The Best Bluetooth Speakers Under $100

JBL Flip 3 Splashproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Our Top Pick for 2017: JBL Flip 3 Splashproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Read our full review.

Buying speakers for your stereo used to involve furniture rearrangements and wiring diagrams that confused even the most tech-savvy person. Today’s speakers are compact, high-quality and wirelessly connected through Bluetooth components. Bluetooth speakers have become a standard for anyone who wants to hear their playlists out loud. You can essentially connect these speakers to any device that has Bluetooth, which is basically every smartphone and tablet developed in the past few years.

Before you buy an adorable wireless speaker that’s shaped like a favorite cartoon character, take a closer look at some of the top picks reviewed by professionals today. Your next Bluetooth speaker can be easily under $100 without sacrificing quality within your music.

Table of contents

#1 Gold pick (Winner): JBL Flip 3 Splashproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker

JBL Flip 3 Splashproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker Gold Pick

View it on Amazon: $77.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

With eight colors to choose from, this JBL Bluetooth speaker is a gem that’s priced under $100. It’s designed in a roll shape, which contributes to its high-quality output. If you’re a fan of JBL, you’ll appreciate the name-brand recognition that covers this entire speaker. See the JBL emblem on the speaker’s frontside with the ends emblazoned with the name as well. This speaker is deceptively simple at first glance, but you’ll discover that it has several features that make it stand out from the crowd.

One of the first features that consumers usually test with these devices is the Bluetooth range. This technology is mainly by line-of-sight. If the electronic device and speaker become too distant from each other, connectivity issues will arise. Consumers and reviewers have seen this speaker work up to 30 feet away from the streaming electronic. This playback range is ample for most consumers because the speaker is often played around a pool, in a living room or other social area. Walls, curtains and other obstacles shouldn’t be in the way, however, because they will cut down on this range value.

While you’re within 30 feet of the speaker, it’s possible to connect up to three devices at once with the Bluetooth components. Your friend can send their favorite song to the speaker, but your chosen song can be next as you stream it from your device. Mix up playlists, create an alternative playlist or simply explore new music with these three connected devices. Parties and great friendships will often result from sharing music and fun times.

It’s inevitable that someone will call you as a song is being played on the JBL speaker. You’ll have no problem taking that call because the Flip 3 comes with a speakerphone. In fact, it has an enhanced speakerphone that offers both echo- and noise-cancelling features. Answer the call, and the entire conversation is immediately heard through the speaker. If you have trouble hearing through your phone’s earpiece, this Bluetooth alternative will help you significantly.

Most Bluetooth speakers have no issues with punching out a strong treble sound, but the bass end tends to be problematic. The speaker just doesn’t have the size for a deep, low end. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the Flip 3 because it has a relatively good bass. Look at the two ends of the speaker’s roll shape. These radiator ends are filled with bass components that pack a strong sound. Both reviewers and consumers alike are thrilled with the bass sounds that are possible with this speaker.

Two main drawbacks are pointed out with this speaker. It doesn’t come with a case as its predecessor, the Flip 2, once had. A nylon cord is the only traveling accessory. There are also no playback controls on the speaker’s outside housing. JBL adds all of the core buttons, such as Bluetooth pairing, call-answer and volume, but you can’t forward or rewind through your tracks. Although you can perform playback from your electronic device, it’s usually helpful to have these functions on the speaker too.

It’s important to note that this Bluetooth speaker isn’t waterproof. The manufacturer refers to the speaker as splashproof. When you see the speaker online or in person, you can see the detailed, splashproof design. The speaker is completely covered in a specialized fabric. It has a textured appearance and distinct feeling on your fingers. If you play your music near the pool or at the beach, any inadvertent splashes will quickly slough off of the speaker. No damages will affect the speaker, and it will continue to play your tunes. Consumers also report that the speaker is easier to hold with the textured fabric too. Because your fingers won’t slide on the speaker’s exterior, fewer accidents and drops will be the result.

Power is always one of the biggest concerns regarding wireless devices. You’ll be pleased to note that this speaker can play your music for a grand total of 10 hours at a time. Spend all day at the beach, and you’ll never have to recharge the speaker. JBL uses the best electronic components in order to conserve power whenever possible. When it’s time to recharge, you’ll only have a short 3.5 hours of waiting time. For most Bluetooth speakers, this charging time is relatively fast compared to other devices. Plan your charging periods so that you can keep the party going with another 10 hours of music.

It’s difficult to find any reviews that aren’t thrilled with this JBL speaker. Some consumers caution buyers about the volume level, however. The speaker has such great quality that it can actually be too loud. Remember to set the speaker at a low volume level and match it to your electronic device. Turn the sound up to your desired level, and you can rock the area with high-quality sounds that are courtesy of JBL.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): ECOXGEAR ECOCARBON Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

ECOXGEAR ECOCARBON Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

View it on Amazon: $98.68*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

An exciting Bluetooth speaker that’s still under $100 is the ECOXGEAR EcoCarbon product. This speaker is so durable that it could pass under military-grade standards. For everyday music needs, it has numerous features to enjoy across all five different exterior colors. If you’re an adventurer or just prone to dropping your speaker, the EcoCarbon product will keep you going with tunes generated by powerfully designed components.

