Bone-rattling bass is never in short supply with our pick of the best party speakers
Whether you’re looking to blast out tunes at the beach, keep the room rocking at a house party or kickstart a get-together in your back garden, you’re going to want one of the best party speakers.
Curating the right vibe not only requires excellent song selection but a party speaker capable of elevating the atmosphere. And, depending on how you party, there are different speakers to suit your needs.
Our buying guide below will take you through the various things to consider before splashing on a speaker for parties, including how much you should spend. Further down the page, you’ll find our recommendations for the best party speakers no matter where the party’s at and who’s on the guest list.
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How to choose the best party speaker for you
Specify your party requirements
There are a number of factors to consider before buying a speaker for a party. The first thing you’ll want to do is determine what sort of parties you want to throw as this will dictate the type of speaker you should buy. Some important questions to ask yourself are:
- How many people are attending and how large is the venue? Typically, the bigger the venue and the greater the number of guests, the larger, more powerful the speaker needed.
- Is the venue indoors or outdoors? If you’re taking your party outside, you’ll want a speaker that can withstand inclement weather conditions – it would be a shame for the music to stop just as the event was getting going.
- Are you planning on moving from room to room or venue to venue? Similarly, if you are thinking of changing location during your party, then a more portable speaker – as opposed to a hulking great speaker stack – will be preferable.
What audio specifications should you look out for?
To really ignite a party, you’re going to want a speaker capable of outputting some serious volume while delivering a booming bass response to really bring out the groove in dancey tracks.
Manufacturers often state speaker output in watts root mean square (RMS), which reflects the continuous power a speaker can cope with. However, you should be careful where those figures are concerned as different companies use different measurements to test how much power their speakers can handle. As such, not every speaker rated 60W RMS will produce exactly the same output.
This means you should also consider other metrics that affect speaker performance, including speaker sensitivity (expressed in decibels) and maximum sound pressure level (SPL). The former represents how many decibels a speaker can produce with a specific unit of power (typically a single watt) at a one-metre distance. A speaker with a higher dB sensitivity value requires less power to go louder, which is a good thing, so look for the highest number possible. Generally, speakers will fall somewhere between 84 dB and 92 dB.
Maximum sound pressure level simply reflects the sound pressure limit of a speaker and is represented in dB SPL. The higher the number, the louder a speaker will be able to be pushed. Sadly, not all manufacturers will disclose this helpful information.
The final thing to look out for on the sonic front is frequency response. The wider the response range, the broader gamut of frequencies the speaker is able to produce. The human ear is able to pick up frequencies between around 20Hz to 20,000Hz, so if a speaker covers that range, you’re good to go.
What connectivity options do you need?
For most people, wireless connectivity via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi will be the default choice and the vast majority of party speakers offer one or both of these options. Simply connect via either method using a smartphone, laptop or other Bluetooth or Wi-Fi-capable device and begin streaming audio.
Should you have a DJ in attendance, then they will need a wired connection(s) for their mixers/turntables/controllers and therefore your selected speaker will need to have inputs to cater to these devices. Typically this is via a 3.5mm or RCA cable, though it’s worth checking exactly what connection ports you need before forking out for a speaker. Speakers that have RCA inputs tend to be on the larger and less portable side and as a result, your DJ will usually be stationed in one area for the entire event.
Some speakers also include USB or SD card slots. These allow you to play music directly from said drives and remove the need for wires or wireless connection entirely.
Are there any additional party features you desire?
Beyond the common features you’ll find on just about every party speaker, there are other more situation-specific extras to look out for.
- Waterproofing, weatherproofing and durability: If you plan on partying outside, you’ll want a waterproof speaker capable of withstanding rain, dips in the pool and drinks being dropped on it. Some level of dust resistance is also useful, particularly if you’re heading to the beach. More generally, look for a speaker that’s sturdily constructed: parties can get rowdy and your speaker may need to survive being knocked, bumped or even dropped.
- Lighting effects: Some of the best party speakers come with built-in LED lights that sync with the music or create a dynamic visual experience by using things like strobe effects. If you have your own lighting system sorted, this will be less important – and the in-built systems aren’t generally too bright anyway – but it can still be an alluring, exciting addition.
