Beyond Bluetooth, the Sonos Move actually functions primarily as a Wi-Fi speaker within the Sonos ecosystem. That may sound complicated, but it’s a breeze to set up and connect to your home network. Streaming services (like Spotify) will play through the speaker, and the Move will show up as an AirPlay 2-compatible device for broadcasting audio directly from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to the speaker.
The Sonos Move also incorporates a built-in microphone, so you can verbally command Alexa or the Google Assistant to play music or adjust your smart home device settings. (If this freaks you out, muting the microphone takes one press of a button.) The only downside is that the speaker is a little bit heavier, at 6.6 pounds, than other portable speakers on this list. You can still tote it to the park, but it’s certainly going to be an arm day for you. Still, the sleek design and 10-hour battery life make the speaker well worth the hassle. (Want to learn more about it? Check out our in-depth review.)
The Best Portable Bluetooth Speaker: Bang and Olufsen Beosound A1
Most Bluetooth speakers are basically a range of colored tubes or boxes, with little to offer aesthetically. Speakers from Bang & Olufsen, on the other hand, feature a lot of lovely design touches that make them look more like art pieces. For its petite size, the Beosound A1 offers some truly impressive audio, with its clear tones and big sound profile, all wrapped up in a sleek design that helps justify the elevated price point. The handsome leather strap makes you actually want to take this on the road, and because of its IP67 rating, you can hang it in the shower and drown your sorrows in a Lucy Dacus playlist. Plus, with built-in Amazon Alexa functionality, the Beosound A1 lets you shout out when you want to skip a song if you’re going hands-free. Its hockey puck-like shape is more than just about aesthetics, too. The speaker offers immersive 360-degree sound, so everyone in the park hang gets a taste of the sharp acoustics.
The Best Bluetooth Speaker for Outdoor Parties: Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3
While the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 and Tribit StormBox are excellent Bluetooth speakers, neither can really generate the kind of sound you might need for a larger outdoor gathering. Throwing a Bushwick rooftop rager? We recommend the Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3. The Megaboom 3 has a lot of the same advantages of the Wonderboom 3—great sound, water resistance, the same tip-top acoustics, adjustable EQ, and pairing capabilities—in a much bigger, thinner package.
Compared to our top Wonderboom pick, the Megaboom 3 is a bit gentler on the bass, but not in a bad way. You won’t experience the same face melting vibrations of a subwoofer, but you’ll still be able to hear and feel every note. Plus, the higher frequencies on the speaker sound wonderful, perfectly tuned, and not distorted, even when you’re blasting music over the din of a raucous party. Cue up the speaker’s “PartyUp” setting to combine forces with other Megaboom models and double or triple up your sound.
The Best Bluetooth Speaker for Personal Use: JBL Charge 5
If you want something powerful like the Megaboom, but don’t entertain much, the JBL Charge 5 is another solid contender. It has a slightly bigger bass response, but we found its overall sound to be a little underwhelming. You only hear the Charge 5 mostly clearly when you’re right in front of it. If you’re just planning to bump your tunes from the comfort of your couch, that’s fine—but this is not a party speaker, by any means.