Everyone has a different outlook on how much is too much when it comes to audio. What some people consider a steal, others consider expensive. We researched the best Bluetooth speakers you can get for under $50 and under $100, so now it’s time to up the ante. If you have a bit more money to spend, these are the best Bluetooth speakers under $200.
Editor’s note: this list of the best Bluetooth speakers under $200 was updated on December 10, 2021, to add the JBL Flip 5 to the Best list, address the JBL Flip 6, and to add the Bose SoundLink Flex to the Notable mentions.
The best Bluetooth speaker under $200 is the JBL Charge 5
This fabric-covered JBL Charge 5 is fully waterproof and dust-proof with a certified IP67 rating, and you don’t need to worry about its durability. Yeah, it’s bulky but it’s portable enough to take to the beach or on a camping trip. Its sound quality is pretty great and you shouldn’t have any issues picking out your favorite backing vocals from this speaker.
JBL Charge 5Full Review
The JBL Charge 5 has JBL PartyBoost which allows you to connect up to 100 JBL speakers together to create a pseudo surround sound system, or connect two JBL Charge 5 speakers for stereo playback. Unfortunately, if you have an older JBL speaker that doesn’t have JBL PartyBoost, such as the JBL Charge 4, there is no backward compatibility. The Charge 5 doubles as a portable smartphone charger, though the function will deplete the battery.
Read on: What makes a good Bluetooth speaker?
The Charge 5 is very similar to the JBL Charge 4 except that it uses Bluetooth 5.1, whereas the Charge 4 uses Bluetooth 4.2. The Charge 5 even has multipoint connectivity so you can connect it to two devices at once. The Charge 4 has an aux port and the Charge 5 does not. Even with its drawbacks, the Charge 5 is a great speaker for nearly any occasion.
What you should know about the best Bluetooth speakers under $200
What is an IP rating?
IP ratings stand for Ingress Protection ratings, and refer to how resistant a product is to dust and water damage. The X in IPX7, as an example, is a placeholder for dust protection. So, if a product is rated IP67 for example, it has a 6 rating for dust and a 7 rating for water.
Bluetooth audio quality doesn’t stack up to wired audio
If you consider yourself a true audiophile you may find that Bluetooth audio quality just doesn’t do it for you. That’s because wired audio quality is always better than Bluetooth audio quality. Bluetooth codecs cut out data and add unwanted noise in the transmission process.
To shrink the gap in quality between your Bluetooth speaker and your wired speaker, we recommend looking for aptX or aptX HD codecs. If you have an iPhone, stick with the AAC codec. Keep in mind that this list of the best Bluetooth speakers under $200 USD factors in convenience, portability, and durability as well as audio quality.
The UE MEGABOOM 3 is a great pool party companion
The Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 has an IP67 rating and is ultra-portable. It has the size and shape of a water bottle, so you can store it in your cup holder when biking down to the beach. The speaker emits 360-degree sound. While its sound quality isn’t the absolute best, you can customize the EQ on it with the BOOM app.
UE Megaboom 3
The MEGABOOM 3 allows you to pair up to eight Bluetooth source devices, and has Bluetooth multipoint just like the Charge 5. This means you and your friend can take turns picking the music at your pool party. With the BOOM app, you can connect over 150 UE speakers using the PartyUp function, and this is backward compatible with all previous generation BOOM speakers.
Stay home with the Sonos One (Gen 2) smart speaker
The Sonos One (Gen 2) has the native smart assistants Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and you can activate them via your voice. While this speaker supports Bluetooth Low Energy to simplify the initial setup process, it streams audio from your smartphone over your home’s Wi-Fi, not Bluetooth. The speaker is humidity resistant, so you can put it in the bathroom, but it does not have any official IP rating.
Sonos One (Gen 2)
The sound quality of the Sonos One is great. It has two digital amplifiers, a tweeter, and a dedicated mid-woofer, so it produces a pleasant sound. Some might find that it is a bit bass-heavy, but its bass response doesn’t mask the mid frequencies. If you buy two Sonos One speakers, you can connect them for stereo sound. Additionally, the Sonos One (Gen 2) is backward compatible with the Sonos One (Gen 1) for stereo output, as well as surround sound when paired with a Sonos Playbase or Playbar.
