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best boomboxes

The Best Boomboxes in 2021

Author: Robert Wilson

Electronics & Peripherals Expert

The boombox is not a relic from the 80s, but still brings back memories for enthusiasts today. In order to create a best list, our team has reviewed countless tests on the Internet and was able to reveal ratings for weight, connections, power supply and much more.

Sony Stereo CD/Cassette Boombox Home Audio Radio

Sony Stereo CD/Cassette Boombox Home Audio Radio
7,000 Reviews
Sony Stereo CD/Cassette Boombox Home Audio Radio
  • Enjoy full-function stereo sound, Playback CDs, CD-R/RW and…
  • FM/AM tuner with digital tuning and 30 station presets, AC…
  • MEGA BASS boost circuitry enhances low-frequency bass…
  • Power Supply 1 x AC power cord (120 VAC, 60 Hz) or 6 x…
  • Note: Kindly refer the PDFs provided under technical…

Sony Portable Bluetooth Digital Turner AM/FM CD Player Mega Bass Reflex Stereo Sound System

 Our Pick
Sony Portable Bluetooth Digital Turner AM/FM CD Player Mega Bass Reflex Stereo Sound System
4,411 Reviews
Sony Portable Bluetooth Digital Turner AM/FM CD Player Mega Bass Reflex Stereo Sound System
  • CD playback – Enjoy your favorite CDs or personally recorded…
  • Bluetooth audio streaming – Enjoy convenient Bluetooth…
  • AM/FM Tuner – A built-in digital FM/AM Stereo Tuner with 30…
  • USB recording and playback – Easily record an entire CD, or…
  • MEGA BASS sound enhancement, FM/AM radio with 30 memory…

Sony CFDS70-BLK CD/MP3 Cassette Boombox Home Audio Radio

Sony CFDS70-BLK CD/MP3 Cassette Boombox Home Audio Radio
3,857 Reviews
Sony CFDS70-BLK CD/MP3 Cassette Boombox Home Audio Radio
  • A compact CD/cassette player with AM/FM radio, sleep-timer,…
  • Enjoy full-function stereo sound, Playback CDs, CD-R/RW and…
  • FM/AM tuner with digital tuning and 30 station presets, AC…
  • MEGA BASS boost circuitry enhances low-frequency bass…
  • Dimensions (W x H x D) 89.76″ x 138.19″ x 62.20″

BRAVEN BRV-XXL/2 Large Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

BRAVEN BRV-XXL/2 Large Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
186 Reviews
BRAVEN BRV-XXL/2 Large Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
  • The brv-xxl/2 is the biggest, baddest and loudest speaker…
  • Built for any weather condition, The rugged design is…
  • 33ft (10M) wireless range with advanced Bluetooth technology…
  • This massive speaker is built with 4 HD Audio drivers, 1…
  • Portable and convenient, XXL Features built-in 15, 600mAh…

Pyle Bluetooth Boombox Street Blaster Stereo Speaker

Pyle Bluetooth Boombox Street Blaster Stereo Speaker
1,610 Reviews
Pyle Bluetooth Boombox Street Blaster Stereo Speaker
  • WIRELESS BLUETOOTH CONNECTIVITY: This wireless boombox…
  • AUXILIARY INPUTS: Aside from wireless connectivity, this…
  • PORTED ENCLOSURE DESIGN: This portable outdoor Boombox is…
  • DIGITAL SCREEN: This product is equipped w/ a digital screen…
  • RECHARGEABLE BATTERY: This Stereo Speaker also features a…

Victrola 1980s Retro Bluetooth Boombox with Cassette Player

Victrola 1980s Retro Bluetooth Boombox with Cassette Player
833 Reviews
Victrola 1980s Retro Bluetooth Boombox with Cassette Player
  • 80’S VINTAGE VIBE WITH MODERN FEATURES – Rekindle…
  • WIDE-RANGE BLUETOOTH CONNECTIVITY – The built-in Bluetooth…
  • BLAST FROM THE PAST – Loaded with features, this classic…
  • EXPANDED CONNECTION OPTIONS – This portable powered (AC) &…
  • ALL THE CONTROLS YOU NEED – Features knobs for volume and…

