Old school ghetto blaster

The concept of party speakers is not exactly new. Even though the term wasn’t coined in the glory days of ghetto blasters (or boomboxes like some tryhard cool guys called them), the idea was the same. They would bring music to wherever people gather.

You have probably read guides similar to ours and noted that they’ve included these huge speakers that require proper setuping and such. Where I am from you would never see these gigantic boxes with built-in wheels or even stands at regular get togethers. Some absolute madmen brought these to special occasions like festival camping areas, but they weren’t what we meant with party speakers.

For us a party speaker is something that requires minimal extra effort – something that you can move even on a bicycle. Surely there are regional and even cultural differences regarding party speakers but this is the way we’ll go. You wouldn’t call the sound system of a nightclub “party speakers” even though they technically would qualify. That’s why we decided to add the word portable in the mix.

Best Portable Party Speakers - Comparison Table

Note: we decided to describe the sizes in a bit more intuitive way rather than just listing the exact measurements. You will find the exact measurements on the individual reviews further down.

What To Look For When Buying?

Here are some factors you should take into account before jumping into buying.

Size & Situation

Portability is not the most objective thing to define. It might mean anything from being able to fit the speaker in the trunk of your car to being able to fit it in a pocket. For us the whole party speaker culture was about warm summer nights at a park with some cold drinks. This is why we’ve set the rather obscure size limit of “it must be portable on a bike”.

Thus we will not include speakers such as the popular SOUNDBOKS 2, the thing even weighs 35 pounds! Not very hasslefree to take that with you to a park on a bike, even if the name has the word “portable” on it.

Think about the possible situations you will be using the speaker on. Are you looking to use the speaker indoors, outdoors or both? For most people getting a waterproof speaker is the most sensible choice. But since some people will only use them inside we decided to create two separate lists anyway: outdoor party speakers and house party speakers.

Price

Don’t worry, you won’t find any bank-breakers on our list. Actually an overly expensive party speaker is sort of an oxymoron if you think about it for a second. Who would enjoy partying if they had to constantly worry about a device?

For your convenience we decided to place our picks in three categories: value, premium and budget. Value is the sweet spot that you could recommend to pretty much anybody looking for a great portable party speaker – a bang for one’s buck. Premium is for those who want the absolute best and budget for anyone who just wants maximum sound for minimum price.

Power

Since we are talking about partying you know that things are bound to get rather noisy. That’s why you want to make sure that the speaker is loud enough. A good measurement for this is to look for the maximum sound pressure of the speaker.

Naturally outdoor party speakers will require more power since you are in open space.

Sound Quality

Quality of sound is also a subjective measurement as people have different tastes. Some like more bass-heavy sound, some put more emphasis on the clarity of the highs and mids. Obviously you will have different standards for party speakers than for your home theater. We think obsessing over whether your loudspeaker has a warm or cold sound is quite unnecessary for these devices.

You are much better off by just reading a lot of customer reviews and getting an overall feel of the feedback. Make sure that it has a kicking bass and that the mids and highs don’t get distorted as soon as you turn up the volume.

Battery Life

The importance of battery life will depend on your needs. If you’re only going to use it at house parties you don’t necessarily need a battery at all. For outdoor party speakers the exact opposite obviously applies – the longer the battery life you get the better. A speaker that goes silent when the party is still going on is not a party speaker, it’s a party pooper.

Outdoor Party Speakers

Huge - Large Bluetooth Boomboxes

JBL Boombox

JBL Boombox Portable Bluetooth Waterproof Speaker
  • 10"H x 19.4"W x 7.7"D / 11.5 lbs
  • Battery Life: 24h
  • Frequency Response: 50 - 20,000 Hz
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth
  • Signal-to-Noise: 80dB
  • Output Power: 2 x 30W (AC mode); 2 x 20W (Battery mode)
  • Waterproof (IPX7)
Premium choice badge

JBL Boombox is a beast that comes equipped with a 20,000 mAh Li-on battery. It’s so humongous that they’ve actually included two USB ports so that you can also use the Boombox as a power bank. 

The design is as rugged as they come, making the Boombox ideal for even the craziest parties. You won’t have to worry a bit.

