Many modern devices such as laptops and tablets, even phones, come with poor audio performance. After all the lack of space for speakers makes it pretty tricky. A Bluetooth speaker is the simplest solution to get a huge upgrade in sound quality if you're not using headphones.
There are countless on the market and while many cost hundreds, not everyone has that much to spend on a speaker. Luckily, there a loads out there that don't cost the earth and still provide a decent amount of boom - and they're not all unknown brands. We've features Denon, Creative and Ultimate Ears (UE) here.
We've set a price limit of around £100 here but many of these Bluetooth speakers come in at under £50 if you have a tight budget. If you are looking for something a little more expensive and premium, head over to our best high-end Bluetooth speakers chart.
Best cheap Bluetooth speakers 2020
1. Aukey Eclipse
Aukey’s Eclipse is an excellent Bluetooth speaker, sporting a nice woven black fabric covering most of the body, with an attractive metal base.
There are buttons on top so you get volume and separate track skip buttons. Plus, there’s a microphone so you can use it for hands-free phone calls.
At the back is a micro USB charging port and a 3.5mm minijack aux input so you can play music from an old MP3 player or anything else that doesn’t have Bluetooth.
It’s simple to pair your phone with the speaker and we found that the Bluetooth range was larger than Aukey claims, streaming music reliably at a distance of around 15m.
There are two 10W drivers and passive “subwoofers” at either end of the speaker. And they sound amazing. Considering how small it is, the Eclipse delivers much more volume than you’d expect – easily enough to fill a room.
And even at top volume, there’s no noticeable distortion. Bass is surprisingly powerful, but it doesn’t crowd out everything else, so no matter what style of music you play, you’ll be pleased with the quality.
We tested it by watching three films back to back at around 75 percent of max. volume and it was perfectly loud enough and still had battery power left.
This is because there’s a 4000mAh battery inside which Aukey says lasts at least 12 hours. It's a few pounds more than the Monic, but we think it's worth it.
2. Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
Ultimate Ears is one of the Bluetooth speaker brands that keeps smashing it out the park. The second edition of the Wonderboom might look similar to the original but it has various design and feature upgrades that make it even better.
This this is still very much pint-sized and now comes with two-tone fabric and new buttons. Namely a playback button on the top which means you don't need to fumble around for your phone when you want to pause or skip a track.
Despite being tiny, the Wonderboom 2 has a lot of power and the battery life is even longer than before at 13 hours - that's a 30% improvement. Being small, it's not got the most bass around but that's the nature of this kind of speaker and it's still better than most rivals and its predecssor.
You can pair two speakers together for a proper stereo pair if you like but the new Outdoor Boost mode is more interesting. This uses an equalizer to give you a sound profile more suited to outdoor spaces, where otherwise these speakers can struggle to cope and end up sounding muddy.
There's only really one thing that might put you off the Wonderboom 2 and that's the lack of an aux input.
Read our full Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 review
3. Denon Envaya Pocket
The Denon Envaya Pocket is an attractive speaker, there’s no doubt about it. It’s only 16.3cm long and weighs a lightweight 390g. That’s backed up by a hardwearing fabric and sturdy polymer, making the Pocket robust enough to take a knock, and the IP67 water resistance means that the music doesn’t have to stop when it starts raining.
The Pocket also offers the ability to make- and receive phone calls via the speaker when connected to a smartphone. Once connected to an iOS device, you’ll be able to summon Siri by holding the phone button. There are other buttons too, namely power, Bluetooth and media controls.
Another cool feature of the speaker is Envaya Link, which allows you to pair up an additional Pocket speaker for stereo playback.
Depending on the volume of playback, the Pocket can last around 10hrs on a single charge. It’s fairly speedy to recharge too, going from 0 to 100 percent battery in around 1hr30, or 2 hours max.
The Pocket boasts a two-speaker setup, which means that the entire range isn’t produced by a single speaker, offering better clarity and an all-around better audio experience when compared to single-speaker speakers. Overall the speaker sounds incredible, from the low- to the high-end, especially when considering the budget price-tag. It’s more focused on punchy, deep bass but it doesn’t overpower vocals or the treble, and there’s not even a slight hint of distortion.
Read our full Denon Envaya Pocket review for more information.
4. Creative Muvo Play
Even at one of the cheapest prices here, we have little to complain about with the Muvo Play. This pint-size pocket rocket has a lot going for it.
We like the compact design which means the Play is super portable and is even IPX7 waterproof which isn't a given at this price point - the mesh just takes a while to dry out. It's got easy to use buttons and the 360 design, like many others, means you can pretty much plonk the speaker down anywhere and it will still sound good.
It's got a 3.5mm aux connection but you're better off making use of Bluetooth 5.0 which provides a decent wireless connection. You can also join two Muvo Play speakers together to create a stereo pair if you like.
Creative offers decent punchy sound for not much money here thanks to a pair of full-range drivers and a couple of passive bass radiators. Although the speaker is suited well to a lot of music and podcasts, it does struggle a little bit at the bass end, only able to reach down to 70Hz - when human hearing goes to 20Hz.
