Best Boombox Reviews and Buying Guide of 2017
Isn’t retro a great thing? Boomboxes might be considered a thing of the past, but with new upgrades, they are making a comeback, and with vengeance. Bringing the portability of an mp3 player but packing the sound punch of a full-on stereo, boomboxes let you bring the party with you.
From dorms, offices, and picnics to beaches and kitchens, you have a choice of multiple places and formats to play your music on. However there so many beatboxes out there in the market today, each model with a different kind of user personality in mind. In this beatbox buying guide 2017, we’ll give you every bit of information you need to find the boombox that fits your style, needs, and budget. Let’s start from the beginning.
What is a Boombox?
A boombox is ideally a portable, transistorized cassette player or recorder, with FM/AM radio, loudspeakers, and an amplifier. It originally started out as an audio appliance that supports multiple uses and functions, and it made its name during the 1970s and 1980s. however, with the constant advancement in technology, it has gradually evolved to what it is today.
It’s normally designed with a handle, which ideally enforces its portability feature. The term “boom” box coins the fact that it is able to produce loud sounds with the help of its loudspeaker. In addition, it has an array of functions starting from playing CDs and cassette tapes to recording audio and playing FM and AM radio.
Best Boomboxes for 2017
To help you make the right choice, we have reviewed the best boomboxes based on their features and pricing. We have also added a quick rundown of their significant features, their pros, and their cons so that you can evaluate each model.
Best For Long Music Listening: Sony ZS-BTG900 Boombox System
This is one of the most popular and coolest boombox system in terms of features and options. It’s powerful, lightweight, and comes in 25.2 x 10.2x 16.4 inches dimensions, weighing in at only 17.6 pounds.
- Impressive sound: The Sony ZS-BTG900 is rated at 20 watts, providing an impressive sound regardless of the volume level. Sony made an effort to make the sound quality better that any boomboxes made in a decade or so.
- Long lasting battery: with the Sony ZS-BTG900, you don’t need to worry about looking for a power output source to recharge your battery. That’s because the system can last for up to 26 hours of music listening.
- 6 music presets: You have the option to select from 6 different curves, requiring only one press.
- Wireless connectivity: You can use the ZS-BTG900 with your Bluetooth devices for wireless music streaming. You can also select songs from your devices wirelessly via Bluetooth.
- Party Lighting Effects: The best boombox comes with a Light Sync feature that makes your music listening cooler. It ideally generates lighting effects in line with your music.
- NFC Listening: The Sony ZS-BTG900 comes with the NFC One-Touch listening feature that lets you pair with your smartphone in seconds.
- Full function remote: The unit includes a full function remote control that can be used to control the connected smartphone or device.
- Basics: Aside from the above listed features, the unit offers the basic boombox features including auxiliary audio input, FM/AM radio tuner, CD playback, and others.
- Great value for money (costs around $150 or less)
- Great sound quality at low and high volumes
- Futuristic design
- Enhanced wireless audio streaming with NFC
- Syncs well with portable devices
- Too heavy
- Lacks multiple disk provision
- Lacks Headphones connection input
Best Basic Boombox: Jensen CD-490 Sport Stereo
The Jensen CD-490 is a great option if you need an alternative to the latest boombox speakers. Since it’s a stereo, it guarantees great sound regardless of your location. While it’s a non-wireless boombox, it can connect to MP3 players, iPods, smartphones, and tablets through the aux able. Measuring in at 9 x 12.4 x 5.8 inches, it only weight 3.4 pounds.
- Overall music control: This model lets you take control of your music by searching, skipping, repeating, forwarding, etc.
- Multiple formats support: It also supports the playback of various music formats in CD and CD-R/RW. Shuffle mode is one of its incredible features, as it lets you stream audio randomly.
- Multiple connections for Playback: this model can be connected to various audio devices such as MP3 players, Smartphones, tablets, iPods, etc. through an AUX input jack
- Good Music Quality: it comes with 3W RMS audio output that deliver crisp, robust and clear audio.
- Visuals: The CD player informs you on the currently playing track, with a comprehensive display of information.
- FM/AM tuner: you can enjoy your favorite FM/AM stations through its telescopic antenna.
