This article was updated in September 2023

The realm of speakers has progressed far beyond bulky monochrome units you hide in the corner of the lounge room. Whether you’re looking for a sleek portable speaker to help set the tone at a summer party or a smart speaker to play you a podcast while you whip up a dinner, there’s a wealth of options to choose from. This guide to some of the best options will help you decide just which speaker is right for you.

Best Smart Speaker for Home Integration: Google Nest Audio

The Google Nest Audio smart speaker can stream audio as well as help you control your smart home.

Looking for a traditional-style speaker with the latest tech built in? This Google Nest Audio may be it. Stream your favourite music and podcasts and enjoy crisp vocals and powerful bass, thanks to an upgrade to the original Google Home, meaning it can be played 75% louder and has a 50% stronger bass. The system also adjusts to the environment, to ensure whatever you’re listening to is as clear as possible, and it can be paired with a second Google Nest speaker for surround sound. You can also ask what the weather is like, set a timer for cooking or integrate it into a Google Home system to control your smart home. And if this colour doesn’t go with your decor, it also comes in dark grey.

Weight: 1.2kg

Dimensions: 124 x 175 x 78mm

Best Smart Speaker for Multi-Room Use: Amazon Echo Pop

A product shot of the Amazon Echo Pop compact smart speaker on a yellow background.

Need to check the weather forecast? Want to play your favourite Spotify playlist? What about setting a reminder, getting news updates or playing an audiobook? The Amazon Echo Pop can do it all for you – just ask virtual assistant Alexa and she will action the command or reply with your answer. The compact design of this little speaker is easy to conceal out of sight, yet has impressive sound that’s ideal for bedrooms and small spaces. 

Sync your Echo Pop with a compatible Echo speaker for a powerful multi-room speaker combo to bring your favourite music to more rooms of the house. Better yet, by pairing the device with smart plugs around your home and using clever voice control technology, you can dim the lights without getting up from the lounge or pop on the kettle before getting out of bed. Now that’s smart.

Weight: 196g

Dimensions: 99 x 83 x 91mm

SEE ALSO: Smart Homes, Cloud Gaming and More: New Tech Trends for 2023

Best Portable Speaker for Poolside Fun: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3

The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 is a portable speaker that comes in a bright pink colour and is water resistant and buoyant.

Make any summer pool party sound so much better with this bright spark. There’s a bungee loop to hang it over the fence, but you can also put it on the ground poolside and not worry if it accidentally drops in: the Wonderboom 3 is designed to be buoyant and is water resistant. Got a lot of people around? Tap the Outdoor Boost button for a big bass sound that you can pair with a device up to 40m away, and if a friend also has a Wonderboom 3, you can amp the tunes in even gutsier stereo. Another bonus is that it’s made from a minimum of 31% post-consumer recycled plastic, which helps keep waste out of landfill.

Weight: 612g

Dimensions: 116 x 113 x 163mm

Battery Life: up to 14 hours

Best Portable Speaker for Sparkling Sound: Ultimate Ears Boom 3

A product shot of a Ultimate Ears Boom 3 Portable Speaker in Lagoon on an orange background.

Be surrounded by the 360-degree mega sound power of the Ultimate Ears Boom 3 Portable Speaker. Playing your favourite tunes has never been easier with skip, pause and volume controls built-in on the speaker for when your device isn’t in reach. Designed with portability in mind, the Boom 3 helps you take your favourite playlists and soundtracks with you, whether you’re setting off on a hike or heading away on holiday. Simply connect your device via Bluetooth and get going. It's practically lifeproof too, surviving even the toughest knocks and drops (including in water for up to 30 minutes!), making it a great fit for a trip to the kids’ skatepark or a family picnic. 

Weight: 608g

Dimensions: 73 x 184mm

Battery Life: up to 15 hours

SEE ALSO: Find the Right Speakers for Your Gaming Setup

Best Portable Speaker for Taking on Holidays: Sony XB100B

A product shot of the Sony XB100B Wireless Speaker in Black on a pink background.

Pop this compact portable speaker on the side of the pool, pump up the volume and make a splash this summer. With an IP67 water and dustproof rating, the Sony XB100B wireless speaker can enjoy lazy days with you and your mates among the sand and surf without fear of damage. 

Roll with the beat thanks to its powerful and clear sound, made possible through its Sound Diffusion Processor technology (which means this pocket-rocket speaker sounds like one that’s much bigger!). Then, when it's time to call it a day, you can keep the party going on the move with its handy multiway strap, which makes it easy to clip the speaker onto your backpack, bag, bike or even around your wrist. Recycled materials used in its construction are a cool bonus.

Weight: 274g

Dimensions: 76 x 95mm 

Battery Life: up to 16 hours

Best Portable Speaker for the Great Outdoors: JBL Clip 4 

It doesn’t get more portable than the JBL Clip 4 Bluetooth Speaker, which can attach on to belts, straps and buckles.

Is that a speaker or a camping tool? Well, it’s sort of both. The ultra-portable speaker is living proof that good things come in small packages. Its compact size makes it easy to take your favourite tunes along for the ride, without compromising sound quality and that integrated carabiner clip helps you when you’re off exploring, too – you can clip it on to a belt, strap or buckle, safe in the knowledge it’ll hold tight and stay secure. 

As well as boasting 10 hours of battery life on a single charge, this bluetooth speaker is also dust- and waterproof, meaning you can add the perfect soundtrack to your next outdoor adventure with ultimate peace of mind. And it comes in five different colour ways, including ‘camo’, if you really want to blend in to the natural surrounds.

Weight: 239g

Dimensions: 86.3 x 46 x 134.5mm

Battery Life: up to 10 hours

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