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.
We narrowed it down to five main categories that we think would be most useful to anyone looking for cheap Bluetooth speakers. Keep in mind that, because these items are so cheap, most manufacturers need to make a few sacrifices. A great sounding speaker might not be the most portable, and a super durable one probably isn’t the prettiest. It seems obvious, but knowing what’s most important to you and what sacrifices you’re willing to make will make the final decision much easier.
What you should know
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.
Here’s the important split seen in the listed headphones:
Full charts are available here if you’re so inclined.
The Anker SoundCore is the best cheap Bluetooth speaker
The Anker SoundCore is a small speaker, but it has a crazy-long battery life. This will easily last a full day. Aesthetically, there is nothing really special, but what do you expect with cheap Bluetooth speakers? It’s a small, plastic box with a few handy playback controls up top that let you do everything from skip tracks to adjust volume.
Anker SoundCoreFull Review
The SoundCore is rocking Bluetooth 4.0 and an above average range of about 66ft. In our full review, this did have some limitations, but overall it worked fine. Usually in a sub-$50 speaker, we keep expectations in check. Anything around 10 hours is usually decent for the price, but the SoundCore blows that expectation out of the water with 24 hours of constant playback. If you’re main priority in a speaker is minimal charging, this is the way to go. That’s not to say that it doesn’t sound good, because it does. The dual drivers and patent-pending spiral bass port combine to virtually eliminate distortion at any point in the frequency range. That said, don’t expect to power a party with it, since it doesn’t get too loud. For small gatherings and personal use, however, it’s perfect.
Look fly on the cheap with the CB3 Ultra Slim
If you want a speaker that plays music and just looks awesome, go for the Ultra Slim by CB3 Audio. The Ultra Slim is just that, ultra slim. Perfect for throwing it in your bag or even slipping it into your pocket for portable sound. It’s a gorgeous slab of metal with playback buttons lining the top of the speaker, pretty gorgeous considering that it’s in the class of cheap Bluetooth speakers.
CB3 Ultra Slim
There’s actually a suspended bass radiator, which adds a nice bump to the low-end frequencies. Not to mention, it just looks really cool. You’ll also get built-in micro-SD card slot and 3.5mm input, so however you like to enjoy music, it has you covered. Battery life is around eight hours, which is all right. Solid enough to get you through a solid listening session or a Friday night get-together. It’s available in four crisp colors: silver, gunmetal gray, champagne gold, and rose gold.
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.
Omaker M4Full Review
The Omaker M4 isn’t really a new speaker, but it’s still impressing listeners. To be fair, you should probably lower your expectations on amazing sound quality right now, but if you’re rough on your electronics and need durable and cheap Bluetooth speakers, this thing is a tank. It has a rugged design with plenty of hard plastic and metal and also comes in a bunch of colors including army camo, black-on-black, black-on-orange, and this pretty cool dark green and gray color. It has NFC, so you can easily connect to compatible devices. Up top, you’ll get four buttons that give you all of the usual suspects in terms of playback controls. You’ll be able to adjust volume, skip between tracks, pause or play music, and answer phone calls. The speaker comes with three EQ options to toggle through: indoor, outdoor, and midnight. Battery life is also spec’d at 12 hours so if you need all-day music, this might be the way to go.
Cambridge Soundworks OontZ Angle 3
If you’re getting tired of square blocks of metal, maybe you should try mixing it up with a triangular one. As far as cheap Bluetooth speakers go, the OontZ Angle 3 comes in a slightly different form factor and has a triangular design that’s a little more visually appealing. Dual drivers are also aimed slightly upwards for better listening angles, which is probably where it gets its name from. It has a splash-resistant IPX5 build, so even though it shouldn’t be fully submerged, at least you know it can survive a spill or two. On top of that, it has a 12-hour battery life, which makes it great for an all-day party or picnic. You’ll find playback controls on the side of the speaker, which lets you pause/play music, skip to the next song, and adjust the volume to your liking. There’s also an integrated mic for voice calls should you need it.
How we chose
A simple search on Amazon reveals 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 nee to be functional and better than average, which these are.
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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