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The best cheap Bluetooth speakers in 2021

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Best cheap Bluetooth speakers
(Image credit: Anker)

The best cheap Bluetooth speakers are designed to give you more bang for your buck. They might not match the hardware, specs, or feature set of the best Bluetooth speakers overall, but that doesn’t mean these portable music systems can’t deliver top-tier performance for a bargain.

Some of the latest low-cost speakers have stepped up their game, boasting audio-sharing capabilities, longer battery life, and even waterproofing that’s on the level of what premium models like the Sonos Roam and UE Megaboom 3 offer. Some even come with app support that extends functionality, though the selection is scarce. Below is our list of the best Bluetooth speakers based on performance and value, helping you find something that will suit your budget very nicely.

The best cheap Bluetooth speakers: Black Friday

The biggest shopping holiday is just around the corner. If you’re looking to score some of the best cheap Bluetooth speakers for even less, we advise bookmarking our Best Black Friday Deals page for all of the latest sales. Not only are we anticipating several of the products on this list to drop lower in price, but there’s also the chance that higher-priced models receive significant price drops, which could make them eligible for this roundup.

In addition, we’re expecting markdowns on other popular audio products, including some of the best Alexa speakers, best computer speakers, and best soundbars.

What are the best cheap Bluetooth speakers?

The best cheap Bluetooth speaker for most people is Anker’s Soundcore 2. Anker is best known for its cables and computer accessories, and with this accessory, they’ve nailed it. The Soundcore 2 delivers on the things we think are most important in an affordable wireless speaker: it produces well-balanced sound, is water-resistant, and plays for an amazing 24 hours on a full charge. Those are the kinds of features you used to find in Bluetooth speakers that cost $200. It’s also easy to take with you, since it’s not too big or very heavy. To beat the Soundcore 2, you’ll need to spend a bit more, like on the UE Wonderboom 2.

If you’re someone who often has their hands full and likes to wear their speaker, the JBL Clip 2 is a perfect fit. This sequel in JBL’s popular Bluetooth speaker series improves on its predecessor in several ways, including design, sound, and battery life. The several color options – Black, Blue, Red, Teal, and Gray – are also enticing to accessorize with your wardrobe.

Those on a tight budget might find the Oontz Angle 3 to be almost as good as the Soundcore 2. The Angle 3 is lighter and smaller, which makes for better portability, but you give up some battery life — 14 hours versus 24 hours for the Soundcore 2 — and it doesn’t sound quite as rich as the Soundcore 2. 

Here are the best cheap Bluetooth speakers you can buy today.

Best cheap Bluetooth speakers you can buy today

The Anker Soundcore 2 front and center

(Image credit: Anker)

1. Anker Soundcore 2

The best cheap Bluetooth speaker overall

Size: 6.5 x 2.2 x 1.8 inches
Weight: 14.6 ounces
Battery: 24 hours
Waterproof: Yes (IPX5)
Reasons to buy
+Great battery life+Excellent sound quality
Reasons to avoid
-No app

Anker's Soundcore 2 speaker has almost everything you want in a Bluetooth speaker and is a real bargain, too. The 6.5 x 2.1 x 1.77-inch wireless speaker is small enough to be easily toteable, and its fantastic 24-hour battery life means you can listen for a long time between recharges. It features IPX5 water resistance, which makes it a great companion at the pool or in the bathroom. Best of all, the Soundcore 2 sounds great, delivering well-balanced bass, treble and mid tones. It includes a microphone if you want to use it as a speakerphone and has good wireless strength, with a range of up to 66 feet. 

The biggest downside is the lack of an app to tweak the sound or pair it with other speakers, something that you’ll commonly find in more expensive Bluetooth speakers. 

Waterproof protection demonstrated on the JBL Clip 2

(Image credit: JBL)

2. JBL Clip 2

The best cheap Bluetooth speaker for traveling

Size: 5.5 x 3.7 x 1.7 inches
Weight : 6.5 ounces
Battery: 8 hours
Waterproof: Yes (IPX7)
Reasons to buy
+Waterproof+Improved battery life+Very good sound for a small speaker
Reasons to avoid
-Not very loud-No app

It’s been on the market for five years and remains one of the best bargains in the category. The JBL Clip 2 packs strong audio performance, highlighted by impressive treble, midrange, and bass, into a compact and sturdy design designed with portability in mind. The attachable carabiner installed at the top makes the speaker simple to carry around by easily clipping onto any item: backpack, bike handle, carry-on bag…you name it. The waterproof exterior (IPX7) is another major hallmark that offers peace of mind when tossing the speaker into the pool or cycling with it through the park during a surprise rainstorm.

It can even connect with two other Clip 2 speakers for surround sound, depending on where you place all three. You’ll likely need to invest in more than one if you want stronger audio presence because the speaker doesn’t get very loud.  This being an older model also means no app support, but that isn’t necessarily a big hindrance.

Read our full JBL Clip 2 review.

