2017’s Best Cheap Bluetooth Speakers Under 100 Bucks
Who is a Bluetooth Speaker for?
For anyone who wants and easy to use audio system that can stream tunes from any smartphone, computer, or tablet. If you want a devicer that can sit in one place and sound great or a portable speaker that you can take with you to the beach, the gym, to the office or...in the shower.
Of course, you may trade some quality and crispness for a speaker that can go in the shower, be submerged in a pool, or is durable enough to be considered military grade. But that doesn't mean you can't great-if no awesome-sound and music from portable Bluetooth Speakers.
Bluetooth can fill an entire room with rich and sharp sound. Any of the speakers that we recommend here on Boom Speaker will take care of all of your sound needs whether you're wanting your music at the beach, the pool side, while you shower, while you rest on the bed, while you work at the office, or for any number of times and activities that you could want music or hands-free calling.
Compared to a few years ago, there are a lot more choices in the Bluetooth speaker and headphone department. That means that you don’t have to pay out the wazoo to get a good pair or headphones for the gym or chilling at the house. You no longer have to spend an arm and a leg to get the right speaker for your desk or the beach. That’s the good news…
The bad news is that all the choices on the market today make it dang hard to figure out which Bluetooth speaker and headphone set are the right ones for you.
We’ve made it our business to find the Best Bluetooth speakers under 100 dollars here at the Boom. Why? Because you shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that you have to pay more than that.
Besides reviews and great advice, we also have loads of great articles!
We require these Bluetooth Devices to-
- Be Powerful: No one wants to turn on their speaker and not be able to hear it over the sound of the ocean or other background clutter.
- Be convenient: Read to pack. Able to get a little wet.
- Big or Small: It needs to be sensible. Too big and there's no sense in the technology. Too small and you're liable to misplace it or it'll be weak.
- Have Value: If we wouldn't buy, we don't recommend it. If Amazon reviewers didn't like it, we don't bother.
- Compatibility: If the Bluetooth tech doesn't pair with a system or has short capacity...it's not worth it.
Other Things We Consider:
Portability: If you want a smaller speaker to take with you everywhere then that may be your choice. If you wanted a speaker that's a little more powerful but you don't mind the added weight then that's an option, too. Generally speaking, the larger the device then the more power, bass, and volume it will have. But not necessarily the crisper sound.
Carrying Case or Handles
Smaller Bluetooth speakers are meant to be automatically portable. You can toss them in backpack or piece of luggage and in the glove compartment of your car. Of course, you want your product to be protected, too. That's why it's good to either buy one that comes with a carrying case or purchase one separately.
Larger speakers will have carrying handles and may be a little more durable.
Smaller Bluetooth devices, in particular Bluetooth headphones, will have rechargeable battery units that are convenient. Larger ones may require AAA or AA batteries which you don't have to charge but beware the added cost of those batteries. They aren't cheap and they add up.
No need to worry about cables for connection but charging is a big deal. We find that the speakers that come with USB charging cables are most convenient because you can charge and listen while you're on your computer at the same time.
Sure, looks aren't everything but no one wants to pull out their Bluetooth Speaker at an airport and have the bomb dogs called in because it's so dang ugly. Remember to choose the product that looks nice and fits your tastes. There are many different shapes and colors available these days.
Always check the "standby" and use time or "play time" of the Bluetooth devices you buy. These times will differ and a speaker that brags about a 10 hour charge time may only be talking about the time that the speaker is "asleep" and doing nothing. It's important that your portable Bluetooth system has good battery run time.
Waterproof is best because it there's an accident and your speakers ends up in the pool, then it's safe. That being said, many of them today come as "ruggedized" which means they can be dropped, splashed and even showered with for your listening pleasure. There is also a sub niche labeled under terms such as "outdoor weatherproof wireless" if you're the camping, hiking, adventurous type.
Measuring the Power of Bluetooth Speakers
We all want the best sound quality out of our Bluetooth speakers. Even if you're not a stickler for the clearest quality sound, you at least want to make sure that the device that you buy will have enough oomph behind them so that you can hear...from wherever you want to hear it from. You need enough volume to hear it over the shower and you're own singing and dancing while you're rocking out. You want to be able to turn the volume up on an awesome jam and hear even if you have to leave the room for a moment.
