Getting your hands on a top quality portable Bluetooth speaker is one thing. Picking one up while on a budget can be a little more tricky. If you’re wondering which way to turn, don’t worry – we’re here to help guide you though the maze.
We’ve hand-picked a selection of the best cheap Bluetooth speakers on the market to take the stress out of the situation.
- The best waterproof Bluetooth speakers for any budget
- The best budget wireless headphones
- Blast your ears with the loudest Bluetooth speakers around
- 6 slick Bluetooth turntables to put a modern spin on your vinyl
After all, it’s easy to make a mistake and end up with a dud, and while we’re not talking about spending a huge amount of money here, spending any of your hard-earned cash on a speaker that sounds like two flies buzzing around inside a tin can is money wasted... and let's face it – no one wants that.
So read on and discover some of the best cheap Bluetooth speakers currently available.
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Best cheap Bluetooth speakers: The Louder Choice
It’s possible to spend a ridiculously tiny amount of money on a Bluetooth speaker, but you shouldn’t. We’ve put one £30 speaker on our list, but it’s a real outlier – most speakers at that sort of money are awful.
We recommend stretching your budget to a little under £100, at which point the quality rises exponentially and the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 comes into view. Right now it's just £69.99 at John Lewis – and that's a great price for what you're getting.
It's a dinky, incredibly solid, grenade-looking speaker that sounds vastly better than any other speaker you can buy for similar money. Buy it – you really won’t regret it.
Best cheap Bluetooth speakers: what you need to know
Your budget might be pretty modest but that’s no reason to accept mediocre performance. The battle for your money is such that you can actually buy a great speaker for not a lot of cash – as long as you’re savvy about it.
That means sticking to brands with a proven track record: JBL, Ultimate Ears and Audio Pro might not be household names across the country, but do a cursory Google search and you’ll quickly discover they’re very well respected in the audio world. That doesn’t necessarily mean that every speaker the company makes is gold, but it’s a good place to start.
Also consider whether you want a speaker that will work anywhere or one that is more likely to stay in one place in your house, and can therefore operate from the mains. Going really loud requires lots of power, so many of the loudest Bluetooth speakers are mains-only, but there are now loads of battery-powered speakers that sound great.
Generally, the later the version of Bluetooth a speaker has, the more theoretically capable it is in terms of sound quality. That said, having the very latest version of Bluetooth (5.0) doesn’t automatically mean a speaker will sound great – just that it’s capable of receiving a higher-quality signal. Look for one of the audio-specific Bluetooth codecs, such as aptX or even aptX HD, and you'll at least know that audio quality was a major concern during development, which is a good sign.
Ultimately, though, the proof is in the listening, and we’ve done that for you. So if you’re looking for the best Bluetooth speaker, battery-powered or mains, for not a lot of money, we’ve got a recommendation for you.
The best cheap Bluetooth speakers you can buy
1. Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
The toughest, best-sounding Bluetooth speaker you can buy for under £100
Price: £89/$99.99 | Bluetooth version: N/A | Battery life: 13 hours | IP rating: IP67 | Dimensions: 10.4 x 9.5 x 9.5cm | Weight: 420g
If you’re looking for a budget Bluetooth speaker with an extra helping of awesome, this little sonic hand grenade is the one for you. Yes, you can buy even cheaper speakers, but the build quality and big, weighty sound of the Wonderboom 2 make it a real performance-per-pound champion.
The IP67 rating means it’s officially dustproof as well as waterproof. Got some sand or mud on it? Just rinse it under a tap. This thing even floats, so it can rock out with you in the pool or bath.
The loop at the top means you can clip it to the roof of your tent when the rain comes, and the dedicated outdoor-sound mode boosts audio so everyone in the field can hear. A brilliant option, particularly at this price.
2. Audio Pro Addon T3
Chunkier than most but, boy, this is a great-sounding Bluetooth speaker
Price: £120/$149 | Bluetooth version: 4.0 | Battery life: 30 hours | IP rating: Not applicable | Dimensions: 12 x 23 x 14cm | Weight: 2kg
We love Audio Pro. With a couple of notable exceptions (the guitar amp-like Drumfire and cylindrical A10), its products all look like bigger or smaller versions of the same speaker. And that’s fine with us: the design is simple but Scandinavian-ly stylish and supremely solid.
The T3 is more or less the smallest speaker in the range, and in real life the most affordable, but it’s still quite chunky and heavy for a portable speaker. It does at least have a carry handle, and the excellent battery life is ample reward for those willing to lug the speaker around – as is the sound.