The Cambridge SoundWorks Oontz Angle 3 displayed at an angle

(Image credit: Cambridge SoundWorks)

3. Cambridge SoundWorks Oontz Angle 3

The best cheap Bluetooth speaker under $40

Size: 5.3 x 2.8 x 2.6 inches
Weight: 9 ounces
Battery: 14 hours
Waterproof: Yes (IPX5)
Reasons to buy
+Big sound for its size+Good battery life
Reasons to avoid
-No app

For such little cash, you won’t find many better speakers than the Oontz Angle 3. It produces bright, clear vocals and crisp treble, and it even delivers a bit of bass—something missing from other cheap speakers. With a unique 5.3 x 2.6 x 2.8-inch triangular design, it manages to be compact while still creating a big sound. Its IPX5 weather resistance means you don’t have to worry if it gets splashed with water (but you shouldn’t dunk it in the pool). It includes a microphone if you want to use it as a speakerphone.

This version of the Oontz has better battery life than previous models, cranking out tunes for up to 14 hours. While it doesn’t sound quite as good as the SoundCore 2, it has a stronger wireless signal. Like the SoundCore, It lacks an app for adjusting sound.

The JBL Go 3 propped on a table

(Image credit: Future)

4. JBL Go 3

The best waterproof cheap Bluetooth speaker

Size: 3.4 x 2.7 x 1.6 inches
Weight: 7.4 ounces
Battery: 5 hours
Waterproof: Yes (IP67)
Reasons to buy
+Compact and waterproof+Strong bass+Choice of six colors
Reasons to avoid
-No app support-Lacking audio setail

The adorably tiny JBL Go 3 very nearly does it all, and for hardly any cash. It's highly portable, even more so than the Go 2 thanks to the new rope loop, and is water- and dust-proof to the IP67 standard. That's on par with the class-leading UE Megaboom 3. It's also good-looking, with six color options to choose from, and its Bluetooth 5.1 is solid and dependable.

5 hours doesn't sound like much, battery-wise, but in testing we got closer to 10 hours when sticking to middling volumes. Sound quality is good rather than great, with thick bass but less of an ear for detail than the Soundcore 2, but on the whole this is an outstanding bargain.

Read our full JBL Go 3 review.

The fully waterproof Tribit XSound Go

(Image credit: Tribit)

5. Tribit XSound Go

Another great, fully-waterproof cheap Bluetooth speaker

Size: 6.7 x 2.3 x 2.2 inches
Weight: 13 ounces
Battery: 24 hours
Waterproof: Yes (IPX7)
Reasons to buy
+Strong waterproofing+Excellent battery
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks bass-No app

For a few dollars less than the Anker SoundCore 2, the Tribit XSound Go comes pretty close to matching the specs for our top budget Bluetooth speaker: 24-hour battery life, excellent wireless range and auxiliary input. At 6.7 x 2.3 x 2.2 inches, the Tribit is slightly bigger than the SoundCore 2, but weighs a little less. It bests the SoundCore's waterproofing with an IPX7 rating, meaning it can be completely submerged. As with the SoundCore 2 and the Oontz Angle 3, it includes a microphone if you want to use it as a speakerphone. 

However, while the Tribit delivers very good overall sound for a small speaker, it can't match the bass output of the SoundCore 2. LIke the SoundCore 2 and Oontz Angle 3, it lacks an app that would allow you to adjust the sound to your liking. 

The Tribit StormBox Micro clipped to a bike handle

(Image credit: Tribit)

6. Tribit StormBox Micro

The best cheap Bluetooth speaker for portability

Size: 3.9 x 3.9 x 1.4 inches
Weight: 9.6 ounces
Battery: 8 hours
Waterproof: Yes (IP67)
Reasons to buy
+Small and lightweight+Decent bass+Water- and dust-proof
Reasons to avoid
-No app-Short battery life

The StormBox Micro pushes $50, but it's worth it. This is a much more compact speaker than its cousin, the XSound Go, and it's both fully waterproof (in depths up to 1 meter) and protected against dust and dirt.

 Unlike a lot of very small speakers, it also sounds great, producing clear vocals and some surprisingly strong bass. For something tiny enough to clip onto a satchel or bike handlebars, that’s very good indeed. The only drawbacks are the lack of an app 9though you can pair with two devices at once) and a relatively low battery life, which sees the StormBox Micro run dry after 8 hours.

Read our full Tribot StormBox Micro review.

The Doss SoundBox with lit button

(Image credit: Doss)

7. Doss SoundBox

A desk-friendly cheap Bluetooth speaker

Size: 6.6 x 2.9 x 2.7 inches
Weight: 19.7 ounces
Battery: 12 hours
Waterproof: Splash-resistant (IPX4)
Reasons to buy
+Good bass+Good battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn’t project sound well

If you plan to use your wireless speaker mainly on your desk, check out the Doss SoundBox. It delivers good bass and full vocals at a very reasonable price. But it's 1.2 pounds, so the 6.6 x 2.9 x 2.7-inch unit isn't really a great fit for the outdoors, even with its impressive 12 hours of battery life and water resistance. It comes in black, white, blue, pink and red to better match your personal style, and has a touch-sensitive dial on top for controlling volume. 

