Your guide to the best Bluetooth speakers under £80. Check out our latest reviews and buyer’s guide on the best cheap speakers in the UK.
Enhance your audiovisual experience from your smartphone, tablet or laptop with a portable Bluetooth speaker. Once an accessory that could cost you upwards of £100, these days you needn’t spend the earth to get better sound, and here we showcase the best cheap Bluetooth speakers you can buy in the UK in 2017.
If you’re looking for something a little more expensive, head over to our best high-end Bluetooth speakers chart, and don’t forget to check out our best speaker deals .
We are increasingly using mobile devices as entertainment devices for watching TV, films and video, playing games, and listening to music, radio and audiobooks.
Headphones are a must have when you’re out and about (we’ve rounded up the best cheap headphones, best headphones and best wireless headphones), but when you’re at home you should make the most of the experience with a portable speaker.
You can spend hundreds (or even thousands) on such a device but, nice as these may be, only the wealthy and true audiophiles will want to do so.
Here, we’re setting our sights much lower with a cut-off of £100. The budget Bluetooth speakers we review here won’t produce concert-quality sound, but they will offer a better audio experience than is possible from your mobile device.
So, what should you look for when in the market for a portable Bluetooth speaker?
A popular feature that seems to be cropping up in Bluetooth speakers is ‘360-degree audio”. What is 360-degree audio? Well, it’s (usually) a tube-shaped Bluetooth speaker that has drivers facing every direction, opposed to the traditional front-facing speaker, to enable better audio projection and produce ‘room-filling audio’.
It’s definitely a nice feature to have, and one we actively look out for when buying new speakers. It was once exclusive to high-end speakers, but we’ve since seen it appear on a number of budget speakers.
What about battery life? While not too long ago the standard battery life for a Bluetooth speaker was around five hours, we’ve reached a golden age in Bluetooth accessory battery life and with many budget speakers offering upwards of 7-10 hours per charge, we wouldn’t recommend buying a speaker that offers anything less.
Also, it’s worth keeping an eye out for speakers that double up as portable battery chargers, as it’ll probably come in handy when using your smartphone to play music.
Some Bluetooth speakers also offer Wi-Fi capabilities, so which connection should you opt for? Traditionally, using a Bluetooth connection will give you a 10m range, which means that you’ll only be able to play music from a speaker in the same room as you – any further and you’ll probably experience the audio cutting out.
Some speakers offer a wider range though, so it’s worth taking a look at the specifications of the speaker you’re interested in.
Wi-Fi has a much wider reach, and could allow you to play music from anywhere in the house. With this being said, the Wi-Fi setup process can be quite stressful and require users to install a specific app on their smartphone in order to do so, whereas Bluetooth setup takes 30 seconds, even less if it supports NFC setup.
Every now and again, you’ll come across a Bluetooth speaker that offers a remote. While a remote can be useful in certain environments, especially if the volume of the speaker is controlled independently instead of mirroring the input volume, it’s not essential.
This is especially true if you intend to play music from your smartphone via Bluetooth, as you’ll already have the media controls you need in your hand.
If you plan to take your Bluetooth speaker to the park or beach with you, it’s probably a good idea to find a speaker that has some kind of water/dust/shock resistance. While it doesn’t need an IPX7 rating to be used outside, it’s always a good idea to have some kind of protection against spills, rain, and general damage or you’ll quickly find yourself buying another!