Versus uses cookies to improve your experience on the site. By continuing to browse our site, you agree to our use of cookies. Privacy Policy

The best 10 portable speakers in comparison

Which are the best portable speakers of 2020?

Best portable speakers of 2020 (1 - 5)
portable speaker comparison
Comparison winner
portable speaker comparison
Comparison winner
Libratone Zipp 2
Comparison winner
Libratone Zipp Mini 2
Comparison winner
Sony SRS-X88
Comparison winner
Ultimate Ears Megablast
Comparison winner
Jabra Solemate
Comparison winner
Sony SRS-X99
Comparison winner
JBL Xtreme 2
Comparison winner
Sony SRS-XB501G
Comparison winner
Bang & Olufsen Beosound 1
Comparison winner
Sony SRS-X77
Image
Libratone Zipp 2
100points
Libratone Zipp Mini 2
97points
Sony SRS-X88
93points
Ultimate Ears Megablast
90points
Jabra Solemate
89points
Sony SRS-X99
89points
JBL Xtreme 2
88points
Sony SRS-XB501G
87points
Bang & Olufsen Beosound 1
87points
Sony SRS-X77
84points
Best price
Best price
Summary
Summary
  • Design (66)
  • Sound quality (100)
  • Power (45)
  • Connectivity (76)
  • Features (71)
  • Design (67)
  • Sound quality (95)
  • Power (45)
  • Connectivity (80)
  • Features (57)
  • Design (65)
  • Sound quality (85)
  • Power (63)
  • Connectivity (91)
  • Features (43)
  • Design (79)
  • Sound quality (91)
  • Power (60)
  • Connectivity (45)
  • Features (71)
  • Design (90)
  • Sound quality (89)
  • Power (48)
  • Connectivity (48)
  • Features (57)
  • Design (58)
  • Sound quality (80)
  • Power (63)
  • Connectivity (74)
  • Features (43)
  • Design (73)
  • Sound quality (89)
  • Power (50)
  • Connectivity (38)
  • Features (71)
  • Design (68)
  • Sound quality (74)
  • Power (56)
  • Connectivity (58)
  • Features (86)
  • Design (54)
  • Sound quality (82)
  • Power (78)
  • Connectivity (66)
  • Features (57)
  • Design (56)
  • Sound quality (75)
  • Power (75)
  • Connectivity (87)
  • Features (29)
Pros
Pros
  • Bigger driver unit
  • Mute function
  • Voice commands
  • Bigger driver unit
  • Voice commands
  • More audio output power
  • AUX input
  • More drivers
  • More USB ports
  • Bigger driver unit
  • More drivers
  • Longer battery life
  • Weather-sealed (splashproof)
  • Dustproof and water-resistant
  • Mute function
  • AUX input
  • Bigger driver unit
  • Weather-sealed (splashproof)
  • Mute function
  • Lower low-frequency
  • AUX input
  • Bigger driver unit
  • More drivers
  • More USB ports
  • Newer Bluetooth version
  • More battery power
  • AUX input
  • Bigger driver unit
  • More drivers
  • Weather-sealed (splashproof)
  • Lower low-frequency
  • Newer Bluetooth version
  • Longer battery life
  • Weather-sealed (splashproof)
  • Dustproof and water-resistant
  • Mute function
  • Lower low-frequency
  • Bigger driver unit
  • Shorter charge time
  • Mute function
  • Lower low-frequency
  • AUX input
Cons
Cons
  • Battery life
  • Battery life
  • Voice prompts
  • Maximum Bluetooth range
  • Bluetooth version
  • Lowest frequency
  • Driver unit size
  • Bluetooth version
  • Lowest frequency
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Subwoofer
  • Battery life
  • Lowest frequency
  • Bluetooth version
  • Maximum Bluetooth range
  • Maximum Bluetooth range
  • Bluetooth version
  • Voice prompts
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Charge time
  • Lowest frequency
  • Audio output power
  • Active speaker
  • Driver unit size
  • Drivers count
  • Drivers count
  • Battery life
  • Voice prompts
  • Audio output power
  • Battery life
  • Drivers count
  • Maximum Bluetooth range
  • Bluetooth version
  • Voice prompts
Design
Weather-sealed (splashproof)The device is protected with extra seals to prevent failures caused by dust, raindrops, and water splashes.
Weather-sealed (splashproof)The device is protected with extra seals to prevent failures caused by dust, raindrops, and water splashes.
Dustproof and water-resistantThe device is dustproof and water-resistant. Water-resistant devices can resist the penetration of water, such as powerful water jets, but not being submerged into water.
Dustproof and water-resistantThe device is dustproof and water-resistant. Water-resistant devices can resist the penetration of water, such as powerful water jets, but not being submerged into water.
Control panel on deviceThere is a control panel on the device body, so you can easily access the volume control or remote without having to interact with a cable or another device it's connected to.
Control panel on deviceThere is a control panel on the device body, so you can easily access the volume control or remote without having to interact with a cable or another device it's connected to.
Driver unit sizeThe driver unit is the component that produces sound in the device. Bigger drivers are more powerful and can produce better bass.
Driver unit sizeThe driver unit is the component that produces sound in the device. Bigger drivers are more powerful and can produce better bass.101.6mm76.2mm40mm55mm101.6mm50mm69.9mm45mm101.6mm46mm
Drivers countA speaker driver is an individual transducer that converts electrical energy to sound waves. More drivers may result in better sound quality.
