Wireless speakers are everywhere nowadays and as a result consumers do have a nice variety to choose from. In many ways, too much choice. What’s more the emergence of smart speakers have somewhat overtaken the traditional wireless speaker market lately and that's a shame as most smart speakers do not offer the same level of features or quality of sound offered by traditional wireless speakers that are typically designed to focus primarily on the audio. So in this Holiday gift guide we’ll be taking a specific look at the best wireless speakers without the emphasis on smart capabilities and/or voice assistant support. That's not to say some on this list don't feature smart features, just that it's not a requirement on this list. Likewise, we’ve capped the minimum spend here to $150 so all the speakers listed below will cost at least $150 unless they happen to be on sale. Bonus.
Prices below are subject to change. This post will be updated regularly to ensure the most up-to-date pricing, but during the holidays, there will be flash sales and price drops so keep that in mind.
Best overall - when all things are considered
Let’s face it, the JBL Boombox Bluetooth Speaker is not the most attractive speaker in the world, nor the most portable, or even the best in terms of frequency coverage. Yet, it still is probably the best all-round option you can buy right now when all aspects are taking into consideration. Firstly, its design is a throwback to the days of the actual boombox so props for nostalgia. More importantly, this one is designed with bass in mind. While this does mean the tops are likely to be its weak point, you are gonna get that thumping low end with this one. What’s more, in spite of being bulky this is a portable speaker and for those who do not plan to walk down the street with this one on their shoulder, they can make use of the rugged handle for easy transportation. Sticking with the outdoors theme for a minute and the massive 20,000 mAh capacity battery will not only offer up to 24 hours of battery life, but will also charge your phones when needed. This is in addition to the included IPX7 certification which makes it ideal for all weathers and environments. And it’s this sum of everything which makes the JBL Boombox Bluetooth Speaker such a good buy overall as while you will definitely find speakers that are better in each department, this one is a solid all-rounder
Best overall on a budget - a solid performer at a reasonable price
If the JBL Boombox Bluetooth Speaker is just too much for you then a solid alternative is the UE MEGABOOM 3. This one is not only half the price but also less than half the size and far more in line with what many might be expecting from a portable speaker. In addition, this one utilizes a 360-degree design which means that in spite of its size it will offer a decent sound output in all directions. Adding to that this is about as durable as it gets as it's both waterproof and drop-proof so you can use this one just about anywhere and without having to worry about damaging the speaker. Again, in spite of its size the UE MEGABOOM 3 is rated to offer up to 20 hours of usage per charge. Making this a solid speaker in all departments for the money. As an honorable mention, UE also offers a MEGABLAST (Amazon) which is not that different although it does come with Amazon Alexa voice support included so if that’s one of your requirements than the MEGABLAST might be the one to consider and especially as it's also slightly cheaper than the MEGABOOM. What keeps it from being our choice over the MEGABOOM however is the battery life as it won’t run for as long as the MEGABOOM will.
Best portable - the one you can take with you everywhere
Most of the speakers on this list are portable enough to take with you, although if you really want the most portable speaker that offers the best sound quality then the Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A1 is certainly the one to consider. In spite of packing a serious sound punch this is just about as small (fits in your hand) and light as a speaker gets. What’s equally as impressive is the size has not impacted on other areas such as battery life as the Beoplay A1 offers up to 24 hours of usage on a single charge. Making it one of the longest-lasting speakers on this list. While the sound is good on its own this one also sports a 360-degree-inspired design which will ensure the sound is more evenly distributed. And all of this is while also ensuring the speaker is adequately protected. Yes, you will find more durable speakers than this one, but you can still expect a splash and dust-resistant level of protection. Closing out the selling points is its looks as this is one seriously nice-looking portable speaker.
Best sound quality - the one that gets the basics just right
This was always going to be the most controversial category and in truth there’s no one-size-fits-all suggestion as quality can be defined in many ways and different consumers will place a difference emphasis on different frequencies. Caveat aside, the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ is definitely one of the best sounding wireless speakers you can buy today. It just checks all the right boxes - including price as you can pay much more for an even better sound. One of the reasons for its great sound is the utilizing of a 360-degree design which offers a more balanced and even distribution and when coupled with the quality of the drivers, the reliability of the connection and the general level of performance, this becomes one of the best options for those preoccupied with sound quality. Its limitations compared to other wireless options are in the battery life (16 hours) and the durability (IPX4) although this is only when comparing to the longest-lasting and most-durable options as the battery life and durability on offer will be more than sufficient for most people.
Best sound on a budget - when sound matters, but so does the price
As this list is focused on speakers above the $150 price marker, that’s effectively the baseline for when it comes to a budget price and with that in mind the Bose SoundLink Revolve is the option to consider. In all reality, there is not a lot of difference between the Bose SoundLink Revolve and the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ model with the most obvious being the actual sound quality and the battery life. So while you will pay less for this one, you will also receive a lesser quality sounding speaker. Although it will still likely sound better than most other speakers you can find between the $150 and $200 markers. One of the reasons for the reduction in sound quality is the reduction in the overall size of the speaker. So where you do lose in sound quality you do arguably gain in portability. Though the battery life is also impacted here with the Bose SoundLink Revolve only offering up to 12 hours on a single charge.
