[best sound-to-packability ratio] Boombot Rex
This one’s spendy, but it packs the best sound among the smaller units I tested. It cranks good and loud and only takes up less space than a Five Guys burger. The hexagon design is slick, but I found the built-in clip fussy (the carabiner design of the Bean works better) and the clip partially blocks the control buttons. Still, this is the one I will be packing on my next road trip, and I’d even bring it backpacking if the trip vibe was right for raucous nights around the camp stove.
[good sound] Outdoor Tech Turtle Shell 2.0
You get richer sound quality when you step into the over $100 category. The Turtle can fill a room with good bass beats (our editors happily used it on a Montana hut trip, and the battery life is true to its claims, and then some), and the hard plastic shell can stand up to dings.
[best sound] JBL Charge
No surprise: The spendiest model model here rocks the casbah. As they said in Spinal Tap, “this one goes to 11.” If you want a portable sound system for a real dance party, go with the Charge. The tubular shape slips into a pack side pocket, but this one is also the heaviest model. I cranked it loud on a fast boat ride to Martha’s Vineyard, and despite the wind and motor, Mick Jagger still made himself heard. Bottom line: If you want a good speaker for daily use at home that’s still relatively portable, this is your pick.
Here's a handy comparison chart for all 6 models:
*MSRP; price may vary
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