|Best overall||Amazon Echo (4th Gen.)||Check Price||
An amazing at-home speaker with unlimited smart control possibilities.
|Best waterproof||UE Wonderboom 2||Check Price||
The best bluetooth speaker to take to the pool, beach, or bathtub.
|Best portable||JBL Clip 4||Check Price||
A tiny, but mighty, ultraportable speaker that packs a punch.
Inexpensive Bluetooth speakers can be hit or miss; some models stand up well against pricier units while others sink. Luckily, if you know what you’re looking for, you won’t have any trouble selecting the best Bluetooth speakers under $100 to fit your needs and budget. Whether you’re looking for something waterproof to bring with you to the beach or something super compact to accompany you on a backcountry hike, there is an affordable option out there. Just because you’re not ready to shell out $200 or more doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sacrifice special features, impressive battery life, or other elements that make you reach for a speaker whenever and wherever you want to tap into your favorite tunes.
- Best overall: Amazon Echo (4th Gen.)
- Best waterproof: UE Wonderboom 2
- Best bass: Sony SRS-XB23
- Best portable: JBL Clip 4
- Best budget: Anker Soundcore Flare 2
How we selected the best Bluetooth speakers under $100
If you visit my apartment, you will immediately see a veritable wall of Bluetooth speakers, large and small. I have what some may call a “deep enthusiasm” for portable sound. To start our selection process for speakers under $100, we listened to personal favorites, took a deep dive into technical specs, and consulted user reviews on additional models. We paid particular attention to sound quality, battery life, and connectivity to ensure that these affordable options provide an exceptional listening experience. Each model has a battery that lasts at least 10 hours, with a connectivity range over 20 feet, and special features that range from extra portability, waterproof ratings, stereo pairing, and voice assistant compatibility.
Things to consider before buying a Bluetooth speaker under $100
Just because you aren’t spending a fortune on your next Bluetooth speaker doesn’t mean you need to suffer at the hands of bad sound quality, poor battery life, or bulky, awkward sizing. While you may not be able to acquire all the bells and whistles of a more expensive model, if you prioritize your favorite features, you’ll still have a super satisfying sonic experience.
Perhaps the hardest thing to find with a more budget-friendly Bluetooth speaker is excellent sound quality. Bluetooth speakers, in general, aren’t necessarily known for audiophile-quality sound reproduction, so don’t despair if your new unit doesn’t sound exactly like your high-end studio monitors. That being said, you don’t have to settle for muffled, distorted, or limited audio. To find a Bluetooth speaker under $100 that can bump solid bass, maintain clarity, and support a plethora of genres and instruments, consider size, decibels, and frequency response.
Size matters if you want to experience some heavy-hitting low end for personal listening or a raucous party—the physical constraints of components that make up a speaker can’t help but impact the sound. Larger units are generally better equipped to maintain distortion-free audio even as you turn the volume up, plus they have more room for well-designed subwoofers that can achieve lower registers. You are likely to get a more powerful, accurate low end when there are additional woofers or “bass radiators,” which can only be housed in a speaker that’s bigger than your iPhone.
For more detailed information about volume, check out the speaker’s specs and look for a maximum decibel level, notated as dB. If you are primarily playing music inside, 100 dB is the loudest you’ll want to go, and we’d be surprised if you even enjoyed listening at this level (it’s akin to a jet plane flying directly overhead). On the other hand, if you’re hosting an outdoor party with many people in attendance, you could think about increasing the volume to 115 dB, which is concert-level; music at this volume will cover a large area, but you wouldn’t want anyone standing too close. Generally speaking, we are satisfied with Bluetooth speakers that maintain good sound quality at 85 dB for larger gatherings.
A Bluetooth speaker is only as good as its battery life; at least that’s what I think whenever mine dies right before playing my favorite Solange song in the shower. In order to avoid the low-battery light flashing a warning right in the middle of the party, make sure you do a deep dive into a speaker’s description before buying. Luckily, many speakers under $100 can last between 10 and 20 hours without a charge, more than enough time for a podcast binge or a few days’ worth of “Yoga with Adriene” classes. If you aren’t worried about running out of battery on the go, consider going for a Bluetooth speaker that will let you keep playing music while charging.
