Which? uses cookies to improve our sites and by continuing you agree to our cookies policy

Top five best portable Bluetooth speakers for 2017

By Ben Stockton

Good speakers do come in small packages. See the models with top-notch sound and great battery-life that are still small enough to be taken anywhere.

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Whether you’re after a quick and easy way to improve the sound from your smartphone at a family barbecue, or something loud and waterproof for poolside parties, a portable Bluetooth speaker is a handy companion that’ll make sure you’re not stuck with second-rate sound wherever you are.

There are plenty of speakers to choose from, whether it’s a £20 own-brand model or a £200 Bose. But if you’re after a portable Bluetooth speaker at the cheaper end of the scale, you don’t have to compromise on sound quality. We’ve found Best Buys and Don’t Buys across a range of prices, proving that more expensive doesn’t always mean better.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access by taking a £1 trial to Which?.

Top five portable Bluetooth speakers

Lowest price (in stock) £29.99
Which? score 82%
Reviewed Jul 2015
Performance:
5 out of 5
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
Portability:
5 out of 5
Size H x W x D (mm):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive
Battery life (hrs:mins):
Member exclusive

A great option if you're limited for space in your suitcase. This Best Buy portable Bluetooth speaker may be small, but it doesn't hold back when it comes to sound. It's easy to use and available in a range of eye-catching colours, too.

Typical price £80.00
Which? score 81%
Reviewed Jul 2015
Performance:
5 out of 5
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
Portability:
4 out of 5
Size H x W x D (mm):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive
Battery life (hrs:mins):
Member exclusive

This portable Bluetooth speaker looks a little more traditional than the rest, but is just as impressive when it comes to sound. The bass is well balanced, with the treble and mid-range making everything beautifully clear. With a decent battery life to boot, you shouldn’t be left out and about without your tunes.

Lowest price (in stock) £94.99
Which? score 79%
Reviewed Nov 2015
Performance:
4 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Portability:
3 out of 5
Size H x W x D (mm):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive
Battery life (hrs:mins):
Member exclusive

A durable body, a fantastic battery life and decent sound quality - this Best Buy speakers not only gives you a good performance across genres, its sturdy rubberised build means it can pretty much take anything you throw at it.

Typical price £160.00
Which? score 74%
Reviewed Nov 2015
Performance:
4 out of 5
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
Portability:
4 out of 5
Size H x W x D (mm):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive
Battery life (hrs:mins):
Member exclusive

This small speaker is ultra-portable and sounds great. We’re used to criticising small speakers for lacking bass, but that’s not the case here – in fact there’s almost too much of it at higher volumes. The battery will get you more than eight hours of music and there’s a built-in microphone, so you don’t need to disconnect your phone to receive calls.

Lowest price (in stock) £69.98
Which? score 70%
Reviewed Nov 2015
Performance:
4 out of 5
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
Portability:
3 out of 5
Size H x W x D (mm):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive
Battery life (hrs:mins):
Member exclusive

The compact design of this speaker makes it perfect for chucking in your bag before a trip. As with many small speakers, you need to be directly in front of it to get the best of the sound, which is punchy and bright with plenty of bass to accompany the clear vocals and high notes. The battery will last 11 hours on a single charge and the splash-proof casing means rain will only dampen your fun, not your speaker.

And here are three portable speakers to avoid

Bluetooth speakers designed to be taken with you on your travels need to strike a balance between portability and sound quality. There's no point picking up a compact and lightweight speaker to put in your carry-on suitcase if it sounds tinny and lacking in bass.

We've found small speakers that defy all expectations to provide stellar sound, but there are plenty of inferior models, the sort that are bought on impulse at the airport, that will lead to their fair share of buyer's remorse.

As well as sounding terrible, the worst portable speakers will run out of battery long before the sun starts to set by the pool. Some speakers can't even manage five hours.

The three speakers below may be portable, but you'd be better off humming your favourite song than putting up with the unimpressive racket they produce.

Three portable Bluetooth speakers to avoid

Lowest price (in stock) £29.39
Which? score 39%
Reviewed Mar 2017
Performance:
2 out of 5
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
Portability:
4 out of 5
Size H x W x D (mm):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive
Battery life (hrs:mins):
Member exclusive

This hockey puck speaker is loud enough, but the lack of bass makes music sound feeble. The device’s small size may be what’s to blame for the lack of bass and the terribly short battery life. In our tests, we managed to eke out just four and a half hours from this speaker, which isn’t good enough considering some manage 10 or more.

Lowest price (in stock) £199.99
Which? score 37%
Reviewed Nov 2014
Performance:
2 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Portability:
3 out of 5
Size H x W x D (mm):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive
Battery life (hrs:mins):
Member exclusive

The unconventional look of this speaker will appeal to some, but the sound fidelity will appeal to no one. Top notes are clear, but the bass is entirely absent, which makes music sound flat and listless. To make matters worse, the battery life is a measly four and a half hours.

Lowest price (in stock) £34.19
Which? score 36%
Reviewed Aug 2017
Performance:
1 out of 5
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
Portability:
4 out of 5
Size H x W x D (mm):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive
Battery life (hrs:mins):
Member exclusive

This brand makes some of the best multi-room speakers, which is why we were so surprised that the same brand managed to produce our worst-rated Bluetooth speaker. The battery life is excellent at 30 hours, but that’s 30 hours of harsh, unpleasant music. Hopefully the company’s multi-room team will share some of their wisdom and make future iterations of this speaker sound better. This model is beyond saving.

How to buy the best portable speaker

No one enjoys the sense of dread that accompanies having to lug travel bags onto check-in scales. Exceeding the baggage weight limit is of course a no-no, and if you're planning on bringing a Bluetooth speaker with you on your next getaway, you'll want one that's as lightweight as possible. Some Bluetooth speakers are about the same size as a carry-on bag. That's fine for slinging in the boot of a car, but not ideal if you're on your way to a festival or you like to travel light. 

If you're the outdoorsy type, it's likely you won't have access to plug. We measure, to the minute, how long each Bluetooth speaker will survive on a single charge so that you can choose one that won't give up before you've finished breakfast. This may not be as big an issue if you're staying in a villa or a hotel, but we've found Best Buy speakers with excellent battery life, so you don't need to compromise.

Some portable speakers have additional useful features too. While they aren't essential, they could make your life a bit easier. If you find yourself inundated with calls, look for a portable speaker with a built-in microphone. That way you don't need to disconnect your phone every time you get a call. Some speakers also have splash-proof cases, which means you don't need to worry about a bit of rain ruining your speaker splash-proof doesn't mean you can dunk it in the pool though.

SHARE THIS PAGE

Related products

See all wireless & bluetooth speakers