When you host a group of people around your vehicle before the big game, at the campsite, or after your local house party, no matter how cold your drinks are or how great the view is, your speaker system is the heart of the party.
ION Block Rocker Plus
A versatile tailgating speaker that offers good quality audio, impressive volume, and a whopping 50 hours of battery life.
JBL Boombox 2
The JBL Boombox 2 is small in stature, but that doesn’t prevent it from being crisp audio quality with rather up to 160 watts of output.
Best Battery Life
Monster Rockin Roller
The name certainly fits this model of tailgate speaker. Not only a monster in volume but also offers the best battery life on the list with up to 100 hours.
The Doss PartyBoom does a great job at balancing quality with affordability. If you’re on a tight budget, you can trust the Doss to come to the party.
With a powerful sound system in your trunk that you can count on to turn some heads in the parking lot, draw in a crowd and create some long-lasting memories, endless hours of fun are to be had. We’ll be ranking our all-time favorite tailgate speakers to impress your friends and family and guarantee to take your tailgate party to the next level.
Our Category Winners
Before we dive into the deep end, there are a few things we feel will help you make the right decision as to which tailgate speaker is best for you, and keeping these elements in mind at all times will ultimately result in a better purchase decision. Below are the features we studied to honestly evaluate the capabilities of each speaker on this list.
If you’re very specific about how your system should sound, which can be influenced by your music preferences, this is an essential feature to consider. Some speakers are designed for bass-heavy music styles such as dance music and hip hop, while others carry a more evenly-balanced frequency response to suit all listening styles.
Some feature equalization methods on the speaker itself or by using a mobile app, and some include a bass enhancement button. This ultimately is dependent on how exactly you want your tailgate speaker system to sound.
Your tailgate speaker won’t always live in the trunk of your car, for this reason, you may want to consider the portability of the speaker as you’ll be taking it in and out to recharge or clean if things get messy. The size of your trunk is another influential factor, as well as which other items you plan on bringing along to tailgate parties, such as coolers, portable barbecues, and other essentials, and will determine just how big a speaker you’ll be able to use. A portable tailgate speaker also allows you to use it in other scenarios, where you may need to carry it over a longer distance.
A good tailgate speaker should be well-built, as it may be exposed to some harsh conditions including direct sunlight, extreme temperatures, and moisture from rain, humidity, or spilled drinks. A durably-designed speaker should be able to withstand the expected knocks and bumps, and some degree of water resistance won’t hurt either.
Again, you may want to use your tailgate speaker in other situations, such as at the beach or poolside. Some of the speakers on our list hold a high IPX rating that even allows them to float.
Portable Bluetooth speakers carry batteries that can perform anywhere between 5 and 100 hours before a recharge is necessary, this needs to be carefully considered and, again, is determined by your intended uses: if you plan on using the speaker for only a few hours before the game, or if you’re looking for something that can provide nonstop entertainment on a weekend-long camping trip, this is up to you.
Some tailgate speakers offer compatibility with external battery bricks, allowing you to simply swap the battery once the current cell has depleted, and some can be charged using your car’s cigarette lighter.
If you’re only looking for a good-sounding and reliable speaker to plonk down in your trunk while you crack some cold ones with friends, then virtually every item on our list should suit your needs in one way or another.
However, if you’re after some extra features such as karaoke, USB charging for your mobile device, synchronized light patterns, or speaker-linking capabilities (joining two or more of the same speakers to form a more extensive system by wireless or wired connection), then some extra evaluation may be necessary when scrolling through this list.
The 7 Best Tailgate Speakers
Some people prefer light, compact party speakers that are easy to transport around in their vehicle, while others prefer something that looks as impressive as it sounds. Below is our list of the best portable tailgate speakers and a quick review for each:
1. ION Block Rocker Plus
ION Audio’s Block Rocker Plus is a block party—focused speaker, though it certainly makes for an excellent tailgate system due to its powerful sound quality, long-lasting battery power, user-friendliness, and versatile features.