- Multi-room or multi-speaker pairing: Speakers that can offer multi-room or multi-speaker pairing are a real boon for a house party where attendees are likely to be spread across a number of different rooms. Distributing the sound across all that space, without it becoming disjointed or simply playing different tunes, makes for a more cohesive and unified experience.
- Karaoke functionality: Karaoke isn’t for everyone but for those that love it, support for an external microphone is a must-have. You could of course buy a separate karaoke machine, but having sing-along functionality incorporated in your speaker is both convenient and cost effective.
How much should you spend on a party speaker?
This will of course depend on your budget but you can pick up a reasonable party speaker for as little as £50. Something at that kind of price should be able to fill a relatively small space with sound well enough but is unlikely to deliver stellar sound quality.
For improved audio quality, additional connectivity and features, and more audio oomph, consider setting aside somewhere between £100 and £300. Above that, you’re looking at high-end options that offer premium specs, potent output, connectivity options galore and a level of build quality far above that of cheaper models. These options tend to be the best choice for big parties, where a combination of great sound quality and raw power is required.
How we test the best party speakers
We put party speakers through their paces in conditions as similar to an actual party as possible. That means pushing the volume up to the max, using them both indoors and outside, and even spilling the odd drink on them too (only if they’re water resistant of course).
As with any other type of speaker, there are various key traits we test and analyse. First of these is build quality and we carefully examine speakers to ensure they’re robust, durable and well-constructed. We then evaluate all available connectivity options and audio quality across each of these, using a variety of musical genres so that we’re able to say with confidence that a particular speaker has the power and precision to get any party started.
Finally, we’ll explore any additional features and options a speaker might have, including those found within a companion app, and assess how stated battery life matches up to real-world usage.
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The best party speakers to buy
1. LG XBOOM XL7S: Best all-round party speaker
Price when reviewed: £450 | Check price at AmazonThe LG XL7S is a superb all rounder capable of igniting any party with its excellent audio and mesmerising visuals. It provides considerably more low-frequency thump and volume than competitors on this page, while an effective, three-band graphic equaliser helps you get the exact tuning you want. Even at low volumes, the XL7S is a lot crisper than most of its rivals, with keen attention paid to balancing bass, mid-range and treble frequencies.
The lighting is the best we’ve come across on a party speaker, too, with various 8-bit style animation and text options available for the LED screen, as well as rotating woofer lighting and a strobe. There are also a number of sound effects, a virtual jog wheel for rewinds and four sliders (flanger, phaser, wah and delay) to play with in the LG XBOOM app. Perhaps the most fun aspect of this is the ability to record your own short samples and set them as one of three user-generated sound effect buttons.
Mic and guitar inputs are found on the rear of the speaker, which, despite being rather large, is easy to transport using its back wheels. The absence of an AUX-in is a little frustrating, and the XL7S is far from cheap, but there’s no denying its quality and ability to kickstart any social occasion.
Read our full LX XBOOM XL7S review for more details
Key specs – Power source: Battery/mains power; Battery life: 18 hours; Drivers: 3; RMS power output: 200W; Connections: Bluetooth 5.0, 6.3mm Mic/Guitar input (x2), USB-A (input/output); IP rating: IPX4; Dimensions: 310 x 316 x 700mm (WDH); Weight: 15.5kg
2. Ultimate Ears Hyperboom: Best speaker for house and garden parties
Price when reviewed: £370 | Check price at Argos
Boasting two 114mm woofers, a pair of 25mm tweeters and two passive radiators, the Ultimate Ears Hyperboom is an absolute unit of a Bluetooth speaker that delivers balanced sound at room-shaking volume.
While it lacks smart features and isn’t as portable as its Ultimate Ears siblings, the Hyperboom remains a standout in the company’s lineup due to beefy sonic output, heavy-hitting bass and the ability to tweak its sound signature using the UE Boom app.
There’s a pull-out carrying strap to help you lug the hefty speaker around, and since its IPX4 rated for water resistance, you can take the Hyperboom with you wherever you go, though you probably won’t want to carry it too far given it weighs almost 6kg.