Understanding Watts and Decibels
- Decibels are a measure of loudness just like pounds and kilograms measure weight. For every ten decibels of power that a speaker has, the volume is double. That is, a speaker with 10 decibels of power can only be half as loud as a speaker with 20 decibels of power.
- Watts are a measure of a electrical power, i.e., your standard measurement for light bulbs. The higher the watt level, the brighter the bulb.
Check out the chart below to understand common decibel to watt translations:
Remember, that the every 10 decibels doubles the volume, so a 4 watts speaker has 30% more volume power than a 2 watt speaker. Many of the smaller speakers that we review here on Boom Speaker have 4 watts while the Skiva Big Sound offers 15 watts of power for a loud and clear listening experience.
Why Wireless Speakers over Wired? Why is Bluetooth Better?
Well, first of all, it's the 2000's and not the early-1900's, in case you haven't heard. Yeah, that's right. There are no "fire-side" chats or Little Orphan Annie serial radio shows... Or, there might be but they'll most likely be better coming through a wireless speaker.
Bluetooth gives you mobility. It would be a different issue all together if these products couldn't offer you the same sound quality as wired speakers but that's not the case. With Bluetooth speakers you get sharp, rich sound, mobility, and the ability to basically customize any style or look. There is a Bluetooth speaker for anyone in this day and age. The products that we review are all Under $100-ish so that means that you get all of the features at an affordable price.
Why Not Give the Amazon Echo a Try?
Amazon's latest and greatest connection to their "big cloud in the sky, Alexa" is the Amazon Echo.
The Amazon Echo is more than just a really smart companion in the house, though, it's already a pretty dang good Bluetooth Speaker. If you don't want it how the traffic is or to play the name game (which it does really well) then you can constantly stream Amazon Music from it (and purchase it or anything else from Amazon just by telling it to add it to cart) then you can Bluetooth pair it with your phone, tablet, or computer and let the good tunes roll.
Some will say that the Echo doesn't "sound really good", but I differ in opinion. I think it does sound really good but doesn't sound excellent. But then again, how many Bluetooth devices (or any type of device) can you ask to add things to a shopping list, speak Italian, give you a morning brief, etc.
The Echo offers 360 degree sound that sounds good up until the highest of volumes (also something you can tell Echo to do by simply saing, "Echo, volume 5" for example). At higher volumes it does distort. We feel that Echo, at volume level 7, is a great choice for most homes. Some busier homes, or among parties, may require level 8...but 10 is rarely needed.
Whether it be down by the beach to up in the mountains, you love spending time outdoors, but you definitely don't want to leave your music behind. For the avid outdoors person, you need a solid device that is portable, but is also rugged enough stay strong and operable after a few slight bumps in the road. A good outdoor Bluetooth speaker also needs to have audio come out louder than a barely audible whisper too. So in short, if you like to spend your time out in the wild, you need a product that is both loud and rugged.
We're really big fans of the JBL line of devices. Check out our JBL dedicated page.
How to Buy Portable Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers
When shopping around for a smaller device for your desk, you may consider sound quality and size, but when looking for a speaker to use in your campsite, there is a different set of criteria that your Bluetooth needs to meet.
Durability - Your speaker needs to be able to handle the unexpected. At very least, your choice in speaker should at least be able to endure splashes of water and a bumpy ride down the road. Look for products with an IPX4 water resistance rating or above as well as one that has a bit of armor.
Portability - What good is a speaker if it weighs 100 pounds and you really don't want to lug it around? The more durable outdoor models will be a bit heavier than your indoor ones, but the best ones won't be unwieldy.
Functionality - This criterion can be different for every person. Some want a Bluetooth speaker that is easy to use and to set up while others want it to be able to do a number of functions at a touch of a button.
From fairly substantial to downright heavy-duty, here are five of the best Bluetooth speakers on the market to toss in the back of your truck and take out into the wilderness.
