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There’s no denying that good quality Klipsch speakers can offer top-quality sound, but that’s not always enough. You still need to add an AV receiver to the setup in order to successfully transfer that power to the speakers.
Choosing the best AV receiver for your Klipsch speakers is not an easy task, especially when your budget is rather limited. Long story short, you probably want to achieve a top class listening experience without breaking the bank.
It’s all about finding the perfect balance between power and price. That’s why we’ve gathered the best AV receivers for Klipsch speakers for every budget, so check them out below.
Note: Deals are subject to change. Keep in mind that the price tag often varies. We recommend going on the vendor’s website to check the price. Some of the products may be out of stock by the time you’ve made your purchasing decision. So, hurry up and hit the buy button.
The Marantz NR1509 – 50W AV Receiver is a high-end device that offers superior sound quality. With a power of 50 watts per channel, it gives you the immersive sound you need and more.
It also supports Dolby TrueHD surround sound, with no less than 5 channels to suit more complex audio set-ups.
Voice control compatibility
WiFi, Bluetooth, and Airplay features included
A total of 6 HDMI inputs, and 1 output with full HDCP 2.2 support for copy protection
There is a software error that causes modes to switch randomly
This budget-friendly receiver has a lot of neat features. Yamaha R-S202BL Receiver won’t cost you an arm and a leg, yet it offers a level of performance well beyond what you’d expect in this price range.
You can operate the device from wherever you are
Advanced features such as Bluetooth for easy access to streaming music
Classy aluminum finish
Some users complain that their unit shuts off when Bluetooth input is used
Without a doubt, Yamaha RX-V683BL is one of the best receivers for Klipsch speakers on the market at a decent price. Just note that this model targets users who primarily employ their speakers for music listening.
Works with Alexa for voice control
Dolby Atmos and DTS: x compatible
ECO mode reduces power consumption by about 20 percent
It sometimes powers off automatically, as users claim
Remote control is only IR based
One of the few receivers coming with a multi-room function (you can wirelessly play music from various sources and multiple rooms at the same time)
Comes with built in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
You may also download the Denon AVR remote app to control your receiver with any of your portable devices, iPhone or Android included
Your choice could be a bit pricier than expected
Check priceClosing thoughts
Klipsch speakers are capable of delivering better sound quality than most other speakers. Act fast and pick the best receiver to complement them.
As you can see, the products listed above suit every pocket. Depending on your budget and your needs, you can compare them and choose the one that suits you best.
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Written By Mike Levine
Updated Apr 24, 2023 8:29 AM
If you’re setting up a home theater, a killer game rig, or even a multiroom music system, an AV receiver (AVR) is necessary for tying it all together. It can function as your system’s hub, accepting, decoding, and routing various audio sources and formats, passing through HDMI signals, and providing connection and amplification for all your speakers. In the alphabet-soup world of home-entertainment technology, figuring out which AVR is right for you isn’t easy. We aim to inform and demystify your shopping experience by recommending the best AV receivers in various price ranges and for different applications.How we chose the best AV receivers
We considered dozens of the best AV receivers and amplifiers for this story and focus on those that offer overall excellence in their price range. We also wanted to present products that excel for specific applications, such as gaming or audiophile music listening or multichannel surround sound. All our recommended units are made by solid, reputable companies and should give you years of excellent performance. The PopSci writers and editors have decades of combined experience writing about technology and home theater gear. These recommendations are a mixture of first-hand experience, spec comparisons, user impressions, peer recommendations, and scouring critical AV receiver reviews.The best AV receivers: Reviews & Recommendations
The best AV receivers integrate the various components in your home theater and music system. Most offer optical and analog (RCA) inputs in addition to their HDMI ports. That way, AVRs can incorporate digital sources like Blu-ray players, streaming devices, game consoles, smart TVs, analog turntables (although you might need a phono preamp), or older CD or DVD players. AVRs receive audio over the internet (some by Wi-Fi and others Ethernet) and via Bluetooth from your mobile devices; many can provide wireless multiroom audio. A home theater with a music system and maybe a gaming system would be unmanageable without an AV receiver as its nerve center. You can assume that each AVR we mention includes a remote control and a setup/calibration system.Best overall: Marantz SR6015
Why it made the cut: Get it for the Marantz sound quality and enough channels for true Dolby Atmos.
