Updated on September 9, 2018, to reflect price changes
Music is a social experience, which is why cheap Bluetooth speakers are exploding in popularity. When was 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.
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, this is IPX5-certified, so it can withstand strong jets of water but not full submersion.
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, 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
As you may have guessed from the name Doss’ Soundbox Touch ditches playback buttons in favor of a touch-sensitive control panel. You can switch between inputs, skip between tracks, and adjust volume by tapping the top panel. 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 and a neat feature.
Doss Soundbox Touch
The speaker features dual 6W drivers that do a decent job delivering sound, but if you’re a fan of a strong bass you probably won’t get enough of it here. You will find some harmonic distortion at full volume. It operates via Bluetooth 4.0, putting it squarely in the normal range of about 33 feet. But if your phone has a headphone jack, you can use the 3.5mm input, too. Heck, you can even listen through the micro SD card slot. Playback lasts about 12 hours, which is long enough for a hike and then some.
Always moving? Bring the JBL Clip 2
JBL Clip 2Full Review
The JBL Clip 2 is one of the best cheap Bluetooth speakers you can get. It’s decked out in a fabric covering and is IPX7-rated. The built-in metal carabiner allows for easy attachment to a bag, and battery life clocks in at eight hours. Sound quality is 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 like the newly announced Sony SRS-XB501G.
See: Best shower speakers
Do you prioritize durability? Make room for the Aomais Sport II
This speaker retails for around $25 and is one heck of a durable speaker. Not only is it IPX7-rated, it’s mud and shockproof, 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 cheap Bluetooth speakers 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 not lightweight 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. This isn’t the star of the best cheap Bluetooth speakers, but for only $29 this little guy packs a punch. As far a sound goes, it’s a better than you might expect. You won’t get much of a low-end and mids can be lacking in detail, but considering the size, it’s impressive.
Creative MetallixFull Review
It’s not exactly a durable speaker, but it survived a few bangs and bruises during our full review. The Bluetooth connectivity range keeps your music playing up to 10 meters without skips or stutters. If you happen to get two of these, you can pair them up for stereo sound. And you can plug in an audio cable or pop in a micro SD card for music streaming. As a matter of fact, there’s even an FM tuner built right in.
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.
- 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.
- Anker Soundcore: 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.
- Omaker Nature: This is a small, rugged 5W speaker that’s IPX6-rated and provides 20 hours of playback time.
- 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.
- 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.
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, 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 already reviewed and know to be good. 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 and do.
Why should you trust us?
In addition to the fact that this site is all of our day jobs, both Adam, Chris, and Lily 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 reviewed audio products on her own time before coming to SoundGuys.
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. We’ll keep this list updated to reflect new and inexpensive speakers as they come out.
Didn’t find what you were looking for? Checkout these:
- Best Bluetooth speakers under $100
- Best waterproof Bluetooth speakers
- Best computer speakers
- Best soundbars
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