 

The fact the speakers are wired to each other does make setup less of a hassle, as it removes the need to turn on two speakers every time you want to listen to music. It does limit how far apart you can place them, but you could always buy a longer 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable.

• Hey, why not add a turntable while you're at it?

Rather brilliantly, you can mate the MR1 Mk II with a Rega P1 or upgrade to a Rega P2. As you can see, they make an exceedingly handsome couple – and let me tell you, readers, they're a couple who make sweet music together. Mmm-mm.

If you don't require stereo, or lack the space for two speakers, but love the sophisticated, 1950s-esque look and sound of Ruark, you should seriously consider the Ruark R1 Mk III. With a built-in DAB radio, it might be all the speaker your kitchen or caravan ever needs…

Best portable speakers with Bluetooth

The best portable speakers turn up everywhere from fields to beaches to kitchens, or even strapped to cyclists as they pedal past blasting out Taylor Swift or Mötörhead. They're like the portable radios of the 21st century, and the best portable speakers are waterproof or at least water resistant. Right now, they are dead handy if you're working from home – specifically, from your garden or balcony. Or, if you have no garden, they could be useful for those working in the bathroom as it's the only unused space.  

With a battery and vary degrees of ruggedising and waterproofing, these are handy for moving from room to room, and also taking outside. Some are fully waterproof and can be chucked in your swimming pool or, perhaps more realistically for UK readers, stand up to sudden summer downpours.

How to buy the best battery-powered, portable, waterproof speaker

Portable speakers use Bluetooth to receive music from just about any phone, tablet or laptop in existence, and although the audio may not be lossless, the best ones do deliver decent sonics, as well as portability, versatility and toughness.

Ideally, you want aptX (usually found on Android device) and/or AAC (usually on iOS and Macs although it is starting to appear on certain Android phones too) support for better audio – these suck more bytes of information out of your music playing device, giving theoretically better sound, especially with higher bitrate music streams and MP3. 

That said, portable speakers for outdoors in particular are generally more about volume than refinement, and any kind of Bluetooth delivers perfectly adequate audio for that. They just need to be loud enough to be heard over the sizzling of your barbecue, or the drone of your electric lawnmower.

Please note these speakers are not all fully waterproof. There aren't sufficient waterproof speakers of good enough quality to make a list worthwhile. We've noted which ones you can submerge in water, and which ones will just stand up to a bit of summer showering. Although all these sound very good, most aren't of a suitable quality for 'serious' listening.

The best portable speakers, in order

Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 v2T3 Awards 2021 winner

(Image credit: Bang & Olufsen)

1. Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 v2

The best Bluetooth speaker overall

Specifications
Weight: 558g
Battery life: 18 hours
Waterproof: IP67
Aux-in: No
Reasons to buy
+Excellent audio quality+Solid and waterproof
Reasons to avoid
-Fairly heavy

The Beosound A1 v2 finds its way to the top of this category thanks to sheer audio quality – if you want a full, punchy sound that's fairly expansive, and that doesn't crush when going loud, then this is the place to start.

That's no surprise when it comes from Bang & Olufsen, of course. And it follow B&O's usual MO of having quite a neutral sound out of the box, but you can use the app to customise the audio – we at T3 like to push up the bass of B&O's products a little, and that's so easy to do and then save as a preset.

There's another smart trick here too, though – you can even use Alexa from the device, despite it lacking Wi-Fi, thanks to the Bluetooth connection. That means you can just request music without touching your phone (as long as your phone is still within range).

And, being a B&O speaker, it's also an object of desire, and is available in a great range of colours, with new ones added to the range over time. The build quality can certainly take a tumble, and is dust and waterproof, for lighter dunkings.

Best portable speaker: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2

(Image credit: Ultimate Ears)

2. Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2

Best portable Bluetooth speaker for most people

Specifications
Weight: 430g
Battery life: 13 hours
Waterproof: Yes
NFC: No
Aux-in: No
Reasons to buy
+Awesome 360 degree audio+Waterproof and rugged+Easy and portable

The original Wonderboom from Logitech subsidiary Ultimate Ears was great. Wonderboom 2 is, as you'd imagine, one better. Better sound, longer battery life (13 hours instead of 10), cool new buttons to play with, dust- and sand-proofing (as well as the previous imperviousness to water), and still all for just £89.99. And Ultimate Ears products never retail at their RRP for long, so give it a month or so and it'll be even more of a bargain.

