Tailgate speakers are typically boxy / powerful sound transmitters with the ability to kick life into a party instantly. In fact, these speakers have grown more and more popular amongst a variety of users, who seek a fulfilling sound experience for all types of social gatherings and events.
Hence, tailgate speakers are definitely a must-have for a number of reasons but the last thing you want is to jump on the first or most popular speaker out there.
Actually, with the ever-growing number of models, shapes and sizes, it has become almost impossible to navigate your way through the tailgate-speaker-market.
Fortunately, we did most of the work for you and managed to compile a list of the best tailgate speakers on the market right now.
Top 10 Best Tailgate Speakers – Compared
ION Audio Tailgater (iPA77)
|50||13" H x 12.5" W x 9.21" D|
|72||25.6" x 17" x 13"||33|
Ion Tailgater Express Game Day
ION Pathfinder 3
|100||18.11"H x 18.11"W x 11.02"D||28.1|
|60||9.7''L x 5.2''W x 9.5'H||6.62|
|15||11.8"L x 13.0"W x 17.8"H||15.6|
|Peak : 600|
RMS : 300
|14.7''L x 10.6''W x 11.2''H||26.4|
|NA||12.4"L x 12.4"W x 20.9"H||17.6|
|NA||10.24" x 9.53" x1 8.9"||11.57|
Top 10 Best Tailgate Speakers – Reviews
1. ION Audio Tailgater (iPA77) Review
While showcasing an authentic rock & roll design, the ION Audio Tailgater is more likely to lure you in with its powerful yet crisp sound experience.
One of the biggest advantages of the portable tailgate speaker at hand is a massive battery with a promise of around 50hrs of ongoing party mode. Yes, this speaker can go on and on, which is great for multiple-day events. In fact, the battery on this machine is so powerful that it can even be used to recharge your other devices.
If near field communication isn’t enough for you, the ION Audio Tailgater also has a strong Bluetooth connectivity as well as an app for both IOS and android users for more EQ control. Alternatively, you can always directly connect your devices to the speaker via a standard AUX cord. Also, the speaker comes with a microphone and auxiliary cable for some good karaoke fun.
For radio lovers, ION Audio Tailgater comes with an integrated post for both FM and AM radio as well as a bright LCD screen for easier control and navigation.
In terms of sound quality, the speaker at hand is easily one of the loudest tailgate speakers. Accordingly, the iPA77 features a powerful woofer with an immense capability to produce extremely low frequencies as well as a purified tweeter for those high notes.
Note: While it is a high-end Bluetooth tailgate speaker, the ION Audio Tailgater does not have wheels. However, it is still relatively easy to move around via engraved handles.
2. SOUNDBOKS 2 Review
The SOUNDBOKS 2 doesn’t just look mean, it is in fact a pretty aggressive tailgate speaker with enough power to literally shake your heart.
it’s actually difficult to believe that a unit this powerful can be portable and yet it is. The SOUNDBOKS 2 is considered to be one of the loudest tailgate speakers on the market, reaching a crisp peak of 122 dB. In case you’re wondering how loud that is, imagine your last concert experience but with much cleaner sound.
There’s no actual secret behind the impeccable performance of this unit because it’s all about the driver. The SOUNDBOKS 2 comes with a two 10” woofers for an extra dense BASS and a silk dome tweeter for those cleaner / higher frequencies.
While being slightly bigger than the previous speaker on this list, the SOUNDBOKS 2 has a weaker battery. Now, before you mount your horses, this unit harbors a battery that can go on full blast for approximately 40 hours. Here’s the impressive part, this battery is actually swappable which means you can purchase a couple and keep this bad boy powered for as long as necessary.
One of the best features on the SOUNDBOKS’s spec-sheet has got to be the durability aspect. In fact, you don’t have to worry about taking this unit to the beach, next to a swimming pool or even into the desert because it’s both water and dirt proof. Most importantly, the SOUNDBOKS 2 has got one hell of a shield to protect it through the use and abuse that it’ll go through.
Despite being larger than average, this speaker is still completely wireless. The SOUNDBOKS 2 features Bluetooth connectivity towards all of your devices and a standard 1/8” AUX input for a direct connection.
3. Ion Tailgater Express Game Day
Keep in mind that this list isn’t in a hierarchical order because while it’s in third place, the ION tailgater at hand might as well be the best tailgate Bluetooth speaker for a lot of people.
While this speaker weighs 13 pounds less than the previous one, it is still quite an outrageous little machine. In order to conceptualize the power of this sound system, you must first note that it is capable of performing at 50 watts of dynamic power continuously and that is impressive.
Also, the speaker at hand doesn’t only make noise sound louder, it actually produces some of the cleanest frequencies even at peak volumes. Accordingly, the ION EXPRESS GAME DAY features a robust woofer for deep bass and a wide-dispersion tweeter for clean vocals.
