We've currently tested 13 JBL speakers. JBL is a well-known brand that offers portable Bluetooth speakers that are well-suited for listening to lots of different types of audio content.
The best JBL speaker with a Bluetooth connection that we've tested is the JBL PartyBox 310. It’s a large speaker that can get quite loud, with distinctive RGB lights. It has a boomy sound profile that adds a little extra warmth to your mixes, though it's still suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. Its 'Bass Boost' feature allows you to add more thump and punch to your audio which can please fans of bass-heavy music like Hip-Hop and EDM. It also has a microphone and guitar input as well as a karaoke setting which allows you to customize the bass, treble, and echo on its voice and mic controls which can be useful to musicians. It also has an outstandingly large Bluetooth range, so you don't have to worry about your paired devices being too far from your speaker during long listening sessions. Additionally, it's rated IPX4 for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this, which makes it a suitable speaker for outdoor parties.
Unfortunately, it’s quite bulky and isn’t very portable, though it has a handle and wheels that help with transporting it around. It also has some compression artifacts at max volume, so your audio may not sound as clear at louder volumes. That being said, if you're looking for a good Bluetooth speaker for music with a few added features and audio customization options, the JBL PartyBox 310 is a solid choice.
The best portable JBL speaker that we've tested is the JBL Boombox 2. Thanks to its built-in carrying handle, you can carry it with one hand, and its battery-powered design means you don't have to plug it into an outlet to listen to your music. It's even rated IPX7 for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. Out-of-the-box, it has a decently neutral sound profile suitable for listening to lots of different audio content, and there's even a little extra warmth in the bass range that can please fans of bass-heavy music like hip-hop. It's also compatible with the JBL Portable app, and you can pair it with another JBL Boombox speaker to create a stereo pair or amplify your music across a large, crowded party. With a battery life of over 23 hours, you can enjoy multiple long listening sessions without a recharge, which is nice.
Unfortunately, while it can get loud, there's some compression when you play it at max volume, so your audio doesn't sound very clear or pure at loud volumes. Also, it doesn't support voice assistants, even from your paired smartphone. That said, it's still a pretty versatile Bluetooth speaker that makes it easy to listen to audio outdoors.
The best budget JBL speaker we've tested is the JBL FLIP 5. It’s a small, well-built, and portable Bluetooth speaker that comes with a strap that makes it easy to take with you on the go. It’s rated IPX7 for water resistance, though we don’t currently test for this, and has an eight-hour battery life which makes it a suitable speaker for long days spent outdoors. It has a boomy sound profile with a balanced mid-range, so your vocals and lead instruments should sound clear, though its dipped treble range can make some sibilants like 'S' and 'T' sound a little dull. Though it has to downmix audio to mono, it can be paired to other FLIP speakers to create a stereo pair through its JBL Portable app.
Unfortunately, like most small speakers, it struggles to produce low-bass, which doesn't make it ideal for listening to bass-heavy music like hip-hop or EDM. It also doesn't get as loud as some other JBL speakers we've tested, like the JBL PartyBox 100, and has some compression artifacts at max volume. That said, if you're looking for a versatile and portable speaker at an affordable price, it's still a solid choice.
Overall, JBL makes portable Bluetooth speakers with a solid, sturdy build and a pretty neutral sound profile. However, you won't be able to really customize their sound or use them as voice assistant speakers.
Apr 16, 2021: Replaced the JBL PartyBox 100 with the JBL PartyBox 310. Text was updated for consistency and accuracy.
JBL offers lots of speakers for a variety of uses. Generally, they have a pretty neutral sound profile, but they don't have graphic EQs to customize their sound based on your preferences. These well-built, portable Bluetooth speakers are ideal to bring with you on the go, but you probably won't be able to use them with voice assistants, even through your paired smartphone.