Skip to main content

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2020: big on sound, kind on your wallet

Best budget Bluetooth speakers Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best budget wireless speakers you can buy in 2020.

Bluetooth speakers have always been a great addition to any music lover's box of tricks, but they've never been more desirable than right now. Perhaps dropping a significant sum on something offering multi-room or Roon-ready smarts, a plethora of inbuilt streaming platforms or daisy-chaining via app support isn't justifiable right now. Maybe you just want something cheap and cheerful to provide good-quality musical accompaniment while you're working on the balcony. Maybe the children could use something durable to listen to while doing homework, or maybe you just want to listen to podcasts in the kitchen while you're cooking. 

So, aside from something that sounds good for the money, what should you look for when shopping for a budget Bluetooth speaker to get you through this most unusual year?

Models here at the more affordable end of the market tend to be rugged and super portable, so look out for a durable design and waterproofing, or at least water resistance (the latter meaning you shouldn't fully submerge your speaker in the drink).

Budget Bluetooth speakers can be small enough to fit in a coat pocket, cheekily designed to fit in your bike's water cage or big enough to fill a room with serious sound, so it's imperative that you also check the dimensions before clicking "buy" (don't worry, we've listed these below.)

Our list has something for everyone – some models even have microphones built in, should the need to take calls or speak to your virtual voice assistant arise. And we've reviewed each one in depth, so you'll know exactly what you're buying. 

Whether you want full-on portability or a speaker to move occasionally from your bedroom to the kitchen, check these out for size: you're sure to find something you – and your current budget – can truly enjoy. 

Best Bluetooth speakers 2020

1. Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2

A fantastically affordable Bluetooth speaker with a weighty sound and good battery life.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connectivity: Bluetooth | Power: Battery | Battery life: 13hrs | Charge time: 2.6hrs **Dimensions (hwd):** 10.4 x 9.5 x 9.5cm | Weight: 420g

Reasons to Buy

Punchy, entertaining sound
Hefty bass
Decent battery life

Reasons to Avoid

No wi-fi or smart assistant built-in
No mic for hands-free calls

Ultimate Ears has really made a splash in the Bluetooth speaker market with a number of colourful, fun-sounding and portable models on its books. The latest is the small but mightily impressive Wonderboom 2.

Battery life is 13 hours and a full charge takes just under three. It's waterproof, sandproof, dustproof and is also designed to float, so it should withstand the most lively of pool parties – whenever those resume. Playback is controlled over a Bluetooth connection, but it's surprising to see there's no mic for hands-free calling.

Sonically, the Wonderboom 2 is an exciting listen, with impressive bass given its small dimensions. It packs in plenty of detail and there's a fine sense of attack. It's easily one of the best sounding Bluetooth speakers you can buy for the money.

Read the full review: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2

best Bluetooth speakers 2020

(Image credit: Tribit)

2. Tribit Stormbox Micro

A fun and bubbly Bluetooth speaker that's serious when it comes to sound

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: HxWxD (cm): 9.8 x 9.8 x 3.5cm | Power: 9W | Features: water/dustproof, Bluetooth 5.0, stereo-pairing mode | Connections: 3.5 mm stereo

Reasons to Buy

Mature, musical sound
Surprisingly weighty bass
USB-C charger

Reasons to Avoid

Short battery life

It’s hard to imagine a home decor, backpack or personal taste that the Tribit Audio Stormbox Micro couldn’t merge in with happily. It's the size of a stack of drinks coasters, it's IP67 rated, there's a useful rubberised strap across the back of it and you can pair two of them in stereo mode. 

You'll be pleasantly surprised by the bass clout the Tribit is able to deliver. Although a speaker of such dimensions is obviously limited in terms of bass weight, it does remarkably well; close your eyes while listening and you’ll picture a bigger product. 

