Bah humbug. Summer’s over, and before you know it’ll be Christmas, when box sets circle the tree and woe betide anyone who gets you a pair of socks instead of that nice Metallica deluxe edition.
It’s not all about vinyl. Aside from those wallet-crippling 180g reissues, one of the biggest sellers this Christmas will be the humble Bluetooth speaker. And there are some great deals running right now.
But, wait, why would you want a Bluetooth speaker in the first place? Well, these awesomely convenient and extremely portable powerhouses help you crank up the tunes at parties, around the bonfire or even around the house.
Thanks to improvements in wireless technology, Bluetooth speakers have fast become the de facto fast and convenient way of listening to music while in your home. And while that might sound like an expensive proposition, these cheap Bluetooth speaker deals mean that it doesn’t have to cost you the earth.
Use one and you’ll immediately see why they’ve become so popular. Instead of the mess of cables and docks that you normally need to get music playing out of a set of speakers, with a Bluetooth speaker it’s as easy as pairing up your phone, opening your music app of choice, and getting your favourite songs playing.
So read on for Techradar’s top picks of cheap Bluetooth speakers.
JBL Clip 2
Need a snap-on speaker? Check out JBL’s Clip 2
The Good: Ultra cheap, incredibly tiny
The Not So Good: Not very loud
Looking for a super cheap waterproof Bluetooth speaker? Look no further. The JBL Clip 2 may be petite, but it has powerful sound and a long-lasting battery. It’s completely waterproof – which makes it a perfect companion for a pool or a day at the beach – and it can be hooked up to a second JBL Clip speaker for some sweet stereo sound. Cheap and convenient all in one package.
Approx price: £35
Creative Muvo Mini
Want something waterproof? Try the Muvo Mini
The Good: Waterproof, Good battery life
The Not So Good: Again, audio isn’t loud
If you want a budget waterpprof Bluetooth speaker, then the Creative Muvo Mini is the one to buy. It takes all the features you could want in a Bluetooth speaker such as weather-proofing and a decent battery, and combines them into a surprisingly affordable package.
Approx price: £42/$45
Need a cheap speaker for the dorms? Get a Dell, dude!
The Good: Gets loud enough, Good sound quality
The Not So Good: Lackluster design
A good Bluetooth speaker is something we all deserve, but it’s also something we can’t all afford. Thankfully, Dell stuck this stellar option in the budget Bluetooth speaker category. The Dell AD211 won’t win awards for design, but that’s a compromise we can stomach considering this speaker’s staggeringly low price point. Taking value into consideration, you’ll have a hard time finding an affordable speaker with good battery life, NFC compatibility and a built-in microphone. But the AD211 has it all, and for a bargain. Get this if you’re ballin’ on a budget and you need the most feature-packed speaker for your money.
Approx price: £43/$105
JBL Flip 3
Looking for the robust audio experience? JBL Flip 3 is your answer
The Good: Robust, full sound, Ultra portable
The Not So Good: 10-hour battery life
As far as deals go, there are few better than the ones you can find on last year’s JBL Flip 3. This awesome-sounding Bluetooth speaker has great bass response, its mids are rich and highs are crisp. This speaker offers a 3,000mAh internal battery that’s capable of about 10 hours of life and an internal microphone that allows you to pick up calls by pressing the phone button. On its back, there’s a microUSB port for charging the Flip 3 and a 3.5mm input for wired listening.
Ultimate Ears Roll 2
Go poolside with this great, cheap Bluetooth speaker
The Good: Perfect for the pool, Directional sound
The Not So Good: A bit older
Planning on taking your speaker beach-side? Be sure to pack a UE Roll 2, a speaker that’s waterproof, compact and fits great in a bag. It boasts a 50-foot wireless range, exceptional clarity around the mids and highs and won’t malfunction after a little splash. There are plenty of other great Bluetooth speaker deals out there but, if you want a speaker with a wild design, this level of sound performance and an unbeatable, 50-foot wireless range, Ultimate Ears’s Roll 2 is the epitome of water-resilient audio equipment.
Approx Price: £65
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Ultimate Ears Wonderboom
The Good: Epic 360-degree sound, Still waterproof
The Not So Good: No speakerphone
Another option from Ultimate Ears is the brand-new UE Wonderboom. Unlike the Roll 2, it’s capable of 360-degree sound, which is perfect for parties where people are a bit more dispersed, and amps up the bass. All that said, the UE Wonderboom is one of the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers you can buy. It’s completely waterproof, offers true 360-degree sound, features a 100-foot range and can pair two devices simultaneously.
Approx Price: £75
A UK shopper? Sony’s got the market cornered
The Good: Great price for UK, Great frequency response
The Not So Good: Horrible US price
If you’re looking to liven up your living room, one viable party route to go down is Sony’s SRS-X11 Bluetooth speaker. This little cube packs 12 hours of battery life in a 2.4 x 2.4 x 2.4 inch (W x H x D) shell and outputs 10w of power. It has a decent frequency response of 20–20,000 Hz (with 44.1 kHz sampling) and only weighs around 7 ounces. Cheap, light and moderately powerful? Win.
Approx Price: £35
Ultimate Ears BOOM 2
Meet the ultimate party speaker
The Good: Brilliant design, Robust feature set
The Not So Good: Battery life could be better
Need something a bit bigger for your next party? Check out the Ultimate Ears Boom 2, the reigning champ of our Best Bluetooth Speaker guide. The UE Boom is ultra-powerful and, like the UE Roll and UE Wonderboom, is 100% splashproof, making it the perfect companion for any outdoor adventuring on your agenda. If you’re deep in the search for your next – or first – Bluetooth speaker, you can stop looking now. You’ve found it.
Razer Leviathan Mini
Razer’s miniature monster sure can make a racket
The Good: Ultra-portable, Pairs with second unit
The Not So Good: Pairing process is difficult
Razer might be comparatively new to the Bluetooth speaker game, but the Leviathan Mini does a lot right. When we originally reviewed it we thought that the speaker was a little pricey for what it offered, but now that it’s been on the market for a while its price has come down substantially, making it a much easier product to recommend.
Approx Price: £118
Buy: Amazon (UK)
Bose SoundLink Color
A portable, colourful and moderately cheap Bluetooth speaker
The Good: Booming sound, Awesome battery life
The Not So Good: Lacks modern features
Bose is a brand more commonly associated with high-end audio gear, but the company is also more than capable of putting out decent budget offerings, and nothing shows that off more than the SoundLink Color, which sounds great for the price.
Prices correct as of November 14 2017. Written by Jon Porter and Nick Pino.