Just like any other modern portable speaker, the tailgater at hand is equipped with Bluetooth capabilities, which will allow you to connect any of your devices directly and play anything you want from music all the way down to your favorite game commentary. If Bluetooth isn’t an option on your devices, you can always plug them directly via a standard AUX input.
Durability might not have been the primary concern for the developers of this portable tailgate speaker but it’s still one hell of a little tank. With the exception of the LCD display portion, the speaker is capable of handling bumps and scratches for years without causing any direct damage to the more sensitive bits inside. So, feel free to throw it in the trunk of your car and take the party wherever you go.
PS: The battery life on this thing is jaw-dropping as it can go for days of use on one charge.
4. ION Pathfinder 3
The number 4 item on our list is yet another ION tailgate speaker but the Pathfinder 3 is arguably unique in a number of ways.
Much stronger than its previous sibling, the Pathfinder 3 comes in with a ceiling-cracking 120 watts of dynamic power and a battery life that exceeds all expectations. Yup, you heard that right, this portable / wireless speaker can keep the party going for 100 hours straight or multiple days of regular use. That being said, this speaker is going to be a splendid addition to camping parties, family reunions and events that last for a couple of days.
PS: You can even use the massive battery as a power bank to charge your devices through the speaker. Also, the speaker is IPX5 registered water resistant.
Keeping in mind that with great powers come greater responsibilities, the speaker at hand managed to achieve an outstanding balance between power and crisp sound production. In order to maintain crisp audio in peak volume settings, the speaker at hand Is equipped with a powerful 8” woofer and a wide dispersion tweeter for vibrant higher frequencies.
Some of the secondary, yet interesting, features that come with this portable tailgate speaker are the built-in light bars that provide festive lighting settings, it comes with an internal FM/AM radio as well as a microphone for wild karaoke nights.
Portability isn’t the suit of armor for most tailgaters out there but this one is definitely an exception. The Pathfinder 3 exhibits a very practical telescoping handle and built-in wheels for much easier movement and a couple engraved handles to carry it around when the floor isn’t smooth enough.
5. Pyle PWMA220BM
While many people love big parties and outrageous volumes, some are just looking for a fun portable speaker to make small gatherings and family events more enjoyable. For those, we suggest you take a look at the Pyle PWMA220BM.
The speaker at hand might not be the most powerful out there but it’s definitely one of the most affordable options. Now, cutting down on budget will cost some power but that doesn’t stop this speaker from competing with the best tailgate Bluetooth speakers.
In fact, the Pyle PWMA220BM is equipped with a 60 watt subwoofer speaker for full range stereo sound reproduction and impressive bass response.
While it might not feature an independent tweeter for cleaner high frequencies, this portable speaker attempts to make up for that by offering a completely wireless connection option via Bluetooth, one USB slot and one SD card reader.
Also, this speaker can be connected to an amplifier of equal power to truly reach maximum performance and if not, you can always use the built-in audio configuration to control volume, bass, treble and echo.
A tailgate speaker can kick life back into the party in a variety of ways but what would get the job done even faster is a proper karaoke system. The Pyle PWMA220BM comes with a microphone. However, it must be noted that the device should be limited to 50 milliwatts during karaoke mode to prevent the system from getting damaged. Also, do not use an amplifier while doing karaoke because that can spike power and cause damage to the unit.
Before we wrap things up, one thing that we have to highlight before we move on is the portability aspect of the Pyle-Pro. Truly, it is rather impressive how a tailgate speaker this size can be so powerful and yet so easy to carry around.
P.S: The battery life on the speaker is limited at 10 hours per charge.
6. Pyle PWMA335BT
If you’re thinking that Pyle needs some vindication then look no further because this right here is its bigger / meaner sibling.
The saying “to each their own” describes Pyle’s production policy perfectly because this brand makes a tailgate speaker for every preference out there. Today, however, we’re talking about a specific speaker, the Pyle PWMA335BT model is noticeably bigger and ten times more powerful, standing at a peak of 550 watts of continuous power. Also, the tailgate speaker at hand exhibits a frequency range of 100 to 20.000Hz which is manifested through an 8” versatile subwoofer.
There is a number of ways to connect your devices to this unit and the best of which is the Bluetooth option that will allow you to roam freely and manage the speaker from a distance. However, if you prefer a direct connection then you can always use the AUX input. In fact, you can even use a direct USB or SD card to play your favorite tracks.
Also, the speaker at hand takes headphones’ jack, a microphone (included) for karaoke parties and a remote control + LCD display. You can even catch access FM radio straight from the built-in post if you need to listen to commentary or some of the classics.
