As a wise person once said, “music is the soul of life”. When we’re at home, we all tend to have our own routines and methods of listening to music, whether we’re old school and listen to vinyl or love the convenience of our phones, most of us have a way that we can easily and simply play tunes around the house, in our cars and out and about. When we go traveling, this can change. You can’t exactly pack the amazing sound system you bought in your luggage and with space at a premium you are forced to look a little more portable. Fortunately, the technology driving portable speakers has come such a long way in a short space of time and there are some excellent offerings out there which would fit in the palm of your hand.
Portable Speakers vs Headphones
A lot of people will be wondering what the problem is with just taking your headphones on your travels. Do you even need a portable speaker? Well there are multiple issues which arise from just having headphones.
- Not being able to listen to music in groups. This is an obvious one, but being traveling, even solo, doesn’t mean you won’t want to listen to music with others and share the experience.
- Ear fatigue and hearing damage. This is a real thing! If you listen to headphones for a long time, your ears can become tired or even sore. Loud music in your headphones can also cause your hearing to become damaged or lead to issues such as Tinnitus. Speakers are less likely to cause either of these issues.
- Portable speakers are affordable. Some models don’t cost the earth, and having one in case you want to listen to music from your phone or other device while traveling doesn’t have to mean a huge outlay.
Make no mistake, headphones are a great option, but they aren’t ideal for every scenario.
What We Are Looking For
So, what are the criteria for good quality portable speakers for traveling?
Battery life. Batteries have improved greatly over recent years. There is nothing more frustrating than devices which lose their charge quickly. Speakers that are a few years older are much more likely to only last an hour or so before they die on you. The models we’ve looked at and recommended have all been considered for their battery life among other features.
Audio clarity. If you’ve ever listened to music through cheap and nasty headphones you’ll know how annoying this is. A lot of the sound goes missing and it can sound like you are listening through a 1990s telephone. Far from ideal.
Portability. Ideally, you want something pocket sized, but certainly you will be looking for a portable speaker which fits easily in your backpack without taking up too much space.
Audio Volume. If you’re going to play music on the beach or outside, you need a bit of volume to ensure you can actually hear the music over background noise. It is amazing the level of audio which some of these portable speakers can pump out, even if they are pretty tiny.
Connectivity. Most portable speakers run on bluetooth which gives them a lot of connectivity with various devices including iPhone and Android cell phones, tablets, laptops and more. Not only does it need to be compatible with your own devices, it is great if you can allow friends to sync up with the device and play their tunes too. Perfect if the battery on your device goes flat!
Price. Audio gear can get pricey, and traveling can be expensive enough without having to splash out on something else. While the cheapest portable speakers tend to be low quality, spending a lot of money can be off putting, especially considering that traveling can lead to things getting misplaced.
Best Portable Speakers For Your Travels
JBL Clip 2 Waterproof Speaker
JBL are an audio brand with a huge history, from producing huge PA systems and audio rigs to tiny speakers such as the Clip 2. This is a speaker which is clearly designed to be robust and portable. The brand has seemingly thought of everything with this design.
The clip name presumably comes from the Carabiner, which comes ready attached and lets you clip your speaker onto everything from clothing to your sun lounger at the beach.
The streaming works via Bluetooth, so you can attach it easily and wirelessly with your devices. It does have an audio cable should you wish to use this too. You can even use it to take phone calls from your mobile!
The streaming is reliable and the audio is exceptional considering the size of this speaker. The fact that it has a rechargeable lithium ion battery is a big plus point, and means you can get eight hours of continuous audio without having to recharge.
This speaker is even capable of pairing up with another Clip 2 to double the amplification of your songs.
On top of all of these features, the price point is fairly modest. There are cheaper options out there, but not with all of these great quality options and functionality. JBL really has designed this specifically for its portability. It is even waterproof for those long days at the beach! It is hard to fault the design and audio quality of the Clip 2, hence it being our top recommendation when it comes to portable speakers for traveling.
Anker Soundcore 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Another solid recommendation in a similar price range is the Anker Soundcore 2. This is slightly larger than the Clip 2, but because of this is able to incorporate a battery which offers an incredible 24 hours of listening time.
The audio clarity of the Anker is great, and the manufacturers have even included some extra features such as bass boost options.
Built to be robust, this is created with certified protection from rain, snow and even dust and sand, so you can take it pretty much anywhere and not have to worry about the conditions damaging your speaker.
Anker has worked on getting the best possible range, and you can connect via bluetooth from over 60 yards away. The connectivity is really reliable and supports a variety of different devices.
Though this isn’t the smallest or easiest to take from A to B, it certainly isn’t a large model and is another great option for portable speakers at a price which isn’t too off putting for most.
Although there are some products out there which are slightly cheaper, it is worth spending a little more on your portable speaker to get something which is both more reliable and likely to last longer. Though the Anker 2 is a little more powerful and has a longer battery life, we strongly recommend the JBL Clip 2 as the best portable speaker. It clips on your backpack or anywhere you want for the utmost in convenience and can easily connect with your devices. There are cases available to keep it safe, and it will take up next to no space in your luggage, making it a wonderful choice for traveling for any kind of trip!