What is life without music in the background? If you are an audiophile or find yourself dancing along to the rhythm more often than not, a boombox is a vital addition to your life tools. Small and compact Bluetooth speakers have been doing the rounds for years now, and they undoubtedly have their utility. But if you seek to charge up a large gathering by the pool, under the sun, or in a karaoke room, a monstrous boombox is what the doctor ordered. Now can be a great time to plan your party calendar for 2022 by investing in a quality ghetto blaster to fit your needs.
Buying a Boombox: Here is what to look for
Leading brands like JBL and Sony keep reinventing themselves in a bid to provide you with a mesmerizing audio experience. Many boomboxes available in the market today offer excellent bass and volume. They are compatible with Bluetooth to let you play your music from anywhere. If you wish to tune in to the radio, it is advisable to check for the antenna strength rating of your boombox. That way, you will be able to listen to all the radio channels available in your area.
Mobility is a significant thing to mull over when hunting for the right boombox for your lifestyle. The smoother the sound and fancier the add-ons, the bulkier the boombox can be. It is not likely to be a nifty sound machine you can tuck into a backpack. The welcome news is that many manufacturers prioritize mobility and offer helpful things like wheels, handles, etc., for easy carriage. A few speakers are weatherproof and splash-proof, which means they are ideal for beach parties and a poolside rendezvous.
You can find products that compromise on the material used for construction, swapping heavy-duty parts with plastics or synthetics. This may lower the cost to the buyer but will also limit the durability of the boombox. It is a tradeoff you will have to figure out.
Unplugged usage is a significant concern when you are in the market for a boombox. You do not want your music machine to run out of power and become a damp squib on the turnout. It is best to find a boombox with a playtime of at least 10 hours or more. Some gadgets deliver as much as twenty-four. You can opt for built-in batteries as well; they are usually rechargeable.
The bass finesse of your chosen boombox will dictate its utility as your go-to machine for parties and events. The best boomboxes incorporate techniques and design elements to improve the bass. You can check for dedicated woofers and subwoofers, for instance, and wave cancellation technologies to minimize distortion.
We have featured the three best boomboxes you can find this year. The budget varies from as little as $42 to as high as $800, so you can listen to your wallet while deciding.
Our Pick: JBL Boombox 2
At around $499, the JBL Boombox 2 is an excellent bet for an all-rounder boombox in 2022. It comes with an IPX7 waterproof rating to render it perfect for different weather conditions and versatile events like outdoorsy parties and indoor gatherings.
Reasons to buy:
- Excellent, professional-grade audio output
- Loud bass suitable for events
- Highly portable with convenient grip handle
- 24-hour battery life with power bank included
- Bluetooth compatible
- Can pair with multiple speakers
Reasons to avoid:
- Expensive purchase
- Lacks an EQ for adjusting the sound profile
- Heavier than some other choices on this list
- Has not evolved much from older models
Why we chose it:
The JBL Boombox 2 offers impressive sound output and bass with an all-day battery life of 24 hours. The audio quality is JBL Original Pro, so your experience will be loud and absorbing, resembling that in a club or party settings. With smooth Bluetooth pairing and speaker linking with Partyboost, you can stream music from any compatible device. A pioneering grip handle makes it among the most portable boomboxes on the list. It is a stylish and attractive addition to your party paraphernalia with its side flares and sturdy design.
JBL has included a built-in power bank with this device so that you never run the risk of missing out on music. This, coupled with the all-day battery backup, makes a tremendous difference to the overall mobility of this boombox. You can carry it anywhere with you, assured that your sound will follow. Plus, since it is a waterproof gadget, dancing on the beach is groovier than ever.
Bluetooth connectivity simplifies your user experience, letting you access music from your phone or tablet. A few codecs are missing here. That can be a dampener, particularly because it is such a pricey gadget, and you tend to start pegging it higher than traditional portable boomboxes.
Another exciting feature of this 13lbs boombox is Partyboost. It lets you connect many speakers to ramp up volume. (Of course, the speakers must be compatible with JBL PartyBoost for this to work.) PartyBoost further accentuates this boombox’s ability to thrive in large social events. While you can comfortably use it indoors, this blaster really comes into its own in outdoor settings. The volume can be incredibly loud, so your audio will be far-reaching and impactful over large areas.
Low bass can be a bit of a problem area here, especially at high volumes. You may start experiencing some distortion the higher you go, although you will likely go that high only in massive congregations.
JBL has not reinvented too many features in this latest model of its classic boombox. The chances are you will find it much more impressive if you are a newcomer to the brand. However, that does not take away anything from this gadget – a fantastic option for music and party buffs who wish to enliven their next gathering.
Best Budget: Sony Stereo CD/Cassette Boombox
If you covet a superior sound experience on a budget, then the Sony Stereo CD/Cassette Boombox is an excellent but affordable option. This blaster costs just $42, which means it is a lovely but inexpensive way to bring music to life.
Reasons to buy:
- Very affordable
- Includes FM/AM tuner with preset stations
- Inbuilt cassette deck
- Allows you to record music
- Long battery life
- Option to enhance the low bass
Reasons to avoid:
- Sound quality could be better
- Lacks weatherproof rating
- The CD player could be a bit unreliable
Why we chose it:
This Sony Stereo boombox boasts full-function stereo sound to lift your spirits at the next event. It lets you fine-tune the low-frequency bass with a unique boost circuitry (Mega Bass) – a tempting proposition for audiophiles. You can play music from your CDs, CD-R/RW, MP3, or use the cassette tape deck. This boombox comes with an FM/AM tuner and offers a dependable 19-hour battery backup.
