Music is a social experience, which is why cheap Bluetooth speakers have been exploding in popularity. When is the last time you went to a party that didn’t have music? If you were able to bring your favorite tunes with you wherever you go, why wouldn’t you? Well, it turns out that plenty of people feel the same way, because the cheap Bluetooth speakers market is booming.
You can spend hundreds of dollars on a speaker and know exactly what you’re going to get. Top-notch build, good sound quality, and maybe an unforeseen feature or two. But when it comes to Bluetooth speakers under $50, it can be hit-or-miss. Are you actually getting a good speaker, or is just something that plays sound? That’s where this list comes in.
What you should know about cheap Bluetooth speakers
Plenty of listed speakers here are water-resistant, so here’s a quick rundown of Ingress Protection (IP) ratings and what they mean to your specific model. If you want to take a deep-dive into what makes products water-resistant and waterproof, read our feature here.
|IPX1||✓||Dripping water (1 mm/min)
Limit: vertical drips only
|IPX2||✓||Dripping water (3 mm/min)
Limit: Device max tilt of 15° from drips
Limit: Device max tilt of 60° from sprays
|IPX5||✓||Water jets (12.5 L/min)
Example: Squirt guns
|IPX6||✓||Strong water jets (100 L/min)
Example: Powerful water guns
Limit: 1 m. for 30 min.
Limit: 3 m. for 30 min.
The Anker Soundcore 2 is the best cheap Bluetooth speaker
As with many successors, the Anker Soundcore 2 takes what was great about its predecessor and improves upon what was just OK. So, what’s new? The Soundcore 2 is a 12W speaker whereas the original is a 6W speaker. Additionally, the Soundcore 2 is IPX5-certified, so it can withstand strong jets of water but not full submersion in contrast to the Soundcore which lacked water-resistance.
Anker Soundcore 2
Aside from that, and a negligible redesign, the Anker Soundcore 2 and Soundcore are virtually identical. Both provide 24 hours of playback, are outfitted with speakerphone capabilities, and have playback controls. Due to the increase in power that the Soundcore 2 has over the Soundcore, the bass is more emphasized, and generally speaking, the Soundcore 2 gets louder. For just under $40, this is a perfect on-the-go speaker that has no problem filling a common area.
Look fly on the cheap with the Doss Soundbox Touch
You’d be hard-pressed to find a speaker that sounds decent at less than $50, but throw in a few really unique features on top of that and it’s damn near impossible. But that’s what makes the Doss Soundbox Touch so interesting. As you may have guessed from the name this speaker fitches the typical playback buttons found on most other speakers in favor of a touch-sensitive control panel. You can switch between inputs, skip between tracks, and adjust volume simply by tapping the appropriate areas on the top of the speaker. The glowing circle up top actually acts as a volume dial, so going clockwise raises the volume while counterclockwise lowers the volume. A small detail, but it’s pretty cool either way.
Doss Soundbox Touch
The speaker features dual 6W drivers that do a decent job delivering sound. If you’re a fan of a strong bass you probably won’t get enough of it here, but it does a surprising job at providing clarity in the mids. You will find some distortion at full volume depending on what you listen to, but for the most part, you shouldn’t have too many issues. It comes with Bluetooth 4.0 which puts it squarely in the normal range of about 33 feet, but also comes with a 3.5mm input and micro SD card slot for when you don’t want to connect over Bluetooth. Playback should also last you a full 12 hours before you need to throw it back on the charger so if you’re looking for a way to listen to music while out and out this isn’t a bad option.
Always moving? Bring the JBL Clip 2
JBL Clip 2Full Review
Previously, we had the Clip+ on this list, but it’s since been refreshed with a very worthy upgrade. The new JBL Clip 2 is one of the best cheap Bluetooth speakers you can get. The hard plastic grille is gone; in its place, you’ll find a fabric covering that gives it an IPX7 rating and a much better look and feel. The built-in plastic carabiner has also been replaced with a metal one, but the most important internal upgrade has to be battery life. The previous model maxed out at five hours; you can squeeze eight hours out of this one. Sound quality is also good enough for a hike, picnic, or even for the shower, but don’t expect it to get loud enough to power your backyard BBQ.
Do you prioritize durability? Make room for the Aomais Sport II
This speaker retails for $35.99 on Amazon and is one heck of a durable speaker. Not only is it IPX7-rated, it’s mud and shockproof and it can float via the included float accessory, which is absolutely adorable. The rubber exterior protects the speaker against drops and dings, making it the perfect speaker for an outdoorsman.
