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(Pocket-lint) - The biggest and best party speakers will offer a perfect blend of portability and wall-busting sound, with extras like waterproofing and microphone support all thrown in.
However, since dedicated party speakers are quite specific devices, it can be tough to find one that matches all your needs. Some are better suited to outdoor get-togethers, while others will only excel when providing sound for indoor shindigs.
It's also worth noting that the options we've tested are different to the likes of waterproof and outdoor speakers, which are often more compact. Not all of the best smart speakers or Bluetooth speakers translate to party atmospheres well, either.
To help you make sense of this niche area of speakers, we've detailed some of the top picks around.
What are the best party speakers?
Best party speaker: Our top pick
- Versatile and feature-packed
- Quite expensive
Sony has plenty of party-style speakers for you to explore, but the GTK-XB5 - while a little on the pricey side - offers a good blend of basic features and solid performance.
Users can play music via Bluetooth or through Sony's NFC One-Touch technology, with the unit able to sit both horizontally or vertically and deliver a solid, line or strobe lighting effect that can sync with the beat.
Like other dedicated party speakers, you also have the option to double up and receive stereo sound. And, if that's still not enough power, you can add extra bass or make automatic sound enhancements with the touch of a button.
Party speakers we also recommend
As we've already alluded to, the requirements of a party speaker can vary quite a bit. And while the Sony GTK-XB5 is a great pick that ticks most of these boxes, we also recommend the below options, if you need something a little different.
Bugani Party Speaker
- Affordable and huge sound
- Can only play music via Bluetooth
Bugani's speaker doesn't follow the same design path as many traditional party sound systems, but it makes this list purely because it's powerful enough to act as one.
You'll only be able to link your device via Bluetooth, but, once you do, you can then easily line up tracks to pump out through the two mid-bass external magnetic speakers, which are balanced out by the two tweeters and two subwoofer diaphragms.
You can even pair two of the speakers together, which, given the price, is a really neat and affordable way to spread the sound around your party.
That includes the outdoors, too, since the speaker is water-resistant.
- The design opens up plenty of versatility
- Not the best battery life
There are certainly options with better battery life - with this option managing just 13 hours - but the Sharp PS-929 offers comfortably one of the best designs.
There are two multi-coloured LED lights and a LED flashing strip that can be tapped into for creating a party scene, and the included microphone (and the input for another) allows for karaoke, too.
If you're mainly focused on the music, though, that can be delivered via Bluetooth, AUX or USB, and two speakers can be wirelessly connected to give you left-right stereo sound.
Acoustic Audio by Goldwood (AA15LBS)
- Room-filling sound
- Not the best looking
Acoustic Audio's AA15LBS is another one to seriously consider if you need maximum power, with the device able to reach a whopping 102dB.
That sound is courtesy of the huge 15-inch woofer at its heart, which is then also backed up and balanced out by the 2-inch tweeter.
It's also portable, thanks to the wheels and handles, and users can connect via Bluetooth, AUX, SD card or USB to play their tunes. If it's being used more as a PA system, the microphone comes included, as well as a stand.
Ion Audio Block Rocker Plus
- Incredible battery life
- Very poor radio signal
Ion's party speaker is the kind you might remember from The Wolf of Wall Street, complete with a telescoping handle that lets you wheel it to where the action is.
On the inside, it packs a real punch - there's a 100W peak power amplifier, 8-inch woofer and a wide dispersion tweeter that's backed up by bass boosting controls, as well as a microphone for karaoke or announcements.
It's also able to stay powered for an age - 50 hours worth of playback is available through the unit, with users able to connect via Bluetooth or through the AUX port.
Other products we considered
In trying to compile a list of the best party speakers available, we spent hours testing and researching. We consider a range of factors when it comes to recommending devices - and also when a new device enters our top five selections. This isn't just our own testing, either, but also consumer reviews, brand quality and value.
In all of our roundups, there are also many products we test that don't make the final cut. Since they may be the right fit for some people, however, we've listed them below.
How to choose a party speaker
Choosing a party speaker is very different to choosing something for your home or the outdoors, as we mentioned up top. That's why we've put together a few considerations to check off before you make up your mind.
How much should you spend?
As with any area in the speaker market, ones specifically designed for party environments can get pretty expensive. However, there's also a very good range of mid-range and entry-level picks, too. Typically, sound quality and added features (such as multiple connections, improved battery life and a more premium, portable build) are available to you if you can spend a little more, but the basic function of filling a room with good-quality audio is available even with cheaper models. It's all about how much you're willing to spend, as with anything. Keep in mind that you can also double-up on many speakers and pair them to receive stereo sound, which can really boost things without having to break the bank.
Do you definitely need a dedicated party speaker?
If you're in need of something that can provide an extra gear of sound above a regular household speaker - a speaker that can fill a room of 50 people, say - then a party speaker is what we'd go with. However, we'd advise you to consider whether you can actually get by with a high-end, powerful Bluetooth or smart speaker before diving in completely, as there's a strong chance this will be more useful to you when you're not wheeling it out for karaoke sessions with friends.
How important is portability?
Perhaps this is a speaker that will sit in the same corner forever, or perhaps it's one that will need to be lugged in and out of cars and parties every weekend. Either way, we'd consider the level of portability you need from a party speaker, as many can be quite a chore to move around - even with their wheel and telescopic handle. They're also fairly delicate, so be sure to wrap it up if it is going on adventures regularly.
More about this story
Every product in this list has been tested in real-life situations, just as you would use it in your day-to-day life.
In the case of party speakers, there's plenty to consider. While we can't claim to have tested each at individual events, we did consider all the practicalities that using and travelling with one would entail before deciding on our recommendations. Since we test all manner of options for our speaker buyer's guides and speaker reviews, we're also very experienced in judging sound quality and design.
Of course, pricing is also a big factor, as is the cost of doubling up and receiving stereo sound.
As with any roundup, it's not possible to deliver a list that works for every type of user, but we lean on the experiences and opinions of the wider Pocket-lint team - as well as thoroughly assessing the areas above - in order to do our best in this regard.
What we always tend to avoid when compiling these picks are needless spec comparisons and marketing lines; we just want to provide an easy to understand summary that gives you an idea of what each product is like to use. Our verdicts are concise, but this is purely in the interest of brevity.