Best portable speakers for every budget

Get better boom for your buck.


Sony SRS-XB100
Best small portable speaker: Sony SRS-XB100

Small, seamless and stacked with features.

Prices are accurate as of the publish date. We may earn money if you purchase something through one of these links. Click as many as you want.

Georgia Dixon
May 07, 2024
Icon Time To Read6 min read

A great portable Bluetooth speaker is one of the best tech investments you can make. Being able to bring music wherever you go, whether you’re hiking or chilling at the beach, is a pretty powerful thing.

However, there are so many different factors to consider when making your purchase. How’s the battery life? Is it waterproof? Can I link it to other speakers? How heavy is it?

Fear not, because we’ve done all the hard work for you. We got hands-on with some of the most popular portable Bluetooth speakers on the market to answer all your burning questions, including the most important one - which is best?

Other really good portable speakers in Australia

JBL Flip 6
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.15
RRP
$169
  • pro
    Battery life: 12 hours
  • pro
    Weight 540g
  • pro
    AUX-in No
UE Megaboom 3
Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3
4 out of 5 stars
4
RRP
$235
  • pro
    Battery life: 20 hours
  • pro
    Weight 925g
  • pro
    AUX-in No
BlueAnt X5
Blueant X5 party speaker
4 out of 5 stars
4
RRP
$399
  • pro
    Battery life: 20 hours
  • pro
    Weight 4.1kg
  • pro
    AUX-in Yes

What to look for in a portable speaker

Megaphone
Weight

Every time you pick up or pack away a portable speaker, the relative heft of that hardware is going to be on your mind. The lighter, the better. That said, when it comes to things like party speakers, a heavier form factor is going to be hard to avoid.

Light Bulb
Durability

One of the big differences between portable speakers and their socket-bound siblings is that the former tends to be more ruggedised. The best indicator of how durable a given Bluetooth speaker is is an IP-rating akin to what you find in modern smartphones.

Info Box
Battery life

Given that the ability to use a speaker when you're away from home is the main selling point for portable speakers, the amount of playback you get per charge should be one of your biggest concerns.

While small speakers can offer between six and twelve hours of usage, larger ones can offer as much as twenty hours of listening time.

Bullhorn
Features

Even at the cheaper end of the market, modern portable speakers come with plenty of creature comforts. This can include things like integration with voice assistants like Siri, support for 360-degree or Spatial Audio and things like AUX-in ports.

Best Bluetooth speaker (small)

Sony SRS-X100
RRP: $99
Battery life: 16 hours
IP rating: IP67 (waterproof up to 1m, dustproof)
Weight: 340g
AUX-in: No
360° sound: No
Voice assist: Yes (Siri and Google Assistant)

No, it doesn’t have the catchiest name in the world, but the Sony SRS-XR100 is a truly amazing portable speaker for its size. It boasts some serious bass for something that weighs less than a cup of tea, and even at its loudest (which is pretty damn loud), distortion isn’t an issue.

With an IP67 rating, you and your SRS-XB100 can go anywhere - to the park, beach, by the pool - without much fear of water or dust damage. And, it’s so small, light and long-lasting (with 16 hours of battery life) that you probably will take it everywhere.

Pairing two SRS-XB100s is easy, so you could always buy two and connect them whenever you need that extra boost. We also love the inclusion of a stereo mini-jack, which allows for easy switching between devices and no more fighting over Bluetooth.

As much as we love the speaker itself, our favourite thing about the SRS-XB100(and what put it in the top spot) is undoubtedly the price. While the RRP is $99.95, retailers routinely sell these tiny beasts for under $70, making them the perfect gift for just about anyone.

Best Bluetooth speaker (medium)

JBL Flip 6
RRP: $148.99
Battery life: 12 hours
IP rating: IPX7 (waterproof up to 1m)
Weight: 540g
AUX-in: No
360° sound: No
Voice assist: No

The JBL FLIP just keeps getting better, and its sixth incarnation is a great reminder of why. It's a standout in-between speaker for those wanting more than the pocket-sized speakers above but more portability than the bigger Bluetooth speakers below.

If that's you, then the JBL FLIP 6 is a fantastic all-rounder. The folks behind the feature-packed portable speaker have managed to fit both booming bass and multi-directional sound into a neat yet tough little package. It's even waterproof.

As you’d expect from any good Bluetooth speaker these days, the JBL FLIP 6 is linkable with compatible JBL PartyBoost-enabled devices like the JBL FLIP 5 and PULSE 4s.

What gives the FLIP 6 its edge over rivals like the UE Boom 3 is its competitive price. This cheaper asking price proves to be a compelling complement to superior sound quality, though that's not to say there haven't been any sacrifices when it comes to battery life, durability and features like 360-degree sound.

Best Bluetooth speaker (large)

UE Megaboom 3
RRP: $267
Battery life: 20 hours
IP rating: IP67 (waterproof up to 1m, dust-proof)
Weight: 925g
AUX-in: No
360° sound: Yes
Voice assist: No

It's been years since it first hit the scene but the UE MEGABOOM 3 continues to exert its dominance as the best big portable speaker on the market. Its sleek tube design offers 360 degrees of powerful, immersive sound, and one-touch control, allowing you to pause, play and skip tracks with one magic button.