- Basic boombox features that are easy to access and use
- Acceptable sound quality considering it’s a CD player
- Can easily connect to larger speakers
- Compact design makes it easy to carry around
- Can fit almost anywhere
- Battery doesn’t last very long
- Average speaker quality
- May not recognize newer CD formats
Best Lightweight Bluetooth Boombox: JAM Party Box HX-P730GY
If you are looking for a lightweight Bluetooth enable boombox, then the JAM Party Box HX-P730GY is probably one of your best bets. This model is popularly known for its wireless and in-line capabilities. This 2.8 pounds boombox only measures 7.5 x 2.6 x 2.5 inches. It also has a mini line-in output and input.
- Wired or Wireless Audio Streaming: with this system, you can stream your music either through Bluetooth, or via the AUX cable to your different playback devices
- Great Bass Performance: The JAM Party Box HX-P730GY provides you with to active and two passive speakers that deliver powerful bass
- Bring it anywhere: with its retractable handle, you can bring this boombox with you anywhere, whether it’s the park, dance parties, or as you travel.
- Power Options: It also comes with a power adaptor, and a built-inn rechargeable lithium-ion battery, that lasts up to 12 hours.
- Stylish: the JAM Party Box HX-P730GY come in different color options including magenta, grey, blue, and yellow.
- Great sound quality for a small speaker
- Good choice of construction materials makes it sturdy
- Very light and ultraportable
- Fast connectivity to Bluetooth
- Easy carrying options
- Lacks master reset
- Doesn’t support auxiliary cables
- Bluetooth connectivity will only last you 6 feet.
Most Stylish Boombox: Axel Pfaender Berlin Boombox
This is one of the most minimalist and fashion friendly boombox system that you can find in the market today. Its design offers an old-school feel, and comes with new technology in its compatibility, speakers, and amplifiers. It has especially become popular perhaps owing to the recycled cardboards that you can design for yourself. Weighing in at 1.9 pounds, its dimensions are 4.7 x 13.8 x 9.8 inches. It comes with two speakers, an amplifier, micro-USB cable (power supply), and a stereo 3.5 mm cable.
- Great quality sound: this boombox can deliver good quality sound, with its German engineered sound technology. With Hi-fi speakers and a 2×5 watts amplifier, this box can deliver powerful sound regardless of the playback source.
- Wireless capabilities: Inspired by the Ghettoblasters of the 1980s, you can expect the model to deliver high quality audio technology. It allows you to stream audio from Bluetooth enabled devices through the boombox.
- Eco-friendly design: it comes with a DIY cardboard kit that lets you design your boombox as you wish. Since the cardboard is recycled, it makes the Axel Pfaender Berlin Boombox an advocate for sustainable eco-friendly designs. Keep in mind that it doesn’t kill the fun, you don’t need any other tools to set up the box.
- Versatile: you can connect this system to virtually any music source including smartphones, tablets, MP3 players, laptops, etc.
- Compatible with most music devices available
- The sound quality is great considering its average price
- Stylish and fashion friendly
- The DIY kit encourages some creativity
- Environmentally friendly design
- Prone to damage
- Lacks the 8-track tape feature
- The sound quality doesn’t even come close to that of the Ghettoblasters
Best rugged Boombox: Dewalt DCR018 Compact Worksite Boombox
For those looking for a compact boombox that’s protected from most forms of damage, then this is the best deal. It’s actually promoted as the best boombox for site conditions that are susceptible to debris, dust, and damage. It comes in a heavy-duty design, which is also backed by a roll cage to make the device at protected and as durable as possible. It measures 10 x 7.4 x 10.8 inches, and weighs 6 pounds despite its heavy-duty design and the roll cage. It also comes with a USB power port/cable, as well as an AUX input for all your portable music devices.
- Several battery options: the Dewalt DCR018 is compatible with a number of Dewalt batteries including the 12V Max Dewalt, 18V NiCad/Li-Ion, and the 20V Max range of power tool batteries
- Sturdy construction: the boombox is designed to be used in the most rugged of conditions, where it’s prone to damage. You can expect it to last comparatively longer than most of the other boomboxes. With a device storage box, it should be quite easy to protect its internals from damage and debris.