The Block Rocker can be powered by the supplied IEC cable or utilize its onboard battery, which packs 50 hours of playtime while delivering 100 Watts of dynamic and vibrant sound. An 8-inch woofer takes care of your low end, while wide dispersion tweeters successfully cast clear and crisp highs across a reasonably far distance. This speaker sounds great, even when enclosed within a trunk with little room for the sound to breathe. A bass boost function is available, and while this usually constrains the mid and high frequencies, I feel that Ion has managed to find a perfect balance here.
The Block Rocker can be powered by the supplied IEC cable, or utilize its onboard battery, which packs 50 hours of playtime while delivering 100 Watts of dynamic and vibrant sound. An 8-inch woofer takes care of your low end, while wide dispersion tweeters successfully cast clear and crisp highs across a reasonably far distance. This speaker sounds excellent, even when enclosed within a trunk with little room for the sound to breathe. A bass boost function is available, and while this usually constrains the mid and high frequencies, I feel that ION has managed to find a perfect balance here.
The control panel of the Block Rocker seriously impressed me, where all the knobs and switches are well-made and feel great to interact with. I like the LED screen on this panel, where the Block Rocker keeps you informed of its current battery position, bass boost mode on/off status, and radio station connectivity.
The Block Rocker Plus is a valuable speaker that can be utilized in various environments, not only at tailgate parties. Its large selection of connectivity options and onboard karaoke features make for a great party-friendly system, and its battery life is powerful enough for a whole weekend of entertainment, all while delivering incredible sound quality.
If you’re into the party-friendly features but are missing the flashing lights, the Monster Rockin’ Roller 270 shares many features with the Block Rocker Plus, with the addition of pulsating LED lights.
Why you should get it:
- The powerful, dynamic, and rich tonal qualities sound great indoors and out.
- The karaoke feature provides extra entertainment at parties, where the long battery life won’t shut down the fun unexpectedly at any point.
2. Ecoxgear EcoTrek
Housed within a durable molded plastic enclosure, the Ecoxgear EcoTrek Bluetooth speaker is an incredibly versatile and powerful tailgate speaker. The EcoTrek meets IP67 weather-resistance ratings, proving it to be capable of withstanding water, sand, snow, dust, or rust.
As for user-friendliness and compatibility, The EcoTrek has it all: supporting a wide range of connections, including Bluetooth, auxiliary input, and AM or FM radio. The EcoTrek also supplies karaoke features and is compatible with Siri and other voice assistant services on your smartphone, as well as hands-free calling. The available buttons govern all music playback-related controls, as well as toggling between saved radio stations, selecting equalization presets, linking speakers, and more.
The top control panel of the EcoTrek features a large assortment of buttons and switches. I feel the layout of this panel to be quite cluttered and can become difficult to operate, some multi-function buttons could have dramatically improved user-friendliness here.
For party-goers and camping enthusiasts, the EcoTrek also features two built-in cupholders large enough to hold insulated mugs, and the speaker can not only withstand an accidental spill from such mugs but is also shockproof in the event of accidentally knocking it over.
Utilizing a 6-way speaker system consisting of a pair of 5.25-inch full-range drivers, 2 x 5.25-inch rear woofers, and dual 2.25-inch tweeters, the EcoTrek can get pretty loud for its size, and maintains solid sound quality at any volume. The EcoTrek tailgate speaker can accept a variety of source materials, including Bluetooth, 1/8-inch auxiliary cable, and AM/FM radio. Siri and OK Google voice assistant services are also compatible with the EcoTrek.
Aside from the impressive sound quality and versatile features of the EcoTrek, it earned its status as one of my favorite tailgate speakers due to its supreme durability. The heavy-duty, shockproof, and weather-resistant enclosure makes for stress-free use in any circumstances, and one has no need to worry if the speaker endures the occasional bump or fall- the EcoTrek is built to be tested.