If your budget maxes out at £50 ($60), the Tribit is a splendid option. Similarly, if you only have a small zip compartment in the top of your backpack for a sonic travel companion, this speaker is worthy of that space. Take note, Ultimate Ears: a little-known brand called Tribit Audio just produced a budget belter of a Bluetooth speaker.

Read the full review: Tribit Audio Stormbox Micro

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2020: portable, desktop and multi-room

3. Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen)

The most enticing way to bring Alexa into your home.

SPECIFICATIONS

Voice assistant: Alexa | Connectivity: Bluetooth, wi-fi | Output: 3.5mm

Reasons to Buy

Clear, solid sound
Improved Alexa capabilities
Budget price

Reasons to Avoid

Alexa intelligence is limited

If you like the idea of a smart assistant combined with a simple music speaker, it’s hard to argue against the Amazon Echo Dot. For not a lot of money, you get a whole load of smart voice functionality and decent sound with this (third generation) model. It works well on its own or can be nicely integrated into myriad other smart home and AV products, bringing voice control and smart features just a command away. Sound quality has improved notably too, making it even easier to recommend.

Read the full review: Amazon Echo Dot (3rd generation)

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2020: portable, desktop and multi-room

(Image credit: JBL)

4. JBL GO 2

This punchy and clean-sounding portable speaker is a serious bargain.

SPECIFICATIONS

Waterproof: IPX7 | Bluetooth: Yes | Input: 3.5mm | Battery life: : 5 hours

Reasons to Buy

Aesthetically pleasing
Well-balanced sound
Decent bass from a small box

Reasons to Avoid

Poor battery life

For the money, this dinky JBL speaker is an absolute steal. It's waterproof, highly portable and looks adorable – it's like a bar of soap that plays music. And the sound is surprisingly good given its diminutive dimensions, providing an open, three-dimensional listen – though obviously it doesn't pack much bass. Our only real gripe? Battery life. Topping out at a mere five hours, it won't last you a full afternoon of listening, which is something many look for in a Bluetooth speaker. Still, if you can make that sacrifice, it's well worth your consideration.

Read the full review: JBL GO 2

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2020

(Image credit: JBL)

5. JBL Flip 5

Feature packed it isn't, but it sounds truly great for the money

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: HxWxD (cm): 7.4 x 18.1 x 6.9 | Power: : 20W | Features: Bluetooth v4.2, PartyBoost for multiple connections to PartBoost enabled JBL speakers, IPX7 rated | Connections: USB-C charger

Reasons to Buy

Solid bass and timing
Great sense of acoustics
PartyBoost stereo pairing

Reasons to Avoid

No aux-in or microphone
Not Connect+ compatible
Basic app

If all you want is a portable Bluetooth speaker that sounds as good as £100 can currently buy, you’ll struggle to better the Flip 5. Truly, JBL’s newest offering sounds great for the price. If you don’t mind the lack of aux-in port or inbuilt microphone (as seen in the Flip 4) or the inability to partner it with older JBL speakers (the PartyBoost function is not backwards compatible with Connect+ enabled speakers, like the JBL Charge 4), it’s an excellent proposition for the money.

It may be low on added extras, but the Flip 5 gets away with it. Once you're actually listening to it, JBL's latest Flip easily betters the competition at the price – even the award-winner. The solid sonic chops JBL has managed to deliver at this level simply cannot be denied – which is why we've given it a What Hi-Fi? 2020 Award. 

Read the full review: JBL Flip 5

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2020: portable, desktop and multi-room

6. Amazon Echo 2

Cheaper, smarter and better at listening than its predecessor.

SPECIFICATIONS

Voice control: Alexa | Finishes: six | Connectivity: Bluetooth and wi-fi

Reasons to Buy

Alexa voice control
Improved hearing commands
Smart design

Reasons to Avoid

Average sound quality

Everything from the price to the microphone performance has improved in this, the second generation of Amazon's Echo speaker – although if you want better sound quality you'll need to look at the pricier Amazon Echo Plus. Provided you don’t expect more for your money, the Echo 2 remains a solid smart speaker buy. 

