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The 7 Best Cheap Speakers - Winter 2022 Reviews

Updated
Best Cheap Speakers
81 Speakers Tested
  • Store-bought speakers; no cherry-picked units
  • Easily comparable results
  • No ads; unbiased reviews
  • Supported directly by you via insider access and when you purchase through our affiliate links
Learn more about our approach to product reviews here.

If you're shopping for a speaker on a tight budget, it can feel like you have to make many sacrifices in terms of performance. However, speakers have increasingly improved their features while keeping prices fairly low. Although they tend to have a simple design and small size, many affordable speakers can still deliver clear vocals. Some speakers even have companion apps that offer additional controls and features, built-in voice assistants, and Bluetooth connectivity for more portability.

We've tested over 75 speakers, and below are our recommendations for the best cheap speakers. See also our recommendations for the best Bluetooth speakers under $50.


  1. Best Cheap Speaker: Anker Soundcore 3

    6.0
    Music
    5.4
    Videos/Movies
    6.5
    Podcasts
    3.3
    Voice Assistant
    6.9
    Outdoors
    Bluetooth
    Yes
    Wi-Fi
    No
    Speakerphone
    Yes
    Voice Assistant
    Yes
    Battery Powered
    Yes

    The best cheap Bluetooth speaker we've tested is the Anker Soundcore 3. This decently built speaker comes with a carrying cord you can attach to its side to help transport it. It's rated IPX7 for dust and water resistance, meaning it's certified to be immersed in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. Its sound profile has a balanced mid-range that ensures vocals and lead instruments sound clear, though they can sound a bit dark.

    While the Anker struggles to reproduce the deep thump and rumble in low-bass, its Soundcore companion app features a full graphic EQ and presets you can use to customize its sound to your liking. It also has an outstanding battery life that can last over 13 hours from a single charge, though battery life can vary depending on usage, meaning that your real-world experience may differ.

    Unfortunately, it can't get very loud, and there are some compression artifacts at max volume, so your audio may not sound as clear during louder listening sessions. It also has terrible voice assistant capabilities, which can disappoint those who rely on them for support. That said, if you're looking for a cheap and versatile speaker, it's still a solid choice.

    See our review

  2. Best Cheap Portable Speaker: Sony SRS-XB13

    6.2
    Music
    5.9
    Videos/Movies
    7.2
    Podcasts
    4.1
    Voice Assistant
    6.9
    Outdoors
    Bluetooth
    Yes
    Wi-Fi
    No
    Speakerphone
    Yes
    Voice Assistant
    Yes
    Battery Powered
    Yes

    The best cheap portable speaker that we've tested is the Sony SRS-XB13. This small speaker comes with a built-in carrying strap, so you can easily carry it with you when you're on the move. It's well-built, with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, so it's certified to be dust-tight as well as submersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes.

    It has a somewhat boomy sound profile, with a fairly balanced mid-range, so vocals and lead instruments are clearly reproduced in the mix. It also has incredible directivity, so its soundstage is perceived as wide and spacious-sounding. While it doesn't get very loud, there are few compression artifacts present at max volume, so your audio sounds mostly clean at louder volume levels. It was also able to last over 11 hours from a single charge in our tests, making it suitable for long listening sessions, though this can vary depending on your usage habits.

    Unfortunately, like most speakers its size, it struggles to reproduce a thumpy and rumbling low-bass. It also requires two units to play stereo content and downmixes stereo audio to mono when using it on its own, which isn't as immersive. While it currently retails for a little over our $50 price point, it offers better overall performance than most speakers we've tested within this price range. If you're looking for a good portable speaker, it's still worth considering.

    See our review

  3. Best Cheap Loud Speaker: DOSS SoundBox Plus

    5.6
    Music
    5.2
    Videos/Movies
    6.9
    Podcasts
    5.0
    Voice Assistant
    6.3
    Outdoors
    Bluetooth
    Yes
    Wi-Fi
    No
    Speakerphone
    Yes
    Voice Assistant
    Yes
    Battery Powered
    Yes

    The DOSS SoundBox Plus is the best cheap loud speaker we've tested. This stereo speaker is small, portable, and has customizable RGB lights surrounding its drivers. It's one of the loudest speakers we've tested in the cheap category, along with the OontZ Angle 3, though its overall sound profile isn't as balanced as the DOSS.

