Looking to make a few upgrades? Summer is a great time to enhance your sound system. Whether you’re a music lover, a dedicated audiophile, gamer, movie buff, TV binger or a combination of all five, the speaker options are plentiful.
And with retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, Target and Walmart rolling back prices due to an overstock of inventory, summer sales, Fourth of July deals that haven’t expired yet and Prime Day next week, you’re sure to find great deals on speakers and other electronics.
That said, having too many options can be overwhelming. When shopping for a speaker, it’s good to narrow down the style, size and price that best suits your needs. To make the search a little easier, we gathered up nine of the best speakers for music lovers to play all their favorite tunes, podcasts and more. The list is comprised of picks that we’ve tested out personally and other fan favorites.
From portable Bluetooth speakers to wired and freestanding speakers, see below for our picks for the best options to enhance your sound system. For more recommendations, read our roundups of the best record players, best over-ear headphones, best wired headphones and best Bluetooth earbuds.
Starting with something basic but dependable, Bose Soundlink Flex is a good choice in portable speaker option, if you’re looking for a no frills, Bluetooth speaker that you can carry around. Bose has a nice selection of speakers in stock – the cheapest of which is the Bose Soundlink Micro ($119). The Bose Portable Smart Speaker is a bit pricier ($399), while the Soundlink Flex falls on the more affordable side of the price scale.
The Soundlink Flex is engineered with a custom transducer that’s designed to flood the room with powerful sound. Available in black, red, white or blue, the speaker’s rugged exterior makes it easy to take on the go, and with up to 12 hours of battery life, you can play tons of songs before it’s time to recharge. The accompanying utility loop is perfect for hanging the speaker on a clip or carrying it around (the Bluetooth range stretches up to 30 feet). The Soundlink Flex is also IP67 certified waterproof and dust-proof.
Also on the list of portable and affordable Bluetooth speakers, the JBL Flip 6 is certainly worth a try. Flip 6 has a two-way speaker system that is designed to deliver rich sound and optimized dual passive radiators for deep bass. Measuring nearly eight inches long, this portable speaker is equipped with a 20-watt sound output and 12 hours of battery life. It’s also waterproof and dust-proof and comes in several colors, including red, blue and black. You can purchase the JBL 6 at retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Crutchfield and at JBL.com. If you’re in the market for something cheaper, the JBL Flip 5 is on sale for $89.95 and this Anker Soundcore Bluetooth speaker is on sale for $27.99.
Marshall is a personal favorite among music artists and fans (including our editors). You can’t really go wrong with a Marshall speaker but if you’re looking for something not quite as small as a handheld option but not as big as a floor-standing speaker, the Acton II might be the perfect fit. It combines the brand’s iconic retro design with contemporary technology delivering mega-sound in a smaller package than some of the larger Marshall designs. Acton II has three dedicated class-D amplifiers, dual tweeters and subwoofers, Bluetooth 5.0 (up to 30 feet), a frequency range of 50-20,000 Hz and a 3.5 mm input for wired connectivity. Connecting the speaker to the Marshall App turns your phone into a control panel to adjust things like volume and playlists. The Action II is available at major retailers such as Crutchfield, Best Buy, Amazon, Urban Outfitters, Target and at Marshall.com.
The Sonos Era 300 is one of the newer speakers to make our list and one of the best in its class. Era 300 serves up superior sound quality that can drizzle or flood the room with sound, depending on what you’re in the mood for. Available in black or white, the speaker’s compact, curvy design makes it stand out wherever its placed. Another great feature: intuitive touch controls that make it easier to turn up the volume or skip to the next track.
On the technical side of things, Era 300 features four tweeters, dual woofers and six, class-D digital amplifiers. Made from 40% recycled materials, the energy-efficient speaker is equipped with Wifi, Bluetooth, TruePlay, Dolby Atmos, Apple Airplay 2 and voice assistant (this feature can also be disabled). Era 300 allows you to jam away to your favorite tunes, playlists, podcasts and more on Amazon Music, Tidal, Apple Music and more. Another thing to note, Era 300 is incredibly easy to set up (around 10-15 minutes) and it comes in recycled packaging.
