In this guide we look at the best boomboxes in 2020. No, we haven’t gone back in time, the boombox has made a huge comeback, with a few differences when compared to the models we associate with the 1980s. Modern boomboxes tend to have an inbuilt battery rather than relying on disposable batteries (though some have this option). They also embrace a lot of modern technology such as Bluetooth.
A boombox can be great for meeting with friends or playing music (loud) on the go. We’ve created a list of the top boomboxes, including reviews of some great models and nominations for the ideal product for your needs.
Here are the best boomboxes 2020:
- Studebaker SB2145B
- JBL Boombox
- Jensen CD555
- Sony CFD-S70
- Philips PX840T
- Pyle PBMSPG7
- Sony ZS-RS60BT
- Pyle PBMSPG190
1. Studebaker SB2145B
The best retro-style boombox you can buy in 2020
Studebaker isn’t the best known brand name on our list. There are actually some better renowned brands on the list, but this makes it to the top based on the fact that it is packed with features and also has a fantastic retro feel to it.
For playing your music, you can make use of the FM or AM stereo radio, or Bluetooth for connecting to your devices. The retro design is aided by the fact that there is a multicolored LED EQ on the front, lighting up the space as you play.
The output power is 10 W, in the form of two 5 W speakers. The battery is rechargeable. The AC transformer built-in means you can power this from a variety of different power sources or generators, which is great for building sites, for example.
|Image credit: Studebaker Check Amazon||
If you are looking for a retro design, available in lots of colors, which can play music from a lot of different sources, the Studebaker SB2145B could be a great option.
2. JBL Boombox
The best-sounding modern boombox
JBL is an audio powerhouse brand with some excellent speakers available. They specialize in studio monitors, PA systems and more, but this model, the JBL Boombox, has an incredible level of sound quality.
You will pay a bit more for the brand, but the features definitely justify this. The Boombox may have the best bass sound, and it is certainly one of the best-rated models. The huge battery has a 20,000 mAh rating. It takes 6.5 hours to charge but then allows you to listen for 24 hours. The Boombox has an IPX7 waterproof rating, so listening when out camping or at the pool party is no issue.
This JBL Boombox can have two different devices connected at once, and can even charge one of them while you listen.
|Image credit: JBL Check Amazon||
If you are happy to pay a little more for high-fidelity and one of the top-rated boomboxes on the market in 2020 then the JBL Boombox is well worth considering.
3. Jensen CD555
The best small boombox
The Jensen is one of the smallest boombox options you can purchase, and though you might not get the loudest sound when compared to some other options, it has plenty of compatibility and the portable size means you can take it out and about with you. There’s even a built-in carry handle for portability.
Options for loading audio include CDs, an AUX connection for iPods and other devices, as well as an FM receiver. It has a Bluetooth connection, too, for wireless playback. This can be connected via a 120 V power adapter or by using six ‘C’ sized batteries. These need to be purchased separately.
|Image credit: Jensen Check Amazon||
If a small and portable model is your number one priority, then you won’t get the most powerful model. However, the Jensen does a really good job of giving a balanced sound with fairly high fidelity, even without an amazing bass response.
4. Sony CFD-S70
The best cassette boombox
You might think of cassettes as an outdated medium, but this is actually not the case. People once said that vinyl was dead, but they made a comeback, just like the cassette. Many bands and artists release special-edition cassettes and some small bands create cassettes because it is cheaper than having CD or vinyl pressed.
Sony is a huge brand, and they still cater for people who want to listen to cassettes. There are other ways to listen to music as it has an FM and AM radio, and an AUX input for more digital models.
The sound itself is pretty good, and there is a great bass boost, which can be turned on at your choice, and which helps with the bass response of the Sony Boombox. It’s great for heavier music.
You can power it via an AC cord, or using 6 C batteries. It’s not ideal that you have to use disposable batteries but they can give you around 20 hours of play before replacing.
|Image credit: Sony Check Amazon||
It isn’t the smallest option, and could benefit from an internal, rechargeable battery. However, this is a very affordable option that provides plenty of power and the sort of quality that has made Sony a world-renowned brand.