    There isn't a lot of compression present at max volume, so your audio sounds clean when the speaker is pushed to its louder volume levels. It has a balanced mid-range that ensures vocals and lead instruments sound clear and present in the mix, though sibilants like S and T may sound sharp and piercing at times. Also, it supports Siri and Google Assistant through your smartphone and has no trouble registering your commands from far away.

    Unfortunately, while it's one of the loudest speakers we've tested for under our $50 price point for cheap speakers, like most speakers its size, it doesn't get loud enough to fill a large crowded room like a party. Also, it struggles to reproduce low-bass, so you can't feel the deep thump and rumble typically present in bass-heavy music like EDM. That said, it's still a good choice if you're looking for a cheap speaker that can get a bit loud.

    See our review

  4. Best Cheap Speaker For Voice Assistant: Amazon Echo Dot Gen 4

    5.7
    Music
    5.2
    Videos/Movies
    6.3
    Podcasts
    8.8
    Voice Assistant
    4.9
    Outdoors
    Bluetooth
    Yes
    Wi-Fi
    Yes
    Speakerphone
    Yes
    Voice Assistant
    Yes
    Battery Powered
    No

    The best cheap Bluetooth speaker for voice assistants we've tested is the Amazon Echo Dot Gen 4. It offers outstanding voice assistant support with Alexa built-in and has no trouble understanding your commands from far away and in noisy settings. There's even a mute mic button you can use when you no longer want it to hear you.

    This spherical speaker has outstanding directivity, resulting in an open and spacious-sounding soundstage. It has a balanced mid-range, so vocals and lead instruments are clearly and accurately reproduced in the mix. However, like most speakers its size, it lacks a thump and rumble in the low-bass range, which may disappoint fans of bass-heavy music like hip-hop or EDM. Fortunately, there are bass and treble adjustments in its companion app, meaning you can customize its sound to your liking.

    Unfortunately, it isn't very portable since it needs to remain wired to a power source to work. Also, since it's an Amazon speaker, it only supports Amazon Alexa, so it isn't ideal if you prefer using other voice assistants like Google Assistant. That said, if you're looking for a cheap smart speaker that offers fantastic voice assistant support to incorporate into your home, it's still a great choice.

    See our review

  5. Alternative With Google Voice Assistant: Google Nest Mini

    Bluetooth
    Yes
    Wi-Fi
    Yes
    Speakerphone
    Yes
    Voice Assistant
    Yes
    Battery Powered
    No

    If you prefer Google Assistant over Alexa, consider the Google Nest Mini. While it doesn't get as loud as the Amazon Echo Dot Gen 4, and its mic struggles to separate your voice from ambient noise around you, it has Google Assistant built-in. It also has a microphone mute button if you don't want the voice assistant to always listen to you. It supports Google Chromecast, which is nice for those who wirelessly stream audio from their smartphone to the speaker. Thanks to its well-balanced mid-range, it can reproduce vocal-centric content like podcasts clearly and accurately. Even though it lacks low bass, its Google Home companion app offers bass and treble adjustments so you can tweak its sound to your liking.

    Check out the Amazon speaker if you're looking for something with Alexa voice assistant built-in and a better-balanced sound profile right out of the box. However, try the Google speaker if you like to stream your audio via Chromecast or if you want to use Google Assistant.

    See our review

  6. Best Budget Speaker: Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2

    6.8
    Music
    6.1
    Videos/Movies
    8.0
    Podcasts
    3.2
    Voice Assistant
    7.8
    Outdoors
    Bluetooth
    Yes
    Wi-Fi
    No
    Speakerphone
    No
    Voice Assistant
    No
    Battery Powered
    Yes

    The Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 is the best budget Bluetooth speaker that we've tested. This small Bluetooth speaker has a built-in handle to carry it or suspend it from a hook. It's also remarkably well-built with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, meaning it's certified to be dust-tight and submersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes.

    Its sound profile is fairly balanced, so vocals and lead instruments sound clear and present in the mix. There's also an 'Outdoor Mode' feature advertised to help bump up its bass. Thanks to its 360-degree design, it has excellent directivity, resulting in a wide and natural-sounding soundstage. Also, while it doesn't get very loud, there aren't many compression artifacts present at max volume, so your audio sounds clean and clear during louder listening sessions.