Drivers countA speaker driver is an individual transducer that converts electrical energy to sound waves. More drivers may result in better sound quality.3344364222
Total score for "Design"
Total score for "Design"
Sound quality
Active speakerAn amplifier is integrated into the device. An audio amplifier takes a small signal and makes it bigger without making any other changes in it which results in better sound, so any sound source can be connected to speakers.
Active speakerAn amplifier is integrated into the device. An audio amplifier takes a small signal and makes it bigger without making any other changes in it which results in better sound, so any sound source can be connected to speakers.
Audio output powerAudio output power is based on the number of speakers and their power in watts. High audio output power results in loud, clear sounds.
Audio output powerAudio output power is based on the number of speakers and their power in watts. High audio output power results in loud, clear sounds.N.A.N.A.1 x 30W & 2 x 15W & 2 x 15WN.A.N.A.N.A.2 x 20WN.A.1 x 40W & 1 x 20W2 x 40W
Lowest frequencyThe lowest frequency at which the device produces audio. The lower the low-frequency response, the stronger and juicier the bass.
Lowest frequencyThe lowest frequency at which the device produces audio. The lower the low-frequency response, the stronger and juicier the bass.50Hz50Hz55Hz60Hz120Hz45Hz55Hz20Hz35Hz20Hz
Stereo speakersDevices with stereo speakers deliver sound from independent channels on both left and right sides, creating a richer sound and a better experience.
Stereo speakersDevices with stereo speakers deliver sound from independent channels on both left and right sides, creating a richer sound and a better experience.
SubwooferDevices with a subwoofer have a higher quality, deeper bass.
SubwooferDevices with a subwoofer have a higher quality, deeper bass.
Total score for "Sound quality"
Total score for "Sound quality"
Power
Rechargeable batteryThe battery can be recharged and used over again.
Rechargeable batteryThe battery can be recharged and used over again.
Battery power
Battery powerN.A.N.A.N.A.3130mAhN.A.N.A.10000mAhN.A.N.A.N.A.
Battery level indicatorAn indicator shows you when the device has low battery.
Battery level indicatorAn indicator shows you when the device has low battery.
Battery lifeThe device's battery life (when in use) as given by the manufacturer. With a longer battery life you have to charge the device less often.
Battery lifeThe device's battery life (when in use) as given by the manufacturer. With a longer battery life you have to charge the device less often.12h12hN.A.16h8hN.A.15h16h12h10h
Charge timeThe time it takes to fully charge the battery.
Charge timeThe time it takes to fully charge the battery.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.2.5hN.A.3.5hN.A.2hN.A.
Total score for "Power"
Total score for "Power"
Connectivity
AUX inputAn auxiliary input allows you to play other audio sources by connecting them through a simple audio connection like a 3.5mm jack, i.e for MP3 or portable DVD/CD player.
AUX inputAn auxiliary input allows you to play other audio sources by connecting them through a simple audio connection like a 3.5mm jack, i.e for MP3 or portable DVD/CD player.
Bluetooth version
Bluetooth version4.14.134334.24.24.13
Maximum Bluetooth rangeThe device can connect at a greater distance via Bluetooth or infrared to another device.
Maximum Bluetooth rangeThe device can connect at a greater distance via Bluetooth or infrared to another device.N.A.N.A.9.1m45m10m9.1mN.A.N.A.N.A.10m
USB portsWith more USB ports, you are able to connect more devices.
USB portsWith more USB ports, you are able to connect more devices.11211211N.A.1
Wi-Fi connectivityThe device can connect to Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi connectivityThe device can connect to Wi-Fi.
Total score for "Connectivity"
Total score for "Connectivity"
Features
Mute functionThe device has an option to mute/unmute a conversation directly from the device.
Mute functionThe device has an option to mute/unmute a conversation directly from the device.
Remote control via smartphoneThis technology allows the users to use their smartphone as a remote control for the device.
Remote control via smartphoneThis technology allows the users to use their smartphone as a remote control for the device.
Voice commandsYou can use your voice to control key functions of the device and you can easily access your device without pushing any button.
Voice commandsYou can use your voice to control key functions of the device and you can easily access your device without pushing any button.
Voice promptsWith voice prompts, you will automatically receive information via audio messages – for instance, you may find out that the battery is running low, and it's time to recharge the device.
Voice promptsWith voice prompts, you will automatically receive information via audio messages – for instance, you may find out that the battery is running low, and it's time to recharge the device.
WirelessWireless devices allow users more freedom of movement.
WirelessWireless devices allow users more freedom of movement.
Total score for "Features"
Total score for "Features"