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It’s difficult to overlook the main feature that this speaker brings to your musical journey in the form of waterproof protection. Place the speaker in a kayak, and explore a river without worrying about water damage. This design has been tested numerous times by the manufacturer so that nearly every watery situation is safe for the speaker’s components. Unless the exterior housing is compromised in an extreme way, the speaker will float in the water until you pull it out. You won’t miss grabbing the speaker either because the handle is part of its design. Swing it around like a bag, allow it to float in the water and it will still play your favorite song afterward.

When you look at the speaker’s top panel, it has almost every button possible that controls your musical fun. Volume, track playback and Bluetooth pairing are all centralized in this area. When you’re out in the wilderness, don’t forget that this speaker can also be your flashlight. The top panel also holds an integrated LED light. When night falls, you can see clearly with this light activated at a moment’s notice.

If you are away from a power source, you want to have a long, playback time. Luckily, the EcoCarbon offers an extremely long 12-hour playtime. Enjoy every song on your playlist at full volume, and you’ll still have some power leftover.

When you do need to recharge the speaker, you’ll only need two hours of time. Plug it into a standard outlet or take advantage of the USB port on your computer. This speaker can take power from a charged computer and charge up with no problems. You’ll always know when the speaker is ready too. The top panel also holds a battery meter that’s equipped with a four-step LED system. You can watch the power being slowly added to the speaker as it charges up. As a result, you won’t guess when the speaker is finished and preserve the battery over time.

When you’re on-the-go, you don’t want to worry about the speaker being misplaced. By purchasing an optional mount, you can connect this speaker to nearly any object. Take it on a boat, or attach it to a mountain bike. It’s completely portable and safe when it has a compatible mount. If you notice that your phone is lacking power, connect it to the speaker through a hard wire. This Bluetooth speaker also doubles as a charging port for almost any device.

A perk that’s noted by many different consumers is the strong, Bluetooth connectivity in this speaker. Consumers note that the speaker pairs with various devices at 33 feet. This connectivity range is larger than the standard 30-feet that’s usually observed with comparable Bluetooth speakers. In fact, the speaker rarely drops its Bluetooth connection unless extreme factors are in play. As you play your music through this speaker, you’ll be thrilled with the tunes that can uplift any gathering in almost any location.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): JBL Charge 2+ Splashproof Bluetooth Speaker

JBL Charge 2+ Splashproof Bluetooth Speaker

View it on Amazon: $99.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

With a rapid pairing time, the JBL Charge 2+ is a fun speaker with eight bright colors to choose among. From rocking yellow to deep blue, most consumers are happy with the color choices and speaker features. Although there are a few drawbacks on this third-place choice, you can still benefit from its positive features offered by the manufacturer.

JBL is proud to provide you with 12 hours of playback time. This half-day specification means that the battery holds a substantial charge. To retain this battery longevity, carefully follow the charging instructions. Allow the battery to charge completely when you first receive the speaker, and use almost all of the power off of that one charge. Batteries can retain poor memory if you don’t charge them as directed. The 12-hour playback time is a regular occurrence otherwise.

Consumers and reviewers report that this speaker has great sound quality, but it lacks in low-frequency coverage. In fact, some low-bass sounds will distort the music at high-volume levels. If you tend to listen to classical or pop music, you won’t notice the distortion too much. For a speaker that’s under $100, you may need to be flexible with your sound expectations.

The USB port on the speaker gives you a chance to charge your other electronic devices whenever necessary. Plug a standard USB cord into the speaker, and connect it to your smartphone or tablet. The speaker’s power can be immediately directed into the device. Ideally, your speaker should be fully charged before performing this process. The device may not drain it completely of power, but it will be low in charge afterward.

Consumers are reporting that the track-selection mode has some issues. As you skip to a different track on your device, the speaker seems to cut off the beginning and ending of songs. It’s possible that this issue is caused by pressing the button for too long, but a resolution has yet to be seen. Try to skip songs with caution in your fingertips in order to reduce the chances of missing musical sections.

A small yet important detail on this speaker is the rubber feet. Although this Bluetooth device is in a roll shape, the manufacturer added a rubber component so that the speaker didn’t have the tendency to move during use. Turn up the volume, and the speaker should remain in place with no problems. Other speakers require you to mount the product before it can be secured in place. The rubber feet are sturdy enough to keep the speaker ready for the next song.

Although this Bluetooth speaker is advertised to have a rechargeable battery, it’s important to note that it’s not replaceable. The battery is sealed within the speaker system. If there are any issues with the battery, JBL does offer a five-year warranty on their speakers. You’ll need to contact JBL and discuss the issues with them. In most cases, the battery will last the lifetime of the speaker with normal charging and discharging habits.

