We’ve long held that the extra cost of high end Bluetooth speakers from Bose, Ultimate Ears, JBL and Cambridge Audio Minx (all pictured above top row) were well worth the extra money even at prices up near $200 and beyond. But the fact is that not everyone wants to spend a lot of money on a Bluetooth speaker, and portability and ruggedness are often priorities over pure sound. For those people, we went on a search for high quality Bluetooth speakers that cost much less.

Our top 5 are speakers in this category from reviewing about 20 are from Omaker, Koss, Mpow and Boombot… These speakers fit into two form factors: “Jambox sized” and “small square-ish.” Remember that these cost around $50 or less so don’t expect the kind of bass you get from the more expensive, bigger boxes above.

5: Koss BTS1 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4XfXNN9O2k]

Bluetooth pairing is easy and straightforward, but this video helps. The downside of this speaker is its bass, which is a bit lacking as you’d probably expect from this thin/light of a form factor. It is still significantly better than the speakers built into a 15-inch MacBook Pro and it looks great, though at $59 it is at the high end of the devices we are reviewing here. It also lacks mic input for speakerphone calls if that is important to you.

The BTS1 is probably the most pocketable of the bunch however and I have no problem recommending it.

4: Boombotix Boombot Rex

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXdJ4rYijLU]

While I don’t think it looks as nice as the Koss above and it isn’t as pocketable, the Rex lets you make speakerphone calls, the battery claims an extra few hours (8 total and 1 to charge) and it is wearable in many colors, making it good for outdoor use.

3: Omaker M3

2: Omaker M2

1: Mpow MBOX portable

Wrap Up

You aren’t going to go wrong with any of the speakers in this lineup. At $50 or less, each has qualities of much more expensive Bluetooth speakers.

Though sometimes you can find some of the higher end speakers at 9to5toys for $50 – keep an eye out.

If you need rugged/water resistant, grab the $30 Omaker M3 or Boombot Rex. If you want extremely portable, the Koss is for you. If you want great sound, you are after the Omaker M2. Otherwise, do what I did and grab a few Mpow MBOXs.