Enhance your audiovisual experience from your smartphone, tablet or laptop with a portable Bluetooth speaker. Once an accessory that could cost you upwards of £100, these days you needn't spend the earth to get better sound: we review the 20 best portable speakers and budget Bluetooth speakers you can buy in the UK for less than £100 in 2015. If you're looking for something a little more expensive, head over to our general speaker reviews section.
We are increasingly using mobile devices as entertainment devices for watching TV, films and video, playing games, and listening to music, radio and audiobooks. Headphones are a must have when you're out and about (we've rounded up the best cheap headphones and best headphones), but when you're at home you should make the most of the experience with a portable speaker.
You can spend hundreds (even thousands) of pounds on such a device but, nice as these may be, only the fithy rich and true audiophiles will want to do so. Here we're setting our sights much lower, with £100 the absolute cut-off. The budget Bluetooth speakers we review here won't produce concert-quality sound, but they will offer a better audio experience than is possible from your mobile device.
So, what should you look for when in the market for a portable Bluetooth speaker? A popular feature that seems to be cropping up in Bluetooth speakers is "360 degree audio". What is 360 degree audio? Well, it's (usually) a tube-shaped Bluetooth speaker that has drivers facing every direction, opposed to the traditional front-facing speaker, to enable better audio projection and produce "room filling audio". It's definitely a nice feature to have, and one we actively look out for when buying new speakers.
What about battery life? While not too long ago, the standard battery life for a Bluetooth speaker was around five hours, we've reached a golden age in Bluetooth accessory battery life and with many budget speakers offering upwards of 10 hours per charge, we wouldn't recommend buying a speaker that offers anything less. Also, it's worth keeping an eye out for speakers that double up as portable battery chargers, as it'll probably come in handy when using your smartphone to play music.
Some Bluetooth speakers also offer Wi-Fi capabilities, so which connection should you opt for? Traditionally, using a Bluetooth connection gives you a 10m range, which means that you'll only be able to play music from a speaker in the same room as you - any further and you'll probably experience the audio cutting out. However Wi-Fi has a much wider reach, and could allow you to play music from anywhere in the house. With this being said, the Wi-Fi setup process can be quite stressful and require users to install a specific app on their smartphone in order to do so, whereas Bluetooth setup takes 30 seconds, even less if it supports NFC setup.
Every now and again, you'll come across a Bluetooth speaker that offers a remote. While a remote can be useful for certain situations, especially if the volume of the speaker is controlled independently instead of mirroring the input volume, it's not essential. This is especially true if you intend to play music from your smartphone via Bluetooth, as you'll already have the media controls you need in your hand.
If you plan to take your Bluetooth speaker to the park or beach with you, its probably a good idea to find a speaker that has some kind of water/dust/shock resistance. While it doesn't need the IPX7 rating of the UE Roll to be used outside, it's always a good idea to have some kind of protection against spills/rain/general damage or you'll quickly find yourself buying another!
20 best portable speakers and budget Bluetooth speakers for 2015 UK
- Reviewed on: 27 July 15
- RRP: £17.99 inc VAT
CooCheer's Bluetooth Speaker stands out for its stylish and fashionable design. However we have a feeling that CooCheer focused too much on design and gadgets, forgetting about sound quality.
- Reviewed on: 11 February 15
- RRP: £29.99 inc. VAT
Etekcity's Roverbeats T12 is a stylish Bluetooth speaker that's portable enough to take on your travels and loud enough to fill a room. It offers good value at this price, but its long battery life is undermined by the lack of a standby mode, and there is no mic for taking handsfree calls over Bluetooth.
- Reviewed on: 13 May 13
- RRP: £80 inc VAT
The Chant Bluetooth cheaper than some portable wireless speakers and its eco credentials mark it out, but sound quality isn't the best. If you're prepared to carry something a little larger, i-box's Twist sounds better and is £10 cheaper.
Read our House of Marley Chant Bluetooth review.
17. X-Mini Max Duo
- Reviewed on: 7 June 13
- RRP: £49-£55
At £49.90, the X-Mini Max Duo speakers aren't exactly an impulse purchase, but they remain solidly affordable. While not illegal-rave-spec, the X-Minis sound great for such portable units (alternatively, you could say they're wonderfully portable for such decent-sounding speakers) and look pretty good too. A great buy for summer holidays and outdoor loafing.
Read our X-Mini Max Duo review.
16. Maxell MXSP-BT03
- Reviewed on: 3 February 14
- RRP: £45 inc. VAT
A good value, very portable Bluetooth speaker. At this price it's hard not to recommend the Maxell MXSP-BT03. Just don't expect the greatest audio quality.
Read our Maxell MXSP-BT03 review.
15. Jabra Solemate
- Reviewed on: 20 January 14
- RRP: £149 inc. VAT
The Jabra Solemate offers a big sound in a small packet (for a reasonably large price). The Bluetooth speaker is small enough to fit in a laptop bag, but can easily fill a room with sound. And it is built to last.
Read our Jabra Solemate review.
- Reviewed on: 21 January 14
- RRP: £119 inc. VAT
Reasonably priced and well built. If you don't expect awesome audio this portable speaker set will serve you well. The Scosche BoomBOTTLE is ideal for active types who like to make noise when out and about in the great outdoors.