A slightly more expensive option that will also prove to last is the DemerBox: housed within a military lunchbox-like enclosure, the DemerBox is a loud tailgate speaker with loads of battery strength that also features space inside the cabinet to pack small items.
Why you should get it:
- Wide range of modern features and connectivity options to supply countless hours of fun for friends and families.
- Extremely well-built and heavily resistant to hazardous conditions.
3. Monster Rockin’ Roller 270
For a tailgate speaker that can also be used in practically any scenario, the Monster Rockin’ Roller is praised for its incredibly sustainable battery life, capable of running for up to 100 hours on a single charge. The Monster hosts all the standard features you could want in a tailgate speaker, plus more. Let’s take a deeper look:
The Monster’s power handling capabilities are simply astonishing considering the size of the speaker- capable of outputting up to 200 Watts of power, this speaker can effortlessly make your tailgate party the place to be. The Monster’s playtime is noted at up to 100 hours- enough to last an entire weekend away, even if you’re blasting music 24/7. The onboard battery can also charge your mobile device using QI wireless charging technology.
As for sound quality, the Monster directs sound in a 270-degree radius, due to the front and side mounting of the array of speaker drivers on this speaker.
The Monster’s overall sound quality is okay, not the best but definitely not bad at all. The Monster is best suited for outdoor use, as the 270-degree directionality of the drivers is pretty useless when the speaker is enclosed within a car trunk. For further enhancement, you can activate the Bass or Treble boost function on the control panel and get your car shaking.
The Monster also supports True Wireless Stereo connectivity, simply pair two Monster speakers together and form a more extensive system or stereo pair. As for connectivity options, the Monster not only supports Bluetooth pairing but also offers two inputs for microphones or guitars, where each channel’s input gain and echo level can be adjusted independently.
The Monster also accepts an auxiliary input and an output if you wish to extend the output signal to another speaker. Lastly, you can also connect to any FM radio station, and save up to 5 user presets for quick and easy switching between stations.
Overall, I found the Monster Rockin’ Roller to be quite a handy speaker with versatile features- it doesn’t really lack any features I like to see on a Bluetooth speaker, and it’s straightforward to operate.
While there are some tailgate speakers available that share many design features with the Rockin’ Roller, it dominates the market with its incredible battery life- there simply isn’t anything that comes close to the Monster’s performance in this regard.
Why you should get it:
- Incredibly long battery life; it barely needs charging!
- QI wireless charging is a nice touch- recharge any QI-compatible device.
- Portable design and easy-to-operate controls.
4. Anker Soundcore Motion Boom
The Soundcore range of Bluetooth speakers from well-respected manufacturers Anker has made several of our lists before, not only do they hold a variety of features and prove to be highly versatile speakers, but they simply just sound great in all applications, and their smaller sizes make for great tailgate speakers.
The Motion Boom adopts a boombox-type style, however, it is significantly smaller than many boomboxes, weighing less than 5 pounds. The Motion Boom can be used in any environment thanks to its IPX7 waterproof rating and even floats on water.
The battery life of Anker’s devices is typically quite strong, the Motion Boom can function for up to 24 hours before a recharge is needed. Additionally, the charge-out port allows for charging your USB-powered devices while the speaker is in use. As for connectivity, the Motion Boom offers Bluetooth 5.0 pairing for ultra-stable connections over a more extended range.
As for the sound quality of the Motion Boom, I really have nothing to complain about here: This speaker operates along a frequency range starting from 60Hz all the way up to 20kHz, with minimal deviation from a ‘flat’ response and an impressively low distortion level at high volumes.
One needs to acknowledge that the Motion Boom doesn’t pack as much volume as some of the other options on this list, so while it is suitable for small tailgating events with some friends, don’t expect to be blasting it across the parking lot.
For a tailgate party at the game, in the neighborhood, or at the picnic spot, the Motion Boom will undoubtedly turn some heads due to its incredibly precise sound quality. After demoing various music styles on the Motion Boom, I can confidently say this is one of the better-sounding Bluetooth speakers I have encountered.