QFX J-220BT ReRun X Cassette Player Boombox with 4-Band Radio

 Our Pick
QFX J-220BT ReRun X Cassette Player Boombox with 4-Band Radio
1,022 Reviews
QFX J-220BT ReRun X Cassette Player Boombox with 4-Band Radio
  • Country of origin : China
  • Old-school analog buttons
  • Package weight : 9.5 Lbs
  • Bluetooth 5.0 music streaming

Tenmiya Portable Bluetooth Speakers, 30W Loud Outdoor Speakers with Subwoofer

 Our Pick
Tenmiya Portable Bluetooth Speakers, 30W Loud Outdoor Speakers with Subwoofer
1,988 Reviews
Tenmiya Portable Bluetooth Speakers, 30W Loud Outdoor Speakers with Subwoofer
  • [New Upgraded Speaker]-[Powerful Sound] A66 Bluetooth…
  • [Bluetooth Speakers]-[Wireless and Wired] Clear, rich sound…
  • [Portable Bluetooth Speakers]-[Comfortable Carry and Long…
  • [Party Speaker]-[Colorful lights and EQ Sound Effects]…
  • [More Features for You]-[FM Radio and Remote Control] FM…

Frequently Asked Questions: Boomboxes

What is a Boombox?

A boombox combines all the functions of a classic stereo system in a still portable format. Although the devices are anything but lightweights, they can easily fit in the trunk of a car or in a backpack. Thanks to optional battery operation, they can be used anywhere, even if there is no power outlet nearby.

For the playback of music ghetto blasters offer several options at once. In the early days, mainly cassettes or the classic radio were used. However, modern versions are also capable of playing CDs or pairing external devices such as smartphones via Bluetooth or WiFi.

These versatile options clearly distinguish boomboxes from mobile speakers, which can usually only be fed from an external source. In addition, ghetto blasters can also produce a much better sound due to their larger volume.

How does a Boombox work?

In a ghetto blaster are already all the components necessary for the reproduction of music or other audio content. In addition to the speakers, there is also a suitable amplifier and a powerful subwoofer in just one housing. Therefore, the mode of operation itself does not differ from a classic system. In principle, it is just such an audio system in a small format.

Almost all ghetto blasters can be operated with batteries if required, and some even have an integrated rechargeable battery. Per se, this has no influence on the possible output power. Even without access to a power outlet, boomboxes achieve the same volume and sound quality.

However, it should be noted that the power consumption is enormously high at high volumes. In some cases, music enjoyment ends after just two hours. However, high-quality models can easily achieve runtimes of up to 20 hours at moderate volumes and thus reliably provide music for a barbecue without interruption, for example.

Advantages of Boomboxes

In principle, boomboxes are a compromise between a stationary stereo system and a small portable speaker. They achieve excellent sound quality and can still be easily transported to any location. Of course, they cannot compete with a good stereo system and they are significantly heavier and larger than a mini speaker for smartphones.

But if you’re only satisfied with the best possible sound when you’re on the go, a boombox is the right choice.

A good option is also a boombox for the garden, where it does not have to be moved much anyway. In addition, a use in the car would also be conceivable. Placed in the trunk, it can be used for numerous locations, while at the same time conserving the car battery.

The battery operation is also a big advantage compared to speakers with integrated batteries. If the battery runs out, new batteries can simply be inserted and the sound can continue immediately. Boxes with rechargeable batteries, on the other hand, must first be charged for at least an hour.

Ghetto blasters also have the advantage that they leave the user free to choose the music source. Those who want to can connect their smartphone to it, while some others opt for their own music collection. No other portable music device offers such a wide selection.

In addition, boomboxes with a docking station can often even charge a smartphone during operation. In direct comparison, mini boxes often just seem like an accessory, while a boombox is a real mobile entertainment center.

Types of Boomboxes

Ghetto blasters come in countless different designs, which differ in several respects. The simplest models only have two speakers, where the tweeter and woofer are not present separately. Higher-end models, on the other hand, rely on separate speakers for high and low frequencies, and there are even some models with separate speakers for mid-range frequencies.

Beyond that, you’ll also always find differences in the installed subwoofer. An active woofer offers the highest possible power and thus more noticeable pressure during playback. Passive operation conserves the battery and allows longer runtimes.

The most obvious differences are probably in the design. Many manufacturers have discovered the retro look for themselves and offer classic boomboxes in an angular design. These nevertheless have the technical features that customers can expect nowadays.

