Bluetooth speakers are a dime a dozen, and if you look long enough you can convince yourself that you need to spend hundreds of dollars on the newest product from the most premium brand, but why chase the dragon when you can get a perfectly good speaker without taking out a loan. Don’t overthink it: the best Bluetooth speaker under $100 is the JBL Flip 4.
Start here: What makes a good Bluetooth speaker? (SoundGuys)
Buying the right Bluetooth speaker for your needs
Before you start to shop around for your next Bluetooth speaker, you need to figure out your desired use case. Will you use this speaker while you bike around the city, or will it sit poolside all summer? Sure, the perfect Bluetooth speaker may not exist but we can get you close to the best one for your needs.
If you plan on taking it anywhere outside or poolside, then an IP rating is highly recommended: this denotes dust and water resistance. At the very least, you should get a speaker with an IPX4 rating, which means it can withstand splashes and sprays. The clumsy among us may need a speaker with an IPX7 rating or greater, indicating that it can be submerged for a limited amount of time.
Bluetooth codecs enable data transfer between devices. SBC is the default Bluetooth codec that all Bluetooth-enabled devices use to communicate with one another. Anyone in the market for high-quality Bluetooth audio needs to get a speaker with AAC or aptX support. Then again, most of us in the market for a sub-$100 speaker want it for its portability, rather than for its sound quality.
Best Bluetooth speakers under $100:
- The JBL Flip 4 is a great speaker for everyday use and holds its own against the newer Flip 5.
- The UE Wonderboom 2 is a great speaker for anyone who likes to set up camp next to the pool; this IP67 speaker floats!
- The JBL Clip 4 is the best adventure buddy for all of your excursions.
- The Anker Soundcore Motion Plus is the best affordable Bluetooth speaker for bassheads.
- The Anker Soundcore Flare 2 can do just about anything for much less than the competition.
JBL Flip 4: The best for most people
The JBL Flip 4 descends from the trusted JBL Flip series of affordable Bluetooth speakers and carries the torch well. This speaker emits loud, good quality sound and has a great number of useful features like an IPX7 rating and 12-hour battery life.
Sure, the newer JBL Flip 5 is available, but the only real improvement is the move to USB-C charging. Aside from that, the Flip 5 feels more like a step backward considering it no longer has a 3.5mm jack and isn’t backward compatible with JBL Connect+ speakers (like the Flip 4). If you want one of the best speakers around, the Flip 4 is basically the same speaker and will save you some money along the way too.
UE Wonderboom 2: The best water-resistant pick
While it isn’t the most exciting speaker around, the UE Wonderboom 2 is a great waterproof option for one specific reason: it floats. This speaker is extremely easy to retrieve from the water and its IP67 rating makes it near-impervious to dirt and sand damage too.
A small bungee cord adorns the top of the rotund body, allowing you to hook it to a variety of things like a coat rack, tree branch, and anything really. You can enable Bass Boost mode for amplified low-end reproduction, which is moderately useful when outside. Keep in mind, this is still a tiny speaker so Bass Boost mode doesn’t make a huge difference, but the sound quality exceeds expectations.
Check out our sister site SoundGuys’ full review to learn more about the UE Wonderboom 2
JBL Clip 4: The best adventure speaker
JBL redesigned the carabiner on its Clip 4 speaker, and it’s more robust than ever. Whether you’re an urban biker or backyard barbeque host, the Clip 4 can power your day. It has a 10-hour battery life and surprisingly accurate frequency response, assuming you can forgive the lacking bass response.
Three large playback buttons decorate the front of the speaker, only to be outshone by the JBL logo. You can’t go back to the previous track from the buttons, but you can skip to the next. A power and Bluetooth pairing button rest on the side of the speaker, making it easy to manually switch from one source device to another. Unfortunately, the Clip 4 doesn’t support JBL Connect+ or JBL PartyBoost, there’s no way to daisy-chain multiple Clip 4 speakers together for louder, synchronized playback.
Check out our sister site SoundGuys’ full review to learn more about the JBL Clip 4.
Anker Soundcore Motion Plus: The best bass
The Anker Soundcore Motion Plus may appear boring, but listen to your mother: don’t judge this book by its cover. The pill-shaped speaker packs a serious punch that’s easily worth the sub-$100 price tag. It houses a clever blend of tweeters, woofers, and passive radiators for a well-rounded sound and all of the rich bass you can ask for.
Anker’s Soundcore Motion Plus also delivers with the aptX high-quality Bluetooth codec and extra EQ options in the Soundcore app. You’ll also have an IPX7 waterproof rating for adventures and USB-C charging to keep your 6,700mAh battery rocking for up to 12 hours.
Anker Soundcore Flare 2: The best value
The Anker Soundcore Flare 2 has a sleek design with a dual-LED halo that bookends the top and bottom of the cylindrical body. Its IPX7 rating protects it from accidental fumbles into the pool or lake, and the 360° sound emission is perfect for small gatherings.
You can adjust the frequency response from the Soundcore app’s EQ module, and you can connect up to 100 Flare 2 speakers together for an insanely loud output. The speaker lacks a headphone jack but houses a USB-C charging port and boasts a 12-hour battery life. If you want a compact speaker that costs less than the rest, get the Soundcore Flare 2.
Why you should trust SoundGuys
SoundGuys is the sibling site to Android Authority that goes over everything you need to know about audio. Whether you’re looking for reviews on a new speaker, a list of the best headphones, or just want to learn how some of your favorite audio gadgets work, the team at SoundGuys has made it their mission to explain it all.
And that wraps up our list of best Bluetooth speakers under $100. We’ll add more models to the list once they launch.