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Which Bose portable speaker is best?

Comparing Bose portable speakers

Home speaker systems are great for listening to loud music at home, but you’ll need a portable speaker if you want to do the same while on the go. Portable speakers are ideal for outdoor settings such as at the beach, park or backyard, and they’re also great for indoor listening if you don’t have a home speaker system.

Bose is a top audio electronics brand and makes several high-quality portable speakers. Depending on what you want out of your speaker, there’s a solid chance Bose has one that suits your needs.

What to know before you buy Bose portable speakers

Audio quality

Portable speakers aren’t nearly as powerful as home speakers, but Bose’s models offer exceptional sound and bass for their size. Smaller speakers are great for small gatherings of 10 people or less, but be aware that the smaller the speaker, the less volume and bass it can deliver. Consider a larger model if you want something for parties or large gatherings.

Protection rating

Portable speakers are convenient for traveling and outdoor use, so they have some protection against the elements. Every Bose portable speaker has some water resistance, indicated by an IP rating. For example, a speaker with an IPX7 rating hasn’t been tested for dust resistance sufficiently, but it can be submerged in water 1 meter deep for up to 30 minutes before it gets damaged. There are several IP ratings, so it’s best to consult an IP chart before purchasing a speaker to see if it meets your expectations.

What to look for in quality Bose portable speakers

Smart functions

All portable speakers connect wirelessly through Bluetooth, but the best Bluetooth speakers have smart functions and features. For example, some can connect to Wi-Fi to stream music, and some support voice assistants such as Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant. Voice assistants can control music playback and volume, select songs, and  tell you information such as the weather and sports updates.

Sound direction

Some Bluetooth speakers have drivers that face only one direction, so they don't sound as loud if the speaker is turned away from the listener. However, other speakers, usually those with a cylindrical shape, amplify sound in every direction, delivering 360-degree sound, so it doesn’t matter how you position them.

Speaker pairing

Because of their size and power output, portable speakers can only offer so much volume in the bass range. However, many Bose models support speaker pairing, in which you can sync multiple speakers to play music from the same source. Speaker pairing significantly increases volume and lets you position speakers to cover more space.

Best Bose portable speakers

Best Bose portable speakers under $200

SoundLink Micro Bluetooth Speaker

This ruggedly built speaker delivers impressive sound and bass for its size, lasts for up to 6 hours and has a built-in microphone for taking calls. It has a 30-foot wireless range, an IPX7 waterproof rating and a clip-on strap for conveniently attaching to your backpack or handlebars. Sold by Amazon

SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker II

This speaker has a durable silicone body and is water-resistant, making it suitable for pool or beach use. It lasts up to eight hours on a full charge, can connect to other SoundLink Color speakers and comes in several colors, including sky blue, yellow, white and black. Sold by Amazon

Bose SoundLink Flex Bluetooth Speaker

This speaker is compact but delivers a balanced sound, lasts up to 12 hours and has an IP67 protection rating, so it’s highly resistant to water, dust and ultraviolet rays. It boasts intuitive technology that lets it automatically optimize sound quality based on its position and environment. Also, settings can be customized through the Bose smartphone app. Sold by Amazon

Best Bose portable speakers for $200-$300

SoundLink Mini II Special Edition

If you want something lightweight and durable, this speaker is for you. It weighs 1.5 pounds but has a durable single-aluminum casing for a sturdy build. It supports up to eight connected devices simultaneously, so you don’t have to disconnect to let someone else control the music. It lasts up to 12 hours on a full charge and supports access to voice assistants. Sold by Amazon

SoundLink Revolve II Bluetooth Speaker

The Revolve II has a round, cylindrical shape for delivering audio at 360 degrees, so you can position it any way you want. It’s small, but offers excellent sound, lasts 13 hours and works like an Amazon Echo Dot as it has Alexa built-in for hands-free controls. Also, it has an IP55 protection rating and you can pair multiple speakers for louder sound. Sold by Amazon

Best Bose portable speakers over $300

SoundLink Revolve Plus II Bluetooth Speakers

This upgraded version of the Revolve II has only a slightly more robust build, but it’s noticeably louder, so you can cover a larger outdoor area. It also lasts four hours longer on a full charge and has a convenient carrying handle. Sold by Amazon

Portable Smart Speaker

This is ideal for those who want a high-quality speaker with smart functions. Like the Revolve II, its cylindrical shape lets it deliver 360-degree sound, and its lightweight build makes it perfect for traveling. It can connect to Wi-Fi and supports voice assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant for accessing music streaming services. Sold by Amazon

S1 Pro Portable Bluetooth Speaker System

It’s the most expensive portable speaker in Bose’s lineup, but you’ll bring the house down with booming bass and superior sound. It’s large for a portable speaker, but it’s made for large gatherings and lasts up to 11 hours on a full charge. However, it’s important to note that the rechargeable battery is sold separately. Sold by Amazon

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Kevin Luna writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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