That's really the only downside to this otherwise excellent speaker.
Read our full Creative Muvo Play review
5. Denon Envaya Mini
In terms of design, the Envaya Mini is gorgeous. Peeking through its metal black grille is a vivid shade of blue offering a dash of colour to an otherwise completely black speaker. It’s a weighty speaker with rubberised feet at either end that protrude slightly, further than the speaker itself. These offer extra grip and negate the annoying rattle that some plastic speakers produce when on a hard surface.
The Envaya Mini has physical button control, which is great to see when so many mid-range Bluetooth speaker manufacturers implement frustrating touch capacitive buttons. Don’t worry about getting the Envaya Mini wet either, as it’s IPX4 water resistant - this is one reason why you might want to spend the extra over the Psyc Monic or Aukey Eclipse.
There are two connections: Bluetooth 4.0 and Aux in. It also offers NFC for one-touch pairing. Oh, and it can also handle two Bluetooth connections at once - ideal for those last-minute parties.
In the audio department, the Envaya Mini boasts dual 40mm full range drivers with a 40x83mm passive radiator, which produces both crisp sound and impressive bass. The audio is room-filling without a hint of distortion, an impressive feat for a speaker of this size.
Denon claims that the Envaya Mini should generate around 10 hours of playback, although we found it to give up around the 6/7-hour mark.
Read our Denon Envaya Mini review.
6. Lava BrightSounds 2
Smart lightbulbs, power banks and Bluetooth speakers are all the rage at the moment, so it was only a matter of time before a manufacturer merged the three – say hello to the Lava BrightSounds 2 Bluetooth speaker/power bank/smart light hybrid.
Roughly three quarters of the IPX4-rated rectangular speaker is taken up by the light, housed in plastic. The brightness is adjustable, providing everything from a soft glow to bright white light, although there’s no option to change the colour of the light. The top quarter is a wraparound speaker mesh, available in several colours, which seems to provide fire out sound in every direction.
Four control buttons lie flush up top, along with the status LED and Lava logo. If Bluetooth isn’t for you, the rear of the speaker is where you’ll find ports for auxiliary connections, along with a charging port and a full-size USB port for charging smartphones and other mobile accessories while on-the-go.
With a lithium-ion battery inside, the Lava BrightSounds 2 Bluetooth speaker and smart lamp can offer a whopping 36 hours of music playback, all from a three- to four-hour charge from empty.
Despite the budget price tag, we had the Lava BrightSounds 2’s 5W ultra-wide stereo speaker on full-blast and didn't hear a hint of distortion. It's loud enough to fill a room with sound, and for a budget Bluetooth speaker, audio quality is more than acceptable with decent bass and a clear mid-range, although there’s a slight compromise at the top-end.
Read our Lava Brightsounds 2 review.
7. Tronsmart Force
The Tronsmart Force is a Bluetooth speaker built for the outdoors, sporting a robust design with a shockproof grippy rubber surround and a black metal grille on the front and rear. It also boasts IPX7 dust and water resistance, meaning it should survive a dunk in the pool for up to 30 minutes without any lasting damage.
The outdoors-y design doesn’t mean it skimps on smarts though; you can access Siri or Google Assistant, and there’s a number of ways to connect too. Alongside Bluetooth 5.0 and NFC support, the speaker sports a 3.5mm jack for non-Bluetooth devices and a microSD card slot for standalone music playback.
It lasts around 15 hours on a single charge, thanks to the combination of two 3300mAh batteries, and a 3hr charge time via USB-C isn’t too bad either.
The portable speaker features dual passive radiators alongside two 20W drivers for a total output of 40W, and it packs a punch. Those passive radiators work hard to produce well-rounded bass largely free of distortion.
The speaker offers a built-in EQ with three modes; 3D Stereo, Extra Bass and Standard. 3D Stereo widens the soundscape and produces room-filling audio, while Extra Bass does what it says on the tin – provides booming bass, ideal for party situations.
Generally, the Tronsmart Pulse provides deep bass, clear mids and crisp highs, although that crispness is sometimes sacrificed in favour of overpowering bass tones, and the sound starts to distort at max volume. But for the price, you’ll struggle to find something with this much prominence.
Read our full Tronsmart Force review
8. Kitsound Diggit
The Kitsound Diggit combines sleek and lightweight style with impressive sound – as well as an impressive price, at £39.99/US$49.99. Despite being affordable, the Diggit doesn’t skimp out on quality and thoughtful design. It’s portable, offers an IP55 dust and waterproofing, and comes with a removable stake – which is its most prominent feature – that lets you plant it in the ground.
Design aside, the Diggit produces a clear and balanced sound. While the tone goes on the sharper side when the volume is blasted, this doesn't make for an unpleasant listening experience, especially when the music is mostly for ambient purposes. Otherwise, the treble and midrange comes across clearly and vocals sound crisp.
