The best budget Bluetooth speakers of 2022

The best budget Bluetooth speakers of 2022

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Updated Nov 18, 2022 8: 47 PM

There is no shortage of Bluetooth speakers under $100, even $50, which can make choosing the right one for your listening needs particularly difficult. Although you might think that a cheaper option won’t have the best audio quality or last as long, there are many options that will deliver what you need for wire-free listening. Prioritize your top priorities and narrow down your search. Are you looking for something waterproof? You will need a speaker that can be clipped onto a backpack. Maybe you need more bass to get the party started? It’s okay to concentrate on a few key features when it comes to Bluetooth speakers for budget. This will ensure you get the most value for your money. These speakers will suit your needs and budget.

How we chose the best budget Bluetooth speakers

Many speakers in this list have been personally tried and tested by me or my team. This is why we can confidently recommend them. We tested some of our favorites and compared them with new units from other well-respected brands, with a focus on sound quality. Although smaller portable speakers may not be as accurate as multi-channel stereo models or premium stereo models, they can still deliver the same quality audio. We made sure to choose products that preserved the integrity of our favourite albums. To further pare down the list, we only looked at speakers that currently retail for under $115, primarily focusing on those around $50, while paying particular attention to durability, portability, and battery life. We also considered special features such as EQ customization and connectivity to bring you some of the best Bluetooth speakers at an affordable price.

The best budget Bluetooth speakers: Reviews & Recommendations

Best overall: Anker Soundcore 3

Why it made the cut: The Soundcore 3 is a well-rounded, budget-friendly Bluetooth speaker with an impressive 24 hours of battery life and the option to boost the bass without distortion.

Specs

  • Battery Life: 24 hours
  • Bluetooth Range: Up to 66 feet
  • IP Rating: IPX7
  • Size: 6.9 x 2.4 x 2.2 inches

Pros:

  • Excellent Battery Life
  • Sound Quality
  • Bass Up technology
  • Customizable EQ

Cons:

  • Simplistic design
  • Voice assistant capability is lacking

The Soundcore 3 Bluetooth speaker is portable and lightweight. It’s also very affordable, making it one of the most affordable Bluetooth speakers. Available in four colors, this powerful unit utilizes 16 watts of power to push dual 1.5-inch drivers with titanium diaphragms. Dual passive radiators work in conjunction with BassUp technology to analyze and boost the low-end of your favorite bass-driven songs. You can also choose from three preset EQs or create your own using Soundcore. The treble on the Soundcore 3 stretches all the way up to 40kHz. Bluetooth 5.0 offers a consistently stable connection and PartyCast compatibility means you can link up to 100 Soundcore speakers for a truly impressive array of sound. To get a full battery faster, this speaker charges via USB-C, and the 24-hour battery life beats more expensive models. While $55 isn’t the steepest cost if you needed a replacement, an IPX7 rating means you won’t have to worry about water damage if you get caught in the rain or drop it in the pool. And if you’re definitely planning to fill a patio with friends, there’s also the Anker Soundcore Flare Mini, an outdoor-friendly speaker that offers 360-degree sound, a pulsing LED halo, and IPX7–all for less than $50. Snag the Soundcore 3 on the Soundcore website.

Best for bass: Sony SRS-XB13

Why it made the cut: The SRS-XB13 is a compact, portable waterproof speaker that automatically boosts the bass for party-worthy sound wherever you are.

Specs

  • Battery Life: 16 hours
  • Bluetooth Range: Up to 32 feet
  • IP Rating: IP67
  • Size: 3. 43 x 3. 43 x 4. 41 inches

Pros:

  • Removable strap
  • UV coating
  • 5 cool colorways
  • Extra Bass

Cons:

  • Extra bass isn’t adjustable

If you’re looking for a compact speaker weighing less than 1 pound and costing less than $50, but don’t want to sacrifice bass-booming sound, then the SRS-XB13 is the best bass Bluetooth speaker for you. With a 20Hz – 20kHz frequency response and a dedicated passive radiator to reinforce low-end, your music won’t be found lacking when it comes to heart-thumping beats. An IP67 rating means it’s protected from water and debris, so you can toss it into your beach bag without worrying about sand getting into the speaker grill. Each unit is available in five modern colors and comes with a matching multi-way strap. This allows you to carry the speaker around in your backpack or hang it up at a pool party. With an extra XB13 speaker, you can enable stereo mode and a USB-C port means you can charge quickly to keep the party going all night long.

