The 5 best Bluetooth speakers under $200

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by Anne Loreto Cruz

Bluetooth speakers are great for listening to music at home or on the go, but it can be overwhelming to sift through hundreds of options online. The best Bluetooth speakers under $200 have at least six hours of battery life and easily pair with your Bluetooth-enabled devices.

The most up-to-date version of Bluetooth as of the time this article was written is Bluetooth 5.0, which can work with other Bluetooth 5.0 devices to save power, reduce lag, and have a wider range than older versions. Many devices on the market still use Bluetooth 4.2, which is compatible with Bluetooth 5.0 phones, so the older version doesn’t need to be a dealbreaker and can actually help bring down the cost of high-quality speakers.

Many Bluetooth speakers are meant to be portable, so water-resistance ratings and battery life are two other important factors to consider. If you plan to use your speaker outside, a rating of IPX6 or higher will protect it from unexpected rain or splashes. If there’s a chance your speaker could tumble into water, an IPX7 rating or higher will also protect it in water up to 3 feet deep. As for battery life, look for at least six hours for smaller speakers, and 12 to 20 hours for larger models.

With all that in mind, here are five Bluetooth speakers that produce top-notch sound without breaking the bank.

1. A portable speaker that’s great for conference calls

  • Water resistance: IPX7
  • Battery life: 6 hours
  • Connection type: Bluetooth 4.2

This portable Bose Speaker does a little bit of everything. The compact size (it weighs less than a pound) and tear-resistant strap is makes it easy to attach to a backpack or bike, so you can listen to music or directions without compromising your ability to hear your surroundings. If you like to take work calls on the go, the internal microphone is voice-activated, smart assistant compatible, and perfect for conference calls. This speaker has an IPX7 rating, which means it can survive an unintentional dunk into a puddle or rain, and the rugged silicone body will help protect it from tumbles or falls. This speaker offers the sound quality you’d expect from Bose at an accessible price, and it’s a fan favorite on Amazon with an overall 4.8-star rating, and thousands of five-star reviews.

One reviewer wrote: “I am so happy with this purchase! I was in the market for a little speaker to tote around the house, use on the screen porch in summer, and take on trips. The Bose Micro had everything I was looking for, including Bose quality sound. I am not very tech-savvy, but even I was able to set this speaker up with no problem. The wireless bluetooth paired easily the first time and I have not had a problem since. I have not pushed the limits of the battery, but I have used it for several hours at a time and it has yet to get below 60% power. It seems to fully recharge in under an hour. I have taken this on one trip so far and it tucks neatly into a suitcase or bag. This is actually the second Bose Micro that I have purchased-the first was a gift. I would certainly buy this again.”

2. An affordable waterproof speaker with powerful bass

  • Water resistance: IPX7
  • Battery life: 20 hours
  • Connection type: Bluetooth 4.2

This Tribit portable speaker is ideal for producing loud sounds for parties or outdoor workouts on a budget. The IPX7 water-resistance rating means this speaker can withstand unexpected downpours or an accidental dip into water, and the 20-hour battery life can give you days of listening without needing a recharge. Reviewers love how great this speaker sounds, noting that it rivals more expensive Bluetooth speakers in terms of sound fidelity and volume. With Bluetooth 4.2, this speaker is compatible with nearly all wireless devices, so you won’t have a problem pairing it to your smartphone or laptop.

One reviewer wrote: “Oh, my God! What a perfect speaker. I mean I own a lot of Bluetooth speakers. A lot. This totally amazing thing showed up today. I’m listening to it as I write this. This Tribit has made All of my other speakers obsolete. The sound that I’ve been searching for, is here. The fidelity is pure. Not since the days of amps and speakers, old school, has there been such sound.”