Power: 110W per channel (into 8 Ohms, THD: 0.08%, 2-ch driven)
HDMI ports: 7in/3 out
Highest Video Supported: 8K
High-quality Marantz audio
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, both hardwired and virtual.
Remote lacks backlight
Marantz has a longstanding reputation for high-quality sound, so it’s no surprise that the 9.2-channel SR6015 offers audiophile quality. It includes a phono input to connect your turntable without an external preamp and sports separate 110W amplifiers for each channel. As for HDMI ports, you get a generous seven inputs and three outputs. One of the inputs is dedicated to 8K video pass-through at 60Hz and 4K at 120Hz. It’s more than capable if you want to set up a 5.1.4 or 7.1.2 Dolby Atmos system. It also supports Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization and DTS:X, DTS Virtual:X, and other multichannel sound formats. It also features built-in HEOS (Home Entertainment Operating System) if you want to create a multi-room system. Its remote lacks a backlight; otherwise, this is a killer AVR that delivers everything a true music and movie lover would need and more for around $2,000.Best 4K under $500: Yamaha RX-4VA
Why it made the cut: It offers a surprisingly rich feature set for the money if you don’t need every bell and whistle.
Power: 80W per channel (into 6 ohms, 0.06% THD)
HDMI ports: 4 in/1 out
Highest video supported: 4K currently, 8K upgrade via firmware available soon
Affordable price for a surround-capable receiver
Supports multiple video and music formats
Will support 8K and VRR, QMS, ALLM and QFT with a future firmware update
Requires (free) HDMI board replacement for 4K/120Hz gaming
No Dolby Atmos height virtualization or DTS Virtual:X support
No phono input
This 5.2-channel unit makes a solid centerpiece for home theater, gaming, and music listening. With four HDMI 2.1 inputs and an eARC output—along with optical, coaxial, and analog RCA inputs (but no phono inputs for a turntable)—it’s compatible with a wide range of gear. The unit supports Dolby and DTS surround sound decoding, streaming via Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay 2, and Spotify Connect, and can be voice-controlled with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
The RX-4VA comes with Yamaha’s MusicCast multiroom system (minus the speakers, of course), allowing you to connect with other compatible Yamaha components wirelessly. A USB port lets you play music from an external storage device.
On the negative side, the RX-4VA doesn’t support virtualized Dolby Atmos or DTS Virtual:X. It’s also one of the receivers whose chipset has an HDMI 2.1 bug that cannot handle 4K/120Hz gaming for Xbox Series X or NVIDIA RTX30. Fortunately, Yamaha offers a free HDMI board update program to fix it. Although it supports HDMI 2.1, it doesn’t support 8K out of the box. However, Yamaha will soon offer a firmware update that will add 8K capabilities as well as VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), ALLM (Auto Low-Latency Mode), QMS (Quick Media Switching), and QFT (Quick Frame Transport), which are HDMI 2.1 features designed to enhance gaming. Together, this makes it a top-value 4K AV receiver that retails for $599 but is typically offered under $500 and is future-proofed for when 8K flatscreens come down to a more approachable price.
Why it made the cut: This mid-priced AVR has a full feature set and is ready for the future.
Power: 95W per channel (into 8 ohms, THD: 0.08%)
HDMI ports: 6 in /2 out
Highest video supported: 8K
Great sound quality
Broad multichannel format support
Lots of connectivity options
None to speak of
By shelling out around $800 for this unit, you get an AVR with an impressive feature set that should remain relevant for at least five years for both home theater and gaming. Serving up a solid 95W of power per channel, the AVR-X2700H (which replaces the AVR-X2600H) passes through 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz video and supports Dolby Atmos, Atmos Height Virtualization, DTS:X, DTS Virtual:X surround audio formats.
