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Best Portable Mini Bluetooth Speakers for 2023: Top Compact Waterproof Wireless Speakers


$45 at Walmart

The Soundcore by Anker Mini 3 is fully waterproof

Soundcore by Anker Mini 3

Good value mini Bluetooth speaker

$63 at Amazon

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Tribit StormBox Micro 2

Best value micro Bluetooth speaker

$76 at Amazon

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Tribit XSound Mega

Best value mini Bluetooth party speaker

$250 at Walmart

The JBL Pulse 5 has improved sound and an improved light show

JBL Pulse 5

Best compact Bluetooth speaker with 360-degree light show

$195 at Amazon

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Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 2nd Gen

Impressive sounding ultracompact speaker (and speakerphone)

We have a list of the best overall Bluetooth speakers of 2023, which includes beefier portable wireless speakers along with wireless Bluetooth boom boxes that have built-in handles. But this list is all about very compact Bluetooth speakers that are not only highly portable but also tend to be fairly cheap — and by that I mean affordable. Many of them weigh less than a pound and a few can fit in a pocket. Several models cost less than $100.

While compact mini and micro Bluetooth speakers continue to improve with time, offering better sound, longer battery life, more reliable connectivity and increased durability (since many are now fully waterproof), they do have their sound limitations. The smallest Bluetooth speakers are technically mono speakers, and there’s only so much bass you can get out of a tiny speaker. That said, for their size, many of these speakers deliver surprisingly decent sound. New additions to the list include the Soundcore by Anker Mini 3, Sony SRS-XB100 and JBL Pulse 5.

Best mini Bluetooth wireless speakers

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When it launched, Bose made some bold claims about its new SoundLink Flex Bluetooth speaker, particularly its bass performance. But it mostly lives up to the hype and is arguably the best-sounding wireless speaker for its relatively compact size. Available in three colors — black, white smoke and stone blue (pictured) — the speaker is IP67 dust- and waterproof, and rated for 12 hours of battery life at moderate volume levels.

It’s also equipped with Bose’s PositionIQ technology to automatically detect the speaker’s orientation and deliver optimized sound based on whether it’s upright, hanging or flat on its back. The Flex also floats and Bose says it can survive drops and bumps, with a soft silicone back and powder-coated steel grille that “won’t peel or flake and is resistant to corrosion and UV light.”

While Bose’s SoundLink Micro also delivers impressive sound for its tiny size, this speaker is bigger, weighing just over a pound (0.45 kg) and measuring 7.9 inches wide, 2.1 inches deep and 3.6 inches high (20 by 5.3 by 9.1cm), so the Flex sounds significantly better than the Micro. For some reason, it uses the older Bluetooth 4.2 instead of 5.0, but I didn’t have any problems with connectivity.

Bose says it can fill a living room with sound. From my tests, I’d say it would have to be a relatively small living room — it can only output so much sound as a single speaker. However, if you pair two of them together in stereo mode, the sound gets to a whole other level and indeed fills a larger room with sound.

The Soundcore by Anker Mini 3 is fully waterproof

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The very compact Soundcore by Anker Mini 3 Bluetooth speaker may not deliver huge sound but it delivers more sound than you’d think (with just enough bass) from a speaker of its size. Available in multiple color options and weighing around 8 ounces or 223 grams, it has an integrated strap and is fully waterproof with an IPX7 rating.

The 6-watt Mini 3 sounds fairly similar to the new , which retails for $60 or around $20 more, and features good battery life — up to 15 hours at moderate volume levels. You can wirelessly link multiple Mini 3s together to create a wider sound field, but most people will use this speaker for casual listening on the go. It also makes for a good bathroom or shower speaker and does have speakerphone capabilities with a built-in microphone. 

 

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Back in 2020, Tribit released the StormBox Micro, a budget version of Bose’s excellent SoundLink Micro speaker that delivered surprisingly good sound for its size and modest price. Now we get the StormBox Micro 2, which offers improved sound and battery life, along with a charge-out feature that turns the speaker into a power bank for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. An integrated strap allows you to clip it to your backpack or your bike’s handlebars.

Like the original, it’s an excellent value and easy to recommend if you’re looking for a super compact portable wireless speaker. 

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The Sony SRS-XB100 Bluetooth speaker has a little bigger sound than its predecessor.