Loudest: The Big Turtle Shell
Do you personally go out of your way to find the most remote outdoor areas so you can play your music really loud? If you want a Bluetooth speaker that can really bring the volume, Outdoor Tech's Big Turtle Shell is really your best option.
While its contemporary design may suggest a lack of durability, Outdoor Tech specifically designed their product so that it is not only easily recognizable, but built tough. With a stable foundation and a grill to protect from dust and water splashes, The Big Turtle Shell can stand with the best of them. However, its true highlight is performance. The design allows it to pump out optimal sound quality at 110 decibels, making it easily the loudest outdoor boomer on the market. The turtle shell design also comes in a smaller, less loud size for easy transport. However, The Big Turtle Shell does have handles for easier transportation.
Most Affordable: Photive Hydra
The Photive Hydra is one of the most popular outdoor Bluetooth speakers on the market, and for good reason. Encased in a smooth rubber grip on all sides, it is water resistant and easy to carry around. The speaker itself is cover in a tough metal grill to protect it from any outside irritants. With a water resistance rating of IPX6, the Hydra can withstand splashes, but should not be submerged in water.
Where the Photive Hydra really shines is in its sound quality. It is small, but it is fierce. While the bass is not earth shattering, it is respectable for its size, but the clarity is amazing. The sound is so clear that it sounds like the vocals and instrumentals are coming from different speakers, but they are not. With its small size and punchy sound, the Photive Hydra is a great choice for the outdoors person who is always on the go.
Most Durable: UE BOOM 2
Don't be deceived by its sleek and fashionable design, the UE Boom 2 only looks like it should stay indoors. In fact, its portable and eye-pleasing design is both durable and gives a great performance. Due to its design, the UE BOOM 2 gives off the loudest 360-degree sound on the market in crystal clear quality.
While small and easy to put out of harm's way, if it does come into danger, the BOOM comes with sealed ports to keep liquid and debris away from its sensitive components. While the exterior mesh looks weak, it has been coated with water and stain resistant materials, making it look like an indoor speaker, but perform like an outdoor device.
Portable: Divoom Voombox
The Voombox may be tiny, but it is tough. With 6 drivers and a 15-watt output, the Voombox can put out a powerful sound making its portable shell so deceptive. It's encased in a strong metal body that is reinforced with shock-absorbing rubber, making it ready for whatever adventure you have ahead.
Although it only has a IPX4 water resistance rating (making it only safe from splashes), you can enjoy 12 hours of omni-directional sound on one charge. Its small size and weight also make it easy to slip into a pack so that you are not carrying an 80's-style boom box on your shoulder over to your campsite.
We love the Voombox and it is in someone's pack each time we go camping. If it's raining you can always put it in a tent and still listen to it from just about anywhere at the stie.
Overall Best: Fugoo Tough
What is the best overall outdoors Bluetooth speaker in terms of portability, durability, functionality, and sound quality? It is the fierce-looking Fugoo Tough.
Marketed as the world's most rugged. this is one model that lives up to its reputation. With six drivers spread across four sides, the Fugoo Tough delivers loud 360-degree sound at a respectable 95 decibel volume.
That performance is all wrapped up in a tough shell that isn't just for show. While its IPX5 rating makes this speaker safe from splashes, it is also snow-proof, mud-proof, and dust-proof, assuring you can do pretty much everything with this speaker along for the ride.
While all of that is excellent in an outdoor Bluetooth speaker, does it really merit the $300 price tag? It does when you consider that its charger holds for 40 hours of continuous use. If you spend more time out in the bush than you do in the house, the Fugoo Tough is definitely worth the investment.
Solar Powered Bluetooth Speakers Under 100 Dollars
The latest and greatest in the Bluetooth Speaker industry? You might think so. They're been out and around for a while now and one of the favorite gadgets for avid outdoors people. Beaches. Camping. Hiking. It doesn't matter. A solar powered Bluetooth speaker will make your day easier and a lot more fun. These speakers will have your music bumping and your soul grinding!