It’s a Bluetooth AV receiver, as well as one with Wi-Fi, so you have many connectivity options, including Apple AirPlay, Spotify Connect, USB, HEOS, and even terrestrial radio. It’s compatible with all the major voice control formats, including Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. If you’re into vinyl, the unit has phono inputs for MM-cartridge turntables.Best for home theater: Arcam AVR30
Why it made the cut: It can process up to 16 channels of multichannel audio.
Power: 120W per channel (into 8 ohms at 0.02% THD, 2-ch driven)
HDMI ports: 7in/3 out (HDMI 2.0b)
Highest Video Supported: 4K
16 channels of processing
Broad multichannel format support
Class G amplification provides excellent sound
No 8K support
No HDMI 2.1
No phono input
Arcam’s high-end AV receiver offers seven Class G amplification channels, which offer better efficiency than the more typical class B or AB designs. It also can process 16 channels simultaneously. Using its preamp-outs to feed an additional power amp, you could configure a 15.1 system. The AVR30 has Dirac Live 3.0 room correction and a measurement mic to calibrate all those speakers correctly.
Moreover, it offers broad support of multichannel audio formats: Dolby Atmos, TrueHD, Digital Plus, DTS:X (but not DTS:X Pro), IMAX Enhanced, and Auro 3D. From an HDMI standpoint, it offers seven in and three out, including one eARC output. However, it only supports HDMI 2.0b rather than 2.1. It also lacks 8K capabilities. As a result, it’s not as future-proofed as some of the other AVRs in this story. But if your goal is a pure signal path and clean power than can convey any soundtrack’s every nuance, you’ll get what you pay for (and you’ll pay around $5,500 on average).
Unlike Arcam’s previous generation, the AVR30 has Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast support, and an FM tuner. You’ll need a phono preamp to connect a turntable. But overall, if you’re looking to set up a massive multichannel system in your home theater, the AVR30 makes an outstanding central hub to build around.Best gaming: Marantz NR1711
Why it made the cut: The half-size frame and full feature set will appeal to gamers and those with space-limited home theater setups.
Power: 50W per channel (into 8 ohms, with 0.08 % THD, 2-ch driven)
HDMI ports: 6in/1out (eARC)
Highest Video Supported: 8K
Slimline form factor saves space
8K support provides future-proofing
Comprehensive implementation of Dolby and DTS multichannel formats
Only 50W per channel
The NR1711 is a diminutive 3.5 inches in height, about half that of the typical AVR. Yet somehow, Marantz was able to engineer it with a competitive feature set for its $1,000 price range. Because of its half-sized housing, Marantz had to scale down the amplifier size, so its power output is only 50W per channel. But unless you’re setting it up in a large room, it should still give you plenty of oomph.
Gamers short on space will appreciate the NR1711’s “Slimline” form factor. They’ll also love its 8K support, which will serve them well for the next generation of gaming consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X. Home theater buffs will appreciate the impressive list of surround formats supported by the NR1711, such as Dolby Atmos, Dolby Speaker Virtualizer, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby Surround. DTS is also well represented with DTS:X, DTS Virtual:X, DTS Neural:X, and DTS Digital Surround, to name just some.
You can set up and calibrate your system with built-in Audyssey MultiEQ, Dynamic EQ, and Dynamic Volume processors. If you want to spin some vinyl, the NR1711 sports phono inputs alongside its other analog I/O. Additional goodies include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi support, AirPlay 2, HEOS, and Alexa support.Best budget: Sony STRDH590
Why it made the cut: It offers a low-cost path into the surround-sound world.
Power: 90W per channel RMS at 6 ohms, 0.09 percent THD, two channels driven.
