The Loudest Portable Bluetooth Speakers
We narrowed our search for the loudest portable Bluetooth speakers down to three distinct size categories: Ultra-Portable, Portable, and Large Portable.
By contacting manufacturers, pouring through technical information, and listening to these products we have discerned the list of the best speakers on the market today. Our definition of best as follows: loud, quality of sound, price, and other features specific to the speaker.
[Updated for 2016] We've updated this list for 2016 but we wanted you to know which speakers were the best sellers from 2015. All of these best sellers made our list for 2016. People still love the Jambox! That was the most purchased in 2015 according to our stats. Coming in 2nd was the Bose Soundlink III. You can't go wrong with that one. What did surprise us was the UE Boom Speaker. Highly rated on Amazon.com, the UE Boom was our 3rd highest purchased speaker!
It is important to note that we determine the loudness of a speaker system by the decibels generated at a fixed distance. Our data is for the maximum decibels the speaker system can produce. There are many theoretical and mathematical descriptions of the decibel, but we will be addressing real world values and perception instead of theories. The decibel scale is a base 10 logarithmic one, not linear; therefore, an increase of 10 decibels will double the perceived loudness: for example 100 decibels will sound twice as loud as 90 decibels. With this information in mind, let’s get down to the hard facts and figures about each one of these wireless speakers!
So Let’s Get Started…
We are going to kick off the reviewing process with the “Best” wireless speaker currently on the market and use it as a basis of comparison.
During the research process we found this product to have the highest reviews and its stats speak for themselves. It doesn’t quite fit into the review, as it does not have an internal battery and is around 11 lbs, therefore the antithesis of portable; however, when it comes to audio quality, loudness, wattage, and hardware quality that is pretty easy to take with you, this unit is hard to beat.
The Marshall Stanmore
The Stanmore is also the most expensive speaker in our comparison, but it brings some impressive features to the table. With dual .75 inch tweeters (located in the top corners of the unit), a 5.25 inch woofer (located centrally), and an 80-Watt amplifier, this speaker is capable of producing crisp highs with deep and powerful bass notes. It has a frequency range from 45 Hz all the way to 22,000 Hz, meaning it is able to produce tones at the lowest and highest points audible to the human ear.
The Marshall unit offers three separate tuning features: Volume, Treble, and Bass. This allows the end user to customize the sound coming from the unit to their specific preferences. Turning all three to 10 will produce a wall of sound similar to what you could expect from an entry level sound system, while still maintaining the audio quality.
The unit has a sensitivity of 99 dB (100 MV at 10,000 Hz), which puts it at the top end of our roundup. Obviously battery life of the Stanmore cannot be discussed here as it doesn’t have one and relies on AC power. The Marshall unit does offer an RCA input (red and white wires you plug into your old TV), an Optical port, a 3.5 mm input (same as a modern cellphone, iPod, or similar audio playback device), and obviously Bluetooth capability.
Now onto the portable offerings we have found in our all-encompassing search for the loudest speakers!
These are the small, but loud, products in our round up designed to (as the name suggest) take your need for loud music wherever you want! We have two products here that hit both ends of the price spectrum for this mini category.
2nd Place: X-Mini Me
First we have the incredibly tiny and cylindrical X-mini Me, which measures in at 1.75” tall and less than 1.5” in diameter. X-Mini is based out of Singapore with distributors in over 80 countries; the miniscule X-Mini Me features only a $23 MSRP!
It cranks out over 80 dB of sound, which is four times quieter than the AC powered Marshall, but for being over 100 times lighter, 19 times cheaper, and incalculably more portable we will accept this small issue.
These bad boys can be linked together to create a multi-speaker system (boosting sound intensity) and the fact you can fit a bunch in your pocket, make them by far the most portable in the round up.
They feature 6 hours of audio playback through the 1.5 Watt, 31 mm magnetically shielded driver. Frequency range is not as broad as the Marshall’s, only 200 – 20,000 Hz, but such a small driver cannot physically generate as low of tones as a 5.25” subwoofer. As a result you will lose something on the low notes and likely elsewhere too.
All in all, the X-Mini Me turns out some quality loudness for the price, but if you have more money to spend look toward our other options.
Winner: Soundmatters FoxL Dash 7
It features a thickness of just .75 inches (two iPhone 4s stacked on top of one another) and is only 7.5 in long, 2.13 in wide, and only weighs roughly 7 ounces. It is quite pocket sized and offers a convertible case (think iPad Smart cover) to allow it to stand on edge and has speaker-phone capabilities.
