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.
The is 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:
- The best Bluetooth speaker under $100: Doss Soundbox XL
- The best Bluetooth speaker under $100 for travelers: JBL Flip 5
- The best Bluetooth speaker under $100 for the pool: UE Wonderboom
- The best budget Bluetooth speaker under $100: Oontz Angle 3
- The best Bluetooth speaker under $100 for music: Anker Soundcore Flare
Why you should buy this: Dynamic sound and a powerful battery make the Doss Soundbox a worthy contender for any audio enthusiast.
Who’s it for: Those looking for a great-sounding, sleek-looking speaker that won’t break the bank.
Why we picked the Doss Soundbox XL:
It’s hard to come by a Bluetooth speaker that checks off all the boxes. We’re talking about overall performance, sound quality, battery life, and additional tech. The Doss Soundbox does just that, on multiple levels, and at a more-than-reasonable cost. For starters, this is a smaller speaker built for big bass. A dedicated 12-watt woofer and two passive radiators create a rich low-frequency soundstage, with DSP encoding helping to provide an extra layer of clarity. Two 10-watt active drivers take care of the highs and mids. The verdict on audio: The Soundbox is damn near perfect. Well-balanced but plenty loud when you need it to be.
There’s also a connection for everyone here. Bluetooth 4.0 is the main hookup, but the speaker also comes with an AUX-in, TF card compatibility, and easy Echo Dot pairing for smart speaker owners. Battery life is about average for speakers this size. You’ll get about 10 hours of playtime at 50% volume, with a full recharge taking about three to four hours. Another nice perk is that if you’re looking to add even more sound, you can wirelessly pair two Soundboxes together for stereo sound.
While not as recognizable as bigger brands like JBL or Bose, we believe thecovers all the bases for what a great speaker should look and sound like while coming in at a cost that most can wrap their heads around.
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 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 wireless 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.
Now, to be fair, this speaker sometimes sells for a bit more than $100 but it’s still a great value. Still, if staying at — or under — $100 is a must, theshould be your go-to second choice. It sounds almost as good as the Flip 5, but costs less.
The only real drawbacks to theis its lack of speakerphone compatibility and a 3.5mm input. Still, if all you need is a good-sounding Bluetooth companion for the outdoors, this is a great choice.
Why should you buy this: Small size, big sound, flotation, and waterproofing all make the UE Wonderboom 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:
There is actually a new version of the UE Wonderboom — the UE Wonderboom 2 — so why are we still recommending the original? Simple: It’s still a fantastic speaker for those who like their water sports, but now it’s even cheaper and thus an even better fit for those looking for a killer deal on great wireless sound.
The UE Wonderboom 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 in spite of its pint-sized stature.
Battery life is fairly standard for this category at about 10 to 12 hours, and the Wonderboom’s wireless 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 is its impressive ability to deal with whatever you throw at it (and wherever you throw it at). It’s rugged, it’s waterproof, and yes, it floats, making it the perfect wireless speaker for the pool or the beach.
The Wonderboom 2 does come with some nice perks, like stereo pairing and dust protection, but unless those are must-haves, the originalis all the outdoor speaker you need.
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 sound 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 Anker Soundcore Flare:
Anker’s speakers are built for mighty sound for any space. For music lovers and party-throwers, the Soundcore Flare couldn’t be a better pick. Dual back-to-back drivers and passive radiators are arranged in a 360-degree rounded design that pump sound to every part of your room or property. The Flare gets nice and loud, too, but without a breakup in quality. Bass is punchy and uncompromised, even at louder levels. The speaker’s BassUp mode adds even more belly to the overall soundstage.
IP67-rated, the Flare can withstand rain, sweat, and even total submersion in water. For your visual entertainment (and that of your pool party guests), there are five different LED light show presets to choose from. If you’re looking to take your sound experience to the next level, you can also download the Soundcore app (iOS and Android) to adjust your Flare’s EQ to match your exact audio preferences.
On a full charge, you can expect about 20 hours of battery, which is pretty impressive for the size. Features like BassUp and party pairing (you can link more than one Flare for expanded stereo listening) will likely affect battery life, but not by much.
For those looking for the best way to listen to their tunes in any listening environment, we can’t think of a better buy than the.
Research and buying tips
- Are Bluetooth speakers loud enough for a party?
- Can I use these Bluetooth speakers outdoors?
- Can I use these Bluetooth speakers with Alexa or Google Assistant?
- Do any Bluetooth speakers have a radio?
- Do any Bluetooth speakers have a CD player?
- Can a Bluetooth speaker connect to my TV?
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.
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