With the holidays fast-approaching, family parties and get togethers with friends are about to be in full swing – and whether you’re hosting inside or outside (if you live in a warm climate), if you want to play some music for your guests, you’re going to need a party speaker that matches the occasion.
The biggest and best party speakers will offer a perfect blend of portability – or at least manoeuvre-ability – and wall-busting sound, with extras like waterproofing and microphone support often thrown in.
The options we’ve got here are different to the likes of waterproof and outdoor speakers – party speakers are generally bigger and offer some serious volume for when you really want to get the party started. These speakers aren’t for background music though, these are for making music a major event at your shindig – something many of the best smart speakers or Bluetooth speakers can’t quite manage beyond a handful of people.
To help you make sense of this niche area of portable party speakers, we’ve detailed some of the top picks around.
Best party speaker: Our top picks
JBL PartyBox 310
1. Best party speaker overall
This fun and lively speaker has plenty of appeal.
- Big, bassy sound
- Plenty of features
- Battery powered
- IPX4 splashproof
- Sound may not be big enough for outside use
JBL’s middle child in its party speaker line up probably delivers the best balance of performance and cost for most. While it might not deliver the level of bass as the 710 further down this list, you’re unlikely to find yourself wanting, with plenty of low-end wallop for hip hop and dance music.
It’ll go decently loud too, with a 240W output, plus you get battery power here, with 18 hours of playback from a single charge. If big regular outside parties are your thing (and you have understanding neighbours) the more powerful 710 may suit you better, but the 310 is IPX4 rated for protection against the elements all the same – find out what that IP rating means in our feature.
Like the Sony, you have the option for plugging in karaoke mics or a guitar to give the 310 flexibility in use, plus there are customisable RGB lights built in here as well.
These lights can be controlled via the JBL PartyBox app, which will also give you access to certain EQ controls, as well as the ability to pair this speaker with another one for even more powerful sound.
2. Best party speaker for smaller spaces
Sony’s new SRS-XV800 brings a compelling alternative to the company’s successful party range, for those who want big sound but perhaps don’t have the space for a much bigger speaker.
- Promising sound offering
- Great feature set
- Water resistance
Sony has recently added the SRS-XV800 to its line up, and provides a fantastic alternative option for those who don’t want something as big – or as pricey – as the larger XV900 above it.
You’ll still get the powerful omni-directional sound and ambient lighting that its bigger brother offers, alongside the option to boost your TV sound via optical input. You’ll even match the XV900’s 25 hours of battery life too, as well as the option to add a karaoke mic or guitar.
There are five tweeters – rather than six in the XV900 – and dual X-Balanced speaker units for a sound that should offer deep, punchy bass, but with good vocal clarity too.
You will lose some power by comparison. The XV800 is capable of around 77W of output compared to the XV900’s 100W, but this is smaller (32 x 72 x 38mm) so it will be a little easier to accommodate.
Perhaps the biggest feather in the SRS-XV800 compared to its older sibling is this is now IPX4 rated – so will withstand a rainy garden party, making it much more flexible in use.
3. Best party speaker for house parties
This speaker might be more suited to house parties than raves but it’s a solid choice and one that is more portable than others too.
- Great UE sound
- Portable with carry handle
- Nice design
- Good features
- No smart assistant
- No AirPlay 2
Ultimate Ears speakers are no strangers to our speaker round ups, and you’ll find a couple of its smaller options in our Bluetooth and wireless speaker buying guides.
The Hyperboom, though, is a great choice for a party speaker that isn’t going to require wheels to get it around. It’s still suitably large enough that it needs a carry handle, but it’s not going to take up as much space as most of the other options on this list – nor be quite as heavy.
It’s a good looking speaker with some of UE’s bold design touches on the control panel up top. It offers a 24-hour battery life, is IPX4 rated and can be paired with any of UE’s other speakers to bolster its sound further. There’s no smart functionality here, nor any inputs for mics or guitars, but there is an optical in, for boosting TV sound, and a 3.5mm aux in, should you have a device that can still make use of that. There’s a USB out too, for charging your device.
