Best portable mini Bluetooth speakers of 2019
Looking for a wireless speaker to take on the road and don't want to spend too much? Here are our top picks for affordably priced mini and micro Bluetooth speakers.
Best sound in its size class
Bose's SoundLink Micro is arguably the best-sounding speaker for its tiny size. Although it's a little pricey, Bose did shave $10 off its list price, bringing it down to . It's fully waterproof and available in three color options. .
Best for clipping onto a backpack
Not only does this have improved battery life and better sound than the , it's more durable, according to JBL, thanks to the integrated carabiner framing the entire perimeter of the speaker, acting as a bumper. It has a built-in rechargeable li-ion battery and is one of the top speakers for its tiny size. It sells for $60. .
Best sound under $60
The Tribit MaxSound Plus ($56) is about 30% bigger than its sibling XSound Go and costs about $25 more, but it performs substantially better and is one of the best sounding speakers in its size and price class. It has a long-lasting rechargeable battery and superior audio quality. .
JBL's Flip 5 ($100) is slightly bigger than the Flip 4, with improved audio sound with a little more bass. It has an IPX7 waterproof certification, which means it can be submerged in a meter of water for up to 30 minutes and survive. Tribit's StormBox is about $30 less and plays louder, but I like the tonal balance of the Flip 5 better. It also offers USB-C charging, which is better for future-proofing.
Best under $25
The Sony XB01 is a splashproof mini wireless speaker, is available in multiple colors -- and it sounds great for the price (it lists for $35 but is being regularly discounted to less than $25 and some times less than $20). .
We liked Ultimate Ears' original , which sounded good for its compact size and was also waterproof. Now the company has released the , which is a touch bigger than the original and sounds slightly better, with more bass and a special Outdoor Boost mode that boosts treble.Like its predecessor, the fully waterproof Wonderboom 2 carries a list price of $100, but sells for less (around $80). What's different is the IP67 rating that means it's dustproof, more shock-resistant and also able to float. It also has 30% better battery life -- up to 13 hours at moderate volume levels, according to Ultimate Ears -- and you can link two together to create a stereo sound pairing by simply pressing a button on each speaker.
At $33, the Tribit XSound Go is one of the top Bluetooth speakers for the money. Besides sounding decent, it's also fully waterproof. .
Best mini canister-style speaker
Last year Sony made some small improvements to its little canister-style speaker, one of the smallest in its Xtra Bass line. The SRS-XB12 puts out surprisingly big sound for its small size and boasts 16 hours of battery as well as IP67 waterproof and dustproof rating (if you accidentally drop it in water it floats). You can add another speaker to get stereo sound. While it lists for $50 it usually costs less than $40. Available in multiple color options.
Cheaper alternative to Flip 5
Tribit's StormBox speaker looks like a cross between a UE and a JBL speaker. We suspect that's not an accident. Fully waterproof, it costs about $30 less than the JBL Flip 5 and produces bigger sound and has up to 20 hours of battery life. Tribit's XSound speakers are probably a better value, but the Stormbox is more stylish.
Solid bargain model
Full disclosure: This is the only product on this list we didn't test in person. But we found much to admire in its predecessor, the , back in 2017. This one has marginally better battery life, slightly bigger sound and is more water-resistant than the Plus, and it offers stereo pairing, too. We'll have a hands-on evaluation soon, but we're including it here based on our positive experience with the Plus, and the enthusiastic 4,800-plus user reviews on Amazon, where it sells for $35 to $40.