There are plenty of things you can do with your music here. You may shuffle things up, program and record, or tune in to FM/AM. Thirty preset stations are already in place, so things are easy, quick, and involve less fiddling. It helps that Sony provides a digital stereo tuner to ensure little drift as you are tuning to your preferred radio station.
The option to play cassettes is another winner here. It is the perfect trip down nostalgia lane and not something you can find easily in these times. It also makes this gadget useful as a gifting option for someone you know who treasures their old cassettes. If you would rather record music and create those vintage mixtapes yourself, you got yourself the ideal stress-buster for these frazzled times.
This boombox offers Aux audio input to let you connect to digital music players. It turns out to be pretty straightforward. As for the sound output, well, it is pleasing for this price. The Mega Bass draws a mixed response from users, with some enjoying the extended bass response while others finding it inadequate. The boombox does lack volume, though, and is unlikely to be suitable for large parties.
You will need six batteries to operate this boombox; Polaroid C ones work well. The best part is that the backup is for almost 19 hours, which gives you the freedom to carry your boombox around. It is super lightweight at just 5.1lbs and compactly built, so lugging it along is no bother. It hardly takes up any space in a backpack.
Sony includes an AC power cord with the purchase and advises you to unplug the device in adverse weather or when not in use. Weatherproofing can be a limitation here as it lacks an IPX7 rating. It reduces the utility for you if you primarily want an outdoor boombox. Even so, you should be good unless it starts pouring with rain or snow!
Extra deep bass: JBL PartyBox 710
If you have the budget for going the extra luxurious mile for parties, consider investing in the JBL PartyBox 710.
It costs a steep $799.95 and is significantly more expensive than many contemporaries. But it is a magnificent party speaker with terrific sound, glamorous lighting, and a portable design.
Reasons to buy:
- Extra deep bass
- Professional audio output
- Dazzling lighting in sync with the music
- Portable design with wheels and handle
- Splashproof rating
Reasons to avoid:
- Very expensive
- Bulky and heavy
- The EQ could do with more customization
Why we chose it:
This PartyBox offers the excellent sound with which one associates JBL. You can enthrall in the 800-watt performance, deep bass, and professional-grade sound. Inbuilt lighting is the perfect addition to take your events up a notch. The portability is superb, thanks to a grip handle and wheels. An IPX4 splashproof rating keeps your mind at peace during outdoor gatherings that can potentially get wet and wild.
This speaker supports Bluetooth, so you can get lost in your sound wherever you are. JBL justifies the price by equipping this boombox with two tweeters and woofers (2.75″ and 8”) to enhance the audio output and transform the scene magically. A bass reflex port fine-tunes the sound and makes your beats come alive.
The volume is good and loud, so the speaker will be well-suited to big, outdoor events. Karaoke nights are astounding with this speaker, in terms of both bass and volume. Things can actually get too loud if you are not used to this level of sound immersion.
The dazzling lighting is a charming bonus you get with this boombox. You can choose from various effects like starry night and flashing club lights. Custom strobes that adapt to your music help you transcend and get transported to a nightclub or a karaoke bar – or so it feels. At the price of a boombox, you are getting home an entire party kit. That is not a bad deal at all.
The PartyBox application goes a long way in streamlining your user experience. All kinds of customizations become simple, for example, changing the settings for your music or controlling the lighting in sync with the mood of your event. (You could also use the dials in the top panel to fiddle with the lighting.)
It is quite a heavy boombox weighing 61.2lbs. If you need to carry it somewhere, the chances are you will require help to lift it up the stairs. Nonetheless, JBL has thought out the design well. Smooth wheels let you roll it around through large spaces. The classic grip handle of JBL improves the portability, allowing you to pick it up easily. This PartyBox sets up in different locations without hassle. The splash-proofing guarantees that you will not damage the speakers during beach parties or evenings by the pool.
Multiple boomboxes are now available for purchase – from wireless speakers and docking stations to CD and cassette players. While selecting one for your music needs, you should ensure that it is compatible with most streaming devices like your phone or online applications. The standard party – and we know these things get wilder every year – tends to last a good couple of hours. So, the right boombox also needs to be reliable and good for long-term use through the day and night.
Depending on how much you are willing to spend for the experience, you can find options with exciting bonuses like inbuilt lighting. The JBL PartyBox 710, for instance, is a complete party package rolled into one boombox. If you intend on throwing massive parties this year, it can make things a lot easier. It also works fine as a music platform for scintillating outdoor events. JBL Boombox 2 is another sensible choice for those who want professional-grade audio while also sticking to a (slightly) lower budget.
If your requirements are more low-key, like playing back old mixed tapes and CDs, then you might love an option like the Sony Stereo. It hits the sweet spot between affordability and functionality while appealing to a diverse audience base.
Buying the perfect boombox has become more complicated in the present day because of the surge of low-quality options. The music space is flooded with players, but not all are bankable. It is vital to steer clear of cheap but inferior boomboxes that fail to realize an immersive audio experience or run out of optimal life very soon.
The basics of a superior boombox are straightforward: sound quality, battery backup, and portability. Picking a trusted brand that prioritizes these three is the best option in the long run.