The Best Speakers to Buy in 2024

The Best Speakers to Buy in 2024
At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.

If you’re looking to fill your life with more sound, there’s nothing like a good speaker. After thorough testing, we have a reliable list of the best speakers you can buy in 2024. Our list includes everything from $US60 portable ones to $US450 lounge speakers. It also covers a variety of use cases — from music production to easy listening in the shower.

The editorial staff of Gizmodo independently tests and reviews each product found in our Buyer’s Guides. If you purchase something using our affiliate links, G/O Media may earn a commission. Affiliate linking does not influence our editorial content.

Best Portable Speaker — Sonos Roam

Photo: Victoria Song / Gizmodo

If you’re new to Sonos and unsure about committing to this pricey speaker ecosystem, I’d say the Roam is the best option to see if the whole Sonos thing is your vibe. The $299 Roam may be the cheapest Sonos speaker. Not only is it relatively affordable, but even if the smart features aren’t your jam, at least you still have a great portable Bluetooth speaker.

At 6.6 inches long and 2.4 inches wide, the Roam is small enough to fit in your hand easily. Its triangular shape and matte finish also feel natural when you’re toting it around. It weighs in at slightly less than a pound, which feels substantial enough in your grip, but it’s not so heavy that you’re tempted to leave it at home. When you’re not moving around, you can stack it either vertically to save room or horizontally for more stability.

In terms of durability, the Roam is rated IP67 for dust and water resistance. I stuck it in a bowl of water for 30 minutes, and while it sprayed water all over my kitchen counter, it still worked afterward. It’ll be fine if you get caught in a downpour or accidentally knock it into a pool. Just don’t dilly dally when retrieving it.

Best Budget Speaker — Sony SRS-XB13

Photo: Victoria Song / Gizmodo

The criteria for portable Bluetooth speakers are not complicated. They’ve got to be easy to carry, sound decent, and not get trashed if you have butterfingers or get caught in the rain. The Sony SRS-XB13 ticks off all these boxes. It’s not without flaws, and you’ll have to compromise. But considering it’s only $88? It’s easy to forgive its shortcomings.

The XB13 is actually portable. It’s a tiny, squat lil’ guy, measuring 3.43 by 3.43 by 4.41 inches. In-person, the speaker is way tinier than I thought it would be when Sony initially sent over the official images. It also weighs a mere 11.7 ounces, which is noticeably lighter than the Sonos Roam (15 ounces). It also has a removable strap so you can easily hook it onto a bag or off a tree branch—whatever, I’m not judging. Also, it fits in a cup holder for road trips!

It has an IP67 rating and did not die when I purposefully dropped it into a pool. So there’s that. Long story short, this speaker is ideal if you’re on a budget, spend a lot of time outside, or are particularly clumsy.

Best Smart Lounge Speakers — JBL Authentics 300

Photo: Dua Rashid / Gizmodo

Considering this is the first-ever speaker to feature both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, it’s probably the smartest speaker you can get your hands on. Not only does it feature both assistants, it does it incredibly well. It’s impressive how seamlessly the Authentics 300 manages to juggle both while some speakers struggle to get even a single assistant to work flawlessly.

This speaker is gorgeous and justifies its $599 price tag. You get a premium leather-coated body with subtle golden accents on the front. There’s also a helpful handle for easy portability. Though, at around 11 lbs, it’s better suited as a lounge speaker that lives in one place. It lasts around 8 hours on a full charge, though, so if you ever need to move it for an event briefly, you can do that without having an ugly cable sticking out of it.

This speaker means it when it claims that it will fill your space with music. Its sound carries immense power and is always more than enough for my two-bedroom apartment. It never sounds muddy, even at higher volumes, and retains that strength regardless of how much pressure you put it in.

I saved the best for the last. You can (low-key) DJ on this by tweaking your music in real time. Thanks to a pair of huge bass and Treble dials on the top of this speaker, you can customize exactly how much low and high end you want and on which track. My friends and I sometimes like to constantly play around with them during tracks for a fun and hands-on listening experience. I can promise you that the dials work and aren’t just a marketing gimmick. In fact, maxing out the bass will make your entire floor vibrate.

Best Studio Speakers — Pioneer DJ VM-80

Photo: John Biggs / Gizmodo

These speakers scream that they’re studio monitors. They have an 8-inch woofer and standard tweeter ensconced inside an unusual oval cone that works to shape the sound. Bass response is excellent and the resulting stereo projection of having two of these in a close position to your mixing desk or computer is amazing. They are big at 15.5 inches high and 13 inches deep and weigh a hefty 21.38 lb.

I tested it using a number of song genres, from techno to jazz. Playing these songs through the VM-80 was like running a DJ booth in my attic office. I had excellent reproduction through most volume levels, and even at max volume, the sound wasn’t muddy or confused. Available at Amazon Australia for $581.

Best Speaker for Apple Households — Sonos Era 300

Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

The Sonos Era 300 is an impressive speaker, even at its eye-popping $749 price point. But don’t think about it unless you’re in an Apple-dominant household.

It has one forward-firing tweeter routed through what the company calls a “custom waveguide” and one tweeter firing upward so that sound bounces off the ceiling. There are also two side-firing tweeters, one on each side, plus two woofers underneath those. I was impressed by the speaker’s ability to thump through deep bass while listening to techno with the volume up high.

I compared the Sonos Era 300 to the discontinued Google Home Max. I also listened to it against the second-gen Apple HomePod, which is not as loud as the Era 300, though it has similar specs (five tweeters and one woofer vs four tweeters and two woofers). In almost all cases, I preferred the way the Era 300 sounded to the aging Home Max and the second-gen HomePod.

But with no Google Cast integration, this speaker doesn’t make a lot of sense in a Google-led household. I would have to rebuild my entire smart ecosystem to integrate the Sonos Era 300—and even then, it would only work with the few AirPlay-capable devices rather than the mass of Google cast devices I have throughout my abode.

Honorable Mention – Sonos Move 2

Image: Sonos

The third speaker to be listed, the Sonos Move 2 offers vibrant sound for an entire room, engineered well enough to fill a space and not annoy people on the other sides of walls. We’re currently reviewing the speaker, and it’s been mightily impressive so far – though for $799 it is a bit spenny.

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At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.