Best budget Bluetooth speakers: portable speakers for every budget

Best budget Bluetooth speakers Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?’s round-up of the best budget wireless speakers you can buy in 2019.

Bluetooth speakers are a great addition to any music lover’s arsenal. They’re usually portable, waterproof, and some – like the ones below – are easy on the wallet to boot.

Aside from something that sounds good for the money, what should you look for when shopping for a budget Bluetooth speaker?

Models at the more affordable end of the market tend to be rugged and super portable, so look out for waterproofing, or at least water resistance (the latter meaning you shouldn’t fully submerge your speaker in the drink).

Budget Bluetooth speakers can also be small enough to fit in a coat pocket, or big enough to fill a party with serious sound. To that end, if you’re thinking of taking one on the road with you, make sure you check the dimensions before clicking “buy”.

Our list has something for everyone – some models even have microphones built in, should the need to take calls or speak to your virtual voice assistant arise. 

Whether you want full-on portability or something to move from your bedroom to the kitchen, check these out for size: you’re sure to find something you – and your wallet – will love. What’s more, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner – the time for sniffing out bargains is now.

Best Bluetooth speakers 2019

1. Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2

A fantastically affordable Bluetooth speaker with a weighty sound and good battery life.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connectivity: Bluetooth | Power: Battery | Battery life: 13hrs | Charge time: 2.6hrs **Dimensions (hwd):** 10.4 x 9.5 x 9.5cm | Weight: 420g

Reasons to Buy

Punchy, entertaining sound

Hefty bass

Decent battery life

Reasons to Avoid

No wi-fi or smart assistant built-in

No mic for hands-free calls

Ultimate Ears has really made a splash in the Bluetooth speaker market with a number of colourful, fun-sounding and portable models on its books. The latest is the small but mightily impressive Wonderboom 2.

Battery life is 13 hours and a full charge takes just under three. It’s waterproof, sandproof, dustproof and is also designed to float so it should withstand the most lively of pool parties. Playback is controlled over a Bluetooth connection, but it’s surprising to see there’s no mic for hands-free calling.

Sonically, the Wonderboom 2 is an exciting listen, with impressive bass given its small dimensions. It packs in plenty of detail and there’s a fine sense of attack. It’s easily one of the best sounding Bluetooth speakers you can buy for the money.

Read the full review: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2019: portable, desktop and multi-room

2. Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen)

The most enticing way to bring Alexa into your home.

SPECIFICATIONS

Voice assistant: Alexa | Connectivity: Bluetooth, wi-fi | Output: 3.5mm

Reasons to Buy

Clear, solid sound

Improved Alexa capabilities

Budget price

Reasons to Avoid

Alexa intelligence is limited

If you like the idea of a smart assistant combined with a simple music speaker, it’s hard to argue against the Amazon Echo Dot. For not a lot of money, you get a whole load of smart voice functionality and decent sound with the latest (third generation) model. It works well on its own or can be nicely integrated into myriad other smart home and AV products, bringing voice control and smart features just a command away. Sound quality has improved notably too, making it even easier to recommend.

Read the full review: Amazon Echo Dot (3rd generation)

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2019: portable, desktop and multi-room

(Image credit: JBL)

3. JBL GO 2

This punchy and clean-sounding portable speaker is a serious bargain.

SPECIFICATIONS

Waterproof: IPX7 | Bluetooth: Yes | Input: 3.5mm | Battery life: : 5 hours

Reasons to Buy

Aesthetically pleasing

Well-balanced sound

Decent bass from a small box

Reasons to Avoid

Poor battery life

For the money, this dinky JBL speaker is an absolute steal. It’s waterproof, highly portable and looks adorable – it’s like a bar of soap that plays music. And the sound is surprisingly good given its diminutive dimensions, providing an open, three-dimensional listen – though obviously it doesn’t pack much bass. Our only gripe? Battery life. Topping out at a mere five hours, it won’t last you a full afternoon of listening, which is something many look for in a Bluetooth speaker. Still, if you can make that sacrifice, it’s well worth taking with you.