Size and portability
When you set out to shop for a Bluetooth speaker, it’s important to consider where and when you’ll be rocking out the most. While most wire-free wonders are designed to move with you, not every speaker can claim prime portability. If you’re taking your favorite tunes to a nearby park, beach, or neighboring house party, don’t be afraid to grab a larger model to shove in a bag or carry by hand. Generally, the larger speakers have a bit of an edge over their truly tiny counterparts when it comes to sound quality. However, if you need a boost of music while riding your bike or hiking up your favorite trail, a small speaker will certainly suit your needs. There are even several portable speakers that weigh under 1 pound, so you don’t need to worry about being bogged down. We recommend a lightweight model with a built-in strap for easy outdoor listening.
It’s no surprise that Bluetooth speakers are designed for, you guessed it, Bluetooth connectivity, which is a constantly evolving protocol. To make sure your speaker will perform its best for years to come, look for the most recent version of Bluetooth support you can find (at the moment that’s anything in the 5.0 range). A Bluetooth 5.1 or 5.2 speaker will have a more stable connection, which makes it easier to support brand-specific features like allowing more than one person to connect and control the speaker at a time. This feature is handy when it comes time to turn your party playlist over to a different DJ. If you want true stereo sound, search for a speaker with a robust connection designed to pair with another unit manufactured by the same company. That way, you can experience true stereo (while maximizing volume). And even if your speaker is Bluetooth, not all your sources might be, or they might occasionally have trouble connecting, so consider if you need (or want) a speaker that still offers an auxiliary (aux) jack, so you can physically connect your phone or computer with a 3.5mm cable.
Also, consider the Bluetooth codecs supported by the speaker. Every single Bluetooth device supports SBC, but the shortcoming of making a universal format is it’s also the lowest quality. If you use solely iOS devices, a speaker that supports AAC will optimize your connection quality. And if you’re Android, aptX support does a similar job of being a higher-quality default. There are even more esoteric, brand-specific codecs beyond that, but they rarely accompany speakers in the under $100 price range.
One final thing to keep in mind when considering connectivity is Bluetooth range. This describes how far you and your device can wander away before your sound starts to get fuzzy before ultimately getting disconnected. If you’re supplying the tunes for an outdoor barbecue and you only have a 10-foot Bluetooth range, chances are you won’t be able to get in and out of the house without someone yelling, “Where’d the music go?” Or you’ll end up leaving your phone sitting out in the open, where it might get accidentally dunked in a pool or test its durability against the patio. Look for a speaker with at least a 25-foot range or higher for maximum connectivity in various sonic scenarios.
Almost every Bluetooth speaker will have an IP rating proudly stated in the product description or buried in additional specs. IP stands for “Ingress Protection,” which tells you just how fortified an electronic device is against dirt, dust, and water. If you’re looking for a speaker to sit in your car or on your bookshelf, having a high IP rating might not be important for your purchase. However, if you want a speaker to safely take with you to the beach, park, or bathtub perch—make sure you investigate how well it’s already protected from the elements.
IP ratings are typically composed of two numbers, or one number and an X. For example, the Wonderboom 2, a personal favorite, has an IP67 rating. The first digit describes particle protection, the second liquid. The “6” indicates it can keep out most dust and dirt particles, while the “7” means it can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes before any damage occurs, making it a great option for poolside tunes. The higher the number, the more protected your speakers will be from whatever threatens them. So, Wonderboom 2’s IP rating makes it one of the best shower speakers and the kind of speaker you could feel comfortable taking to the beach or for some lakeside listening.
You may find an IP that replaces particle protection with an “X,” written as IPX7 for example. An “X” in place of any number means no data is available for that substance. You should assume that the speaker is not protected from said element when you see an X.
The best Bluetooth speakers under $100: Reviews & Recommendations
Best overall: Amazon Echo (4th Gen.)
Why it made the cut: For under $100, the 4th-gen. Amazon Echo is the perfect at-home speaker with a built-in microphone, impressive sound quality, and multiple connectivity options.
- Battery Life: Not rechargeable
- Bluetooth Range: 30 feet
- IP Rating: None
- Size: 5.7 x 5.7 x 5.2 inches
- Sound quality
- Auxiliary port
- Built-in mic
- Not portable
- Not waterproof
While the Amazon Echo is not a speaker you can take with you on the go, it is the best option for indoor listening. Like its Echo predecessors, the 4th-generation model is easy to use and compatible with many smart devices, doubling as a smart home hub for those who have smart lights, switches, doorbells, locks, and more. Even without the extra fixtures, Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa can help you set up timers, reminders, check the weather, call your family and friends, or call up your favorite playlists. The built-in microphone and speaker capabilities make for streamlined, hands-free communication. Installing more than one Echo in your home means you can program and sync multiroom music.
