The late 70’s and early 80’s gave this world many helpful and joyous inventions like Sony Walkman, CD Player, Apple Macintosh, Microsoft Windows, Digital Camera, and so on. Among these exemplary gadgets, Boombox has its special place, ever since Philips came out with its first “Radio-recorder”.
Impressive sound quality and portability made these mean-looking sound machines a staple accessory for the Breakdance and Hip-Hop circuits on the streets and for underground battles. Fast forward to the year 2021, Boomboxes are still going strong. Of course with some visual makeover and introduction of modern tech.
What can be classified as a Boombox?
Originally, any audio device that had a large box-like aesthetics and packed bass enhancing power speakers was labeled as a Boombox. To be more precise, an audio player can be defined under the category “Boombox” if it includes (but is not limited to) the following features:
- Portability (Works on both – AC power and battery-powered)
- AM/FM radio tuner
- Cassette player and recorder
- CD player
- 2 or more integrated loudspeakers
- Powerful sound
- Carrying handle
The present-day versions have Auxiliary ports and Bluetooth connectivity in addition to the traditional CD players and radio. This makes them relevant for contemporary customers and keeps them floating in the audio market.
Why buy a Boombox?
The answer to this question is both explicit as well as implicit. Explicit, because it is a versatile audio player that supports different kinds of audio media – both wired and wireless. All of it while being stylish and portable!
And it has implicit appeal as well – Only those who know about the golden decade of Boomboxes in the 80’s will relate to the unabashed joy of dancing and enjoying the heart-thumping tunes from this soundbox.
While wireless Bluetooth speakers and stereo systems are the mainstays of today’s audio industry, owning a Boombox has pride and reminiscence attached to it. Especially if you have an envious collection of old cassette tapes or CDs of your favorite tracks.
TOP 10 PICKS OF BEST BOOMBOXES
Here is the list of top-rated boombox systems that pump out swell sound and fuse yesteryear look with the latest features, making them an absolute winner! Whether sophisticated or rugged, compact or big beast, retro or high-tech – we have something for every kind of listener. So get your nostalgic caps on!
1. Best Overall – JBL Boombox 2
Reason to Buy – Massive sound with stylish looks and waterproof design
Are parties your jam? Then trust JBL Boombox 2 with its monstrous bass to uplift your backyard barbecues or weekend road trips. Sporting a sleek bold design with an IPX7 waterproof rating and 24 hours of playtime, this powerful yet portable speaker renders massive sound around the clock.
Plus, you can connect other JBL PartyBoost-compatible speakers to turn the party up with extra power. JBL Boombox 2 comes with a built-in power bank that keeps your devices charged without interrupting your tunes or groovy mood. Make sure to turn heads wherever you go with its stylish side flares and loudest JBL signature Pro Sound.
- Dimensions – 19.1 x 7.9 x 10.1 inches
- Item Weight – 13 pounds
- Connectivity – Bluetooth 5.1
- Max. Music Playtime – 24 hours (charging time – 6.5 hours)
- Comes with JBL branded power adaptor
- IPX7 waterproof rating
- Has 3.5 mm Aux-In port
- Powerful and deep bass
- Suitable for outdoors and pool parties
- Iconic grip handle
- Rich, loud sound
- Auto turn-off post 20 minutes of no use
- Bit bulky
- No voice assistant support
- No EQ
2. Best Booming Bass – Sharp GX-BT9X Large Portable Bluetooth Boombox
Reason to Buy – Audio inputs for mic and instrument with separate volume controls
Sharp GX-BT9X offers impressive tech specs and delivers high-performance sound with 100W total RMS. Its robust enclosure design features Bass Boost with X-Bass technology that will take your music beats to the next level. The side-firing sound is distortion-free for a seamless listening experience.
The boombox includes USB input Guitar Jack and Mic terminal with individual level controls and audio in. This means you could play and sing along your favorite tracks. The built-in NFC tag and woofer side firing with LED illumination makes it one of the top choices among boomboxes for 2021. If you can handle the size, it is sure to outperform its smaller and more expensive competitors.