Read the full review: JBL GO 2

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2019: portable, desktop and multi-room

4. Amazon Echo 2

Cheaper, smarter and better at listening than its predecessor.

SPECIFICATIONS

Voice control: Alexa | Finishes: six | Connectivity: Bluetooth and wi-fi

Reasons to Buy

Alexa voice control

Improved hearing commands

Smart design

Reasons to Avoid

Average sound quality

Everything from the price to the microphone performance has improved in this, the second generation of Amazon’s Echo speaker – although if you want better sound quality you’ll need to look at the pricier Amazon Echo Plus (£140). Provided you don’t expect more for your £90 – and considering there isn’t an alternative for the money – the Echo 2 remains a good smart speaker buy. 

Read the full review: Amazon Echo 2

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2019: portable, desktop and multi-room

5. Ultimate Ears Blast

The Blast is all-action in terms of both sound and durability.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Voice control: Alexa | Battery life: 12 hours | Waterproof: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Great portable design

Exciting, dynamic sound

Easy to use

Reasons to Avoid

Top end can get excitable at loud volumes

Alexa features not exhaustive

Relatively pricey

Ultimate Ears has a knack for finding the right combination of sound, design and features in its portable Bluetooth speakers, and it does so again with the waterproof Blast. The Blast’s energetic performance and fun design makes this wireless speaker a joy to use. It’s a fun, exciting speaker that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Read the full review: Ultimate Ears Blast

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2019: portable, desktop and multi-room

6. Audio Pro Addon T5

A mature and refined-sounding Bluetooth speaker with multi-room credentials.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Inputs: USB, 3.5mm | Multi-room: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Great dynamism

Clear and transparent

Good sense of timing

Reasons to Avoid

Lack of portability

If you’re in the market for a stationary wireless speaker that can develop into a multi-room audio system, the T5 is a great place to start. It’s a beefed-up version of the Audio Pro T3 – however, unlike the smaller model, the T5 doesn’t have a in-built battery, so this isn’t a speaker to be taking out and about with you. Assuming you can live with that, the T5 has the same great character of the T3 – an expressive, well balanced, and full sound – but with more weight in the lower frequencies. You’ll be hard pressed to get something much better without dipping a lot deeper into your piggy bank.

Read the full review: Audio Pro Addon T5

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2019: portable, desktop and multi-room

7. JBL Xtreme 2

One of the best portable speakers around, and can be subtle too.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2, 3.5mm | Water resistance: IPX7 | Battery life: 15 hours | Power: 2 x 20W | Weight: 2.4kg

Reasons to Buy

Clean, clear sound

Balanced bass

Solid design

Reasons to Avoid

Big

No wi-fi or multi-room

Presentation too grown-up for some

The JBL Xtreme 2 comes as a pleasant surprise. At first sight, the it might appear a little brash and out of place – an unashamed boombox in an era of reserved smart speakers dressed in grey fabric. However, this bold and aggressive look is matched by some of the sweetest sound you’ll hear from a portable speaker. There’s no wi-fi, smart assistant support and multi-room audio, but this speaker sounds much more refined and delicate than it looks. Add in its chunky, rugged build and IPX7 water resistance and you have an ideal Bluetooth speaker for use in the great outdoors.

Read the full review: JBL Xtreme 2

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2019: portable, desktop and multi-room

8. Bose SoundLink Revolve

Bose’s petite Bluetooth speaker makes a big impact.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connectivity: Bluetooth, 3.5mm | Battery life: 12 hours | Weight: 0.66kg

Reasons to Buy

Great omnidirectional delivery

Big, solid, punchy sound

Portable and feature-packed

Reasons to Avoid

Rivals sound more detailed

Not especially rugged

A bit pricey

The Bose SoundLink Revolve is a strikingly petite speaker, and we can see it fitting into just about any space in your home. The speaker has a decent heft – it feels more substantial than the similar-sized Google Home, for instance – but it can still be held in the palm of your hand. The unit’s cylindrical design is key to delivering its 360-degree sound and it is compact enough to be carried in a backpack. 

