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Best cheap Bluetooth speakers 2021: Bring the noise without breaking the bank

Best cheap Bluetooth speakers 2021: Crank up the volume without breaking the bank
(Image credit: Audio Pro)

There are times when we're at home that we just want to kick back with our favourite tunes on some of the best headphones for music or a pair of the best wireless headphones. But then there are the times when we want to crank them out at a decent volume, not to annoy family or flatmates (or neighbours), but simply because we're in the mood and, of course, rock and metal are meant to be played loud. But, given the amount of options out there, choosing the right speaker is no easy task – and that's where our guide to the best cheap Bluetooth speakers comes in.

Below, you'll find our pick of some of our favourite speakers that you can grab at an affordable price from the likes of Ultimate Ears, JBL, Amazon, Tivoli and more.

And don't forget, if you're looking to pair a shiny new set of speakers with the best budget turntables around, or pick up some great deals on cheap vinyl records, then we also have you covered here at Louder.

Best cheap Bluetooth speakers: The Louder Choice

While it's possible to spend a very small amount on a Bluetooth speaker, we don't recommend spending your cash on anything that's too cheap. A lot of them just don't give you a great sound. And while you will find a cheaper option in our list, this really is an exception to that rule. 

So rather than go for a really cheap option, we would suggest stretching your budget just a wee bit further as you'll really notice the difference in sound – and for us the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 is a, ahem, wonderful option. Right now you can grab it on sale at Amazon for just under £60, which is an amazing deal.

It might be small, but it's an incredibly solid piece of kit that sounds vastly superior to any other speaker you can buy for a similar price. Buy it – you really won’t regret it.

The best cheap Bluetooth speakers: Product guide

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2020: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2

(Image credit: UE)

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

Very compact
Surprisingly big, bold sound
Nothing given the size and price

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.

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2020: Audio Pro Addon T3

(Image credit: Audio Pro)

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

Awesome sound
Great battery and build quality
Bigger and heavier than most

We love Audio Pro. With a couple of notable exceptions (the guitar amp-like Drumfire and cylindrical A10), their products all look like bigger or smaller versions of the same speaker. And that’s fine with us: the design is simple but with a touch of Scandinavian style... 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 air drumming – along.

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2020: JBL Go 2

(Image credit: JBL)

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

Tiny and cheap
Clear, surprisingly bassy sound
Small battery

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. OK, we'll admit it does looks like a bar of soap, albeit one that’s available in 12 different colours, and is small enough to fit in your jeans pocket.

Sound is surprisingly good considering the size and remarkable 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.

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2020: JBL Charge 4

(Image credit: JBL)

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

Tough and chunky
Excellent sound
Others are bassier

The range of flashy colours might make it look a bit childish, but the JBL Charge 4 is also available in good old-fashioned goth 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 happily play your favourite sounds 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.

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 a festival’s main stage.

Marshall Uxbridge

(Image credit: Marshall)

5. Marshall Uxbridge

This compact wireless speaker looks the part and has Amazon Alexa

Price: £170 | Features: Bluetooth | Wi-Fi: Airplay 2 | Smart connectivity: Yes, built-in Alexa

Brilliant design
Delivers on performance
Bass could be better

We love Marshall's speaker range not only because they look the part, but because they sound fantastic too – something you would expect from a company who have graced the stages of some of the world's biggest artists down through the years.

While the shell of the speaker doesn't feel like the most robust around, it doesn't mess around when it comes to delivering a gutsy one-two punch thanks to the 30W digital amp. It includes Bluetooth 4.2 so you can stream over Wi-Fi and there’s also support for Airplay 2 and Spotify Connect.

Bass, however is slightly curtailed but aside from that, the Marshall Uxbridge is a neat speaker for the price.

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2020: LG PK7 Xboom

(Image credit: LG)

6. 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

Big, powerful sound
Flashing lights
Flashing lights
Less waterproof than some

OK, so the LG Xboom Go PK7's design might be a little out of left field, and to us, it kinda looks like a cross between a portable heater and Pixar's WALL-E. However, this speaker has a lovely big battery and has lights that flash with the music. What's not to like? Yes, it's a bit of a gimmick but we're all after a little light-hearted fun these days, right?

AptX Bluetooth ensures 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.

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2020: Amazon Echo Dot

(Image credit: Amazon)

7. 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

Serious smarts for little money
Clear, solid sound
Not portable

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 a surprisingly adept little speaker.

It cranks up far 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 speaking of kitchens, you can use Alexa to set timers, convert ounces to grams, or even translate ingredient names. It'll also dim your smart lights, send music to other Alexa-enabled speakers around the house, tell terrible jokes and, of course, control your tunes.

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2020: Tivoli Andiamo

(Image credit: Tivoli)

8. 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

Fast, punchy sound
Unusual looks and solid build
Styling won’t suit everyone

One glance at the Andiamo and you might assume it to be the latest offering from Bang & Olufsen – 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 cranks up 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 might not like the styling, but don’t be fooled into thinking that this isn’t a proper bit of kit, because it really is.

Best cheap Bluetooth speakers: Buying advice

Your budget might be modest but that’s no reason to accept mediocre performance. The battle for your cash is such that you can actually buy a great speaker for not a lot of money – 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, 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.

It's also worth consider whether you want a speaker that'll work anywhere or one that's 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.

Tom Parsons is a music and film fan who's been testing audio kit of all varieties for around 13 years, most of those at What Hi-Fi? He also loves rock and metal and is a particularly big fan of Coheed and Cambria.