You can expect UE’s sound signature here – perfectly rumbly in the low end when needs be, but overall a clear, confident and energetic performance that works with all types of music.
4. Best party speaker for larger budgets
This powerful party speaker is a fantastic all-rounder with a superb feature set. It’s not the cheapest but it does almost everything you’d want it to at its price – but does lack waterproofing, which is our only complaint.
- Powerful sound
- Great feature set
- Easily repositioned
- LED lighting
The SRS-XV900 is a seriously big, seriously powerful speaker and Sony’s loudest party speaker yet, with over 100W of power output. You can use it wherever the party is, with a handle and wheels for moving it around and 25 hours of battery life – plus there’s a 10-minute quick charge function that will give you an extra three hours of playback.
This is an omnidirectional speaker, so no matter where you are standing, you should enjoy the same great performance. This is thanks to the six tweeters that are angled around 360 degrees at the top of the speaker, with Sony’s Jet Bass Booster port around the back to ensure a rich, deep low end. Need a bit more? A press of the Mega Bass button will give it some extra welly.
Some nice features include the USB charging port and the ability to plug in up to two mics for karaoke, or use it as a guitar amp. Of course, you can expect LED party lights, that’ll sync up with the music that’s playing – or you can even use it with your television, thanks to the TV Sound Booster feature.
Monster Rockin’ Roller 270
5. Best party speaker for smaller budgets
More features than the competition, incredible battery life and rugged portability.
- Up to 100 hours of battery life
- All-terrain wheels
- Style may not be to all tastes
The Rockin’ Roller is a party speaker that looks like it means business, with a rugged exterior and plenty of easily-accessible controls.
The styling might not be to all tastes, but it is backed up by specs that count, with 200W of power and a staggering 100-hour battery life. That’s the best on our list by some stretch.
This thing has boatloads of features too, far too many to list here, but highlights include a built-in Qi charger, TWS speaker pairing, IPX4 weatherproofing and all-terrain wheels for taking your party on the road.
In particular, the sound is delivered through 270 degrees, so you can pop it in the middle of the room and leave it to deliver the party to wherever anyone is standing.
JBL PartyBox 710
6. Great party speaker for outdoors
800 watts of powerful sound and an impressive light show to boot.
- Powerful and bassy
- Eye-catching light show
- Good feature set
- No battery, mains power only
If you really want to get the party started, the insaely powerful JBL PartyBox 710 is the right tool for the job.
With 2.75-inch tweeters and 8-inch woofers, the PartyBox 710 provides a massive 800W of detailed sound and bass that you can feel.
The sound is accompanied by a dazzling light show that’s customizable in JBL’s app, bringing some nightclub-style ambience to your next shindig.
The only thing to keep in mind is that there’s no battery on this model, so you’ll need to party somewhere with an outlet. There are wheel and a handle to help you get there, as well as IPX4 waterproofing for splashproofing.
The bottom line: What is the best speaker for a party?
Delivering big, bassy sound and lively lights, the JBL PartyBox 310 is a great portable party companion that boosts both sound and moods.
JBL PartyBox 310
This fun and lively speaker has plenty of appeal.
How did I choose the best party speakers?
I spent a lot of time looking at the party speaker market, and understanding which brands were the main players to consider. While I haven’t reviewed all of these speakers myself, I review a lot of audio products, so have a working knowledge of many of the brands – those that produce quality products and their strengths and weaknesses.
That stood me in good stead to pull together a longlist, which I turned into a shortlist by reading up on hundred of users reviews, and considering the key points a good party speaker needs – sound quality, design and portability, features like waterproofing, and battery life. I also tried to consider different use cases and budgets, so everyone could find a party speaker to suit their needs.
Do I really need a 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 wO’d go with. However, I’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 in a party speaker?
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, and check for waterproofing if outside music is important to you.