What can you do with $100? You can get some great Bluetooth speakers
Bluetooth speakers under $100 are hard to shop for. Most people don’t mind if a speaker that costs less than $20 breaks, because it was “good enough” while it lasted. You might even be able to afford replacing it. But the point of no return is when you spend $100. It starts to become more of an investment, rather than a mere accessory for your phone. Bluetooth speakers under $100 need to be more than good enough; they need to be great.
As you should expect for this price-point, there needs to be a certain level of durability and quality to the product. These aren’t cheap, and though they’re not the most expensive or best sounding speakers you’ll ever hear, you still want to get your money’s worth. This list has a speaker for everyone, including a few staples and some you might not have heard of. But if it made this list, it deserves to be here.
Let’s talk water-resistance
Plenty of listed speakers here are water-resistant, so here’s a quick rundown of Ingress Protection (IP) ratingsand what they mean to your specific model.
The the JBL Flip 4 is the best among Bluetooth speakers under $100
JBL has remained consistent with their Flip series, standing as our pick among the best Bluetooth speakers under $100. The Flip 4 is very similar to the previous model (the JBL Flip 3), but it makes some improvements in a few key areas. Hence, why it leads the other picks for the best Bluetooth speakers under $100. For one it’s now IPX7-rated; the previous model was only splash-resistant.
This means that you can now submerge it completely in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes, though we’re not sure why you’d want to. Still, it’s good to know that if you drop it in the pool, you have some time before you have to go rescue it.
Another positive is that the new Connect+ button lets you connect this speaker with up to 100 others to play music in sync, but on the downside this feature isn’t backwards compatible with previous versions. So if you have a JBL Flip 3 and was going to double up with the new Flip 4 you’re out of luck.
Battery life is also spec’d at around 12 hours when you leave the volume at around 50 percent, but if you play music on max volume you shouldn’t expect to get more than four, maybe five hours out of it. Even with those caveats, this is still our pick, beating all other Bluetooth speakers under $100. If you’re looking for an all-around speaker that sounds good and is durable enough to go with you wherever you go, go with the JBL Flip 4.
Need something durable? Hook the Bose SoundLink Micro onto a bag and go
The Bose SoundLink Micro is a portable speaker to be reckoned with. Weighing in at just 10.2oz—289g for those across the pond—this thing is IPX7-certified and outfitted with a durable, rubberized silicone coating that can surely handle a few drops and dings.
Not only is thing tough, but it’s also one of the more portable Bluetooth speakers under $100. On the back, you’ll find a slightly elastic tear-resistant silicone strap that can be wrapped around just about anything, so long as its diameter doesn’t exceed ~2.5 inches.
As far as sound quality and features are concerned the SoundLink Micro is packed to the gills… hmm, maybe that’s why it can be submerged for up to 30 minutes. Kidding aside, this little guy packs a punch. The center multi-function button allows for playback control and virtual assistant access. Plus, if you want to pair your Amazon Echo Dot to the Micro, you’re more than welcome to.
Additionally, Bose properly implements multiconnect technology which enables the Micro to remain simultaneously connected to two devices. Switching is just a matter of pausing playback on one and resuming on another. And, though it may be called “Micro,” it has a macro sound that nearly rivals the larger Bose SoundLink Color II, slightly more expensive than the listed Bluetooth speakers under $100.
There are certainly some downfalls, namely latency issues, but if you need a speaker to withstand the elements while accompanying you on your next adventure, the SoundLink Micro is a reliable choice.
The UE Roll 2 is one of the best Bluetooth speakers under $100 for modern-day vagabonds
UE might not be too into high-end audio, but they seem to have a thing for high-value audio. Case in point: the UE Roll 2. It’s not a huge improvement over the original (so if you can find the original for cheap, it’s still a really good deal), but the Roll 2 fluctuates around $65, and you get some added benefits.
For one, it gets roughly 15 percent louder than the original, which isn’t much, but it’s enough to make some songs sound just a little bit cleaner and more enjoyable. It also has a range of roughly 100 feet, up from about 65 feet with the original.
Besides that, it hasn’t changed much. It’s still IPX7-certified, so you can submerge it in water. For something a little different, it has a handy bungee cord on the back for hanging it. On the downside, playback controls are limited to only volume adjustments, but you can connect up to eight other UE speakers via the free app. So if you’re looking for party speakers for you and your friends, getting a few of these might be a good idea.
Still looking for the best Bluetooth speakers under $100?
Though they get plenty of acknowledgment for their headphones, Sony also has some really good speakers that sometimes slip under the radar, such as the SRSXB2. This is a compact speaker that doesn’t aim to be the most durable, like some others on this list. Instead, Sony decided to focus on two aspects of the speaker: sound and design, and they succeeded in both. The “XB” in the name stands for “Extra Bass.” While this does have a little more of a punch in the low end, it doesn’t negatively effect the sound.
But because you can usually find it around $50 now, it’s a great option. Design-wise Sony went with a rounded pill-like design that makes it looks kind of like an alarm clock.
