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 just to make your tunes louder, especially with fantastic options like the Anker Soundcore Flare Mini to get the party rolling.
Best Overall: Anker Soundcore Flare Mini
Anker sure knows its way around smartphone accessories and the same can be said for the Soundcore Flare Mini. This 360-degree speaker will be the talk of the night with its unique design and bottom-mounted halo of LED’s.
These LEDs will keep up with the party as they pulse and glow with the rhythm of whatever music is playing. The included IPX7 rating will also keep your Flare Mini safe from accidental splashes. Anker also made it possible to pair two Flare Mini’s to create a stereo-sound situation.
The downside here is that you will have to keep an eye on the battery, as the Flare Mini is rated for just 12 hours. Plus, you won’t be able to use a headphone jack to connect your phone, as there is no port available.
- 360-degree sound
- LED’s pulse along with the music
- IPX7 Waterproof
- Connect two speakers for stereo sound
- 12 hours of battery life
- Bluetooth 4.2
- No auxiliary port
Anker Soundcore Flare Mini
Perfect for parties, the home, and anywhere else
The Flare Mini offers an interesting 360-degree design, along with the rhythmic-flashing LEDs and water resistance.
Best Value: Sony SRS-XB12 Portable Speaker
If portability and budget is the name of the game, then the SRS-XB12 from Sony is the best pick. This speaker packs such an impressive punch that you likely won’t believe the sound coming from such a small package.
The included "Extra bass" mode, combined with the 16-hour battery life will allow you to listen to your favorite hits for long periods of time. Sony also includes a strap which can be connected to the bottom of the speaker, in case you want to throw it over your shoulder.
On the downside, the SRS-XB12 does not have a ton of extra features. This includes the lack of app support, meaning you’ll have to turn to your smartphone or tablet if you want to adjust the EQ levels. Plus, sticking with Micro-USB for charging is outdated.
- IP67 Water and dust proof
- 16 Hours of battery life
- Add extra speaker for stereo sound
- MicroUSB charging port
- No application integration
Sony SRS-XB12 Portable Speaker
Big punch in a small package
The SRS-XB12 has an awkward name but you’ll remember it when you hear it for the first time. This little speaker packs a huge punch.
Best 360-Degree Sound: Treblab HD7 Premium Speaker
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 Treblab HD7 comes in with its 360 degrees of sound.
The cylindrical design, combined with two subwoofers and 12 watts of power make for an impressive package. As for battery life, you’re looking at around 25 hours, which will be able to handle more than one weekend party. Plus, there is a built-in microphone in the event that the pizza man is at the door and you need to answer the phone call.
With the cylindrical design and dual subwoofers, those features come with a price. The HD7 is a bit heftier than similar Bluetooth speakers, which shouldn’t matter unless you’re carrying it with you. There is also no way to control the EQ levels without relying on changing settings on your smartphone.
- 360-degree sound
- 12W of power with two subwoofers
- IPX6 waterproof
- 25 hours of battery life
- Built-in microphone
- No built-in way to change EQ
- Heavier than other options
Best 360-Degree Sound
Treblab HD7 Premium Speaker
Hear everything from everywhere
It’s important to hear your music or podcasts and the Treblad HD7 ensures that with its 360-degree design.
Best Smart Speaker: Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen)
It may not be a dedicated speaker, but it’s a popular choice. The Echo Dot gives users much to talk about while being under $50 and 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 exactly portable since you need to keep it plugged in at all times. This can be a bit frustrating, but shouldn’t be all that surprising considering its lack of water-resistance.
- Amazon Alexa built-in
- Pair with another Echo Dot for stereo sound
- 3.5mm headphone jack included
- Must always be plugged in
- Not water resistant
- Sound could be better
Best Smart Speaker
Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen)
Impress your friends and control your smart home
The Echo Dot may not be the first Bluetooth speaker that comes to mind, but it should come close with its Alexa integration.
Most Unique Design: OontZ Angle 3 Ultra Portable Speaker
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, the biggest benefit to this speaker is the 100-foot range, allowing to keep your phone with you and not with the speaker.
While that 100-foot range is awesome, you’ll have to be stuck in the past with the Micro-USB charging port. The OontZ Angle 3 Ultra is a bit heavier, so you may not want to carry it if you go for a hike.
- 100-foot Bluetooth range
- IPX6 Splashproof
- 20 hour battery life
- Unique design
- Micro-USB charging
- Bluetooth 4.2
- Heavier than other options
Most Unique Design
OontZ Angle 3 Ultra Portable Speaker
Forget leaving your phone behind
Other than the unique triangular design, the biggest benefit to the Angle 3 Ultra is the 100-foot range.
Best Battery Life: Anker Soundcore 2 Bluetooth Speaker
Sometimes 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 big features to "wow" you. This speaker, however, 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 th is, 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 in the event that the sound gets a bit distorted.
- 12W of audio
- 24 hours of battery life
- Bluetooth 5.0
- IPX7 waterproof
- Sound may be distorted when played loudly
- Attracts fingerprints
Best Battery Life
Anker Soundcore 2 Bluetooth 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 and be ready to clean it.
It can be tough picking the perfect Bluetooth speaker, but the Anker Soundcore Flare Mini comes close. This speaker offers decent battery life, 360-degrees of sound, and some awesome LEDs that flash along with the music.
Plus, you can pair this with another Flare Mini for a stereo sound setup, which is perfect for any party or situation. Just don’t expect to have all the latest features as it is equipped with a microUSB charging port and just Bluetooth 4.2. Nonetheless, the Flare Mini will be capable of handling anything you throw at it, and then some.
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 in an effort to get him through the day. If you have any questions, you can find him on Twitter and he’ll get back to you.
August 29, 2019 at 09:07AM