Why would anyone look for the best Bluetooth speakers under $100? Usually, the cheaper the audio equipment the less impressive the audio quality, right? – Not always.
Believe it or not, Bluetooth speakers under $100 are not as flimsy as you may think, nor do they deprive you of high-tech features and consistent audio clarity.
10 Best Bluetooth Speakers Under $100
Table of Contents
- 10 Best Bluetooth Speakers Under $100
- What Your Use Cases Would Look Like
- What to Expect in Terms of Audio Quality
- Battery Life
- The More the Merrier?
1. JBL Flip 5
Some say that the JBL Flip 5 is the king of affordable Bluetooth speakers. I find it hard to argue with those statements since this tiny gadget pretty much caters to any audiophile on a budget. Even snobby audiophiles have been known to feel surprised by the sound quality when they heard it for the first time.
The speaker has an output of 20W. That’s more than impressive for its size and price. Obviously, you get that unique JBL signature sound that has set a high standard in the music industry for decades. The battery is beefier than ever at a whopping 4,800 mAh.
You can connect the speaker to two devices simultaneously (smartphones, tablets, etc.). This allows you to play music of different playlists and make sure that everyone’s entertained. Although the speaker does a good job of balancing the frequency spectrum and can be easily used as a cheap alternative to gaming headsets, the device truly shines in the great outdoors.
Why should you take it outside to get your money’s worth? – The Flip 5 has an IPX7 waterproof rating. If you’re no stranger to camping and survival equipment, then you know just how overkill this is.
But not all the money goes towards ensuring durability. The speaker can give you around 12 hours of playtime, which is very good considering all the other features. You also get compatibility with over 100 other JBL speakers if you want to amplify the sound even further. You also get a USB-C fast charging port now.
Last but not least, in terms of portability and style, you can’t ask for more. The end caps are now covered, which adds more durability and makes the unit look sleeker. And, at 7.1” x 2.7” small, you can’t really be concerned with carrying or placing the speaker anywhere.
You can get this speaker in black, grey, or orange if you want to add some more color to your audio setup. As with all things Bose, the speaker combines decent durability and consistent sound quality, this time with a wireless connection and at a bargain price.
The SoundLink boasts crisp audio and solid bass definition. If you’re looking for something that’s designed for the outdoors, then this Bose micro speaker might just be the one. It’s small, light, rugged, and comes with a convenient tear-resistant carry strap too.
If the footprint is one of your main concerns, know that the SoundLink is just 3.87” x 3.87” and 1.37” tall. That’s pretty much pocket-sized. The range is up to 30 feet. That’s an approximation of how far away you can keep it while still getting good audio. You may push it further if you can deal with the sound dropping off once in a while.
There’s also a built-in speakerphone that you can use if you use a voice assistant like Google Assistant or Siri. The battery should last up to 6 hours even if you blast the speaker close to its maximum volume. This is about average when you compare it to what other manufacturers offer – but not if you compare to speakers of similar sizes.
Bluetooth pairing is enabled. For example, you can pair it with another Bose SoundLink to make a pair of stereo speakers (left and right).
Another impressive function is how fast the speaker recharges. And you can still use it while it’s charging and you won’t have to worry about any stalling.
3. JBL Clip 3
If you’re not really an audiophile but you like unique audio equipment, the JBL Clip 3 might make sense for you. It almost looks like a padlock and can be clipped onto a belt or strap. Talk about putting a soundtrack to your weekend hikes.
This is also one of the lightest speakers on this list. This and the clip-on design alone make it a solid choice for anyone in need of a portable speaker. A simple yet very clear sound gets projected from the comparatively large drivers. The overall sound is neutral and balanced but the speaker sounds much bigger than the size. This means that the Clip 3 can handle most musical genres well.
Although small, there’s no way you look at the Clip 3 and not see it as an outdoor speaker. Due to how it looks and how it hooks, there’s not much you can do with it inside the house. But, take it on a trail or to a pool party and you start to see its value.
