by Michael Crider on
If you want high-speed network access throughout your home and Wi-Fi isn’t cutting it, you’ve probably considered running Ethernet cables. But why not take advantage of the power lines you already have going everywhere?
Bluetooth speakers are incredibly convenient gadgets to have around your home. Who wants to live like a savage and have to listen to music through their smartphone speakers? More affordable than ever, we’ve checked out the best portable Bluetooth speakers for those on a budget.
When it comes to choosing a portable Bluetooth speaker, you need to know what kind of features you require. Numerous speakers are waterproof or rugged, while others focus on being lightweight and easy to store. We’ve rounded up the latter—with an eye on physical convenience and a decent battery life—all while at an affordable price. Due to the price point, these might not pack the aural punch of something more expensive but they’re perfect for a small and cheap speaker to toss in your bag or kick around on the patio.
Here’s our pick of the bunch for affordable portable Bluetooth speakers.
Anker’s a good name for budget chargers, cables, and power banks. It’s also pretty good name, it turns out, for budget speakers. The Anker Soundcore Portable Bluetooth Speaker is one of the cheapest brand name speakers you can buy, and despite the low price it really delivers.
It’s remarkably easy to use with intuitive controls on top of the unit. It’s a lightweight unit with a rubber exterior, meaning it’s easy to take out and about with you. Its 24 hour battery life means you won’t have to worry about recharging it regularly too.
It lacks some finer details like the ability to sync with other speakers or more than one device at a time, and the sound isn’t as punchy as a premium unit, but for when convenience is a bigger deal than sound quality, it’s great for the price.
The Creative MUVO 2c Bluetooth Speaker is tiny but mighty. It offers deep bass with an over-sized passive radiator, and one full-range driver to provide an optimal experience for its size and cost. That comes at a price, mind you, and it doesn’t have the most stellar battery life (~6 hours) but for the audiophile on a budget, they’ll be happy with the performance here.
Elsewhere, there’s a Bluetooth speakerphone function so you can take calls via Bluetooth. Also, it’s possible to connect two MUVO 2c speakers wirelessly for extra power and stereo sound. There’s a built-in MP3 player along with a microSD card slot, so you don’t have to worry about hooking your phone up to it at all times. Finally, you can always plug it into your PC via USB to gain a speaker this way too.
Curved and a little more stylish than the boxy shape that many budget speakers embrace, the Tribute XSound Go Portable Bluetooth Speaker is also fairly powerful aurally.
It offers good quality highs and mids, along with well balanced bass, and no sign of distortion even at higher volume levels. That’s in part due to its two 6W stereo drivers that ensure that sound quality is high at all times. It still manages to last for about 24 hours on one battery charge too. You can’t sync up two speakers at once, but there is a built-in microphone so you can take calls or use Siri or Google Now through it. An aux-in port is also available to plug in secondary sound sources.
Stretching the definition of “budget” a wee bit, the Sony XB10 Portable Wireless Speaker has the bonus of being, well, a Sony device. It offers great sound, a portable build, and decent battery life, covering all the bases of what you could want from a portable Bluetooth speaker.
The exterior looks unlike any of the others here, effectively being a form of music pod. Its circular design looks pretty good, plus it houses a passive radiator for enhanced sounds. You can pair it with another wireless speaker for stereo sound.
In a neat touch, connecting it to your smartphone can be even simpler than using Bluetooth. NFC connectivity means certain smartphones can be simply tapped on the speaker to hook things up. There’s a 16 hour battery life to cover the majority of your daily needs too.
Not exclusively for heavy metal music, the JAM Heavy Metal Wireless Stereo Speaker offers 20W of sound delivered by dual drivers and a dual passive bass radiator. Sound quality is pretty great for those reasons but that is to the slight detriment of battery life. Play time is still about 8 hours, but that might not extend to your full day at the beach. However, if sound quality is paramount, this is a powerful option to pursue.
The speaker also includes speakerphone functionality and voice prompt controls for those times you don’t want to walk over to the speaker yourself. There’s an aux-in port too.
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