An iPX4 water-resistance rating is handy if you’re worried about it getting wet, and for such a small speaker, the Bose Revolve delivers a surprisingly big and bold sound. It’s come down in price since we first tested it and it’s hard not to admire the Bose Revolve for its range of talents.

Read the full review: Bose SoundLink Revolve

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2019: portable, desktop and multi-room

9. JBL Charge 3

JBL’s versatile wireless speaker delivers a super sound indoors or out.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connectivity: Bluetooth, 3.5mm, micro USB, Type C USB | Battery life: 20 hours | Water-resistance: IPX7

Reasons to Buy

Impressive build

Clever design

Useful features

Reasons to Avoid

Lacks a little openness and subtlety

The Charge 3 has been designed with portability in mind, fitting neatly into the company’s existing speaker range. It’s larger than the petite JBL Flip and JBL Link 20 but not as hefty as the JBL Xtreme (see above) This makes the Charge 3 a good size for flinging in a rucksack and taking on your travels. This is definitely a speaker that could quite happily cope with an active camping weekend or beach holiday.

Given the JBL’s rugged and sturdy build, you won’t be surprised to hear the Charge 3 sounds neither shy nor hesitant. It’s an enthusiastic, powerful sound, highlighted by the passive radiators pulsing vigorously at either end of the speaker. For its price (which has dropped since we first reviewed it), this is an excellent buy.

Read the full review: JBL Charge 3

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2019: portable, desktop and multi-room

10. Tivoli Andiamo

A stylish, affordable product whose performance lives up to its looks.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connectivity: Bluetooth 3.0, 3.5mm | Battery life: 20 hours | Full-range driver: 6.5cm | Passive driver: 7.7cm | DSP equalization: 24-bit

Reasons to Buy

Fast, agile, musical sound

Premium feel and build

Reasons to Avoid

Not much at this price

Take a look at Tivoli’s Andiamo wireless speaker from afar and you would be forgiven for thinking that this is a Bang & Olufsen product. This is a lovely little piece of kit, made from lightweight but tough aluminium with leather trimmings, and nicely put together. “Andiamo” means “let’s go” in Italian, just in case you didn’t know – so it’s meant for travel. At its heart, this is a basic Bluetooth speaker, with no frills or added extras. Control buttons are hidden neatly beneath the tooled leather strap.

It may be relatively small in stature, but the Andiamo is certainly able to pack a sonic punch – and produces a sound way larger than you might have thought. The Tivoli Andiamo manages to pull off the seemingly impossible: it’s a beautifully put-together ‘lifestyle’ product, but at the same time it provides a sound that comfortably matches its price. 

Read the full review: Tivoli Andiamo

Best budget Bluetooth speakers 2019: portable, desktop and multi-room

11. Audio Pro A10

New look, but a familiar sonic character from Audio Pro.

SPECIFICATIONS

Power: 52W Class D | Connectivity: Wi-fi, Bluetooth V4.0, 3.5 mm | Multi-room: Yes | Audio formats: MP3, WMA, AAC, FLAC, Apple Lossless

Reasons to Buy

Wide dispersion of sound

Excellent timing and dynamics

Versatile positioning

Reasons to Avoid

Lacks midrange body

The Audio Pro A10 is an entirely different design from it siblings such as the Addon T5 featured further up this list. Here we have a fabric-coated cylinder standing just shy of 20cm, resembling more the kind of speaker we’re used to seeing from its rivals, but most importantly, bringing the company’s Award-winning sonic signature sound to a multi-room speaker costing less than £200.

Inside it’s different from the A10’s rectangular stablemates too. Audio Pro has packed in a 7.5cm long-throw woofer and bolstered its output with two 11.5cm passive radiators. And there’s a BMR, or Balanced Mode Radiator, tweeter. The result is a spread of sound that has to be admired, combined with excellent timing – it snaps along with that same intensity and intelligent organisation we’ve come to expect from Audio Pro. We think the A10’s price and more traditional design will bring Audio Pro to a different audience, and we’re all for that.

Read the full review: Audio Pro A10