Sound quality is immensely impressive as it can dish out between 95 and 97 dB at half a meter away. Two 25mm (~1”) drivers and a passive woofer offer up a better frequency range than the X-Mini, of between 70 and 20,000 Hz. This will lead to a more full sound than the smaller Singaporean product, but this is expected with the sizeable price increase.
A 12 hour audio playback (at roughly 76 dB), microUSB charging port, 3.5 mm audio jack, and incredibly knowledgeable reps on the support side all make this unit an incredible offering! The Dash 7 can also be paired (through audio jacks or wirelessly) to Soundmatters’ separate woofer, the foxLO (detailed more later on with the foxL V2). If it is on the expensive side of your budget, they offer the “Dash a” a scaled back model (decreased battery life, thicker, and a few other metrics) for about a hundred dollars less!
These are the workhorse speakers in the industry. They aren’t as portable as the Ultras, but they are still easily stowed in a back pack, purse, pocket, or satchel for simple transport! We have looked into over 50 speakers in this category and have chosen three that truly sound like winners!
3rd Place: Bose Soundlink III
Bose needs no introduction in this sort of round up. Founded by an electrical engineering professor at MIT, Amar G. Bose, the company opened its doors in 1964 and has since been making some of the highest quality audio equipment in the industry!
The Soundlink III is the newest in the incredible Soundlink line up and has some serious shoes to fill. Fortunately, Bose has the technical chops to back it up and has found a way to stuff two high level drivers, two mid level drivers, and a subwoofer all into the 10”x1.9”x5.2” Bluetooth compatible speaker. With all of this crammed into such a small box, audio quality and volume are both pretty amazing.
14 hour battery life, over 90 dB volume, 3.5 mm aux jack, and warm full sound all make this product one of the best in the industry.
However, a DC jack (instead of a microUSB) for charging and large price tag kept it from taking top honors in this category.
2nd: Jawbone Jambox
The Jambox, by Jawbone, is another big name in the wireless speaker name. Its (more) attractive price tag coupled with impressive output (over 90 dB) and a very nice design lead to its place as second in our line up.
The Jambox features a frequency range of 85 to 20,000 Hz and utilizes a pair of passive subwoofers and dual drivers. It offers 15 hours of playback and once the battery is drained it can be recharged with the ubiquitous microUSB standard cable.
The audio quality is there, but it is not quite what you will get from the Bose nor from the original Marshall. However, the color choice, price, and functionality made it stand out from our other top offerings and therefore merit a 2nd in this review.
Winner: Soundmatters FoxL V2 + foxLO Duet System
The foxL DUET system pairs the foxL V2 (which by itself is a very cool product) to their bass boosting foxLO unit. These two are capable of being tethered physically (with a 3.5 mm aux cable) or wirelessly (both via the Bluetooth protocol) and together allow a frequency range from 30 Hz all the way up to 20,000 Hz.
This is a more encompassing range than our original Stanmore which is impressive from a battery powered system!
The V2 utilizes 2 25 mm drivers and a passive radiator while the bass has a “Linear Magnetic Driver,” dual passive radiators, and provides 30 watts of amplification. The two units offer over 12 hours of audio play back and a max volume of over 95 db.
Also the notable (unpaid) endorsement of Black Flag singer Henry Rollins, innumerous positive reviews, compact size, and usage of the microUSB standard led to the foxL Duet system to the top of our review for the portable systems.
These are the big boys in the portable wireless market. As such, they offer larger and louder drivers, deeper bass notes, and a more rounded sound on the whole.
Winner: Jawbone Big Jambox
It utilizes twin 2.2 inch full range drivers as well as two 2.2 x 3.8 inch passive woofers. With its larger drivers, the Big Jambox is able to turn out 60 to 20,000 Hz and a reported maximum of over 100 dB. This makes it the loudest wireless speaker in our roundup.
It also features 10 hours of playback, which is very respectable considering its large size, as well as a microUSB charging port and a traditional 3.5 mm aux cable (in addition to the Bluetooth compatibility). All of these features make it a fantastic unit to fill larger rooms and for occasional transportation.
So Which Is The Best?
All of these speakers allow for high quality play back, high volumes, and a certain amount of portability.
The best system would have to be the Marshall Stanmore, as it gives the best audio experience, but its lack of mobility and high price tag make it ineligible for this round up.
There is no absolute winner out of the seven systems outlined above, as each has its own personality as well as their own pros and cons, which we have done our best to describe. We will not be assigning an overall winner, as the true winner will be the end customer, if they decide to buy any of these systems.
So enjoy your new speaker and use your new found power wisely!