Don’t overthink it, the best Bluetooth speaker under $100 is the JBL Flip 4. 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 a trusted audio company just because it sounds great or it looks cool. The truth is, you don’t. Still, a decent Bluetooth speaker can go a long way and there are plenty of great, affordable options. For a closer look at the pros and cons of each pick, make sure to check out the full article over on our sibling site SoundGuys. For now, we’ll run down our list of the best Bluetooth speakers under $100.
Best Bluetooth speakers under $100:
Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best Bluetooth speakers under $100 regularly as new devices launch.
1. JBL Flip 4
The JBL Flip 4 comes from a trusted line of affordable Bluetooth speakers and carries the torch perfectly. Aside from having an impressive sound considering its size, it also has a number of practical features like the IPX7 waterproof build and a 12-hour battery life. Of course, 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. 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.
2. Bose Soundlink Micro
Bose might spend most of its time making audio products at the higher price point, but every now and then it makes a bang for your buck product that is too good to pass up. The Soundlink Micro is that product, and has earned a spot on our best Bluetooth speakers under $100 list. It has an IPX7 waterproof build and a tough rubber build so you know it can take a beating, but it’s the versatile clip on the back that really makes it unique. You can clip it to almost anything and it’ll stay put without a problem. This makes it a great option for hikers or bikers that want a speaker that you can clip to your backpack. Plus, it gets really loud. While the sound quality definitely degrades at higher volume, it’s still not bad for such a small piece of plastic.
One downside you’ll have to deal with is the sub-par battery, which manages to last just over four hours and then needs to charge via microUSB. If you can live with that, then you’ll have a tough little speaker you can bring with you anywhere.
3. UE Wonderboom 2
While it isn’t the most exciting speaker around, the UE Wonderboom 2 is a great waterproof option for one specific reason: it floats. There are plenty of speakers that are waterproof, but that doesn’t mean much if you drop it in a lake. The Wonderboom 2 will float on top of the water for easy retrieval, and it’s also IP67 rated so water won’t damage it. On top, there’s a small bungee cord for hooking onto different things and there’s even a bass boost mode so you can hear the low end of your music better when you’re outdoors. Keep in mind, this is still a tiny speaker so it doesn’t make a huge difference, but the sound quality does exceed expectations which is what makes it one of the best Bluetooth speakers under $100.
4. Sony XB20
The Sony XB20 is a simple speaker that does exactly what it advertises: plays music and can emphasize bass notes. It doesn’t have a unique, head-turning design. Instead, it opts for a simple rounded box. While it has an IPX5 certification protecting it against water, it isn’t waterproof so you won’t want to submerge it. Still, in typical Sony fashion, it has a bunch of solid tech inside like built-in NFC for easy pairing and LDAC support which allows for more data to pass between a compatible source device and the speaker. While LDAC isn’t perfect, it usually results in higher-quality streaming which comes in handy when you hit that “extra bass” button. It’s hard to have a list of the best Bluetooth speakers under $100 and not include Sony.
5. Anker Soundcore Flare
The Anker Soundcore Flare packs a punch for the price. The Anker Soundcore Flare is a no-brainer for anyone that wants good sound and a unique design. The cylindrical shape allows it to fit into most standard-sized cup holders including the car or a backpack making it super portable. Plus, the IPX7 build, tasteful LED light strip along the bottom, and the ability to play sound in 360 degrees sets it apart from the pack when it comes to performance too. Of course, there are no high-quality codecs to speak of here, but it doesn’t sound bad at all. While it is slightly lacking in the battery department with just 5.5 hours of playback at 100%, you can easily make it last longer if you listen to music at normal volumes.
What you should know
There aren’t as many things to be aware of with Bluetooth speakers as there is with other audio equipment, but there are still some important factors to consider.
One of the most important things to consider when looking for a Bluetooth speaker is the environment in which you’re going to be using it. If you plan on taking it anywhere outside or poolside, then a water-resistant or waterproof rating is highly recommended. In the chart above, you can see that means that, at the very least, the second number in the IP rating should be at a four or above. If you’re going to be using the speaker while doing something like hiking, camping, or even at the beach, then you also want it to be protected against dirt and dust. In that case, the first number should be at the very least a five or above. That’s basically all you need to know for the purposes of this article, but we recommend reading the full explainer to learn more about what an IP rating is.
If you really want to dig into this part of Bluetooth audio, it’s worth checking out the article where Lily Katz explains everything you need to know about Bluetooth codecs. The good thing is, you don’t need to know all of that for the purposes of this article. Instead, all you really need to know is that some Bluetooth codecs allow for more data transfer between devices, which results in higher quality audio transfer and better sound. Of course, sound quality is likely not the reason you’re looking for a sub-$100 Bluetooth speaker, but that doesn’t mean you should settle for something that sounds terrible.
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.