Portability
Partybility
It BANGS
Indoor and outdoor modes
Best battery life on the market
Fully waterproof (can even be submerged)
No speakers on the back (thus no 360° sound)
No built-in EQ
4.5
Summary
Plenty of boom in this boombox. Perfect companion for even the wildest parties.

Brookstone Big Blue Party X

Brookstone Big Blue Party X Indoor-Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker
  • 6.3"W x 6.3"D x 15.8"H / 12 lbs
  • Battery Life: 2.5+h (9h at 50% volume)
  • Frequency Response: 40 - 20,000 Hz
  • Connectivity Range: 33 ft / 10 m (BT)
  • Power: 120W
  • 360° sound
  • Splash resistant
Value choice badge

Big Blue Party X is an upgraded version of the widely praised Big Blue Party. Even though Brookstone is far from a household name when it comes to speakers, the Big Blue Party was (and still is!) an excellent party speaker. Party X takes it to a whole another level. 

Party X is basically the older model on steroids – it’s a staggering 40% louder. However, the added power (from 72W to 120W) has also shortened the battery life as the speaker is exactly the same size as the older model (and actually a bit lighter).

Portability
Partybility
A lot louder than the original Big Blue Party
Fantastic bass
Possibly the best size-to-power ratio?
Short battery life if you blast at full volume
Only water resistant not proof
4.5
Summary
If you liked the Big Blue Party you will love the Party X.

BRAVEN BRV-XXL

BRAVEN BRV-XXL Large Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
  • 20.25"W x 8.25"H x 9.5"D / 18 lbs
  • Battery Life: 14h
  • Connectivity Range: 33 ft / 10 m (BT)
  • Waterproof (IPX5)
  • 360° sound
Value choice badge

We were on the edge with Braven XXL. Weighing a good 18 pounds its not certainly the most portable party speaker out there, but since it comes with a carrying strap that has a bottle opener on it we were inclined to include it. This thing has party written all over it.

Portability
Partybility
The bass really kicks
Clear and rich sound
EQ
Drivers both at front and back
Closer to draggable than portable
Noticeable hissing sound when playing on low volume
4.2
Summary
A great choice in the category of large Bluetooth boomboxes. Be warned though, calling Braven XXL a portable party speaker is a bit of a stretch to say the least.

Superstar Monster Blaster

Superstar Monster Blaster High Performance Boom Box
  • 20.5"W x 10.2"D x 11.3"H / 16.8 lbs
  • Battery Life: 16h
  • Splash resistant
  • 360° sound
Budget choice badge

Portability
Partybility
Mic input in case you want to get wild
NFC
Heavy bass
Indoor/outdoor modes
Sound is not as sophisticated as in others
Only splash resistant (no IPX certificate)
No built-in EQ
3.8
Summary
Probably the best noise-to-money ratio but otherwise the soundstage is a bit underwhelming compared to its competitors.

Medium - For Smaller Parties Or Chillout Sessions

Bose SoundLink Revolve+

Bose SoundLink Revolve+
  • 7.25"H x 4.13"W x 4.13"D / 2 lbs
  • Battery Life: 16h
  • Connectivity Range: 30 ft / 9m
  • Water resistant (IPX4)
  • 360° sound
Premium choice badge

Even though the rather high end look of the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ might suggest that it’s an indoor party speaker, it actually is water resistant and does take a bit of roughing without any hiccups. 

The sound of the Revolve+ is very clean and balanced but the bass does not go sub-levels – as you would expect from a speaker of this size.  Definitely not recommended for those who are looking to enjoy some EDM or hip hop bangers at max volume, but for music with a bit more artistic ambition you can’t go wrong with Bose.

You can connect two of these for more power but the Revolve+ is really at its best on a chill night at a cabin or a bonfire.

Portability
Partybility
Tells you the battery when turned on
Extremely portable
Can take a bit of roughing
NFC compatible
Clean and balanced sound
No EQ
Bit pricey for the size
Better suited for chillout than partying
4
Summary
Revolve+ is more of an afterparty speaker. Excellent choice for those who appreciate a clean and balanced sound.