How to choose the best portable speaker

Almost everybody gets disappointed with the built-in speakers on their smartphones, tablets, and pretty much any gadget they buy, and rightfully so. Manufacturers have to include minuscule speaker drivers on these devices because there's not enough space for a great sounding and bass-pounding driver. If carrying another device isn't too much of a hassle for you, then there's a simple solution to this problem: portable speakers.

A portable speaker connects to your device with a wire (AUX or USB) or wirelessly (Wi-Fi or Bluetooth). It has a much better sound quality than a smartphone, thanks to its bigger and better sounding speaker drivers. Suddenly, watching movies or listening to your favorite songs on-the-go becomes a much more enticing idea.

With lots of portable speakers to choose from, as well as a wide array of features and differences in specifications, buying the right one isn't entirely straightforward. So before you decide, check out the most important specs and features to make sure you get the best portable speaker for your budget.

Connectivity

Even though most portable speakers use Bluetooth as the primary way to connect to your gadget, some manufacturers add more connectivity options to give you more flexibility. In contrast, others do away with Bluetooth entirely in favor of other connectivity options. The types of connectivity options available are:

Wireless

  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi (WLAN)

Wired

  • AUX (3.5 mm jack)
  • USB
  • Ethernet

To make pairing easier, some models also support Near Field Communication (NFC). NFC makes it possible to pair the speaker with a gadget by simply hovering the device near the speaker. Aside from pairing with a mobile device, some speakers can decode digital audio files from a storage drive, essentially acting as a standalone media player with respectable speaker drivers. Speakers of this type have either USB ports or micro-SD slots, although some speakers offer both storage options and even add with cloud storage.

Portability: dimensions and weight

Considering that a portable speaker would just be thrown in your bag whenever you decide to take it with you, the smaller the size of the speaker, the easier it is carrying it around. But, of course, a voluminous speaker also has larger drivers, which means a louder sound and deeper bass. You should take into account the dimensions and weight, and make sure that you're satisfied with how good it sounds for its miniature size. There are also different form factors. Most speakers would come in the form of a cuboid, but some are cylindrical, semi-spherical, or round.