Alternatively, there are also models with a more modern appearance. There you will often also find colorful LEDs, some of which can be programmed by the user. In terms of style, buyers enjoy a free choice of discreet designs as well as eye-catching models with numerous gimmicks.

From a purely technical point of view, the many types of boomboxes are virtually indistinguishable from each other. They all use the same technology for playing music. Some models are just a bit better equipped. The only glaring differences are in the power supply. Not all devices rely on batteries, and there are also some boomboxes with an integrated rechargeable battery.

How are boomboxes tested?

In order to get as neutral a picture as possible of the various boomboxes on the market, we have tested all models in many different categories. This way, everyone can form their own opinion and evaluate the details according to their own taste. Ultimately, there is no one perfect subwoofer for everyone. 

Instead, the individual requirements should be taken into account when buying in order to find the best possible model. In our 2020 boombox test, we primarily paid attention to the following categories:

Sound Quality

The sound quality is probably one of the most important criteria for a boombox. In this category, we therefore test very carefully to what extent a model can convince in this respect or not. We use music from all imaginable genres, from classical and pop to electronic and rock. Together with our measurement results, we can deduce from the individual tests what kind of music a certain boombox is particularly suitable for.

Volume

At this point, we test how loud a boombox can get. The manufacturer’s wattage is not a reliable indicator for this. In addition to the volume in decibels, we also check whether the sound is still convincing at high volumes or whether distortions and overdriving occur.

I/O

In this category, we take a closer look at the available interfaces of a subwoofer. It is not only important which connection options a device has. We also make sure that a connection via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or cable works quickly and without problems. If the manufacturer unnecessarily puts obstacles in the way, we will uncover this here.

Transportation

In this category we reveal whether a boombox is suitable for transport. Very important in this regard is the weight, because anything beyond 10 kg quickly causes problems. Apart from that, we also check whether there is a handle or similar devices for easy transport by hand.

Runtime

A good boombox should not only deliver good music, but also function as long as possible in battery mode. That’s why we test every model for its runtime. We reveal how long a certain model lasts at full volume and what maximum runtime is possible. In addition, we also provide useful information about the power consumption, which is especially interesting for home use.

Features

At this point, we will take a closer look at the features of a ghetto blaster. For example, an integrated equalizer that can be used to adjust the key is useful. A docking station for smartphones is also a plus. In the best case, the devices can use it to transfer music while charging at the same time.

Of course, we also test every available piece of equipment in terms of functionality as well as ease of use.

Material Quality

In every boombox test, we pay attention to the material used, its quality and the general workmanship. In the best case, there are no gaps and the case can easily withstand even somewhat stronger loads. If, on the other hand, a manufacturer relies on cheap plastic, we also reveal this in this category.

Compatibility

In this category, we will tell you what devices and batteries work with a boombox. The more different variants are possible, the better.

Price-Performance Ratio

We check every boombox to see if it is worth the money at all. We cannot recommend even the best model if it is simply too expensive. Conversely, boomboxes can be a good investment despite meager features if they are offered at a correspondingly low price.

Whether a certain model is worth its price or whether the manufacturer simply charges too much, you can find out in this category.

What should I look for when buying a boombox?

When buying a ghetto blaster, your own preferences should be clearly in the foreground. For example, if you only want to listen to CDs with it, you do not have to choose a model with Bluetooth and other interfaces. Likewise, anyone who does not want to use a smartphone with the boombox anyway can easily do without a docking station.

Just make sure that the interfaces are present that you actually use in everyday life.

In any case, the sound quality is important for any boombox. However, this cannot be easily divided into good and bad. Rather, there is an abundance of sound profiles, each of which is suitable for very different music. The vast majority of boomboxes focus on strong bass reproduction, which makes them especially suitable for electronic music, hip hop or RnB.

On the other hand, those who prefer listening to classical, rock, metal or pop music need clear highs and pronounced mids. Before buying, therefore, everyone should look as closely as possible at the sonic qualities of a ghetto blaster and check whether their own musical tastes are suited to it. For an all-round device, by the way, ghetto blasters with a sound image that is as neutral as possible are the first choice.

Last but not least, the runtime also plays a role when buying. If the ghetto blaster is to be used often and extensively on the road, a model with the longest possible runtime and the option of battery operation is recommended. However, if you want to use the ghetto blaster mainly at home on the mains anyway, you don’t need to worry about this issue.

