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The 7 Best Speakers of 2021

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The RundownBest Overall:Ion Audio Party Rocker Max at Amazon"This 100-watt speaker packs a powerful punch with an eight-inch woofer and a wide-dispersion tweeter."Best Home Audio Subwoofer:Polk Audio PSW10 at Amazon"It has the capability of emitting 85 decibels (dB), which is more than a freight train."Best Budget:AXESS SPBT1031 Portable Bluetooth Speaker at Amazon"It's small but remarkably powerful, with two two-watt horn outputs and a five-watt subwoofer."Best for Office Desk/Workplace:JBL Charge 4 at Amazon"It's more than just a music player: you can even take conference calls directly from the JBL."Best for Travel:Libratone ZIPP at Amazon"It can more than get through the length of a standard workday."Best for Outdoor:Cambridge SoundWorks at Amazon"It's water-resistant, rainproof, sand-proof and splashproof."Best Wireless/Bluetooth:Marshall Acton II at Best Buy"A superb choice for audio fans who want a unique look."

The best speakers deliver amazing sound without breaking the bank. Audiophiles are blessed with a market veritably flooded with great options, regardless of whether you're looking for big portable sound via Bluetooth or a high quality monitor for studio recording. Whether you want to rock an outdoor party or just need something to play lofi beats on your desk or in your home office, there's a speaker on our list that will perfectly suit your needs. We even have great budget picks if you want beautiful audio but don't want to spend a fortune.

If you're looking for a home theater sound solution, our best surround sound speakers roundup collects all the best, or read on for our curated list of the best speakers.

Best Overall:Ion Audio Party Rocker Max

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Make your speakers the life of the party with the Ion Audio Party Rocker Max. The front grill's LED grid and lighted dome disperse a shower of dazzling color over the dancefloor. This 100-watt speaker packs a powerful punch, with an eight-inch woofer and a wide-dispersion tweeter that produce a pumping bass and rich sound.

The Ion Audio speaker promises 75 hours of playback and has a rechargeable battery to keep the good times going. It's Bluetooth-enabled, so you can access your carefully-curated party playlist from a phone or tablet, as well as a 3.5mm aux input for non-Bluetooth devices. As an added bonus, the Party Rocker Max has dual microphone inputs for karaoke. Even with all these features, it's easy to transport thanks to the built-in wheels and telescoping handle.

Channels: Stereo | Bluetooth: Yes | Physical Connection: 3.5mm | Digital Assistant: None | Waterproof: No

Best Home Audio Subwoofer:Polk Audio PSW10

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The Polk Audio PSW10 comes with a warning for its power. Seriously, this 10-inch powered subwoofer has the capability of emitting 85 decibels (dB), which is more than a freight train.

The Polk Audio PSW10 is equipped with one 10-inch polymer-composited dynamic balance cone driver to deliver a fully balanced explosive sound. It is designed with laser-based Klippel measurement technology for improved linearity and deep, precise sound. It's a big one too: the unit measures at 14 x 14.38 x 16.12 inches and weighs 26 pounds. Due to its sheer power, the PSW10 has a non-resonant all-MDF enclosure construction with 0.75-inch-thick baffles and internal bracing so you won't break the system at maximum volume. But just in case you do, Polk Audio provides a five-year warranty for the PSW10. With a bandwidth of 40Hz to 200Hz, 50 watts of continuous power and up to 100 watts of dynamic power, the subwoofer does a magnificent job at filling the bottom end of your home theater system.

Channels: Woofer | Bluetooth: Yes | Physical Connection: RCA | Digital Assistant: None | Waterproof: No

The 7 Best Polk Audio Speakers of 2021

Best Budget:AXESS SPBT1031 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

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Coming in at under $20, the Axess SPBT1031 still packs in plenty of special features. These speakers are small but remarkably powerful, with two two-watt horn outputs and a five-watt subwoofer. It also has a frequency range of 100 Hz and 20KHz and delivers up to 4ohms.

The Axess weighs 2.9 pounds and measures 11.5 x 6.3 x 6.7 inches, making it easily portable and suited for both indoor and outdoor use. It even comes with a handy shoulder strap for easier transport. The device is Bluetooth-enabled and has a range of 32 feet. For non-Bluetooth devices, there's also 3.5mm auxiliary jack so you can directly connect it to your phone or other music player. The battery is also pretty impressive, promising at least 14 hours of playback on a single charge.