Best waterproof: UE Wonderboom 2

Why it made the cut: The Wonderboom 2 is one of the best budget Bluetooth speakers around even when compared to more expensive options.

Specs

  • Battery Life: 13 hours
  • Bluetooth Range: Up to 100 feet
  • IP Rating: IP67
  • Size: 3. 68 x 3. 68 x 4. 02 inches

Pros:

  • Waterproof
  • Sound Quality
  • Portability

Cons:

  • No auxiliary connection
  • No onboard skip back

The Wonderboom 2 is still one of our favourite speakers. It’s a great way for you to take your sound wherever you go. It can bob by you as you lounge in the pool, or you can attach it to your backpack for a weekend trip. Or you can just enjoy the sound while you soak in the tub. The Wonderboom 2 is both waterproof and particle-proof, so there’s no need to worry about dirt, sand, or dust getting in the way. On the audio front, two 40mm active drivers and two passive radiators deliver a frequency range of 75Hz – 20kHz. The 360-degree sound is equally robust, hitting up to 87 dB in volume with “Outdoor Boost” mode. It is lightweight at less than 1 pound, and has a looped handle that you can attach to your backpack for any adventure. With a battery life of up to 13 hours, you’ll get the most out of your day and then some, especially if you manage to snag two, allowing you to pair and play in true stereo sound. That’s a lot of speakers for under $100. The Wonderboom 2 is the best choice for shower speakers. Anyone wanting to save cash while they splish-splash, though, can also consider the INSMY C12, which will let you hear your jams during a tranquil soak or over the roar of the jacuzzi, and all for under $35.

Best for travel: JBL Clip 3

Why it made the cut: The JBL Clip 3 is a stalwart when it comes to travel speakers; the included carabiner easily clips onto any backpack, belt loop, and more–plus you won’t sacrifice when it comes to volume.

Specs

  • Battery Life: 10 hours
  • Bluetooth Range: Approx 35 feet
  • IP Rating: IPX7
  • Size: 4. 33 x 2.7 x 4. 30 inches

Pros:

  • Waterproof
  • Carabiner clip
  • Available in over 10 colors

Cons:

  • Lacking in the low-end

The Clip 3 are the best budget Bluetooth speakers for those who want to spend less than $50 and stay on the go. It’s lightweight and portable, weighing in at less than half a pound. While it utilizes a somewhat outdated Bluetooth 4.1, the noise and echo-canceling speakerphone and built-in microphone will keep you connected when you’re on the move, and the connectivity range is solid at roughly 10 meters (or 35 feet). With a 120Hz – 20kHz response range, the bass is less powerful than it would be with a larger speaker, but the mids and highs come through loud and clear. You can adjust the volume, play, pause, skip and adjust the volume using the onboard controls. You can also pick up or end calls with the phone call pickup and end buttons. The Clip 3 is available in 12 colors and you can even design your own on the JBL website, making this tiny but mighty speaker the perfect gift for outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re able to extend your budget to around $80, JBL released the Clip 4 just over one year ago–it has improved connectivity with Bluetooth 5.1, USB-C charging, and an IP67 rating.

Best budget: Oontz Angle 3

Why it made the cut: With an impressive connectivity range, solid battery life, and thousands of positive user reviews, the Oontz Angle 3 is one of the best budget Bluetooth speakers for those looking to spend less than $35.