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For 2023, Sony’s smallest Bluetooth speaker has once again been modestly upgraded, with a new Bluetooth chipset, slightly improved sound and speakerphone performance. This portable Bluetooth speaker is both dust- and waterproof with an IP67 certification and, like its predecessor (the SRS-XB13), it’s rated for 16 hours of battery life at moderate volume levels and it charges via USB-C. Equipped with Bluetooth 5.3 with support for the AAC and SBC audio codecs, the speaker plays bigger than you’d think for its small size, with some punch to its bass. It’s pretty impressive for a mini mono speaker.  

Though the 9.6-ounce (272-gram) speaker appears to have the same design as the XB13, Sony says its new sound diffusion processor “realizes richer spread sound,” which basically means this has a bit wider soundstage, which I can confirm. It can output only so much sound — yes, it has its limitations — but if you add a second XB100, you can get stereo sound. Alas, there’s no companion app, but that isn’t a huge deal.

The XB100 is available in multiple color options and includes a strap so you can attach it to various objects. It also has speakerphone capabilities with an integrated microphone (as I said, the speakerphone’s performance has been improved, and callers said they could hear me clearly indoors).

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With each new version of the Flip, JBL makes small improvements, and while the latest model, the Flip 6, doesn’t look much different from the Flip 5 on the outside, it does feature improved sound. It has two-way drivers with a woofer and tweeter and dual passive radiators that help the Flip 6 deliver much deeper bass than you think it could. 

It’s fully waterproof and dustproof with an IPX67 rating. Like the Flip 5, it’s rated for up to 12 hours of audio playback at moderate volume levels and charges via USB-C. Available in multiple color options, it’s one of the best-sounding speakers for its compact size.

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The Tribit MaxSound Plus 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 for a Bluetooth speaker. And be sure to activate the instant coupon on the product page for $10 off. 

Read our Tribit MaxSound Plus review.

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Small JBL Go 3 speaker resting on a table near a stack of books.

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The JBL Bluetooth speaker that received the biggest improvements over the previous model is among the company’s smallest. The JBL Go 3 has a completely new look — it’s now covered in durable fabric instead of having the naked plastic design of its Go predecessors — and that new design, coupled with surprisingly decent sound for its small size, makes the Go 3 one of the top micro Bluetooth speakers out there.

Available in multiple color options, it has an IP67 water-resistance rating, meaning it can be dunked in water and is dustproof. Battery life is rated at up to five hours.

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The Roam is currently Sonos’ smallest and most affordable speaker (if you don’t count those $99 Sonos-compatible Symfonisk Ikea Wi-Fi bookshelf speakers). This model, like Sonos’ earlier Move portable speaker ($400), is equipped with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and can tap into an existing Sonos multiroom audio system and link with other Series 2-compatible Sonos speakers. The Sonos Roam makes for a good starter Sonos speaker for those new to the Sonos world. Read our Sonos Roam review.

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While Anker’s  came out in 2019 it remains one of best-sounding speakers for around $100. It’s larger than many mini Bluetooth speakers, but it’s still compact. It manages to sound quite a bit fuller than much of the competition in its price range, with bigger bass, more volume and better clarity. It’s also fully waterproof (IPX7-rated) and has support for the aptX streaming codec for devices like Samsung’s Galaxy phones that support it.

It’s currently priced at $107 at Amazon, but you can save money by activating the instant coupon on the product page. 

Read our Anker Soundcore Motion Plus review.

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The UE Wonderboom 3 speaker comes in a few different color options

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We liked Ultimate Ears’  and the third-generation model, the Wonderboom 3, offers some small improvements, including slightly better battery life (up to 14 hours instead of 13, at moderate volume levels) and a new Bluetooth chip that allows for extended wireless range of over 130 feet (40 meters). The design has not changed, though the speaker now comes in different color options.

Like its predecessor, the Wonderboom 3 carries a list price of $100, but sometimes sells for a little less. Its IP67 rating means that it’s not only waterproof but also dust-proof (and able to float).

This model retains the special Outdoor Boost mode that boosts treble and you can link two together (or pair a Wonderboom 3 to a Wonderboom 2) to create a stereo sound pairing by simply pressing a button on each speaker. As far as I can tell, the Wonderboom 3 sounds very similar to the Wonderboom 2 and features very good sound for its small size. That said, while there’s some punch to the bass (being short yet squat helps it produce more low end), it can only deliver so much kick. 