One of the best things about it is the IPX7 waterproof rating. It virtually makes the speaker viable in any environment. However, it doesn’t have the most durable casing or protection for its driver.
You can enjoy up to 10 hours of your favorite playlist. That’s if you use the speaker at around 50% volume.
Last but not least, the speakerphone is high-end. It’s not the most important feature in a device that’s designed to play your tunes but the echo-canceling features deserve some recognition.
4. Sony XB10
Not only is the Sony XB10 an affordable outdoor Bluetooth speaker but it also has good audio quality, whether used alone or in a stereo setup.
I’ve noticed that the bass is slightly enhanced. Here’s the thing though. All small speakers are designed to emphasize the bass and extreme high frequencies. That’s to compensate for human hearing, which isn’t as sensitive to these frequencies at lower volume. It’s the very basis of the V-shape equalizer setting.
When this is done well, it can totally make a speaker sound much better – and that’s the case with the Sony XB10, which is also a very small speaker. It’s no bigger than a coffee mug and just as. The construction seems solid and there should be no issues from a few drops.
The water resistance is good against some light rain and splashes, but this is one of those Bluetooth speakers that are better off protected against water.
The battery life should be enough for most parties at 16 hours between charges. There’s also not a huge drop-off if you try to push the volume to the max.
Tronsmart may not be at the top of anyone’s list of audio equipment manufacturers but the Force speaker proves that brand names may not matter as much with these speakers (perhaps because there’s one country in the world that can manufacture stuff for less than all other countries).
The Tronsmart Force is a 40W speaker that comes with IPX7 waterproofing, voice assistant support, and amazing bass definition. The speaker has three preset modes which allow you to experience music just the way you want it.
If you’re all about that bass then the Extra Bass mode is for you. The low frequency definition really belies the size of the speaker. The 3D surround sound mode is another interesting choice that manages to bring some much-needed depth to the standard sound of outdoor speakers.
The speaker can also support a wide range of file formats including Flac, WAV, APE, and more. You can pair the speaker to your smartphone via Bluetooth or a standard 3.5mm cable connector.
This speaker also has a long-lasting battery. At 50% volume, you should be able to get up to 15 hours of playtime between charges.
The built-in microphone is something that I always appreciate in Bluetooth speakers. And, the compatibility with most smartphone voice assistants certainly adds a level of convenience to the device.
Last but not least, you can connect two Tronsmart Force speakers together to make a pair of stereo speakers. Besides the stereo imaging and soundstage, this should enhance the 3D equalizer mode even further and let you play even louder.
The Boom 2 Phantom Edition is a very interesting speaker. It has 360 degrees projection like all cylindrical speakers nowadays (Amazon Echo, JBL Charge, etc.).
If you’re looking for loud and clear sound, you can’t go wrong with the Ultimate Ears Boom 2 Phantom. If this is not your first speaker, it’s still a reliable choice for pairing or daisy-chaining. The speaker is compatible with almost all Ultimate Ears wireless speakers.
If you’re not already a loyal fan of this brand, you should at least give it more consideration. Ultimate Ears did a good job on this model, especially when it comes to range and battery life. You can listen to up to 15 hours of your favorite playlists, as long as the volume isn’t turned up to max.
Along with the long battery life, you also benefit from long range. This is one of the few speakers that can still give you a stable connection from 100ft away.
If you want to use the speaker at beach parties or at the campsite, another cool thing is that it can connect to up to eight devices at the same time. However, you can only control playlists from two devices at a time.
One thing to note is that there’s no support for voice assistants. But it does come with an app or you can use this the old-fashioned way. The rugged construction, good audio quality, and superior range make it a highly competent Bluetooth speaker.
Some may argue that a 14W speaker is not enough to satisfy people in an open outdoor setting. However, no one’s stopping you from linking two Angle 3’s together for higher volume. The main thing this speaker has going for it is range.
You can stream to the speaker from 100ft away. You can also set up two speakers up to 100ft away from your phone in different directions. This will create a much richer sound effect, especially if you’re partying multiple walled-off areas.
