These days, finding the best party speakers doesn’t mean hiring some big wall of sound that costs as much as hiring a band. You can get small, portable speakers with more than enough power to get a room of people dancing… or bigger speakers than get a whole venue jumping.
And with wireless party speakers, you don’t need to be anywhere near it to be the the DJ maestro – set up your playlist, pop your phone in your pocket, and partake in the party.
The best Bluetooth speakers are incredibly convenient and very versatile, bringing cable-free portable music streaming from your smartphone, tablet, laptop and even some Bluetooth enabled vinyl record players. And, because many of them are now dust- and waterproof, it doesn’t matter if they come along to a beach party or get thrown into your private pool (you lucky thing, you) – we’ve got a whole guide to the best waterproof speakers.
This buying guide focuses on party-friendly speakers, so the models here are not the shy, retiring types. Neutral fabric jacketed blobs might bring music to your ears in the living room on a chilled Sunday afternoon, but to get the party started you’ll want something with a little bit more oomph – whether that’s JBL’s PartyBoost tech to daisy-chain multiple speakers and amp up the sound, or a light-show that bops along to the beat, or dual-device support to let a friend tweak the party playlist from their phone.
We’ve tested every party speaker here, so whether you’re looking to boom (shake, shake shake) the room or something smaller for your friend’s leaving picnic, we’ve got the party speaker for you. No matter what you want to hear, where you want to hear and which streaming service you’re using, we’re certain you’ll find the best party speaker for you in this list.
Best party speakers: the list
OK, it might not be to everyone’s taste, but this thing screams ‘party’, right? And it’s both affordable and waterproof so, you know, if someone spills a drink on it that’s OK.
Things you need to know: it’s quite heavy (so possibly not one to tote if your party is across the other side of town) and you can’t turn those lights off completely – although you can make it so they only pop up when you’re switching the volume levels.
Honestly, it’s not the subtlest of lookers, but that’s one of the reasons it’s here in our party-centric roundup. The main reason? The Stormbox Blast is the biggest and most powerful Bluetooth speaker in Tribit’s ever-growing arsenal of portable speakers and it sounds every inch as detailed – even at higher volumes – as models from better-known audio specialists at three times the price.
Want a shy, retiring sound so as not to irritate your neighbors? You will have to look elsewhere, and it’s important to note that during our tests, we found the difference of two to three volume increments was enough to go from too quiet to too loud indoors, if you want quiet background playlists.
But Tribit has made no secret of wanting to bring the party to both your ears and your body, and it has emphatically delivered here. This thing can go loud and still sound good doing it. If you’re worried whether one speaker will be enough for the garden party, it will here – and for this money (it costs $199, which is around £163 or U$290) it represents unbeatable sound-per-pound value.
Read the full review: Tribit Stombox Blast
At the other end of the scale, this affordable little mug-sized speaker can be thrown in a bag to cover for that forgetful friend who might have forgotten theirs even though they promised the playlist was their responsibility. But don’t be fooled, its small size doesn’t mean small sound. This speaker gets surprisingly loud and sounds great – plus it can be paired to other Wonderboom speakers to amplify your music even more.
The original UE Wonderboom topped our best waterproof speaker list for a long time, but it’s since been usurped by this model, the Wonderboom 2.
Although the UE Wonderboom 2 looks nearly identical to the original, Ultimate Ears packed in a slew of upgrades that make the Wonderboom 2 even better, including increased battery life (up 30% compared to the original), better bass response, and the new Outdoor Boost feature that helps the speaker get even louder than before if you’re partying outside.
The UE Wonderboom 2 is a fantastic rugged and waterproof speaker you’ll actually want to take with you everywhere. While we found it can’t match the bass response of larger speakers such as the UE Boom 3, the improved bass adds warmth and intensity to music that the original was lacking.
Despite its relative age (it’s been around since 2019, so hardly ancient) for somewhere around $100 / £90 / AU$129, the UE Wonderboom 2 is still one of the best party speakers you can buy – and our recommended option for those looking to bring a pocket-sized speaker to the beach or pool. It’s built to take a big tumble too – you’d be hard pressed to damage it.