Unlike UE's more sophisticated Megaboom 3, there's no app to use more than one of them at once; it's just a straight-up Bluetooth speaker. It's super-portable though, and you can pair two of them either in stereo or dual mono. Strong Bluetooth means they can be placed 100m apart too – 'at either end of a tennis court', was one example given at launch. Even with just one Wonderboom 2 in play, the 360 degree audio is better than it has any right to be at the price, especially with pop, hip-hop, EDM, bro rock and other outdoor party-friendly sounds.

The Wonderboom 2 doesn't really try to straddle home and outdoors: it's clearly meant to be taken to wherever the party is. It's fully waterproof – in fact not only does it also float, but if you push it under the water for whatever reason, it'll even survive that. Being IP57 rated, it's also well protected against grit, salt water, dust and beach-side sand, so long as you keep the USB charger cover in place. It's sufficiently rugged that you can chuck it at the wall if you like, and it'll survive that too.

Another interesting new feature is Outdoor Boost. This makes the sound a bit less bassy and more shrill. This doesn't sound better than the normal mode, clearly, but  it 'cuts through' better and could be a handy addition. In an emergency, you can also still charge your phone from the Wonderboom 2.

The Wonderboom 2 is the state of the art in waterproof, outdoor portable speakers. Keep an eye out for the original Wonderboom speaker going cheap, though – it's still an excellent product.

Best portable waterproof speaker: Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3

3. Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3

Best waterproof Bluetooth speaker for big party sound

Specifications
Weight: 430g
Battery life: 20 hours
Waterproof: Yes
NFC: No
Aux-in: No
Reasons to buy
+Fully waterproof – and it floats!+Rugged too+Lively and loud sound
Reasons to avoid
-Playlist selection is a bit unwieldy

The Megaboom 3 takes the goodness of the Wonderboom 2 and pumps everything up. 

While it may be targeted at those who want dance, pop and rock tunes in the outdoors, its relatively small footprint and attractive design mean it can function perfectly happily indoors – in the kitchen, for instance. The cooly muted colours it comes in are, in fact, about the only quiet things about it.

In contrast to the simplicity of the Wonderboom 2, Ultimate Ears has trowelled on the bonus features here, with the ability to pair two in stereo as well as the option to chain anything up to 'hundreds' of them (!) for even greater volume, via an app. 

A 'magic button' on top lets you easily play, pause and skip tracks and, uh, not-so-easily control playlists. It's cool that UE has added this functionality but it has two problems: it only works with Apple Music and Deezer playlists, and you can only skip forwards through your playlists, one at a time. So if you have hundreds of playlists, this could be of rather limited use (or at least, you'll get RSI skipping to the one you want).

With 20 hours of battery life, impressive bass and volume, 360º sound, and build quality that renders it essentially unkillable, the UE Megaboom is by far the best outdoor speaker you can get. And as noted, you don't need to wait for summer to come back to enjoy it, as it does work well (for pop music in particular) in the kitchen, bedroom or elsewhere. 

To put it simply, Wonderboom 2 is the best portable speaker, but Megaboom 3 is a better speaker overall. But seeing as this is a list of the best portable speakers, we have ranked the simpler, smaller Wonderboom 2 top. Hopefully that makes sense.

• If you want a very similar speaker with Alexa built in, as on an Amazon Echo device, UE also does the Megablast. This doesn't float but it is waterproof and does let you control Amazon and Spotify playlists and choons with the power of your voice (and Alexa).

Sonos Roam

(Image credit: Sonos)

4. Sonos Roam

Best portable/home hybrid Bluetooth speaker

Specifications
Weight: 430g
Battery life: 10 hours
Waterproof: IP67
Aux-in: No
Reasons to buy
+Compact and solid build+Punchy audio quality+Wi-Fi multi-room as well as Bluetooth
Reasons to avoid
-Mediocre battery life

The Sonos Roam is a small (about 6.5 inches long) and easily carryable speaker (unlike the Sonos Move, the bigger Bluetooth speaker from the company, which is a hefty beast) that includes full Sonos Wi-Fi multi-room features as well as being a battery-powered speaker to, well, roam with.

The sound is strong for a portable speakers. It's not the most open or expressive out there, and it's not quite the loudest, but the former doesn't matter so much for outdoors listening. And it'll still be loud enough for most people – it's just maybe not the party speaker that some of the larger options here can be.