Aside from tailgating, the Motion Boom’s advanced features within a portable enclosure make this a great speaker for hiking, camping, or picnicking. At the same time, its waterproof abilities allow for use at the beach or on the boat. If you have a little extra to spend and would like something even smaller, JBL’s Charge speaker series offers many of the same features as the Motion Boom.
Read more about the Motion Boom in our full review.
Why you should get it:
- Incredible sound quality with adjustable equalization modes.
- Great battery life to power a pumping tailgate party or a casual weekend away.
- 100% waterproof and floatable, suitable for all adventures and uses.
5. W-King 80W Bluetooth Speaker
The W-King Bluetooth speaker is reasonably portable, while it is not the lightest speaker its carry handle and relatively small size allow for easy transportation and it won’t take up too much space in your trunk. The handle is also removable, should you wish to position the speaker sideways or otherwise. The battery life of the W-King is rather impressive, with the ability to pump out 24 hours of extremely loud volume levels, this speaker can easily provide a weekend’s worth of entertainment or one really long party!
The W-King supports inputs from a variety of sources, the first of which being Bluetooth 5.0 which provides a strong connection strength over a reasonably long distance. The W-King also accepts a 1/8-inch auxiliary input for older devices a USB cable for charging mobile devices on the move, and a TF card reader.
The W-King is also capable of pairing with another of its kind to form a stereo pair- just be sure to warn your neighbors before doing so, as this can get ground-shaking loud!
The W-King’s built-in lights provide an additional entertainment angle, where the LED light rings can ‘dance’ in sync with the music you’re playing. There are 5 modes to choose from, as well as other settings, including color scheme, patterns, etc.
For the price, the W-King does not disappoint. If you’re looking for a speaker that can reach insanely high listening levels, the W-King is the speaker for you. This tailgate speaker offers insanely versatile connectivity options and party-friendly features, all enclosed in an eye-catching cabinet that is easy to carry. If you find yourself not needing the LED party lights, take a look at the ION Block Rocker Plus.
Why you should get it:
- The loudest speaker on this list, guaranteed to get the party started.
- Mesmerizing light show built-in to the speaker to entertain your guests.
- A large variety of connectivity options, including Bluetooth, Aux, USB, and TF.
6. JBL Boombox 2
It’s nearly impossible to rank the best Bluetooth speakers without including a JBL product. In this instance, we feel that their Boombox 2 is not only a great tailgate party speaker, but it also performs incredibly well in various other circumstances. Built to last and possessing convenient features and JBL’s signature high-quality sound, you can’t go wrong here.
The Boombox 2 carries JBL’s characteristic powerful sound, capable of reaching intensely loud volume levels while maintaining its crystal-clear audio quality. The JBL sound might not suit everyone, as it is clear it has been designed for dance, pop, and hip-hop listening styles due to enhanced low-end and brightened highs, while the midrange clarity suffers.
This isn’t to say the speaker can’t be used for listening to rock, jazz, or spoken word, however, if you’re looking for a more all-purpose speaker, you might become annoyed with the car-like sound characteristics. The Boombox 2 features PartyChain pairing, allowing you to pair multiple JBL Boomboxes together to form a larger system or stereo pair. One feature I miss on the Boombox 2 is the bass boost function, a common addition to JBL’s larger speakers. While it’s a nice feature to have on hand for certain listening styles, JBL’s typical bass-enhanced sound signature partly makes up for this.
Whether you’re hosting a tailgate party or simply looking for a speaker you can take around with you, be it indoors or outside, the Boombox 2 is a great all-purpose Bluetooth speaker. While its price point is not exactly budget-friendly, it certainly will last a lifetime if used correctly. It may not include the flashing lights, built-in karaoke, and other party-like features that some other Bluetooth speakers are capable of, though the JBL Boombox is clearly built simply to provide memorable, user-friendly, and good-sounding experiences.
