If you're shopping for a budget-friendly speaker, 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.
The Anker Soundcore 3 is the best cheap Bluetooth speaker we've tested. For a wallet-friendly price, this speaker offers a great sound suitable for listening to all your favorite music and podcasts. It stands out compared to similarly-priced speakers thanks to its wide array of sound customization tools. In the Soundcore app, you find a graphic EQ and several EQ presets to help you switch up its sound to your liking. It's a unique feature for its price point, making it a solid pick for music lovers shopping on a budget.
With a small and portable design, this speaker is a great choice for listening to music wherever you go. Large controls on top of the speaker make it easy to adjust its settings. It's also rated IPX7 for water resistance, so it's protected against some outdoor activities. Plus, with over thirteen hours of battery life, you can keep the party going late into the night. Plus, you can connect it to your smartphone to use voice assistants through the phone, which is a cool touch.
Do you love to listen to your favorite tunes on the go? Want a speaker that doesn't take up much room in your backpack? Check out the Sony SRS-XB100. This Bluetooth speaker is even smaller and more compact than the Anker Soundcore 3, and it's lightweight enough to carry around in one hand. Available in many different colors, this speaker even comes with a built-in strap to connect it to your bag on your next hike or camping trip. Since it's rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, it can withstand light exposure to the elements.
Despite its small size, this speaker still packs a punch regarding sound quality. It's suitable for listening to many music genres, with a clean and clear sound right out of the box. The extra boom in the bass is fun for fans of genres like EDM and hip-hop. Since it lasts over twenty hours off a single charge, you can rock out all day without worrying about a recharge. It has no tools to switch up its sound, which is disappointing compared to similarly-priced models like the Anker. Still, this is worth a look if you want a simple speaker to take with you wherever you go.
You can also check out our recommendations for the best small Bluetooth speakers if you want to look at similarly sized options.
If you love to blast your favorite tunes at the loudest volume possible, you'll want to check out the DOSS SoundBox Plus. This budget-friendly pick gets loud, so you can easily fill your room with sound. As you crank up the volume, the speaker's audio reproduction remains clean and pure, too, so you don't notice any pumping or compression artifacts to distort the sound. Available in several color variants, this speaker's boombox-like design includes RGB lights around each driver, and you can customize their colors and patterns to match your mood.
This speaker is a good choice for music and podcasts, with a clear and accurate reproduction of voices and other instruments right out of the box. You'll notice less rumble in the bass range than with more premium models, but it does a decent job for the price. And, since it lasts over ten hours off of a single charge, you can keep the party going late into the night without worrying about a recharge. There's even an IPX4 rating for water resistance to protect the speaker if you bring it outdoors. There aren't any tools on hand to customize its sound like with the Anker Soundcore 3—but if you want a plug-and-play device, it's a solid pick.
Smart speakers are a great choice for anyone who loves voice assistant control. Prompt the device, and you can easily check the weather outside or get a sense of the traffic before you hit the road. The Amazon Echo Pop is the best we've tested at this price, and its performance with built-in Alexa rivals even more premium speakers from this manufacturer. Talk to Alexa from far away or in a crowded room, and the device easily understands your commands. You can even mute the microphone for more private moments, which is a nice touch.
This speaker's sleek design is meant to blend in with your home decor. It's quite small, too, so it doesn't take up a lot of space on your shelf or countertop. That said, given its small size, it doesn't get as loud as more premium speakers on the market. It can't reproduce as much low-bass as some of the other picks on our list, like the Anker Soundcore 3. Voices and other instruments reproduce with clarity, though, so it's still a suitable choice for most types of music, but it certainly won't shake the floor with EDM and hip-hop tracks. Still, it's a great way to enter the smart speaker space without breaking the bank.
If you want to spend a little more for a higher-quality speaker, check out the Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 3. This best budget speaker is a little pricier than our cheap picks, but you may find it's worth it for the improved sound. This Bluetooth speaker is a great choice to take your favorite tunes with you on the go, thanks to its durable and rugged design. It's rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, so it can withstand exposure to the elements and even float in water. The over 22 hours of playtime far exceeds the Anker Soundcore 3, too.
This speaker comes in several different colors, all of which are made of recycled plastic. Choose one that fits your style, then pair it to your audio source over Bluetooth for a clear and even sound. Voices and lead instruments are especially detailed in the mix, and the speaker's unique Outdoor mode is a great way to add a crisper sound when you're listening in larger and more open spaces, like a backyard. Unfortunately, you won't find any other customization tools, but you can always check out the similarly-priced Anker Soundcore Flare 2 if this is important to you.
Our best budget Bluetooth speakers under $100 article is also worth a look if you're interested in similarly-priced speakers.
Jul 11, 2023: Replaced the Sony SRS-XB13 with the next generation Sony SRS-XB100 as the 'Best Small Speaker'. The Amazon Echo Dot Gen 4 is no longer widely available, so we replaced it with the Google Nest Mini as the 'Best Smart Speaker'.
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.