JBL Xtreme

JBL Xtreme Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
  • 5"H x 11.1"W x 4.8"D / 4.7 lbs
  • Battery Life: 15h
  • Frequency Response: 70 – 20,000 Hz
  • Power: 2x 20W
  • Signal-to-Noise: >80dB
  • Splashproof
Value choice badge

Portability
Partybility
Excellent battery
Plenty of punch
JBL Connect
The sound is very partylike… not hi-fi
Only splash sproof – a bit disappointing considering the name
4.3
Summary
JBL Xtreme is basically a little brother of the JBL Boombox.

Ultimate Ears BOOM 2 Phantom

Ultimate Ears BOOM 2 Phantom Wireless Mobile Bluetooth Speaker
  • 2.5"H x 7"W x 2.5"D / 1.2 lbs
  • Battery Life: 15h
  • Frequency Response: 90 - 20,000 Hz
  • Connectivity Range: 100 ft / 33m (BT)
  • Sound Pressure Level: 90dB
  • 360° sound
  • Waterproof (IPX7)
Budget choice badge

Portability
Partybility
Not bigger than a water bottle
Crisp mids and highs
Can take a beating
Lacking in the bass department
4.3
Summary
A perfect party speaker to carry around in your backpack to beaches, pool parties, you name it. Extremely durable but the low frequencies are understandably lackluster considering the size.

House Party Speakers

Aiwa Exos-9

Aiwa Exos-9 Portable
  • 7.5"D x 11.7"H x 19.4"W / 13 lbs
  • Battery Life: 9h
  • Frequency Response: 40 - 20,000 Hz
  • Connectivity Range: 50 ft / 15m
  • Power: 200W
  • Sound Pressure Level: 100dB
Value choice badge

Aiwa Exos-9 is the second speaker on our list which was almost left out because its portability is quite dubious, but… It’s just way too good to not include.

Portability
Partybility
Sounds absolutely fantastic
Plenty of features
NFC
Built-in equalizer
Big and bulky
4.8
Summary
Even though the “portability” of the Aiwa Exos-9 seems to consist of a carry handle it’s an extraordinary speaker for cranking up your home parties.

Harman Kardon GO+PLAY Mini

Harman Kardon GO+PLAY Mini Black GO+PLAY Portable BT Speaker
  • 8.3"H x 16.4"W x 7.1"D / 7.6 lbs
  • Battery Life: 8h
  • Frequency Response: 50 - 20,000 Hz
  • Power: 4x 25W
  • Signal-to-Noise: 80dB
Value choice badge

Portability
Partybility
Vibrant sound without the boomy bass
Does not need to be blasted on high volume to sound excellent
Front grill takes away some clarity – sounds better without
Battery could last longer
4.5
Summary
Fantastic speaker even for the audiophiles. Pure sound.

Marshall Kilburn

Marshall Kilburn Portable
  • 9.53"W x 5.5"H x 5.5"D / 6.6 lbs
  • Battery Life: 20h
  • Frequency Response: 62 - 20,000 Hz
  • Sound Pressure Level: 100dB @ 1 m
Value choice badge

Portability
Partybility
Brilliant signature Marshall look
Great battery
Physical EQ knobs
Not being water (beer) proof is always a con for rockers
4.4
Summary
The obvious choice if your party playlist consists of rock or metal.

Bang & Olufsen Beolit 15

B&O PLAY by Bang & Olufsen Beolit 15 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
  • 8.1"D x 14.5"W x 10.8"H / 6.6 lbs
  • Battery Life: 24h
  • Frequency Response: 37 - 20,000 Hz
  • Signal-to-Noise: 85dB
Premium choice badge

If the Exos-9 was lacking in portability then it would be fair to say that Beolit 15 is lacking in partibility. But since we believe in diversity we decided to include a party speaker even for the middle class responsible adults.

Portability
Partybility
Rich & warm sound
Simply beautiful
Very loud for the size
Premium brand comes with a premium price
The advertised battery life seems exaggerated
4
Summary
If your party includes cheese, wine and candles then B&O is your choice. A perfect picnic speaker.