Channels: 2.1| Bluetooth: Yes | Physical Connection: USB | Digital Assistant: None | Waterproof: No

Best for Office Desk/Workplace:JBL Charge 4

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The JBL Charge 4 can be a party animal or an office companion, depending on your needs. The sleek Bluetooth speaker is compact enough to rest on your desk without taking up precious space. Its 7500mAh battery can last up to 20 hours on a single charge, so you don't have to worry if you forget to charge it for a day, and it can get back up to a full charge in around 5 hours. Though the latest in the Charge series trades in dual full-range drivers for a single one, the quality is on par with many “stereo” speakers, and two bass radiators contribute to a rich, driving bass.

It can easily make the transition from office to evening, delivering powerful sound quality and thumping bass to fill a room, or several — with JBL Connect+, the speaker can be connected to up to 100 other devices. If you spill your morning coffee or tea, fear not because the Charge 4's IPX7 rating makes it waterproof for up to 30 minutes in one meter of water. And if happy hour goes poolside, its ability to float offsets any worries of it plunging deeper. 

Channels: Mono | Bluetooth: Yes | Physical Connection: USB | Digital Assistant: None | Waterproof: Yes (IPX7)

The 8 Best JBL Speakers of 2021

Best for Travel:Libratone ZIPP Mini Speaker

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The Libratone ZIPP Mini Speaker has 360 degrees of FullRoom audio with a four-inch woofer, dual one-inch soft dome tweeters and two four-inch low-frequency radiators. The Zipp Mini makes audio playback easy via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as AirPlay on iOS, DLNA on Android or Spotify. With more than 10 hours of battery life, the Zipp Mini can more than get through the length of a standard workday. A convenient carrying handle makes moving the Zipp Mini around a desk incredibly simple. The speaker also doubles as a speakerphone for conference calls.

Channels: Stereo | Bluetooth: Yes | Physical Connection: 3.5mm/USB | Digital Assistant: None | Waterproof: No

Best for Outdoor:Cambridge SoundWorks OontZ Angle 3

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With two precision acoustic drivers and a triangular shape that enhances audio clarity, Cambridge SoundWorks' OontZ Angle 3 delivers crystal clear sound whether you're streaming music at the beach, in your dorm room or in the shower. The ultra-portable speaker weighs less than 10 ounces, measures 2.76 x 5.24 x 2.52 inches and features a proprietary passive bass radiator design that ensures distortion-free sound — even at the loudest volume.

The speaker is IPX5 water-resistant, rainproof, sand-proof and splashproof and can play at two-thirds volume for up to 12 hours. Via Bluetooth, you can connect to tunes on a variety of devices including iPhones, tablets, laptops, Chromebooks and Amazon Echo, as well as non-Bluetooth devices with an AUX cable. Customers say that the speaker pairs easily and quickly and plays better than Bluetooth speakers more than three times the cost. 

Channels: Stereo | Bluetooth: Yes | Physical Connection: 3.5mm | Digital Assistant: None | Waterproof: Yes (IPX5)

Best Wireless/Bluetooth:Marshall Acton II Bluetooth Speaker

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With a design that's more classic than contemporary, the Marshall Kilburn Portable Bluetooth Speaker is a superb choice for audio fans who want a unique look. Powered by dual 3/4-inch dome tweeters and a lone four-inch woofer, the Kilburn adds a sound that lives up to its rock ‘n' roll promise. Weighing under seven pounds, the Kilburn remains light enough to move around and has a top carry handle. Unlike today's speakers that offer fine-tuning via an app or touch controls, the Marshall sticks with an analog knob to fine-tune the sound coming from your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone, tablet or computer. The Kilburn has nearly 20 hours of battery on a single charge.

Channels: Stereo | Bluetooth: Yes | Physical Connection: 3.5mm | Digital Assistant: None | Waterproof: No

The 7 Best Bluetooth Speakers of 2021What to Look for in the Best Speakers

Connectivity - An important consideration when buying speakers is connectivity. If you're looking for speakers for your home theater, you need units with coaxial inputs. If you're looking for a wireless speaker to take to work or use in your yard, then Bluetooth is a good bet. Some great wireless home theater speakers also support Wi-Fi.

Battery Life - Although battery life only applies to portable speakers, it's crucial in cases where it applies. If you plan on using your speaker on a job site, make sure to find one that packs enough battery life to last the full workday.

Built-In Amplifiers - If you want wireless speakers that sound as good as home theater speakers, look for a set that comes with built-in amplifiers. The best speakers have multiple integrated amplifiers to power both woofers and tweeters for truly impressive wireless sound.