Alexa is pretty great at her job. She’s one of the best and most popular virtual assistants around. If only you could take her out of the house. Well, now you can through the use of an Alexa-enabled Bluetooth speaker. Portable speakers are already useful, so if you’re already committed to the Amazon ecosystem, why not get one with Alexa built-in to expand that utility even more.
What to Look for in an Alexa-Enabled Speaker
There are a few things to consider when selecting your speaker:
- Audio Quality: This is the most important part of any speaker. While everyone has their preferences on how they want their audio to be tuned, speakers, on the whole, should be delivering on audio that’s worth their price tag.
- Connection Requirements: Alexa needs a Wi-Fi connection to work, whether that’s from your home network, a public network, or a mobile hotspot. This is consistent amongst all these speakers, but it’s an important thing to be aware of.
- Durability: If you’re taking a speaker on the go, you’ll want it to be capable of surviving a few dings along the way. Drop-resistance, waterproofing, and overall build quality can go a long way to making sure the speaker you buy sticks around for a while.
- Water-Resistance vs. Waterproof: Going along with durability, it’s important to understand the difference between a speaker being water-resistant and being waterproof. Water-resistant means that a speaker can safely survive minimal moisture—stuff like light rain or a small splash. Waterproof means that the speaker can be safely submerged in shallow water without sustaining damage. We’ll note any information the manufacturers supply on this topic in each speaker’s section.
- On-Device Controls: While most of the time you’ll be controlling your speaker through voice-commands with Alexa, that doesn’t mean it’s useless to have on-device controls as well. So, whether you’re without access to the internet or you just don’t feel like talking, you can still pause, play, skip tracks, or adjust the volume of your speaker with ease.
- Size and Weight: When you’re packing something in a bag, you want it to be compact. This is what separates a home speaker from a travel one. So, you’re going to want a speaker that’s as small and light as it can be. We made sure all the speakers we selected for this list could comfortably fit in a backpack.
- Battery Life: These speakers are wireless, which means they run off their own batteries and, obviously, longer is better.
With all that out of way, let’s start talking about the best portable Alexa-enabled speakers on the market today.
Best Overall: Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST
When it comes to the perfect mix of audio quality, portability, and price, the Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST ranks highly against its competitors. The 360 degrees speakers ensure quality sound in every direction, with a cylindrical design that makes it easy to pack the MEGABLAST in a bag. Obviously, you can rely on voice commands to control the speaker with Alexa, but you can also use the large and easy-to-press volume buttons on the front of the speaker.
If you’re more worried about durability though, don’t fret, as the MEGABLAST can take quite the beating. It features a durable build and is fully waterproof, with Ultimate Ears specifically stating that the speaker can safely survive being submerged in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes.
Combine all that with a 12 hours battery life and the MEGABLAST checks all the boxes for being a fantastic portable speaker.
Easy to Carry: Libratone Zipp Mini 2
If you prefer a quality speaker that’s a little easier to carry, then the Zipp Mini 2 can give you what you’re looking for. On the whole, it’s smaller than the MEGABLAST and weighs about one pound less at 2.4 pounds. There’s also a strap on the top of the speaker that makes it easy to hold comfortably or hang off of something. These may seem like small differences, but they can prove surprisingly useful. You can also connect up to eight of these speakers in a network for stereo sound using Libratone’s app.
Besides that, the Zipp Mini 2 is a fairly standard speaker, with the only other feature of note being the “Hush” button on the top of the speaker, which will pause your music when held down (perfect for quick conversations with actual humans). You’ll also find some other buttons surrounding the Hush button, which can control other smart home devices like lights and thermostats (if you properly connect them with Libratone’s app).
Same as the MEGABLAST, the Libratone Zipp Mini 2 will also run for about 12 hours on a full charge. You can also choose between five colors: black, green, grey, red, and deep lagoon.
Cheap and Stylish: Fabriq Portable Speaker
Speakers can be pretty expensive, but if you don’t want to spend extravagant amounts, this portable speaker from Fabriq may be for you. It’s by far the cheapest speaker on this list, but it’s still a great speaker for the price. Sure, the audio quality isn’t as fantastic compared to the more expensive options here, but if you can deal with that, this is the perfect little speaker to take on the go. You can even connect up to 10 of these speakers in a network for stereo sound through Fabriq’s app.
The on-device inputs are a bit strange, only because they’re located on a flap that covers up the charging port. But that shouldn’t be a big problem as, despite the small size, the Fabriq speaker still lasts for about six hours on a full charge.
A Mid-Range Option: Cleer Portable Speaker
This little speaker from Cleer is the perfect middle ground of not being overly expensive and still delivering quality audio. There isn’t anything special about this speaker, but the compact design and water-resistant build make it perfect for listening on the go. You’ll also find the basic media controls along the top of the speaker.
You can get the Cleer portable speaker in red or grey (pictured above), and it will last about 15 hours on a full charge, which is actually the longest battery life out of all the speakers here.
The Premium Option: Sonos Move
If you’re an audiophile, you’re no doubt used to spending large sums on the best of the best audio equipment. That’s what the Sonos Move aims to give you, as it’s by far the most expensive speaker on this list, but it’s also the best-sounding.
The premium-quality does come at a cost though (well, besides the actual cost). This is the heaviest speaker on this list at about six pounds, which could make transporting it slightly more complicated. It might not sound like a huge issue, but when you’re packing a backpack, every pound counts—just something to keep in mind.
The Move is rated with an Ingress Protection rating of IP56, meaning it can survive most forms of tame weather (rain and wind mostly), but it’s just water-resistant, not waterproof. So don’t drop it in a puddle, that would be a sad day. You’ll also find all the on-device inputs on the top of the Move.
Finally, the Sonos Move will last about 10 hours on a full charge.