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You don't have to pay a lot for a great Bluetooth speaker

Nothing makes a party better than some music, and nothing makes playing music easier than a Bluetooth speaker, especially as more phone manufacturers omit the 3.5mm headphone jack. Fortunately, you don't need to spend a fortune to get the best Bluetooth speaker and get the good times rolling.

Best Overall: Tribit StormBox Micro

Tribit sure knows its way around audio accessories, and the StormBox Micro is no exception. This Bluetooth speaker isn't just compact, it puts out a huge kick with deep, booming bass and 9W of power.

One of the most distinctive features of the StormBox Micro is its ability to be easily mounted to bikes, backpacks, belts, or nearly anything else — get creative! The IP67 water and dust resistance mean you don't have to worry about getting caught in the rain, and you can pair two of these speakers together for an immersive stereo effect.

The only downside is that the StormBox Micro only has 8 hours of battery life — enough to cut some parties short. But on the bright side, it uses the same USB-C connector as your phone and laptop for easy recharging.

Pros:

  • Excellent bass response
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • IP67 Waterproof
  • Connect two speakers for stereo sound
  • USB-C charging

Cons:

  • No auxiliary port
  • Only 8 hours of battery life

Best Overall

Tribit StormBox Micro 9W Speaker

Perfect for parties, the home, and anywhere else

The StormBox Micro can be mounted to bikes or backpacks with ease and feature great sound quality and USB-C charging.

Best Value: Sony SRS-XB01 Portable Speaker

If portability and budget are the names of the game, then the SRS-XB01 from Sony is a fantastic pick. This speaker packs such an impressive punch that it's hard to believe the sound is coming from such a small package.

The XB01's EXTRA BASS tagline holds true with punchy lows that, combined with the six-hour battery life, will allow you to listen to your favorite songs with plenty of bass for long periods. Sony also includes a strap that can be connected to the bottom of the speaker, in case you want to throw it over your shoulder or attach it to a bag.

On the downside, the SRS-XB01 doesn't have a ton of extra features. There's no dedicated app, meaning you'll have to turn to your smartphone or tablet's built-in audio tools if you want to adjust the EQ levels. The Micro-USB charging port also feels a bit dated these days, but these are often the sacrifices you'll have to make to hit such a low price.

Pros:

  • Ultra-portable
  • IPX5 water resistance
  • Add an extra speaker for stereo sound

Cons:

  • Outdated Micro-USB charging port
  • Six hours of battery life
  • No application integration

Best Value

Sony SRS-XB01 Portable Speaker

Big punch in a small package

The SRS-XB01 has an awkward name, but you'll remember it when you hear it for the first time.

Best 360-Degree Sound: Anker Soundcore Mini 3

When it comes to listening to your music or podcasts, you want to be able to hear them from wherever you are. That's where a speaker like the Soundcore Mini 3 comes in with its 360 degrees of sound.

The cylindrical design, combined with two drivers and 5 watts of power, makes for an impressive yet lightweight package. As for battery life, you're looking at around 15 hours, which should be plenty long enough for pool parties and the like.

Best of all, you can pair over 100 Mini 3s (or virtually any other Soundcore speaker, for that matter), and each speaker is feather-light at just half a pound.

Pros:

  • 360-degree sound
  • 15 hours of battery life
  • IPX7 waterproof
  • Pair over 100 Mini 3s together
  • USB-C charging

Cons:

  • Only 6W of output
  • Charges over Micro-USB

Best 360-Degree Sound

Anker Soundcore Mini 3

Hear everything from everywhere

It's important to hear your music, and the Soundcore Mini 3 ensures that with its all-encompassing cylindrical design.

Best Smart Speaker: Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen)

It may not be a dedicated speaker, but it's a popular choice. The last-gen Echo Dot gives users much to talk about while still having the ability to show off a bit when guests come over.

In addition to pairing via Bluetooth, you have the option to use the 3.5mm auxiliary jack or even pair over Wi-Fi to other devices. With Alexa built-in, you can control your smart home with ease or get the answer to that question that is nagging at your friend during the party.

Sure, the sound isn't the greatest, but you can pair this with another Echo Dot for stereo sound or another Bluetooth speaker. The other big downside here is that the Echo Dot isn't entirely portable since you need to keep it plugged in at all times. This can be a bit frustrating, but its integrated voice assistant more than makes up for it.

Pros:

  • Amazon Alexa built-in
  • Pair with another Echo Dot for stereo sound
  • 3.5mm headphone jack included

Cons:

  • Must always be plugged in
  • Not water resistant
  • The sound could be better

Best Smart Speaker

Amazon - Echo Dot (4th Gen) Smart Speaker with Alexa

Impress your friends and control your smart home

The Echo Dot may not be the first speaker that comes to mind, but it should come close with its Alexa integration.

