Wouldn’t it be great if you could start a party wherever you wanted?
Many people I know don’t need any encouragement to fire up the music and getting a party started. It could be in their backyard, at the beach, or their favorite out-of-the-way camping site.
But if you expect to throw the odd party on the go, you will need a portable bluetooth speaker. And that speaker better have a satisfyingly full and loud sound. Otherwise you will quickly bore your eager party guests to sleep.
The immediate debate after that realisation, however, is what the best portable bluetooth speaker for parties is. That is what I went to find out.
In this article I will discuss the qualities, and review the top options, of the best portable bluetooth party speakers available today.
Who Needs a Portable Bluetooth Speaker?
If you are an audiophile and you own a smartphone, tablet, or even a laptop, you could probably use a good bluetooth speaker.
The great benefit of bluetooth speakers is their wireless connection capability. There is virtually no need for cables to connect the speaker to the music player. Adding a rechargeable battery also removes the necessity of a power cable.
Because bluetooth speakers don’t require cables, you can use them indoors, outdoors, and in remote locations where you have no access to any a/c power.
All you need is your bluetooth enabled smartphone, tablet, or laptop and you can get a party started, regardless of where you may be at.
So, anyone who can’t live without their music and don’t need an excuse to get a party going would also consider buying portable bluetooth speakers. The beauty is there are bluetooth speakers for virtually every need, including;
- Rugged, compact brutes that can stand up to any environment,
- Waterproof beauties that will take the occasional dip in their stride,
- High sounding wannabe PA monsters you can dance to from a mile away, and
- Elegantly shaped, colorful sound boxes that will make regular hotel rooms feel more like home.
How Portable Should a Bluetooth Speaker Be?
For the top party bluetooth speakers, portability usually means a compact speaker that’s not too heavy to carry. The bigger ones are even fitted with small wheels, which makes it easy to cart them around.
So portability in the end also depends on where you intend to use your bluetooth speaker. If you will mostly be using the speaker in your backyard then you can probably get away with choosing a slightly less portable speaker.
If you are going to be travelling a lot, a smaller bluetooth speaker may be a better option. But you will usually have to sacrifice some power and bass response to get that extra portability.
What Makes a Good Quality Portable Bluetooth Speaker?
This question is not as easy to answer as would be assumed.
As you will see, to get some attributes people look for in the best portable bluetooth speaker, you may have to sacrifice some power, which is an important party speaker quality.
You are, thus, unlikely to find a bluetooth speaker with the fullest and loudest sound that is also marked by its excellent portability. It seems there are always trade-offs.
But it is fair to say the features most important to you, with the power, sound quality, and battery life considered, depend largely on your particular use scenario.
With that said:
Any speaker will always be judged on the quality of its sound.
If you have a trained ear, one of the first things you notice with bluetooth speakers is the sound will come out as slightly degraded.
The reason for the less clearer sound is bluetooth speakers rely on the less reliable sound waves to transmit audio files from the source.
It also isn’t uncommon to notice slight variations of pitch in the middle of a song.
This is largely because bluetooth compresses audio files in the process of streaming them between devices. It could also be that bluetooth does not decode audio files at a consistent speed.
What should be remembered, however, is that all bluetooth speakers use short-wavelength radio waves to receive sound from the transmitting device. Sound waves simply take the place of cables on wired speakers.
The differences in quality of the sound between bluetooth speakers is thus more a factor of the quality of the speaker’s audio drivers than the bluetooth technology itself.
Long Playback Time is a Must for a Battery Powered Bluetooth Speaker
Even with bluetooth connectivity, a speaker would still not be portable if you have to connect it to a power source using an electric cable.
To be truly portable, the speaker will need portable power that can only be sufficiently supplied by an inbuilt, rechargeable battery. But it still wouldn’t be much of a party if the battery only lasts a few hours.
The top portable bluetooth speakers will give you up to 10 hours of continuous, full-volume playing.
Your party speaker may not give you that much playback time, but it should give you at least more than half of that.
The sound itself should be able to fill an average sized room without sounding mangled. It is important to emphasize the fullness of the sound and not fixate on how loud your bluetooth speaker should be.
No matter how long the speaker plays, you will quickly fall out of love with it if the sound is clipped and distorted.
Other Factors to Consider When Buying a Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Party and tailgate bluetooth speakers are now such a mature product category that manufacturers often have to include other features to differentiate and upsell their speakers.
This can only be good news for the consumer. But beware, you may end up paying for features with a fleeting usefulness and which don’t add much in terms of the speaker’s primary function.
There are a few features, however, that aren’t bad to have in your party Bluetooth speaker;
- Waterproofness - A speaker that is waterproof can be taken out to the pool, beach, and into the woods without worrying about the risk of water damage. If not fully waterproof, the speaker should at least take the occasional splash without sending you into a panic.
- Rugged build quality - Knocking the speaker off a picnic table shouldn’t induce a panic attack either. If you are going to be using it in tough environments, your Bluetooth speaker will need to be built tough, otherwise it will just not last you that long.