Available in three sleek colorways, the Echo will not only look good but sound good, with dual front-firing 0.8-inch tweeters and surprising bass thanks to a 3.0-inch neodymium woofer. These three drivers combine to deliver a satisfying thump and improved clarity, plus they support Dolby Audio (but not Dolby Atmos). Wi-Fi enabled, you can cast music from your phone if you’re on the same network or let it take direct advantage of connected services like Amazon Music HD, Audible, or Spotify Connect if you want to reserve your Bluetooth for another device.
The Echo orb is equipped with onboard controls that will allow you to control volume, mute the microphone, or skip tracks. An LED ring at the base of the speakers will illuminate when Alexa has been activated and glow red when the microphone is muted. At the back of the speaker, you’ll find a power input port and an aux port for analog connections. The Echo is not a portable speaker, so it will need to stay plugged in at all times, though the Bluetooth 5.0 connection means you can play from just about any smart device in your home (and most rooms, depending on the layout of your walls).
Best waterproof: UE Wonderboom 2
Why it made the cut: The Wonderboom 2 is one of the best waterproof speakers around, with impressive sound coverage and solid battery life.
- Battery Life: 13 hours
- Bluetooth Range: 100 feet
- IP Rating: IP67
- Size: 3.68 x 3.68 x 4.02 inches
- Sound quality
- No auxiliary connection
- No onboard skip back
The Wonderboom 2 is one of our favorite shower speakers, one of our favorite small speakers in general, and it has topped recommended lists of outdoor-friendly party speakers for a reason. If you’re looking for a speaker under $100 to take with you to the beach, pool, or bathtub, you can’t go wrong with the buoyant buddy. Bluetooth is just SBC, but two 40mm active drivers and two passive radiators deliver a frequency range of 75 Hz – 20 kHz and the 360-degree sound is pretty robust, hitting up to 87 dB in volume with “Outdoor Boost” mode. With an IP67 rating, the Wonderboom 2 is protected when submerged in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes (though it floats, so that helps you grab it if you’re worried). It’s also protected against fine particles, so you don’t have to worry about damage from the sand lingering in your beach bag. Weighing less than 1 pound with a flexible looped handle, this is also a great speaker to clip onto your backpack for any adventure. Lasting up to 13 hours, you’ll get the most out of your day and then some, especially if you manage to snag two, allowing you to pair and play in true stereo sound.
Best bass: Sony SRS-XB23
Why it made the cut: The Sony SRS-XB23 is designed to deliver EXTRA BASS for bangin’ sound, with an impressive range and a sleek design.
- Battery Life: 12 hours
- Bluetooth Range: 100 feet
- IP Rating: IP67
- Size: 4.06 x 4.06 x 9.09 inches
- Built-In Microphone
- Party connect
- Booming bass
- Five modern colorways
- Innovative drivers achieve more bass with less distortion
- Battery life can be depleted when playing at high volumes
- No aux input
Bass-lovers rejoice, the Sony SRS-XB23 is a Bluetooth speaker designed with you in mind. This pick boasts passive side radiators on each end that help the dual mica-reinforced “X-Balanced” full-range drivers achieve higher sound pressure and lower distortion, thanks to their atypical non-circular shape. This makes sure you get the full 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz spectrum from your music, plus more clean, clear rumble when Extra Bass Mode is triggered. A Bluetooth 5.0 connection—with support for SBC, AAC, and LDAC codecs—guarantees you can extract all the bump. This speaker is equipped with a stereo pair mode and Party Connect, which allows you to connect two speakers for a properly spaced out left-right response or up to 100 for an even more bass bumping sound. Additional features include a built-in microphone for a seamless transition to phone calls and control via the Sony l Music Center app, which allows you to switch modes, select your favorite playlists, change songs, apply EQ, and more right from your device. Orient the speaker any way you like, standing up or laying down, and you can switch from monophonic playback to stereo playback (when horizontal) using the app. Not only does the SRS-XB23 impress when it comes to sound, but a removable strap and IP67 rating mean you can safely take it with you just about anywhere.
Best portable: JBL Clip 4
Why it made the cut: The JBL Clip 4 weighs under 1 pound and is designed with a handy carabiner clip so you can get up and go without any limitations on your sound.