Read the full review: UE Wonderboom 2
The Anker Soundcore Flare 2 is an excellent go anywhere, do anything Bluetooth speaker that’ll appeal to anyone looking to introduce a little color to the shindig.
That’s thanks to LED rings that encircle each end of the speaker, creating a light display as you listen to your music. That splash of color makes the Soundcore Flare 2 an excellent choice if you’re looking for a party speaker that’s easy to chuck in a bag – though we should note that it’s not as compact as the UE Wonderboom 2 (see above).
The design isn’t so garish that it’ll look out of place in your home, though (Tribit Stormbox Blast, we’re looking at you) and its rugged construction means the Soundcore Flare 2 can join you at the beach or poolside. It’s IPX7 rated, which means it can be submerged in up to 1m of water for up to 30 minutes – so it should even survive a dunk in a pool.
As for the sound? In our tests, we found the Soundcore Flare 2 delivers a well-balanced and tonally warm audio performance, and comes with a BassUp feature to boost the lower frequencies. However, the sound quality does suffer at higher volumes, and even with the bass booster, the bass is clearly weedier than the Sonos Roam or JBL Flip 6. But then, it does cost a fraction of the price, so we happily forgive it.
Those wanting more bass in a similarly-sized party speaker with lights may want to check out the JBL Pulse 4 too, which gets louder, has more bass impact and a full-body lightshow… but that speaker is over twice the price of this, which is why we mention it in passing rather than adding it here.
Read the full review: Anker Soundcore Flare 2
The Ultimate Ears Hyperboom is a powerful speaker that will deliver a party atmosphere both indoors and outdoors. Its Ultimate Ears’ largest Bluetooth speaker to date, but it stays in keeping with the company’s stylish designs and adds two Bluetooth radios so you can switch seamlessly between two phones.
Despite being party-centric (read: packing tons of bass), we found it also delivers a very well-balanced soundscape. Here you never get the feeling that you are playing bass to make a party at the expense of other elements in the music, and almost no matter what you put on music, you get a pleasant experience.
In terms of features, the Ultimate Ears app allows you to connect the Hyperboom to other UE speakers and use them together, you can switch audio source and adjust volume, and you can select four different playlists in Amazon Music, Deezer or Spotify that can be started by holding down the Play button in three seconds.
For parties small and large, this Bluetooth speaker box is a great pick.
Read the full UE Hyperboom review
The Sonos Five will look very familiar to anyone who knows their way around Sonos’ 2015 Play:5 Gen. 2, but considering the brilliance of Sonos’ innovative, long-standing and highly popular multi-room speaker lineup, that’s no bad thing.
The newer Five is the biggest and most powerful wireless home speaker in Sonos’ range, and it sounds every inch as detailed and musically pleasing as we’ve come to expect from Sonos. It’s a truly classy party speaker – but do note, it doesn’t include Bluetooth streaming, so nobody at the do will be able to hijack your playlists in the ‘traditional’ way.
This flagship iteration of Sonos’ biggest home speaker (released in June 2020) adds increased memory, snappier processing and a new, er, wireless radio feature. If that doesn’t sound like a huge upgrade, know that the last Play:5 was mightily good to start with – and the new all-white or all-black styling does look slightly sleeker.
More than that, though, the new processor puts to rest any doubts you might have about future compatibility and firmware updates (even though the older Play:5 was already compatible with the company’s S2 platform) and may even mean support for hi-res audio at some point – something that has definitely been hinted at in Sonos circles.
Ultimately, the Five’s powerful and regimented bass clout, undeniably classy audio performance and the Sonos multi-room platform will be all the reason many people need to click ‘buy’ – and we certainly won’t be stopping you. It does need to be plugged in, so it isn’t a great candidate for outdoor parties despite its ‘humidity resistant’ rating, but if you’re staying in and dancing, it’ll do you proud.