Read the full review: Amazon Echo 2

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2020: portable, desktop and multi-room

7. Ultimate Ears Blast

The Blast is all-action in terms of both sound and durability.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Voice control: Alexa | Battery life: 12 hours | Waterproof: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Great portable design
Exciting, dynamic sound
Easy to use

Reasons to Avoid

Top end can get excitable at loud volumes
Alexa features not exhaustive
Relatively pricey

Ultimate Ears has a knack for finding the right combination of sound, design and features in its portable Bluetooth speakers, and it does so again with the waterproof Blast. The Blast’s energetic performance and fun design makes this wireless speaker a joy to use. It’s a carefree, exciting speaker and one that's sure to please crowds (whenever we can, er, congregate again). 

Read the full review: Ultimate Ears Blast

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2020: portable, desktop and multi-room

8. Audio Pro Addon T5

A mature and refined-sounding Bluetooth speaker with multi-room credentials.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Inputs: USB, 3.5mm | Multi-room: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Great dynamism
Clear and transparent
Good sense of timing

Reasons to Avoid

Lack of portability

If you're in the market for a stationary wireless speaker that can develop into a multi-room audio system, the T5 is a great place to start. It's a beefed-up version of the Audio Pro T3 - however, unlike the smaller model, the T5 doesn’t have a in-built battery, so this isn’t a speaker to be taking out and about. Assuming you can live with that (and we sort of have to right now), the T5 has the same great character of the T3 – an expressive, well balanced, and full sound – but with more weight in the lower frequencies. You’ll be hard pressed to get something much better without dipping a lot deeper into your bank account.

Read the full review: Audio Pro Addon T5

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2020: portable, desktop and multi-room

9. JBL Xtreme 2

One of the best portable speakers around, and can be subtle too.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2, 3.5mm | Water resistance: IPX7 | Battery life: 15 hours | Power: 2 x 20W | Weight: 2.4kg

Reasons to Buy

Clean, clear sound
Balanced bass
Solid design

Reasons to Avoid

Big
No wi-fi or multi-room
Presentation too grown-up for some

The JBL Xtreme 2 comes as a pleasant surprise. At first sight, the it might appear a little brash and out of place – an unashamed boombox in an era of reserved smart speakers dressed in grey fabric. However, this bold and aggressive look is matched by some of the sweetest sound you’ll hear from a portable speaker. There's no wi-fi, smart assistant support and multi-room audio, but this speaker sounds much more refined and delicate than it looks. Add in its chunky, rugged build and IPX7 water resistance and you have an ideal Bluetooth speaker for use in the great outdoors.

Read the full review: JBL Xtreme 2

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2020: portable, desktop and multi-room

10. Bose SoundLink Revolve

Bose's petite Bluetooth speaker makes a big impact.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connectivity: Bluetooth, 3.5mm | Battery life: 12 hours | Weight: 0.66kg

Reasons to Buy

Great omnidirectional delivery
Big, solid, punchy sound
Portable and feature-packed

Reasons to Avoid

Rivals sound more detailed
Not especially rugged
A bit pricey

The Bose SoundLink Revolve is a strikingly petite speaker, and we can see it fitting into just about any space in your home. The speaker has a decent heft – it feels more substantial than the similar-sized Google Home, for instance – but it can still be held in the palm of your hand. The unit's cylindrical design is key to delivering its 360-degree sound and it is compact enough to be carried in a backpack. 

An iPX4 water-resistance rating is handy if you're worried about it getting wet, and for such a small speaker, the Bose Revolve delivers a surprisingly big and bold sound. It's come down in price since we first tested it and it’s hard not to admire the Bose Revolve for its range of talents.