Related: The best smart speakers
The Bose SoundLink Revolve makes it easy to host any party
This Bose SoundLink Revolve offers fantastic omnidirectional sound, so everyone can gather around it and enjoy the same kind of sound. This is ideal for parties when you just want to throw the speaker in the center of the room and get music playing.
Bose SoundLink Revolve
In addition, you can pair this speaker with one other compatible Bose Bluetooth speaker and use the Bose Connect app to enable either Stereo Mode or Party Mode. You can also pair your Bose SoundLink Revolve with Bose Home speakers using Bose SimpleSync. The Bose SoundLink Revolve has an official IPX4 rating, so it can handle splashes. It’s also super durable, and you can drop it without it denting. This speaker is portable and offers up to 12 hours of battery life.
Go small and loud with the JBL Flip 6
The JBL Flip 6 is the latest JBL Flip speaker and brings a more durable IP67 build and redesigned (larger) logo on the speaker grille. With the Flip 6, you get Bluetooth 5.1 for efficient power consumption that facilitates the 12-hour battery life.
JBL Flip 6Full Review
The main downside of the JBL Flip 6 is its lack of high-quality Bluetooth codecs and a wired input. Still, we suppose it makes sense given that its intended use is outside or as background noise for small gatherings. Plus, you still get Bluetooth multipoint, though you need to pause playback on the primary device before playing it from the secondary one.
See also: The best wireless JBL speakers
With the Flip 6, you get access to PartyBoost and stereo mode. PartyBoost lets you connect up to 100 JBL speakers to amplify the output, and interestingly, stereo mode only works with two JBL speakers of the same generation. There’s no microphone on this speaker, but there hasn’t been since the Flip 4. Those who want a reliable, durable speaker for hikes and small gatherings will like the Flip 6, a worthy successor to the Flip 5.
The best Bluetooth speakers under $200: Notable mentions
- Anker Soundcore: If you really want to save some cash, the Anker Soundcore is only $50. It has good sound quality and, though it’s a bit outdated with its Bluetooth 4.0, still maintains a stable connection.
- Bose SoundLink Color II: This little speaker is small and portable and, though it isn’t fully waterproof, it does have an IPX4 rating. For its stout size, it produces pretty loud audio and the quality of the sound is pretty good.
- Bose SoundLink Flex: If you want an adventure speaker from Bose, the SoundLink Flex is your best with its IP67 rating and tough build. The sound quality is good, but you should remember this is an outdoor speaker, not one of the company’s more premium offerings.
- JBL Clip 4: This IP67 speaker can, and is made to, go anywhere. You can clip it onto a bag or a showerhead, and enjoy a loud 5W output from anywhere.
- JBL Flip 5: If the JBL Charge 5 seemed a little bulky, and the Flip 6 too pricey for you, the JBL Flip 5 is a wonderful alternative. It has a loud sound for such a small speaker and can withstand submersion thanks to its IPX7 rating.
- Klipsch Heritage The One II: This speaker originally retailed for $299 USD, and now costs just $179 USD. It uses Bluetooth 4.0 and has a 3.5mm input for wired listening. Audio enthusiasts who like mid-century modern furniture will easily find a place for The One II in their homes.
- Marshall Emberton: This little speaker is shaped like a guitar amp and has good sound quality just like an amp should. It also has an IPX7 build so it’s great for taking to the beach. Its connection strength is strong and it uses Bluetooth 5.0, but it doesn’t have a microphone so don’t try taking calls through it.
- Marshall Uxbridge: This little smart speaker connects over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth 4.2. It works with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa depending on your model. You get direct access to Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Tidal, and more. iPhone users can even take advantage of Apple AirPlay 2 from the Uxbridge.
- Sonos Roam: This little $169 speaker offers both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, an IP67 rating, a 10-hour battery life, and can be hooked up to your existing Sonos ecosystem if you decide to use it in the house.
- UE BOOM 3: If you want to save a bit but like the idea of the UE MEGABOOM 3, the UE Boom 3 is very similar. It’s loud, it still has that IP67 rating, and it can be paired with up to 150 other UE Boom speakers and the MEGABOOM 3 itself. The only major drawbacks are slightly degraded audio quality and no Bluetooth multipoint.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Many Bluetooth speakers these days overemphasize bass response which is ideal for music genres like pop and hip-hop, but not great for classical music. We’d recommend going with the UE Megaboom 3, because it has a fairly neutral-leaning frequency response.
A Sonos system will probably please you and your clients. The Sonos app makes integrating all your speakers together very easy.