- Alternative battery feature: in case you don’t have any Dewalt power tool batteries lying around, the unit comes with an AC power cord that enables the user to operate it via an AC power cable.
- Powerful radio: with 5 FM/AM presets, it serves really great for radio reception
- Multiple connectivity: you can ideally connect this boombox to a range of portable music device including CD players, MP3 players, satellite receivers, and others. It has a 3.5 mm jack.
- USB Charging: this rechargeable portable speaker can be charged using a USB cable through AC power outlets.
- AB Amp: the boombox comes with a 4 inch full range speaker backed by a type AB amplifier to deliver the most powerful sound possible.
You can check another similar Best rugged Boombox Review: Dewalt Dcr015 Review
- Very portable and easy to carry around
- Can run for over 8 hours in a single charge on the 20V batteries
- The metal sided housing is as durable as you can expect
- Clear FM/AM tuning
- Just as good as with the lager counterparts in the Dewalt line of boomboxes
- Doesn’t come with a charger included
- The sound has a poor bass and treble
Loudest Boombox: Marshall Kilburn Portable Boombox
Marshall is one of the big names in the amps industry, and the Kilburn Portable Boombox is one of the loudest boomboxes you can find. This model of their amp comes in 3 colors and provides you with over 20 hours of music playback.If sounding boombox is favorite for you then you can check http://www.soundspare.com/top-7-best-sounding-loudest-boombox-ever/
- Comes with a 4-inch 15 W woofer and two 5W 3/4 inch cone tweeters to deliver superior sound
- Very stylish and compact, packing awesome features in a vintage looking mini-camp
- Has cool looking analogue knobs that allow the user to control the sound to their preference
- It’s very loud, and can go up to 99DB of sound
- It packs powerful sound and features for its size
- Quite heavy for its size
- Average battery life
Types of Boomboxes
One of the defining features in all boomboxes is that they are all portable. But in most cases, that’s where the similarity hits the wall. The modern boomboxes come in a wide variety of capabilities, designs, colors, sizes, and uses. In fact, there’s a boom box designed for almost any kind of application a user might need, from high end devices that could replace home stereo systems, to water resistant and shock-proof units that could withstand hard tosses. The following are the most common types of boomboxes.
The boombox did play an important role in the iconic cultural explosion of the 1980s. That’s why they are generally recognized as a symbol of this period, which has made the original vintage boomboxes valuable collector’s item. Some auction sites have a number of listings of vintage boomboxes that can be quite difficult to purchase from other places.
These devices keep the classic design, and remind any music enthusiasts of the early hip hop days, and the iconic time in history where music was more of a personal expression and was played for everyone to listen to. If you are buying a vintage boombox, it pays to do some research first to find more about the history of the item, and check the legitimacy of the seller preferably through online reviews.
Cassette Tape Boomboxes
Although CDs replaced the cassette tapes, some people still maintain large collections of cassette tapes. Of course, the thought of having to repurchase all the music on cassette tapes is not a valid option for most people, especially if it’s a large collection, and due to time and cost considerations when it comes to replacing each of the tape.
The most effective solution here is to have a boombox that features cassette tape playback. Since the contemporary boomboxes are designed with versatility and functionality in mind, most of them are designed to play cassette tapes, with some coming with advanced CD writing capabilities to allow the user to not only play their cassette tapes, but also record music on CDs at the same time. this allows the users to update the music on the more durable CDs, without having to incur the high costs of repurchasing the entire collection.
Some boomboxes are designed to support multiple cassette players, which allows the user to ideally record on one cassette tape from another one. This can come in handy for the people who need to keep a collection of cassette tapes but still need to transfer some music onto the newer, more efficient range of storage media.
The support of CDs essentially revolutionized the entire music industry, as it gave the music listeners a storage option that was durable, resisted rough handling and heat, while still providing high sound fidelity levels during playback. The Compact Disk boombox was really a revolution to a revolutionary device, and successfully opened up a whole new avenue for music playback.
