Portable Bluetooth speakers still rock, but they definitely aren’t in vogue like they were a few years ago. But while it’s fun to ask a smart speaker like an Amazon Echo or Google Homes to play your favorite track, offbeat band names and track titles can still trip them up. Those smart speakers also rely on stable Wi-Fi, and often aren’t portable or waterproofed for the outdoors.
Bluetooth speakers are usually always more versatile, more rugged, and more portable. For the past year, I’ve tested more than 35 different Bluetooth speakers and researched dozens more online—these are still some of the best devices I’ve had the pleasure of hearing.
Updated for Autumn 2019: I added the the new UE Wonderboom 2, Sonos Move, Marshall Stockwell II, and some excellent budget speakers from Tribit.