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The 11 best Bluetooth and portable speakers

The Mixmag guide to the best Bluetooth and portable speakers in 2021

  • Paddy Edrich
  • 8 June 2021

2021 is the year of Bluetooth. Whether it’s earphones, speakers or even keyboards, Bluetooth offers the user a reliable and portable method of taking their tech with them on the go.

Bluetooth speakers offer music lovers a go-to sonic experience when it comes to enjoying their beats, whether that be on a weekend ramble in the country or the set-up for their first house party back after the pandemic.

Read this next: 14 of the best wireless headphones and earbuds

Most products have an extended feature list offering everything from smart speaker capabilities to charging facilities. However, sometimes it can be difficult to navigate through all the different options that are saturating the market right now. Mixmag has put together a list of some of the best Bluetooth options for you to browse through. Whether a seasoned audiophile or sonic newby, there’s something for everyone below...

Sonos Roam

One of the top picks when it comes to picking up a speaker on the go, the Sonos Roam’s excellent connectivity features ensure the powerful sound can be enjoyed wherever you are. It’s bass-heavy audio performance doesn’t just make it ideal for low-end lovers, but perfect for outdoor listening. It’s automatic switching capabilities means it’s perfect for indoor enjoyment as well, which can be easily hooked up to multi-room Sonos systems through its Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity. Slick, durable and waterproof, the design also comes at a more than reasonable price.

Price - £159, find out more here

Sonos Move

Another product from tech wizards Sonos, the Move’s two quality drivers give the overall sound quality a bit more of a boost than the Roam. Smart audio-tuning also tweaks the sonic output depending on the user’s surroundings to ensure optimal listening experiences wherever you are. However, due to the supreme audio delivery, the Move comes out a lot more expensive than the Roam, and much chunkier as well. This means that it isn’t as easy to take with you on the move, but it’s multi-room capabilities mean it certainly makes for a great option as a main speaker for home use.

Price - £399, find out more here

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UE Megaboom 3

The big brother of the UE Boom 3, the aptly named Megaboom packs that extra punch when it comes to bass-heavy power. With a thumping bass, in particular the low-end, that can be managed by using the accompanying app, the Megaboom’s overall sound quality more than gives you bang for your buck. Exemplary battery life ensures it ticks the boxes when it comes to enjoyment on the go, while the multiple speakers means it can sync up for multi-room audio. Waterproof casing (and it floats as well) ensures its durability matches its chunky design.

Price - £169.99, find out more here

UE Hyperboom

Another from the Ultimate Ears tech behemoth, the Hyperboom is a party speaker that is destined to supply some powerful atmospheric sound. The weight of the speaker makes it difficult to shift about freely, but the well-balanced soundscape that packs some serious bass heat is ideal for both in and outdoor listening. Stylish design makes it very easy on the eye, while two phones can be connected to the Bluetooth to seamlessly transition between the pair of them, meaning there’s no arguing over who’s on selection duties. The Hyperboom app also allows the user to connect to other UE speakers to help make your own little soundsystem at home.

Price - £359, find out more here

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Bose Home Portable Speaker

As expected when it comes to Bose products, their Home Portable Speaker has a sophisticated yet long-lasting design and easy to use button controls. Offering both Alexa and Google Assistant compatability, as well as Bluetooth, connectivity certainly won’t be an issue. It has a warm, well-balanced soundscape, however, it’s not as bassy as its rival, the Sonos Move. This is to be expected, as the Home Portable Speaker is around half the size, ensuring greater portability for the user.

Price - £329.95, find out more here

JBL Flip 5

Proving you don’t need to flash an expensive price tag to ensure quality, the JBL Flip 5 doesn’t offer the most adventurous spec on the market, yet still delivers exciting sound. Smart design means it can be used both in and out, and the easy-to-use controls make it perfect for a first time speaker buyer. Distortion-free sound and strong battery life score the Flip 5 two more points, while the Eco-Edition purchase option is made from 90% recycled plastic so you can be conscientious with your listening experience.

Price - £119.99, find out more here

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Sony SRS-XB23

This offering from Sony is a little canister that certainly packs some serious power for users who like to venture on outdoor pursuits. Coming in at exactly £100, the SRS-XB23’s performance can reach some pretty loud volumes without too much distortion, while the bass is the best out of anything Sony has done so far in the world of portable sound. Snug enough to fit into a pocket yet durable enough to use on the go, the smart design comes with a useful strap that means you can hang the speaker on whatever is available when you want to enjoy some tunes.

Price - £100, find out more here

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KEF LSX

If you’re not interested in taking your music on the road and are instead looking for a premium Hi-Fi system, you don’t need to look much further than the KEF LSX. The driver design allows the LSX to fill any room with a sound quality destined to impress any audio chin stroker, while the ability to receive through Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Ethernet means that connectivity will never be a problem for those who like to stream audio directly to the speaker. They will cost you a pretty penny, but they both look and act the part!

Price - £999, find out more here

Anker Soundcore Flare 2

Arguably the best in the market when it comes to affordable bluetooth sound deliverance, the Soundcore Flare 2 from Anker is ideal for those on a budget. Waterproof design features make it perfect for rambling into the unknown, while the sound quality is surprisingly good for its size, although perhaps at risk of becoming a little harsh when reaching maximum volume. However, for the price tag and the build quality, you really don’t need to look much further when you’re just looking to get up and go.

Price - £54.98, find out more here

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JBL Boombox 2

If it’s a retro tip you want to get on, JBL’s Boombox is the modern reimagining of the 80s hip hop boombox. However, that’s really where the similarities between the two end, as JBL have ramped up their Boombox with the very latest in modern audio engineering. A thumping bass ensures the sonics are at the height of their capabilities, while the battery life tops 24 hours of uninterrupted output. With a powerful battery on board, it can also charge multiple devices at once. It’ll put a bit of a dent in your wallet, but the Boombox 2 is the jack of all trades that you don’t even know you need until you’ve got it.

Price - £399, find out more here

1MORE Portable BT Speaker

A perfect speaker to rock in the office or at home, the 1MORE maintains decent bass frequencies across volume levels, especially considering its size. The microphone and aux jack also means it’s perfect for those who take their work on the road with them. However, the speaker isn’t the most rugged, nor is its water resistance, meaning it may not be the top of the list when it comes to outdoor listening. However, it’s sound quality, easy transportation and useful features means the 1MORE is definitely worth a punt.

Price - £61.75, find out more here

Paddy Edrich is a freelance writer, follow him on Twitter

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