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Best dorm room speakers 2022: Top sound for student life

Best dorm room speakers: Anker soundcore 3 bluetooth speaker
(Image credit: Anker )

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.

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Best value: Anker Soundcore 3
For just over $50, this Anker Soundcore 3 model delivers pretty remarkable sound that blew our audio editor away (opens in new tab). 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 (opens in new tab).

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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 (opens in new tab), which is an even cheaper $159. 

What are the best dorm room speakers for students?

Based on our testing, we think the Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 is the best dorm room speaker overall. It delivers a powerful kick — up to 100 decibels — with 360-degree sound, and can be paired with multiple speakers. It's also water-resistant — key if you plan on hosting any parties — and lasts up to 20 hours on a charge, so you can keep the tunes going for longer.

However, the UE Megaboom 3 costs around $170; if you're looking for something cheaper, then we recommend the Anker Soundcore 3 as the best dorm room speaker for students. It's just $50, and is very compact, yet it delivers a very big sound for its size. It's also water resistant and has a 24-hour battery life. 

It's important to remember that certain features like Wi-Fi connectivity and digital assistant support (e.g., Alexa, Google Assistant) will increase the cost. All the models here deliver the kind of sound quality to make a musical connection and receive a thumbs up from our expert audio reviewers. Each model is a worthy investment to see you through college life, and combines long battery life with a practical design that is also portable friendly. 

Right now many of our favorite picks are currently on sale, making now the ideal time to buy one of the best Bluetooth speakers. Be sure to follow our back to school guide for all of your shopping needs this season.

The best dorm room speakers to buy right now

UE Megaboom 3 on table top

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best Bluetooth speaker overall

Specifications

Size and weight: 8.9 x 3.4 x 3.4 inches, 2 pounds
Battery life (rated): 20 hours
Water resistant: Yes (IP67 rated)
Voice control: No

Reasons to buy

+
Big bass and full vocals
+
Good battery life
+
Can pair with older Megaboom and Boom models for stereo sound

Reasons to avoid

-
Big and heavy for a portable
-
No speakerphone

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.

Anker Soundcore 3 on table top

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best value small speaker for big sound

Specifications

Size & weight: 6.75 x 2.25 x 2.25-inch; 13 ounces
Battery life (rated): 24 hours
Water resistant: Yes (IP67 rated)
Voice control: No

Reasons to buy

+
Big sound from small design
+
Good battery life
+
Useful Soundcore app and EQ modes

Reasons to avoid

-
Sound hardens up at higher volumes
-
Rubberized case marks easily

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.

Sonos Roam in orange

(Image credit: Future)
The best Bluetooth speaker with Wi-Fi smarts

Specifications

Size & weight: 6.6 x 2.4 x 2.4 inches; 15 ounces
Battery life (rated): 10 hours
Water resistance: Yes (IP67 rated)
Voice control: Yes (Alexa and Google Assistant)

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Extensive connectivity
+
Auto TruePlay sound tuning

Reasons to avoid

-
No Bluetooth multipoint
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Middling battery life

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.

Tribit Stormbox Blast with LED lights on places on wooden surface

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Big boombox-style bass and bling at a great price

Specifications

Size & weight: 14.4 x 4.1 x 3.1 inches; 11.6 pounds
Battery life (rated): 30 hours
Water resistance: Yes (IPX7)
Voice control: No

Reasons to buy

+
Expansive sound
+
Booming bass
+
Battery lasts all day

Reasons to avoid

-
Treble can sound harsh at high volumes

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.

Shower speakers: JBL Charge 5

(Image credit: Future)
Decent battery life with useful top-up facility

Specifications

Size & weight: 8.7 x 3.8 x 3.7 inches; 1.8 pounds
Battery life: 20 hours
Water resistance: Yes (IP67 rated)
Voice control: No

Reasons to buy

+
Decent sound, particularly with vocals
+
Impressive bass performance
+
Good battery life with useful top-up facility for other devices

Reasons to avoid

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Basic control app

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.

UE Wonderboom 2 in various colours placed outside on wooden slats

(Image credit: Ultimate Ears)
The best portable Bluetooth speaker below $100

Specifications

Size & weight: 4 x 3.7 x 3.7 inches; 0.9 pounds
Battery life (rated): 13 hours
Water resistance: Yes (IP67 rated)
Voice control: No

Reasons to buy

+
Surprisingly full bass for a small speaker
+
Waterproof and dustproof

Reasons to avoid

-
No control app
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No visual battery life indicator

The UE Wonderboom 2 is proof that great things can come in small packages and is a top pick in our best cheap Bluetooth speakers. This tiny speaker delivers huge sound within a small 4-inch cylinder, complete with throbbing bass, balanced midtones and crisp vocals. It can survive being dunked in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes and is dust-resistant, making it perfect for your next trip to the pool, beach or park.

Other key features include an impressive 13-hour battery life and the ability to pair two Wonderbooms together for immersive stereo sound when you're kicking back in your dorm. If you need an especially small speaker that’s a breeze to tote around and don't want to spend more than $100, the Wonderboom 2 is hard to beat. Add a carabiner to the clever loop to attach the Wonderboom to your bag and you take it anywhere, even along to class.

Read our full UE Wonderboom 2 review.

The Tribit StormBox Micro clipped to a bike handle

(Image credit: Tribit)
The best cheap Bluetooth speaker for portability

Specifications

Size & weight: 3.9 x 3.9 x 1.4 inches; 9.6 ounces
Battery life (rated): 8 hours
Water resistance: Yes (IP67 rated)
Voice control: No

Reasons to buy

+
Small and lightweight
+
Decent bass
+
Water- and dust-proof

Reasons to avoid

-
Short battery life

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 (opens in new tab). 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. 

Lee Dunkley
Audio Editor

As a former editor of the U.K.'s Hi-Fi Choice magazine, Lee is passionate about all kinds of audio tech and has been providing sound advice to enable consumers to make informed buying decisions since he joined Which? magazine as a product tester in the 1990s. Lee covers all things audio for Tom's Guide, including headphones, wireless speakers and soundbars and loves to connect and share the mindfulness benefits that listening to music in the very best quality can bring.