Getting a wireless speaker to sound like high-fidelity audio gear is not an easy feat, especially if you’re not in the mood to drop hundreds of dollars on premium brands. Is there a middle ground for the world of Bluetooth speakers? Fortunately, there is, and there are options for every kind of listener.
Theis the best value for most budgets, but if you’re looking for even cheaper options, or perhaps you need a speaker built to handle rougher situations, we’ve assembled a list of great alternatives, each with its own unique strengths.
The best Bluetooth speakers under $100 at a glance:
Why you should buy this: The Soundcore Select Pro is ready for anything, with powerful sound to match your adventures.
Who’s it for: Outdoor enthusiasts who don’t want to compromise on audio performance.
Why we picked the Anker Soundcore Select Pro:
Anker has mastered the portable Bluetooth speaker formula by now, and this model in particular goes big when it comes to sound. Everything from the bass boost button to Bluetooth 5.0 support is designed to provide a superior audio experience in an outdoor setting, and those large drivers offer plenty of clarity whether you’re hiking a mountain or chilling by the pool.
But sound is only the start of what the Soundcore Select Pro can do. This speaker has IPX7 waterproof protection and floats, so you don’t need to worry about spills or drops in the water. It also includes LED lighting that can sync to the beat as it gets darker for a little added fun (the app can control sound profiles and the LED lighting to your preference).
The battery is rated for up to 16 hours of playback time, but it also can act as a charger for your phone or other mobile devices (charging occurs via USB-C). And while the design may not be the most compact, we do appreciate the useful carrying handle, something many Bluetooth speakers skip out on to their loss.
If you’re looking for the best combination of sound and portability in one affordable speaker, we recommendmodel without reservation. However, you do have to pay the full $100 to take advantage of this speaker — we’ve included some more affordable picks below if you prefer.
Why should you buy this: The JBL Flip 5 offers powerful sound and an ultra-rugged design at a great price.
Who’s it for: Those who want a supremely portable and affordable wireless Bluetooth speaker that doesn’t compromise on features.
Why we picked the JBL Flip 5:
As the name suggests, the JBL Flip 5 is the fifth in JBL’s line of portable and rugged wireless Flip speakers. We’ve always enjoyed the way JBL coaxes balanced, loud sound out of small speakers, and the Flip 5 continues that tradition. In fact, it’s the best-sounding Flip yet. This portable Bluetooth speaker is less notable for any one of its features, getting our nod instead because of the way it integrates so many features while remaining affordable.
Those features include a solid 10 to 12 hours of battery life, depending on how loud you play it. If you do explore the upper reaches of the Flip 5’s volume, you’ll be surprised by just how loud it gets. While sound is definitely solid indoors, outdoors is where this speaker really shines. Place it in the middle of the action and it will power your party with no trouble at all.
The Flip 5 has excellent wireless range, and thanks to its PlayBoost feature, you can connect it with multiple other compatible JBL speakers. Its IPX7 rating means it’s fully dunkable, making it the ideal music companion for the shower or near a bathtub — it will even survive an accidental immersion or two if you accidentally drop it in a pool. But beware: Unlike our pick for the poolside, the UE Wonderboom, the JBL Flip 5 doesn’t float, so you may need to go for a swim if the Flip 5 heads overboard.
The only real drawbacks to theis its lack of speakerphone compatibility and a 3.5 mm input. Still, if all you need is a good-sounding outdoor Bluetooth speaker, this is a great choice.
Why should you buy this: Small size, big sound, flotation, and waterproofing all make the UE Wonderboom 2 the no-brainer pool-party accessory.
Who’s it for: Anyone who wants an affordable, portable wireless speaker that is totally pool-proof.
Why we picked the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2:
Now that the Wonderboom 2 has become even more affordable than the original model, we won’t hesitate to recommend this pod-like speaker as an excellent companion for the poolside, beach, lake, or anywhere in between.
The UE Wonderboom 2 looks kind of like a patio lantern crossed with a pool toy, and that sums up its strengths perfectly. It’s the go-to wireless speaker if you’re entertaining a crowd (or just yourself) near the water. The sound quality certainly isn’t audiophile caliber, but it doesn’t have to be. Outdoors, where the Wonderboom belongs, you need volume and decent bass response, and it handily delivers both despite of its pint-sized stature.
Battery life is fairly standard for this category at about 10 to 13 hours, and thewireless range is very good — you’ll probably get up to 100 feet of coverage when outside barring any barriers. But the key to the Wonderboom 2 is its impressive ability to deal with whatever you throw at it (and wherever you throw it at). The compact speaker is drop-proof, dust resistant, waterproof, and yes, it floats, so even if it falls in the water you can still easily rescue it!