Read the full review: Sonos Five
Put this thing of beauty down and watch as people flock to it. Of Marshall’s trio of wireless multi-room speakers, the Stanmore is the middle child, but that doesn’t mean it’s the mediator or the difficult sibling.
While the larger Woburn is just a little too big for most rooms and the smaller Acton has a number of connectivity issues, the Stanmore strikes a lovely balance between the two, with a sound that we found to be big and punchy but without straying too far into ‘overkill’ territory (although mark our words, it will if you want it to).
It doesn’t have the most refined sound out of the speakers on this list, but the Marshall Stanmore is intelligently designed and simple to use – and it looks pretty damn fine, especially if you’re into rock n roll-style parties.
If you dig the aesthetic but you’re looking for something to take on the road rather than to plonk down and dance beside, check out our Marshall Tufton review – it packs the vintage Marshall look and rocking sound into a portable design.
Read the full Marshall Stanmore review
Arrived at the party with a playlist ready to go, but now realize you’re down to 3% and need to charge your phone pronto while it’s blasting music? Look no further than the JBL Charge 5.
In terms of features the JBL Charge 5 is otherwise relatively basic – you don’t get the JBL Pulse 4’s customizable lightshow – but for this fifth generation JBL has incrementally improved sound quality and volume while still offering all-day battery life.
While the sound is well balanced, we found distortion starts kicking in above 60% volume, resulting in harsh-sounding highs and bass stops getting louder beyond this point, leading to a bright tonal balance. For the best sound quality, we recommend keeping the speaker around 50-60% volume based on our experience – when you have to push beyond this volume, there’s likely so much ambient noise that sound quality isn’t the first priority.
To atone for this, PartyBoost is here, so if you or your friends have other PartyBoost-enabled JBL speakers you can daisy-chain the sound for even beefier multi-room audio.
Around the back, the JBL Charge 5 has a waterproof USB-C charging port as well as a flap hiding the USB-A port that can be used to charge up your smartphone. The Charge 5 drops support for the 3.5mm aux jack from the JBL Charge 4, which is a bummer for some who have legacy devices they want to hook up.
Ultimately, the JBL Charge 5 is a great shout for a party because it sounds like a much bigger portable speaker than it is. It dishes out an impressive amount of bass for its size without sacrificing on the mids or highs.
Read the full review: JBL Charge 5
For anyone with an Apple Music or Apple Music Voice subscription, the HomePod mini is a great option for a party speaker – because you can all just holler at Siri to cue up the next track all night long. It’s far cheaper than some might expect too, packing mighty sounds and an elegant design for under $100 / £100 / AU$150.
For us, the audio performance is the key reason to buy the HomePod mini. It’s excellent for a speaker that’s so small, and it really feels like the right mix of price and sound quality. The bass isn’t too heavy, vocals aren’t lost in the mix, and when you pair two minis the stereo experience is really immersive.
It does need to be plugged in to work (so outside is a no-no) and someone in your party will need an iOS device hooked up to wi-fi to get it singing, but that futuristic, pulsating orb of light on the top plate adds ambience and there are no better-sounding speakers on the market of this type and price.
Wondering about the original HomePod? It’s been discontinued, though you can still buy it while stocks last.
Read the full review: Apple HomePod mini
The JBL Flip 6 is a prime example of a Bluetooth speaker that sticks to the basics, and gets it right. This rugged portable speaker is super simple to use, will fit in the water-bottle cage on your bike if you’re cycling to a party, sounds good and can be paired with up to 100 other JBL speakers at once to create a huge wall of sound.
You won’t find extra features such as voice assistants or Wi-Fi connectivity, but the Flip 6 sounds so good that you won’t miss them. We found that its warm, well-balanced audio performance is far more powerful than you might expect from a speaker of this size, and while we felt that trebles can sound a little harsh at higher volumes, you’re getting plenty of clarity and detail.
A 12-hour battery life and water and dust resistance makes this an ideal speaker to take to the pool or beach, and it’s available in an array of eye-catching colors. It’s a shame it doesn’t have a port to charge your phone, like larger JBL speakers do, but that’s not a big deal.