Alas, Ultimate Ears, which is owned by Logitech, has not upgraded the charging port to USB-C. The speaker still charges with a Micro-USB cable, which is a bit of a bummer.

marshall-willen-2

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Marshall’s little mono Willen speaker is similar to Bose’s SoundLink Micro and other micro speakers like the Tribit StormBox Micro 2. Also like those speakers, it has an integrated strap on its base so you can clip it onto a backpack or even to your bike’s handlebars. Its 2-inch full range driver and two passive radiators put out more sound than you’d think it would for its tiny size, and it offers decent clarity as well just enough bass to avoid sounding tinny (you can choose from three preset sound modes). 

Battery life is good at around 15 hours of playback time at moderate volume levels, and the speaker is IPX67 dust-proof and waterproof. The main strike against it is its $120 price — ideally it would cost around $80, though right now you can pick it up on sale for $100. But it’s nicely designed, feels rugged and fits in a jacket pocket, weighing in it at 0.68-pound (308 grams).

The Willen can stand up vertically or lay down horizontally and has a built-in microphone for speakerphone calls. It comes in a couple of color options and can be linked wirelessly with other Willen speakers to augment the sound.

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Over the last few years, Tribit has made several Bluetooth speakers that deliver a lot of boom for the buck. Add its new XSound Mega to the list.

Tribit is billing the XSound Mega as more of an outdoor speaker — a lanyard is included for toting it around as a sort of mini boombox — but it works just fine indoors. It has an LED light show that you can turn on or off and there are three EQ settings for sound: XBass, Music and Audiobook. Additionally, it can be used as a power bank to charge your mobile devices.

In my tests, the speaker compared pretty favorably to more expensive speakers like the JBL Charge 5. There’s plenty of bass and the speaker plays loud for its size, with decent clarity. That said, it’s a mono speaker with a single driver and two bass radiators — that’s how you get all that bass. So while you can expect big sound, the soundstage doesn’t feel all that wide, particularly at lower volumes. It actually sounds better at higher volumes.

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jbl-clip-4-1

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For its first three generations, JBL’s Clip micro Bluetooth speaker had a circular design. But for the fourth-gen Clip 4, JBL has moved to a more oval shape, bulked up the speaker slightly and added USB-C charging. This portable Bluetooth speaker does seem more durable, with a sturdier integrated carabiner clip. Also, it sounds a little better, with more volume, clearer sound and more bass. With an IP67 water resistance rating, it can survive being dunked in shallow water and is dust-proof. The Clip 4 is right up there with the best overall micro Bluetooth speakers.

Read our review of JBL Clip 4.

sony-srs-xb23-17

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With its new canister-like design, perfectly sized to fit in a chair cup holder, Sony has created a portable Bluetooth speaker that has a design you’re probably familiar with from popular speakers like the UE Boom and JBL Flip, which have been upgraded over the years with improved bass and battery life. 

An Extra Bass model, the SRS-XB23 definitely has a warmer sound. It delivers better sound with more bass and volume than many of the cheaper generic Bluetooth speakers you can find on Amazon in the $40-$100 range on Amazon. It’s also a sleeker looking Bluetooth speaker that’s available in five different color options: black, taupe, coral red, light blue and olive green. Some colors are available for less.

Equipped with two new full-range drivers and passive bass radiator, it delivers 12 hours of battery life at moderate volume levels and is water-, dust-, rust- and shock-proof with an IP67 rating. It has USB-C charging and can connect with up to 100 other Sony speakers using Sony’s Party Connect feature.

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The JBL Pulse 5 has improved sound and an improved light show

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JBL Pulse speaker is now on its fifth generation and both the sound quality and 360-degree light show have been improved. JBL has “expanded the transparent outer body” so the customizable light show (there’s a companion app for iOS and Android that allows you to alter the colorful lighting effects) looks more impressive. The speaker is also IP67 dustproof and waterproof, and it offers up to 12 hours of battery at moderate volume levels.

The speaker now has a separate tweeter and a passive bass radiator that delivers fairly punchy bass. I’d say the speaker delivers very good but not great sound for its size and price (it distorts a little at higher volumes). For sound, it’s sort of in between JBL’s Flip 6 and Charge 5, so you’ll arguably get slightly better sound from the Charge 5. But you’re really buying this speaker for the light show — that’s what makes it unique and special and it does look mesmerizing.

Note that you can pair this with another JBL PartyBoost compatible speaker for stereo sound or link multiple JBL PartyBoost speakers for augmented sound. Also, you can find this speaker on Amazon as thrown in for the same price as the speaker by itself. 

bang-olufsen-beosound-a1-gen-1

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Bang & Olufsen has upgraded its dome-shaped aluminum-clad A1 speaker with improved battery life, better speakerphone performance (it now has a three-microphone array) and slightly improved sound. It’s not only the smallest wireless speaker from the Danish company, but also the most affordable as it often drops to around $200.

