Best Bluetooth party speakers Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best Bluetooth party speakers you can buy in 2022.
It's nearly back to school time, which means that lectures, exams and – with any luck – the odd party are just around the corner. (Prepared? No, we didn't think so.) Whether you plan to let loose with shiny new friends, chill with dusty old textbooks, or perhaps a bit of both, no dorm room is complete without a brilliant Bluetooth party speaker.
There's no shortage of options on the market, including plenty of great budget Bluetooth party speakers for cash-strapped students. But how do you tell the dimes from the duds? We're here to tell you...
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How to choose the best Bluetooth party speaker
From chilled-out focus music to all-night party tunes, a Bluetooth speaker will help you make the most of your college or university experience.
Dorm rooms are not known for their spacious designs, so you shouldn't have to worry about whether a speaker will be capable of filling it with sound. You might, however, want to pick a Bluetooth party speaker that's compact and doesn't take up too much desk space. Looking for something you can easily take to drinks in the park? Go for a model that's portable (i.e battery-powered) and waterproof.
Battery life is another dealbreaker. Dorm rooms tend to be light on power points, and nobody wants to wait for tech to charge, so look for a Bluetooth party speaker with a decent juicepack.
Last but not least, the best Bluetooth party speakers sound as good as they look. Clear vocals and plenty of bass will pay off when you crank up the volume and party like it's spring break! And while it might be tempting to go for one with flashing LEDs that can put on a light display to add visuals to your music, just remember that you'll be paying for it – those without that gimmicky extra will generally sound better for the money.
Below is a short-but-sweet list of the very best Bluetooth party speakers for students who want to disco-fy their dorm, complete with specs, mini-reviews and today's best prices. Looking to bag a bargain? These are best Bluetooth speaker deals live right now...
Want a student-friendly Bluetooth speaker roughly the size of a bottle of wine that'll charge your phone and sound great? You've found it.
The JBL Charge 5 is even more durable than the four Charges before, thanks to an impressive IP67 waterproof rating. It sounds awesome too, thanks to the new 10W tweeter and racetrack-shaped driver, and comes in a choice of eight different finishes including navy blue (pictured).
Want to rock your dorm? Features include a JBL PartyBoost button on the control panel on top of the speaker. JBL’s updated daisy-chaining tech means you can beef up your portable sound by linking the Charge 5 with up to 100 other PartyBoost-enabled JBL Bluetooth offerings.
In short, this What Hi-Fi? Awards 2021 winner ticks all the boxes and more, helping you to make the most of work and play.
Read the full review: JBL Charge 5
If you want a portable Bluetooth party speaker that sounds as good as you can buy for around £115 / $140 / AU$140, you’ll be hard-pressed to better the fantastic Flip 6.
This little speaker is water- and dustproof to an IP67 rating, boasts a 12-hour battery life and has a USB-C charging port, meaning it goes from flat to fully juiced in just 2.5 hours. It's a pleasure to use and scores highly for portability, with a wrist strap that slips comfortably over our hand. There's also a PartyBoost button that helps you pair two PartyBoost-enabled speakers to create a stereo pair, or link over 100 PartyBoost-compatible speakers in mono.
Given that the Flip 5 is a past What Hi-Fi? Award winner, it will come as no surprise to learn that the Flip 6 is another resoundingly five-star product. The sonic upgrades in terms of clarity and breadth across the frequencies are easy to spot, and if you want more from the midrange and less from the treble, say, you can tweak it in the app. For a nominal price hike over the launch price of the Flip 5, there’s certainly more detail here, too.
Assuming you don't mind the lack of an aux-in port or inbuilt microphone, you'll almost certainly be wowed by this party-suitable speaker.
Read the full review: JBL Flip 5
Ultimate Ears has made a big splash in the Bluetooth party speaker market with its colourful, fun-sounding and portable models. One its most biggest hits? The impressive Wonderboom 2.
It's waterproof, sandproof, dustproof and is also designed to float, so it should withstand the most lively of dorm parties. Battery life is 13 hours and a full charge takes just under three.
Sonically, the Wonderboom 2 is an exciting listen. Bass is impressive bass given its small dimensions and there's plenty of detail and a fine sense of attack. You also get a ‘boost’ button on the underside of the unit. When pressed, it restricts the bass frequencies, allowing the UE to play louder through the midrange, which in turn makes the sound easier to hear when the unit is used outdoors.
There's no built-in mic or app and this speaker charges via the slightly older microUSB, but despite its relative age (it was released in 2019) the Wonderboom 2 is still one of the best sounding Bluetooth speakers for students.
Read the full review: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
Studying can be hard work, so the option to ask Alexa to "play soothing music" could come in handy, as could asking Alex mid-party to switch from one upbeat playlist to another without using your phone.
This popular and affordable entry-level Amazon Echo smart speaker is a compelling option for students – and not just because of its built-in voice assistant. Sonic performance is excellent for the size and cost, combing clear, refined treble with surprisingly-textured vocals.
The four physical buttons for mic on/off, action and volume are still present, offset from the apex of the Dot, and there’s also a 'tap to snooze' feature, which is helpful if you use your Dot for exam alarms and lecture reminders.