The speakers are also aimed slightly upwards which makes it perfect for setting down at a desk or bedside table, and you’ll get roughly 12 hours of battery life out of it. Sony also threw in a few nifty features.
You can easily connect to it via NFC as long as you have a compatible device. Want to step things up? You can sync it with another SBSXB2 using “double mode.” If a modern design and a good sound are your top priorities, this speaker might be the one for you.
Anker SoundCore Sport XL
The SoundCore Sport is one of many great Bluetooth speakers under $100, but if you don’t mind spending just a few more dollars you can get the Anker SoundCore Sport XL. You can usually find it for about $69, making it worthy of one of our best picks for the best Bluetooth speakers under $100.
It’s a tough and durable speaker with an IP67 certification that lets it withstand submersion up to 1 meter. Anker also touts that it’s shock resistant. Though you probably shouldn’t go testing this extensively, it’s good to know that it can at least survive a drop or two.
Up top are a few playback controls so you can adjust volume, pause or resume music, and skip to the next track. On the back you’ll find a small, exposed passive-bass radiator that adds some extra power to the low-end, and at average volume, you can squeeze out about 15 hours of constant playback, which isn’t too bad.
Overall, this is one of the best values that you’ll find in the durable speaker category.
How we chose
There plenty of Bluetooth speakers under $100 available, and it’s impossible for us to review them all, but that doesn’t stop us from trying to get our grubby hands on all of them. If a speaker made it onto this list, then you can be sure we’ve had first-hand experience with them and in many cases put them through our entire review process. Whittling down an entire product category to only a handful of recommended items takes a lot more work than you might expect. For one, not everyone is after the same kind of product. Just like how sound is different to every person, some products might check all of the boxes for some people and not for others. Which brings us to the second aspect of one of our best lists: categories.
Depending on what the list is covering, the categories within it might change as well. Some remain constant through all lists such as “Best All-Around” or “Bang for your Buck”, but others might change. For example, a list discussing the best headphones might have a pick for “Best Active Noise Cancelling”, but that isn’t an important factor when it comes to something like a waterproof Bluetooth speaker. So each list has a few different categories that are relevant to the kind of products that are being discussed. We hope this will cast as wide a net as possible so that whatever your use case is, you’ll find the product that’s right for you.
The last thing we consider when choosing is what other people are saying about it. We review a ton of stuff here at Sound Guys but let’s be real: we can’t review all of them. So how do we remedy this? Research, research, research. In addition to the vast personal network of reviewers we’ve built in our time around the block, we’ve dug through forums, read reviews, scrolled through comment sections, and done everything we possibly can to gather as much information about a product we haven’t reviewed before putting it on a list. Even if we’ve reviewed a product, we’ll give our picks a gut-check by seeing what the community, or former colleagues we trust have to say.
When we made our picks, we wanted to make sure that anyone buying them would be happy with their purchase, and that means a hard look at what makes a good* Bluetooth speaker. For most of us, that meant a speaker that sounded good, wasn’t too expensive, and could withstand normal use where a normal person might want to listen to music. Given the fact that this includes activities like camping, travel, and proximity to water: the best Bluetooth speaker in our minds is one that has a decent battery, can get loud, and isn’t easily damaged. If it’s affordable, that’s just the cherry on top—but we’re not going to recommend something if it’s prohibitively expensive. There’s a very definite point of diminishing returns, and we’re of the opinion that as Bluetooth is the tech of “good enough,” there’s no reason to overspend.
Why should you trust us?
In addition to the fact that this site is all of our day jobs, both Adam and Chris have several years of reviewing consumer audio products under their belts individually. Having kept a finger on the pulse of Bluetooth speakers for several years allows us to be able to figure out what’s good, and what’s best avoided. Considering Chris’ burning hatred for all things Bluetooth, if he approves of something—it’s damned special. In a similar vein, Adam has reviewed tons of these speakers over the course of almost three years, so he’s heard the best (and worst) of what the category has to offer. Then you’ve got Lily who has put in countless hours working at a radio station in a professional studio environment and even reviewed audio products on her own time before coming to SoundGuys. Needless to say, she’s passionate about audio gear.
We should also state that we regularly update these lists as items become available. However, we only add them if there’s a really solid reason for doing so. Usually, we have to use it first—unless there’s some mind-meltingly awesome feature or price-change that would deem a test or re-test unnecessary. As you can imagine, that doesn’t happen… almost ever. This also means that your favorite Bluetooth speaker may not make this list. Additionally, speakers that are out of production or not widely available are prohibited from consideration as well.
These best lists may not always reflect your experiences, but they are our earnest attempt to get the right product onto your wish list. We do this because we genuinely want you to be happy with your purchases—none of our writers see a dime from partnership deals or referral purchases—and nobody here is allowed to benefit from steering you towards one product or another. While this site does make money from referrals, the individual writers are paid based on their work regardless of whether or not people clicked that “buy” icon. They will never even know if anyone did, though I suppose the site going under might be a good hint.