Read our Scosche BoomBOTTLE review.
13. SoundBook GO
- Reviewed on: 21 November 14
- RRP: £80
Of the three SoundBooks we’ve opened to date, this is the first that we’ve found to really impress by its sound quality. Bayan Audio has really taken a leaf out of a good book on music here, making an affordable little speaker that bucks the trend for many of its Bluetooth breed by being a delight to listen to. And as with any such speaker though, for best results skip the Bluetooth link and just plug into the jack in the back.
Read our SoundBook GO review.
12. Cowin Thunder
- Reviewed on: 21 August 15
- RRP: £89.99
So, what do we think of the Cowin Thunder overall? It’s a fairly powerful portable Bluetooth speaker, and the addition of its “lightning mode” offers something slightly different and makes it stand out from the crowd. With that being said, audio quality is satisfactory and provides fairly balanced audio in all directions, thanks to its 360-degree audio projection.
Read our Cowin Thunder review.
- Reviewed on: 9 March 15
- RRP: £49.99 inc. VAT
At £49 the Inateck BTSP-10 is a loud, cool-looking portable speaker that uses power-efficient Bluetooth 4.0. Sound quality is pretty good, too, but we dislike the inability to skip tracks and, Inateck, we don't do user manuals.
Read our Inateck BTSP-10 Plus review.
- Reviewed on: 22 August 14
- RRP: £28.99
We like the Inateck BP2001. It looks good, it sounds good, and it's cheap. It's not in Bose territory, but if all you want to do is turn up the volume on your phone, tablet, PC or laptop, the Inateck BP2001 is a steal at £28.99.
- Reviewed on: 27 January 15
- RRP: £25.99 inc. VAT
We really like iClever's Bluetooth Wireless Speaker. Audiophiles will still prefer to spend 40 times the price (and then some), but for most of us this £25 speaker is portable, good-looking and offers more than adequate sound.
- Reviewed on: 19 August 15
- RRP: £77
The Edifier Bric Connect is a great Bluetooth speaker for the home, though we’re not too sure we’d take it out and about with us on our travels. It’s too big to be truly portable, and the fact that it requires 6 AA batteries means that it isn’t as convenient as we’d like it to be. Audio quality is great, and the level of bass produced is better than others we’ve seen at a similar price. The addition of a remote is a nice touch too, and further solidifies our idea that the speaker is more suited to the home than the great outdoors.
Read our Edifier Bric Connect review.
- Reviewed on: 28 July 15
- RRP: £52.99 inc. VAT
Inateck's MercuryBox BP2101 Bluetooth Speaker is a decent budget speaker, both sophisticated and attractive in design. We were sceptical about its performance, but the Inateck impresses with a rich, deep sound; even at max volume no sound defects are heard.
- Reviewed on: 28 July 15
- RRP: £16.99 inc VAT
We weren't expecting much from EC Technology's Bluetooth speaker. But despite its dowdy appearance, it is great speaker, performing impressively when playing all types of music. It has also other nice features, such as an impressivebattery life and light weight. Never judge a book by its cover!
- Reviewed on: 4 February 15
- RRP: £39.99 inc. VAT
We're pretty taken with the Lava BrightSounds. It won't appeal to everyone, but if you're planning a camping or festival trip, a BBQ party in the garden, or even just fancy a cool reading- or night light, this all-in-one Bluetooth speaker and LED lamp is worth a look.
Read our Lava BrightSounds review.
4. i-box Twist
- Reviewed on: 11 May 13
- RRP: £70 inc VAT
It's hard to fault the i-box Twist given how cheaply it can be picked up online. It sounds great and works well as a speakerphone. Battery life isn't the best, but it's probably enough for most people.
Read our i-box Twist review.
- Reviewed on: 18 February 15
- RRP: £18.99
The Lumsing B9 Bluetooth speaker is a good speaker for a good price. It has a variety of connection options and is fairly straight forward to use. Its reported 25 hour battery life means that it'll keep on going and the audio quality is a lot better than others in the same category.
Read our Lumsing B9 Bluetooth Speaker review.
2. UE ROLL
- Reviewed on: 29 July 15
- RRP: £99.99
Overall, we love the UE Roll. From its design to the audio quality, it’s a great addition to the UE family and is an ideal companion for those of us that enjoy the great outdoors. It’s water/dust/stain resistance and rugged design means that it should be able to handle almost anything that you can throw at it (within reason, of course). Though it’s not as bassy as other Bluetooth speakers in its price range, song vocals were clear and crisp and audio fills the room without needing to be on maximum volume. The fact that it’ll receive OTA updates with new features is definitely a selling point, as it means that the UE Roll should continue to improve over time.
Read our UE ROLL review.
1. Envaya Mini
- Reviewed on: 8 April 15
- RRP: £99
For a £99 speaker, the Denon Envaya Mini blows away similarly priced Bluetooth speakers. The design of the Envaya Mini gives it a premium look and feel, without the premium price tag to go along with it. We mention the UE Boom in the review, and that’s because we think that the Envaya Mini is at the standard of a £169 Bluetooth speaker. Even without a 360-degree speaker setup, it does a great job of filling a room with the sound of clear and crisp audio.
Read our Envaya Mini review.