Advances in technology allow us to enjoy products with consonantly improving performance and more features. In addition, devices are becoming smaller, lighter and more portable. The days of only being able to enjoy quality speakers in your home, have now been relegated to the pages of history.
These days speakers can be taken anywhere. Some models are so small they can fit in the palm of your hand. There is a huge range of devices on the market, allowing you to always take your music with you. However, as is often the case with a new type of popular device, there is usually a large amount of low quality products out on the market.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best portable speakers on the US market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about portable speakers
- 3.1 What are portable speakers exactly?
- 3.2 What are the advantages and disadvantages of portable speakers?
- 3.3 Why should I buy a portable speaker system?
- 3.4 Who should buy portable speakers?
- 3.5 Is a more powerful speaker always a better speaker?
- 3.6 What type of portable speakers are available on the market?
- 3.7 What is the most common Bluetooth system used in portable speakers?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- Portable speakers are very light, convenient and versatile. Their main advantage is that they are very easy to transport.
- Power is not everything when it comes to sound quality, and is not the only factor you need to keep in mind.
- Most portable speakers have a Bluetooth connection, as it offers a many more advantages than other types of connections.
Ranking: The best portable speakers on the US market
In this section, we present the five best portable speakers currently available in the market. We have specifically chosen to only include products that offer great value for money, while showing you a wide-range of devices, so that you can find the portable speaker system which is perfect for you.
No. 1: BUGANi Waterproof Outdoor Speakers with Bluetooth 5.0 Technology
BUGANI outdoor Bluetooth speakers are very rugged, reliable and waterproof, so you can listen to music while enjoying your exercise, at the beach or by the pool. The BUGANI Bluetooth speaker is equipped with a large 8000mah battery, which can provide energy for the speaker and also work as a powerbank to charge your mobile phone.
Users love this product and the positive reviews all mention the great quality of sound produced by this unit. Oh and in case you are wondering, yes it is impressively loud. This is a fantastic product, and is moderately priced, and is perfectly suited for any type of use due its rugged and waterproof design.
No. 2: ION Audio Block Rocker Plus
This is most expensive option on our list, but it has some great features that are useful for a wide-range of professional applications. ION Audio’s legendary Block Rocker Series is the only choice when it comes to powerful lifelike sound on-the-go! Block Rocker Plus is an ultra-portable sound system including speakers, wheels, a telescoping handle, an amplifier, audio inputs, a microphone, an AM/FM radio and wireless easy-pair Bluetooth technology.
The Block Rocker from ION Audio has a legion of adoring fans. Many users have owned earlier versions of the Block Rocker, and reported the device lasting for up to 10 years – with great customer service from ION Audio thought the life of the product.
No. 3: JBL Flip 4 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker
JBL Flip 4 is the next generation in the Flip series; it is a portable Bluetooth speaker that delivers surprisingly powerful stereo sound. This compact speaker is powered by a 3000mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery that offers 12 hours of continuous, high-quality audio playtime. Sporting durable, waterproof fabric materials that are available in 6 vibrant colors.
The Flip series from JBL is another popular product with a loyal following. Many buyers of the Flip 4, owned the earlier Flip 3 and have sworn to never try another portable speaker system again. This speaker is seriously tough and can withstand use in extreme conditions and is fully waterproof. It has great sound quality and is very loud for such a small unit.
No. 4: NUBWO Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Here we have one of the cheapest products on our list. It is tiny in size and has a sleek design, that easily fits in the palm of your hand. Supports Bluetooth, AUX cable (included) and TF card to connect with iOS Android devices, phone, laptop and echo series. Hands-free Calls, LED ring light.
Great feedback from buyers of this product who were looking for a super tiny device that literally can be taken anywhere. Users report that this portable speaker has very high sound quality and is surprising loud considering its size. If you want something that can sit on your desk next to your laptop, and give you much better sound, without taking up any space – this is the unit for you.
No. 5: UD MIANOVA Portable Bluetooth Speaker with RGB Color-changing LED Light
This is the cheapest device on our list and definitely the most fun. It has alternating RGB lights with an integrated chip that provide 6 different colors with different modes that make the lights flash automatically. The UD MIANOVA speaker can operate for 10 hours with the LED lights off, or 8 hours when the LED lights are active.
Although this is the cheapest option on our list, it is still a quality product with great reviews. Users love the sound quality which is loud and clear. The lights are not only great for a party, but can also be used to provide soothing ambient lighting at any time. This is definitely the option to choose if you want to make a big statement, wherever you go.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about portable speakers
If you are considering buying a portable speaker system, and have seen the huge variety of products on the market, you probably have lots of questions. This is why, in this section, we answer the most frequently asked questions about portable speakers, to help you make the choice that is right for you.
What are portable speakers exactly?
Portable speakers are an audio solution that allows you to reproduce and amplify sound at any time, and in any location. Generally speaking, they are wireless devices that have their own battery, and are not required to be plugged into a wall plug using a power cable.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of portable speakers?
The main advantages of portable speakers are their versatility, and how easy they are to use. They are small and really extremely lightweight devices. The only significant disadvantage they offer, is their limited time of use – which depends on the life of the battery. However, over recent years, manufacturers continue to offer products with increasingly larger capacity batteries.
Why should I buy a portable speaker system?
If you want a convenient and versatile sound system, that can fit in your backpack and allow you to play music anywhere you go, you should definitely buy a portable speaker system. You can use it on the beach, in the pool, in the park, while cycling, in your hotel room whenever you travel, or even in the shower.
Another great feature is the ability to connect portable speakers to different devices such as mobile phones, tablets and computers. Using WiFi you can even connect them to a whole network of devices. This type of system offers you absolute versatility and convenience.
Who should buy portable speakers?
There are many people who could benefit from purchasing portable speakers. People who live in a house with a pool may want to listen to their favorite music, while relaxing outdoors on a summer afternoon. Or street performers who need a music system to accompany their routine.
They are also perfect for listening to music with friends in a park, on the beach or anywhere else outdoors. They are specifically designed for people who need equipment that can be easily transported to different locations. Or even if you simply live a very large house, and do not want to buy several different pieces of audio gear to do the same job.
Is a more powerful speaker always a better speaker?
The power rating of a speaker does not mean that it is capable of improved sound quality. So unless you are simply looking for something that is as loud as possible, you shouldn’t put too much attention on the power rating of the unit you are thinking about buying. Specifically, the power rating indicates the highest amount of power that the unit can use, while still being able to produce sound without distortion.
In other words, if a speaker has more power, you can listen to the music at a higher volume without causing distortion. However, you should keep in mind that the higher the amount of power being used, the higher the level of power consumption from the battery. In the case of a portable speaker system, it is advised to never run it continuously at maximum volume, as this will significantly decrease the time of operation.
What type of portable speakers are available on the market?
In general, the main distinction between portable speaker systems these days, is the way in which they connect wirelessly. There are some models that use Bluetooth and others that connect using WiFi. It is also true that many speakers integrate the both systems of connectivity. If you want to know about the differences between the two systems, take a look at the following chart.
|Bluetooth connectivity||It does not allow the same music to be played in several rooms at the same time. It does not require a network connection and is therefore more portable. The sound is more compressed, since the data transmission channel is narrower. It is more complicated connecting devices using Bluetooth.|
|WiFi Connection||It allows the same music to be played in several rooms at the same time. It can only be used with Wifi. Offers a fuller sound quality. Pairing devices using WiFi is very easy.|
What is the most common Bluetooth system used in portable speakers?
These days lots of portable speakers have the ability to connect via Bluetooth. However, you might be wondering, what exactly is Bluetooth? It is a technological specification for wireless connections which enables the transmission of sound and data between different devices using a secure 2.4 GHz radio frequency.
Using this system, it enables communication between devices without the need of cables, or any other type of connector. Additionally, it also has the advantage that it offers an excellent quality of connection – although with a fairly limited range. Another issue is that it does not all a large number of devices to be connected at the same time.
When purchasing a portable speaker system, it is important that you take into account a series of criteria to make sure you choose the product that is right for you. To help make this process easier, we have chosen the most important factors you need to keep in mind. We hope these criteria serve as a buying guide, and help you choose a device that meets your expectations and your requirements.
- Sound quality
- Intended use
- Battery life
- Design, weight and size
- Stereo or mono
- Additional features: radio, hands-free, lighting
The best way to measure the sound quality of a set of speakers is to actually listen to them. However, this is not always possible. Being able to tell if a product produces high quality audio is not as easy as it seems. The best thing to do to is study the technical specifications of the device. The three main parameters to consider are impedance, sensitivity and power.
The impedance of a speaker is its opposition to the flow of A.C. current. The lower the impedance, the higher the current flow. It is measured in ohms, and a higher rating will result in the sound being less affected by interference. Sensitivity is measured in decibels (dB). The higher the sensitivity, the better sound quality. More power guarantees better performance at a higher volume.
The intended use of the portable speakers is one of the fundamental criteria you should keep in mind, when choosing which speakers you are going to buy. You really need to take into consideration, whether they will be for your own personal use, or if you need something of higher quality for professional applications. How frequently you intend to use your portable speakers is also something that should not be overlooked.
If you are going to be using it outdoors, you need to think about the type of environment you will be in. You won’t need the same system if you will be using it on the street, as at a swimming pool, at the beach, while camping or in your backyard.
When purchasing portable speakers, you need to opt for a WiFi or a Bluetooth connection. WiFi has the disadvantage that it can only be used in places such as homes, offices or studios – or basically anywhere that this type of connection is available.
Speakers that connect via Bluetooth do not have this issue. You just need to have your mobile phone, tablet or laptop handy and pair the devices together. On the other hand, it is important that the portable speaker system that you buy also has an input jack (for connecting the speakers using cables), a USB port and even a microSD card reader.
If you do not want to run out of battery life, just as your favorite song is starting, then we recommend that you pay special attention to the battery life when choosing the portable speakers you are going to buy. As a general rule, the longer the battery lasts, the more expensive the speaker will be. Also keep in mind that the battery will not last as long, if the speakers are constantly being used at maximum volume during operation.
Generally speaking, the batteries in portable speakers offer between 4 hours up to as much as 25 or 30 hours of operation. If you choose a model with extended battery life, you will never have to worry about being without your music.
Design, size and weight
In general, the appearance and design of a portable speaker system are not very important considerations. However, if you plan to take the system you are buying with you everywhere, it may be important to choose a design that has an look that you feel comfortable with. You might wish to choose something more understated, or else something more flashy that makes a big impression.
Since these are portable speakers, you really need them to be as light as possible and small in size. The time has passed when bigger size always meant more power. These days you can find equipment that is surprising small, but still capable of outputting a very impressive level of volume.
Stereo or mono
Portable speaker systems usually have one speaker (mono), or two speakers (stereo). However, by using Bluetooth it is possible to link two mono speakers together – if the units allow stereo pairing. Virtually all music is recorded in stereo, so this will give you a much more realistic and better quality sound. When buying speakers, this is something that you should definitely keep in mind.
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Additional features: radio, hands-free, lighting
Just as with any electronic device, Bluetooth speakers can come with a whole range of additional features that increase their performance and offer extra functions. Some of the most common are things such as a radio, an alarm function and party lights that flash in time to the music being played. Some portable speakers even include a microphone that offers the possibility of hands-free functionality.
It is also important that you consider the power options that are offered by a device. If it has a micro USB port, it can be charged using an external battery. Or else you may be interested in using the portable speaker system as a powerbank, that can charge your mobile phone via the USB port.
Portable speakers are the perfect solution for anyone who wants to enjoy their favorite music in any place, and at any time. They allow you to listen to your playlists by the pool, on the beach or in the park with your friends. The performance of these devices continues to increase, offering not only better sound quality, but also longer battery life.
However, buying portable speakers is not an easy task. Due to the popularity of these devices, the number of manufacturers and models available on the market has multiplied in recent years. Therefore, it is necessary that you consider the most important purchase criteria, and try not to get too carried away by an attractive design.
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