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Finding the best speakers for your home or outdoors is equally challenging for casual listeners and honed audiophiles. If you’re the first, there’s much to learn about audio, and you’d think the second has it easier. However, the range of brands to pick from only gets wider the deeper you dig into the passion for HIFi audio.
Speakers, especially portable ones, are a special case in the gear world. There is more tone than the audio and looks. And as a proper audio freak with a career in music, I have been lucky to be surrounded by the best equipment since the early days of Bluetooth; thus, I picked to walk you through the best Harman Kardon portable and home speakers, a brand you can safely rely to deliver quality audio in style.
Don’t go on ordering just yet; as you might discover going from my top choices, the most expensive you can afford might not be the best for you overall.
- Why Harman Kardon Speakers?
- Best Harman Cardon Speakers at a Glimpse
- How To Pick The Right Speaker
- Harman Kardon Luna - Jack Of All Trade Portable Speaker
- Harman Kardon Esquire Mini 2 - Best Outdoor Speaker
- Go + Play - Best Sounding Portable Speaker.
- Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 - Stylish and Quality Choice
- Harman Kardon Citation MultiBeam™ 700 - Best Surround Sound
- Harman Kardon Citation Tower - Ultimate Home Speakers
- Harman Kardon Alternatives
- Elegance in Power
Why Harman Kardon Speakers?
I have always considered Harman Kardon the classier version of JBL, the company everyone immediately recognizes for its outdoor speaker. In fact, Harman, JBL, and a few other high-quality audio brands are all under the Harman International group.
The three main traits that make the brand and its speaker a fine choice are
- A fine blend of high-quality audio with modern design & functionalities
- There is a wide range of speakers to choose from for every environment.
- Price-wise, the speaker sits in the high-mid range, making most models premium quality yet not overly expensive.
Best Harman Cardon Speakers at a Glimpse
|Best For||Product||Key Features|
|Best Sounding Portable JBL Speaker||
|Best Size/Sound Ratio||
|Best Alwasy With You Speaker||
|Most Stylish Home Speaker||
|Best Home Surround Sound||
|Ultimate Home Speaker||
How To Pick The Right Speaker
In music production, it’s all about using your ears. It doesn’t matter how the faders look; it’s important how the mix sounds – for speakers, the sound is also crucial, but picking one depends on how, where, and what you listen to.
There’s no set formula for choosing the best speaker, and it depends on what you value the most, yet this way of prioritizing has proven effective for me over the years.
- For home speakers, in order of importance, look for sound quality, connectivity and functionality, design, and durability.
- For portable speakers, in order of importance, look for sound quality, portability, durability, connectivity, and functionality.
Harman Kardon Luna – Jack Of All Trade Portable Speaker
The Luna is the middle-of-the-line Harman Bluetooth speaker that best represents the brand – it’s slick, great sounding, resistant to the elements, and just at the size limit where loud meets comfort.
It’s not a very bass-heavy unit. However, it has a defined mid-range, compensating for the lack of subs with the tight sound at average to high volumes. The kick drum might not shake the walls, but It will make you and your friends move indoors and outdoors.
What’s interesting about this and most Harman speakers is how elusive the looks are in terms of durability – it’s a refined unit, but still, a certified IP67 that could float on a river and still be fine.
As with all speakers of this size, the main con is that you need some volume to get feel the bass. With the Luna, that will come with a touch of compression that slightly squashes a song, but luckily, the distortion is almost inaudible.
Harman Kardon Luna Pros
- Stylish design
- Very resistant
- Balanced warm audio with fine detailing on the high-end
- Long battery life
- Easy to carry around
Harman Kardon Luna Cons
- Slightly muffled audio at very loud volumes
- Lack of power in the subs at low volume
Harman Kardon Esquire Mini 2 – Best Outdoor Speaker
A small speaker you can easily carry is necessary for any frequent or casual traveler. It’s perfect for remote workers like me who can at least bring the music wherever I choose to write for the day.
I like the comfort of forgetting the Esquire Mini In my backpack but always finding it there when I need some music or join a Zoom meeting without needing to put on my headphones.
Sound-wise, it resembles the Luna, with less bass but still a decent frequency separation. No matter the price, the compromise between the size and power is unavoidable for a handheld speaker.
It could be a great adventure speaker as it can take a beating and a long day inside a wet backpack without needing a charge – yet it’s pricey if the looks and built-in microphone don’t interest you.
Ultra-slim and portable, Harman Kardon Esquire Mini 2 is the perfect travelling companion and will fit into your briefcase or purse with ease. Even with a slim design, there's no compromise on sound. The powerful super thin speaker drivers and specially tuned acoustics deliver high-fidelity sound.
Harman Kardon Esquire Mini 2 Pros
- Easy to carry
- Stylish design
- Well-balanced sound quality
- Long battery life for its size
- High-quality noise-canceling microphone
Harman Kardon Esquire Mini 2 Cons
- Not very loud
- DIstorts at loud volumes
- Not a very powerful low-end
Go + Play – Best Sounding Portable Speaker.
The sound is impressive enough to set the groove for small social events. It also satisfies picky audiophiles who will enjoy excellent sound separation and very little distortion, whether it is smooth jazz or a wall of distorted guitars.