Specs

  • Battery Life: 14 hours
  • Bluetooth Range: Approx. 100 feet
  • IP Rating: IPX5
  • Size: 5.3 x 2.8 x 2.6 inches

Pros:

  • Extended Connectivity Range
  • Price
  • Stereo Drivers

Cons:

  • Not fully environment proof
  • Limited onboard controls
  • Sound quality is just okay

While the Angle 3 doesn’t have many bells or whistles, it has everything you need to bring your favorite tunes along with you wherever you go. It’s got 10 watts that power acoustic stereo drivers, as well as a passive radiator–all wrapped up in 10 different colorways. Equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, this wedge-like speaker delivers a strong connection across 100 feet and is compatible with most current devices. This model is IPX5 certified, so you won’t want it to be thrown into the pool. However, you don’t have to worry about any rain or splashes. Although the volume is impressive, it doesn’t offer much in terms of stereo sound, booming bass, or clarity across the mids and highs. While it will do the job for light listening on the move, it won’t be able to compete with more expensive models. The Angle 3 is a good choice if you need something that can be muted.

Best party speaker: Tribit XSound Mega

Why it made the cut: Boosted bass, additional EQ presents, and a veritable light show deliver a high-end listening experience at a reasonable price.

Specs

  • Battery Life: 20 hours
  • Bluetooth Range: Up to 98 feet
  • IP Rating: IPX7
  • Size: 10. 66 x 3. 42 x 3. 14 inches

Pros:

  • 3 listening modes
  • Dual charging/powerbank ports
  • Music-activated lighting
  • Carrying strap

Cons:

  • Some distortion at high volumes
  • Pricier

If you’re having a gathering with more people you’re going to want more sound, and that may mean spending a little more, so here’s the best Bluetooth party speaker if your budget can stretch slightly above $100. The Tribit XSound Mega, released in early January, follows the waterproof, outdoor-friendly XSound Surf and slightly more powerful, though still ultraportable XSound Go models with a similar form factor but significant upgrades when it comes to sound quality and visual appeal.

The Mega feels more sleek than its contemporaries. It has a texturized rubber surface for easy grip, a black speaker grill and discrete brand label. These seven buttons are intuitive and control power, Bluetooth pairings, play/pause volume down, volume up light adjustment, EQ adjustment, play/pause and Bluetooth pairing. Three indicators are located directly beneath the EQ Mode button. These indicators will indicate which mode has been triggered. Options include XBass and Music. At the back of the speaker is a rubber panel housing USB-A and USB-C ports for charging/using the 8000mAh battery as a powerbank to top off other devices, plus an AUX input. The included carrying strap, which is black and grey, has silver hardware and two small carabiners that easily clip onto the embedded handles. This helps to carry the speaker’s weight of 2.2 pounds. The frame of LEDs around the front face of your speaker is the visual highlight. It’s a rainbow gradient of light that slowly cycles through different colors as you pair your device.

Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.0 pairing is easy and follows the standard protocol for most speakers. NFC (Near Field Communication) is also available on the Mega. This technology allows you to tap your smartphone at a point of purchase to use ApplePay and Android Pay. NFC eliminates the need for you to press buttons or scroll through settings. Instead, you can simply tap your phone and speaker together to establish a secure connection. Unfortunately, Apple hasn’t equipped any of their phones with controllable NFC modes, so you can only take advantage of this function if you have an Android or another device running Windows 10 or higher. The final pairing option you can consider is Broadcast Mode, which will allow you to link more than 100 XSound Megas together for a boost in volume or stereo playback.

When it comes to sound quality, this Tribit speaker has the thump if not exactly the clarity and soundstage of comparable models, like the JBL Charge 5, JBL Flip 5, or Treblab HD77. An impressive 30 watts powers a driver with a pure titanium diaphragm, which combines with two passive radiators to reproduce low frequencies to 45Hz and high frequencies up to 14kHz. Audiobook mode isolates Jim Dale’s dulcet tones, which you may recognize as the reader of the Harry Potter series. However, the driver with a pure titanium diaphragm and two passive radiators can reproduce low frequencies up to 55Hz and high frequencies up to Music mode activates Mark Lanegan and Isobel Campbell’s smooth, clear vocals and staccato notes on “Come Undone”. Subtrakt’s “Wildfire”, with its low-end, is bold and powerful when XBass is engaged. It delivers a party-appropriate level “thump” that keeps the vocals from being overpowered. The volume can reach over 100 dB but some distortion does occur when pushed to its max, though that is to be expected from a speaker of this size.

