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 2022.
What's the best Bluetooth speaker under $100? It's a question we understandably get asked a lot, as people want quality on-the-go or at-home sound without breaking the bank. So, as we want you to get the best value Bluetooth speaker you can, here's our definitive answer(s).
Listed below are our favorite budget Bluetooth speakers, all under $100.
How to choose the best Bluetooth speaker under $100
The good news is there's no need to sacrifice quality; $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.
The first decision to make is whether you want a portable (i.e. battery-powered) Bluetooth speaker (like the majority on this list), or one that plugs into mains, such as an Amazon Echo. The best portable Bluetooth speakers will be durable and can be taken outside without fear of damage.
Then there are additional features to consider, such as microphones (which allow you to use your Bluetooth speaker for mobile calls) and support for virtual assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri. And if your speaker is portable, check its weatherproof rating.
While all the speakers here feature Bluetooth wireless connectivity, some also have an aux input so you can plug in a good old analog cable and play music from any source. Many BT speakers charge through USB-C sockets these days, too, though you usually can't listen to audio through them. Some will, however, have sockets for charging your phone using the speaker's built-in power bank.
So, whether you want the best Bluetooth speaker for your boat, bathroom, balcony, 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.
- See the best Bluetooth speakers for every budget
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 Flip 5 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). And of course, if you've got extra cash to spend, you can pick up the newer Flip 6 for $129.95.
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
Ultimate Ears has made a splash with a string of high-quality waterproof Bluetooth speakers pitched at those on a budget. The 2019-released Wonderboom 2 is slightly older now but still, it's 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 (despite charging via the slightly older microUSB rather than USB-C), the Wonderboom 2 is almost unbeatable.
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 you want to get fully into the world of the digital assistant – and by that we mean with both audio and video – this is as a good a starting point as we’ve come across.
You see, where most Alexa-enabled kit on the market is audio-based, concentrated on the Bluetooth speaker market in particular, the Echo Show 5 embraces both sound and video with a touchscreen and a speaker. So, as well as playing music or reading out information, you can access video content on the Echo Show 5's 5.5in LCD touchscreen.
There’s also an HD camera, allowing the user to make Skype calls (for example), or view images from cameras in other rooms of the house – and elsewhere. Naturally, you can also use Echo to make voice calls, too.
Although it can be beaten for sound quality in comparison to other Bluetooth speakers, this is a box of tricks that opens up the world of the digital assistant to a whole new audience: those that actually want a screen attached to their virtual assistant. If that’s what you’re after, this is about as good as you’ll get.
Read the full review: Amazon Echo Show 5
How we test budget Bluetooth speakers
At What-Hi-Fi?, we review hundreds of products each year – always as a team and always at our testing facilities in London, Reading and Bath (and outside when it comes to portable products). This gives us complete control over the testing process, ensuring consistency and, of course, impartiality.
All products are tested against rivals in the same price category – often the current What Hi-Fi? Award winner that sets the benchmark – and all review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than an individual reviewer, again helping with consistency and avoiding any personal preference.
When testing Bluetooth speakers, we don't just look at audio quality but all other aspects of performance too, like claimed vs actual battery life, the strength of Bluetooth connection, ease of use, and much more. It's important we get a good sense of a product's performance but also its value for the price as an all rounder.
We choose only the best products from all of these reviews to feature in our Best Buys. There's no input from PR companies or our sales team when it comes to the verdict. At What Hi-Fi? we are proud to have been delivering honest, unbiased reviews for decades. Our goal? To help you to find a product you'll be over the moon with – whatever your budget.