We've currently tested 14 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 Bluetooth speaker 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 and a karaoke setting which allows you to customize the bass, treble, and echo on its voice and mic controls; this 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. Also, it's rated IPX4 for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this, making it a suitable speaker for outdoor parties.
Unfortunately, it’s bulky and not 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 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 JBL Boombox 2 is the best portable JBL speaker we've tested. While it isn't as small and as portable as the JBL Clip 4, which you can clip to your backpack, it has a built-in carrying handle you can use to carry it around with you when you're on the go. It's well-built with an IPX7 rating for water resistance, though we don't test for this. It can also get pretty loud and has a somewhat neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, making it suitable for listening to audio content. You can use its PartyBoost feature to pair it to multiple other PartyBoost-compatible speakers, which can come in handy when you want your audio to fill a large room without cranking up its volume. It can also last just under 24 hours off a single charge, making it suitable for long days of listening.
Unfortunately, it doesn't support voice assistants, and there are some compression artifacts present at max volume, which can affect the clarity of your audio during louder listening sessions. However, if you're looking for a good, portable JBL speaker you can take outdoors with you, it's still a good choice.
The best JBL speaker we've tested in the budget category 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. It also 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, you can pair it 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. It's important to note that while it retails for a bit more than our $100 price point, we haven't tested any cheaper JBL speakers that perform better than it yet. 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 can't really customize their sound or use them as voice assistant speakers.
Jun 15, 2021: Confirmed the picks are still the best recommendations for our users. Minor changes were made to the text for consistency and accuracy.
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 many 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 for bringing with you on the go, but you probably won't be able to use them with voice assistants, even through your paired smartphone.