If you love listening to music, then listening to music wherever you go is possible with a Bluetooth speaker. High-end Bluetooth speakers usually cost a lot, and not everyone can afford them. That’s why I decided to review the best budget Bluetooth speakers of the year. I’ve tested more than 40 different ones over the years, and concluded that the best-valued ones are the following:
1. Anker SoundCore
As the market for affordable Bluetooth speakers is gaining lots of traction, manufacturers try to cash in on the idea with their products. The Chinese manufacturer Anker, not widely known for its speakers, has produced an amazing Bluetooth speaker with excellent features and performance, all in a very affordable package, it even has a microphone which you can use for talking to Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant.
The Anker SoundCore doesn’t have a flashy design, it has a very minimal design that blends in and doesn’t want attention, but I think that it looks very good and understated. It has a rectangular shape with black color all around it except the Anker branding on the front grille. The device has a soft plastic casing that will prove to be a little problem cleaning because it is a fingerprint magnet, and I really liked the overall vibe of the design in this product.
The buttons on top of the Anker SoundCore suit the soft smooth plastic very well and blend in nicely, you can find the power button, volume buttons, play/pause button, and the Bluetooth pairing button, and they are very easy to click.
The Anker SoundCore provides excellent connectivity with its Bluetooth 4.0 connection that can maintain a range of over 60 feet comfortably, furthermore, the connection and pairing with the device is very fast and easy, so you won’t spend time in the initial setup.
The Anker SoundCore provides a nice and fun sound actually with great quality to it, and I generally felt the emphasis on the mid-range that was very balanced and really good sounding, the number of details were great and the vocal clarity was awesome. The two-way driver that is powered by 6-watt amplification offers amazing depth and plenty of punch in the low-range. I was very impressed because I really didn’t expect a better sound quality at this price point.
I have to mention the battery life as well because it is remarkable, it has the capacity for 24 hours of constant playback through testing, which was really handy for trips.
The Anker SoundCore is definitely one of the best budget bluetooth speakers out there, and you won’t go wrong with it.
2. Zenbre Z4
Zenbre may not be a household name in the speaker circles, however, with the Zenbre Z4 it provides excellent value to its product with its general performance, great sound quality, amazing build quality, and a killer feature that separates it from its peers, the true stereo separation, all in a very affordable price that will please budget-conscious buyers.
The design of the Zenbre Z4 is very straightforward and simple, it does lack the flashiness or the playful vibes of the other manufacturers, but I think it is a great cost-saving method. It has a classic cylindrical shape made of rubber and a nice fabric mesh covering the speakers around the device. The device has an IPX4 waterproof rating, meaning that the device can withstand splashes and sprays, but it cannot take submersions, but for that price, it is more than appropriate.
This device is extremely portable measuring just 7.1×2.4×2.4-inches and weighs just 1.35-pounds, so the speaker is easy to carry from place to place and the device has also included a leather handle cord to help you carry the device. It can easily fit into any bag that you have, like gym bags and backpacks and you can even stuff it into a larger jacket pocket.
The sound of the device comes from the two 5 watt speakers that feature low-frequency radiators and a subwoofer, all of this is specifically designed to provide a wide sound spectrum, that I didn’t expect from this budget speaker. The sound quality is excellent on this device, and the speaker is capable of handling the amazing low-ranges with rich and punchy bass, the trebles were exceptional as well free of any tinny sounds that are present in most budget speakers. The mids were very clear and natural sounding, with great detail and attention to the vocals.
The main selling point of the device is the full 360-degree surround sound, that is very evenly distributed so you can enjoy the music experience without moving the speaker to get the perfect angle.
Combined with the 20-hour battery life the Zenbre Z4 justifies its price to the last cent and even aims higher than its class.
3. JBL Clip 2
The JBL Clip 2 is an excellent Bluetooth speaker, with a tiny size that makes it very portable and versatile, the best waterproofing at this price point and great sound for a small speaker. It is an excellent package, and while there is a newer model of it, Clip 3, but still Clip 2 still is my choice thanks to its performance and features.
Just like its predecessor, Clip 2 keeps the hockey puck shape, but other than that everything is refined and updated. For example, there is a mesh fabric on top of the speaker, instead of the hard speaker grille, and I think it looks more contemporary plus adds more protection. You can buy the JBL Clip 2 in different colors such as black, blue, red, teal, and gray, which is plenty for personalization, also I liked the update on its integrated carabiner, that now has a lot more flexibility than the older model that was fixed to the speaker.
