Having control of the aux cable used to be an ongoing argument at every house party and in every taxi you got into; but that’s all changed. As Bluetooth speakers have become even more popular, the question has changed from ‘pass the aux’ to ‘who’s connected to the speaker’. Anyway, now wireless listening is easy, convenient and sounding better than ever, gone are the days when you needed a big Hi-Fi set up to properly hear the bass or even enjoy the sound. To illustrate our point, and to show you the length and breadth of small speakers on offer, we’ve pulled together our latest edit to focus on five of the best small speakers around.
Vifa is a Danish company, and like all good Danish brands it has an unmistakable Scandinavian aesthetic that is embedded into every one of its beautifully crafted, one-of-a-kind products. The Vifa Helsinki is one of three wireless speakers under Vifa’s impressive audio umbrella, which are all named after Nordic capital cities – the Helsinki, Copenhagen and the Stockholm wireless soundbar. Anyway, Vifa’s Helsinki is the smallest and most portable of them all, and it features a beautiful leather carry handle and an understated design with a total of six drivers that hide underneath the petite Nordic body for a rich, warm sound.
The diminutive, albeit rugged, design is supported by Bluetooth connectivity. There’s a small button on the side that controls Bluetooth connection and it has the ability to answer calls to your smartphone through the speaker too. But the sound of the Vifa Helsinki is what makes it the best portable speakers for the outdoors. It’s impressively well-balanced sound highlights the soft, textured quality of vocals, while it also has the power to give bass beats a commendable amount of space to bounce around.
Although the Tivoli One Digital Radio is not portable like the other speakers that have made the cut, it has a wonderful balance between style, technology and audio quality that makes it the radio of the modern era. It delivers a new spin on DAB Radio by offering a multi-operational dial and digital navigation screen that not only makes changing stations easy but also makes Spotify connect and Bluetooth easy to use around the house.
B&O PLAY, the brainchild of Swedish audio powerhouse Bang & Olufsen, have been credited with revolutionising the world of consumer audio by producing incredibly good-looking products that sound impeccable. The Beolit Portable Speaker is packed with a series of recent innovations that ensures the speaker performs above and beyond its affordable price tag. Powerful sound is achieved all round courtesy of excellent engineering and unique True360 sound solution that ensures your music sounds great, wherever you place the Beolit 15. With 240 watts of peak power, there is enough sound to fill even larger rooms, making it the best kind of portable, small speaker for parties.
Built for life on the road, the Marshal Stockwell Speaker takes the unmistakable look and sound of Marshall and cuts the cord to offer up to 25 hours of wireless playback. The smallest travel speaker made by Marshall weighs just 1.2kg which means it will literally go wherever you want. But most impressively of all, beyond the handy USB port that allows you to charge your devices on the go, the Stockwell is the loudest speaker in its class.
The Marshall Stockwell’s compact size is well-balanced with a sonic punch, with 2.25” woofers and two high-quality Class F amplifiers. Volume, bass and treble can be adjusted quickly and easily with the retractable analogue control knobs located at the top of the speaker. Which means you can tune the sound directly as you like it – a quality that is not always available in a lot of portable speakers.
Urbanears, best known for its minimal styled headphones such as the Urbanears Plattan II, has taken a running jump at creating multi-room speakers and it’s been a successful one. Alongside the larger Baggen speaker, the Stammen is a versatile boxy-speaker that succeeds in being a speaker that looks good enough to sit proudly in your home. Packed with high-class Bluetooth connectivity, the Stammen has all the physical controls on top. There are two knobs; one to adjust volume and to toggle between Solo and Multi-Room playback. The other is for toggling play/pause as well as switching inputs and saved internet radio stations, which is handy to quickly access stations without having to fumble for your phone.
It’s a great speaker for small to mid-sized spaces, like living rooms, bedrooms and studio apartments, as the Stammen can kick out some serious sound; offering a nice balance of size and power that is plenty loud enough to fill any room.