Our pick of the best dorm room speakers are an essential purchase for any student getting ready for college life. Whether you’re using it for background sounds while you study, relaxing to your favorite tunes playing in the background, or pushing up the volume an extra notch as you kick back and hang out with your roomies, today’s Bluetooth speakers offer great versatility and performance for college and back to school students without breaking the bank.
There are hundreds of Bluetooth speakers available, but very few make the grade when it comes to delivering top sound quality for your favorite music. Whether you’re on a budget or looking to splurge on something a bit more powerful, we’ve compiled a list of the most practical speakers for dorm rooms.
Read on to discover our top recommendations.
Top 3 best dorm room speakers
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Best overall performance: Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3
This portable and rugged sound blaster is still our best Bluetooth speaker overall. It delivers big bass and full vocals, and pairs with older Megaboom and Boom models for stereo sound. You get 20 hours of playback from a full charge, and what's not to love about the color options and waterproof design.
Best value: Anker Soundcore 3
For just over $50, this Anker Soundcore 3 model delivers pretty remarkable sound that blew our audio editor away. It comes in a durable, compact package, and the 24-hour battery means you can play it all day long. It can even survive being dunked in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes and is one of our best waterproof speakers.
Best with Wi-Fi smarts: Sonos Roam
We're big fans of the Sonos Roam with its great sound in a portable design and Trueplay tuning that optimizes the sound to wherever it is placed. But if you don't need extra perks like Alexa and Google Assistant support and built-in mics, keep an eye out for the recently launched Sonos Roam SL, which is an even cheaper $159.
The best dorm room speakers to buy right now
Thanks to its excellent sound quality, long battery life and travel-ready ruggedness, the UE Megaboom 3 is the best Bluetooth speaker you can buy right now. This big, bold portable speaker pumps out rich 360-degree sound complete with detailed highs and satisfying low-end, and maxes out at 100 decibels of noise. It's one of our best outdoor speakers thanks to an IP67-rated design, which means it can survive drops, shower splashes, and can even be submerged for short periods without skipping a beat.
The Megaboom 3 is on the bigger side compared to other portable speakers, and unlike many of its competitors, it doesn't have Alexa or Google Assistant support, or any other smart features. But if that’s not a deal breaker, the Megaboom 3's sound quality and ruggedness can't be beat for the price. You can also pair it with older Megaboom and Boom models for a stereo sound experience.
Read our full UE Megaboom 3 review.
The Anker Soundcore 3 is an amazing little Bluetooth speaker and makes the top of our list as one of the best cheap Bluetooth speakers around. For just over $50, this tiny powerhouse delivers loud, well-balanced sound within an IPX7-rated design that can survive water and dust, while the robust rubberised outer case takes care of protection from everyday knocks. The speaker lasts up to a whopping 24 hours, thanks to Anker's best-in-class battery technology, and the Soundcore 3's dual tweeter drivers and central mid/bass woofer allied to a passive bass driver and Anker's BassUp technology, ensure you'll get powerful sound in any setting.
The Soundcore's compact design makes it perfect for tossing into your bag for a quick road trip, and SharePlay allows multiple Soundcore speakers to be synced for an even bigger sound. It's also available in blue, red and silver colors for a little extra ($56) cost in addition to the standard slick black we tested.
Read our full Anker Soundcore 3 review.
Building on the success of the Sonos Move which ranks as one of our best smart speakers, the Sonos Roam is a connected smart speaker at home and powerful Bluetooth beast on the road. It’s much more portable and more affordable than the Move, though, and its auto Trueplay feature adjusts the sound to suit your surroundings wherever you’re listening.
It is available in five color options including sunset (orange) as pictured, and although we wish the battery lasted more than 10 hours, it juices up quickly via USB-C or wireless charging. When you return back from your latest excursion, the Sonos Roam should rejoin your larger Sonos system on its own. It also gives you the option to hand off your current soundtrack to the nearest Sonos speaker. Or you could stick to Roam, bringing your voice assistant and streaming services room-to-room, or as far as your Wi-Fi can reach.
Read our full Sonos Roam review.
While it costs about $200, the StormBox Blast is not nearly as expensive as some of our best Bluetooth speakers like the powerful UE Hyperboom or the JBL Boombox 3, but it sounds nearly as good, making it something of a bargain compared to other extra-large portable Bluetooth speakers.
If you’re looking for a big speaker that can withstand the elements, the Tribit StormBox Blast has a lot going for it. It fills whatever space you are in with bassy sound and vocals sound clear. You can boost the bass further with the XBass button on the speaker, and you can link two StormBox Blasts together for an even bigger sound. It can play all day without needing a recharge, and it’s waterproof so you don’t have to worry about it falling into the pool or getting rained on for a while. And it puts on a light show if you want some visuals to go with your audio.