The light display is one of our favorites features. It flashes in sync with the beat of whatever music you are listening to. There are many options available: a continuous circle of rainbow lacing around the speaker grill; colors that pulse rhythmically in a symmetrical top/bottom pair or left/right; or a circuit that moves the track changing color and speeding up or slowing down to match the beat. You can also forgo the light display altogether, but a 20-hour battery life keeps all that flair from fading fast.

While this model is more expensive than other budget-friendly options, you will get the best audio quality and special features.

Things to consider before buying the best budget Bluetooth speakers

To find the best Bluetooth speaker for your budget, consider what features will play a major role in your final decision. Do you prioritize battery life? Volume? Portability? Portability

What should a budget Bluetooth speaker sound like?

Sound quality is typically a top priority, no matter what kind of speaker you’re looking at. Although a 6-inch speaker cannot be expected to have the same sound quality as a set premium monitors, it is possible to make smart choices if you place sound above all else.

First, you will have to sacrifice some portability if you want better sound. Because larger speakers are more capable of maintaining consistent, clear audio, even when you crank the volume up, it is a compromise. A common criticism of compact speakers is that they can get loud but the quality of the sound suffers. A larger speaker can also accommodate a better-designed subwoofer, which provides a precise low end that doesn’t overwhelm the mids or highs, making it a more satisfying mix.

If you want to hear booming bass but are limited in space, there are many smaller units that have “bass boosting” technology. This uses digital signal processing to place emphasis on low-end frequencies. It is quiet and doesn’t rattle. This can be a great option for parties and at-home workout playlists. However, speakers that use these boosts to compensate for a lack in clarity at other frequencies should be avoided.

To find out more about the audio quality of your new speaker, take a look at its frequency response. This range is measured in hertz or kilohertz and tells you the frequency range (lows, middles, and highs), the speaker can support. More often than not, you’ll see a response range from 20Hz – 20kHz, which are the limits of human hearing for both highs and lows. Although this is a great range, it doesn’t mean that the model won’t have dips or peaks at certain frequencies. A frequency response graph of the product can be used to get a better understanding of its ability to accurately reproduce audio. This graph is often created using audio testing by a third-party.

For more information on volume, refer to the specifications of the speaker to determine the maximum decibel level. dB is the unit used to indicate decibel levels. If you are primarily playing music inside, you won’t need to go over 100 dB and we don’t even recommend listening at that level, as it’s akin to listening to a jackhammer at close range. On the other hand, if you’re hosting an outdoor party with many people in attendance, you could think about increasing the volume to 115 dB, which is concert-level; music at this volume will cover a large area, but you wouldn’t want anyone standing too close. Generally speaking, we are satisfied with Bluetooth speakers that maintain good sound quality at 85 dB for larger gatherings. As I write, I am happily listening to music at 74 dB and really don’t require any more volume.

What’s the deal with codecs and connectivity?

While options can be limited when it comes to budget speakers, we recommend looking for gear that supports the most recent version of Bluetooth you can find (at the moment that’s anything in the 5.0 range). Bluetooth 5.1 and 5.2 speakers will have a stronger connection which allows for brand-specific features such as allowing multiple people to connect to the speaker and control it at once. Bluetooth 4.0 will still work with most devices but you may lose some range, stability, or special features such as multiuser pairing.

A Bluetooth codec describes how your digital audio data is encoded or decoded from a source device and sent to your speaker or headphones. Your receiver and transmitter must be equipped with the same codecs to get the best out of these high-speed transfers. SBC is the most common codec that is supported by all Bluetooth speakers. Although it is not the best codec, it is a reliable and universal way to transfer data. If you’re an iOS user looking for higher quality, consider a speaker with AAC, or Advanced Audio Coding. For faster data transfer and better quality, choose a speaker that supports aptX/aptX HD/aptX adaptive (or LDAC) for Android smartdevices.