3. These quality home speakers that look cool on any shelf

  • Water resistance: not specified
  • Battery life: N/A
  • Connection type: Bluetooth, LINE, and Coaxial

These wood-grain speakers are a top choice for setting up your home stereo with Bluetooth compatibility. The LINE inputs can be used to connect to a pre-amp or record turntable to hear high fidelity analog sound, while the Bluetooth compatibility allows you to also stream music from your smartphone. In addition to being perfect for listening to music in your home, these speakers are also great for connecting to a TV or PC for more immersive stereo sound when watching movies or gaming. The MDF (or medium-density fiberboard) wood sides add a vintage feel, and reviewers love both the sound and the aesthetic of these speakers.

One reviewer wrote: “What I liked most (admittedly) was the price and the fact the speakers are bluetooth capable. I was pleased to discover the sound from this pair of powered speakers is very high quality. The look and finish are equally high quality. I took a chance and couldn't be more satisfied. We bought these for my father who has a library of LP's. We will hook it up to his turntable when we visit him. In the meantime, the bluetooth feature works flawlessly.”

4. This powerful speaker that floats in water

  • Water resistance: IP67
  • Battery life: 20 hours
  • Connection type: Bluetooth 4.2

If you’re looking to completely fill a space with 360-degree sound, the Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 is the way to go. The speaker has a water-resistance rating of IP67, which means it’s both waterproof and dust-proof and can hold up against the elements at a pool or beach hangout. This speaker has a sleek design with easy-to-use volume control buttons on the sides, and a one-touch pause and play button on top. It also floats, which makes it a great choice for boat rides or other water sports. It has a long lasting 20-hour battery life, but you can use either the included cable or a separate docking station (which you’d need to buy separately) to listen to music and charge up at the same time.

One reviewer wrote: “I use my Megaboom 3 in my kayak while paddling. Up until yesterday, I had only tested the waterproofing to a very limited extent - small splashes here and there. Yesterday, I messed up in a small rapid and the boat went over, and ALL of my stuff went in the water. Including the speaker. IT WAS STILL PLAYING. I grabbed it before it floated away, it spent about 30 seconds completely submerged, and there was zero effect on it. Note to self - in the future, connect the handy bungee loop to the boat via carabiner next time.”

5. A recycled plastic speaker with over 31,000 fans on Amazon

  • Water resistance: IPX7
  • Battery life: 12 hours
  • Connection type: Bluetooth 4.2

This recycled plastic speaker from JBL is a solid option if you want to reduce your carbon footprint with your Bluetooth speaker purchase. The JBL Flip 5 is made from 100% recycled plastic, and has a long-lasting 12-hour battery life and quick-charge capability with a USB-C charging connection. The slim profile of this speaker can produce powerful 360-degree sound, and is small enough to fit inside a water bottle cage, which is perfect for bike rides or packing into a backpack. If you use Amazon Alexa devices, this speaker can also be synced up with them to act as an additional speaker when you stream music throughout your home.

One reviewer wrote: “I teach water fitness classes at a health club. The humid indoor pool environment creates havoc with their speaker system so I decided to buy my own. I bought the JBL Flip 5 and it does a fantastic job! Great sound, volume and so easy to connect. Small enough to toss into my gym bag and I never worry about it getting wet. Highly recommend.”

Also great: A Bluetooth sound bar for your TV

This Bluetooth home theater soundbar is easy to set up with a TV, and it has a slim subwoofer that you can place in a media stand or underneath your couch. It’s also Bluetooth compatible, so you can use it to listen to music while you entertain. The DTS virtual surround sound is great for movies and video games, and the low profile of the sound bar itself makes it easy to place on top of your media stand or mount it to the wall. The Bluetooth connectivity between the soundbar and subwoofer also makes it simple to set up your sound system without having to snake wires throughout your space.

One reviewer wrote: “I was looking to improve our living room tv watching experience and this sound bar did the trick. The sound is awesome, and the Bluetooth connectivity for the subwoofer made it so easy to set up and avoided me having to hide any additional wires. Love my purchase and definitely recommend it.”

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