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 2016. If you're looking for something a little more expensive, head over to our general speaker reviews section. Also see: Best tech to take on holiday 2016.
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.
If you do want something of a higher quality, read our best high-end Bluetooth speakers chart.
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!
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20 best portable speakers and budget Bluetooth speakers for 2016 UK
- Reviewed on: 6 April 16
- RRP: £37.99 inc VAT
The Sumvision Psyc Monic Bluetooth speaker provides an unbeatable sound for its affordable £37.99 price tag. Given its sound quality traits, there are very few portable speakers in the world which can provide an incredible sub-bass response whilst also remaining clear through the other sound frequencies. Connected through Bluetooth 4.0 or an auxiliary 3.5mm jack and coupled with its elegant design, the Monic is one of our all-time favourite Bluetooth speakers.
Read our Sumvision Psyc Monic review.
2. 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.
3. 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.
- Reviewed on: 16 October 15
- RRP: £38.99 inc. VAT
It may not be the loudest portable Bluetooth speaker we've tried, nor offer the best audio quality, but we love the additional functionality afforded by the Marsboy B2's microSD card slot, and in our experience kids love the colour-changing LEDs. Although we didn't have two Marsboy speakers with which to test it, the ability to pair two of these speakers is a great idea and should help ramp up the volume.
- 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.
6. 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: 21 September 15
- RRP: £46.99 inc. VAT
Inateck's MarsBox is an excellent portable Bluetooth speaker, in its cool-looking design, more than acceptable performance and loud audio, and in sheer value for money. However, it disappoints as an FM radio.
Read our Inateck MarsBox BP2002 review.
- 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.
- Reviewed on: 26 July 16
- RRP: £54.99 incl VAT
The Anker SoundCore Sport XL seems to be what its name suggests – a robust and masculine-looking device for the outdoors. The most impressive part of the speaker being its 20m Bluetooth range. Unfortunately, it's let down by its weight and price tag of £54.99.
Read our Anker SoundCore Sport XL review.
- 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: 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: 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.
13. Jam Double Down
- Reviewed on: 4 August 16
- RRP: £59.99
Jam’s Double Down Bluetooth speaker is a decent option for those looking for a cheap Bluetooth speaker with decent levels of bass. The ability to pair up with another Double Down for stereo output is another selling point of the speaker, especially as retailers like Currys offer a buy-one-get-one-free deal on the speaker in the UK. It’s lightweight and compact, and the water-resistance should protect the speaker from splashes of water, although not much else.
Read our Jam Double Down review.
14. Extreme Hangten
- Reviewed on: 9 February 16
- RRP: £64 inc VAT
The Extreme Hangten brings a certain skater-style to the crowded Bluetooth market, but due to its relatively high price tag of £65, is unable to deliver a truly inspiring sound for its price. If this speaker was slightly less expensive, we could see it being recommended for those wanting a trendy looking speaker.
Read our Extreme Hangten review.
15. 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: 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: 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.
18. Extreme Wallride
- Reviewed on: 12 February 16
- RRP: £89.99
The Wallride doesn’t provide the best audio quality out of all the Bluetooth speakers we’ve seen, admittedly, but it is one of the louder wireless speakers in its price range we’ve come across. If you’re looking for a speaker that’ll get the job done and looks different to a standard Bluetooth speaker then the Wallride is for you – if you’re looking for a speaker to listen to high-fidelity acoustic tracks, then we’d probably suggest looking for something else.
Read our Extreme Wallride 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.
20. 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.