Read our Ultimate Ears Hyperboom review for more details
Key specs – Power source: In-built battery; Battery life: Up to 24 hours; Drivers: 4; RMS power output: Unknown; Connections: Bluetooth 5, Aux-in, Optical input; IP rating: IPX4; Dimensions: 190 x 190 x 346mm (WDH); Weight: 5.9kg
3. Sharp SumoBox CP-LS100: Best party speaker for live performances
Price when reviewed: £399 | Check price at Amazon
If you throw parties that feature small-scale live performances, the Sharp SumoBox is the speaker for you. It’s an excellent standalone solution offering low frequency oomph in a package that’s a lot more convenient than a multi-speaker setup.
It has a closed/sealed design, which helps it produce a decidedly tighter bass response than ported alternatives, and is able to articulate mids and treble cleanly at high volume levels. It doesn’t go as absurdly loud as the ported speakers on this page – but there’s more than enough power for most situations.
Three input channels – two TRS/XLR combo ports with reverb and one AUX-in – all have their own independent volume controls, meaning you can hook up different instruments and balance them as you see fit. Additionally, there’s a built-in speaker pole for mounting the SumoBox on a stand, along with the ability to pair two SumoBoxes together for stereo playback or multiple speakers together for a much larger sonic output.
Key specs – Power source: Removable battery/mains power; Battery life: 10 hours (one spare battery is included); Drivers: 4; RMS power output: 120W; Connections: Bluetooth 5.0, Aux-in, TRS/XLR combo (x2), USB-A (output, x2); IP rating: Not rated; Dimensions: 310 x 268 x 630mm (WDH); Weight: 9.7kg
4. Tronsmart Halo 100: Best portable party speaker under £100
Price when reviewed: £100 | Check price at Amazon
The Tronsmart Halo 100 is an impressive budget party speaker capable of handling 60W (RMS). It gets seriously loud, delivers deep bass and crisp vocals, and you can fine-tune the audio to your liking via a graphic equaliser in the accompanying Tronsmart app.
The whole package is rated IPX6 for water resistance and offers a wide-range of physical connection options including a 3.5mm input, a TF card slot and a USB-A port alongside wireless Bluetooth pairing.
A series of LED lights enable it to deliver a visually striking performance to match its sound, while a convenient handle makes carrying it around a breeze, despite the fact it’s slightly bulkier than many other portable speakers.
Read our Tronsmart Halo 100 review for more details
Key specs – Power source: In-built battery; Battery life: 18 hours (8 with LEDs on); Drivers: 4; RMS power output: 60W; Connections: Bluetooth 5.3, Aux-in, TF/SD card, USB-A; IP rating: IPX6; Dimensions: 198 x 150 x 287mm (WDH); Weight: 2.72kg
5. Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3: Best pool party speaker
Price when reviewed: £170 | Check price at Ultimate Ears
Compact, portable and packing a punch, the Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 is a superb option for poolside partying during the summer and beyond. Clocking in at under 1kg, it can be transported in one hand, and its IP67 rating certifies it able to be submerged in water of up to 1m for 30 minutes at a time. Not only is it waterproof, but the Megaboom 3 even floats, so you can have it pump out tunes while bobbing around in the pool.
With up to 20 hours of battery life, you can keep the tunes going all night long, and can even pair your Megaboom 3 with other Megaboom 3s to create a multi-speaker setup. There are also plenty of other features to explore within the UE app, where you can tweak audio using EQ settings.
There’s no LED light show or the booming bass response found on larger Ultimate Ears party speakers, but if you’re a pool shark after a highly portable option that sounds goods and looks great, the UE Megaboom 3 is a top-notch purchase.
Read our Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 review for more details
Key specs – Power source: In-built battery; Battery life: 20 hours; Drivers: 2; RMS power output: 60W; Connections: Bluetooth 4.2; IP rating: IP67; Dimensions: 86 x 86 x 225mm (WDH); Weight: 0.912kg
6. Sony SRS-XV800: Best party speaker for those with bigger budgets
Price when reviewed: £599 | Check price at Amazon
This party speaker from Sony may be pricey, but there’s no disputing its premium sound and build quality. Five tweeters and two huge X-Balanced bass drivers allow it to pump out some serious omnidirectional audio, while eight large LEDs can be used to illuminate the dancefloor or wherever else you find yourself throwing some shapes. Battery life clocks in at a very respectable 25 hours, meaning you’ll be done partying long before the speaker is.
