There’s always a good reason to throw a party, and at the heart of every raging get-together is music. Whether it’s a pool, birthday, or beach party, if you’ve got a crowd ready to rock, you’ll need a speaker to match that spirit. Let’s talk party speakers.
JBL Xtreme 3
Big enough to star at a party but small enough to carry around with ease, the barrel-shaped JBL Xtreme 3 comes in at a shade under two kilos and features two clips on the top so that a shoulder strap can be affixed for easy transport. Its tough exterior has clearly been designed for maximum portability and it can be submerged in water, too, so it will stand up to whatever the weather can throw at it. A handy addition is a full-sized, built-in USB port for phone charging. On the audio end, we’re talking deep bass here, making this speaker ideally suited for an electronic music blowout on the beach or in the bush. There’s even a Party Boost mode to link up two Xtreme 3s should the need arise.
What we love: All round performance and durability.
At a glance: Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 Battery life: 15 hours IP Rating: IP67 – waterproof and dustproof Charging: USB-C
JBL Partybox 310
This is one meaty unit! The reason it comes on wheels with a retractable handle (much like a suitcase) is so you can easily manoeuvre the speaker into position; it can be kept upright or laid horizontally. For the price, you’re getting a lot here. 240 watts of booming power will provide the perfect accompaniment to any occasion, with a button on the top to boost the bass. Connected via Bluetooth (you can also use a USB drive), the overall soundstage is outstanding; the bass boost makes a noticeable difference if that’s your penchant. Controls are on the top (including some nifty sound effects buttons like a horn and crowd noise), so you can customise your sound, and positioned around the back of the speaker are dual mic and guitar inputs. Backlighting is built into the front of the speaker grill – this looks superb at night, adding to the party atmosphere. And if one speaker isn’t loud enough, you can even add another Partybox 310, and wake up the dead!
What we love: You get a lot in the one package, including great sound for the price!
At a glance: Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.1 Battery life: 18 hours IPX Rating: 4 Charging: AC adaptor
Soundboks SB3-1BB Wireless Speaker
The Danish company behind the Soundboks claim this is the loudest wireless speaker on the market, and after spending a week with it, it’s hard to disagree. If you’re looking for a big indoor wireless speaker, this probably isn’t for you – unless you live in a warehouse. However, for an outside wedding, rave or a birthday party, this fits the bill with aplomb. Cranked right up, you’re looking at 126 dB of quality sound; distortion-free thunderous sound in fact. You can even daisy chain multiple speakers together and kickstart your own Big Day Out – they’re certainly loud enough. The speaker is a professional build with four silicone balls affixed to each corner to dampen and absorb knocks and vibrations, and the cabinet has carry handles for transportation. A removable battery (you can have a second on charge as back-up) will green light 40 hours of play at mid-range and five at full bore. Or alternatively, plug it directly into the mains if a power source is close. Two ¼” XLR inputs can be used to connect a DJ mixer, mic or even a guitar. The Soundboks Gen 3 is the ideal outdoor entertaining partner and its cacophonous sound will keep every party raging.
What we love: The incredible power on offer and volume dial that goes up to 11! That’s rock and roll.
At a glance: Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 Battery life: 40 hours IP Rating: IP65 electronics coating
Ultimate Ears Hyperboom
Standing at 364mm and weighing close to 6kgs, the Hyperboom is a pumping party speaker from wireless speaker specialists, Ultimate Ears. It’s at home both in the centre of a wild celebration or soundtracking your favourite film; it even carries an optical output. Out of the box, the Hyperboom delivers a balanced 360-degree soundstage with a punching bass. It also has multiple Bluetooth inputs, so different DJs can trade songs on different playlists. There’s also a 3.5mm auxiliary input plus a USB-A output for charging phones during playback. If you take the speaker away from a power source, the 24 hours of battery life should satiate even the most ardent ravers.
What we love: This is the perfect party piece that won’t take up too much room in the car.
At a glance: Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 Battery life: 24 hours IPX Rating: 4 Charging: AC Adaptor
JBL Pulse 4
At the pool or the beach, the JBL Pulse 4 is the perfect party starter. It’s designed for 360-degree sound, with an LED lightshow delivering the same spread like a digital lava lamp. And it comes with an IPX7 waterproof rating, meaning it can be submerged as deep as one meter for up to 30 minutes. PartyBoost feature allows the pairing of two compatible JBL speakers for stereo, or multiple speakers for room shaking sound.
What we love: Set the right mood with the music and lights. The JBL Connect App lets you customise the lightshow and sync another Pulse 4 by holding it close and giving it a shake.
