Which ’80s’ boomboxes are best?

Listening to music is how we feel nostalgia. For music lovers in the 1980s, carrying a boombox was the best way to bring your tunes on the go. Today, some brands are making replica ’80s’ boomboxes that have the look of the past, but the sound quality of today. These boomboxes have cassette players, radios and even Bluetooth.

The best ’80s’ boombox is from Studebaker and comes in a variety of cool colors. This retro device can play CDs and Bluetooth music from your smartphone. It also features an eye-catching, multicolored LED equalizer for added effect. 

What to know before you buy an ’80s’ boombox

Style

Boomboxes from the ’80s were uniquely designed for the era. At the time, they were just as much of an accessory as shoes. Like many electronics in the ’80s, boomboxes were square and mostly gray or black. They came complete with a sturdy handle for portability and loudspeakers. Today’s replica ’80s’ boomboxes are very similar in style. They also feature rectangle designs, strong handles and two large speakers at the center. New-era boomboxes also include cool features like flashing LED lights. 

Portability

By their very design, ’80s’ boomboxes are meant to be portable. After all, they were invented by the same company that created the portable cassette player. Each boombox includes a handle on the top that makes carrying the device simple and comfortable. Think of it like holding a briefcase, but with a better soundtrack. Modern-day ’80s’ boomboxes follow suit from their predecessors by featuring solid handles attached on the top.

Ways to listen

For music lovers, sound quality is everything. While some prefer the lo-fi hum of a record player, others like the crisp sound of a compact disc. An ’80s’ boombox designed in recent years includes a variety of ways to listen to music. 

CDs first came around in 1982, which means they’re synonymous with the boombox. Some ’80s’ boomboxes from today include a CD player, so you can get that authentic ’80s’ sound. Other boomboxes feature a radio and Bluetooth connectivity for added convenience. While the cassette tape was beginning to lose popularity in the mid-80s, many newly designed boomboxes still feature cassette players.

What to look for in a quality ’80s’ boombox

Sound quality

Boomboxes have their name because they project sound outdoors. Phillips, the original designer, made them with more powerful speakers than traditional indoor stereos. Speaker quality is usually measured in watts. Most boombox speakers range from 10 to 80 watts. If you’re looking to play the highest quality music, find an ’80s’ boombox with a CD player and 80-watt speakers. 

CDs have the best sound quality available. This is because of the uncompressed audio that the disc holds. For streaming audio on Spotify or YouTube, the files are compressed, which causes them to lose quality. 

Water resistant

Just because your boombox looks like it’s from the ’80s doesn’t mean it has to function like it. High-quality ’80s’ boomboxes come with water-resistant features. Water resistant means it prevents water from seeping through the cracks from light drizzles or splashes, so you can bring your boombox to the pool and not have to worry about the splash from a nearby cannonball. Also, since boomboxes are portable, it’s important to keep them safe from a sudden rainstorm. 

Bluetooth

CDs have a better sound quality than the compressed audio files you play on your phone. However, that doesn’t mean they’re more convenient. Streaming new music from Spotify or YouTube allows you to listen to the latest releases as soon as they arrive. A high-quality ’80s’ boombox features Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to connect your phone to stream music. However, if you’re looking for that authentic ’80s’ sound, you might want to head to your local CD shop. 

How much you can expect to spend on an ’80s’ boombox

An ’80s’ boombox can cost you anywhere from $84-$260.

’80s’ boombox FAQ

How does an ’80s’ boombox hold power?

A. Most boomboxes use batteries. This is the best option to keep your device portable. However, some modern ’80s’ boomboxes use alternating current (AC) power as well, which means you plug them into standard outlets when you’re at home and use battery power when you’re on the go. 

How much does an ’80s’ boombox weigh?

A. A standard ’80s’ boombox weighs anywhere from 6 to 18 pounds. Lighter ones are made with plastic materials and feature smaller speakers. Heavier boomboxes include metal parts and more weighty subwoofers.

What’s the best ’80s’ boombox to buy?

Top ’80s’ boombox

Studebaker SB Boombox

Studebaker SB Boombox

What you need to know: This take on an ’80s’ boombox uses modern features and cool effects mixed with a classic retro style to create a totally unique device.

What you’ll love: The LED equalizer tracks your music’s sound levels using bright and colorful lights. You can also buy this boombox in silver, black, red and rose gold colors.

What you should consider: The analog tuner will not let you program your favorite radio stations.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top ’80s’ boombox for the money

Riptunes Boombox

Riptunes Boombox

What you need to know: This inexpensive ’80s’ boombox comes in silver and black and includes a headphone jack so you can listen to your music privately.

What you’ll love: With the Riptunes boombox, there are a ton of ways to listen, such as through the cassette player and Bluetooth connectivity. There are also auxiliary and USB inputs. 

What you should consider: The sound quality from the Bluetooth is not as strong as other inputs. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

GPO Brooklyn Boombox

GPO Brooklyn Boombox

What you need to know: This high-quality boombox takes its cues from the streets of Brooklyn in the 1980s. The striking design includes shiny metallic buttons atop a dark black front panel. 

What you’ll love: The GPO Brooklyn comes with a CD player, cassette player, FM radio, USB and wireless Bluetooth technology, making it one of the most versatile ’80s’ boomboxes available.

What you should consider: This boombox comes in at 18 pounds, which may make it difficult to carry. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Jordan Beliles writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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