HDMI ports: 4in/1out (ARC)
Highest video Supported: 4K HDR pass-through
Low price for an AVR
A good option for 5.1 surround
No Atmos or DTS support
No HDMI 2.1
Limited wireless capabilities
Sony equipped the unit with four HDMI inputs and one ARC out. Notice that it’s not eARC because the STRDH950’s HDMI ports are of the 2.0 variety rather than 2.1. Other input ports include optical, coaxial, and analog. There are no phono inputs, though, so you’d need an external preamp for connecting a turntable. However, you get an FM antenna port and a front-panel USB input for playing music from external drives. The unit includes Digital Cinema Auto Calibration (DCAC) and a built-in measurement mic for setup. For streaming, it features Bluetooth connectivity, so you can pair your mobile device and play music or other audio.
Overall, if you’re not trying to keep up with the latest and greatest but want to watch movies or play games in 5.1 surround sound, the STRDH590 will get you there for less without sacrificing quality. And if you decide you want more connectivity and current at the heart of your system, and have the expanded budget to match, a January 2023 press event unveiled the company’s first new receivers in five years—a lineup including some top-tier contenders.What to consider when shopping for the best AV receivers
You have many variables to consider with a product as complex as an AVR. Some essential questions include: Can it support what I have (or want to have) in my system? How many HDMI inputs do I need to cover all my gear and have at least one leftover for expansion? Does it support the main surround format I plan to use? Does it deliver enough power per channel to give me plenty of distortion-free volume, given the size of my room? Does it offer 8K support so that I’m future-proofed? Does it have phono inputs for my turntable? Do I need to match my speakers to an AVR? The best AV receivers cover a pretty extensive range of features and prices. Look for the one that will best meet the needs of your current or planned home theater setup.Is 8K video capability important in an AV receiver?
Right now, 8K isn’t necessary because there’s precious little 8K content available, even if you have an 8K TV. But that will likely change in the next couple of years, and if it’s important for you to watch shows and movies or play games with the best quality available, you’ll need a receiver that supports it. Fortunately, most of the products that we recommend in this article do. The Yamaha RX-4VA doesn’t now but will be able to soon with a simple firmware update.How many channels do I need if I want a receiver that supports Dolby Atmos?
Atmos is a pretty “hot” format now, offering the dimension of height and the traditional directionality of surround sound to create an even more immersive sonic environment. Many movies now offer Atmos mixes, which can be spectacular. Atmos systems require a receiver with seven channels at the minimum for a hardwired system, consisting of a 5.1 speaker setup with two additional Atmos ceiling-mounted speakers. If you don’t want to mount speakers in the ceiling, you could get Atmos-enabled speakers that fire forward and upward. The latter bounces the sound off your ceiling to simulate having speakers up there. (And don’t forget the speaker wire!)
Another option is an Atmos-enabled soundbar, like the Sennheiser AMBEO or the Sony HT-A7000. Such products create an Atmos-like effect from one multi-speaker device. Finally, several receivers in this roundup support Virtualized Atmos, which simulates Atmos from whatever speaker configuration you have. The soundbar and the virtualized Atmos won’t compare to hardware-based Atmos systems, but you do get some of the effects, and it’s a lot less money. DTS:X is a competitor to Atmos and gives you a similar immersive effect. It also has a simulated version, DTS Virtual:X. Again, it would be best to have a receiver or soundbar that supports it.HDMI input and output
On the HDMI outputs on AVRs, you’ll see the letters ARC or eARC. ARC stands for Audio Return Channel and eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel), introduced with HDMI 2.1. Both ARC and eARC allow bidirectional audio. With the emergence of smart TVs, which stream content from the internet, you need a way to get the audio from that content out of your TV and into your AVR or soundbar so that it gets amplified and routed to speakers. If you have eARC, it supports up to 24-bit/192kHz audio, as well as uncompressed audio from 5.1 and 7.1 surround content. In addition, it works with compressed formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS-HD Master Audio coming from your TV. And don’t forget the HDMI cables!FAQs Q: How long do audio receivers last?
The general consensus is that five years is the typical lifespan for an AVR. It’s not like it will just up and die after a certain number of years, like a water heater. Your receiver could function well for 20 years or more. But with the relentless forward march of technology, it will begin to feel like a dinosaur around the five-year mark. Even if you don’t care about staying up with the latest and greatest, there comes a time when it’s hard to resist the allure of new technology.Q: Do receivers make a difference in sound quality?
