Best Bluetooth speakers under $100 Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best Bluetooth speakers under $100 that you can buy in 2021.
What's the best Bluetooth speaker under $100? It's a question we get asked a lot, so here's the definitive answer(s). Listed below are our favourite budget Bluetooth speakers, all under $100. Read on as we explain how to get more Bluetooth speaker for your Benjamins...
The good news is there's no need to settle for less; $100 goes a long way these days. Bluetooth speaker tech has come on leaps and bounds in the last couple of years and the latest models are loaded with features and can blast out room-filling sound despite pocket-sized proportions. There are also plenty of water- and dustproof options for pool parties or vacations.
You can even get additional features such as microphones (which allow you to use your Bluetooth speaker for mobile calls) or support for virtual assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri. And while all the speakers here feature Bluetooth connectivity, some have an aux input so you can plug in a good old analog cable and play music from any source.
So, whether you want the best Bluetooth speaker for your boat, your bathroom, your balcony, the kitchen or the beach, you'll find something to suit every budget in the list below. And since all the speakers in this list have been tested by What Hi-Fi's audio experts, you can buy with confidence.
Without further ado, here are the best Bluetooth speakers for under $100...
- See the best Bluetooth speakers for every budget
Ultimate Ears has made a splash with a string of high-quality waterproof Bluetooth speakers pitched at those on a budget. The Wonderboom 2 is the MVP – a small but mighty Bluetooth speaker with a great 13-hour battery life and impressive sound.
It's waterproof and it floats, making it the ideal companion for boat trips and pool parties. It's also dust-proof and sand-proof, so you can blast out tunes on the beach. When it gets dirty, just rinse it off under the tap.
More importantly, it pumps out superb sound for the money. It might only be 10cm tall but the Wonderboom 2 offers a impressive bass, a spacious presentation, and excellent musicality.
When you stack up the superb sonics, tough design and great battery life, the Wonderboom 2 is almost unbeatable. It's our pick as the best Bluetooth speaker under $100.
Read the full review: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
Tribit Audio might be new to the Bluetooth speaker game, but it's already scored a hit with this ultra-portable model. Roughly the size of a stack of drinks coasters, the Stormbox Micro provides a serious amount of sound for around sixty bucks.
It makes a great travel buddy, too. The Micro is IP67 rated, which means it can be dropped in a metre of water for up to 30 minutes and live to tell the tale, and it comes with a useful rubberised strap. You can pair two of them in stereo mode or access your connected device’s voice assistant.
Although a speaker of such dimensions is obviously limited in terms of bass weight, the Micro does remarkably well; close your eyes while listening and you’ll picture a bigger product. Perhaps it's down to the fact that Tribit Audio was founded by a group of sound engineers? Either way, this wireless wonder is one of our top picks for best Bluetooth speaker under $100.
Read the full review: Tribit Audio Stormbox Micro
The question of which voice assistant to introduce to your home is largely a personal one. But by updating its most popular and affordable Echo device with this degree of skill, Amazon has laid down the most compelling case yet for choosing Alexa. Regardless of the Marmite aesthetic (yes, it looks like a little Magic 8-Ball) Alexa's responses are slightly quicker, the answers are much (much) clearer, and the sonic performance is better than ever.
Amazon’s entry-level smart device has come a long way in terms of sound quality since the arrival of the first and second Dots – so much so, you could say Amazon has come a 'full circle’ in the smart speaker arena.
Read the full review: Amazon Echo Dot (4th Generation)
Smarts, sound and screen for $99. OK, to put the Google Nest Hub’s 7in (1024 x 600) touchscreen into context, the display real estate is only marginally bigger than the 6.7in one sported by the largest iPhone 12 Pro Max when measured on the diagonal – and here, there's no camera for selfies, video calls or security duties – but still, it's a lot of features for the money.
There are plenty of music streaming and TV services available, including Deezer, Netflix and Disney Plus – and remember, Amazon's smart products don't currently have 'skill' support for Disney Plus. The headline-grabber, however, is Sleep Sensing, which is free to trial on the Hub this year but will come at a cost from 2022. As the Nest Hub includes Google’s Soli sensor for motion detection, plus light and temperature sensors, not only can you stop and resume tracks by simply showing your Hub the palm of your hand, the chip housed within the speaker can tell you how long you slept for and how restful your sleep was. It's something different and trying to align your 'sleep circles' with a good eight hours is quite addictive.
Amazon's Echo Show 10 (a similar smart-speaker-with-screen concept) is almost three times the price and is bigger, beefier, and comes with a snapper. But thanks to Disney Plus, Sleep Sensing tech and a good (if not great) sound, the Google Nest Hub is a worthy proposition depending on your priorities or budget.
Read the full review: Google Nest Hub (2nd Generation)
The diminutive, soap on a rope-styled GO 3 features Bluetooth 5.1 instead of 4.1 plus a maximum power output of 4.2W, up from 3W in the GO 2 (listed below). The one specification that hasn’t changed is the GO 3's stamina. It takes 2.5 hours to charge fully, and you can still only get five hours of playtime from it from a single charge.