Read our full Tribit StormBox Blast review.
The JBL Charge 5 makes only a few changes to the Charge 4's formula, but thanks to the new model's improved sound output and even greater ruggedness, it's a deserving member of the best dorm room speakers club. Its IP67 rating, signaling high dust resistance and full waterproofing, is about as good as you'll get on a portable Bluetooth speakers and along with the UE Megaboom 3 is one of our best outdoor speakers.
JBL's app isn't as advanced as the UE Megaboom 3, but the Charge 5 can show off a few tricks of its own. Chief among them being able to act as a power bank for phones and tablets. Running out of juice when you're streaming music in the yard or at a park? Just plug it into the Charge 5 and the speaker will give you a top-up.
Read our full JBL Charge 5 review.
The UE Wonderboom 3 is one of the most well-rounded Bluetooth speakers under $100 that we’ve reviewed. Balanced sound and a portable design make it a great companion, while the Outdoor Boost feature does its job. And for most people 14 hours of battery life is plenty.
If you think you need beefier sound or a longer battery life, the Megaboom 3 (top) might be worth the investment. It also can be paired with additional UE speakers for stereo sound. Charging the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 is our only real disappointment. Going from dead, the speaker took over two hours to reach the chime that indicates a full charge. This is probably due to Micro-USB charging, which is rather outdated, and we wish it had USB-C charging like most of my other devices. Otherwise, the UE Wonderboom 3 is one of the best options for the price.
Read the full UE Wonderboom 3 review.
If you're looking for a Bluetooth speaker that offers practical portability at a great price, the StormBox Micro is currently discounted to $49 at Amazon. Although it has been around for a while it's a very worthwhile on-the-go option and has plenty of great features, including IP67-rated to protect it from water (to a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 mins) and against dust and dirt.
Unlike a lot of very small speakers, it also sounds great, producing clear vocals and some surprisingly strong bass. For something tiny enough to clip onto a satchel or bike handlebars, that’s very good indeed. The only drawbacks are the lack of an app (although you can pair with two devices at once) and a relatively low battery life, which sees the StormBox Micro run dry after 8 hours.
Read our full Tribit StormBox Micro review.
Plus: Also consider the slightly more costly Tribit StormBox Micro 2, which adds a USB-C port to enable mobile top ups. This updated model impressed a Tom's Guide coworker so much it's become a favorite gadget.
What to consider when choosing a speaker for a dorm room
One of the first things to consider is whether you want your dorm room speaker to be wireless or wired. While a number of wired speakers like the Amazon Echo (4th gen) provide excellent Bluetooth listening, you can’t take them far from a power outlet. You'll need a speaker with a rechargeable battery for on-the-go sounds.
Size and weight: Depending on the size of your dorm (and whether you have roommates or not), space may be a little bit tight. Along with our 7 tips to save space in a student dorm room, selecting a smaller Bluetooth speaker will help you keep the footprint small without compromising on output. Thankfully, most of the Bluetooth speakers selected are compact and lightweight models so they won’t eat into valuable living space, and also aren't’ too cumbersome to move around.
Voice control: Decide whether a Bluetooth speaker with a voice assistant is best for you. Some models carry Google Assistant or Alexa to change the music using your voice, rather than controlling the audio through your phone. These smart features will not work beyond your dorm's Wi-Fi though so you may want a model that also features some form of mobile app support so that the speaker can be controlled from a smartphone.
Battery life: If power outlets are in short supply in your dorm room, it may not always be convenient to leave the speaker plugged in on charge so choose a model that has a the right battery life for your needs. Thankfully, all our recommendations have a built-in battery pack that give anything from 10 hours to 30 hours of playback in between rechargers.
How we test the best dorm room speakers
Every product on this list is considered the best dorm room speaker for one or more standout features, however each must meet basic requirements during our testing to be considered. We spend several hours listening to music to make sure it sounds great across all music genres, provides solid call quality and withstands minor bumps or splashes.
To determine sound quality, we listen to as many tracks across multiple music genres as possible, including hip-hop, rock, jazz, classical, and electronic, while evaluating volume, clarity and fullness. Movies, podcasts, and video games are also considered, where necessary.
If a speaker offers smart features, we enable the supported voice assistant to see how it fares against other top rated smart speakers. We’ll use it to control smart home devices, browse playlists and get answers to other common queries.
We also test battery life, exhausting each speaker’s battery after a full charge to see how long it can last under realistic conditions. A smart speaker connected to Wi-Fi should last at least 10 hours, while a standard Bluetooth speaker should last around 20 to 30 hours.
Once testing is completed, we rate the best Bluetooth speakers based on our five-point system (1 = worst, 5 = best). Products that hit nearly every mark are awarded an Editor's Choice badge.