Why should you buy this: Tiny yet mighty, the Oontz Angle 3 delivers wireless stereo sound at a crazy-low price.
Who’s it for: Those who need a wireless speaker for chump change.
Why we picked the Oontz Angle 3:
Let’s not beat around the bush: We picked the Oontz Angle 3 because you simply won’t find a cheaper Bluetooth speaker that isn’t a piece of junk. The fact that it’s actually got decent sound quality considering its price and size is amazing. In the Angle 3, you’ll find many of the features from our other picks, like 12- to 15-hour battery life, excellent wireless range, and speakerphone compatibility — you’ll just pay a lot less for them. It even has IPX5 water-resistance, which won’t be ideal around bodies of water like pools or beaches, but protects against splashes — and you can even rinse it off if you’re gentle with the water pressure.
With rubberized end caps, thecan stand up to some abuse, too, though again, ruggedness is not its primary mission. What you do get is clear and surprisingly loud audio quality from its modest footprint, which is ideal for situations where your phone or tablet’s internal speaker just isn’t up to the task of sharing music or YouTube videos. Though not a champ in the bass department, if you stand the Angle 3 on its end, you’ll give the passive bass radiator on the bottom some girth to work with, and it will sound richer and fuller.
Why should you buy this: It’s got the best sound quality you will find in a reasonably priced Bluetooth speaker.
Who’s it for: Those who need a cheap wireless speaker but value great sound above all else.
Why we picked the Amazon Echo (4th gen):
For the fourth generation of the Echo speaker, Amazon has updated to a spherical design that further emphasizes its excellent sound, ideal for filling a room with music for a party or linking to an entertainment system. IT also comes with a new LED ring at the bottom that acknowledges listening mode or voice commands for useful extra feedback.
Internally, the speaker’s excellent audio range is powered by a 3-inch woofer and dual, front-firing 0.8-inch tweeters, which combine to beautiful effect. The speaker also supports Dolby audio for compatible audio files, and it has sensors to detect the size and shape of the current room to automatically adjust audio levels for maximum effect no matter where you put the speaker.
But we also have to mention Apple Music to Spotify, as your primary audio source, so all you have to do is say something like, “Alexa, play my Alternative playlist,” and Alexa will know exactly where to grab the music from.smart features: Not only can Alexa answer your questions and help control a wide variety of smart devices, she’s also pretty great at managing your music. You can set a variety of music services, from
Research and buying tips
Absolutely. Some Bluetooth speakers are huge, powerful devices that can rock an entire house if you let them! How powerful it is will depend on its size and level of amplification. Given that any speaker that costs less than $100 isn’t likely to pack a lot of power, you may want to check our list of the best Bluetooth speakers or best wireless speakers for products that can really get the party started.
Yes. All of these Bluetooth speakers have built-in batteries and, of course, a Bluetooth wireless connection, which is the minimum you need for outdoor use. But be aware that there are other considerations: How loud does it get? A small Bluetooth speaker may not pack enough power to be heard over other sounds. Is it waterproof enough? Some of the speakers on our list are splash-proof, but if you’re going to spend real outdoor time with a wireless speaker, we strongly recommend that it be fully waterproof (IPX7 or better).
There are some Bluetooth speakers that do work directly with voice-based assistants. The Riva Concert and JBL Link 20 are both examples of Bluetooth speakers that are voice-assistant compatible. But there’s a catch: Smart assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant normally only work over Wi-Fi, which means that if you’re using your speaker somewhere where there’s no Wi-Fi, you won’t be able to use these assistants over just a Bluetooth connection.
As a rule, Bluetooth speakers do not include a traditional AM or FM radio. If this feature is important to you, there are an increasing number of bookshelf stereos and boom-boxes that have radios and Bluetooth too, but they won’t be as small and as portable as a regular Bluetooth speaker.
Yes, though it’s a rare combo. In such a case, you’re usually talking about a full boombox that has a Bluetooth connection.
Yes, but depending on your TV, you may need to buy an additional Bluetooth transmitter. Most TV soundbars now come with Bluetooth built-in, but this does not mean they connect to your TV over Bluetooth. Typically, these products connect over a wired connection to get audio from your TV, and the Bluetooth connection is there to let you stream music to the soundbar from your phone or tablet.
Easily. Today’s Bluetooth speakers aren’t actually that expensive: Manufacturers try to price them right around the $100 mark when possible to help appeal to a wide range of consumers. It’s only when you get to full soundbars or high-end options like the Echo Studio that prices start rising significantly above this level.
They will never match the rumbling base of a good subwoofer on a multispeaker setup, but they can do quite well. Models like the Echo 4 with its dedicated 3-inch woofer or the 24-watt woofer in our top Doss pick can reach healthy bass levels.
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