Keep in mind that the cassette tape collections had their share of drawbacks that CDs didn’t. for starters, the cassettes had a thin magnetic tape that basically spooled around two wheels in a plastic housing. The magnetic tape was highly vulnerable to damage from the elements and heat, and a small part of the tape remained completely unprotected as that was the portion that came in contact with the head unit. Any form of damage on the tape could make the whole thing completely useless.
On the other hand, compact discs had none of such limiting factors. The music was essentially stored in some material on the disc, which was protected by several layers of lacquer. With the CD, a laser beam is passed through and it reflects the data onto a special sensor that converts it to music. Unlike with the tape, there are no moving parts that came into contact with the CD, and the CD would play music even after rough handling, provided that the lacquer surface was not heavily scratched.
Another major benefit of the CD was that it offered an easier way to store music. The thinness of the CD allowed it to accommodate large music collections that could be handily kept in a CD wallet, which would store huge collections of CDs and enable easier accessibility by the user.
MP3 technology is one of the milestones achieved by the boombox, together with the advent of the technology that allowed boomboxes to play rich sound quality from reduced speaker sizes. The product of these developments is the MP3 boombox. The MP3 capability allowed the users to carry their boomboxes around without having to bring along their compact discs and cassette tapes whenever they needed to move from one place to another with their music.
The technology essentially allowed users to compress and record music on small MP3 devices that could essentially store large music collections and play the music on small MP3 capable devices that could play the music via headphones, earphones and external speakers virtually anywhere. This way, the user was free to bring along their music to school, work, trips, at the gym, while traveling, and at the track while exercising.
This revolutionary technology paid a huge role in paving the way for truly portable music that could be stored in a format that was less susceptible to damage and couldn’t be lost. Users could now store their music collections on their computers and other portable devices and could back up their music without needing more space than a typical hard drive. Obviously, the boombox was reinvented once more, so that it could take advantage of the new technology and adapt to its use.
The MP3 boomboxes were designed in such a way that they could accept MP3 input from various devices and play the music via its speakers. Other manufacturers designed boomboxes that featured docking stations for various MP3 players, which would allow the user to dock the smaller device onto the boombox, which would then act as a set of speakers that were controlled by the MP3 device. Some of the other MP3 boomboxes came with features such as cassette playback, CD playback, and MP3 playback functionality together, allowing them to play music from any of the media functionality and then record on another.
Currently, the many different variations of boomboxes that are available in the market are staggering. As we’ve discussed, the boombox originally started out as a device that gave people the freedom to enjoy their music regardless of where they went, and being able to enjoy the music as loud as necessary. the device became the vehicle for the urban youth to express themselves, and as a tool to help the upcoming artists to find a musical niche, and share their talent with the world around them.
Over time, the boombox has changed styles and shapes many times, seen a decline in use for a given period, and then resurge once again. Nonetheless, it has never really disappeared from our culture completely. It’s ideally a device that is redesigned every now and then to leverage new technologies, and utilize the latest music tools available as they are invented. It’s ability to adapt to the changing needs of the users is what has kept the boombox an essential, and convenient device that will always have a special place in the heart of music enthusiasts.
The Advent of Portable Stereo Systems
Eventually, cities began passing noise ordinances prohibiting the playing of loud music on the street corners. With the ability to play loud music now prohibited, the popularity of the boombox started waning, as they were being replaced by the smaller, more portable devices that used earphones or headphones, which allowed users to enjoy music without disturbing other people. Nonetheless, as we are going to see, the boombox was not fated to disappear altogether.
The advent of the personal stereo system that users could carry from one location to another remained popular. Nonetheless, although the compact music players had replaced the boombox as the most popular devices, they did meet the needs for users who still need to play loud music in a portable stereo that could be played on in their own homes.
But through the years, the boombox has proven it’s still needed and quite functional, even in the millennial age. In fact, it is a common sight in most electronic stores, and is one of the most preferred audio player for outdoor activities. The designs are not significantly far from the models released in the golden boombox years, though the modern models are more advanced, and come with features that are common in the high-end music systems. They typically come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and produce high quality sound in a more compact and portable size.
Finding the Best Boombox
Whether you are looking to purchase your first boombox or you are looking to replace your old boombox, this section will guide you into finding the best boombox, and answer some of the questions you might have about boomboxes.