- Battery Life: 10 hours
- Bluetooth Range: 32 feet
- IP Rating: IP67
- Size: 1.8 x 3.4 x 5.3 inches
- Integrated carabiner
- No fancy features
- Battery life could be better
The JBL Clip 4 is tiny but incredibly mighty; it’s a great speaker for runners, bikers, hikers, and more. The compact unit weighs just 0.53 pounds and measures less than 6 inches tall; its footprint is barely noticeable until you crank up the tunes. A 5-watt wonder, this ultraportable features Bluetooth 5.1 and delivers an impressive dynamic frequency response of 100 Hz to 20 kHz, which could even beat out some larger speakers. The integrated carabiner is easily clipped to a belt loop, backpack strap, or even your shower head for easy access and hands-free listening. An IP67 rating means there is nowhere the Clip 4 can’t go, rain or shine. And while this small speaker may forgo the extra features found in a larger unit, it packs a pretty powerful punch when it comes to sound quality, plus it fits neatly in the palm of your hand for maximum portability.
Best budget: Anker Soundcore Flare 2
Why it made the cut: The Anker Soundcore Flare 2 boasts many of the features found in more expensive models, including PartyCast, LED lights, and a waterproof rating.
- Battery Life: 12 hours
- Bluetooth Range: Unk.
- IP Rating: IPX7
- Size: 3.5 x 3.5 x 6.31 inches
- LED light show
- PartyCast technology
- Soundcore App
- Battery life depletes quickly with high volume
- Does not support stereo sound
The Flare 2 is a budget-friendly speaker with select high-end features that deliver a bang for your buck. With solid sound quality, satisfying 12-hour battery life, and a solid IPX7 rating, this 16-ounce can-styled speaker lets you stay connected to your favorite music, podcasts, and more at home or on the go, in the sun or light rain. The Flare 2 utilizes 20 watts to power dual drivers and bass radiators, with an engaging 360-degree output of 73 Hz – 20 kHz. PartyCast mode lets you pair up to 100 speakers together for a truly robust array of speakers, plus you can create a custom EQ for each speaker to tailor your sound to your style. Not only will you be able to enjoy sonic pleasure, but a beat-driven light show can accompany the digitally reinforced BassUp response. The Flare 2 features two light rings and six lighting modes that can be triggered via the Soundcore app; when PartyCast is enabled, you can sync lighting changes and create your own mini music festival—the Electric Daisy Carnival EDM festival won’t have anything on you.
Q: How many watts is a good speaker?
While there isn’t a set amount of wattage that determines a good speaker, you can use this measurement to assess volume output. Wattage typically determines how loud a speaker can get, but not the quality of the sound. Larger speakers with higher wattage can typically generate more volume, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be free of distortion. For more information regarding your speaker’s sound quality, investigate its frequency range and sound pressure levels, notated as SPL.
Q: How long should a Bluetooth speaker last?
In terms of battery life, w believe that a good Bluetooth speaker should last at least 10 hours. We want to have the option of all-day listening, or at least be able to turn on the tunes a few hours a day without having to charge every single night. Most speakers worth their salt will have at least 10 hours of battery life, however, this may decrease if you listen to music at high volumes. The purported battery life typically reflects usage at mid-range volumes; lower volumes may result in more hours, and high volumes are likely to result in less.
Q: Is JBL or Bose better?
When it comes to finding portable Bluetooth speakers under $100, JBL is going to be a better option. Bose does not currently have a model that regularly retails for under $119. However, they do occasionally have sales or run special promotions (one of our favorites, the Bose Soundlink Micro, is one to watch, as it dips under a C-note). JBL, on the other hand, has several budget-friendly options, including the JBL Clip 4 and JBL Go 3. These JBL models are compact, travel-friendly units designed to move with you. However, if you plan on looking for a high-end speaker, soundbar, or home system in the future, Bose is certainly a brand worth investigating.
Final thoughts on picking the best Bluetooth speakers under $100
When it comes to finding the best Bluetooth speakers under $100, there are many options to wade through before finding the one that’s perfect for you. Prioritizing your budget doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice important features. Would you prefer something extra portable? Are you emphasizing sound quality? Do you need a speaker you can dunk in the water? As long as you know when and where you want to rock out, you won’t have a problem finding a Bluetooth speaker to fit your style.