As with any purchase, the price also plays a role, of course. But here again, personal preferences are very important. If you just want to listen to music loudly and don’t have too high demands on sound quality, you shouldn’t spend hundreds of dollars on a high-end boombox. For everyone else, however, it is usually not worth saving at the wrong end.

The sound quality can hardly be influenced or improved afterwards. If the sound quality is not convincing from the first day on, the only option is to buy a new one. Therefore, make sure that a boombox meets your requirements right from the start and invest a bit more if there are no cheaper options.

Boombox Accessories

Probably the most useful accessories for boomboxes are batteries and rechargeable batteries. The latter not only save the environment, but also the wallet, because they can be easily recharged at home. They also come in every form that classic batteries come in.

If you always have two sets of batteries or rechargeable batteries with you, you usually don’t have to worry about the power supply of your ghetto blaster for 2-3 days.

Also indispensable for high-class music enjoyment are suitable cables for the boombox. Depending on the model, external devices can best be connected via jack cable or RCA. The advantage compared to Bluetooth is the higher sound quality.

This is because, apart from a few exceptions, Bluetooth only supports quite low data transfers, making CD-level quality impossible. If a boombox has WiFi, however, this is not a problem, since it provides a sufficiently high data rate.

Those who use their smartphone for the boombox ideally do so with an integrated docking station. Last but not least, for all DJs who like to perform outdoors, there are also suitable cables for many boomboxes. These can be digitally connected to a notebook or even a real DJ set.

Bags and backpacks for boomboxes are extremely useful for transport. They hold the device securely in position and thus prevent damage. They also offer space for other contents such as CDs, smartphones or cables. Some of these bags are specially designed for ghetto blasters, but normal backpacks are also suitable.

A backpack offers the additional advantage that the hands remain free and the shoulders are loaded instead of the arms. This makes longer transports in particular much more comfortable.

If a ghetto blaster only has an integrated battery and not a classic battery compartment, mobile battery packs are often the savior in a pinch. With them, the devices can be charged anywhere via USB and often also operated in parallel. However, it is important that a battery pack has enough power.

The capacity should be at least 5,000 mAh. A USB port with 2.1 volts is also necessary. Connections with only 1 volt usually do not provide enough current flow to guarantee smooth operation.

Boombox Alternatives

The most popular alternative to a boombox are mobile speakers. They come in countless different designs, but all of them score points first and foremost with their small dimensions. Some devices are so small that they even fit in a pocket.

However, they deliver a sound and a volume that is clearly superior to most smartphones, but cannot compete with a real boombox. Moreover, such boxes are only suitable for connecting to a smartphone or another external device. However, they do not offer dedicated playback devices for CDs or other media.

Integrated speakers in a smartphone are not a sensible alternative to a boombox in any respect. Due to the extremely low volume, they simply do not offer enough volume to sufficiently fill even small rooms with sound. Most models are virtually inaudible even in normal street traffic.

In addition, the sound quality is not convincing. Basses are almost non-existent and trebles and mids clearly tend to distort. Thus, anyone who has even a slight demand on the music quality should not be satisfied with this.

Ultimately, there is no serious alternative to the ghetto blaster for real music lovers with quality demands. No other device offers such a high quality in a still transportable case. In this class of devices, the sound quality is clearly in the foreground. Portability and design have to be subordinated to this.

The situation is quite different for other device classes. Although some manufacturers achieve amazing results even in the smallest of spaces with imaginative tinkering, they can hardly compete even with inexpensive ghetto blasters. Ghetto blasters from the high-end segment virtually outclass the competition in the form of mini speakers.

Only good headphones are a serious alternative for those who only want to listen to music alone anyway. However, everyone should realize in advance that listening together is not an option in the future. Besides, high-quality headphones are in most cases just as expensive as a boombox. In terms of sound, they outperform them, but really only in terms of pure sound. What headphones are not capable of is feeling the music.

Above all, the pleasant feeling of pressure in the stomach during bass-heavy tracks does not occur at any time, even with the best headphones. As a rule, headphones and boomboxes complement each other much more than they are in direct competition.

Most boomboxes can even be used with headphones if necessary, which avoids any complaints about noise pollution when listening alone.

Last product update on 2021-09-24 | Source: Amazon Affiliate