    Unfortunately, like most small speakers, it struggles to reproduce low-bass, so you can't feel the thump and rumble in bass-heavy music like hip-hop or EDM. It also lacks more comprehensive sound customization features like a graphic EQ, so you can't customize its sound to your liking. That said, it's still a solid choice if you're looking for a good Bluetooth speaker and are on a budget.

    See our review

  7. More Customizable Alternative: Anker Soundcore Flare 2

    Bluetooth
    Yes
    Wi-Fi
    No
    Speakerphone
    Yes
    Voice Assistant
    Yes
    Battery Powered
    Yes

    Check out the Anker Soundcore Flare 2 if you prefer a more customizable speaker under $100. While it doesn't get as loud as the Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2, it comes with a graphic EQ and presets you can use to tweak its sound to your liking. This small speaker comes with customizable RGB lights and offers an excellent soundstage that you'll perceive as open and spacious, thanks to its 360-degree design. With its default settings enabled and its BassUp feature turned on, it has a balanced mid-range that ensures vocals and lead instruments sound present in the mix. However, like most speakers its size, it struggles to reproduce low-bass, so you can't feel the deep thump and rumble in bass-heavy music like EDM. Also, while it supports voice assistants through your smartphone, its performance isn't very good.

    If you're looking for a better-built speaker under $100 that can get louder, get the Ultimate Ears. That said, if you're looking for a more customizable speaker with RGB lights, consider the Anker instead.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Apple HomePod mini: The Apple HomePod mini is worth considering if you're looking for a voice assistant to integrate into your Apple ecosystem. However, unlike the Google Nest Mini or Amazon Dot Echo Gen 4, it lacks a microphone mute switch. Its voice assistant may also struggle to pick up your voice in a noisy environment. See our review
  • Anker Soundcore 2: The Anker Soundcore 2 has a longer-lasting battery life and can get louder than the Sony SRS-XB13. Its soundstage doesn't sound as wide and as spacious as the Sony. See our review
  • JBL JR POP: The JBL JR POP is a very small and portable speaker primarily designed for kids. It has a built-in carrying strap kids can attach to their backpack. However, its sound profile isn't as balanced and neutral as the Sony SRS-XB13. See our review
  • DOSS SoundBox Plus: The DOSS SoundBox Plus is a portable Bluetooth speaker with customizable RGB lights. It gets louder than the Sony SRS-XB13, but its soundstage isn't perceived to be very natural or open-sounding. See our review
  • OontZ Angle 3: The OontZ Angle 3 is one of the loudest speakers we've tested in the cheap category. However, its sound profile isn't as balanced as the DOSS SoundBox Plus. It also doesn't support voice assistants. See our review
  • OontZ Angle 3 ULTRA: The OontZ Angle 3 Ultra is a small, triangular speaker similar to the OontZ Angle 3, though it's compatible with the Oontz app, which features bass and treble adjustments, meaning you can tweak its sound to your liking. However, its directivity is small and narrow, so your audio doesn't sound as clear from all angles. See our review
  • JBL GO 3: The JBL GO 3 is a small, outstandingly portable speaker that comes with a built-in carrying loop to help you attach it to your bag. Unfortunately, its battery only lasts around five hours on a single charge, and it struggles to reproduce low-bass. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Dec 23, 2021: Added the DOSS SoundBox Plus as the 'Best Cheap Loud Speaker' and moved the OontZ Angle 3 Ultra to the Notable Mentions. Updated the text for consistency.

  2. Oct 29, 2021: Replaced the Sony SRS-XB12 with the next-generation Sony SRS-XB13, since it performs better overall.

  3. Aug 31, 2021: Replaced the Anker Soundcore Motion+ with the Anker Soundcore Flare 2, since the Motion+ is now above our $100 price point for budget speakers. Updated the text for consistency and accuracy.

  4. Jul 02, 2021: Minor changes made to the text for consistency. No changes were made to product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.

  5. May 06, 2021: Added the Anker Soundcore 3 as the best pick, the Sony SRS-XB12 as the best portable pick, and the JBL GO 3 to the notable mentions. Updated the text for consistency and accuracy.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best cheap speakers for most people. We factor in the price (a cheaper speaker wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no speakers that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you'd like to do the work of choosing yourself, here's the list of all our speaker reviews under $100. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no speaker is perfect for every use, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.

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