The boombox is highly portable and can create loud sounds, meaning that if you are in a large open area, the music can be heard without a problem. Some features are specially included to enhance its portability. In most cases, it’s easy of hand-carry a boombox with its handle, since it’s relatively very light. It also has an inbuilt battery, to make sure that users are able to enjoy their music even in places where it might be hard to find a power outlet.
Most boomboxes come with a dual power source feature, which allows it to be connected to the power outlets for indoor use, while the batteries can be used for the outdoor activities. So, whether you’re a music lover who likes to have good background music outdoors, or a dancer who needs to practice a performance outside, boomboxes can be quite useful. But how do you go about buying one?
What to Look for When Choosing the Best Boombox
The market is currently flooded with boomboxes of different sizes, shapes, and styles. Naturally you would want to choose the best boombox you can find. However, the many different options available can make the process overwhelming and quite confusing. As a general rule of thumb, no single brand can fit the definition of “best” for every user. As such, the best boombox depends on the user needs and features needed. However, there are certain qualities that you should pay careful attention to, that apply for a proper boombox.
Although a good boombox doesn’t need to have a lot of features, what you want and what you need a boombox for should determine what kind of features you will be looking for. Ideally, all boomboxes do the same thing, though the quality will not be the same. This accounts for a major difference in their prices across the board. But regardless of your budget, here are the things you should look out for:
Modern boomboxes come fitted with programmable settings, remote controls, detachable portable MP3 players, waterproofing, and other nifty add-ons that can add a whole new dimension in the meaning of portable sound entertainment. Ensure that the model you choose come with the features you deem essential for your personal needs. As a rule of thumb, the more the features a boombox has, the better it is.
- Power: Most boomboxes have AC adapters, but as we mentioned earlier, some take D-batteries or feature rechargeable ones for use away from the wall socket. For those that need a boombox mostly for outdoor use, then you want to make sure that the battery life lasts long enough, if the batteries are rechargeable or replaceable. Keep in mind that buying disposable batteries every once in a while, could really add up the costs, and you should ideally invest in a boombox that uses rechargeable to help you avoid all the repeated expenses.
- Station Memory: Having a few in-built presets is very convenient and it would be quite silly to have a boombox that lacks presets at the touch of a button. With station Memory preset, you can store and access your favorite radio stations at the touch of a button.
- Sound quality: while this is not supposed to serve as a full home entertainment system, good boomboxes should produce quality sound. Small speakers won’t produce rich sound, don’t let anyone fool you. But in general, the more watts and the more bass boosting technology in a boombox, the more beefier and higher the quality of sound it will produce.
- Bluetooth: Just in case Bluetooth connectivity is of utmost importance for you, or if you don’t want to connect your phone or computer to your speaker via cable all the time, then make sure it’s present.
- CD Player: In case you still have some CDs lying around or would like to record music on CDs, make sure that the unit comes with CD-R/RW capabilities, to make sure that it can read and write CDs directly without needing other peripherals.
- FM/AM Tuning: this is a rather standard feature in any boombox regardless of how old it is, allowing you to surf the airwaves at your leisure. The newer digital tuners let you get the number just right as you flip through the channels, instead of hoping the needle will land close enough without the static.
- Satellite: Although this is not that much of a common feature, some may come with built-in satellite radio, which allows you to connect to your subscription service virtually anywhere you go. The subscriptions are however sold separately and may require monthly fees.
- MP3/iPod: In case you want extra connectivity besides Bluetooth, most boomboxes have the auxiliary cable options, where you simply plug in your phone, tablet, mp3 player, iPod, etc. to a headphone jack connected to your best boombox and play your tunes.
In any sound system or device, the sound quality of the audio output is among the first things that need to be judged. Of course, the audio output of a boombox can’t be compared to that of a home theatre or cinema speakers. Nonetheless, the best boombox should produce sound that’s loud and rich enough, but at the same time not compromise the quality of the sound by distorting it. High quality sound is often associated with high number of watts and the incorporation of bass-boosting technology into the boombox.