The SRS-XV800 is more than just a speaker for playing tunes though: there’s an optical port for hooking it up to your TV and two microphone inputs that enable you to do a bit of karaoke or plug in your guitar. There are also some notable in-app features, including the ability to isolate a specific frequency range of whatever audio is playing, equaliser options and lighting customisation.
The speaker’s only real drawback is its size. It’s very large and extremely heavy, and although it has wheels on which you can cart it around, doing so isn’t easy if you’re on uneven terrain. If you have the space and budget for it, however, you’ll delight in its ability to produce weighty low-end impact without compromising on detail.
Key specs – Power source: In-built battery/mains power; Battery life: Up to 25 hours; Drivers: 7; RMS power output: 77W; Connections: Bluetooth 5.2, Aux-in, optical-in two Mic-in (6.3mm); IP rating: IPX4; Dimensions: 317 x 375 x 720mm (WDH); Weight: 18.5kg
- Also consider: Sony XP700 (£389)
7. LG XBOOM 360 XO3: Most stylish party speaker
Price when reviewed: £300 | Check price at Amazon
The LG XBOOM 360 XO3 is a gorgeous speaker guaranteed to attract attention at your next gathering. It has a unique design featuring a two-tone fabric and a sound reflector that creates a look reminiscent of a fancy table ornament. The reflector catches the eye, but its appearance is second to its functionality: it bounces sound around the room in a concentric manner, creating convincing 360-degree sound while also projecting light outwards. This mood lighting can be customised to an impressive degree in the companion app along with other aspects of the speaker’s performance.
It’s a versatile option too, with an IP54 rating for dust and water resistance certifying it as good for use both indoors and outside. Maximum volume is a little low for big parties, but with Sound Boost mode engaged, the XBOOM 360 X03 has enough muscle to entertain guests and looks the business while doing so.
Read our full LG XBOOM 360 XO3 review for more details
Key specs – Power source: In-built battery; Battery life: 24 hours; Drivers: 3; RMS power output: 50W; Connections: Bluetooth 5.1; IP rating: IP54; Dimensions: 165 x 165 x 327mm (WDH); Weight: 3.2kg
8. Sharp PS-949: A great-value party speaker
Price when reviewed: £269 | Check price at Amazon
The Sharp PS-949 strikes a keen balance between price and performance. It houses two 8in woofers and a horn tweeter, and this combination is able to deliver impressive audio at room-rattling volumes. The sound signature is a little skewed towards higher end frequencies and there’s not quite the level of clarity displayed by pricier options on this list, but EQ presets including ‘Rock’ and ‘Club’ let you effectively tweak audio to your liking.
The inclusion of a microphone for karaoke is a very welcome one, and the PS-949 is easy to control using the physical buttons on the device or via a skeuomorphic interface found in the Sharp Life companion app. Included there are some additional DJ FX buttons, which are a little goofy, as well as more functional controls for lighting effects and sliding scales for reverb and ‘super bass’.
All of this amounts to a great value-for-money product that lacks the sonic finesse of higher end buys but matches them for raw power and functionality.
Key specs – Power source: Battery/mains power; Battery life: 12 hours; Drivers: 3; RMS power output: 60W; Connections: Bluetooth 5.0, Aux-in, Microphone input (x2), USB-A (input and output); IP rating: IPX4; Dimensions: 325 x 325 x 697mm (WDH); Weight: 8.9kg
9. Adam Audio T5V: Best-value active speakers for a party
Price when reviewed: £138 (sold singly) | Check price at Amazon
Known for its high-end studio monitors, Adam Audio breaks the mould with the T5V to deliver superb sound at an affordable price. They look fairly ordinary and aren’t the most portable, but set them up on a table and you’ll have rich, powerful bass filling a medium-sized room in no time, making them an excellent choice for an impromptu DJ set.
Treble isn’t as impressive but still provides a pleasant listen that belies the speaker’s relatively small price tag – in fact, we reckon the T5V can go toe-to-toe with active speakers that cost twice or even three times as much.
Read our full Adam Audio T5V review for more details
Key specs – Power source: N/a; Battery life: N/a; Drivers: 2; RMS power output: 70W; Connections: No; IP rating: N/a; Dimensions: 197 x 297 x 298mm (WDH); Weight: 5.7kg