There’s loads of lovely bass here, but it’s seamlessly integrated into a rich midrange and crisp treble, and everything’s delivered with the sort of punchy enthusiasm that makes it impossible to resist tapping - or even head-banging - along.
3. JBL GO 2
A ridiculously affordable option that won’t let you down at a festival
Price: £30/$29.95 | Bluetooth version: 4.1 | Battery life: 5 hours | IP rating: IPX7 | Dimensions: 7.1 x 8.6 x 3.2cm | Weight: 180g
If your priorities when buying a Bluetooth speaker are that it’s very small and very affordable, then the JBL GO 2 is for you. It’s got the look of a bar of soap, albeit one that’s available in 12 different colours (including good old black), and is small enough to fit in your jeans pocket.
Sound is surprisingly good considering the size and price, with good clarity and weight. The only real issue is the five-hour battery life, which is much lower than most. Then again, it really is exceptionally cheap.
4. JBL Charge 4
A tough budget Bluetooth speaker that sounds great
Price: £140/$180 | Bluetooth version: 4.2 | Battery life: 20 hours | IP rating: IPX7 | Dimensions: 9.5 x 22 x 9.3cm | Weight: 960g
The flashy colours might make it look a bit childish, but the Charge 4 is also available in black, and it combines great sound with full waterproofing to a depth of up to 1.5 metres.
Chlorinated and salty water is fine, too, and the Charge 4 can take a beating, thanks to its chunky, rugged design. It’ll play for 20 hours and at higher volumes than its predecessor, on account of the bigger battery. In other words, this is the perfect portable speaker for festivals, beaches and pools.
The sound is surprisingly sophisticated, too. The Charge 4 is really good at digging up detail and texture, and there’s great clarity and rhythmic drive. Those expecting artificially enhanced bass might end up a touch disappointed, but if you want to go really big, you can connect up to 100 JBL speakers and have them crank out the same track. That might well be louder than the festival’s main stage.
5. LG Xboom Go PK7
Looks like Wall-e, sounds surprisingly good
Price: £130/$129.99 | Bluetooth version: aptX HD | Battery life: 22 hours | IP rating: IPX5 | Dimensions: 16.7 x 32 x 15.2cm | Weight: 2.95kg
This peculiar-looking speaker – does anyone else feel as if they’re looking straight into the the eyes of Wall-e? – is bigger than most on this list, has a bigger battery, and has lights that flash with the music. Massive gimmick? Of course, but a massive gimmick can be fun every so often.
AptX Bluetooth ensures that your music gets to the speaker in really high quality, and the PK7 makes the most of the signal with a really big, open sound and lots of crowd-pleasing bass.
The only issue here, other than the relative heft of the thing, is that it’s splash proof rather than properly waterproof – though we can’t imagine that being a huge problem for most people.
6. Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Generation)
The most affordable Echo speaker sounds better than you probably expect
Price: £50/$49.99 | Bluetooth version: 4.0 | Battery life: 22 hours | IP rating: Not applicable | Dimensions: 4.3 x 10 x 10cm | Weight: 300g
The obvious reason to get an Echo Dot is to inexpensively add Alexa to any and every room in the house. But, on top of that, it’s actually surprisingly adept.
It goes cranks up louder than you might imagine, and the lean, thin sound of the previous models has been replaced by actual bass notes, full-bodied voices and a smoother treble. You shouldn’t think of this as a serious sound system, but it’s a great little speaker for soundtracking your latest kitchen experiment.
And you can use Alexa to set timers, convert ounces to grams, translate ingredient names, dim your smart lights, send music to other Alexa-enabled speakers in the house, tell terrible jokes and, of course, control your tunes. “Alexa, play Chop Suey.”
7. Tivoli Andiamo
This cylindrical speaker from Scandinavia sounds as good as it looks
Price: £149/$149 | Bluetooth version: 3.0 | Battery life: 20 hours | IP rating: Not applicable | Dimensions: 5.5 x 14 x 14cm | Weight: 720g
One glance at the Andiamo and you might assume it to be a Bang & Olufsen speaker, particularly if you’ve never heard the name Tivoli. Of course, being mistaken for a B&O product is no bad thing, particularly at this comparatively wallet-friendly price, although it does bring with it certain sonic expectations.
The good news is that the Andiamo sounds as good as it looks, and goes much louder than you might expect. It’s also bassy, but in a well-balanced, integrated way, and has the rhythmic sensibilities of a serious speaker.
Some may find the styling not to their taste, but don’t be fooled into thinking that this isn’t a proper bit of kit, because it is.