Best design - the looker
Design is another area that’s highly subjective although if you want our opinion the Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless is one of the most attractive speakers you can buy right now. It’s certain a less traditional-designed speaker and that in itself gives it a unique look compared to the more box-like speakers on the market. In either case, this is one which will add to the room and will be more of a talking point than the more generic speakers that now seem to come through from most companies. Design aside and the quality on offer with the Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless is excellent. This is a great sounding speaker which supports a decent frequency coverage (44Hz to 28KHz) and utilizes a multi-way setup that packs the power. For example, you are getting two 25-watt tweeters, two 25-watt mid-range speakers and a 6.5-inch 50-watt subwoofer. So in reality, this is not just a good looking speaker, but a great sounding one too. Just don’t be expecting to also use this one as a portable speaker.
Best large speaker for the home - when portable is less important
Arguably, the Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless is the best large speaker for the home but it’s also fairly expensive and one better suited to audiophiles than the average consumer. Due to this the Riva Festival is one to check out as it costs half the price of the Zeppelin while still providing a large and good quality option for the home. First off the Riva Festival offers a 200-watt total output making this one powerful speaker. In addition it comes with a decent selection of inputs including USB, AUX, and optical - something which most other wireless speakers are missing, further adding to the Riva Festival’s appeal as an in-home speaker. The design is also fatally nice with the speaker oozing a premium look and one that is matched by the sound quality which is powered by three tweeters, three main drivers and four passive radiators. So make no mistake this speaker delivers in the quality and power department. It's downside though is this is a speaker that can only really be used inside, due to the lack of portable benefits such as a battery.
Best small speaker for the home - portable doesn't matter but size does
Another great option for the home and especially for those looking to save a little on the asking price is the Bose SoundTouch 10. This is a much smaller speaker than the Riva Festival but one that does not compromise too much on sound quality. Which is probably something to be expected from a Bose product. In fact, at launch this was marketed as the smallest wireless speaker to come from the company so that will tell you this has been purpose designed to be small and discrete while still offering the sound quality expected from a company like this. It also comes with Wi-Fi support (in addition to Bluetooth) and this is in part designed to allow the user to more easily access popular music services and internet radio stations. So while you can stream music to this speaker, it also acts as a one-stop music streaming solution in itself with the option to allocate services/stations to pre-set buttons for even quicker access. You also get a remote control as well which is not always the case with wireless speakers.
Best on the go - not about size but needs to be portable
While this could be interchangeable with the ‘best portable’ the ‘on the go’ category is a lot more encompassing. For example, both the Beoplay A1 and the JBL Boombox could both fit in this category but they both cater to the extreme ends of the market. Which is where the Marshall Kilburn II comes in as this one is a great middle ground ‘on the go’ option which will appeal to more consumers. First up, this is Marshall speaker an that means it comes with a very iconic look which will immediately appeal to a number of buyers. Looks aside, the Marshall Kilburn II offers a great sound quality, a durable build quality, and a battery that’s listed to last up to 20 hours. In fact, when needed a quick 20-minute charge is expected to offer an additional two hours of usage. So if the Beoplay A1 is too small and the JBL Boombox is too large, then consider this to be the goldilocks option.
Best on the go on a budget - keeping movement high but cost low
We’ve already credited the Bang and Olufsen Beoplay P1 with being the best portable speaker you can buy but if you want to save a little then the company also offers a Beoplay P2 model which is also a great on the go solution. Compared to the Beoplay P1 you are accepting a lesser quality design but one that still maintains a durable build quality overall. In fact, this one might be a little better in that department as it’s more of a traditional rugged wireless speaker with a greater emphasis on rubber. It also comes with a lesser battery capacity rated to offer up to 10 hours of battery life so you will need to charge this one more often compared to the Beoplay P1. But still, it does come with a very good sound quality, it is also super small for added portability, and is currently about half the cost of the Beoplay P1.
Best party speaker - it's not always just about the sound
Sony's SRS-XB41 speaker is a great option for the home although it can also be equally used outside thanks to the included battery that’s rated up to 24 hours on a single charge and it's more rugged build. What makes it stand out though and confirms its existence as a ‘party speaker’ is the LED lights which react to the beat adding an additional immersive experience to the listening experience. It also comes with some additional features that add to a party environment by letting the user further interact with the speaker and of course, it's party lights.
Best party speaker on a budget - keeping the party going at a low price
Keeping the $150 base limit in mind the JBL Pulse 3 will suit those who do not want to pay the asking price for the SRS-XB41. As this one is much cheaper and comes with a number of the same features including a light show which responds to the music or can be set to specific patterns. What’s more, this is a highly durable (IPX7) speaker and offers great battery life (up to 12 hours) so those looking to spend less won't have to compromise in either of these departments. Likewise, this is a JBL speaker so you can expect a decent sound quality overall.