It’s also probably the most party-proof Bluetooth speaker on our list, with UE claiming the MEGABOOM 3 is drop-proof (and even kick-proof) in addition to being IP67 water and dustproof. They’ve even taken it to the next level and made this behemoth buoyant. That's right. It can float.

With 20 hours of battery life, The Megaboom 3 is built to carry you through party after party without needing a charge. If you’ve got mates with other UE speakers, you can easily connect up to 150 of them (who even has that many friends?) and become both the best Spotify DJ and your neighbours’ worst nightmare.

While AUX-in and voice assist would be nice to have, it’s still hard to best this beast of a Bluetooth speaker.

Best Bluetooth speaker (party)

BlueAnt X5
RRP: $399.95
Battery life: 20 hours
IP rating: None
Weight: 4.1kg
AUX-in: Yes
360° sound: No Voice assist: No

BlueAnt's X5 Party speaker is your one-stop solution for turning it up at any event. The X5 is a large 4.1kg 60-watt speaker that packs a 6.5-inch woofer and 2.25-inch tweeter that pumps out over 110 decibels of sound and an (optional) bass boost via a psycho-acoustic extension.

It doesn't offer 360-degree sound, and you'll want to position it off the floor for the best results, but it does offer the option to network multiple X5 speakers for a stereo setup if you want to kick things up a notch (though that'll only be necessary if you're throwing a huge outdoors rager.

Most of the more compact speakers above will bring the noise if you're planning on throwing a party but can you call it a party without some late-night karaoke that you'll later regret? The X5 includes flashy LED-lit mood lighting and two karaoke microphones so you and a friend can duet Don't Go Breaking My Heart when the mood hits.

It supports a wireless Bluetooth 5.0 connection, but it also has a good old-fashioned AUX cable if you want a hardwired connection. That could come in handy more often than you'd hope. In our tests, the big BlueAnt speaker was a little susceptible to interference when used around other tech and gadgets but you shouldn't have that problem if you're partying outside.

The BlueAnt  X5 party speaker advertises about 20 hours per charge when listening at 50% volume, and that tracks with our experience. We ran the battery dry over a month with roughly 15 hours of usage at volumes typically higher than 50%.

Best Bluetooth speakers compared

How do the portable speakers on this page compare to every other one we've reviewed and recommended?
Product
Price [RRP]
Availability
Battery life
IP rating
Weight
From
$149
14 hoursIP67420g
From
$99
16 hoursIP67340g
From
$89
16 hoursIP67240g
From
$148
12 hoursIPX7540g
From
$328
12 hoursIPX7540g
From
$179
6 hoursIP67290g
From
$147
15 hoursIP67608g
From
$307
20 hoursIPX7960g
From
$399
20 hoursNone4.1kg
From
$266
12 hoursIPX71.26kg
From
$179
18 hoursIPX5635g
icon-expertise

How we chose the best portable speakers

When it comes to reviewing and ranking portable speakers, we put them through the paces of everyday use, depending on what they’re designed for. We spend a lot of time listening to a variety of music, comparing them to whichever speakers are our typical go-to options.

We like portable speakers that are as easy to set up as possible. Ideally, things should just work. You shouldn't need to connect to the internet or tinker with software.

Similarly, we believe that connectivity is important and favour speakers that offer the user plenty of options. The more versatile a speaker is in terms of its uses, the more potential uses it has and the greater its overall value.

Portable speaker FAQs

Here are the most commonly asked questions about portable and Bluetooth speakers

There are new portable and Bluetooth speakers hitting the Australian market every few months, so the landscape is constantly changing. In addition, not everyone is looking for the same things in a portable speaker.

Our current favorite is the Sony SRS-XB100 as it provides great portable sound. However, if you favor more bass or a bigger battery, this page covers those needs as well.

 

In most situations, portable and Bluetooth speakers are allowed on planes both as carry-on and as checked luggage. However, many airlines set a limit on the size of lithium-ion batteries that are allowed on a flight so that many exclude some larger party speakers.

Georgia Dixon
Written by
Georgia Dixon
Georgia Dixon has over seven years' experience writing about all things tech, entertainment and lifestyle, with bylines in TechLife magazine, 7NEWS and Stuff.co.nz. In her spare time, you'll find her playing games and daydreaming about good food, wine, and dogs.

Related Articles

T30 Pro Omni
New Ecovacs robovac offers slightly more for a lot less
Latest Ecovacs vacuum gets 10 new updates in as many months, rivalling competition almost double...
Graphic for The Bear - Where to watch article
The Bear’s third course will be served in June
The Bear might dish out Michelin-star anxiety but streaming it is refreshingly simple.
Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra
Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra review: Man’s new best friend
BRB getting a collar and tag made up
Graphic of a man comparing Telstra, Optus and Vodafone coverage
Telstra vs Optus vs Vodafone coverage: what is the best network in Australia?
Over the last decade, the gap between Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone's coverage has narrowed significantly.