If you can live with this, there's much to celebrate in the sound department at the level. The extra power and overhauled design have resulted in some solid sonic enhancements, and aesthetically it's perhaps even cuter than the original. We gave this iteration five stars for sound. Will five hours get you through a day at the beach or a lazy picnic in the park though? Probably best to take a wireless charger.
Read the full review: JBL Go 3
It's nowhere near as rugged as the Wonderboom 2, but this homebody of a smart speaker makes it easy to ask Amazon Alexa to play your favorite track, tell you the weather or control Alexa-compatible smart home devices.
The Echo Dot is also one of the most affordable ways to bring Alexa, the Amazon's impressive AI-powered voice assistant, into your home – especially since this model has just been superseded by the 4th gen. iteration, above. Even better, the Echo Dot can be integrated into a ton of smart home and AV products, from the humble Ring doorbell to high-end multi-room audio systems.
You need to connect the Echo Dot to power so while it's hands-free, it's not particularly 'portable'. Sound quality is excellent for such an inexpensive speaker: voices are full-bodied and treble is smooth. Amazon also claims it's 70 percent louder than the previous Echo Dot.
Read the full review: Amazon Echo Dot (3rd generation)
For the money, this dinky JBL speaker is an absolute steal – it can now be had for around thirty bucks. It's waterproof, highly portable (about the size of a bar of soap) and comes in some eye-popping colours.
Best of all, it sounds surprisingly good given its tiny proportions, providing an open, three-dimensional listen the belies its bargain price tag. OK, it doesn't pack much of a punch in the bass department, but its wonderfully cohesive output more than makes up for any lack of thump.
The one downside to the JBL GO 2? Battery life. Topping out at a mere five hours, it won't last you a full day, which is something many look for in the best Bluetooth speaker, especially those headed to the beach.
Still, if sound and style are your priorities, this pound-for-pound contender could be the best Bluetooth speaker for you.
Read the full review: JBL GO 2
If all you want is the best Bluetooth speaker that sounds as good as $100 can currently buy, choose the fantastic Flip 5. Truly, JBL’s latest Flip offering sounds awesome for the money. (Note: while it carries an $119.99 MSRP, you can pick up the Flip 5 for just under $100 at most major online retailers).
Bass is weighty and there's plenty of texture to the audio. The treble and midrange also impress, with the soundstage being very open and spacious. And at 20W, it's loud enough to rock the most raucous of pool parties.
Talking of which, the Flip is IPX7 waterproof and floats, so it won't sink when dropped in a pool or over the side of a boat. JBL's PartyBoost function also means you can pair two Flip 5s together for a stereo effect (the Flip 5 itself is mono).
If you don’t mind the lack of aux-in port or microphone, or the inability to partner it with older JBL speakers (the PartyBoost function is not backwards compatible), the sonically-superior Flip 5 will reward you will stellar sound for less than $100.
Read the full review: JBL Flip 5
If you're in the market for an upscale wireless speaker that can develop into a multi-room audio system, the T5 is a great place to start. It's a bigger version of the Audio Pro T3 - however, unlike the smaller model, the T5 doesn’t have a in-built battery, so this isn’t really portable.
Provided that's not a dealbreaker, the T5 rewards with a big scoop of bass, plenty of detail and a great sense of timing. Play something upbeat and you’ll probably find your head nodding along within a couple of minutes.
It scores highly in the style stakes, too, making a bold statement with a matte housing that showcases two 20mm tweeters and a 10cm subwoofer, which punches out lower frequencies with ease. Features are pretty basic: a 3.5mm audio jack and a USB port on the back so you can plug in a Google Cast device or charge your phone (you can't use the USB for playback).
Put simply, the T5 is a lot of "proper" speaker for $100. If you're interested in building up a multi-room system without wrecking your checking account, you'll be hard-pressed to find anything better for the money.
Read the full review: Audio Pro Addon T5
This classy portable speaker hit the shelves at $180 but it can now be found for $99.99 at most big-name retailers. It's packed with neat features including wireless streaming over Bluetooth and wi-fi hands-free voice assistance and a charging dock. Few rival can compete with that package of smarts, making the JBL Link Portable one of the best Bluetooth speakers under $100 right now.
It's relatively heavy for a 'portable' speaker, but it is road trip-ready and does offers more substantial sound that some of the smaller, suitcase-friendly options. An IPX7 rating means it’s fully waterproof to a depth of 1m. There's a dedicated button on the top that will summon Google Assistant and it comes wrapped in an upscale fabric.
Sound is excellent for a speaker of this size, it has oodles of detail and an expansive mix with everything present, including bass. If you're after a hi-fi-sounding speaker with support for hi-res audio at a budget price, this JBL's tough to beat.
Read the full review: JBL Link Portable