If you’re after the powerful sound quality of the JBL Boombox but don’t have the budget, the Doss PartyBoom is something worth checking out.
Why you should get it:
- Incredibly easy to control and set up
- IPX7 waterproof grants protection against most hazards
- JBL quality sound is excellent for all listening styles
7. Doss PartyBoom
The PartyBoom by Doss is a portable, lightweight, and versatile tailgate speaker that not only offers long-lasting battery life and superb sound quality, but it does so on a budget.
The PartyBoom is an extremely useful tailgate speaker for party-focused individuals, with its LED light rings that pulse to the beat of your music, the ability to link multiple speakers together, and its guitar and microphone inputs with onboard effects make for a great karaoke machine.
The PartyBoom’s intricate control panel can be a little overwhelming and takes a little getting used to, but once you’ve learned how to use this speaker to its fullest, you won’t be able to turn it off. My only real issue with the usability of the PartyBoom is the fact that the controls aren’t backlit, and given that there are so many buttons, this can become challenging to navigate the controls in dimly-lit environments.
The battery life of the PartyBoom isn’t the greatest, though it definitely isn’t the weakest I’ve seen. You can expect around 8 hours of playtime when the speaker is running at full volume while the lights are in operation. Using multiple speakers and karaoke features will shorten the battery life, though not by that much in comparison.
For a budget-friendly option, the PartyBoom’s sound quality is quite rewarding, and the quality of the microphone and guitar preamp is pretty impressive for a portable tailgate speaker. The onboard lights, effects, and PartyChain capabilities make for an efficient party-friendly tailgate speaker. If you’re missing the ability to connect to radio frequencies, read up on the Monster Rockin’ Roller 270, it doesn’t have the party lights, but its battery life and connectivity options can make up for this for some users.
How to Choose a Tailgate Speaker
All the technical specifications can become overwhelming when you’re simply trying to weigh up your options and find the ultimate tailgate speaker for your needs. Here we’ve broken down each element to give you a better understanding of how it impacts the speaker’s overall performance:
If you’re planning on tailgating all day long or using your tailgate speaker for something else, such as a camping trip or house party where you may need the extra battery longevity, this factor can make or break the experience for you. Make sure your potential new tailgate speaker can last long enough to not only fuel the party, but if you plan on making use of additional features such as onboard lighting shows or USB charging, you’ll need the extra strength to do so. It’s also important to consider the charge time, as speakers can take anywhere between 1 hour and 5 hours to recharge fully.
As most tailgate parties occur in exposed environments where rain, wind, dust/sand, and rust can affect the speaker’s lifespan and performance, this factor needs to be carefully observed. In addition to exposure to rain, one also needs to account for the potential of spilled drinks around the speaker. Generally, an IPX6 rating of IPX5 or more is recommended to provide a reasonable level of safety from such hazards. An IPX7 rating is typically my go-to, as it grants protection from exposure to practically any conditions, and these devices can usually float and handle a shallow and brief submersion period.
While overall sound quality should be important to anyone looking to buy any kind of audio-related device, the actual tonal characteristics of the speaker are essentially influenced by your listening style. For bass-heavy music, a speaker with a bass boost function or an overall low-end enhanced sound signature would be appropriate, however, if you sometimes enjoy some music that calls for a more natural listening curve, you might encounter troubles here. At the end of the day, this feature is purely dependent on what you listen to.
Many tailgate speakers support karaoke playability, where you can connect a microphone (usually a 1⁄4-inch connector, which is annoying) to the speaker and sing along to your favorite tracks. If this function excites you, it’s worth looking at things such as how many inputs the speaker can accept, and if it has any onboard vocal processing abilities such as auto-tuning, reverb, or other effects.
Many party-focused Bluetooth speakers have some kind of LED lighting onboard for added entertainment, if this is a feature that excites you, it’s worth checking out what is available on the unit. Some offer strobes, some can synchronize the lights to the beat of your music, and some have no lights at all.