Like the JBL Flip 5 before it, the Flip 6 is an ideal speaker for anyone who wants to simply play their music, crank it up loud, sit back and enjoy – or even dance in the moonlight.
Read the full review: JBL Flip 6
How to choose the best party speaker for you
It’s not easy when the market is awash with wireless, cubes, oblongs, teardrops cylinders and cushions all claiming to be the best option to bring the tunes, is it? But that is where we come in. Several of the party speakers in this list also double up as Bluetooth speakers, but not all of them – and we’ve made this clear, because if casting music from your phone or any other Bluetooth device is important to you, a Wi-Fi only connection (even if it uses Apple AirPlay 2) may not be sufficient.
When it comes to picking a new speaker sociable for your home, room-filling sound is of paramount importance, so look for models that feature 360-degree grilles and disperse audio at all angles; JBL’s cylindrical speakers are always a good place to start.
If it’s true audio-fidelity you’re after, opt for trusted brands such as Ultimate Ears, Sonos and Apple – speakers from these companies are always likely to sound splendid.
If you have an iPhone or an iPad, it might also be worth checking out the best AirPlay speakers, which allow you to stream music, podcasts or audiobooks directly from your devices to your speaker. That means room-filling sound from your phone without the need for a more complex entertainment set-up.
With so many fantastic party speakers on the market right now, we’ve selected and ranked only the best ones to include in this buying guide.
How we test party speakers
We test countless wireless speakers every year at , from dinky cheap and cheerful Bluetooth speakers to huge floorstanding towers, which means we know exactly which features and specs to look out for – and we know that the best ones can sound just as good as a traditional stereo speaker system if you treat them right.
It’s important for us to compare the performance of these uber-friendly speakers against the specs claimed by their manufacturers too, which is why we take the time to make sure the spec-sheet listings are legit.
Naturally, we make sure to test speaker against its chief competitors for sound and features, which might include multi-room compatibility and app support, so you can be sure that the product is the best if we say it is. We live with these speakers in our homes to make sure that their performances are consistent, and we don’t finalize our testing until we are certain of the sound quality.
On this, we test the audio performance using a range of musical genres and stream from various sources, to ensure that these party-hungry speakers can handle everything from thumping dance tracks to softly-spoken podcasts.
After more years in this game than we’d care to admit, we are truly confident that our star-rated reviews are the best indication of the quality of the party speakers in this list. There are no sales teams involved in our verdicts, which means if we don’t like it for sound, design, usability and features, we simply won’t recommend it here.
Party speaker FAQs
What’s the best party speaker brand?
Sonos speakers are great if you want to bridge the gap between indoors and outdoors, with the ability to form part of a wider multi-room system – and you can be sure that they’ll sound fantastic, too.
JBL is well known for making rugged, outdoor speakers at affordable prices, and it’s line of party speakers even come with built-in light shows.
If waterproofing is a priority (pool or beach party-goers, take note) then look out for models from Ultimate Ears, which combine fun, colorful designs with rugged builds – many of which can withstand a dip in the pool.
Consider high-end audio brands such as Bose and Bang & Olufsen if you want a combination of stylish design and great sound – but be prepared for relatively high prices. If you want to save money then Urbanista, Tribit and Anker offer brilliant speakers that won’t break the bank.
Looking for more?
We get it: there are countless speaker styles to choose from – that’s why we’ve put together several guides on the best speakers you can buy in 2022.
Looking for some hi-res audiophile speakers to go with your record player? Check out the best stereo speakers. Bored of your TV’s lackluster audio? Try one of our best soundbars or Dolby Atmos speakers on for size.
If you need a speaker you can take everywhere, make sure you look at the best waterproof speakers or if you’re looking for multi room audio smarts, read our guide to the best wireless speakers.
For total control of your smart home, invest in one of the best smart speakers, which come with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Siri built-in.
Apple fanatic? Try out the best AirPlay speakers.