Klipsch is another star in the realm of premium-quality sound. For music lovers who have the square footage to build a robust sound system, Klipsch offers everything from floor standing speakers to bookshelf speakers, computer speakers, home theater speakers, sound bars and subwoofers. Not sure where to start? The R-51M Bookshelf Speakers are perfect for blasting your favorite tunes. This dynamic speaker duo offers powerful sound, booming bass and award-wining acoustics courtesy of Tractrix horn technology, which mimics the sound, precision and emotion of a live concert. These 13.3-inch speakers are equipped with one-inch titanium dome tweeters, 5.25-inch copper woofers and a removable magnetic grill.
Sony’s SRS-XG500 Bluetooth speaker is a nice investment if you’re looking for a boombox-style design. An alternative to the JBL Boombox 2 ($399.95), the SRS-XG500 delivers amazingly crisp sound thanks to Sony’s uniquely designed X-Balance speakers that pump out thumping, room-shaking bass. The battery delivers up to 30 hours of play time to keep the party moving all night long (literally). The speaker weighs about 12 pounds, but there’s a built-in handle that makes it easy to carry around, and LED ring lighting for added flair. Sony’s SRS-XG500 speakers are IP66-certified water-and dust-resistant. And it’s on sale at Best Buy.
A tower speaker that blends in, and stands out. Polk Audio’s Elite Signature ES360 provides an enveloping, true-to-life sound experience that’s especially useful for Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon Music, Spotify and other streaming platforms. The floor-standing loudspeaker provides crystal-clear, hi-resolution sound with bass so incredible you might be able to feel it.
Perfect for your man cave or billiards room, according to one customer, the speaker is powered by Polk’s Patented Power Port Bass Enhancing Technology, which expands the overall bass port to provide a larger surface area for distortion-free, louder bass impact. The sleek ES60 features 1-inch High-Resolution Terylene Tweeters, 2.5-way cascading crossovers and a trio of 6.5-inch Mica-Fortified Polypropylene Woofers. Speakers in Polk Audio’s Signature Elite Series are designed with quality, timbre-matched components that let you seamlessly mix and match models to build the sound system of your dreams. This speaker is on sale at Amazon, Crutchfield and PolkAudio.com.
Feel like splurging? The Zeppelin is a top-rated, wireless smart speaker modified for the streaming age by way of a built-in, upgradable platform so that the technology always stays up to date. Bowers & Wilkinson’s football-shaped speaker features five carefully positioned premium drive units, 1-inch tweeters, 3.5-inch midranges with FST (Fixed Suspension Transducers) and dedicated drivers.
The Zeppelin has a total output of 240 watts, a six-inch subwoofer and five amplification channels for all designed to give you powerful, hi-resolution stereo sound. The Alexa-equipped speaker gives users instant access to music playlists, radio podcasts and other content in up to 24-bit, high-resolution quality. Zeppelin can also stream Apple Airplay 2, Bluetooth aptX adaptive, Spotify Connect and the Bowers & Wilkson app.
If you have an even larger speaker budget, Bang & Olufsen makes some of the best, higher-end, hi-fidelity speakers on the market. While the more expensive designs can cost over $10,000, the Beosound Level Portable Wifi Speaker is one of the cheapest, sleekest and most popular speakers from Bang & Olufsen. This beautiful, minimalist speaker has a five-driver setup for immersive, full-range sound that adapts to its environment. Lay it on its back, sit it up straight, or hang it on the wall for a hypnotic sound experience with potent bass and unmatched sound clarity. This dynamic speaker weighs about 7 pounds (it measures 34.8 inches x 23 inches) and offers up to 16 hours of battery life. The Beosound Level Portable Wifi Speaker is available in natural dark gray, or a glitzy gold tone with light oak.