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#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): AmazonBasics Large Portable Bluetooth Speaker

AmazonBasics Large Portable Bluetooth Speaker

View it on Amazon: See Price*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

If you’re looking for a Bluetooth speaker that’s closer to $50 than $100, you have a quality choice in AmazonBasics Portable model. This speaker is a true classic by design, and you’ll appreciate its simple appearance. It connects with all of today’s most popular devices so that you won’t miss a beat. When it comes to budget choices, this speaker is a hands-down winner.

Other Bluetooth speakers have sleek designs, but the AmazonBasics model is different. It looks like a black brick with a 10-inch length, 3-inch height and similar depth. This speaker is meant to be functional as it blends into your decor. Because the speaker is the large version, it does weigh more than 2 pounds. It’s meant to be used in a semi-permanent location, but it can be transported around to different homes or events.

Within the boxy speaker is two, 5-watt speakers. Although this power value may not seem like a lot, it packs a strong punch as you pair it with your device and playlist. Try several different songs out on the speaker while varying the volume. The two speakers are meant to complement each other as they belt out favorite tunes over an 8-hour period. Many other Bluetooth speakers have smaller components without much auditory impact.

Although Bluetooth connectivity is a major feature, you also have the option of using a standard, 3.5mm-stereo cable. Connect your device with this hard wire if many Bluetooth devices are being used in the immediate area. You’ll be able to play your music without frustrating wireless interruptions.

You may also want more playback time than the 8-hour specification. The manufacturer made it possible for the speaker to actively play while it’s plugged in. It may not charge as it’s being used, but you can keep the music going for many more hours by using a consistent power source. When the party is over, shut off the music and allow the charger to power up the battery once again.

Another key feature is the embedded microphone. Use the product as a speakerphone as you use the call-divert function along the outside housing. In fact, you can have an entire conversation by using the controls on the speaker alone. Once you’re finished, shut off the call and continue the speaker’s control from your phone or tablet. This feature is particularly helpful if you’re at home and want some music between business phone calls. You’ll always sound professional with the speakerphone component transmitting your voice loud and clear.

One of the best features about this speaker is the easy, accessory replacements. If you lose or break the charger, it’s not a specialty item that’s only available from the manufacturer. In fact, it’s a standard charger that can be found in any electronics store. With this fact in mind, you can keep your speaker running soundly for many years. Because AmazonBasics offers a limited one-year warranty on this speaker, you know that the components are worthy of the investment as you decide on this speaker product.

Pre-purchase considerations

Sound Quality

The only way to truly make a decision about solid, sound quality is listening to each Bluetooth speaker in person. Listen for both the high- and low-pitched tones throughout a song. Change the music genre several times so that you can hear various styles through the speaker. The sounds shouldn’t be distorted or scratchy at any volume level. You may want to be flexible with the bass sounds, however. Only a few Bluetooth speakers can really produce quality low-end frequencies. Treble and mid-range frequencies should be easily generated by any of the top Bluetooth speakers, and you’ll have a chance to enjoy your music in any location.

Durability

You want your speaker to last for many years without any malfunctions. Take a close look at the product’s exterior. Plastic, mesh and other materials must be tightly connected and secured to the speaker’s housing. Connector ports might have rubber covers while the rest of the speaker has a splashproof rating. Some speakers even come with a handle or bungee cord to make their use even easier in the world. Although most speakers will have some damage if you drop or abuse them, they’ll generally retain their durability with diligent care and safe storage between uses.

Battery Life

In general, a Bluetooth speaker’s battery life is directly related to its size. A small, 7-ounce speaker might have only 5 hours of battery life. However, larger speakers have the space to hold a bigger battery with longer, playback times. If you’re typically on-the-go for most of the day, you want a speaker that has ample battery life. Look at the specifications that come with each speaker. Some brands have 12 hours of playback time that make them worth the investment. Many of these speakers are still under the $100 mark.

Detailed Features

Today’s Bluetooth speakers are much more feature-packed than previous models. Aside from quality sound and reliable connectivity, you may also want an integrated mount, handle or LED light. Compare each speaker model with your lifestyle. Some speakers will speak to certain consumers, such as people who travel or participate in extreme outdoor activities. These consumers will look more for durability compared to a stylish, speaker appearance. With a handful of speakers under $100, there’s a product that’s perfect for every music fan.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

You may not be too concerned about a speaker’s weight, but make a point to think about it before finalizing your purchase. Bluetooth speakers are meant to be portable. If a speaker with a nearly one-pound weight is too cumbersome, you may not be tempted to bring it on all of your adventures. There are speakers being sold for less than $100 that are around 7 ounces each. Choose these Bluetooth speakers when you need the ultimate portability. From camping to hanging out with friends, a lightweight speaker will enhance any social situation and make your music the center of attention.