One last thing to remember when thinking about connectivity is Bluetooth range. Bluetooth range is the distance you can move away from your device before it becomes fuzzy and eventually disconnects. If you plan to never leave your speaker’s side, you’ll probably be fine with a connectivity range under 30 feet. However, if you’re listening to music outdoors, need to go inside, and you don’t want to leave your phone unattended, then look for a speaker with a range above 35 feet.

What kind of special features should you look for?

Typically, budget Bluetooth speakers don’t have any high-flying features, but this is not always true. A Bluetooth speaker that offers custom EQ options via app or onboard control is a big win. You will have more control over your sound, and this is especially useful if you listen to different media types.

Another important feature to look out for is an onboard microphone. This will allow you to make phone calls and speak to voice assistants such as Siri or Alexa, without having to pick up your phone.

What is the bare minimum when it comes to battery life?

Battery life is something that budget Bluetooth speakers don’t sacrifice. Even at a lower price, it’s unlikely you’ll come across a model that has less than a 10-hour charge and many can do even better. For infrequent listening at moderate volume, 10 hours of playback could last you up to a week, however, the louder you play your music, the faster battery life will deplete. If a speaker boasts 13 hours of consistent playback, you may get something closer to 7-10 hours if you’re blasting EDM all night long. Party throwers and party-goers should look for a model that boasts a battery that can last over 12 hours.

How do you know if your budget Bluetooth speaker is actually waterproof?

The only way to ensure your speaker is water- or dust-proof is to check its IP rating. If you have ever bought a portable speaker or read one of our reviews, you will know that the IP rating is one of most important specs to look at before purchasing. This is especially important if outdoor use is your priority. You want your speaker to be able to safely take you to and from the beach or to the shower. Make sure to check how well it is protected from the elements.

IP is an acronym for “Ingress Protection” that tells you how well an electronic device is protected against dirt, dust and water. These ratings typically consist of two numbers or one number and an “X”. When it comes to durability, we often cite the Wonderboom 2. The Wonderboom 2 has an IP67 rating. The first number refers to particle protection. The second digit refers to liquid. The “6” indicates it can keep out most dust and dirt particles, while the “7” means it can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes before any damage occurs, making it a great option for poolside tunes. The higher the number, your speakers are protected from water and debris. This is why Wonderbooms are often found poolside or hanging from a showerhead.

You may find an IP that replaces the particle protection with an “X”, such as IPX7. An “X” instead of any number indicates that no data is available for that substance or that the unit is not protected against that substance.

FAQs

Q: What’s the best Bluetooth speaker brand?

The best Bluetooth speaker brand is widely debated and will certainly depend on your unique needs and preferences. Bang & Olufsen are known for turning out high-end products with excellent sound quality. Sonos continues to top the charts when it comes to in-home connectivity. For more rugged, portable models our favorite brands have to be Ultimate Ears and JBL, both of which have products that claimed top spots in this article.

Q: Which speaker is best, JBL or Sony?

When it comes to finding the best budget Bluetooth speakers, JBL is going to give you more variety. They have a diverse range of budget-friendly options in various sizes, with distinctive features, including the JBL Clip 4 and JBL Go 3. These JBL models are small and portable, designed to be carried around with you. Currently, Sony only has one Bluetooth speaker under $90, the SRS-XB13–a model we love, but you might be better off searching elsewhere for inexpensive speakers. If your budget is more, you can return to Sony. Or, you might start looking for other techy goodies, such as a new television or gaming console.

Q: Which is better, JBL or Bose Bluetooth speaker?

Similar to the JBL versus Sony debate above, JBL continues to come out on top when it comes to affordable options. Bose does not currently have a model, the SoundLink Micro, that regularly retails for under $119. Bose is a brand worth looking into if you are interested in a high-end speaker or soundbar, as well as a home system.

Final thoughts on selecting the best budget Bluetooth speakers

You don’t have to spend a lot to get the best Bluetooth speakers for your budget. There are many options that you can take to the beach, park, or house party without spending a lot of money. A Bluetooth speaker that is inexpensive won’t have the same features as a more expensive model, but it can still play audiobooks, podcasts, or playlists. That’s what a Bluetooth speaker was designed to do.

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