Being somewhat of a giant, one of the biggest concerns for buyers are related directly to portability. Now, we cannot deny that the Pyle PWMA335BT is difficult to move around because it weighs around 20 pounds. However, it is definitely a lot more feasible thanks to the telescopic handle design + wheels. If the floor isn’t fit for the small wheels then you can always use the engraved handles to carry it around comfortably.
Last but definitely not least, one of the biggest selling points for this beast of a speaker is the fact it can go up to 10 hours of use on one single battery life. Truly, it is impressive to see a speaker so powerful last this long on a rechargeable battery and that alone seals the deal for many.
7. JENSEN SMPS-900
Jensen isn’t the most popular brand of tailgate speakers out there but the SMPS-900 has enough potential to get it noticed.
While it is extremely difficult to stand out when competing with the best tailgate speakers, the JESEN SMPS-900 pulled through because it might just be the best budget tailgate speaker out there. Now, keeping an open mind, this unit function at 15 watts and that is definitely hard to compare to something like the previous 550 watts speaker. However, the Jensen is more than enough for people who enjoy small social, family events and cozy outdoors activities.
In order to put you in perspective, the SMPS-900 is definitely not a party tailgater but one that can set the mood up for a variety of events. More specifically, this unit comes with an individual subwoofer, which produces decent lows and average highs at peak volume.
This might not be a powerful speaker but it comes with a microphone for some serious karaoke nights, Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, a guitar jack, a USB port, a remote control for volume, light control and a wide array of controls.
Further, despite being significantly more manageable than previously reviewed speakers, the JENSEN SMPS-900 comes with a telescopic handle, wheels and two extra engraved handles for rough terrain. Thus, you can simply throw this unit in the back of your car and take the music wherever you go.
When it comes to battery life, the unit at hand is fully capable of going on and on for days if played of medium volume. However, if left on max volume continuously, it will only last you a couple of hours before it goes to sleep.
PS: The battery is removable and changeable.
8. Pyle PWMA930IBT
Pyle takes pride in quite a large selection of tailgaters but one of their loudest tailgate speakers is the undisputed PWMA930IBT – 600 watts champion.
One cannot simply say 600 watts and skim through it as if nothing happened. YUP, this portable speaker is actually capable of function at a continuous power flow of 300 watts which is ten times more powerful than a few units on this list. That being said, Pyle went ahead and focused all that power into one 8” woofer system with an immense range. To be exact, this beast can go from 35 all the way up to 20.000Hz, which is flexible enough to pump out some serious high and low frequencies.
As far as features go, Pyle decided to go with a touch of configurability and that can be seen in the boxy design, the grill and control panel for EQ adjustability options. The unit might not have a built-in radio but it does come with a bunch of input ports that allow you to connect your guitar or instrument of choice, up to 3 microphones, AUX and RCA audio ports. So, feel free to imagine all the raging karaoke parties and talent shows you can run with this simple portable set-up.
So, it really goes without saying that the Pyle PWMA930IBT speaker system is the perfect match for wild parties, crowd control and family gatherings. However, what’s even more interesting is the fact that this speaker has a rechargeable battery. Unfortunately, however, with great powers comes high consumption, giving this battery 3 hours before it taps out. PS: the battery is built-in and therefore not removable.
Finally, to wrap things up, it must be noted that although it might look like a big jukebox from the nineties, the Pyle PWMA930IBT portable speaker comes with excellent Bluetooth connectivity to pair your smartphones / tablets and play whatever music you like on cue. Also, it comes with a microphone and it’s fully transportable with a telescopic handle & wheels.
9. QFX PBX-61081BT/BL
Since we have dedicated a huge portion of our nominees to the loudest tailgate speakers out there, it is only fair to give some of the best budget options a chance.
The QFX portable tailgater is a small yet impressive little unit. Actually, this is one of the few speakers in this size category that actually packs in a ton of useful little features while simultaneously maintaining a powerful driver. Speaking of which, the driver on this unit is a basic yet highly effective 8” woofer and amplifier that is capable of catering for a thanks giving dinner, a BBQ day or a little outdoors / indoors party with friends.
Going back to features, the QFX impressively manages to find place for an FM radio post, an LCD display, microphone vol, echo and general volume configuration on the back. Also, the unit comes with a microphone input, a USB and TF card slot for an even simpler experience. Last but definitely not least, the QFX features a small configuration bar on the back with back, forward, skip and more buttons for manual control.
Moreover, portability might just be the one thing that you won’t ever have to worry about with this speaker because it can literally be carried around continuously and effortlessly, even when you’re not feeling like carrying the 12 pound speaker, you can always use the telescopic handle and wheels to drag it around and take the music wherever you go.