While the speaker drivers remain the same, the Qualcomm chipset that powers the speaker has been upgraded (the speaker uses Bluetooth 5.1), bumping the sound quality up a tad, particularly at higher volumes, with better digital signal processing. It remains one of the best-sounding mini Bluetooth speaker models, with richer more tonally balanced sound than other Bluetooth speakers its size — and it should sound good, considering its elevated price point.

It’s also worth noting that the A1 has multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you can connect this to your PC and smartphone at the same time and easily switch back and forth between the two if a call comes in on your phone. Additionally, the speaker is Alexa-enabled, meaning you can activate Amazon’s voice assistant by just saying “Alexa.” 

Battery life is rated at up to 18 hours at 50% volume (the earlier A1 didn’t live up to its battery life claims, but this number is more accurate) and if you can afford it, you can link two A1 speakers to create a stereo pair. The speaker is waterproof with an IP67 rating that allows it to be submerged briefly in shallow water.

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At around $30, the Tribit XSound Go is one of the top speakers with Bluetooth connectivity for the money. Besides sounding decent, it’s also fully waterproof. It also has excellent battery life — up to 24 hours at 50% volume levels.

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Bose SoundLink Micro

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Although a little pricey and due to be upgraded, the Bose SoundLink Micro sounds remarkably decent for its tiny size, delivering more bass than other pocketable speakers. It’s a fully waterproof Bluetooth speaker and available in three color options, although the blue version appears to be hard to find. 

While this model is truly pocket-size — and that’s certainly an appealing feature — the bigger but still compact SoundLink Flex sounds significantly better and is also the better value though it costs more.

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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 $50 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. It also has a rechargeable li-ion battery able to power up to 20 hours of continuous playtime.

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How we test Bluetooth speakers

In assessing what the best Bluetooth speakers are, we consider the design of the speaker, and particularly how durable it seems, along with sound quality and overall value. The list includes everything from compact mini models and pocket-size micro versions to heftier models with powerful audio. For more, check out our lists of the best smart speakers and the best Wi-Fi speakers and music systems.

Bluetooth wireless speaker FAQs

How do I choose a Bluetooth speaker?

When choosing a Bluetooth speaker, what it really comes down to is size and price. If you’re looking for a very portable speaker, you’ll want to get something very compact, but remember that smaller speakers usually produce less sound and bass than larger ones. So while there are plenty of mini Bluetooth speakers that deliver bigger sound than you might expect, they do have their sonic limitations. For a lot of people it’s a question of finding a speaker that’s not too big or too small — one that travels well but also is capable of producing good sound for its size. But finding the best portable Bluetooth speaker also comes down to your budget.

Price can be a limiting factor. You may not want to spend $150 or more for a small speaker. Luckily, there are plenty of good options for $100, and some decent mini Bluetooth speakers can cost less than $50. Also, certain “value” brands that sell primarily on Amazon are strongly worth considering because they do offer a lot for the money.

If you’re looking for the best sound quality, as I said, bigger is usually better, and some larger portable Bluetooth speakers — sometimes referred to as Bluetooth boom boxes — can put out a lot of sound and have an integrated handle for toting them around.

What is the loudest Bluetooth speaker?

The loudest Bluetooth speakers are the biggest ones. Sometimes they’re referred to as boom boxes or “party” speakers. Some of those speakers are portable and have built-in rechargeable batteries while the biggest party speakers literally have wheels on them for transport and need to be plugged in with an AC adapter because they require so much power. 

We have a list of best wireless boom box speakers if you’re looking for a bigger Bluetooth speaker. It’s also worth noting that Bluetooth speakers from the same company can be daisy-chained together to augment their sound or paired together as a left-right stereo pair. Often, the best way to get bigger sound is to pair two Bluetooth speakers together in a stereo pair.

Are mini Bluetooth speakers waterproof?

More and more mini Bluetooth speakers are waterproof, which means they can be fully submersed in water. A few models even float. For full waterproofing, look for an IPX rating of IPX7 or higher. Sometimes speakers will also have a dust-resistance rating. For example, an IP68 speaker is fully dust-proof and fully waterproof. The first number is the dust-resistance rating while the second refers to water resistance. So a speaker with an IP68 rating has the same water-resistance rating as an IPX8-rated speaker. 

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