Since the boombox is most likely going to be used for outdoor activities, it’s highly prone to damage from various elements. Unlike when it’s safely kept inside the house, the outdoors exposes it to weather elements and roughing up ideally caused by its mobile nature, frequent handling, and placements on different types of surfaces. In order to get a durable boombox that will give you a longer service life, it’s best to find one that is heavy duty, waterproof, shockproof, or one that’s made from high quality materials and parts.
Size and Portability
Since the boombox is going to be your preferred outdoor sound system due to its portability, you need to keep in mind several factors to enhance this feature. Weight is one of them; obviously, the lighter the boombox the more portable it will be. heavier units will be significantly more tedious and burdensome to carry around.
The battery is another factor to keep in mind, since you are not always going to find power outlets while you are on the go. It’s therefore necessary to get a unit with a large enough rechargeable battery. Keep in mind that larger batteries may translate to more weight, and you need to find the unit that strikes the perfect balance between the two. The other factor is the handle, which can come in handy when transporting and carrying around your boombox.
The features mentioned above are not necessarily the only things that make up a good boombox. The best boombox should come at a justifiable price, preferably bringing all the necessary features one would need in a boombox at an affordable price. But, affordability is subjective, and depend on the situation and the customer.
That’s why it’s very important to have a budget that states the amount you are willing to spend on a boombox, and if you are willing to add more to get some extra features. As you go through your search, it’s always good to go through different products within your price range instead of sticking to one or two brands. Also, be sure to compare different stores, since some could be offering discounts or sales at the time of your purchase.
But take care not to exceed your budget. It could be tempting, but what’s a best boombox if you exceed your budget? A smart purchase is one that you can comfortably afford, without having to sacrifice on the rest of your expenses. Keep your budget within your means.
Origins of the Boombox
Handheld and portable radios were released in the market for the first time in the late 1950s, and it only took a short while before technology backed by consumer demand led to the invention of portable stereo system. 1969 saw the invention of the boombox by Philips in the Netherlands. This invention combined a portable radio, loudspeakers, a cassette player, and the ability to play music at high volumes.
One unique feature of the boombox at the time was that it allowed users to record radio playing through the box and saving a copy on a cassette tape for later playback. With more technology advancements, boomboxes begun being incorporated along with CD players, which allowed the users to record music not only on cassette tapes, but also on CDs. The boomboxes were very popular among the young consumers, as they combined the volume of a stereo system and high-fidelity sound in a compact package that could be taken almost anywhere.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the boombox became an icon in the mainstream United States, and was culturally iconic among the urban youth of the country. With the boombox, it was possible for the youth to listen to the music they wanted almost anywhere without the former constraints or parental supervision.
People were also able to share music by recording it on CDs or cassette tapes, or offer it to other groups of people to enjoy. The popularity of boomboxes led to the birth of break dancing and contributed to the birth of hip hop music since talented young people had the ability to record their own music, record their voice over music, and even share their songs with other people. The boombox provided a way for street musicians to get their songs to the masses, and this was where vehicle rappers created their genre.
In the following years, we often saw the Best boombox in videos being carried on the shoulder by a hip hop dancer as they showed off a few dance moves. Another way it was used is being placed in the background as a break dancer showed off his/her moves.
Boomboxes are a perfect way to enjoy music wherever and whenever. They let you take the party to the beach, the park, or anywhere else you want. There’s no doubt that best boomboxes are taking the market by storm, and are the new trend this summer.
Some people love the memories that boomboxes bring back, others enjoy the modern features, while others look for portability and functionality. Regardless of the reason for buying a boombox, it’s very important that you get nothing but the very best one for you.
With the details we have discussed above, you now have a better understanding of where boomboxes came from, what to look for in one, and some of the best ones you can find on the market today. Buying a boombox shouldn’t be a challenge anymore, even if you are ‘green’ in this sector.
Our guide will help you to easily find the best boombox that fits right into your personal taste and requirements. If you aren’t fond of the products we have chosen, don’t worry, there are a vast majority of products to choose from, and you can simply do some research based on the features you’re looking for. Keep in mind that as technology continues to advance, boomboxes will continue to add more features, and we will continue updating our list to help you make the right choice.