Further, the QFX might look old fashioned but it’s Bluetooth enabled, which means you can use your mobile phone or tablets to play your favorite tracks directly. Not to mention that this tailgater harbors quite a massive rechargeable speaker that guarantees continuous play for several hours.
10. QFX PBX-800 Portable Party Speaker
The PBX-800 is the futuristic younger sibling of the previous unit on this list and that merits some serious scrutiny in order to determine whether it’s worth the upgrade or nah.
First things first, design-wise, the unit at hand is definitely folds better than the previous QFX and that definitely accounts for something. Nonetheless, when it comes to power, there isn’t a significant difference between the two. In that respect, the QFX speaker at hand maintains a similar but newer 8” woofer amplifying driver, which is responsible for producing both high and low frequencies. Most importantly, this QFX can reach higher and cleaner volumes compared to the previous one.
Now, in order to determine how powerful this speaker is, we tested in a variety of situations and environments and the results were rather impressive. Indeed, this 11.5 pound tailgate speaker is totally capable of catering for a small house party indoors, a social gathering of sorts or even a birthday party. However, it does struggle a little more outdoors because of the mono-directional dispersion and the lack of echoing surroundings.
In terms of portability, you can pretty much re-read what we wrote about the previous QFX because they’re technically the same. This might not be the best tailgate Bluetooth speaker but it’s a master of movement with a telescopic handle and smooth wheels. Also, do not worry about placing it on grass or if the floor is wet because it is raised far enough from the ground to keep it safe no matter what.
With the exception of a few, features aren’t exactly the biggest concern for people looking for a decent tailgate speaker. Nonetheless, the QFX at hand comes packed with a bunch of practical switches and ports for all kinds of purposes. For starters, the unit at hand has DJ-style volume & microphone volume controls, a bunch of configuration switches to control bass, treble and echo, two microphone ports, USB and TF card slot, and a bright blue LED display.
If you’re wondering whether we kept the best for last then you’re certainly correct. The QFX at hand can compete amongst the best tailgate speakers out there because it has built-in FM radio, Bluetooth connectivity + direct AUX and a splendid battery that can keep the party going for long hours.
How to Choose the Right Tailgate Speaker
Now that you’ve had an idea about the top rated tailgate speakers out there, you’re probably ready to learn about the little ticks and specs that grant each unit the right to be on that list.
First things first, tailgate speakers are generally classified according to how powerful they are but what does that mean. Well, simply put, every speaker has an output limit in watts and the wider the range, the more powerful it will be. However, you must keep in mind that without the proper amplifier that can equivocate the speaker’s output, it would either handicap or over-burn the unit. Thus, it is very important that you check the range on both your designated tailgate speaker and amplifier before connecting the two.
So, how powerful tailgate speakers really are?
Here’s a simple comparison: while standard factory car speakers peak at a meagre 50 to 150 watts, tailgate speakers can reach up to 500 watts of pure output. Now, translate that to loudness and you’ll understand just how ferocious these Bluetooth tailgate speakers can be.
One last little tip: The speaker’s strength is also measured by its ohm resistance level. Hence, the higher the ohm resistance, the less power it requires from an amplifier.
Sound quality might seem like a category that overlaps power but it actually doesn’t. The sound quality of a portable tailgate speaker depends primarily on the quality and design of the sound driver.
What is a sound driver you might wonder?
A sound driver is a system that usually but not always consists of two types of sound transmitters: tweeters and woofers. The tweeter is usually the smaller sound transmitter, which is in charge of producing mid and high frequencies (clean). On the other hand, the woofer is larger, making it responsible for the production of low frequencies (BASS).
When you combine the two, you get a homogenous and immersive sound experience, right? Well, yes but no. while most brands claim to have the loudest tailgate speakers, they don’t sound the same, especially at higher volumes. Hence, the technological status of a company is still going to play the biggest role in sound quality because not all woofers / tweeters are built the same.
Why would I buy an expensive portable tailgate speaker when I could just buy a much cheaper fixed speaker?
One of the biggest selling points for Bluetooth tailgate speakers is the portability aspect. Let’s be frank, you can’t deny that being able to move a literal party-maker in the back of your car trunk is kind of cool.
Truly, the one thing that makes these speakers phenomenal is how powerful AND portable they are. Imagine all the beach gatherings, barbecues and outdoor events that could have been saved with a proper beast of a speaker on queue. See, you just cannot anticipate when a tailgate speaker will come in handy until you really need it.
Nevertheless, with great powers come great liabilities. Before buying a portable tailgate speaker, it is your duty to make sure it’s not too big / heavy for your needs. Also, it’s helpful to look for a speaker with sturdy handles and wheels.
Last but definitely not least, battery life is a core component of the tailgate speaker portfolio. So, you have to make sure it has a big enough battery to keep the party going.