- USB power bank - Some Bluetooth speakers come with a power bank with USB charging ports that can prove to be a massive party saver, especially if you are playing your music from a smartphone, tablet, or other portable music player. A power bank will also provide a convenient power source for your phones when partying in remote locations where having a reliable communication device is important.
- Protective casing - Some Bluetooth speaker models have protective soft or hard covers to protect them from scratches and weather damage, seeing you may need to use them on camping sites with rough terrain.
Now back to the question, what is the best portable Bluetooth speaker for parties?
Most of the options available have at least one attribute at which they excel. But for purposes of this guide we analyzed our five portable Bluetooth speaker picks primarily on;
- How well they sound
- How long they can hold a charge
- How portable they are
- How much they cost
Even though we wanted our Bluetooth speakers to be as portable as possible, you will find we leaned towards speakers that appear to be larger. It also seems counter-intuitive. But there is a reason we did this.
While portability was an important factor, we did not forget that the speakers also had to be loud, with a big sound. Otherwise they wouldn’t be party speakers now, would they?
So, even though a speaker may have a high wattage rating, it’s sound may not necessarily be that big. For that a speaker will also need to have larger dimensions. That bigger size has a direct bearing on the speaker’s bass response, something party goers will want in a sound.
For this reason, I ended up excluding speakers, like the Ultimate Ears Megaboom, a very good, durable speaker, and the JBL Boombox, a waterproof, highly portable bluetooth speaker that scored highly on most of the features we were after.
Best Portable Bluetooth Party Speaker Reviews
There are wildly varying performance levels for the many portable bluetooth speaker options on the market.
And there are too many of them, including models from traditional heavyweights like Bose and Yamaha, and other emerging brands, that we can’t possibly review them all here.
Here are our top 5 picks:
AOMAIS GO Bluetooth Speakers
This speaker’s tough build quality and beastly appearance perfectly adapts it to outdoor use.
The AOMAIS GO is easily the toughest portable bluetooth speaker under $100. Whether it is EDM, hard rock, or any mellower sound you feel like partying to, this speaker’s 2X15W full range audio drivers have the power to fill up any room or outdoor space.
A dual subwoofer improves the speaker’s tonal quality to give it a clear party sound that has a perfect bass and power balance.
If you are in an outdoor venue and like your music to be especially loud, pairing two of these speakers will jack up the power to an ear-busting 60 watts. That will also give you a nice surround sound.
The speaker also has a fun karaoke mode that can really spice up your parties. After all, we all fancy ourselves as good singers after we have downed one or two cocktails.
Other Features and Benefits
- Battery gives you 8 hours of playback time, which goes up to 10 hours if you are listening at around 50 % of full volume,
- Rugged build makes it perfectly suitable for both indoor and outdoor use,
- It is very lightweight, making it supremely portable,
- An ergonomically positioned handle makes the speaker remarkably easy to handle,
- Waterproofed, so you can keep the party going even when it rains,
- Easy to pair when used with another.
- The speaker will start to distort when played at full volume,
- The Amazon 30 hours of playback time description is misleading, as you get 12 hours at most, which, by the way, is still very good.
Big Blue Party Indoor-Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker
This is a beautiful looking bluetooth speaker with great portability.
Honestly, look at it. You can’t see Big Blue Party Bluetooth Speaker it on the display and not want to have it. If that is what the designers intended, then they get full marks for design.
But, being a speaker, the truth is in its sound. With four full range speaker drivers facing all four directions, it is clear the speaker has one of the best surround sounds. Together, the four drivers and subwoofer crank up an incredible 72 watts of power.
The sound has remarkable clarity on trebles, bass, and even on the highs. It is one of the best sounding portable bluetooth speakers on the market.
If you are out looking for a tailgate party speaker, you might as well end your search here.
Other Features and Benefits
- Easy to connect wirelessly, with a bluetooth range of up to 33 feet,
- Full range stereo is well complemented by great bass response,
- Water resistant exterior means you won’t hesitate to take the party out to the beach, though you won’t want to leave it out in the rain,
- Comes with a charging cable, which also powers it while charging,
- Has a strong build quality and will be great for travel and outdoor parties,
- With an easy to grip handle, a compact size and shape, this is one of the most portable bluetooth speakers on this list.
- 4.5 hours maximum playback time could be a limitation for the serious party animals,
- The audio stream has a tendency to break if you move the phone, tablet, or music player you are playing from.
ION Audio Party Rocker Plus
Well, they called it the ‘party rocker’ didn’t they?
That is as good a way to summarize what this ION Audio Party Rocker Plus speaker is best used for. Name aside, with that party lights’ dome, the speaker looks every bit the party rocker it is.
The party lights are integrated to sync with the music, giving you a real party atmosphere, especially if you are partying at night.
This is a 50 watt speaker with ample power. It’s considerable size also shows the design was meant to maximize bass response. The speaker will not sound tinny, whether it’s the lows, mids, or highs.