Read the full review: Bose SoundLink Revolve

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2020: portable, desktop and multi-room

11. JBL Charge 3

JBL’s versatile wireless speaker delivers a super sound indoors or out.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connectivity: Bluetooth, 3.5mm, micro USB, Type C USB | Battery life: 20 hours | Water-resistance: IPX7

Reasons to Buy

Impressive build
Clever design
Useful features

Reasons to Avoid

Lacks a little openness and subtlety

The Charge 3 has been around for a little while now, but it was designed with portability in mind and still fits neatly into the company’s existing speaker range. It’s larger than the petite JBL Flip and JBL Link 20 but not as hefty as the JBL Xtreme (see above). This makes the Charge 3 a good size for flinging in a bag and taking into the garden. This is definitely a speaker that could quite happily cope with an active camping weekend or beach holiday, at some point. 

Given the JBL’s rugged and sturdy build, you won’t be surprised to hear the Charge 3 sounds neither shy nor hesitant. It’s an enthusiastic, powerful sound, highlighted by the passive radiators pulsing vigorously at either end of the speaker. For its price (which dropped significantly when the Charge 3 was superseded by the excellent Charge 4), it remains an excellent buy.

Read the full review: JBL Charge 3

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2020: portable, desktop and multi-room

12. Tivoli Andiamo

A stylish, affordable product whose performance lives up to its looks.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connectivity: Bluetooth 3.0, 3.5mm | Battery life: 20 hours | Full-range driver: 6.5cm | Passive driver: 7.7cm | DSP equalization: 24-bit

Reasons to Buy

Fast, agile, musical sound
Premium feel and build

Reasons to Avoid

Not much at this price

Take a look at Tivoli’s Andiamo wireless speaker from afar and you would be forgiven for thinking that this is a Bang & Olufsen product. This is a lovely little piece of kit, made from lightweight but tough aluminium with leather trimmings, and nicely put together. “Andiamo” means “let’s go” in Italian, just in case you didn't know – so it's meant for travel. At its heart, this is a basic Bluetooth speaker, with no frills or added extras. Control buttons are hidden neatly beneath the tooled leather strap.

It may be relatively small in stature, but the Andiamo is certainly able to pack a sonic punch – and produces a sound way larger than you might have thought. The Tivoli Andiamo manages to pull off the seemingly impossible: it's a beautifully put-together ‘lifestyle’ product, but at the same time it provides a sound that comfortably matches its price. 

Read the full review: Tivoli Andiamo

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2020: portable, desktop and multi-room

13. Audio Pro A10

New look, but a familiar sonic character from Audio Pro.

SPECIFICATIONS

Power: 52W Class D | Connectivity: Wi-fi, Bluetooth V4.0, 3.5 mm | Multi-room: Yes | Audio formats: MP3, WMA, AAC, FLAC, Apple Lossless

Reasons to Buy

Wide dispersion of sound
Excellent timing and dynamics
Versatile positioning

Reasons to Avoid

Lacks midrange body

The Audio Pro A10 is an entirely different design from it siblings such as the Addon T5 featured further up this list. Here we have a fabric-coated cylinder standing just shy of 20cm, resembling more the kind of speaker we’re used to seeing from its rivals, but most importantly, bringing the company’s Award-winning sonic signature sound to a multi-room speaker costing less than £200.

Inside it's different from the A10’s rectangular stablemates too. Audio Pro has packed in a 7.5cm long-throw woofer and bolstered its output with two 11.5cm passive radiators. And there's a BMR, or Balanced Mode Radiator, tweeter. The result is a spread of sound that has to be admired, combined with excellent timing – it snaps along with that same intensity and intelligent organisation we’ve come to expect from Audio Pro. We think the A10's price and more traditional design will bring Audio Pro to a different audience, and we're all for that.

Read the full review: Audio Pro A10

  • simonali
    I somehow managed to grab a JBL Xtreme 2 for £149 a while back from Argoose. Presumably it was a mis-price as the offer didn't last very long. Great sound.
    Reply