Some of the most popular speakers these days also come with smart home capabilities, letting you control your music and your connected devices using just your voice. What’s more: all of the speakers on this list are easily paired with another speaker, letting you create a room — and house — full of rich, immersive and enveloping sound.
1. Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen)
The Amazon Echo gets a lot of hype for its Alexa-enabled features, but it really deserves some kudos for its audio capabilities too. This second-generation Echo Plus boasts a nice upgrade, in the form of premium Dolby speakers supported by a 3.0” (76.2 mm) neodymium woofer and 0.8” (20 mm) tweeter (for contrast, the entry-level Echo Dot has just a 1.6″ speaker). Engineered for high quality audio, the speakers deliver room-filling 360° sound, with surprisingly crisp highs and a powerful, dynamic bass response. While you can pair the Echo Plus with your smart home devices to control your lights, security cameras, door locks and more, you can also pair the speaker with a second one for true stereo sound. Control the music playing in each room, or “drop in” on the other rooms to make an announcement.
2. Anker Soundcore Flare Wireless Speaker
Serious sound and a light show? There’s a lot to like about this best-selling speaker from Anker, which delivers powerful, multi-directional sound in a portable package. The company’s “BassUp” technology analyzes the frequencies in your music to intensify the bass and turn up the contrasts in every song, while back-to-back dual drivers churn out clear, full-range audio.
3. JBL Xtreme Portable Bluetooth Speaker
As its name suggests, these popular JBL speakers hold up to even the most extreme conditions, making them a solid choice for road trips and parties. The splash-proof coating means the speakers stay powered up even in the rain (just avoid dunking it in water completely) while the rugged shell holds up to any accidental bumps or drops. Performance-wise, the speakers feature a 2 x 20W audio amplifier, and dual external passive radiators that give you full, booming bass. You can connect up to three phones to the speaker at the same time, to take turns playing DJ. The built-in rechargeable battery gets you up to 15 hours of playtime, making this a great portable speaker to take to events, tailgating and the beach. Use the JBL Connect app (get it here) to wirelessly link multiple JBL speakers for an easy DIY “surround sound” experience.
4. Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 Portable Speaker
One of the best-reviewed speakers on the market, the Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 delivers immersive, well-balanced sound with rich trebles, and deep, accurate bass. The rechargeable battery gets you up to 15 hours of cord-free listening, and reviewers say the speakers deliver super robust, 360° sound without the distortion and muddiness that comes from other similarly-priced devices. Ultimate Ears says the BOOM 3 is virtually indestructible, using the same materials found in motorcycle jackets and firefighting equipment. The speakers are also completely waterproof, and will float if accidentally dropped or dragged into the pool.