Best Bluetooth and Portable Speakers 2019
Author: Curtis Moldrich
If you’ve got a smartphone, tablet or laptop, chances are you’re now the owner of an ever-growing music collection – and while you can probably play it in your car and on-the-go with headphones, it’s harder to play music around the house. That’s where a wireless Bluetooth speaker comes in handy.
Small, powerful and without the hassle of wires, Bluetooth speakers allow you to play music from virtually any piece of tech, and they’re cheaper and more powerful than ever. But with so many on the market to choose from, we’ve done the legwork for you and put together a list of the best Bluetooth speakers you can buy in 2019. We’ve also selected our favourite portable and fixed speakers at different price points, so there’s something here for everyone, regardless of budget.
Ultimate Ears Boom 3
Ultimate Ears or UE has a reputation for making some of the best performing Bluetooth speakers you can buy, and the Boom 3 is one of its best. Combining 15 hours battery life and compact size with powerful room-filling sound, the Boom 3 provides ample bass, but conveys detail you wouldn’t expect from a speaker this inexpensive and this small. If you’re after a little more power, though, we’d suggest you try the larger, more powerful MegaBoom 3.
Anker Soundcore Flare
If you’re looking for a inexpensive Bluetooth speaker for entertaining, you can do much worse than the Anker Soundcore Flare. At around £70 at the time of writing, the Soundcore Flare gives you room-filling 360 sound from a relatively compact package and even throws in a rhythmic light-show. Throw in iPX7 waterproof certification and it’s basically made for parties. When pushed it wont’ sound as good as more expensive models, but it’s impressive for the price – and you can even link more than one together.
Bluetooth speakers don’t get much more imposing than the new B&W Zeppelin. Visually stunning and highly accomplished when it comes to audio, the Zeppelin is a heavyweight in the Bluetooth speaker arena – and has a price to match. At just over £400 it’s far from cheap, but in exchange it delivers some of the best sound you can get from a wireless speaker. Bass is present but not dominant, a strong mid-range and treble make sure your tracks are pumped out full of detail.
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom
UE are great at delivering great sound in physics-bending packages – and the Wonderboom is no exception. Like a compact ravioli packet full of your favourite tracks, the Wonderboom is also one of the cheapest speakers here – so rein in your expectations when it comes to sound. However, it does come with an amazing party trick; the Wonderboom is waterproof and will actually float in water while streaming from your music device. Ideal for parties and music lovers on the more clumsy side.
Sony SRS XB31
A list of portable Bluetooth speakers wouldn’t be complete without something from the creator of the Walkman, and the SRS XB31 uses all of Sony’s expertise in audio to great effect. Featuring dual passive radiators along with a pair of stereo speakers, the XB31 provides punchy robust sound despite its compact size. It’s available in a range of vibrant colours, and with 24 hours battery life, it lends itself to be used frequently and on the go.
Marshall Kilburn 2
Marshall is a name that needs no introduction. A legend in the arena of rock and roll, the British brand is now also directing its expertise to Bluetooth speakers, and the Kilburn II is one of the impressive results. On the outside, the Kilburn II borrows from the style and heritage Marshall has become known for over the last six-or-so decades, and underneath it packs in great sounds and up to 20 hours of battery life.
Sonos is known for its high-end, multi-room speaker systems, but the Sonos One is a great standalone speaker in its own right. Although this isn’t a Bluetooth speaker as such – it uses your Wi-Fi network to stream music – it does pretty much the same thing, as long as you’re using it at home. What’s more, you lose Bluetooth but gain Amazon’s Alexa assistant – something very useful if you intend on growing your Sonos system, or want to build up a smart home setup in the future.