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Best cheap Bluetooth speakers under $50
Music is a social experience, which is why cheap Bluetooth speakers are exploding in popularity. Every party needs music, but you don’t have to spend a fortune on speakers to set the tone because the cheap Bluetooth speakers market is booming.
If this were a list of headphones or microphones, frequency response charts would be at the end of each image gallery, however we don’t currently take frequency response measurements for speaker reviews. You can learn more about how to read our charts here.
Editor’s note: this list was edited on August 8, 2022, to include a contents menu, include the JBL GO 3 as a top pick, include more information in the buying guide, address FAQs, and update formatting.
The Anker SoundCore Flare Mini is the best cheap Bluetooth speaker
The Anker SoundCore Flare line of Bluetooth speakers are best known for the combination of design and solid sound quality, with different models catering to different price brackets. The Mini variant is Anker’s lowest-priced offering, and it provides loud sound in a compact form.
With its two 5W back-to-back neodymium drivers, the Flare Mini delivers 360˚ sound for an immersive music listening experience. An IPX7 rating ensures that the party won’t stop, even if the speaker is out in the rain, or taking a leisurely 30-minute dip in the pool. Extra features include a modest 12-hour battery life, Bluetooth 4.2 support (connection range of up to 20 meters), and the ability to pair two Flare Mini speakers together.
Although the Flare Mini lacks clarity, the overall sound is very good for such a cheap speaker: amplified bass and low-midrange frequencies make the sound engaging and perfect for a pool party. For less than $50, it’s hard to find another Bluetooth speaker that can compare with the Flare Mini.
For a simple home solution, check out the Creative Stage Air
If you’re looking for an inexpensive Bluetooth speaker, chances are it’s going to be small and portable similar to the other options on this list. However, that doesn’t always have to be the case. Case in point: the Creative Stage Air.
While this speaker isn’t nearly the size of the some of the other soundbars we’ve tested, you still get a lot of speaker for not a lot of money. It’s not the best option for building your dream home theater system, but it’s a perfectly fine under-monitor speaker that makes listening to music, watching videos, or playing games that much more enjoyable.
Like most speakers of this price, the Creative Stage Air has fairly limited features so don’t expect to plug in HDMI and optical cables from your gaming console. For that, you should check out our list for best soundbars. The Creative Stage Air keeps it simple, supporting Bluetooth 4.2 with the SBC codec and 3.5mm input. It has a few annoying quirks, like automatically turning off to save power after 15 minutes of non-usage, but overall it’s a solid option for the price.
Always on the move? Bring the JBL Clip 3
The JBL Clip 2 was one of the best cheap Bluetooth speakers, but it’s been outdone. The Clip 3 comes with the same familiar fabric covering and remains IPX7-rated, as well as a redesigned carabiner for easier attachment to a bag. If you’re willing to spend a little bit more, check out the new JBL Clip 4 which has an IP67 rating, improved carabiner, and a whole new design.
The Clip 3 also features greatly increased battery life over its predecessor. Instead of just eight hours of playback, users are afforded 16 hours of listening before having to charge the Clip 3 with a microUSB cable.
Sound quality is good enough for a hike, picnic, or even for the shower. Just don’t expect it to get loud enough to power your backyard BBQ like the UE Hyperboom. Clarity and bass response aren’t great, but it gets the job done well enough. The same can be said for the microphone quality: it works, but you’re better off using your smartphone.
Editor’s note: The JBL Clip 3 occasionally fluctuates in price above $50. However, the product is available for less than $50 through the Amazon Renewed program.
Do you prioritize durability? Make room for the JBL GO 3
This speaker retails for around $40 and is unusually durable. Not only is it IP67-rated, making it fully waterproof, but it’s also dust and shockproof. The main downside we observed with this speaker is that it doesn’t float, so you can keep it near the bathtub or the swimming pool, but you probably don’t want to put it in the water.
The JBL GO 3 is a great companion for day-long summer excursions because its battery lasts over 10 hours on a single charge. In terms of sound, the GO 3 isn’t the highest quality, but it isn’t meant to be. It produces pretty loud volumes considering its size, and lets vocals come through clearly enough to hear the lyrics you want to sing along to.
The JBL GO 3 is pretty no-frills and is unfortunately not compatible with the JBL Portable app, but it has onboard controls to adjust volume and media playback. The speaker is made of a fabric covering and fits in the palm of your hand. It’s a great option for a speaker under $50.
If you have a smart home, get the Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen)
The smart home is more relevant than ever, and companies are running with even the most ridiculous Internet of Things (IoT) product ideas. Anyone with multiple smart home devices, say a few Philips Hue lightbulbs or a smart fridge, will benefit from the hands-free voice controls of the new Echo Dot.