The speaker has fabulous bluetooth reception, with a range of up to 50 feet. It also puts all the controls in front of you. An easy-to-ready LED display helps, too. There is an app that also unlocks all the new features you can’t access from the speaker itself.
Although the speaker comes with handles, which helps to lift and transport it, it does look as if portability was only considered as afterthought.
Other Features and Benefits
- Multi-colored lights show, with five modes, will bring a festive feel to any party,
- Karaoke feature, with a built-in echo sound effect that will give you hours of prolonged fun,
- Has a microphone and the cable included, with dual mic inputs for a friend to sing along,
- A 6,5” woofer disperses the sound to give it a refined vibrancy,
- A rechargeable battery that will last the whole day when on a full charge,
- There is also an A/C power option, with the power cable also included,
- An ⅛” aux input allows you to connect non-bluetooth music players.
- Lights show is a ton of fun but will drastically reduce the speaker’s playback time,
- Not as durable, especially if you plan to take your parties on the road.
ECOXGEAR GDI-EXBLD810 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth
If you are after a sound beast that will rock out in any weather or outdoor environment, this speaker will be it.
Virtually all the top review sites that sampled the speaker gave it a rave.
The Wirecutter placed the ECOXGEAR GDI-EXBLD810 Speaker in the ‘pool party’ category. What they refer to is the larger bluetooth speakers with a big sound, rugged build, and water proofness.
Built like an army tank, this speaker flexes its muscle with 100W of sheer power.
With nice touches like built-in cup holders and a waterproof side pocket for your smartphone, this speaker is a great choice for avid campers. Also dustproof and 100 percent waterproof, this speaker is always game for a party wherever you are and whatever the weather is like.
One person who purchased the ECOXGEAR GDI-EXBLD810 on Amazon, actually tested the speaker to see if it floats on water. To their amazement, it did float.
Other Features and Benefits
- Has the loudest and clearest sound across the frequency range,
- Bluetooth range is up to 40 feet, even with the speaker and the audio source is separated by a brick wall,
- Unmatched bass response, thanks to built-in 8-inch passive radiator, 8-inch woofer, and 3-inch tweeter,
- Built-in amp and large 100W rated speaker drivers pump out more power than any bluetooth speaker in its class,
- Sturdy handles, built-in wheels, and a retractable handle makes the speaker easy to travel with, despite its considerable size,
- A speakerphone function with excellent voice quality allows you to make conference calls from your campsite,
- Built-in AM/FM also means you can tailgate while listening to the commentary as your team plays inside the arena,
- Has a ¼ jack for connecting a microphone, in case you want to also use the speaker as a small PA system.
- Not the smallest nor the lightest bluetooth party speaker you will find, but the built-in wheels, top and retractable handles makes it a lot easier to cart around.
BRAVEN BRV-XXL Large Portable Bluetooth Speaker
I agonized about this entry as I was torn between the Braven BRV-XXL and the Aiwa Exos-9.
The Aiwa Exos-9 is a fabulously capable bluetooth speaker with a 200W rating, which is an insane amount of power. It will surely rock any party, rattling beer bottles off the table, with that booming bass it has. But it doesn’t look like it was built for the tougher outdoor environments.
The Braven BRV-XXL, however, has serious brawn. Looking at it, and picking it up, it’s sturdy build quality is clear to see.
This portable bluetooth party speaker rocks as loudly as some of the best speakers in its category, thanks to four audio drivers and a subwoofer that gives it a balanced bass response. The bass and treble are both adjustable, giving you freedom to tune the sound to your ear’s desire.
Not exactly waterproof, the speaker does have great resistance to water splashes and is dustproof.
Other Features and Benefits
- Excellent sound quality through the mids to the highs, especially considering it maxes out at a very loud volume,
- The bass response has a punchy thump that goes so well with most party sounds,
- The battery gives you enough power to last more than 10 hours of uninterrupted fun,
- The battery power even leaves room for a USB power bank that charges your smartphones and tablets,
- A secure handle, and a strap, gives the speaker added portability.
- At 18 pounds, it is bit on the heavy side, but the handle and strap should help,
- Takes several hours to fully charge, so you should put
And Our Pick Is…
The speaker takes the honor because it has the clearest sound when played at the highest volume. With 100W of power, the speaker is also the loudest from our list.
If truth be told, depending on your budget, all five bluetooth speakers are excellent choices. We researched them thoroughly and would recommend them anyday. The Big Blue Party Bluetooth Speaker in particular will be a great choice.
But one speaker, the ECOXGEAR GDI-EXBLD810 Speaker rose decibels and total party hours above the rest.
A tough build quality, 100% waterproofness, a full, thumping sound, great secondary features, long battery life, and excellent bluetooth range and reception makes our overall pick a no brainer.
Simply put, this is a phenomenally well made portable bluetooth speaker that will be perfect for parties, wherever you may be.
Now, where is the party at?