20 Design-Forward Speakers That Actually Bump Amazing Sound, Too
Our favorites make really good gifts.
Published Nov 6, 2023 6:00 PM
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We’re pretty confident anyone would be thrilled to open a box with a Bluetooth speaker inside. These handy gadgets come in all shapes, sizes, and functionalities, and speak to a surprising breadth of people on holiday shopping lists. Know someone who would rather be out on the trail or in the middle of the woods? Scoop up a lightweight but waterproof option that can clip onto their camping bag. Have a friend who loves to host dinner parties in their backyard? We found a portable lamp-slash-speaker that delivers ambient light and sound. Stumped on what to get a gamer teen? A customizable pixel art speaker will be a welcome addition to their desk setup.
Check out our favorites, listed below, all of which we made sure nailed the trifecta of quality sound, decent battery life, and an easy-on-the-eyes exterior.
For being just a mere 3.4 inches wide and 2.7 inches tall, the JBL Go 3 is surprisingly loud. Shoppers are “blown away” by the sound quality, and others confirm it’s a definite step up from previous models. The only difference between the original and this eco-friendly version is the fact that it’s constructed with 90% post-consumer recycled plastic that’s still totally waterproof and dustproof—and it can take a tumble. That’s why we say it’s primed for adventures; with a carabiner, you can attach this onto pretty much any surface—we’re thinking backpacks and coolers—and at a more affordable price point compared to the brand’s larger (and pricier) clip version. We also love that you can jam to continuous tunes via Bluetooth for up to five hours without needing a charge.
A lamp and speaker in one. This cord-free cutie brings ambient lighting and tunes to your next outdoor dinner party. The mushroomlike silhouette delivers 360 degrees of sound and nine adjustable LED color ranges you can dim via touch.
You already know we’re Team Checks, which is why we’re smitten with this cute cube. For the giftee who loves to make a trendy statement no matter where they are, this sage green and white pattern is likely just the ticket. Plus it’s small enough to throw into a bag and lightweight enough not to weigh anything down, especially if they’re already toting snacks for a picnic in the park or lounging by the pool. It makes for a great last-minute gift, as it ships in two days’ time when you order from Revolve.
Talk about teeny-tiny—this pocket-size speaker is as cute as a button (hence the name). Despite it fitting in the palm of your hand, reviewers confirm it delivers distortion-free, clear sound. Your giftee will be charmed by the novelty of it, along with its cheerful color combo.
Described as a “mini jukebox in your pocket,” this curvaceous speaker delivers bass in a small frame. Controls are kept simple, with the front offering to turn up (or turn down) the volume. If everyone in your friend group has one, get it for whomever doesn’t, since the Wonderboom is designed to pair up with others to amplify tunes.
Old-school vibes with modern tech prowess. The Forte radio by beloved brand Crosley is easy to give, especially considering it won’t run you more than $40. Available in a sleek navy and trendy sage green, at first glance they’d never know this transistor radio look-alike can play their favorite Spotify playlist.
Listen, there are plenty of us out there who now own one too many Apple products to want to stray from the brand. If you know someone who’s a die-hard, then grab this “surprisingly powerful little speaker” to add to their collection. “It’s roughly the size of a softball but has the power and sound of a speaker triple its size,” one reviewer writes, adding it also plays spatial and 360-degree audio.
The smallest—quarter size!—and most affordable Bluetooth speaker on our list, this little guy gives your phone a major bass boost. One reviewer even puts it on par with their JBL speaker. It can also be tapped as a shutter button for photos.
One reviewer describes the Lexon Tykho 3 as “the right combination of simplicity and function. It is highly portable and the antenna pulls in signals well.” We particularly dig how everything from the buttons to the antenna is drenched in the same color of silicone. Don’t look any further than this is if you’re searching for an FM radio–slash–Bluetooth speaker in one.
The Sonos Roam has made a few appearances in our gift guides over the years—it’s just that good. Here’s why: It is under $200, less than 8 ounces, available in four fun finishes, and delivers high-end sound that the brand is known for. Enjoy this one indoors, but especially out, as it’s water resistant and shock absorbent and can stand on its own. Connect via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi from the app, and it’s also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for hands-free listening.
“A great little speaker” is how one Target shopper refers to this waterproof and dustproof pick in a cheery orange finish. The unique shape allows it to clip or attach via a versatile strap.
For the creative in your life, this nifty little speaker also doubles as wall art and a clock. They’ll be able to customize the pixel art to whatever design they choose to create or tap into the brand’s premade displays available in the app, including a continuous loop of the time or weather. One shopper enthusiastically shares that it’s a “great gift for geeks!” and notes they were surprised by the build quality, plus the “sound quality is nice for the price range.”
Potterheads will be floored by this Deathly Hallows–shaped cordless speaker. Dressed in gold detail, it could easily be mistaken as nonthemed decor to someone unfamiliar with the books, but those in the know will get it.
Nothing beats a flickering flame or roaring fire to set a cozy vibe, and this Bluetooth speaker’s glow embodies that ambience and then some by delivering 360 degrees of sound.
While the Snooz looks like other portable Bluetooth speakers, it’s actually much more than a cordless device for playing music. If you have giftees who are always traveling or parents of kids who can’t sleep without a sound machine, consider this present idea. It plays six different soothing sounds, from white noise to fans, and even glows as a nightlight.
This Dutch-designed speaker from Leff Amsterdam is technically the companion piece to its equally tubular alarm clock, but we think it works just fine on its own, connecting via Bluetooth to your giftee’s phone, tablet, or computer. Available in a steel, brass, or matte black finish, it’s decidedly luxe in appearance, so much so that it might become a permanent fixture on their bookshelf.
The collab we didn’t know we needed, but the one that your motorhead family and friends are sure to pine for (or be positively jazzed over if gifted one). This premium outdoor speaker from Bang & Olufsen is dressed in fiery red anodized aluminum and anthracite black, and ships with a matching carabiner for on-the-go sound. But here’s why it’s a cut above the rest: It promises a battery life of up to 27 hours and you can opt for complimentary gift wrapping.
If you’re looking to splurge on a pretty piece of tech, this transparent loudspeaker with unique tempered glass panels makes for a premium gift. Its pared-back design is easy on the eyes, and shoppers confirm that, despite its compact size, sound spreads widely throughout a room.
There probably isn’t a more recognizable brand name when it comes to amplifying music. The cream vegan leather case is accentuated with brass controls and buttons for an elevated look that the brand defines as its most discrete. “We have so many Bluetooth speakers, but this one is worthy of display 24-7!” one shopper writes.
Covered in exclusive Kvadrat fabrics, the Vifa Helsinki could easily be mistaken for a handbag. Its 6-pound frame can be carried thanks to an attached leather strap, which has rave reviews from owners of multiple Bluetooth speakers. For the audiophile in your life, this luxe loudspeaker is all but guaranteed to impress, and it’s waterproof, to boot. “If you are looking for crisp, balanced sound…this is the speaker for you,” one comment reads.