- Dimensions: 29.5 x 11 x 10.8 inches
- Item Weight – 14.6 pounds
- Bluetooth streaming and NFC for all Apple and Android compatible devices
- Runs on both – Rechargeable batteries and AC power plug
- Comes with remote control and LED illumination
- Has built-in FM tuner
- Supports USB, USB-A, and 3.5 mm AUX jack
- 4 to 6 hours battery life depending on volume
- 1-year warranty
- Powerful bass
- Great design
- Crisp and clean sound
- Manual and remote-controlled program controls
- Not waterproof/dustproof
- Quite huge
- Doesn’t play CDs and AM radio
Fun Fact – Boombox was also known as “Ghetto Blaster” owing to its wide use in urban communities
3. Best Compact Design – Philips CD Soundmachine PX840T Boombox
Reason to Buy – Portable speaker with wireless connectivity
On the lookout for reviving your music experience? You can blast your way to some dramatic sound with Philips’ trusted wireless Bluetooth boombox speaker – PX840T. This device is fully equipped with everything you need to get the party tunes flowing anytime and anywhere. Its sound system is designed to provide you with a clear and crisp audio experience that will satisfy any avid music lover.
You can play songs from any source of preference – just plug in your smartphone, laptop, MP3 Player, or slide in a disc right into the built-in CD player to bring back the 90’s. Built for maximum convenience, you can carry this powerful yet compact speaker practically anywhere. The speaker delivers intense sound with the speaker lights making things livelier. The modern twist to the boombox design could accentuate any room’s décor fabulously without spending a bomb.
- Dimensions – 8.78 x 20.59 x 8.27 inches
- Item Weight – 8.3 pounds
- Connectivity – Bluetooth, USB, Auxiliary and Audio-In capabilities
- Features CD player and AM/FM radio tuner
- Preset equalizer settings – Jazz, Rock, Samba, Pop and Techno
- Requires 8 D batteries (not included)
- Futuristic design
- Option to dim down and turn off the lights
- Clean sound profile
- Easy connectivity
- Compact and lightweight
- No remote control
- Front speakers could use a grill for protection
- Bass booster is not very impressive
4. Best Surround Sound – Panasonic RX-D55GC-K Boombox
Reason to Buy – Offers many audio controls and user friendly features
Panasonic RX – D55GC – K Boombox is a solid 5-in-1 stereo system with capabilities that include AM/FM digital tuner, radio cassette deck, CD and MP3 player, and external audio-in port. The 2-Way 4-Speaker box fills the room with reasonably good quality sound that is powerful and punchy. The Sound Virtualizer function offers natural-sounding surround acoustics that will please many audiophiles.
It’s easy to operate with music port on the front panel for Digital Audio Player Playback. It comes with an Alarm clock, for those using the unit as a bedside stereo. Also, if you have a collection of cassette tapes, you might value having this boombox that not only plays your tapes but also allows you to convert them to MP3 format on your computer using few cables.
- Dimensions – 10.67 x 16.06 x 5.83 inches
- Item Weight – 10.14 pounds
- Two-way stereo speakers
- Supports both AC supply and Battery powered – 2 AA batteries required
- Speaker power rating of 10 watts per channel
- 16 presets each for AM and FM radio
- Headphone jack included
- A remote control is included
- 1 year limited warranty
- Sound Equalizer selection from 5 presets – Heavy, Vocal, Soft, Clear and Eq-off
- Clock and Sleep timer setting
- Sound Virtualizer for surround sound effect
- Re-master feature to reproduce frequencies lost during recording
- Little heavy
- QC issues with the cassette player
- Ordinary battery efficiency
5. Best Retro Boombox – Studebaker SB2145B
Reason to Buy – Old school vibes with good sound quality
The Studebaker SB2145B is reminiscent of the boomboxes of old. This portable CD Player with FM Analog Radio includes Bluetooth connectivity for streaming music. The front-loading CD player is CD-R/RW compatible. This unit comes with an auxiliary input jack and headphone jack to connect with iPods and other smart devices.
The built-in 5W stereo speakers produce clear vocals and handle the mids pretty well. The rotary volume control, treble/bass adjustments, and a convenient carrying handle make this blast from past a treat to own. A multi-color LED Equalizer adds an exciting visual to this awesome-looking unit. There is also a built-in AC/DC transformer with rechargeable batteries.