Downsides? Echo Dot speakers aren't truly 'portable' as they lack built-in batteries. But that's a small price to pay for 24/7 access to Alexa's impressive academic knowledge.
Read the full review: Amazon Echo Dot (4th Generation)
It might be one of the less portable speakers in this list due to its size, but the T3 can still be carted between parties thanks to the carry handle. It's robust rather than heavy, and boasts a battery life of up to 30 hours. Like bass? You're in luck - the solid chassis and rear-firing bass port will have you tapping your toe in no time.
There's no wi-fi (if you want wi-fi, opt of the Addon C3), but the Bluetooth-enabled T3 features a similarly classy design with textured surfaces and a leather embossed handle .
Audio Pro tends to ignore gimmicks in favour of high-quality sound but this speaker does have the facility to charge up your smartphone or tablets via a USB port. You also get an auxiliary input for your TV/MP3 player/record player.
Sound is superb, with plenty of depth and detail throughout the frequencies. If you want something that would suit large outdoor parties, this could work nicely.
Read the full review: Audio Pro Addon T3
There’s no shortage of student-friendly Bluetooth party speakers around, but the nicely-priced Megaboom 3 has carved out a niche for itself by combining fun features with an entertaining sound and rugged design.
Like the Wonderboom, this speaker floats in the pool, so it's ideal for use during spring break. The button on top is surprisingly versatile – it can skip tracks, play and pause, and even summon a playlist – and you can pair hundreds of the blighters to create a wall of sound.
The 360-degree dispersion of sound is impressive, easily filling up a lounge space, let alone a dorm room. Basslines are deeper, charge the song along with more momentum and grip, and that solidity runs through the entire frequency range, too.
Some of the models above sound more nuanced but, at its aggressive price, there really isn’t much to rival the Megaboom 3.
Read the full review: Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3
The JBL Xtreme 3 is a versatile, talented wireless speaker that’s as happy chilling in your dorm as it is being the life and soul of a house party. Yes, it's rugged, it's IP67 dust- and waterproof certified and you’d be forgiven for thinking at first glance that it might be more preoccupied with the amount of bass it’s producing rather than musical quality. But let us reassure you: the JBL Xtreme 3 proves to be a careful and considerate performer from the lowest of lows to the highest highs.
Bassheads should be more than satisfied with the healthy low-end clout on offer, but there’s quality as well as quantity. The JBL Xtreme 3 gained five stars across the board during our rigorous in-house testing, never appearing out of its depth no matter how complicated the musical arrangement.
Features are limited but if you want loud, dynamic speaker that will get the party started (and soothe your hangover in the morning) the Xtreme 3 is a great buy.
Read the full review: JBL Xtreme 3
At 16.5kg, the Audio Pro speaker is not exactly portable, but if you want to make a name for yourself by throwing the mother of all parties, it's ideal. The large bottom portion of the Drumfire houses a 20cm subwoofer powered by a 200W Class D amplifier to pump bass into the room. And you can hear it.
If you want a seriously powerful, seriously impressive sound – look no further. You get plenty of volume and weight but don't be thinking this speaker can't also do subtle; it's a highly-accomplished wireless speaker, whatever you throw at it. Add in multi-room connectivity and the option to extend the Audio Pro family and you have an enticing Bluetooth party speaker for students.
Read the full review: Audio Pro Drumfire
The Boom 3 isn't quite as successful as the Megaboom 3 (above) but it rugged style and punchy sound make it a worthy contender for any student dorm room.
The IP67 rating means it is dustproof and waterproof (up to 1m in water for 30 minutes), and the high-density fabric has been reworked to make it almost indestructible, no matter how extreme the environment.
Tapping the Magic Button lets you pause, play and skip tracks, while a long-press summons playlists imported from a music streaming service. You can also link two Boom 3s for stereo sound. Or, if you want even bigger sound, you can daisy-chain over 150 Boom and Megaboom speakers (current and previous generations) for one heck of a dorm party!
If you're a student who wants satisfying, full-bodied sound from an all-weather Bluetooth party speaker, the Boom 3 is a great option (especially if you can bag it at a bargain price).
Read the full Ultimate Ears Boom 3 review
How we test the best Bluetooth party speakers
The What Hi-Fi? team reviews hundreds of products each year, including a veritable banquet of Bluetooth speakers – all shapes, sizes and types have graced our dedicated listening facilities. No, we (sadly) cannot throw a party every time one comes through our doors, but every one of the speaker's features, from its water-resistance to its max volume, is put through the wringer in the reviewing process.
The team collectively has more than 100 years of experience in reviewing, testing and writing about consumer electronics. We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London and Bath, where the bulk of our in-house testing is completed, but of course, with portability a priority here, we make sure we spend several days with the product in every day environments too.
All products are compared to the best of its kind (typically, What Hi-Fi? Award winners) in the same price category, and all review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than a single reviewer, helping to ensure consistency and avoid individual subjectivity.
We choose only the best-reviewed products when putting together Best Buy guides like this one, so if you take the plunge and buy one of the products recommended above, or on any of our other Best Buy pages, you can rest assured you're getting a What Hi-Fi?-approved product.