Context matters here. A dedicated power amp is superior if you’re talking about music quality. However, AV receivers are much more than just amplifiers. They’re the hub of a home theater or gaming setup (or one that does both) and offer a vast range of wired and wireless connections. Incoming audio gets routed to their amplifiers and into whatever speaker system you use. AVRs can also pass the video content from streaming boxes, cable boxes, Blu-ray players, and game consoles to your television. They don’t process the video; they pass it through in whatever format it’s in, assuming it’s one they support.Q: Are AV receivers worth it?
The best AV receivers are totally worth it if you want more than just a home stereo system. Don’t get me wrong, we love the compact, self-contained nature of powered speakers. But if you’re looking to create a proper home theater for movies and/or your gaming rig, or want a music system that allows for way more sources than just streaming services, the easiest way to accommodate the diverse range of connectivity required is with an AV receiver. It takes the incoming content—whether from a streaming box, a set-top box, a gaming console, a turntable, or other physical media—processes it in the appropriate format (assuming it supports it) and sends the audio off to the speakers while sending the video through to your TV. What’s more, most AVRs offer some form of multi-room audio, so if you get the appropriate speakers, you can also run audio to your entire house or apartment from your receiver.Q: How many watts per channel do I need?
While the appropriate answer is ultimately based on the recommended amplification range of your speakers, 50W-100W per channel is typically more than enough to satisfy the vast majority of surround sound speakers (75W being the sweet spot in a 5.1 or 7.1 system). That’s not to say there aren’t speakers that require a higher RMS rating, but if that’s the kind you’re looking at, you probably know you’ll need to look at higher-end AV receivers or even discrete amplification (maybe you’re even working with an integrator).Final thoughts on the best AV receivers
As you may have noticed from our roundup, there are a lot of choices and a wide range of prices in the AVR market. To decide which is right for you, you need to consider the price and the kind of system you’re trying to create. Do you want to move from 5.1 to a more complex multichannel format, like a 7.1 or an Atmos system? Will you also have to upgrade your TV and speaker system to achieve your goals? Because AV receivers are multifaceted and encompass or support so many technologies, it helps to be as informed as possible when deciding which one to buy. In this article, we’ve offered you a diverse range of products and information. However, you still have plenty of issues to consider regarding the specifics of your system, the space you’re putting it in, and your goals for the system before you can choose which of the best AV receivers is best for your needs.Why trust us
Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.
Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.
What to Look for in Computer Speakers
Every user has different needs when it comes to desktop speakers. For some, sound quality matters the most. Especially if you want to consume video games, music, or movies, if you wish to have decent volume and watch casual content such as YouTube videos, your priority might be space or design.
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One important decision to make is whether you want a 2.0 or 2.1 setup. A 2.0 setup consists of two speakers that reproduce the entire audio range. These speakers often have two or three drivers, covering different frequency ranges. However, smaller or cheaper models may have one driver do all the work. A 2.1 speaker set includes a dedicated low-frequency subwoofer that provides punch and depth to the audio. However, this means you’ll need more space and more wiring.
Surround-sound PC speakers used to be more common, and they are still around today. However, few people have the space or need for them, and you certainly aren’t getting a good surround set for under $100. So we’ll focus solely on 2.0 and 2.1 products.
Customers looking for computer speakers aren’t always adding speakers to a system that doesn’t have them. All laptops and many computer monitors have integrated speakers. However, these sounds are generally muddy, low-volume, and unappealing. Even cheap computer speakers are likely to be better than almost any integrated model, except for specific high-end devices.1. Best PC Speakers Overall Under $100: Creative Labs Gigaworks T20 Series II
Creative Labs are PC speaker royalty and have been around since the early days of computer multimedia. Even after integrated sound cards took over the market, the company has managed to survive on premium audio equipment for computer users.
The GigaWorks T20 Series II speaker set shows that Creative can also put some of its best ideas into affordable products.
The design of the T20 is just fantastic, in our opinion. They are eye-catching and manage to look modern while also mixing in a little 90s PC nostalgia somehow. Creative has used glass fiber material for the speaker cones, and their proprietary BasXPort technology just means that the speaker cabinet is ported to enhance low-frequency sound.
Of course, porting is common practice for all brands of speakers, but Creative’s angle here is that they’ve done the math and created acoustic porting that helps the T20 punch above its weight in the bass department and reduces the need for a woofer.
Whether they succeeded is a matter of personal opinion, but based on the reviews, the bass and midbass of these speakers are about as good as the laws of physics will allow, given the budget and size limit.
With 28W RMS (root mean square) of output power, they’re undoubtedly loud enough for most people, and we really like that Creative have put the auxiliary input and headphone jack on the front of the right speaker.
This makes it easy to hook up a smartphone or other device that needs quick access to good speakers. These offer a similar value proposition to the widely-lauded Bose Companion 2 Series III multimedia speakers, but at a fraction of the price.2. Best Portable Laptop Speakers: Creative Pebble V2
Compact and attractive
With a few exceptions, laptop speakers are almost all terrible. You’d be better off using Bluetooth headphones, and that’s what most people end up doing. However, if you need to play sound out loud, such as in a small presentation or while watching a movie with someone else, you’re going to need speakers. If you’re away from your office or home desk, then those speakers have to be portable.
We think that the Creative Labs Pebble speakers fit the bill perfectly for laptop travel speakers. They are perhaps a little on the large side to go in your messenger bag but small enough to fit in your hand luggage. Best of all, you don’t need a separate power adapter. The Pebble speakers get their power directly from USB-C. That might be a problem for users who don’t have a USB-C port on their computers, but Creative already thought of that. A USB-A adapter is included in the package, along with an extended USB cable should you need one.
Sadly, the Pebble V2 only draws power from the USB port and doesn’t have a USB audio interface, so you’ll still have to use the 3.5mm aux input.
You can’t expect too much from speakers that only have a single tweeter-sized driver in them in terms of audio quality. Producing full-range sound from one driver is a challenge, but Creative Labs have tried to make the best of it.
To that end, the Pebble VR has passive radiators to help boost the low range and a 45-degree tilt to help widen the sound stage and make the audio a little richer. Just be sure to connect them to a USB port with at least 10W of power so that you get the total 8W RMS of sound on offer.
Users report that the Pebble V2 speakers have decent volume, no distortion issues, and offer great clear audio. If you’re looking for compact speakers that don’t need to travel with you, consider the Creative Pebble Plus 2.1, which adds a dedicated woofer to the setup and still comes in under $50.3. Best Total Power: Cyber Acoustics CA-3908
Great sound separation
Most of us don’t need compelling speakers to get a good experience from our computers, but if you need room-filling sound from your computer that sounds good at high volumes, the CA-3908 looks like it should be at or near the top of your shortlist.
Cyber Acoustics has chosen to outfit each satellite speaker with two 2” drivers so that they can split the work of producing high- and midrange sound. This is the right choice to get clear audio with no distortion since each speaker isn’t trying to square the circle of producing full-range audio using a single speaker cone.
The satellite speakers are also outfitted with passive radiators to produce a rich tone that should come across as quite premium to non-audiophile ears. Whether they meet the high technical quality of much more expensive speakers is, after all, less important than the subjective audio experience. Reading through user reviews, it seems that most people consider the output from the CA-3908 to be quality sound with a rich bass response and clear, powerful sound.
A dedicated 6.5” downward-firing subwoofer handles bass duties, and the whole speaker setup is rated for 48W RMS, which is a lot for a desktop speaker system. The last noteworthy feature of the CA-3908 speakers is the nifty volume control pod with a large volume knob. The pod can be put in easy reach and lets you control the volume level, attach your headphones and connect auxiliary audio sources.
This is a tremendous overall speaker system, but there are a few caveats. First, some owners report crackling problems developing with their speakers. Luckily, it’s easy to return them on platforms like Amazon, so there’s not much risk in taking a chance on quality control problems.4. Best Looking Speakers: Edifier Exclaim
A 2.0 system with actual subwoofers
It’s not the most admirable thing to focus on looks, and the Exclaim speakers are actually good, but just look at them. There’s something to be said for a design that delights the eye and serves as a conversation starter. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but it’s hard to imagine anyone disagreeing that the Exclaim is at least fresh and exciting.
The unique design of the Exclaim has a practical purpose. The upper part of each speaker unit contains two 1.5” drivers to handle high- and midrange frequencies. There’s also a three-inch passive radiator in each upper portion to enhance the richness of the sound.
Within the base of each speaker unit resides a three-inch woofer, neatly solving the lack of woofers in 2.0 speaker systems. Of course, two three-inch woofers are not as good as one six-inch woofer. Since they physically can’t achieve the same frequency response. However, it’s miles ahead of what 2.0 systems with only small full-range drivers can achieve.5. Best for Music Lovers: Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers
Classic woodgrain design
Specific music tuning perfect for music lovers
Bookshelf speakers are a class of speakers that aren’t specifically designed for PC use but are suitable for certain types of users. They are generally larger than computer speakers, but they are intended to be put on a bookshelf, mantle, or desk.
Make no mistake, these are hefty speakers, and they aren’t explicitly designed for computers. However, apart from the dual RCA inputs you’d expect on speakers like these (for vinyl record players and other HiFi equipment), there are also two aux inputs. That means you can quickly hook up a computer and use these as your stereo speakers.
These are not for gamers or those who need sound tuned for movies. Instead, they are tuned to provide precise, balanced music reproduction. This is the audio tuning that audiophiles look for, and it’s impressive to get such music-focused speakers under our $100 budget. However, they are bumping up against it.
Suppose you are willing to go another $70 over budget. In that case you may want to opt for the R1700BTs, which offer Bluetooth connectivity—a useful feature for bookshelf speakers that you may want to set up at greater distances from you.6. Best for Space-Saving: Logitech Z130 Compact Laptop Speakers
Significantly better sound than integrated speakers
For many users who want better sound than they can get from the tiny built-in speakers in their laptops, space is at a premium. If you don’t have a whole desk or need space to do other types of work, such as drawing, you need small speakers that won’t take up much space when your laptop is tucked away.
Logitech has an excellent reputation in the PC speaker market, or at least at one point they were the go-to company for quality speakers at reasonable prices. We don’t think that’s changed. It’s just that speakers aren’t the mainstream peripheral they were in the past. Nonetheless, Logitech has poured premium speaker-making knowledge into these tiny laptop-focused speakers to offer a 5W RMS of solid sound without eating up the available room.
The main reason these didn’t get our nod for the best laptop speakers is that they aren’t USB-powered and aren’t portable. You need a power outlet to make them work, which means they are best left as part of your docking station set up for when you’re home with your laptop.7. Best Budget 2.0 Speakers: Creative Inspire T10 2.0 Multimedia Speaker System with BasXPort Technology
Great sound for the price
The T10 speakers are the cheapest in the T-series, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t any good! These are fantastic primary 2.0 speakers perfect for adding good audio to a laptop or shared family computer.
The T10s look great in almost any setting. Creative hasn’t gone overboard here, sticking with clean lines, black and silver trim, and a timeless look that’s neither futuristic nor retro.
At this price, you’re not going to get a two-driver speaker system, but Creative has added a dedicated tweeter to each speaker so that you’ll get a clear separation between the mid and treble sound frequencies.
Of course, like a 2.0 speaker system, you don’t get a dedicated subwoofer, but Creative has used their acoustic math (in the form of BasXPort) to create a ported speaker cabinet that boosts lower frequencies from the main driver.