- Dimensions – 5.5 x 18 x 10 inches
- Item Weight – 8 pounds
- Power Source – AC & Battery
- Output Power: 5W x 2
- Built-in Rechargeable Lithium Battery
- Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity
- Front Load CD Player and FM Stereo Analog Radio
- Multi-color LED Equalizer
- Color Variants – Black, Red, Silver and Rose Gold
- Attractive retro design
- Decently loud for only 10 watts
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Simple to operate
- Good build quality
- Below-average battery life when running on batteries
- Ear thumping bass can’t be expected from this boombox
- No AM radio
6. Best Portable Boombox – Sony ZS-RS60BT
Reason to Buy – Small package with wired and wireless options
Sony is probably one of the first brands that someone would associate with quality sound. With ZS-RS60BT, Sony takes portability to the next level. You can enjoy great music from all of your media devices through varied options supported by this boombox. Use NFC One-touch to easily connect smartphones, then stream your favorite tracks over Bluetooth. Or you can plug in using USB to play audio files or transfer them from CDs.
For those who like a little pump in their music, Mega Bass feature gives your sound a throbbing boost with two speakers. The soundbox features 30 FM/AM audio station presets (FM 20, AM 10) and supports CD playback for approx. 9 hours. It also pairs with compatible Bluetooth Speakers and Amazon Echo devices for a bigger sound. Reckon great times for your balcony, porch, kitchen, office desk or on-the-move RV with this small yet durable unit.
- Dimensions – 13.81 x 6 x 9.31 inches
- Item Weight – 4.41 pounds
- Battery Powered – 6 C batteries required
- Power Consumption – AC 15 Watt
- Easy Bluetooth connectivity with NFC One-touch
- CD, CD-R/RW, USB, and MP3 playback
- Play CDs or record them onto USB devices with USB REC
- Includes 2 x 2 W speakers
- Comes with easy to lift handle
- Compact profile
- Intuitive and easy controls
- Recognizes and plays .MP4 files
- Decent sound depth and clarity
- MEGABASS feature adds extra oomph to low frequencies
- Soundstage could have been better
- Lack of LCD display for the title of tracks
7. Best Outdoor Boombox – Anker Soundcore Motion Boom Outdoor Speaker
Reason to Buy – Adventure friendly build with great EQ App
Make a statement with Motion Boom outdoor speaker from Anker that plays huge stereo sound that’s distortion-free, even at high volumes. The drivers have pure titanium diaphragms to reproduce high frequencies up to 40kHz for a sound that has noticeably higher clarity.
The Anker boombox features Bass Up technology for real-time intensification of bass as the music and mood shift to low-end frequencies. Anker’s proprietary PowerIQ technology lets you charge other devices while you listen. To top it all, the Motion Boom outdoor speaker delivers up to 24 hours of playtime from a single charge to keep the music playing on camping weekends, days at the beach, boat trips, and more.
- Dimensions – 13.62 x 5.83 x 7.87 inches
- Item Weight – 4.41 pounds
- Bluetooth 5.0 stable connection
- Titanium Drivers
- IPX7 waterproof
- Built-in handle for ease of carrying
- USB-C for fast and convenient charging
- 4 EQ Presets – Signature, Voice, Treble Boost and Balanced modes
- Huge stereo sound with thumping bass
- Great battery life
- Customizable EQ via the Soundcore App
- Charge-out plug to charge your devices
- No AUX or Micro SD slot
- No tweeters
- Hard plastic construction
8. Best Karaoke Boombox – Pyle PBMSPG190 Street Blaster Boombox
Reason to Buy – True Wireless Stereo System with Wired Microphone for Karaoke
The wireless karaoke boom barrel from Pyle is a High-Powered Bluetooth Speaker System that is equipped with 500 watt peak power and comes complete with a built-in digital audio amplifier. Bluetooth allows wireless audio streaming and works with almost all compatible smart devices. It also features a front control panel for easy equalizer audio configuration and flashing RGB color lights for parties.
Pyle Boombox effortlessly switches between indoor and outdoor use with its looks and features. It is great for karaoke, stage performances, & crowd control with input for mic/guitar. It features a carry strap and rolling wheels that let you take the party with you, wherever you go.
- Dimensions – 8.7 x 18.9 x 9.7 inches
- Item Weight – 12.2 pounds
- Power Output – 300 Watt MAX
- Bluetooth 2.0 Connectivity – Works with all of today’s latest devices including Smartphones, Tablets, Laptops, Computers, etc.
