Power and Portability All in One Package: Best Bluetooth Speakers under 100 Bucks
Last time we met, we talked about entry-level Bluetooth speakers that cost less than 50 bucks.
And, as is turned out, even this affordable market segment somehow managed to put on a couple of decent units worth your attention.
Now, take this already solid foundation and imagine what you can get if you simply put the additional 50 dollars on the stack of money you are already spending.
Are you feeling excited about this proposition? I'm positively hyped.So let us go through this promising price range and try to find the best Bluetooth speaker under 100 dollars.
In a hurry? The test winner after 21 hours of research:
Last Updated: December 1, 2019
By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best Bluetooth speakers under $100 available for those who are interested in having the best portable sound output out there. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the Bluetooth speakers under $100 currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.
Top 5 Bluetooth Speakers Under $100
|Bose SoundLink Micro||Rating:||View Latest Deal →|
|Bugani M83 Outdoor Speakers Bluetooth 5.0||Rating:||View Latest Deal →|
|JBL FLIP 5 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker||Rating:||View Latest Deal →|
|Jabra Speak 510 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker||Rating:||View Latest Deal →|
|JBL Flip 4 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker||Rating:||View Latest Deal →|
|AOMAIS GO Bluetooth Speakers||Rating:||View Latest Deal →|
|Anker Soundcore Boost Bluetooth Speakers||Rating:||View Latest Deal →|
Picking the Best Bluetooth speaker under 100 dollars - Keep an Eye Out for These Specs
As always, before I proceed to the dissection of everything that affordable Bluetooth market range has to throw at us, I'll take some time to go through the most important considerations you'll need to make to find the unit that suits your needs the best.
Why? Well, for a start, you can lose nothing by becoming a more educated buyer. Second, we need to set up some standards we’ll use to tear these boys apart.
Here are the top four things to consider when buying your Bluetooth unit.
Size and weight
The main perk of Bluetooth speakers lies in their portability. Sure, the absence of pesky cables comes in a close second place.
But, what is the first thing that crosses your mind when you think about Bluetooth speakers – some hulking wireless beast that can blow the roof off your room or a portable piece of tech you can easily slip into any backpack?
Yeah, I thought of the latter mention as well.
So, keeping that in mind, we can say the good affordable speakers that cover most of the primary user needs should feature manageable measures.
Just how manageable?
Well, even if we take into consideration the "heavy-duty" nature of this price range, we can say that Bluetooth units under $100 should be no larger than 13 x 7 x 5 inches and weigh no more than 5 pounds.
So, we’ve established that the main purpose of Bluetooth speakers is to be outgoing. In order to achieve that, they don’t only need to be portable enough to be easily carried around.
Oh no, they also need to pack enough juice to allow comfortable autonomy. As you can guess, this critical feature mostly boils down to the capacity of the battery.
But, just how much battery life is enough? Well, it really depends on a variety of factors that can be broadly described as your personal needs.
Still, if we take a look at the average number of hours offered by the speakers in this range, we can mark 12 as some standard you shouldn't drop below unless your needs are very modest.
Sound quality and power
Although these two things are closely related, they don’t automatically imply each other.
Namely, higher power enables stronger output and, therefore, affects the sound quality.
This important feature is measured and described in Watts and, as you can guess, the more you get it, the better. Keep in mind, though, that stronger power draw has an influence on battery life as well.
So, the power definitely has an influence on the output quality.
However, the ultimate sound quality is also largely affected by the following specs:
- Audio accuracy – Essentially, audio accuracy is the ability of the speaker to reproduce audio recording as close as possible.
Lower quality speakers have a nasty habit of dropping all the nuances of complicated tunes and turned them into a jumbled mess than only vaguely represents the original song.
- Frequency range – All the sounds that can be heard by humans (and the ones who don't) can be placed somewhere on the frequency spectrum.
The broader part of this spectrum your speaker can play, the better. Pay special attention to the lower end that allows the reproduction of deep bass lines.
- 360-degree output – To put it simply, the speakers that point the sound only in one direction need more power to fill in the room with sound. Their performance suffers even more in the open.
On the other hand, the speakers who disperse the sound in multiple directions (preferably 360 degrees) handle this issue much better.
Looking at all the specs, we have previously covered, we can see that a lot of speakers than can be found in the $50 - $100 range are real workhorses that are intended for open spaces and outdoor use.
Because of that, you should look for at least a certain degree of water and dust proofing. Fortunately, most of the speakers I'll cover in a minute are at least splash-proof, which means they can survive a tamed pool party.
