The right Bluetooth speakers under $100 is hard to find. Most of us don’t mind if a speaker that costs less than $20 breaks because it was “good enough” while it lasted. You might even be able to afford to replace it. But the point of no return is when you spend $100. It starts to become more of an investment, rather than an accessory for your phone. Bluetooth speakers under $100 need to be more than good enough, though. They need to be great.
As you should expect for this price-point, there needs to be a certain level of durability and quality to the product. These aren’t cheap, and though they’re not the most expensive or best sounding speakers you’ll ever hear, you still want to get your money’s worth. This list has a speaker for everyone. If it made this list, it deserves to be here.
Editor’s note: This list was updated on March 6, 2020, to include the UE Boom 2 and Anker Soundcore Flare 2 to the notable mentions section.
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The JBL Flip 4 is the best among Bluetooth speakers under $100
JBL has remained consistent with its Flip series, standing as our pick among the best Bluetooth speakers under $100. The Flip 4 is very similar to the previous model (the JBL Flip 3), but it makes improvements in a few key areas. Hence, why it leads the other picks for the best Bluetooth speakers under $100. For one, it’s IPX7-rated meaning that you can now submerge it completely in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes. Though… we’re not sure why you’d want to. Still, it’s good to know that if you drop it in the pool, you have some time before you have to go rescue it.
JBL Flip 4Full Review
Another positive is that the new Connect+ button lets you connect this speaker with up to 100 others to play music in sync. Unfortunately, this feature isn’t backward compatible with previous versions. If you have a JBL Flip 3 and were going to double up with the new Flip 4, you’re out of luck. Battery life is reported to be 12 hours with volume levels at 50 percent, but if you play music on max volume, you shouldn’t expect to get more than four—maybe five—hours out of it.
What about the newer JBL Flip 5?
Even with those caveats, this is still our pick, beating all other Bluetooth speakers under $100. Of course, there is the newer JBL Flip 5 also available now, but rather than improve the speaker it feels like JBL took a few steps back, removing the 3.5mm jack. That might not be a big deal for most, but for some that could be a dealbreaker.
On top of that, the JBL Flip 5 now has a new PartyBoost mode that lets you connect up to 100 other JBL speakers. If this sounds familiar, it’s because the Flip 4 also has the same functionality, it’s just called something else. A rebrand of the feature and the lack of backwards compatibility with previous JBL devices is just frustrating. The only real improvement to the Flip 5 is that it now comes with USB-C charging compared to the micro-USB of the Flip 4. Still, unless that’s super important to you, you’re probably better off just saving the cash and picking up the Flip 4 instead.
What you should know about the best Bluetooth speakers under $100
- Ingress Protection (IP) ratings denote how dust- or water-resistant a given product is. Oftentimes, something will be rated IPX4—or something of that nature—and the “X” serves as a placeholder for the less-often-awarded dust-resistant rating.
- Sound quality for the money won’t compare to a great pair of desktop speakers or a home theater soundbar setup, but that’s fine since this is aimed at affordable options.
- Since these are Bluetooth picks, you should know that Bluetooth audio quality can’t hold a candle to that of wired. This is less pertinent to waterproof speakers than it is to wireless headphones or true wireless earbuds, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for AAC support if you’re using an iPhone or aptX for Android phones.
For a small and packable speaker, check out the Bose Soundlink Micro
Bose is a company that you can usually count on the make some pretty good audio products, and the SoundLink Micro is no exception. It doesn’t sound amazing, but as something that can fit in your hand it really isn’t meant to. This speaker is for people that tend to be a little rougher on their devices. It’s IPX7 build makes it waterproof while the rubber body makes it hard to scratch, get dirty, or break in general.
Bose Soundlink MicroFull Review
Battery life isn’t great at just over four hours (two hours short of the six hours that the company claims), but it does have a silicone strap that lets you attach it to everything from your beach chair to a backpack strap. Plus, t only weighs about 289g (10.2 ounces). making it a super lightweight and portable option for anyone looking for music on the go.
The UE Wonderboom 2 is one of the best Bluetooth speakers under $100 for modern-day vagabonds
UE continues its streak of high-value audio with the Wonderboom 2. The new model brings 30% longer battery life (up to the 13 hours) and increased bass. Additionally you can pair two Wonderboom 2 speakers together for a wireless stereo experience, which could be great for outdoor parties or camping.
UE Wonderboom 2Full Review
The Wonderboom 2 is also a more rugged device than its predecessor, with an IP67 dust and water resistance rating. This means it can still handle being submerged in up to a meter of water for 30, but now it’s dustproof too. This durability, paired with the longer battery life, and the fact that it floats, make this an ideal option for summer adventurers, people who want a decent shower speaker, and those trying to spice up a pool party. Its Outdoor Boost feature hammers this point home even further, which boosts the speaker’s maximum output.
The Wonderboom 2 has a virtually identical design to its predecessor, and that’s a good thing. It’s a squat tapered cylinder, with prominent “+” and “-” buttons for controlling volume, and three discreet buttons on the top for Bluetooth pairing, playback controls, and power. An elastic loop hangs off the edge of the speaker for when you want to hang it, rather than just sitting flat.
All told, this is one of the most durable portable speakers under $100 on the market and it’s a great option for anyone looking an outdoor option.
Still looking for the best Bluetooth speakers under $100?