Aomais Sport II
Now, this is the most powerful speaker of the best speakers under $50 at 20W. This allows for loud volumes and strong bass reproduction, which is ideal for outdoor use where ambient noise may easily mask midrange and treble frequencies. The Sport II is outfitted with noise-reduction technology that promotes clear voice transmission via the built-in microphone, and if you have two Aomais Sport II speakers, then you can pair them together for stereo sound.
One of the most unique features of the Sport II is the ¼” tripod mount. This is intended to be used on bike handlebars, but who’s to say you can’t attach it to an actual tripod too? A full charge cycle takes 3 hours and supplies you with an 8-hour battery life. It’s certainly not a lightweight speaker at 618g (21.8oz) but it’s durable and compact. After all, weight doesn’t matter too much if the speaker can’t withstand your lifestyle.
If you need the best value, get the Creative Metallix
So what do we recommend as the “bang for your buck” item on what is more or less a “bang for your buck” list? The Creative Metallix Bluetooth speaker. This speaker isn’t as cool to look at as some of the other options, it isn’t as portable, and it isn’t as durable, but for only $29 this little guy packs a punch. As far a sound goes, it’s a little better than you might expect from a speaker of this size. You won’t get much of a low-end (obviously) and mids can be lacking in detail, but considering the size, it’s still fairly impressive.
Creative MetallixFull Review
It’s not exactly a durable speaker, but it survived a few bangs and bruises during our full review. Connectivity is decent and will keep your music playing up to around 30 feet without skips or stutters. If you happen to get two of these, you can pair them up for stereo sound which is a neat little trick. You can plug in an audio cable or pop in a micro SD card if you don’t want to play over Bluetooth, and there are a few playback controls built-in to the bottom of the metal speaker. As a matter of fact, there’s even an FM tuner should you want to listen to the radio.
Considering this speaker is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand it’s good how much Creative managed to put in here without sacrificing too much on sound. Creative claims a battery life of 24 hours but that’s really only if you leave the volume at about 50 percent. At normal listening volumes, we got closer to 9 hours, which is still good enough for a day out.
There are plenty of other speakers worthy of mention as some of the best Bluetooth speakers under $50. Unfortunately though, we can’t go in-depth about all of them, so here’s a quick run-down of a few noteworthy products that didn’t quite make the cut.
Anker Soundcore Motion Q
It falls within the same category as the JBL Clip 2 but isn’t quite as portable as it has a more traditional rotund shape. That said, the battery life and sound quality are more impressive than the Clip 2. See our full review
It’s nearly identical to the Soundcore 2, but lacks any IP certification; is a 6-watt, rather than 12-watt speaker; and operates on Bluetooth 4.0, rather than 4.2. Battery life, playback controls, and speakerphone capabilities are the same though and this first iteration can be had for $12 less. See our full review
The Omaker Nature is a small, rugged 5W speaker that’s IPX6-rated and provides 20 hours of playback time. Its brother, the Omaker M6, was formerly the most durable Bluetooth speaker under $50, but was usurped by the Aomais Sport II. See here
Oontz Angle 3
This is the runner-up for the best bang-for-your-buck speaker. It’s just over $20, is portable, and IPX5-rated. See here
Tribit XSound Go
If you’re familiar with the Sony SRSXB2, this will look familiar. It provides 24 hours of playback, is IPX7-rated, and can easily fit in a bag or purse. See here
How we chose the best cheap Bluetooth speakers
A simple search on Amazon yields hundreds of options from a myriad of manufacturers, and that’s just for cheap Bluetooth speakers, so how do you know what to choose? Well, to be honest, it’s borderline impossible to test and review them all, but you can do a ton of research and gather up the best options, which is exactly what we did.
After ordering a bunch of the top options we narrowed it down to a few of the products we had already reviewed and know to be good, and then a few others that surprised us for the price. Of course, nothing here is going to make it into the MoMA, but for less than $50 it doesn’t need to. These cheap Bluetooth speakers just need to be functional and better than average, which these are.
Why should you trust us?
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 cheap 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.
We should also state that we regularly update these lists as items become available. However, we only add them if there’s a really solid reason for doing so. Usually, we have to use it first—unless there’s some mind-meltingly awesome feature or price-change that would deem a test or re-test unnecessary. As you can imagine, that doesn’t happen… almost ever. This also means that your favorite Bluetooth speaker may not make this list. Additionally, speakers that are out of production or not widely available are prohibited from consideration as well.
If you have any good recommendations for cheap Bluetooth speakers that weren’t on this list, make sure to drop a comment down below and help out your fellow audio lovers looking to make a purchase. We’ll keep this list updated to reflect new and inexpensive speakers as they come out.
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