Also, the device grew bigger and now measures 5.5×3.7×1.7-inches, a full inch larger than the legacy model, and now it weighs 6.5-ounces, which is still extremely light and pocketable. It is amazing as to how the company has packed that amount of features at this tiny package, on its left you’ll find the volume buttons and the button to take calls, pause or play a song, and even skipping the song if you push it twice. The biggest difference over its predecessor is the IPX7 rating for water resistance and the elements, it can be submerged in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes, I tested it and it performed excellently.
The sound quality on the JBL Clip 2 was surprising, as it delivered excellent treble, mids, and bass, I really was impressed by this compact speaker, the vocals were very clear and rich, and the bass had some considerable punch to it. And I could say that the overall sound is very rich and natural, with some warmness to it that made it very pleasant.
With a battery life of an astounding 8-hours, this tiny Bluetooth speakerphone is an excellent company for your trips.
4. JBL Flip 3
JBL has a wide range of products at different prices and features, but quality always has remained top of the class. The JBL Flip 3 is an excellent Bluetooth speaker that is old now, however, it is still a great option for budget buyers that don’t want to compromise in the quality department.
Just like its predecessor the JBL Flip 3 has a cylindrical shape with angled ends, the speaker is covered with fabric mesh and it measures just 6.7×2.5×2.5-inches. Inside the device, you will find the two 1.5-inch drivers that produce the excellent sound, and there are also two bass radiators that cover both ends of the device, just like in the larger Charge 2+, and I think for a compact package it contains a lot of sounds.
It is available in multiple colors like yellow, teal, red, pink, black, and gray to name a few, and each of them looks excellent. On the device, you will spot controls for the volume, speakerphone, and pairing, that are easily accessible and intuitive to use. And just below those controls, you will spot the power button and the battery indicator and the protected micro USB port and 3.5mm audio port. The device is also splash-proof that will keep the speaker safe in your pool parties, and under the rain, however, it cannot be submerged underwater, because it doesn’t have the IPX7 rating.
Surprisingly, the JBL Flip 3 despite its size produces a considerable amount of bass, and also I noticed that it handled the mid-range very well, the vocals were very clear and the stringed instruments were warm and natural. The trebles sounded equally delicious with just the right amount of crips to it without getting annoying.
The device can get about 10 hours of playback on a single charge, improving on its predecessor’s measly 5-hour battery time. This should be enough for the typical day out and also it is worth stating that the charging time is also pretty fast, and the Bluetooth range is an impressive 50 feet.
Overall, I can comfortably say that the JBL Flip 3 provides excellent value for its price and you simply can’t go wrong with JBL quality.
5. Ultimate Ears Wonderboom
We are going to start our best budget bluetooth speakers list with a product that provides great value for your money. The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom is an inexpensive Bluetooth speaker that is packed with tons of features that belong way higher than its price. It has the definite best 360 sound, it is waterproofed, very compact can pair with two devices simultaneously and has a 35-meter Bluetooth range. One of the best options for the out and about type of person, the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom will rock at your small parties.
Interestingly, the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom has a soda can shape just slightly chubbier, it looks like a small stub and I think it has a cute vibe to it. I think the manufacturer has made the right choice of changing its shape because with this shape allows everybody around the speaker to have the same experience, it sounds excellent in every angle just like it was advertised, achieving the complete 360-degree sound.
Because it is waterproofed, all of its controls are covered with a rubberized membrane, which can take a beating. On top of the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom, you will find the buttons for power, pairing and playback, and the UE logo, but the controls were not clear, but you will get the hang of it. The speaker is covered by a fabric mesh and also there you will find the buttons for controls that are very large and conveniently placed, on top of that you can get the unit from the six available colors according to your taste.
The sound of the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom was excellent, it had just enough warmth, with a bit more emphasis on the mids and the mid-bass, but make no mistake the treble and the bass was just as good, however this is not the perfect Bluetooth speaker for bass heads, but for a speaker of this size even the bass was plenty. I found that the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom can output a huge amount of volume and it was great for parties, the battery life of the product was decent at about 10-hours, which should be more than enough for your daily trips to the beach.
If you want an excellent balance of waterproofing, sound quality, and battery life, you can’t go wrong with the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom.