Did you know that there’s a way to figure out how good (or bad) a Bluetooth speaker will sound without actually hearing it?
This is important in our search for the best budget Bluetooth speaker because while we know we're not going to get audiophile quality sound, we also don’t want it to be “tinny” and distorted.
In this guide I'll go over all the things you need to know to get the very best portable Bluetooth speaker for under fifty bucks.
I'll also let you know the characteristics to look for when making your decision so you can be sure to get a good sounding, quality speaker.
Ok, let's get to it...
The Best Bluetooth Speakers For Under $50
*Note - The sound quality is measured here for what they are - A small portable Bluetooth speaker. Obviously you are not going to get studio quality sound out of these units.
Anker SoundCore - Best Bluetooth Speaker For Under $50
The Anker Soundcore is a great speaker for the price.
We all know that we aren’t going to get bass thumping car rattling bass out of such a small speaker but it does have a dedicated spiral bass port for a much deeper and full sound.
Also, it’s harmony distortion sits at less than 1% which creates a purer sound output.
It’s equipped with two 3 watt speakers for a total of 6 watts. That doesn’t sound like much but with the extra hardware included like the bass port, the overall acoustics of this speaker sounds great.
It’s equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 technology which allows for a longer range (66 ft from your phone) and sucks up much less power. This thing comes with a ridiculous 24-hour battery life.
The Cambridge Oontz Angle 3 speaker is equipped with two 5w+ speakers for a total of 10+ watts. That makes this Bluetooth speaker louder than the others on this list.
You won’t get as much bass as you would with the Anker Soundcore because it doesn’t have a built-in bass port.
It is Bluetooth 3.0 which means you also won’t get the range or reduced power consumption of a Bluetooth 4.0 speaker. The battery life is around 8 hours and the range is 33ft.
One advantage to the Cambridge Oontz Bluetooth speaker is that it is IPX5 rated which means it’s water resistant and can be used in the shower.
If portability is what you’re looking for then the Anker Ultra Portable Bluetooth speaker is a great choice. You can easily fit it in a full backpack or jacket pocket.
It comes in at 3 watts of power which is the lowest on this list but it still sounds pretty good. I added it here for someone who needs an ultra small portable speaker.
It’s equipped with a passive subwoofer which adds more bass than you would expect from such a tiny speaker.
It is Bluetooth 3.0 so it doesn’t have the low power consumption that comes with 4.0. The battery lasts about 12 hours at 80% volume.
The AYL SoundFit speaker is the one to get if you want something that’s durable. It’s encased with an extra layer of protection that allows you to drop it from up to six and a half feet without damaging it.
It has a single 5-watt speaker allowing for a more compact design. For what it is, it sounds pretty good.
There are no extra bass ports or anything, it is just a simple rugged speaker that you can take with you when you’re hiking or on the beach. It’s IPX5 which means it’s water resistant and can withstand dust and sand.
It’s Bluetooth 4.0 so it has the longer range. The battery lasts about 12 hours at 80% volume.
While the other speakers can be taken on the go, the VicTsing is designed to be a shower speaker. You can take it with you if you want but at its really low price it’s affordable enough to just leave it in the shower.
This has a 5-watt speaker that isn’t going to knock your sox off but it’s loud and enjoyable enough to shower with.
It’s Bluetooth 3.0 so it doesn’t have the range of some of the other speakers. Its battery runs at about 6 hours at 70% volume.
The two biggest things that make the Anker soundcore portable bluetooth speaker stand out is the super long (24 hour) battery life and the built in bass port.
It comes with a 4400 milliamp battery which is very large for a portable speaker and it’s also equipped with a bluetooth 4.0 receiver.
Bluetooth 4.0 runs the low energy (LE) standard allowing for less power consumption.
It also has a range of 66 feet. As a side note, although it claims 66 feet, in practical use it’s approximately 60 ft open area or about 40 ft through walls.
It isn’t the most durable so if you want to take your speaker on hiking trips I would recommend a more rugged brand like the AYL Soundfit listed below.
While you aren’t going get a huge amount of thump, the bass port allows for a deeper sound for such a small speaker. It sounds pretty good and even at the loudest levels it won’t break up.
Overall the Anker SoundCore is Super sleek and easy to use. You’ll have no problem connecting it to your phone and running it for hours and hours. I would recommend it to anyone that is looking for a portable bluetooth speaker but doesn't want drop serious amounts of cash.
Coming in at 10 watts, this is the loudest speaker on the list but be aware that it does start to break up and crackle at 90% - 100% volume.
It has a lower battery life than previous models (around 7 hours). They did this to increase the wattage and sound output.
The angled design is pretty cool. It points the speakers up to give you a better sound in certain situations than forward facing bluetooth speakers.
It has a microphone incase you want to use it for an easy hands free speakerphone but make sure that you’re close to the speaker as the mic isn’t super powerful.
It is bluetooth 3.0 so you won’t get the range and lower power consumption that you would with the Anker SoundCore.
The one advantage is that it is IPX5 water resistant rated so you could use it as a shower speaker or take it with you to the beach and not have to worry about water dirt and sand.
Honestly I think it’s time for an update to this speaker line. It was great for it’s time but it needs to be update to bluetooth 4.0 and could use a boost in the bass department. I included it here because of its relative popularity.
This tiny speaker packs a pretty nice punch for its microscopic size. It’s output is 3 watts so it isn’t going to be as loud as some of the other speakers but it does sound good.
You will get very little distortion and a bit of bass out of this little guy.
It has only a couple of ports and comes with a mini USB to to 3.5 headphone jack in the box incase you need to connect it directly to a source input.
The Anker Ultra portable speaker is equipped with bluetooth 4.0 and NFC.
