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The best Bluetooth wireless speaker to buy for 2020

by Modesto Soutter (2020-06-12)

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There's a lot of variety -- perhaps too much variety -- to choose from in today's Bluetooth wireless speaker market, including pocket-sized micro models, compact mini versions, and heftier models that can really put out some sound. Narrow down your choices with a look at our current favorite contenders for the best portable Bluetooth speakers.

Need a broader set of choices? Check out our lists of best smart speakers and best Wi-Fi speakers and music systems.

Excellent value

Tribit XSound Go

Sarah Tew/CNET At $33, the Tribit XSound Go is one of the top Bluetooth speakers for the money. Besides sounding decent for streaming your favorite music and more, it's also a fully waterproof Bluetooth speaker. Read our Tribit XSound Go review.

$30 at Amazon

Read more: The best outdoor games to play with your family 

Best for clipping onto a backpack

JBL Clip 3

Sarah Tew/CNET Not only does this fully waterproof wireless Bluetooth speaker (IPX7) have improved battery life and better sound than the Clip 2, it's more durable, according to JBL, thanks to the integrated carabiner framing the entire perimeter of the speaker, acting as a bumper. It has a built-in rechargeable li-ion battery and is one of the best wireless Bluetooth speakers for its tiny size. It sells for $60. Read our JBL Clip 3 review.

$50 at Amazon

$50 at Best Buy

Best party speaker

UE Hyperboom

David Carnoy/CNET Ultimate Ears Boom Bluetooth speakers come in a few different sizes, but none of them are as big as the all-new Hyberboom. A supersize wireless speaker that tips the scales at a hefty 13 pounds, the Hyperboom makes the Megaboom 3 look unquestionably puny. It's not cheap, but it sounds better than a lot of the jumbo portable speakers on the market right now.

Ultimate Ears reps told me the Hyperboom was created after the company got feedback from its customers looking for a bigger speaker that could play loud enough and have deep enough bass to power a party. The speaker can do just that -- Ultimate Ears says it's three times as loud and has six-and-a-half times the bass of Megaboom 3 -- and has no trouble filling a fairly large room with sound.  Read the CNET first take.

$400 at Amazon

Best sound under $60

Tribit MaxSound Plus

Sarah Tew/CNET The Tribit MaxSound Plus ($56) is about 30% bigger than its sibling XSound Go and costs about $25 more, but it performs substantially better and is one of the best-sounding speakers in its size and price class. It has a long-lasting rechargeable lithium-ion battery and superior audio quality for a Bluetooth speaker. Read our Tribit MaxSound Plus review.

$58 at Amazon

Cheaper alternative to JBL Flip 5

Tribit StormBox

Sarah Tew/CNET Tribit's StormBox speaker looks like a cross between a UE and a JBL speaker. We suspect that's not an accident. Fully waterproof, it costs about $30 less than the JBL Flip 5 and produces bigger sound and has up to 20 hours of battery life to play music and more. Tribit's XSound speakers are probably a better value, but the Stormbox is more stylish. 

$50 at Amazon

Waterproof and durable

UE Wonderboom 2

David Carnoy/CNET We liked Ultimate Ears' original Wonderboom Bluetooth speaker, which sounded good for its compact size and was also waterproof. Now the company has released the Wonderboom 2, which is a touch bigger than the original and sounds slightly better for streaming your favorite music, with more bass and a special Outdoor Boost mode that boosts treble.

Like its predecessor, the fully waterproof Wonderboom 2 with Bbluetooth connection carries a list price of $100, but sells for less (around $80). What's different is the IP67 rating that means it's dustproof, more shock-resistant and also able to float. It also has 30% better battery life -- lasting up to 13 hours at moderate volume levels, according to Ultimate Ears -- and you can link two together to create a stereo sound pairing by pressing a button on each speaker.

$92 at Amazon

Best sound in its size class

Bose SoundLink Micro

Sarah Tew/CNET Bose SoundLink Micro is arguably the best-sounding speaker for its tiny size. Although this Bose SoundLink is a little pricey, Bose did shave $10 off its list price, bringing it down to $99. It's fully waterproof and available in three Bose SoundLink color options. Read our Bose SoundLink Micro review.

$99 at Amazon

$90 at HP

$99 at Abt Electronics

Best design

JBL Flip 5

David Carnoy/CNET JBL's Flip 5 ($100) is slightly bigger than the Flip 4, with improved audio sound with a little more bass. It has an IPX7 waterproof certification, which means it can be submerged in a meter of water for up to 30 minutes and survive. Tribit's StormBox is about $30 less and plays louder, but I like the tonal balance of the Flip 5 better. It also offers USB-C charging, which is better for future-proofing.

$119 at Amazon

Swanky portable Wi-Fi/Bluetooth speaker

Sonos Move

The Sonos Move is the company's first portable indoor-outdoor Bluetooth speaker, complete with a built-in rechargeable battery that's good for 900 charges or roughly three years and is replaceable. It's Wi-Fi-enabled and can be linked to other Sonos speakers in your home system -- Sonos says the Move has the best Wi-Fi connectivity of any of its speakers to date. It also has a Bluetooth connection, tour sapa so you can take it out of range of your Wi-Fi network and stream directly from your Android, iPhone or any Bluetooth-enabled audio device. Read our Sonos Move review.

$399 at Amazon

$400 at Best Buy

$399 at Crutchfield

Best Bose wireless portable speaker

Bose Portable Home Speaker

Bose Bose's new Wi-Fi and Bluetooth portable speaker is more compact and easier to carry around than the Sonos Move and costs a little less. It delivers big loud sound for its relatively small size and links with other speakers in Bose's Wi-Fi Home speaker line to create a multiroom audio system. Read our Bose Portable Home Speaker first take.

$350 at Amazon

More audio guides

Best smart speakers

Sony's new Bluetooth speaker line gets a welcome refresh  

Best Sonos speakers starting at $100  

Best Wi-Fi speakers and music systems

Best soundbars for 2020 

Best turntables under $300 in 2020: Audio Technica, Pro-ject, tour sapa Fluance and more

The best headphones of 2020

Best sounding wireless earbuds: Sony, Sennheiser and more compared


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