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RS Recommends: The Best Bluetooth Speakers Under $200

Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
 4 days ago

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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.

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 $200 from brands like Sonos, JBL, and more.

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.

The Best Wireless Speakers Under $200

From Sonos to Bose, these Bluetooth speakers are our favorites for listening to music wherever you go.

1. Sonos Roam Speaker

EDITOR’S PICK
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Sonos

Sonos devotees can finally order a smaller and more portable speaker from the brand, the Sonos Roam. Simply put, it’s one of the best-sounding portable speakers you can buy. We’ve tested it around the house and think it’s easy to use and delivers amazing sound for its small size.

Want to know why else we awarded it the Best Outdoor Speaker in our 2022 Rolling Stone Audio Awards ?

For starters, the Roam is a compact, waterproof, powerhouse of a speaker that you don’t have to worry about dropping outside. It also 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 $179, it’s also a smart speaker that you can control with Amazon’s Alexa assistant. (Sonos also offers the mic-free Roam SL for $159.)


Buy:
Sonos Roam Speaker
at
$179

2. Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker

WATER-RESISTANT
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Amazon

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 four colors.

Buy: Bose SoundLink Color II Speaker $129.00

3. Ultimate Ears Boom 3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

15-HOUR BATTERY LIFE
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Amazon

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 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.

Buy: Ultimate Ears Boom 3 Speaker $139.99

4. Marshall Emberton Portable Bluetooth Speaker

MOST STYLISH
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Amazon

Marshall’s amp-inspired speakers will make anyone do a double-take. The company produces several stellar options, from its newest compact Willen model , to one of our favorites we’ve tested, the Marshall Emberton (currently $20 off on Amazon).

The Emberton is an ideal speaker for summer, thanks to its IPX7 water-resistance rating. We’ve thrown it in pools and left it outside in the rain over months of testing. In short, it still plays loud and crystal clear.

The Emberton 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. And in our experience the speaker has held up for hours of continuous playtime without cutting out.

Between the handsome looks, full sound, and durable construction, we think this Marshall portable speaker is a steal for any music lover.

Buy: Marshall Emberton Speaker $149.90

5. JBL Charge 4 Bluetooth Speaker

ON SALE
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JBL

Over the years, we’ve tested many Bluetooth speakers, and JBL’s rarely miss a beat. If you want proof, look no further than the JBL Charge 4, which is one of the best under-$200 portable speakers you can buy right now (along with the JBL Charge 5 ). It’s currently on sale on JBL’s site.

You can actually take this with you outdoors this spring and summer because it has an IPX7 rating. In other words: Don’t miss your chance to pack this in your beach bag or take it with you to the pool this summer. Once you’re there, with its full charge, the speaker will pump out music for about a total of 20 hours, and you can fully recharge it in about four hours.

Aside from playing music, the speaker can even be used as an extra portable charger when your phone’s battery is running low, meaning you won’t have to stop everything just to go back inside to find your charger and a wall outlet. Simply connect it via a USB port on the Charge 4 itself.

The Charge 4 also stands out from other Bluetooth speakers in more ways than just its sound quality — whether you want to add text to the speaker or fun stickers, you can actually customize the design of your speaker on JBL’s site. Or, you can choose among about a dozen different colors that’ll help you recognize your speaker anywhere you take it.


Buy:
JBL Charge 4
at
$129.95

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