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The 5 Best Cheap Speakers - Summer 2022 Reviews

Updated
Best Cheap Speakers

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 90 speakers, and below are our recommendations for the best cheap speakers. See also our recommendations for the best Bluetooth speakers under $50 and the best Bluetooth speakers under $100.


  1. Best Cheap Speaker

    The best cheap speaker we've tested is the Anker Soundcore Flare 2. This portable stereo speaker comes with RGB lights and offers a well-balanced sound profile with its BassUp feature enabled, making it suitable for listening to a wide variety of audio content. It has a balanced mid-range, so vocals and lead instruments sound clear and present in the mix. You can customize its sound to your liking using the graphic EQ and presets featured in its companion app. Thanks to its 360-degree design, its soundstage is also perceived as wide and spacious-sounding.

    It's well-built with an IPX7 rating for water resistance that certifies it to be immersible in up to a meter of water for around 30 minutes, so you can bring it outside without worrying about getting it wet or dropping it in a pool of water. You can pair this speaker to multiple other units when you want to create a stereo pair or amplify your audio across a large crowded area. It also supports Google Assistant and Siri through your smartphone.

    See our review

  2. Best Small Cheap Speaker

    If you're looking for a smaller speaker, the Sony SRS-XB13 is among the best budget speakers we've tested. While it doesn't come with any sound customization features like a graphic EQ like the Anker Soundcore Flare 2, It has a somewhat boomy sound profile that adds some extra bass to the mix. Its mid-range is also balanced, so vocals and lead instruments sound clear and present in the mix.

    Like most speakers its size, it doesn't get incredibly loud. However, it has few compression artifacts present at max volume, so the quality of your audio doesn't degrade as you increase the volume, and your audio remains clean-sounding when you max the volume out. It has incredible directivity, resulting in an open and spacious-sounding soundstage. It's also rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, certifying it to be dust-tight and immersible in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes.

    See our review

  3. Best Cheap Loud Speaker

    The DOSS SoundBox Plus is among the loudest cheap Bluetooth speakers we've tested. Like most small speakers, it doesn't get loud enough to fill a large, crowded party with sound; however, it can easily fill a small to medium-sized room like your bedroom. There also isn't a lot of compression present at max volume, so your audio sounds clean and clear when you push the speaker to its louder volume levels.

    This stereo speaker 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, and it lacks a thumpy low-bass. Still, it's small, portable, and has customizable RGB lights surrounding its drivers. Also, it supports Siri and Google Assistant through your smartphone and has no trouble registering your commands from far away.

    See our review

  4. Best Cheap Bluetooth Speaker For Alexa

    The Amazon Echo Dot Gen 4 is the best cheap Bluetooth speaker we've tested for Alexa. This small spherical speaker offers fantastic voice assistant support with Alexa built-in. You can activate the assistant using your voice, and it's excellent at registering your commands when you're far away from the speaker and in noisy environments. You can even mute the speaker's mic when you no longer want it listening to you.

    Thanks to its 360-degree design, it has fantastic directivity, so you'll perceive its soundstage as wide and natural-sounding. Its balanced mid-range ensures vocals and lead instruments sound clear and present in the mix. That said, like most small speakers, it doesn't get very loud and lacks a thumpy low-bass. Fortunately, you can tweak its sound to better suit your preferences thanks to the bass and treble adjustments available in its companion app. You can also use the app to connect the speaker to multiple other compatible Amazon speakers when you want to amplify your audio across a large area.

    See our review

  5. Best Cheap Google Assistant Speaker

    If you prefer Google Assistant over Alexa, the Google Nest Mini is the best budget Bluetooth speaker we've tested for Google Assistant. This smart speaker comes with Google Assistant built-in and can hear your voice when you're far away, though it has some trouble hearing you in noisier rooms. You can activate the assistant using your voice and mute its mic when you no longer want it listening to you. However, while you can use Google Chromecast to cast media, it has very high latency through this connection. It causes syncing issues between audio and visuals, which isn't great for watching videos and movies. Some apps compensate for latency, though, so your experience may vary.

    The speaker has a neutral sound profile with a balanced mid-range out-of-the-box that ensures vocals and lead instruments reproduce clearly and accurately in the mix, making it good for vocal-centric audio with dialogue like podcasts and audiobooks. You can also tweak its sound to your liking using the bass and treble adjustments featured in its companion app. You'll perceive its soundstage as spacious and open-sounding, meaning you can hear your audio clearly from most angles. While it doesn't get loud enough to fill large crowded rooms with sound, this small smart speaker is great to use in smaller rooms like your bedroom or home office.

    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 mute microphone switch. Its voice assistant may also struggle to pick up your voice in a noisy environment. See our review
  • Anker Soundcore 3: The Anker Soundcore 3 is a small, budget-friendly portable Bluetooth speaker with a graphic EQ and presets to customize its sound. However, it doesn't produce an as extended low-bass as the Anker Soundcore Flare 2. See our review
  • JBL JR POP: The JBL JR POP is a very small, portable speaker primarily designed for kids. It has a built-in carrying strap kids can attach to their backpacks. However, its sound profile isn't as balanced and neutral as the Sony SRS-XB13. See our review
  • OontZ Angle 3: The OontZ Angle 3 is the loudest cheap speaker we've tested. It gets slightly louder than the DOSS SoundBox Plus and retails for cheaper. However, its sound profile isn't as balanced. It also doesn't support voice assistants. See our review
  • JBL GO 3: The JBL GO 3 is a small, outstandingly portable speaker 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. It also doesn't produce an as extended low-bass as the Sony SRS-XB13. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jun 27, 2022: Restructured article to better align with user needs. Added the Anker Soundcore Flare 2 as the 'Best Cheap Speaker'. Recategorized the Sony SRS-XB13 to 'Best Small Cheap Speaker', the Amazon Echo Dot Gen 4 to 'Best Cheap Speaker For Alexa', and the Google Nest Mini to 'Best Cheap Google Assistant Speaker'. Also added the Anker Soundcore 3 to the Notable Mentions.

  2. Apr 22, 2022: We verified our picks for availability and updated text for clarity.

  3. Feb 21, 2022: Made the Sony SRS-XB13 an 'Alternative With Less Compression' to the Anker Soundcore 3. Updated the text for consistency.

  4. 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.

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

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best cheap and best budget Bluetooth 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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