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Best Bluetooth and smart speakers for your summer vacations & day trips

Now that summer weather is here, it’s time to start enjoying the great outdoors and leaving the comfort of your home office and speaker systems behind. If you’re planning any beach outings or maybe family vacations, you’ll need a good portable speaker to take with you. These are the best Bluetooth speakers to take with you this summer, whether you’re wanting ultra portability and budget-friendly or something that you’ll hear from blocks away.

Bluetooth or smart speaker?

There are really only two options when looking for a great portable speaker: Bluetooth or smart with Wi-Fi. It really comes down to what features and price point you want to be at. Bluetooth only will be great for budget options (or longer battery life), but smarts will give you the ability to control your tunes through voice commands.

Budget-friendly: Oontz Angle 3 — $22+

This is the most budget-friendly speaker here. It is for the person who wants to just toss a speaker in their bag and go, not worrying about it getting damaged through being tossed around.

The Oontz Angle 3 is a Bluetooth speaker that features up to 100-feet of reach and is IPX5 rated. This means that it’s safe to be used in the rain or splash zones at the beach, and you can wash it off after it gets sandy. Just don’t try to fully submerge it.

Battery-wise, the Oontz Angle 3 gives you up to 14 hours of playback on a single charge at ⅔ volume. On the connectivity front, you’ll get Bluetooth or AUX to choose from, and the built-in microphone lets it act as a speakerphone. nearly 35,000 shoppers at Amazon gave it a stellar 4.3/5 star rating, and it’s on sale right now for $22 Prime shipped when the on-page coupon is clipped, though it generally goes for just over $25.

More durable, louder, feature packed: JBL Flip 4 — $75

The JBL Flip 4 is great for those who want a bit more out of their Bluetooth speaker. Like the above Oontz, this speaker is primarily connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth. You’ll get up to 12 hours of playtime through its built-in rechargeable battery.

For waterproofing, you’re taking a step up here. With an IPX7 rating, your JBL Flip 4 isn’t just limited to rain or splashes. You can fully submerge the Flip 4 in water, making it perfect for not only beach day but also pool parties and more.

JBL Connect+ is also included with the Flip 4. This allows you to “link more than 100 JBL Connect+-enabled speakers together to amplify the party.” If you’ve got friends who also have other JBL Connect+ speakers, link them all together to get a louder and more full sound. Don’t have multiple speakers linked? The Flip 4 has dual external passive radiators to help amplify the bass of your portable speaker. Rated 4.5/5 stars from over 7,000 shoppers at Amazon where it goes for $75.

Ultra-portable & loud: Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 — $100

The Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 is a brand-new addition to the Bluetooth speaker market. Available for purchase now, and shipping starting July 3rd, we dubbed the WONDERBOOM 2 ‘…summer’s best Bluetooth speaker.” in our hands-on review.

You’ll get 13-hours of listening capabilities with the WONDERBOOM 2, making sure that you’ll be able to enjoy your tunes all day at the beach. Like the above JBL, the WONDERBOOM 2 also supports pairing with other speakers, though it does it a little differently. With this speaker, you’ll be able to pair two in stereo to get a more room-filling sound and music separation. This is great for outdoor parties, and the improved bass also gives you great sound all around. For $100, this IP67-rated Bluetooth speaker floats around the pool for you thanks to its high-grade waterproofing.

Loud and proud: Sony SRS— $122

The Sony SRS-XB32 is Sony’s extra-bass portable speaker. It features IP67 waterproofing and up to 24-hours of battery on a single charge. It’s larger than the above models but offers a lot more. With Extra Bass and Live Sound Modes, the speaker was designed with DSP technology to make your music sound like you’re at an actual concert venue, no matter where your party takes you.

It’s waterproof, shockproof, and dustproof so you can take the SRS-XB32 just about anywhere you’d think. It features RGB lighting, something that many speakers don’t offer. Through the Wireless Party Chain, you can connect up to 100 speakers together and sync both music and lights. Coming in at around $122, this dual 48mm speaker system will make you the life of any party.

Smart & Long-lasting: Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST — $200

This is the first smart speaker we’ve listed here. It’s an obvious upgrade for those who want to be the ultimate life of the party. You’ll get Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant built-in to give you hands-free control of your tunes and even smart home. That’s right, the Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST can command your smart home thanks to Alexa. Plus, you can pair up to eight MEGABLAST or BLAST speakers together for more immersive sound, or just two if you’d rather have stereo tunes.

Alexa is the star of the show here, as you can use it to play Spotify, Amazon Music, TuneIn, and more. Plus, use your voice to play or pause your music, or change the volume hands-free. You’ll get 16-hours of battery life out of this 360-degree speaker, and the IP67 waterproof rating means it can be submerged and float around the pool with you. At $200, it’s a great option for higher-end parties.

Waterproof Assistant: JBL Link 20 — $200

If you’re not a fan of Alexa, then the JBL Link 20 is the speaker for you. It harnesses the power of Google’s Assistant and gives you the same portability as many of the other speakers here. With 10-hours of battery life, you’ll be able to enjoy your voice-controlled music all day at the pool. Plus with IPX7 waterproofing, there’s no worry as to whether rain or shine could take out your tunes.

This speaker is great for just about anything, really. It offers multi-room playback in your home through Chromecast, making sure that you can fill your home with music rain or shine. At $200, it’s a no-brainer if you want to bring Google Assistant along with you to the beach or pool.

The best summer Bluetooth speaker: JBL Boombox — $360

This is my favorite speaker, personally. Though the JBL Boombox is the most expensive in the roundup, its larger design gives it a one-up on every other speaker here. You’ll find 24-hours of playback through its built-in battery and features a USB output so you can even power your devices should you phone start to die at the beach.

The JBL Boombox is IPX7 waterproof, meaning that no matter what you throw at it, the JBL Boombox will keep on ticking. The four active transducers and two JBL bass radiators, the Boombox delivers monstrous sound and hard-hitting bass. I absolutely love playing this massive speaker for friends who come to parties, as it always blows them away at just how loud and crisp it is. At $360, it’s an investment, for sure, but the waterproofing, volume, and overall design of the Boombox will make it a must-have for every pool or beach party you attend. Plus, the iconic design brings back an age-old classic, and you can learn more about that in our hands-on review.

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