- Wireless range up to 32’+ feet
- Sound System: (2) x 2.5” Speakers, (1) x 6.5” Subwoofer
- Selectable LED light modes – 9 Presets
- Aux (3.5mm) Input Jack
- (2) 1/4’’ Input Jacks (for Microphone, Guitar, Instrument)
- USB Flash drive and MP3 Digital Audio File Playback
- Features FM Radio with Digital LCD Display
- Digital Audio File Support: MP3, WMA
- Battery Life – Up to 3-4 hours
- Comes with USB Charging Cable, Audio (3.5mm) Connection Cable, Remote Control, Detachable Carry Strap and Rolling Wheels
- Loud and clear sound
- Convenient Carry Handle for Travel
- Rugged and durable construction design
- Portable for Indoor/Outdoor Use
- Value for Money
- LED lights can be too bright/annoying for some users
- No memory, so settings are not saved
- Average battery life
Fun Fact – Famous fashion house Dolce & Gabbana paid homage to the popularity of Boombox by creating a fully functional “Dolce Box Bag” (2017 Resort collection) with functioning speakers, volume knob, and a jack to attach smartphone.
9. Boombox for all age groups – LONPOO CD Player Boombox (LP-D07)
Reason to Buy – Large, easy to use controls with good radio reception
If you are hunting for a gift option, LONPOO D07 fits the bill perfectly. Be it, children or adults, this portable radio / CD player makes for an ideal gift for your family and friends. You can buy it for personal use too if you want a mini boombox with all the basics and are not fussy about loud, earth-shattering sound. The streamlined design in classic colors makes this portable speaker cute and modern at the same time.
You can stream music wirelessly from your phone, tablet, laptop or any other Bluetooth device to enjoy stereo sound. LONPOO boombox features two big convenient knobs, one for tuner radio, and another for adjusting the volume. It offers decent sound quality with acceptable volume levels coupled with first-rate looks that set this player apart from its rivals.
It comes with 5 preset equalizer modes – Rock / Pop / Flat / Class / Jazz to match your music preferences. This boombox can effortlessly find its way for a variety of places： Listening to audio lectures, family parties, romantic date nights, personal leisure, dance, fitness, outdoor activities, and so on.
- Dimensions – 11.3 x 9.8 x 6.38 inches
- Item Weight – 3.25 pounds
- Speaker Maximum Output Power – 4 Watts
- Connectivity – USB, CD-R, 3.5mm Audio, Bluetooth 5, CD-RW
- Top Loading CD Player
- USB format – Support MP3, WMA
- Socket – USB / Aux-in / Earphone
- FM radio – Auto scan with a maximum of 20 radio stations
- Power Source – AC & Battery
- 2 Color variants – Blue & Black
- Kids and elderly-friendly design
- Convenient big knob for volume and FM station tuner
- Foldable carrying handle for easy movement
- Small unit, so doesn’t take up much room
- Great price
- Average sound quality
- No AM radio and clock
10. Best Budget Pick – GPX BCA209B Portable Boombox
Reason to Buy – Cheaper option with good durability and easy to operate controls
GPX BCA2098B is light on a pocket boombox. It packs built-in stereo speakers that deliver good sound quality as you listen to your favorite music on the radio (AM/FM), CD, Cassette, or aux in. The simplistic design makes it easy for all ages to use and enjoy with programmable tracks and Repeat One or All Play, and even records radio or CD to cassette.
The classic yet contemporary boombox will let you bring the good old days into the 21st century with its top-loading CD player. Just plug it in at home with the built-in AC power cable or take your music on the go using the DC batteries (6C, not included). It features convenient carry handle for portability and the metal speaker grill protects the inside speaker drivers. If you want something Bluetooth-free, then this is the Boombox to pick.
- Dimensions – 9.53 x 8.87 x 4.88 inches
- Item Weight – 4 pounds
- Power Source – AC & Battery
- Includes AC power cable DC battery power requires 6 C batteries (not included)
- Aux in (3.5mm audio input)
- Top Loading CD Player
- Cassette Player
- AM/FM Radio tuner
- Records from radio and CD
- LCD display with white backlight
- 4 Color variants – Black, Blue, Gray and Red
- Programmable tracks
- Auto-stop at tape end
- Built-in AM antenna
- Analog volume control
- Takes up little space
- No Bluetooth
- Radiofrequency playing is not displayed
Why we rated JBL Boombox above Sharp GX-BT9X?
