Boom Box Buying Guide

Boom boxes first appeared in the 80s, but their heyday has returned due to tech advancements like docking stations and wireless connectivity. This boom box buying guide brings you up to speed.

Boom Boxes 101

Take your music with you wherever you go with a boom box — a versatile, all-in-one stereo system that combines the power of home speakers with the portability of an MP3 player. A powerful, cordless boom box can add thumping beats or relaxing background music to any party, indoors or out. It can also energize the kids’ soccer practice or a pickup basketball game in the driveway. Just plug in your MP3 player, a CD, or even a cassette on some models, to enjoy your favourite tracks wherever you go. A boom box radio can also be the ideal music machine for a college student in a cramped dorm.

Types of Boom Boxes


CD & Cassette Boom Box

You can extend the life of your CD and cassette tape collection with a portable CD and cassette boom box. Replacing your music with digital music files can be expensive, not to mention time-consuming, so a boom box equipped with CD and/or a cassette player is an ideal alternative for listening to your old favourites. If you have rewritable CDs, look for a
boom box that can play CD-R/RW formatted discs. If you have a large number of CDs, or prefer the convenience of loading more than one at a time, choose a boom box with a multi-CD changer.

Boom Box with Docking Station

Turn your MP3 player or smartphone into a jukebox with a docking station. Docking stations let your listen to all your favourite songs through your boom box speakers instead of just your headphones. Plus, a docking station will charge your device while it’s playing, so you can listen for longer periods. While many docking stations are geared towards iPods and iPhones, more are becoming available for other versions of MP3 players and smartphones. Always ensure your docking station supports your device’s connection.

Wireless Boom Box

While all boom boxes are wireless when it comes to power, some are more wireless than others. A truly wireless boom box connects to your other devices using either Bluetooth or a Wi-Fi network. Now any music that’s on your smartphone, computer, tablet or other device can benefit from the extra volume and quality of your boom box speakers. Plus, anyone on your Wi-Fi network or possessing a Bluetooth-compatible device can use the boom box, so you can listen to new music without disconnecting and reconnecting devices.

Satellite Radio Boom Box

Take advantage of your satellite radio subscription with a satellite radio boom box. These come with a specially designed docking station for your satellite radio of choice, keeping you connected to all your favourite stations and radio personalities no matter where you go. When buying a satellite radio boom box, always make sure your boom box supports your satellite radio hardware.

Kids’ Boom Box

Your kids can sing and dance along to their favourite songs with a boom box made especially for them. Kids’ boom boxes come in fun colours and often feature their favourite characters from movies and television. Selecting the right kids’ boom box depends on your child’s age and the type of music media you’ll play, which may include a mixture of older cassette tapes, CDs and MP3 connectivity if they have digital files. 

Boom Box Buying Tips:

• Look for sturdy cabinet construction to withstand bumps and outdoor use
• Make sure the docking station is compatible with your mobile device
• Detachable speakers can provide better sound separation
• Look for at least 5-10 watts per channel to ensure adequate speaker volume
• Bluetooth capability increases connectivity and creates more music options
• Antenna strength is important if you’re listening to radio

Boom Box Features

Speakers +

Boom box speakers are designed to be small and compact without sacrificing too much in sound quality or output. Look for speakers that give you a broad range in tone and enough wattage for different listening situations. Amplifier power is measured in watts per channel; 5-10 watts is about average for most boom boxes. Some models have three-way speakers with individual parts to play the high-end, mid-range, and low-end of your music, so no note is left unheard. If you love a heavy beat or thumping rock song, look for a model with a separate bass setting.

Connectivity +

Today’s boom boxes can let you connect to your other devices, like smartphones and tablets, to get the most out of your portable stereo. With Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capability, anyone and everyone can play their music through your boom box, making it a perfect social device for sharing your friends’ favourite tracks.

Inputs +

Auxiliary inputs let you physically connect your boom box to other devices for even more usability. You and your friends can plug-and-play, sharing favourite songs from smartphones or MP3 players, or you can turn it into a karaoke machine with a microphone jack. Inputs are great for hooking up different devices, but look for a boom box with a docking station if you want to charge your smartphone or MP3 player while it plays.

Outputs +

Get extra power or extra personal with outputs. Boom boxes often come with headphone jacks and other outputs, letting you connect to other devices to enhance your boom box’s sound. A headphone jack is a considerate feature in busy households so you can listen privately without disturbing others. Outputs for additional speakers can give your system an extra boost if you’re in a large room or in the open air.

Portable Speakers +

Enhance your boom box’s sound with an extra set of portable speakers connected wirelessly via Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi network, or via a physical cord. Always make sure portable speakers are compatible with your boom box and any other music playback devices like your MP3 player or smartphone.

AM/FM Tuner +

An AM/FM tuner lets you tune in to your favourite AM and FM radio stations. Tuners come in two styles: digital and manual. Manual tuners have a dial or knob that enables you to search for a signal and tune it in. Digital tuners usually have two buttons to navigate radio transmissions and often give you the option of presetting your favourite stations for easy, one-touch tuning.

Presets +

Many boom boxes with a digital radio tuner come with presets to save you from manually tuning between stations. If you’re a station hopper, constantly switching in search of that perfect song, look for a boom box with many preset options. And if you’re a stickler for sound quality, look for a boom box with sound preferences so you can get your music sounding just right.

Programmable Tracks +

Make your own custom playlist with track programming, which puts you in control of which tracks play from your CDs. Programmable tracking lets you pick and choose from your favourite CDs and make one playlist of perfect party hits. Many boom boxes will let you pre-program between 20 and 33 tracks so every event has the perfect soundtrack.

Batteries +

Choosing the right type of batteries comes down to convenience or longevity. For convenience, look for a boom box with its own built-in, rechargeable battery so you can just plug-in and recharge as necessary. If you expect to be away from a power source, consider a boom box that takes standard batteries so you can just swap out the dead batteries for new ones and keep listening.

CD Changers +

If you prefer to listen to CDs, a boom box with a CD changer can let you load multiple disks at a time. With the click of a button, you can switch between all the CDs in your boom box, changing your music to suit the mood. For constant variety, many CD changers have a shuffle setting that makes random selections from all the CDs.

Remote Controls +

Control your boom box volume and music from afar with a remote control. Many remotes offer all the same functions as the buttons on the boom box and allow you to control it from a distance. Some boom boxes can be controlled remotely by your smartphone in lieu of a remote control, which is just as convenient and allows you to use your own familiar device.

Skip Protection +

A boom box with skip protection can keep up with your active adventures and never miss a beat. Skip protection anticipates and corrects your CD player when it’s shaking or moving to prevent music from stopping and starting. That way, you can keep listening without interruption.

See all +

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Boom Box Maintenance Tips:

• Always follow the manufacturer’s care and maintenance guidelines
• Avoid using your boom box near water or exposing to wet weather
• Keep your boom box away from magnets, which can harm speakers
• Use a cotton swab moistened with ethanol to clean your CD player’s lens
• Clean the exterior of your boom box with a damp cloth
• Avoid playing your boom box at maximum volume which may damage speakers
• Use a can of pressurized air to dust your speakers if you can’t remove the protective grille
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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