The Diggit is ideal for outdoor gatherings, like barbecues and picnics; though it's versatile enough to be used for indoor shindigs too, like in a dorm or living room. This makes it a particularly good option for students who are on a budget.
The Diggit also allows wireless stereo pairing. Though we haven't tried this for ourselves, this should let you boost the sound by allowing you to play the audio over two Diggit Speakers. Soundkit also offers the more powerful Diggit XL, which allows you to pair over a hundred Diggits to one another.
Read our Kitsound Diggit review.
9. Anker SoundCore Sport XL
If you’re looking for a sturdy, rugged speaker then you might like the Anker SoundCore Sport XL. The speaker may be heavy but it’s waterproof and built to be taken to the beach, camping and other rugged outdoor areas where you might want to listen to some sweet tunes.
The smooth rubber exterior is shock-resistance, IP67 waterproof rated (1m depth) and dust-tight. The device comes with an attachable wristband, and simple but effective play, power, volume and Bluetooth buttons. These buttons double as answer and reject controls when taking a hands-free call with a built-in noise-cancelling mic.
The speaker uses Bluetooth 4.1, and comes with a 5V 2A USB output, Micro-USB charging port and 3.5mm AUX input. It takes three to four hours to fully charge, offering up to 15 hours of playtime (although this depends on usage and whether you use it to charge your smartphone).
Two 8W stereo drivers are built into this black box, along with two dual passive subwoofers for bass.
The bass has a good impact but doesn’t extend into the sub-bass regions, and the treble provides a decent output but also doesn’t extend or give sparkle compared to other speakers at a similar price point. We found the sound to be slightly V-shaped and have recessed mids, which is unfortunate, given its price tag.
We did find its soundstage to be wide and have a good depth, providing you with a good surround sound from a Bluetooth speaker.
Read our Anker SoundCore Sport XL review.
10. Tribit 360
The Tribit might not be the best Bluetooth speaker out there if you're looking for a cheap one (now cheaper than when we tested it), but it's got a nice balance across all the things we look for. That's design, build quality, features and sound quality.
For starters, it looks like a lot of rivals with a cylindrical - although slightly squared off. It just comes in black with those large white buttons which are easy to see and use.
There are smaller buttons on the back for things like XBass, which you'll probably just leave on. Put it down on some flat surfaces and you'll get an extra bass boost from the passive radiator pointing downwards.
At this price, is most impressive to see an IPX7 waterproof rating. This means the speaker can be full submerged and be totally fine making it great for having around a swimming pool with worry.
Other than the passive radiators on the ends, the 360 has two 45mm drives able to throw out 12W each. That's a good amount of power and you can daisy chain a second speaker if you're having a larger party.
Although bass is good, there are some gaps in the frequency response so the overall sound isn't as full as we'd like.
Read more in our full Tribit 360 review.
Your buying guide to the best cheap Bluetooth speakers
So, what should you look for when in the market for a portable Bluetooth speaker?
A popular feature that seems to be cropping up in Bluetooth speakers is '360-degree audio'. What is 360-degree audio? Well, it's (usually) a tube-shaped Bluetooth speaker that has drivers facing every direction, opposed to the traditional front-facing speaker, to enable better audio projection and produce 'room-filling audio'.
It's definitely a nice feature to have, and one we actively look out for when buying new speakers. It was once exclusive to high-end speakers, but we've since seen it appear on a number of budget speakers.
What about battery life? While not too long ago the standard battery life for a Bluetooth speaker was around five hours, we've reached a golden age in Bluetooth accessory battery life. With many budget speakers offering upwards of 10-20 hours per charge, we wouldn't recommend buying a speaker that offers anything less.
Also, it's worth keeping an eye out for speakers that double up as portable battery chargers, as it'll probably come in handy when using your smartphone to play music.
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity
Some Bluetooth speakers also offer Wi-Fi capabilities, so which connection should you opt for? Traditionally, using a Bluetooth connection (5.0 is the latest version) will give you a 10m range, which means that you'll only be able to play music from a speaker in the same room as you - any further and you'll probably experience the audio cutting out.
Some speakers offer a wider range though, so it's worth taking a look at the specifications of the speaker you're interested in.
Wi-Fi has a much wider reach, and could allow you to play music from anywhere in the house. With this being said, the Wi-Fi setup process can be quite stressful and require users to install a specific app on their smartphone in order to do so, whereas Bluetooth setup takes 30 seconds, even less if it supports NFC setup.
Every now and again, you'll come across a Bluetooth speaker that offers a remote. While a remote can be useful in certain environments, especially if the volume of the speaker is controlled independently instead of mirroring the input volume, it's not essential.
This is especially true if you intend to play music from your smartphone via Bluetooth, as you'll already have the media controls you need in your hand.
Water and dust resistance
If you plan to take your Bluetooth speaker to the park or beach with you, it's probably a good idea to find a speaker that has some kind of water/dust/shock resistance.
While it doesn't need an IPX7 rating to be used outside, it's always a good idea to have some kind of protection against spills, rain, and general damage or you'll quickly find yourself buying another!