With 100W RMS, impressive bass and half the price of JBL Boombox 2, Sharp GX-BT9X gave the JBL favourite a stiff competition to clinch the top spot. However, in all fair comparison, we felt JBL claimed the worthy #1 title thanks to the signature JBL pro sound, waterproof casing, and stellar customer reviews. Interestingly both the boomboxes weighed almost same, lack the CD player function and sport stylish looks. JBL also inched ahead because of the long battery life of 24 hours and being more portable (thanks to the iconic handle) as compared to Sharp’s boombox.
Why Sharp GX-BT9X features above Philips CD Soundmachine ?
Sharp GX-BT9X clearly has a disadvantage over the original innovator of boomboxes – Philips, if we compare them on the ability to play CDs. What worked in the favor of Sharp’s boombox is the unmistakable bass boost with high-performing 100W of total RMS. This combined with features like separate mic and instrument controls, NFC tag, and powerful woofer side firing with LED; made it a no-brainer to rank Sharp boombox above Philips’s PX840T CD Soundmachine.
Boombox Essentials – Buying Guide and FAQs
How to choose the Best Boombox?
The choices in the Boombox market are growing by leaps and bounds. The selection process can easily go south if you are not aware of certain tips and tricks of the trade. We circle the most important factors for you to consider before you finalize your pick.
- Portability – The whole idea of owning a Boombox is to carry your music with you. Unless you want it to be stationary on a tabletop, go for ones that are lightweight, sport a compact design and feature a handle to carry.
- Speakers – In the small setup of a boombox, it is not wise to expect thunderous DJ quality sound. Decent audio quality speakers will typically have a bass boost, sound pressure level (SPL) of 90 dB & above, and a higher value of watts per speaker.
- Style – If you are an old soul at heart, then you might want the tape models of 70s/80s/90s that are retro trendy with modern-day features. While there are others that are very futuristic in design with gold/silver accents or sport sophisticated exterior with an all-black design. Barrel / Rounded / Suitcase shaped? Keep your personal style and home aesthetics in mind while zeroing on the ideal boombox.
- EQ settings – There are quite a few models on this list that boast of EQ setting – either via manual buttons (adjustable bass and treble), through modern Apps (like Soundcore App of Anker), or come with presets like Jazz/Rock/Vocal, etc. to enhance your listening experience for different music genres.
- Ports – Yes, playing CDs and cassette tapes are the main purpose of owning a Boombox. But we can’t deny that sooner or later you would want it to support the current tech stack. So having varied audio ports is essential to make your Boombox future-proof and versatile. Look for AUX, HDMI, USB, SD ports that make your device more useful.
What are different types of Boombox?
The Boomboxes differ basis different parameters. Here are few to consider:
- One factor is the size – They can vary in dimensions and be either too compact like a cube or oval box, mid-sized like a standalone speaker, or large ones like a barrel-shaped boombox.
- The other criteria are wireless or wired – Some support Bluetooth, others don’t.
- Waterproof rating – Some are waterproof and built for outdoors, while others are purely suitable for indoor use like kitchen and room listening
- Also, there are some boomboxes that have just wired AC Power supply while others boost portability by having both power plug as well as rechargeable batteries.
What types of media should a Boombox play?
A boombox should support and play different analog and digital formats. Typically a high performance and versatile Boombox should be compatible to connect and play the following:
- Cassette tapes (Play and Record)
- CD/CDRs/CD-RW (Modern ones also support DVD player)
- AM/FM radio reception (Some also support DAB/DAB+ radio
- Mp3 and WMA file formats
- SD Card & MMC readers
- USB & Memory stick readers
- Bluetooth (A2DP)
- HDMI port
- Aux-In port for connecting audio devices
Boomboxes have had their journey from being hip hop accompanists in the 80’s to being fun-filled cassette/CD players of the 90’s. Now in their new avatar, with updated embellishments of wireless technology and forward-looking features, they continue to attract audiophiles owing to nostalgia or hip looks or even better – to relive ancient CD/Cassette collection.
If you are already on the road to own a boombox or have been inspired enough to buy one, our advice would be to go for it! The versatility and convenience of these erstwhile street blasters will surprise you.
We hope our list of top picks for 2021 and related buying guide will be a good starting point for you to start exploring the amusing world of boomboxes.
If given a choice, would you spend on a Boombox? Which boombox would you pick from our best-of-the-best list?
Please share your response in the comments below. We would be glad to read them.