At a glance: Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2 Battery life: 12 hours IPX Rating: 7 Charging: USB-C
It all starts with the distorted guitar strums that indicate the speaker is powering up. If you like music, in particular rock music, you’ll appreciate this little nod to the speaker’s rich heritage. Small in stature but big in sound, the Emberton is covered in durable rubber with a metal speaker grill emblazoned with the distinctive logo. A smart brass button on the top controls the volume and skips tracks, and an LED light indicates battery life. The only way to connect to the speaker is via Bluetooth. The Emberton throws out a big and well-balanced soundstage for its size, tuned with a rock slant in mind.
What we love: A rugged design, it might be pocket-sized, but it packs a powerful punch.
At a glance: Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 Battery life: 20 hours IPX Rating: 7 Charging: USB-C
We all love taking our portable speaker for an outside adventure, but god help the person who knocks it into the sand, into the flowerbed, on to the concrete, or worst of all, spills their lemonade spritz on it. Welcome the Sony SRS-XB33, which has been vigorously tested in all those scenarios as well as being submerged in one metre of water for 30 minutes, after which it was still kickin’ its sonic goals (and was awarded an IP67 rating). It also boasts Live Sound mode, which utilises DSP technology to create super impressive, wide, three-dimensional sound. Lastly, check out Sony’s internally-developed X-Balanced Speaker Unit, which achieves truly incredible sound quality with mega-punchy bass.
What we love: This portable speaker has more lives than your kitty, but its durable design doesn’t mean Sony have skimped on amazing sound quality.
At a glance: Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 Battery life: 24 hours IP Rating: IP67 Charging: USB-C
Bose Soundlink Revolve II
The Soundlink Revolve II is designed to deliver 360 degrees of consistent sound when you’re out and about. It starts with a down-facing transducer, coupled with an omnidirectional deflector to distribute your music evenly. There are no dead spots with the Revolve II. Passive radiators housed in the upper section of the speakers give low notes that extra bit of support. The result is a form factor that’s small in footprint but still gets the party started. It’s encased in stylish and seamless soft material to absorb shocks and leave no marks. And protection comes via IP55 dust and splash resistance.
What we love: You can take the Revolve II for a stand-alone outdoor adventure, and also have it as part of your home sound ecosystem, with a Bose Home Speaker synced to the Revolve II (via Bose’s SimpleSync).
At a glance: Connectivity: Bluetooth Version 4.1 Battery life: 13 hours IP Rating: IP55 Charging: Micro-B to USB-A
Bose Soundlink Revolve+ II
The Revolve+ II ups the game, delivering louder for longer than the Revolve II. It’s 3cm taller than the Revolve, at 18.4cm, and also 0.24kg heavier, at 0.90kg. For this extra heft, the Revolve+ II comes with a fabric handle for toting to your next picnic.
What we love: No fuss portability with an immersive sound. And it’s easy to pair two Bose speakers for Stereo or Party Mode playback.
At a glance: Connectivity: Bluetooth Version 4.1 Battery life: 17 hours IP Rating: IP55 Charging: Micro-B to USB-A
Marley Get Together
Marley’s Get Together Duo Bluetooth 5.0 speakers are not only aesthetically pleasing, they’re also environmentally friendly, incorporating bamboo panelling and a composite of reclaimed materials. Both speakers come with power adaptors, with the left speaker permanently attached to a power supply. The right one is rechargeable (via a USB-C connection) and will deliver up to 20 hours from a single charge, so can be taken mobile. Despite their size, there’s a lot of grunt in these speakers with big bass. And unlike a standard single Bluetooth speaker, the Duo provides the benefit of true stereo – an excellent option if you’re connecting to a turntable.
What we love: The aesthetics match the sound quality.
At a glance: Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1 Battery life: 20 hours Charging: USB-C
JAM Bookshelf Bluetooth Speakers
These speakers can be hooked up to a turntable via RCA or AUX. Additionally, you can stream direct from your device thanks to Bluetooth connectivity. Even better, you can pair a Bluetooth-compatible turntable like the JAM Spun Out to enjoy all your vinyl, totally wire free. This also opens up the possibilities for speaker placement in relation to the turntable. The JAM packs plenty of punch thanks to 4-inch bass drivers, plus tweeters powered by neodymium magnets to deliver rich sound from a compact design.
What we love: Hear your favourite vinyl as originally designed for stereo. Plus, being active speakers, you don’t need a separate amp, so the listening journey begins right out of the box.
At a glance: Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 RCA and AUX connection Charging: 15V DC (Adapter included)