You get to harness natures energy and listen to the tunes of make hands-free calls while you're fishing, sunbathing, or camping. The best part? With the power of the sun you'll never have to recharge a battery or worry about losing your speaker when you most need it.
There are some solar powered speakers, like the Eton Rukus, that will actually have the capacity ad efficiency of awesome solar panels to not only power your tunes but will also allow you to charge your cell phone at the same time! Say what? Say YES! Now, that's a BOOM Speaker.
Benefits of a Solar Powered Bluetooth Speaker
Music to Stream
- Pair a mobile device and keep your music going thanks to the sun for hours on end.
Charge Mobile Devices
- Take your solar powered speaker and make keep your other devices fueled and charged so that you're never without a phone or a tablet for calls, internet surfing, or reading your favorite eBook.
Never Go Without Your Music...Even in the Outdoors
- Long hikes? Camping on the beach? Multi-day fishing trips? As long as the sun is present, then you'll be able to charge your speaker, other devices, and listen to your favorite music or anything else you want to stream.
Going Indoors? Keep it Charged the Old Fashioned Way
- What's the use of technology if you can't fall back onto old traditions? If you need to keep you solar powered speaker inside then you can do that and charge it traditionally via micro-USB.
Keep it Near the Water...You're Safe
Most solar powered Bluetooth speakers are designed to be used in the elements and outside. Splash proof is pretty basic.
3 Best Bluetooth Options for Gaming and Surround Sound
While most serious games will opt for a great pair of Bluetooth headphones for gaming, there’s really nothing quite like filling a room with the sound of your current gaming love affair with an awesome Bluetooth speaker. Whether that’s the “pew, pew, pew” or rapid machine gun fire of first person shooters like Overwatch and Call of Duty or the serene music and sound effects of No Man’s Sky. Something like Star Wars: Battlefront really does magic for a room!
According to our research, studies and testing-the below speakers are the best Bluetooth speakers for gaming with passion and deft skill.
Lowest Cost…Good performance and Value
- Very small space taken up. You can put the bass box under the desk at your feet and both speakers at desk level, on either side for a great experience.
- Cool brushed design with fresh looking blue LED light giving the Sykik a modern, sleek look.
- Easy to set up. Quick to get going and gaming with great sound.
- One year Sykik warranty.
- Bluetooth will connect to most compatible devices including smart phones TV, computers, etc.
- Option of Bluetooth/wireless connection or wired via RCA in put ports.
- Front facing volume and bass controls.
- Sub Woofer: 9”H, 5”W, 11” D. Satellite speakers each: 3.5”x3.5”x3.5”.
Mid Range Cost…Great Performance, Sound and Value
We thought about NOT including the Logitech Z323 in this list because it’s NOT a true Bluetooth device as it needs the Bluetooth adapter that it comes with. That being said, it’s a monster of a device the provides accurate, crisp sound to that makes all the pops, echoes and crashing of gaming a joy.
- Immersive Logitech 360-degree sound for crystal-clear, room-filling audio.
- Ported, down-firing subwoofer delivers deep, rich bass
- RCA and 3.5 mm inputs for easy connections to gaming console, DVD player or iPod.
- Great ratings on Amazon with 4.3 out of 5 stars in over 750 reviews at time of our review.
High End Prices for the Best Sound in Gaming from Bluetooth Speakers
For the ultimate experience in computer gaming sound, then you need this monster of a product from Rockford! The sound is so clear, the surround sound SO intense and accurate that you would swear that you’re wearing headphones. You’ll easily be able to determine which direction those enemy footsteps are approaching from and the minute (but necessary) grunts of an approaching enemy or ally.
- 1000+ watts total peak power (530 watts RMS) delivering the most powerful audio entertainment
- Convenient desktop control includes: on/off switch, input source selection, master volume control, bass volume control, surround control, headphone output jack, auxiliary input jack
- System offers various methods of connectivity including: Bluetooth, Optical, RCA, AUX, and the latest in gaming sound cards
- Ideal for watching movies, gaming, or playing music
- System includes: (4) satellite speakers, (1) center channel, (1) subwoofer, (1) multi-function control pod, (1) wireless IR control, and (5) speaker wires