Although built for the outdoors, this speaker is also built with budget-constrained people in mind. Therefore, the waterproofing is just an IPX6. It still makes the speaker highly resilient against splashing, it’s just not ideal to keep it at the edge of a pool. But at least you can afford to buy another one at this price.
Another interesting ability is running playlists for up to 20 hours. That’s a lot longer than what most other manufacturers are offering off one charge.
There are no equalizer modes to browse through. However, the frequencies are quite balanced and the sound doesn’t distort even when you push the volume all the way up.
What I also personally appreciated is the very stable design. The triangle shape ensures that the speaker won’t wobble or be tipped over by wind.
Anker has a long-standing tradition of delivering quality affordable audio equipment. The Soundcore Bluetooth speaker has been listed on many “best of” lists before and it doesn’t look like it’s going to start losing popularity anytime soon.
The speaker is loaded with features. The dual drivers are positioned in a back-to-back design. This allows a wider sound projection and a better delivery of surround sound effect. The passive bass radiators further enhance the audio by giving it much needed richness and warmth.
Pairing is available and even though it can only pair with another speaker, this is always a nice feature in Bluetooth speakers. You can enhance the audio quality, boost the volume, and save battery at the same time, etc.
What’s also cool is the LED setup. If you’re old enough to miss pulsing and strobe stereos, you’ll satisfy your nostalgia with the Anker Soundcore. The speaker has various light shows to offer depending on the rhythm, and you can also customize the lighting to your liking.
9. JBL GO 2
With the JBL GO 2, the name is not an indication that you need two of them to enjoy distortion-free music outside. The Go 2 is not a super powerful speaker but it has the bold and clear JBL sound and clean audio projection, which is pretty much all you can ask for in a budget-friendly Bluetooth speaker.
The speaker weighs slightly over half a pound. It’s 1.2”x3.4”x2.8” “big”. You wouldn’t know it when you look at it but it’s quite the rugged outdoor speaker. As light and simple as it looks, it has great waterproofing as it can be submerged in up to 3.3ft of water without getting damaged (on a temporary basis – don’t go diving with it).
The GO 2 also comes with built-in speakerphone capabilities. There’s decent noise cancellation for when you want to take calls or issue commands to your virtual assistant. The frequencies are well-balanced but there’s nothing very substantial to notice on the low end.
However, for a 3W Bluetooth speaker, the GO 2 has plenty to offer, and the 5 hours of playtime is nothing to scoff at when you want something really small and affordable. The smaller the speaker the smaller the battery, so 5 hours or so is about as good as you’re going to get.
10. AOMAIS GO
The AOMAIS GO Bluetooth speaker is another budget-friendly solution for outdoor parties, camping trips, BBQ Sundays, beach parties, and other similar social gatherings that call for some cool playlist auditions.
The speaker is as rugged as they come and has superior waterproofing. It’s rated IPX7 and can easily handle being submerged for up to 30 minutes. Not that there’s a good reason to do that ever on purpose.
The sound is rich and has a small but noticeable 3D stereo quality to it. The speaker is not the smallest one in this price range but the extra size accommodates some serious hardware that’s responsible for a better overall sound projection and audio quality.
Under the case you’ll find two 15W drivers and two passive bass radiators that provide consistent low-end definition. The harmonic distortion is rated at under 1%.
There’s also the option of pairing two speakers together for a pair of left and right stereo speakers. The range is not amazing but it borders on the industry average.
What’s really cool though is the battery life. At 50% volume, you can squeeze up to 30 hours of continuous playback. That’s more than twice what some of the biggest names in the audio equipment manufacturing industry offer these days.
I also like this speaker for its fast charging time. It takes three hours to get a full charge. Of course, another nice perk is the emergency power supply. This prevents abrupt shutdowns and potential fadeouts.
What Your Use Cases Would Look Like
What I mean by that is where you plan on using your Bluetooth speakers. Bluetooth speakers cover a wide spectrum of uses and come in different designs and levels of durability and reliability.