Audio power

There are three possible ways of powering a portable speaker. Some speakers rely on the device they are paired with, while others have their own power source.

Passive speaker systems

A passive speaker system uses the amplifier of the connected gadget. Such speakers connect to the device via the 3.5mm headphone jack, relying on the amplifying power of the source. Speakers of this kind are smaller and less powerful, and also shorten the battery life of the source. However, they are usually the most portable because of their reduced size and weight.

Active speaker systems

Active speakers have an integrated amplifier and get power from an electrical outlet. This, of course, is a huge drawback when it comes to portability. Still, there are many advantages: active speakers are usually very loud, offering potent sound.

Battery-equipped speakers

With battery-powered speakers, you don't have to worry about finding an outlet or making sure that the device you pair with your speaker has enough battery. Speakers with batteries don't use power from the source, which implies a longer battery life for your mobile device. On the other hand, battery-equipped speakers tend to be heavier and more voluminous because the cabinet has to accommodate the battery. Most battery-equipped speakers have rechargeable batteries.

Drivers

A driver is a cone-shaped transducer, usually at the front or sides of a speaker system, protected by a mesh. The driver is the part of the speaker that produces vibrations, converting the electrical energy sent by the source to sound energy. In a nutshell, the drivers determine how good the speaker will sound.

A driver consists of a diaphragm, voice coil, and a permanent magnet. The permanent magnet could be a ferrite magnet or a neodymium magnet. The latter is superior in that it could be much lighter than the former while having the same amount of magnetic force.

A portable speaker system usually consists of one to four drivers, but there can be more. If the speaker consists of more than one driver, the drivers typically differ from each other. There are three different kinds of speaker drivers:

Tweeters

A tweeter produces sounds in the higher end of the audio frequency range. It is the smallest type of driver, as its diaphragm size determines the frequency: the diaphragm has to vibrate faster to create high-frequency sounds.

Mid-range drivers

Mid-range drivers produce sounds in the middle part of the audio frequency range.

Subwoofers

A subwoofer produces sounds in the lower end of the audio frequency range. Subwoofers have wide diaphragms and ample sizes.

Manufacturers combine these drivers in one speaker system to offer a wide frequency range. The lowest frequency, about which you can read more here, is the lowest (bass) sound a speaker driver can produce. The highest frequency, explained in detail here, is the highest sound (treble) the driver can attain. An average human can hear sound vibrations from a minimum of 20 Hz to a maximum of 20,000 Hz. While they can't be heard, sounds at frequencies below 20 Hz can still be felt due to the vibrations produced. Speakers capable of producing sounds at more than 20,000 Hz excel in delivering audible high notes.

A stereo speaker system can have two or more types of speaker drivers. A stereo speaker uses two channels of audio, left and right, to create a multi-directional sound effect. This technique is particularly beneficial when watching movies or playing games.

Some speakers also have passive radiators in addition to the active drivers. A passive radiator looks a lot like a regular driver from the outside, but it doesn't have the necessary internal workings to produce sounds, such as the voice coil and the magnet. The purpose of a passive radiator is to increase the low-frequency response of a speaker while retaining the same driver.

Aside from the frequency range, it is also equally important to look at the audio output power of the drivers. The output power is calculated by adding up all the maximum output wattages of each driver. A speaker with a higher total power output can produce sounds at higher volume levels without too much distortion. Even though you don't usually listen to music at loud volumes, speakers with high power output could theoretically sound better in normal listening volume levels, thanks to their high resistance to distortions due to volume levels.

Other features

For added convenience, some speakers include additional features, such as a built-in control panel, a remote control, an app for your mobile device, or a combination of these. Bluetooth speakers may also have voice commands, a built-in radio, a microphone for taking calls, and other features. If you plan on using your portable speaker outside, it is crucial to check if it's water-resistant or even waterproof.

By
This page is currently only available in English.