The real trick to it is that it can also function as a full member of a Sonos or Apple AirPlay 2 setup at home, over Wi-Fi, and it easily switches between the two options. If you want a portable speakers that can also take a useful spot in your bedroom/office, the Roam is a great choice. However, be warned that with a playing time of 10 hours, it's not especially impressive for battery life – some of its rivals can hit 20 hours. Our full Sonos Roam review talks more about what we liked in this speaker.

Marshall Emberton review

(Image credit: Marshall)

5. Marshall Emberton

A stylish little portable speaker

Specifications
Weight: 700g
Battery life: 20 hours
Waterproof: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Small and rugged+Powerful sound
Reasons to avoid
-No mic-No EQ

This Marshall speaker brings the brand's penchant for guitar-amp stylish to a a smaller frame, and impressively still keeps most of the signature look with having annoying knobs sticking out and catching on your pockets.

It has a good long battery life of 20 hours, and its sound is lively and punchy, and Marshall tends to go for. It's not built for gentle nuance, but delivers lots of bounce and fun for tunes while still being clearly detailed. 

The only downside is that there are a few missing features – there's no mic (which can be handy for calls) and no way to adjust the sound's balance, such as an app with EQ settings. But we're happy to forgive those overall, as our full Marshall Emberton review will tell you.

Best portable speaker: JBL Xtreme 3

(Image credit: JBL)

6. JBL Xtreme 3

Best portable speaker for using outside

Specifications
Weight: 1.97kg
Battery life: 15 hours
Waterproof: Yes
NFC: No
Aux-in: Yes
Reasons to buy
+15 hours of battery life+Loud, punchy sound+Waterproof and dustproof
Reasons to avoid
-It's quite big and awkward to carry 

Designed to be used outside, the JBL Xtreme 3 is a waterproof, dustproof portable Bluetooth speaker that will withstand all kinds of conditions- be it rain or sandy beaches. It certainly looks and feels durable, though it is quite big so you’ll definitely need to use the included shoulder strap to carry it around.  

Connect to your phone using Bluetooth 5.1 or the Aux-in. If more than one person wants to be in control of the music, pair two smartphones to it and share the job. You can pump up the volume to seriously high levels, and the sound quality is crisp, detailed and bassy, all of which make it a great party speaker.

The 15-hour battery life is sure to last you a whole day of music, and you can charge your smartphone from the speaker too. The JBL Xtreme 3 could easily be a trusted day-out device. 

Best portable speaker: JBL Charge 5

(Image credit: JBL)

7. JBL Charge 5

The best small portable speaker for using outside

Specifications
Weight: 960g
Battery life: 20 hours
Waterproof: Yes
Aux-in: No
Reasons to buy
+Loud, powerful sound+20-hour battery life+Can be used to charge your phone
Reasons to avoid
-No EQ settings in the app -You can’t use PartyBoost with Connect+ speakers-No 3.5mm audio port

If you love the look of the JBL Xtreme 3 but aren’t so keen on the size, then the JBL Charge 5 will be the next best thing. It’s a small speaker that doesn’t skimp on sound. 

With powerful, accurate audio and some serious volume capabilities, this is a great speaker for a barbecue on the beach or picnic in the park. The 20 hours of battery life will easily last you the day, if not the whole weekend. Plus, if your phone is running out of charge, you can use it as a power bank and keep the music playing. 

There were a couple of downsides like the fact that there aren’t customisable equaliser settings, and there’s no 3.5mm audio port to play music without Bluetooth, but those points seem like nitpicking in an otherwise fantastic speaker. 

Best portable speaker: KEF Muo

8. KEF Muo

Best 'audiophile' portable speaker

Specifications
Weight: 820g
Battery life: 12 hours
Waterproof: No
NFC: Yes
Aux-in: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Genuinely high quality, dare we say 'hi-fi' sound+Easily portable, at least indoors
Reasons to avoid
-Not waterproof at all, so care required outdoors

The KEF Muo isn't waterproof but it offers easy portability thanks to its 12-hour battery and very compact, Duty-Free-Toblerone-type size. However, unlike many of these speakers, the Muo has a sound that's really suited to listening to 'properly', in a quiet setting (rather than blasting out Dua Lipa in your back garden). It's a very musical portable speaker, aimed at more demanding listeners. It has no water resistance, and is fairly crap for blasting out Katy Perry at your next pool party.

For the kind of 'audiophile; audience that demands a more refined sound even from a small portable, the KEF Muo is an excellent deal. It's also arguably the most attractive portable you can buy, with its metallic finish coming in a variety of hues.