When you're looking to buy new speakers, you must first ask yourself why you need them? Do you want a pair of cheap Bluetooth speakers for your gaming laptop or gaming PC? – If so, you may not need to pay top dollar for high-end waterproofing. You just need audio quality.
What if you host a lot of BBQ Sundays? Or, what if you’re an avid camper who likes listening to your favorite tunes when you’re roughing it in the woods over the weekend? – Well, there are plenty of affordable Bluetooth speakers that can give you clear and powerful projection in an outdoor setting.
However, if you’re shopping for outdoor speakers on a budget, you may want to sacrifice a bit of sound definition in favor of a more reliable casing. Waterproof speakers or even weatherproof speakers should then be your top priority even over features and specs. Look for high IPX ratings.
Dust-proofing and anti-shock features may also be important. This can be equally important whether you use the speakers in the comfort of your home or on the beach.
What to Expect in Terms of Audio Quality
Whenever you’re looking for budget-friendly audio equipment, you have to manage your expectations. I’m not saying that Bluetooth speakers under $100 don’t sound good. I’m just saying that they won’t sound like a 5.1 Dolby HD home theatre system.
Here are some of the tricks that I use to determine whether or not affordable Bluetooth speakers are worth my time.
First of all, you’ll want a speaker that sound much larger than the size. Imagine a little dog that barks like a big dog.
In all honesty, I was really taken aback by how good these speakers sounded. Like I mentioned, I know of a few hardcore audiophiles with megabucks Wilson Audio speakers that were mightily impressed by some of those barrel JBL speakers. They don’t mind using one of them with their laptops or as an outdoor speaker at all.
On the other hand, dialogue-enhancing features are hard to come by at bargain prices. But look at it this way. You only really need that when watching movies or TV shows. If you’re not using your Bluetooth speaker to binge watch Netflix in the camper, then this is one feature you can be less picky about.
I also place more value on volume than overall sound quality. You can’t avoid some harmonic distortion or clear imbalance when it comes to frequency definition. But having enough power is very satisfying.
You can’t really throw a pool party if your Bluetooth speakers can’t cover all the small talk going around in your backyard.
People rarely look for Bluetooth speakers that they have to plug into the wall, which defeats the purpose of going wireless. As with any type of wireless speakers, these are generally sought for their portability and flexibility when it comes to placement and using in various environments.
Therefore, if you’re getting battery-powered speakers you have to make sure you can squeeze as many hours as you can while using them at medium to maximum volume. Don’t settle for anything less than USB charging. Some of them may even have a USB output for charging your phone.
The More the Merrier?
As you’ll quickly notice, Bluetooth speakers rarely come in pairs. They’re usually sold as individual devices. Therefore, both quality and power are somewhat limited in some situations.
Some Bluetooth speakers come with standard single-device pairing. Some can allow you to connect even more than two speakers together, thus creating an amped-up audio system for your outdoor social gatherings, or even a whole house audio system.
Most of the time, though, this will only work with speakers of the same brand and you may have to do it through an app. However, there is certainly some value to being able to add more speakers to your system.
If you already have the best bluetooth speaker under $100 which you can afford, adding a second one may be a lot easier than upgrading to a higher class. As impressive as today’s 360-degree sound field, adding another speaker can add a lot more depth and spatial cues to the soundstage.
Bluetooth May Be the New Standard
It’s amazing how far Bluetooth technology has come in just two decades. The audio quality aside, Bluetooth speakers are all the rage now because of how easy they are to use and how cheap they’ve become.
This list of portable bluetooth speakers has a bit of something for everyone. You’ve got something for the regular folks, something for the average camper, and even something for the demanding audiophile.
You can use these speakers indoor or outdoor. In fact, Bluetooth speakers were originally designed as indoor computer speakers. Any of my recommended speakers would be a huge upgrade over any laptop speakers. You might find some of them to outperform your highly rated desktop speakers as well.