Even with the smart-speaker revolution underway, Bluetooth speakers still have a place near and dear to our hearts.
It’s fun and easy to ask an Amazon Echo or Google Home to play your favorite track or tell you the weather, but smart speakers have a few crutches, first and foremost being stable Wi-Fi. They also often aren’t portable or waterproofed for the great outdoors. In (mostly) forgoing smarts, Bluetooth speakers are nearly always more versatile, more rugged, and more portable—and they’ll work with anybody’s smartphone. They also sound as good or better than many of their smart-speaker equivalents.
In the past few years, we’ve tested more than 50 different Bluetooth speakers and researched dozens more online, and we can happily say they are still some of the best small devices you can listen to. Here are our favorites right now.
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Updated for August 2020: We updated links and pricing, and added the JBL Link Portable, Tribit Stormbox, Tribit Stormbox Micro, and Ultimate Ears Hyperboom. We also cut the UE Megablast and Tribit MaxSound Plus/Go. Adrienne So and Julian Chokkattu contributed to this guide.