Bluetooth speakers under $100 are hard to shop for. Most of us 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, though; 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; if it made this list, it deserves to be here.
Let’s talk water-resistance
Plenty of listed speakers here are water-resistant, and if you’re short on time, just know that the split occurs between IPX5 and IPX6. The former is water-resistant, while the latter can withstand full submersion. You can get a full rundown of Ingress Protection (IP) ratings and what they mean to your specific model; otherwise, check the chart below for a quick understanding.
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. If you have a JBL Flip 3 and were going to double up with the new Flip 4, you’re out of luck. Battery life is also reported to be 12 hours with volume levels at 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 multi-connect 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 a bit cleanere. 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?
Even if you don’t regularly check pulse of audio tech, you’ve probably heard of Sony. The company’s XB20 portable wireless speaker is given the “XB” title, indicating that it’s received Sony’s Extra Bass technology. Like its bigger brothers, the XB40 and XB41, the Sony XB20 features an LED. In this case, it wraps around the front of the speaker and emits a single color.
A great feature of the XB20 is that it’s compatible with Sony’s LDAC Bluetooth codec. Though, you may not have the desire to get into the thick of it now, just know that LDAC has the highest transfer rate of all Bluetooth codecs. If your source device is also compatible (Android 8.0 or above) then you’ll be able to experience superior streaming quality.
Additionally, you can connect up to 10 speakers with Wireless Party Chain, so if you want to fill your house with sound, more power to you. Regarding battery life, the XB20 affords up to 12 hours of playback time. The other noteworthy feature found with this speaker is its water-resistant, IPX5-rated design. Though you can’t completely submerge it like you can with the SoundLink Micro, it’s fully water resistant and can take more than a few splashes.
Lately Anker has been revamping its Soundcore line. Among the refreshed products is the Flare, a portable speaker that—like the Motion Q—emits 360° sound. See, inside the cylindrical body are a set of back-to-back dual drivers that work in tandem with passive bass radiators. This allows for the Flare to have increased bass emphasis without masking the midrange frequencies.
For just $60, the Flare is a feature-packed device. While not quite pocketable, it hardly takes up space on an end table and is similar to the Studio19 London Solo in that the base is fitted with an LED encompassing the foot of the speaker. The light pattern can be customized but occasionally emits light when the Flare is inactive.
Additionally, you can adjust the bass via the control panel; though, it’s still not comparable to something like the Sony SRS-XB41. Aside from that, you can pair two Flares for stereo sound, and the speaker is IPX7-certified. The Flare, like the SoundLink Micro and UE Roll 2 can handle full submersion. Again, it’s hard to believe that it’s just shy of $60.