But, if you want to get the best level of enjoyment, you should look for devices that feature a full-blown IPX7 that allows immersion up to one meter of water and for as long as 30 minutes.
Best Bluetooth speakers under $100
And now, when you know what makes a good speaker, it is time to take a look at some of the best quality and most popular units currently floating the market.
Here are some of the best Bluetooth speakers under 100 dollars.
1. Bose SoundLink Micro
Our Rating: 93/100
Bose is a pristine name in the world of audio equipment. And although their bread and butter lie more in the field of smart homes and home theaters, their offer of affordable speakers is more than competitive.
However, the brand name has never been a guarantee of quality.
Let us see has the manufacturer found a formula to make their products accessible to average consumers while preserving the quality that made the company famous.
At first glance, Bose SoundLink Micro looks horribly uninspired. The unit is made from dark plastic, features relatively modest dimensions of 1.4 x 3.9 x 3.9 inches, and features no visible standout features whatsoever.
But, if you take a moment, you will see there is a lot of beauty to be found in this simplicity. And the resulting ergonomics of the product is simply awesome.
You want to ride a bike? Just strap the speaker on the handlebar, and you're good to go. Going hiking? The speaker can be mounted on a backpack just as easily.
This situation is largely helped by the fact that the device features IPX7 that makes sure you'll be able to blast your tunes even if you are caught in the middle of a blizzard.
The only downside of these design choices is that the battery that can be found in the unit is very compact as well, which means you will get a below-average autonomy of 6 hours.
Fortunately, in terms of performance, the unit easily rises to the expectations I had from a manufacturer like Bose.
Namely, the output you are going to squeeze out of this piece of plastic is incredibly loud for the unit’s size, and all the tones across the frequency range are played with crispness and precision while the bass lines were deep and booming.
Overall, I was pretty impressed by how the speaker handled the wide variety of genres ranging from hip hop to speed metal.
But, that’s not all - SoundLink Micro also features a built-in microphone. That means you will be able to use all the assistance from Google and Siri without having to pull out your phone. Now that’s neat.
What to say, check this product while it’s still hot.
2. Bugani M83 Outdoor Speakers Bluetooth 5.0
Our Rating: 90/100
Bugani is far from being considered a top-tier audio-equipment manufacturer. But, the beauty of these affordable price ranges is that you don’t truly need to be one to put out a good product.
Well, it seems that Bugani has managed to find that secret formula and assemble a unit that will provide you hours of fun without breaking your bank.
This bad boy barely passes the $50 mark.
Ok, let’s cut the small talk and address the obvious elephant in the room here. With its quality materials and shock-absorbing housing, Bugani M83 is tough as nails.
However, its design is hugely divisive. Seriously. Some people will dig the whole black and orange 80s toolbox vibe. Others will find it so off-putting they'll simply skip the speakers in spite of the reliable performance.
So, in spite of all the goodwill, I'll count this as a drawback.
But, once you pass this issue, you can see that features a very powerful 40W-powered setup that consists of two woofers and two tweeters.
Even better, the battery you can find inside is not only capable of running this setup. If you keep the volume at 50%, you will be able to squeeze a whole 40 hours of uninterrupted performance.
Nearly two days of your favorite tunes!
Sure, recharge takes sweet 5 hours, but the very idea of blasting such a powerful sound outdoors for so long is still very novel. And then there is the whole slew of connectivity options.
There is one thing I would like to see improved, though – the unit features only the IPX5 waterproof certification.
As you would expect, such a layered set up as the one we can find here should provide very reliable and precise performance. And, in spite of the modest price we can find on the box, the overall impression is, indeed, very solid.
I tested the speakers with all sorts of different genres ranging from jazz and classic rock to house, and they all came out more than pleasant. The area I found the most pleasing was the bass.
With two powerful woofers pumping behind the grills, this bad boy puts on the low-frequency performance very hard to match even if you invest a couple of dozens of bucks more.
As a matter of fact, this money will be much better used if you buy the speaker bundled with a handy carrying bag.
3. JBL FLIP 5 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Our Rating: 89/100
Any kind of list of best Bluetooth speakers simply wouldn’t be the same without at least one entry coming from JBL’s kitchen. And surprise, surprise - today we have not one but two speakers carrying this famous brand written over their body.
Let us first take a look at the newer iteration of the famous FLIP lineup that represents the pinnacle of all the previous JBL’s efforts.
In terms of design, JBL has always been very fond of the “if it ain't broke, don't fix it” philosophy. Therefore, it should be no surprise that FLIP 5 follows the same old design language the manufacturer has used time and again.
Bottom line, if you love that bulky, grilled roller body, this is the product for you. If you don’t, there are very slight chances something will change in the future.
But, on the bright side, the body is adamant, good-looking, features comprehensive controls, and is even resistant to submersion (IPX7 certification), so there are really not that many things to be frustrated about.
Also, even if you feel that the design has become a bit tired by now, JBL allows you to choose between 11 exciting colors and break the monotony.
I have always seen the whole FLIP series as a perfect pool-party companion, so I always leaned toward more vibrant options. This time I bought the red one. Boy, does it look energizing.
Finally, much like with any other iteration of the FLIP series, the speaker is capable of 360-degree sound reproduction, which is just awesome.
In terms of performance, FLIP 5 rises to the high standards set by the previous products from the series. The output is loud, precise, and handles all of the tunes you can expect to find at a regular pool party with ease.
The fact that the thing effortlessly floats in the water and features substantial autonomy of 12 hours of playtime just makes the impression even better.
However, be aware that the speaker plays only mono audio. Sure, you can pair the device with other Connect+-compatible devices to create the stereo setup.
But, if you don’t own them… Well, that’s a bummer.
4. Jabra Speak 510 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
Our Rating: 88/100
And now for something completely different. Yes, in the world of buffed up Bluetooth speakers, Jabra made an interesting choice – their Speak lineup isn’t trying to compete with any of them.
Instead, the manufacturer has decided to position its product as a business-oriented series of conference speakers.
A very wise decision, indeed. But, what does that mean for the overall usability of this package?
Call me crazy, but am I the only one that thinks Speak 510 looks like some kind of smart hot plate?
Joking aside, this is what the most conference units look like, and this kind of design serves their purpose very well. And if you are willing to go with this whole idea, you’ll notice that the unit looks rather sleek and it’s been put together more than well.
But, be warned, since the speaker is top oriented, its sound dispersion (at least in terms of playing music) is not that great.
So, what we can find when we take a closer look at the device? Well, the controls that are spread along the edge of the speaker are visible and responsive.
Also, the battery that can be found inside is a no joke. With up to 15 hours of continuous playback, Speak 510 can easily stand toe to toe with any other unit on the list.
And when my battery run dry, I easily hooked up the unit with my PC and continued playing. So, taking into consideration what this speaker was made for, I am pleased with everything I've seen so far.
If I had to describe Jabra Speak 510 in one word, it would be "fine." Seriously, this neat piece of tech is perfectly fine. I played a couple of metal tunes; it performed well. When I switched to rap, bass ended up a bit on the lower side, but the impression remained solid.
But, all these things are not what the speaker was made for. So, I made a couple of conference calls. Impressions are as follows:
The unit picks up the voice exceptionally well and plays it even better. Also, keeping in mind its purpose, the speaker is very loud. On the downside, the microphone cuts out when the speaker emits a sound, which is, I suppose, something you would want from a conference unit.
5. JBL Flip 4 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Our Rating: 86/100
As I already mentioned, JBL is a powerhouse manufacturer – probably the most famous name in the entire affordable Bluetooth speaker market segment. This success can be primarily contributed to the insanely popular FLIP series.
You have already seen what I have to say about its latest iteration, FLIP 5. Let's see what happens if we take a step back. This time, we are going to take a look at FLIP 4.
Speaking about the visual appearance and build quality of this unit is very hard. I had already said everything that needs to be told when I talked about FLIP 5.
But, for those who came in late, JBL has, by this point, mastered the art of roller-shaped speakers wrapped in a tough waterproof fabric, and can produce the unit like this without a second thought.
The result of this tired practice and years is a product that was able to endure all sorts of abuse I put it through and continue working even after a couple of serious submersions in the water (courtesy of IPX7 certification).
Once again, the speaker features very intuitive and easy-to-use controls as well as seamless voice control integration that make the use of various voice assistants a breeze.
If we take a look inside, we can find a battery of 3000mAh, which allows a playback time of approximately 12 hours, which is on par with the battery life we saw in FLIP 5.
In terms of the performance, JBL FLIP 4 does everything you would expect from a FLIP series. The sound reproduction is very precise, frequency range more than satisfying, bass deep, volume high, and the audio mono.
However, the device supports the Connect+ option, so you will be able to create your stereo setup if you have at least one more of these.
I told you – a pretty standard affair.
The main question here is what separates FLIP 5 and FLIP 4 and does going one step back produces large enough savings to make sense.
Well, the main difference between these two products can be found in power – FLIP 5 runs on 20W, while FLIP 4 brings these numbers down to 16W. The result is noticeably weaker output.
That power gap comes with the price difference of about 10 to 15 dollars. What are you going to take out of this depends entirely up to you.
6. AOMAIS GO Bluetooth Speakers
Our Rating: 83/100
If you thought that Bugani M83 was a niche product, you are forgiven – I mean, toolbox speakers don’t look like something that will eventually catch on. But, it turns out these workhorse devices are pretty popular.
And when you think about it a bit, this whole idea makes horribly lot sense. Honestly, what would you bring to camping with you – your fancy JBL roller or something that looks like it went to hell and back and rocks the music for two days uninterrupted?
Yeah, I concur.
One of the main problems with AOMAIS GO is that the powerhouse performance I’ve talked about is somewhat missing. For instance, the battery life of 8800mAh allows for a pretty comfortable 30 hours of playtime.
Not bad, but remember - Bugani M83 offers ten hours more and costs a lot less than this piece of tech.
Also, the speaker setup here is a bit less inspired. This time, you get dual 15-Watt full-range drivers paired with two passive radiators. Not bad, but I’ve seen better.
It is the build quality where this speaker indeed rises to the occasion and finds a way to stand out for the competition.
First of all, the device is rock solid and looks like it can take more than a couple of hits before breaking. Second, you get the IPX7 certification, which means you will be able to play your favorite tunes even if you find yourself in the middle of a blizzard.
And, as a cream on top, the manufacturer even gave you an option to choose between three different color setups. Overall, not bad.
So, what all these building blocks amount to when you finally put the music through the speakers?
Well, let’s call it a reasonable performance. Namely, the quality of the output is not that bad. As a matter of fact, classic rock tunes (think Fleetwood Mac) sounded rather nice when turned to eleven.
But, as soon as I moved to something more bass-heavy, I noticed that bass sounds way weaker than I hoped. It's not bad or anything, but for this money, you can get better.
And that is probably the main issue I had with this product. On its own – it’s actually quite decent. But, the harsh competition simply makes this purchase unadvised.
7. Anker Soundcore Boost Bluetooth Speakers
Our Rating: 80/100
Finally, we have an entry from Anker, the manufacturer that is far from unknown but still has a lot of work to do to become a household name in audio market.
Up until now, the Anker mostly made an impression in the lower mid-range market segment. This unit is no different – with the price tag that's just above 50 dollars, this unit ought to draw the attention of curious buyers.
But, is the affordable price enough taking into consideration such a harsh competition?
If you take a quick look at the Anker’s speaker setup, you can easily confuse it for a tiny soundbar. And that is perfectly ok. This unit is pretty well put together, looks sleek and way beyond its price range. The connectivity options (NFC included) are also pretty bad-ass.
This sleekness, however, comes at the slight expense of durability. Also, the device features only the IPX5 certification, which means more extensive outdoor use is out of the question.
Too bad – I grew very fond of this simplified but effective design language, and I wouldn't mind showing it off to my friends more often.
As for the very components that can be found under the front-facing grill, here we can see dual drivers packed with twin subwoofers, which is, actually, pretty amazing.
Unfortunately, the battery life is all but. The manufacturer says that the speaker can work for 10 hours. I was barely able to squeeze 9. I really don’t know what to say – a mixed bag if there ever was one.
But, all the things I mentioned are not that relevant. The most important thing is the audio quality when you finally start rocking your tunes. And, as you can probably guess, the performance you’ll get from this 20W-powered piece of tech is somewhat compromised.
As long as you keep the speakers below 50% volume, everything is peachy – especially the tight and well-delivered bass lines. But, try going beyond this threshold, and the sound quality will quickly start falling apart.
All these things don’t make Anker’s latest effort a bad product. I just can’t find a good reason to recommend it amongst the superior competition.
After it's all said and done, we recommend:
Well, we are finally at the end, which means one thing – it's time to declare the winner of this round-up. And, once again, the competition was very harsh. But, when we take into consideration all the pros and cons, Bose SoundLink Micro simply stands out as the best-rounded product. Sure, other entries may excel in one area or another, but in terms of portability and overall performance, Bose's entry stands out as an undisputed king of the hill.