5. Philips PX840T
One of the most durable boomboxes available
A lot of people who buy boomboxes want them to be as durable as possible. It’s the kind of thing you want to be able to keep in the trunk of your car and take out on the beach or even at work on a building site and know it is going to survive. The Philips PX840T can be the ideal choice if you want something really rugged.
It’s quite big and bulky, but you can tell from the way it looks that this is a serious piece of kit which has been very well-made. The size is one of the reasons it is so durable. The 8.78 x 20.59 x 8.27 inches design isn’t as portable as some competing options, but that isn’t too much of a problem if you are looking for something big and powerful.
Power is definitely on the agenda here, as this has a 50 W rating across both speakers. It’s loud enough to fill a large room. Also, the options for listening to music are plentiful. As well as an AUX in and a USB input, it also plays CDs and of course has Bluetooth compatibility.
|Image credit: Philips Check Amazon||
The Philips PX840T has the look of a modern ghetto blaster. The only real downside is the power, with the need for batteries, but this might be the case anyway if you are playing somewhere with no power, such as a beach or building site. A durable and rugged choice.
6. Pyle PBMSPG7
The best cheap boombox
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a high-quality boombox or portable speaker. The Pyle model may not provide the most power, but it definitely has a lot to like in terms of its compatibility and functions. Pyle can normally be relied on for a decent-quality at a cheap price.
This has a rechargeable, inbuilt battery, which doesn’t have the longest battery life, but may be better than using disposable batteries. It also has a lot of options to connect to an audio source. It has a USB flash drive, SD card reader and an AUX input, plus Bluetooth with around 30 feet of range.
The volume generated is good for small groups but might be lacking a bit for larger gatherings, so keep that in mind when making your choice.
|Image credit: Pyle Check Amazon||
This is something of a simple, no-frills option. It’s somewhere between a boombox and a Bluetooth speaker. For people on a budget who don’t need anything with particularly fancy features, it could be ideal.
7. Sony ZS-RS60BT
The best battery life we’ve seen in a boombox
Not to be confused with the Sony cassette model we’ve already mentioned. This is one of the best boomboxes available in 2020 under the $100 mark, and it has some fantastic features including an impressive battery life. Though they are disposable batteries, you can get over a full day’s play out of them.
Play from Bluetooth sources, AM or FM radio, and even make use of a USB recording function, so you can record a CD into an MP3 format on your USB flash drive. The LCD display makes it super simple to see what you are doing.
The bass enhancement is noticeable and gives an excellent low-end response to this boombox.
|Image credit: Sony Check Amazon||
If you want to take advantage of a renowned brand such as Sony and don’t want to spend a fortune on your boombox then this can be a truly brilliant option for you, with crisp added bass and even a USB recording function.
8. Pyle PBMSPG190
The most powerful boombox
Pyle has created another of the top-rated boomboxes on our list, and this, the Street Blaster, has an 80’s feel to it, as well as an incredibly powerful design. It has been made to reach up to 500 W of power, which is enough to really shake the room. This makes it popular for fitness classes or big gatherings. In spite of this, it isn’t too expensive either, with a price tag under $200.
It comes with a microphone for MC or even karaoke games, and the wireless capabilities load music straight from your devices via Bluetooth. There are flashing lights and a really lively feel to this, making it perfect for a fitness class.
In spite of all this power, the PBMSPG190 model has a rechargeable battery, so you won’t have to keep draining disposable ones.
|Image credit: Pyle Check Amazon||
Obviously, if you are looking for the maximum power you can get, this could be a super option. However, for a lot of people, this might be overkill. The sound fidelity is good, but not as high as say the JBL Boombox. This is for those who need something loud.
As you can see from our list, there is actually a lot of choice when it comes to choosing the best boomboxes in 2020. Some need disposable batteries, some have rechargeable options, some are very powerful, some just moderately powerful. Not forgetting, of course, the huge variation in price. You can spend $40 or $400 getting the boombox you think will suit your needs best. It’s a case of working out the features you require and where you’ll be using your new boombox before taking the plunge and making a purchase.
Ben is a writer, musician and former studio engineer from the UK with qualifications including music technology. A self-confessed audiophile, Ben can also play multiple instruments.
Ben has worked in recording studios in the East of England, and written about all aspects of music equipment and the music business, as well as production and engineering.