The sound doesn't project well, so it really works best when you're sitting near it. The sound also gets too sharp and harsh if you crank the volume — another reason it’s best for personal listening. It includes a microphone if you want to use it as a speakerphone. 

The Aomais Sport II placed on a static background

(Image credit: Aomais)

8. Aomais Sport II

Another cheap Bluetooth speaker with full waterproofing

Size: 9.3 x 4.6 x 2.4 inches
Weight: 21.8 ounces
Battery: 15 hours
Waterproof: Yes (IPX7)
Reasons to buy
+Wide sound+Clear vocals and sharp treble
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy-Muddy bass

When you’re balancing size versus portability, sometimes the extra size is worth it. The 8.2 x 3.2 x 2-inch, 21.8-ounce Aomais Sport II will take up some space in your pack, but you'll be rewarded with larger sound. The unit produces clear vocals and sharp treble thanks to its two drivers, though the bass comes across a bit muddy. It’s IPX7 waterproofing makes it one of the most rugged cheap Bluetooth speakers, and means you can submerge it without fear of damage. 

With 16 hours of playtime on a full charge, it also has better-than-average battery life. You can connect via 3.5mm cord if you don’t want to go wireless. To make it easier to tote, you can attach it to your bike using a tripod mount or buy the Aomais Sling Cover to give it a handle.

The JBL Clip Plus front and back

(Image credit: JBL)

9. JBL Clip Plus

An old-timer with plenty of value

Size: 4.2 x 3.5 x 1.7 inches
Weight: 5.3 ounces
Battery: 5 hours
Waterproof: No (water resistant)
Reasons to buy
+Impressive audio quality for its size+Convenient integrated clip+Built-in speakerphone
Reasons to avoid
-Limited battery life-Not waterproof

The first-gen JBL Clip was revered for packing such powerful sound into a compact design, though it lacked a major feature that the Clip Plus introduced: water-resistant protection. Almost six years since its original launch and this ultraportable speaker remains a popular item to take on bike rides and hikes. You’ll get crisp treble and deep bass coming out of the 40mm driver, while the speakerphone comes in handy to hear people on the other end of a call. The integrated carabiner is also super-convenient for hooking onto your backpack or belt loop.

Being an older model, the Clip Plus won’t match the battery life that its newer siblings deliver. Not being fully waterproof means you can’t take it in the shower or pool either, but that doesn’t mean outdoor adventurists can’t have fun with it.

Read our full JBL Clip/Clip+ review.

The popular SoundBot SB510 HD shower speaker

(Image credit: SoundBot)

10. SoundBot SB510 HD

The best cheap shower speaker

Size: 12 x 8 x 6 inches
Weight: 1.6 ounces
Battery: 6 hours
Waterproof: Yes (no IP rating stated)
Reasons to buy
+Good vocals and treble+Sharp treble
Reasons to avoid
-Made of flimsy materials-Limited bass

Looks can be deceiving, even when it comes to cheap Bluetooth speakers. At just 1.6 ounces, the dome-shaped SoundBot SB510 HD feels flimsy, but delivers better sound than sturdier-looking models. The surprisingly big sound of the SB510 shines when it comes to vocals and treble. It’s available in an array of colors, including black, white, blue, green and yellow. It even includes a microphone if you want to use it as a speakerphone, though your phone probably does a better job. 

The speaker includes a suction cup so you can stick it to tables or walls, which helps it create its big sound — and it makes it more convenient to attach to a shower wall. It's splash-proof so you don’t have to worry about getting it a little wet, but don’t submerge it in the bath. 

How to choose the best cheap Bluetooth speakers for you 

The best cheap Bluetooth speaker is a balance between price, sound quality, size and features. While none of these speakers cost very much, you will see a wide variability in sound quality among the ones that cost closer to $40 than the ones that are less than $20. If you can afford to spend a few more dollars, you will be rewarded with better vocals and bass, and generally, better battery life. 

If you know you’ll want to take the speaker with you on hikes and to the pool, opt for one that is light, offers waterproofing and ideally gets loud enough to be heard over environmental noise. You should also pay attention to the wireless range — some of these will stay connected 100 feet from your audio source, while others are only good at 33 feet. While most of these cheap Bluetooth speakers include a microphone for use as a speakerphone, the quality may not be any better than what your phone can produce. 

How we test the best cheap Bluetooth speakers

We tested these speakers using songs from a variety of music genres, including rock, hip-hop and acoustic. We listen for vocal clarity, sharpness of treble and richness of bass. We try the on-device controls for ease of use. To test battery life, we listened to each for several hours and checked how much charge was left. We benchmark volume using an app that measures decibels.

Michael Gowan

Michael Gowan covers soundbars, TVs, portable speakers and other audio- and video-related topics for Tom’s Guide. He’s written about music and technology for more than 20 years for a raft of publications including Wired, Men’s Journal, PC World and Macworld. When he’s not reviewing speakers, he’s probably listening to one anyway.