Alexa has over 50,000 skills that users can command to make life presumably more convenient. From adjusting your thermostat to locking your doors, the Echo Dot will hopefully make your life a little more streamlined. The latest Amazon Echo Dot features the company’s new AZ1 Neural Edge Chip, resulting in a smart speaker that takes less time than its predecessor to process voice commands.
The new Echo Dot still uses the same 1.6-inch speaker found in its predecessor. However, the larger, spherical design of the 4th generation Echo Dot produces less vibration in the body of the speaker, which helps reduce distortion when listening at higher volumes. And just like with the last model, the new Echo Dot still features a 3.5mm line out if you’d rather listen to music through another pair of speakers.
Best cheap Bluetooth speakers: Notable mentions
- Anker SoundCore: It’s nearly identical to the SoundCore 2, but lacks any IP certification; is a 6-watt, rather than a 12-watt speaker; and operates on Bluetooth 4.0, rather than 4.2.
- Anker SoundCore Flare 2: This speaker has all the features of the Flare Mini, but includes more powerful drivers, SoundCore app control, dual LED halo lighting, and better sound quality at a price tag slightly above $50.
- Anker Soundcore Icon Mini: With a form factor smaller than a deck of cards, paired with an IP67 water and dust resistance rating, this speaker is designed for the adventurer looking to take their playlist along for the ride.
- Anker SoundCore 2: With a 24-hour battery life, an IPX5-rating, and 12W total sound output, you can’t go wrong with this sub-$50 Bluetooth speaker.
- Oontz Angle 3: This is the runner-up for the best bang-for-your-buck speaker. It’s just over $20, is portable, and IPX5-rated.
- Sony SRS-XB12: The “XB” in the product’s name stands for Extra Bass, delivering a powerful low-end in a compact form factor. An IP67 rating also ensures that the party will go on, no matter where you take this speaker.
- Tribit XSound Go: This speaker provides 24 hours of playback, is IPX7-rated, and can easily fit in a bag or purse.
- UE Wonderboom: This speaker isn’t quite under $50—it’s $61. However, it is a handy little speaker with an IPX7 rating and a loud sound. Its battery life is pretty poor, unfortunately, but if you’re not planning to use it to blast music at maximum volume all day, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
What you should know about cheap Bluetooth speakers
What is a Bluetooth codec?
Just like wireless headphones, Bluetooth speakers support specific Bluetooth codecs. Codecs determine how files are transmitted from a source (phone) to a receiver (speaker). Different codecs produce different amounts of latency when streaming, and the most common of those that have the lowest latency and the highest streaming quality are aptX and AAC if you’re an iOS user.
What are IP ratings?
Plenty of these speakers are water-resistant, so here’s a quick rundown of Ingress Protection (IP) ratings and what they mean to your specific model. IP ratings denote the dust and water resistance of a particular product. Oftentimes, a product will be rated something like IPX4 and the X is just a placeholder for what would be a dust-resistance rating. For a product to withstand full submersion, it must be at least IPX7 or higher.
Dripping water (1 mm/min)
Limit: vertical drips only
Dripping water (3 mm/min)
Limit: Device max tilt of 15° from drips
Limit: Device max tilt of 60° from sprays
Water jets (12.5 L/min)
Example: Squirt guns
Strong water jets (100 L/min)
Example: Powerful water guns
Limit: 1 m. for 30 min
Limit: 3 m. for 30 min
How we chose the best Bluetooth speakers under $50
A simple search on Amazon yields hundreds of options from a myriad of manufacturers, and that’s just for cheap Bluetooth speakers. So, how do you know what to choose? Well, you can do a ton of research and gather up the best options, which is exactly what we did.
After ordering a bunch of the top options we narrowed it down to a few of the products we already reviewed and know to be good. Nothing here is going to make it into the MoMA, but for less than $50 it doesn’t need to. These cheap Bluetooth speakers just need to be functional and better than average, which these are and do.
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Frequently asked questions about cheap Bluetooth speakers under $50
While these two little speakers are of a similar size, they differ in a few minor ways. One of the major selling points of the JBL Clip 3 is that it has a built-in carabiner clip making it easier to attach to a backpack or anything, really. The JBL GO 3 only has a loop, but if you have a carabiner of your own it is easy to use it in the same way. The JBL GO 3 also has an IP67 rating whereas the Clip 3 has an IPX7 rating—this just means that the Clip 3 doesn’t have a certified dust-proof build, but both speakers are waterproof. Another notable difference between the two speakers is that the Clip 3 includes an auxiliary port whereas the GO 3 can only connect to a source device via Bluetooth. Lastly the Clip 3 includes a microphone for making calls, but the GO 3 does not.
When the Anker SoundCore Flare Mini has low battery, the power button blinks in red.