Another Smart Speaker: Google Nest Mini (2nd Gen)

If you like the Echo Dot's voice control features, but you'd rather use Google Assistant, the Nest Mini is a great alternative. It puts out twice as much bass as its predecessor and features a touch-sensitive fabric cover that allows you to adjust volume with a quick tap.

Like the Echo Dot, the Nest Mini needs to be plugged in at all times, so while it makes a great affordable smart speaker, it may not be the best mobile solution. Still, you can pair it to other Nest Minis for a stereo sound and use it to control the rest of your smart home without lifting a finger. Maybe turn on some party lights?

Compared to the Echo Dot, the biggest downside is that the Nest Mini doesn't feature a headphone jack, meaning there's no way to wire audio directly into the speaker. Still, you can connect your phone over Bluetooth and play audio wirelessly.

Pros:

  • Google Assistant built-in
  • Great bass response
  • Touch-sensitive fabric cover

Cons:

  • Must always be plugged in
  • Not water resistant
  • No headphone jack

Another Smart Speaker

Google Nest Mini (2nd Gen)

Google Assistant in a pretty fabric package

The Nest Mini is a nice smart speaker with great bass response and Google Assistant built directly in.

Most Unique Design: OontZ Angle 3 Ultra

As you look at different Bluetooth speakers to consider, many of them have the same old design: cylinders that pump out music at varying rates, shapes, and sizes.

The OontZ Angle 3 Ultra changes that with its unique triangular design so that you can cover as much area as possible. Oontz also includes an IPX6 rating for splash-resistance, but we wouldn't recommend taking the Angle 3 Ultra for a dive. However, this speaker's most significant benefit is the 100-foot range, allowing you to keep your phone with you and not with the speaker.

While that 100-foot range is awesome, you'll still be stuck in the past with the Micro-USB charging port. The OontZ Angle 3 Ultra is also a bit heavier than some of the other speakers on this list, so you may not want to carry it if you go for a hike.

Pros:

  • 100-foot Bluetooth range
  • IPX6 Splashproof
  • 20-hour battery life
  • Unique design

Cons:

  • Micro-USB charging
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • Heavier than other options

Most Unique Design

OontZ Angle 3 Ultra 4th Gen Speaker

Forget leaving your phone behind

Besides the unique triangular design, the biggest benefit to the Angle 3 Ultra is the 100-foot range.

Best Battery Life: Anker Soundcore 2

There is nothing wrong with a Bluetooth speaker that doesn't have a bunch of extra frills or a design that makes it stand out from the crowd. Sometimes, a great Bluetooth speaker is just your run-of-the-mill option.

That brings us to the Anker Soundcore 2, which doesn't have any significant features to "wow" you. However, this speaker does offer 24 hours of battery life, which is among the leaders on this list, along with IPX7 water resistance and Bluetooth 5.0. Take all of this, combined with the 12 watts of power, and you have a tried-and-true speaker that will work for every situation.

You may just want to keep a cloth nearby after the party is over since the Soundcore 2 is a fingerprint magnet. Additionally, you likely won't want to play this at max volume because the sound gets a bit distorted.

Pros:

  • 12W of audio
  • 24 hours of battery life
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • IPX7 waterproof

Cons:

  • The sound may be distorted when played loudly
  • Attracts fingerprints

Best Battery Life

Anker Soundcore 2 Portable 12W Speaker

This one goes for days

The Soundcore 2 is fantastic for those who want long battery life and some water resistance. Just don't play it at max volume.

Bottom line

It can be tough picking the best Bluetooth speaker, but the Tribit's StormBox Micro comes close. This speaker offers decent battery life, USB-C charging, and fantastic bass response that'll give every song you listen to a real boost.

Plus, you can pair this with another StormBox for a stereo sound setup, perfect for any party or situation. It's even IP67 certified for protection against water and dust, and you can clip it to your bike for a quick workout. The only downside? Without any kind of auxiliary port, you'll need to connect to the speaker via Bluetooth for any audio playback.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Andrew Myrick is a regular freelancer at Android Central and iMore. He has been a tech enthusiast ever since the original iPhone was released and continues to flip-flop between devices. You might as well hook him up to an IV filled with coffee to get him through the day. If you have any questions, you can find him on Twitter, and he'll get back to you.

Hayato Huseman is a recovering trade show addict and video editor for Android Central based out of Indianapolis. He can mostly be found complaining about the cold and enthusing about prog metal on Twitter at @hayatohuseman. Got a tip or inquiry? Drop him a line at hayato.huseman@futurenet.com.



Source: androidcentral

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