If you’re like us, you never want to go anywhere without a good speaker nearby to connect to, whether playing music to cook dinner, getting some sun on the beach, or streaming a show in your living room.
The best wireless speakers often blow the ones your devices come with out of the water. They also come in just about any size or design you could want, are easy to control from your phone and can be conveniently moved around without unplugging anything just as you get to the best part of the song.
More from Rolling Stone
Best of all, while they’re not, say, bookshelf speakers or professional sets that belong in a studio, the top Bluetooth speakers are still instant upgrades for listening to music at home or on the go.
These days, you don’t have to shell out a ton of cash for decent speakers either. We’ve rounded up some of the best budget Bluetooth speakers that you can get for under $250.
What Are the Best Bluetooth Speakers Under $200?
Great-sounding (and affordable) portable speakers made by popular brands seem to always be in stock. You’ll just need to decide on things like the size of the speaker you want, how long you want to be able to use it and any other extra tech features like microphones to talk with a virtual assistant or for calls.
Runtime: If you plan to use your portable speaker for multiple hours at a time or don’t want to worry about frequent charging, the wireless offerings in this guide can run for anywhere from eight hours all the way up to 20 hours when they’re 100 percent charged. Overall, you should be able to find one that can last you most of the day, even if you never turn it off.
Size: The best thing about wireless speakers: You can leave the pesky cords at home, and you won’t be limited to where you can place your speaker around your house. With lighter and more compact frames, the best Bluetooth speakers under $200 are more portable for any trip — short or long — or to add to a small shelf or entertainment console for seamless streaming from your devices.
Waterproof Design: Some of today’s longest-lasting speakers also make great fits for the outdoors. So if you’re planning a beach day, going camping or simply leaving it on your deck for a short time, a new group of wireless options can still function even if they get drenched. We’ve added a few water-resistant speakers that you can buy online, but always read your speaker’s manual ahead of time to check its water resistance.
Bluetooth: Each of the excellent speakers below include the ability to pair your smartphone or another device, like a tablet or laptop, using Bluetooth. That said, your Bluetooth connection can sometimes drop out if you move your device too far from the speaker.
1. Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker
Bose is an all-star when it comes to the speaker, headphones and sound bar game. But not everyone’s looking to invest hundreds to connect a sound system to their TVs or just to listen to tunes next to the grill — sometimes a simple speaker is all you really need, like the brand’s top-rated SoundLink speaker. You can enjoy your music or catch up with friends on the phone for eight hours per charge, and you can sync it with other smart Bose products. It comes in five colors, from a you’re-never-going-to-lose-it aqua blue to white and red, too. It currently has over 36,000 reviews on Amazon and a positive 4.7 (out of 5) rating on the retailer.
2. Ultimate Ears Boom 3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Wish you could find an inexpensive speaker that can play music and float next to you in the pool? Enter the waterproof Boom 3, from Ultimate Ears, a company that is behind some legitimately well-made portable speakers. While the Boom 3 doesn’t go for more than $150 online (and currently discounted to $130 on Amazon), UE’s products, in our experience, are equipped for the long run and are rugged enough to hold up to lots of substantial use. (We also love using the super-portable UE Wonderboom for its size, especially if we’re going to a park, taking a road trip or going near water.) The Boom can be on in the background for a full beach day and beyond thanks to a 15-hour battery life.
3. Marshall Stockwell II Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Whether you’re using the strap to carry it with you or it’s sitting next to your records on a bookshelf, Marshall’s amp-inspired speakers will make anyone do a double-take. We like the speaker’s guitar strap-like handle, which makes it extra portable, along with its light, three-pound weight. The Stockwell has True Stereophonic tech, which, according to the company, is another way of saying that it sends out tunes all around the speaker. That means you can set it on your patio table and everyone around it will hear music without facing the front of the speaker. Marshall claims it’s ready to rock and roll for around 20 hours after a full five hours of charging.
This one is just slightly above our $200 price point, but between the handsome looks, bright sound and durable construction, with think this Marshall portable speaker is a steal.
4. Beats Pill Portable Bluetooth Speaker
With more than 8,700 reviews and an average 4.8 (out of 5) stars to its name, the Pill+ from Beats features a streamlined design with button on top to control your music with a tap. Also on board is a mic in case you want to answer a call and have a conversation without holding your phone, as well as a USB charging port. Fans looking for one of the brand’s top-rated speakers can score this $180 model at a 25 percent discount for just $135 thanks to a current promotion on Amazon. Better yet, you can even connect a second unit to it for twice the sound and 12 hours of playtime each. Beats also offers the Pill+ in white and red.
5. Sonos Roam Speaker
Sonos devotees might want to hop in line now — you can finally pre-order a smaller and more portable speaker from the brand. The Roam supports Bluetooth so you can stream tunes from your different devices. And yes, you can still sync it with your other Sonos units around your house for movie night or playing music throughout the house. According to Sonos, you can roam around with the Roam for about 10 hours, and it’s OK to use it around water, too. At $169, it’s also a smart speaker that you can control with Amazon’s Alexa assistant.
See where your favorite artists and songs rank on the Rolling Stone Charts.