NFC is a technology that allows for super fast automatic pairing. While bluetooth can take a few seconds or more, NFC can pair in microseconds. The downside to the technology is that you have to keep your phone within 4 centimeters of the speaker so keep that in mind.
Since it is bluetooth 4.0 it has the longer range and the battery life is 12 hours which is pretty good for such a small speaker that can only carry a small battery.
This speaker exceeded my expectations, and I think you’ll use it all time. Of course, you’re not going to get professional grade sound quality, but for it’s low price, you're getting a really great speaker. It has good support on most frequency ranges and it’s very powerful for its size.
The advantage to the AYL Soundfit portable bluetooth speaker is its rugged design and durability.
It comes with an extra protective layer around the casing of the unit so it can be dropped from around 6 feet high with no damage.
You can get it in 3 different colors. Bright blue, army green or burnt orange.
It also has a screw hole on the bottom so you can hook it to optional accessories like a bike mount.
It’s water resistant but not submersible. This picture from the manufacturer is a bit misleading…
While you can drop it in water for a few seconds without any damage, it’s only IPX5 rated so any longer and it will break the speaker. If you are looking for a fully submersible speaker you want one that’s rated IPX7 or higher.
It has a 5 watt speaker which puts out a nice volume but it doesn’t have a lot of bass.
Bluetooth 4.0 as well so it has a good range and about a 10 hour battery life.
Overall I think you’ll really like the size, ease of use and sound.
This speaker is great for someone who is not the most careful when it comes to electronic gadgets.
The AYL SoundFit is a speaker that you could throw in a backpack or carry with you when roaming around. With its rugged durability you can take with you on a hike, a bike ride or when you’re just simply hanging out with friends.
The last device in our roundup is the VicTsing shower speaker.
Now, you could take it on the go if you wanted but it comes with a suction cup on the back to attach to your shower wall so I’d say it’s pretty much a bathroom speaker.
The battery life is on the low side, about 6 hours at 70% volume which is ok because unless you take hour long showers it should last you quite a few turns before you need to charge it.
It comes in at 5 watts which is loud enough to fill your bathroom with sound. In testing it, I’d say you’ll only need to turn it up to about 60% before it gets too loud for the average size bathroom.
It’s IPX5 rated so it will withstand a shower stream but don’t submerge it for any length of time if you’re taking a bath because it will stop working.
The final feature is a mic that allows you to have a phone conversation while you’re taking a shower. Not my thing but if you find it necessary to wash and talk, you could easily do that with the VicTsing.
This is a good, quality speaker for the price. It’s perfect for passive listening when you’re taking a shower and the volume is just right. The battery life good enough for it’s purpose and you shouldn’t have to charge it too often.
Here is what you need to consider when purchasing a bluetooth speaker.
What are you going to use it for? The first thing you need to think about is what you will be using the speaker for.
Here are a few different scenarios...
Small Parties - The bigger that wattage the louder the speaker will be. In our budget range look for a bluetooth speaker that sits between 6 and 10 watts.
Hang In The Shower - If you are going to hang it in the shower, it does not need to be completely waterproof.
Total waterproofing is for a speaker that is going to be submerged under water for a long period of time. Those speakers are more expensive and just not necessary for shower listening.
You want a speaker rated IPX5. That will protect against light water jets.
Hiking - Rugged and water resistant. Many bluetooth speakers have a tough outer shell made out of advanced materials that can take a beating.
Some of the best are polymer, rubber and high strength aluminum alloy.
Ports - Some of the more basic speakers only come with only one charging port but there is a wide variety of additional ports that it might have.
3.5 in stereo jack - This comes in handy when you have a device that you want to plug straight into the speaker. In general you will get better sound quality out of that little jack than from a bluetooth connection because it doesn’t need to compress the audio.
USB - Many bluetooth speakers come with a usb port. Some will act as a power bank and allow you to charge devices on the go such as cell phones and tablets.
In other cases it might allow you to plug in a usb stick that has music already loaded on it. Make sure that it will play the music if that’s important to you as many of these speakers do not have that capability.
SD - You can find bluetooth speakers that come with an SD or micro SD card slot that you can play music off of.
Watts - For our purposes, generally speaking, the more watts the better. More watts equals higher volume but that doesn’t translate into better sound quality.
This issue gets complicated and if you want more info you can check out this great article from cnet.
Battery Life - Battery size is measured in milliamps (mAh) and just like watts, the higher the better.
As an example, a 2200 mAh battery will allow for up to 7 hours of playback while a 5000 mAh can go for 20 hours without needing a charge.
Bluetooth 3.0 vs 4.0 - Bluetooth 3.0 was a major upgrade from 2.0 in the way of speed. It went from about 3 Mbit/s to 24Mbit/s.
Bluetooth 4.0 didn’t upgraded the speed but it has significantly lowered the power consumption. It uses anywhere from 50% - 90% less power than its predecessor.
Anyone who’s seen their phone battery die in the blink of an eye while using bluetooth devices will appreciate the upgrade. It has also doubled the range from 33 to 66 feet.
Bluetooth is continuing to evolve. They have recently released bluetooth 4.2. If you want to keep up with advances in the technology… the wikipedia article is pretty good…
Final Words - Wrapping It Up
All in all if you’re looking for the best bluetooth speaker for under 50 bucks I’d definitely go with the Anker Soundcore portable bluetooth speaker.
While it doesn’t have the highest amount of watts, with it’s extra added bass port and harmony distortion reduction it fills the room with quality acoustics and great sound.
It has a bluetooth 4.0 receiver which doubles the range from your phone from 33ft to 66ft and it has a category leading 24 hour battery life.
For anything from small parties, to watching a movie on your laptop you’re going to love this speaker.
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