Where Harman doesn’t deliver is the battery life. Eight hours sounds like a lot, yet in reality, it’s only ⅓ of that if you’re throwing a party and have to push it to its limits.
As I like to put it, it’s an urban traveler with an incredible touch of style, but not the most reliable weekend in the countryside companion.
Go + Play Pros
- Well-defined low-end
- Extremely well-defined sound separation
- Lowd and powerful
- Barely audible distortions at high volumes
- Stylish design and strong build
- High-quality noise-canceling microphone technology
Go + Play Cons
- The battery doesnt last long at high volumes
Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 – Stylish and Quality Choice
From the first look, you can tell only Harman would think of this futuristic planetary design while boosting it as the “best sounding and most eco-friendly yet.”
This highly portable home speaker is packed with features to make your experience listening to music as comfortable as possible. Besides the eye-catching premium looks, the most interesting feature is the ability to self-tune to any room and keep the sound balanced.
Ask any audio tech, and they’ll say the room is half the sound – Harman thought well, and bass-heavy music won’t sound boomy in your small bedroom, but it will sound wide and big in the large living room without you touching any setting.
When I got mine, only the looks were enough; the audio though is an equal match.
Create your own vibe with the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8. Both stylish and sustainable, it's crafted from recycled materials, combining eco-friendly choices and beautiful design.
Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 Pros
- Modern design
- Well-balanced sound
- Easy to move
- Environmental friendly
Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 Cons
- Not water resistant
- No EQ
Harman Kardon Citation MultiBeam™ 700 – Best Surround Sound
Home speakers are always an investment, yet if you want to get away with the best award-winning quality without busking the bank, the MultiBeam is at the top of my list.
It’s stylish, wide but elegant, fitted with modern controls, self-tuning technology, and all the home control features high-end speakers have. It’s not affordable, yet arguably less costly than any speaker that offers as much.
This soundbar is my favorite from the list of home speakers for one simple reason: you can switch the 5.1 surround system on and off to either opt for a cinematic experience or play music.
While it can do both at a high level, I find it loses some dynamic range and sounds compressed when playing music at loud volumes, yet it won’t hinder your experience if you don’t listen to loud music.
Elegant, dynamic and powerful. The Harman Kardon Citation MultiBeam™ 700 delivers full surround sound to your TV without the need for extra speakers and wires. As a standalone soundbar, it projects rich audio to every corner of the room.
Harman Kardon Citation MultiBeam™ 700 Pros
- Great Value
- Elegant design
- Excellent surround sound with only one speaker
- Continuously updated software
Harman Kardon Citation MultiBeam™ 700 Cons
- Looses dynamic range when the surround is off
- Basic 2-band EQ
Harman Kardon Citation Tower – Ultimate Home Speakers
If you want to go big, there’s not much beyond the Citation Towers in price and quality. The Ultimate Home Speaker Duo has everything you need to enjoy cinema and crisp music with studio-quality sound separations while boosting every modern feature of Google Home & Chromecast.
Out of all the home speakers, the ‘Two Towers’ are the only ones that are able to handle a relatively big social event with guests filling up your home. Their size can be challenging, but it’s a compromise for getting the perks of high-quality audio.
Only the price and size can get in the way of these towers; the rest is just on the spot.
Harman Kardon Citation Tower Pros
- Premium sound quality
- Powerful with deep low-end
- Classy design
- Continuously updated software
Harman Kardon Citation Tower Cons
- Take up a lot of space.
- They need to be bought in pairs
Harman Kardon Alternatives
The BoomBox 3 is JBL’s take on making the ultimate portable Bluetooth speaker, which surpasses the Harman Kardon GO + in sound quality, power, volume, and battery life. You can think of the BoomBox as the heavyweight, rougher version of the urban GO +.
Bose is the most similar brand to Harman Kardon in style and sound, blending high-quality audio with elegance. The SoundLink Flex is similar to the Lunar, with a similar audio quality but rougher on the edges with its outdoors-oriented design.
This affordable home audio alternative does far more than its price first suggests. It’s not as compact or modern as the Harman MultiBeam, needing an extra subwoofer unit to deliver the bass, but I find it does better at delivering a pristine music listening experience while sacrificing some of the surround quality of the MultiBeam.
Elegance in Power
Harman Kardon has them all, from pocket to table-sized speakers, but how big do you have to go to get the best experience?
My general rule of thumb is to go for as big as possible at the limit of portability and price for a simple reason: you can’t have high-quality audio at low volumes unless the speaker is powerful enough.
More power means the ability to feel the low-end and has crips highs without pushing the speaker to its limits and most probably distorting and running out of battery quicker – so keep in mind there’s elegance in power.
Question: What’s The Difference Between JBL and Harman Kardon Speakers?
Answer: JBL speakers are mainly focused on the experience of listening to music outdoors and feature a more urban design, more low-end, and battery life than Harman Kardon speakers, which often have better-balanced audio and a classier look.
Question: Are Harmon Kardon Speakers Expensive?
Answer: Harman Kardon speakers are in the upper mid to high speaker price range due to their high-quality audio and design blend.
Question: Who Owns Harman Kardon Speakers?
Answer: The Harman International Industries, the American company that owns Harman, JBL, AKG, and other audio brands, is a Subsidiary of Samsung.