Even if you don’t regularly check the pulse of audio tech, you’ve probably heard of Sony. The company’s XB20 portable wireless speaker is given the “XB” title, indicating that it’s received Sony’s Extra Bass technology. Like its bigger brothers, the XB40 and XB41, the new Sony XB22 Extra Bass portable features an LED. In this case, it wraps around the front of the speaker and emits a single color. A followup Sony’s great XB2o Bluetooth speaker, this product features new angled 42mm speakers to send your music to a wider area and a Live Sound mode to boost bass output and create what Sony calls a “festival vibe” (whatever that means).
Sony XB20 Extra Bass
The XB22 is compatible with Sony’s great LDAC Bluetooth codec. You may not have the desire to get into the thick of it now, just know that LDAC has the highest transfer rate of all Bluetooth codecs. If your source device is also compatible (Android 8.0 or above), you’ll be able to experience superior streaming quality. Additionally you can and stream music using NFC, in addition to Bluetooth.
Additionally, you can connect up to 100 speakers with Wireless Party Chain, so if you want to fill your house with sound, more power to you. Regarding battery life, the XB22 affords up to 12 hours of playback time. This speaker is IP67 rated for water, shock, and dust resistance, which makes it perfect for parties at the beach or listening in shower.
The Anker Soundcore Flare is just another high-value product from the company
Lately, Anker has been revamping its Soundcore line. Among the refreshed products is the Flare, a portable speaker that—like the Motion Q—emits 360° sound. See, inside the cylindrical body are a set of back-to-back dual drivers that work in tandem with passive bass radiators. This allows for the Flare to have increased bass emphasis without masking the midrange frequencies.
Anker Soundcore FlareFull Review
Additionally, you can adjust the bass via the control panel; though, it’s still not comparable to something like the Sony SRS-XB41. Aside from that, you can pair two Flares for stereo sound, and the speaker is IPX7-certified. The Flare, like the SoundLink Micro and UE Roll 2 can handle full submersion. Again, it’s hard to believe that it’s just shy of $60.
How we chose the best Bluetooth speakers under $100
If a speaker made it onto this list, then you can be sure we’ve had firsthand experience with them and in many cases put them through our entire review process. Whittling down an entire product category to only a handful of recommended items takes a lot more work than you might expect. For one, not everyone is after the same kind of product. Just like how sound is different to every person, some products might check all of the boxes for some people and not for others. Which brings us to the second aspect of one of our best lists: categories.
We also consider what other people are saying about it. We review a ton of stuff here at SoundGuys but let’s be real: We can’t review all of them. So how do we remedy this? Research, research, research. In addition to the vast personal network of reviewers we’ve built in our time around the block, we’ve dug through forums, read reviews, scrolled through comment sections, and done everything we possibly can to gather as much information about a product we haven’t reviewed before putting it on a list. Even if we’ve reviewed a product, we’ll give our picks a gut-check by seeing what the community or former colleagues we trust have to say.
When we made our picks, we wanted to make sure that anyone buying them would be happy with their purchase, and that means a hard look at what makes a good* Bluetooth speaker. For most of us, that meant a speaker that sounded good, wasn’t too expensive and could withstand normal use where a normal person might want to listen to music.
- Anker Soundcore Sport XL: These are a great bang-for-your-buck option but lack the IPX7 rating, stereo pairing, and 360° sound that the newer Soundcore Flare has.
- Anker Soundcore Flare 2: This is just like the original speaker but with more… flare. It has an extra ring light on the top of the cylindrical housing.
- Braven Stryde 360: A tough little speaker that’s easy to bring with you wherever you go. Just don’t expect to get amazing sound quality out of it.
- House of Marley Riddim: This is a stylish and portable speaker that’s constructed of recycled materials. However, it lacks aptX and any kind of water or dust-resistance.
- JLab House Party Wireless: This provides a house-filling sound for under $100 but succumbs to connectivity issues.
- Jam Hang Up: This compact speaker looks a bit like the Bose SoundLink Micro but instead of a semi-elastic strap, it features an adhesive pad that sticks to nearly any flat surface. At the time of publishing, it retails for less than $20.
- JBL Clip 2: The Clip 2 won’t even cost you $100, it can be found for around $50 and is one of the most portable options you can get thanks to its built-in carabiner, small size, and IPX7 build.
- UE Boom 2: Just like the JBL Flip 4, the E Boom 2 emits all-encompassing sound and can withstand a dip in the pool . It has a 15-hour battery life and can be paired with other UE speakers.
Why you should trust SoundGuys
In addition to the fact that this site is all of our day jobs, both Adam and Chris have several years of reviewing consumer audio products under their belts individually. Having kept a finger on the pulse of Bluetooth speakers for several years allows us to be able to figure out what’s good, and what’s best avoided.
Considering Chris’ burning hatred for all things Bluetooth, if he approves of something—it’s damned special. In a similar vein, Adam has reviewed tons of these speakers over the course of almost three years, so he’s heard the best (and worst) of what the category has to offer. Then you’ve got Lily who has put in countless hours working at a radio station in a professional studio environment and even reviewed audio products on her own time before coming to SoundGuys. Needless to say, she’s passionate about audio gear.
These best lists may not always reflect your experiences, but they are our earnest attempt to get the right product onto your wish list. We do this because we genuinely want you to be happy with your purchases—none of our writers see a dime from partnership deals or referral purchases—and nobody here is allowed to benefit from steering you towards one product or another. While this site does make money from referrals, the individual writers are paid based on their work regardless of whether or not people clicked that “buy” icon. They will never even know if anyone did, though I suppose the site going under might be a good hint.
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