While Creative (and every other speaker maker) claims that this means you don’t need a subwoofer for deep bass, there’s still no substitute for a dedicated bass unit. If you’re on a very tight budget or just don’t have the space for a subwoofer, then the T10 are great general-purpose multimedia speakers.8. Best RGB Light Show: Redragon GS520 Anvil RGB Desktop Speakers, 2.0
Gamers. We love them, we ARE them, but some video game enthusiasts sure have an unhealthy enthusiasm for RGB lighting in their computers and peripherals. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it does mean diverting part of your gaming PC budget to paying for pretty lights that don’t make your computer go any faster.
That’s where the Redragon GS520 Anvil comes into the picture. This extremely affordable speaker pair comes with RTB LED lights arranged in a brutal slash across the “urban” speaker design.
You can be forgiven if you have never heard of Redragon. The company appeared out of nowhere with a wide range of cheap gaming peripherals, such as mechanical keyboards and gaming mice.9. Best for Budget Music Producers: Mackie CR-X Series
Tuned for content creation
Mackie may not be a brand with a lot of recognition in mainstream computing, but for musicians and music producers, Mackie is one of the most respected audio gear makers.
Tese CR-X monitors aren’t meant for playing video games or consuming other mastered audio sources. Instead, they are “monitors” built to have a flat, neutral, and balanced sound suitable for mixing and producing music or audio tracks of your own.
This is what’s meant by “studio quality” sound. The audio is a good reflection of what it sounds like without being colored through the speaker’s construction and tuning.
If you have a slightly higher budget, Mackie makes versions of the CR-X speaker with Bluetooth and USB audio interfaces. You can also get them in larger sizes, up to eight inches, with a dedicated subwoofer.10. Best Bluetooth PC Speakers: Creative T15 Wireless Bluetooth 2.0 Computer Speaker System
The last speakers on this list are yet another member of the Creative T-series of speakers. This just goes to show that Creative still knows what PC users want from their speakers.
The main feature we’re interested in here is support for Bluetooth devices. Since these are also Bluetooth speakers, you can easily port audio from your phone or tablet through them as needed.
At first glance, these may simply seem like the T10s with Bluetooth added, but they have significantly different designs. The T15 looks more modern and lacks the speaker grill of the T10s.
The T15s feature a dedicated tweeter in each speaker to handle treble sound and a BasXPort in each speaker cab to boost the bass coming from the driver. Therefore, you can expect sound at least as good as the T10s, but with a more attractive facade and wireless audio.
Usually, the T15 is a reasonable $20 more expensive than the T10s, but we’ve seen the T15s drop down to T10 prices before. So if you’re going to buy the T10s, check the current price tag on the T15s first.For the Love of Good Sound
Every speaker we’ve highlighted here provides a different listening experience for just about every use case. From studio monitors to compact laptop speakers, there’s something for everyone, even if you only have $100 or less to spend.
Best Bluetooth Speakers: The 10 Best Wireless Speakers of 2023
A good Bluetooth speaker is a great way to liven up a gathering of friends, whether it is at a picnic in the park or a home setting. The best Bluetooth speakers give you a powerful range of frequency, clarity of sound, and portability for listening on the go.
The ideal Bluetooth speaker is strong enough to fill a medium to large-sized room yet small enough to be moved around easily. However, with the sheer number of Bluetooth speakers on the market, finding the right one for your needs can be difficult. Luckily, we are here to give you a comprehensive look at some of the top-rated portable Bluetooth speakers currently available.
If you are worried that a quality Bluetooth speaker will break the bank, don’t fret. There are plenty of great speaker options that cost only as much as a trip to the grocery store. Additionally, many Bluetooth speakers double as home interface devices that can sync your Google assistant or Siri – you can kill two birds with one stone.
Products at a Glance
Best Bluetooth Speakers: The 10 Best Wireless Speakers of 2023
Long battery life (12-16 hours)
AUX input for multiple audio sources
Low enough frequency may sound crackly
Bose is one of the most well-known audio equipment manufacturers in the world, and for good reason. Bose consistently makes high-quality products designed by audio engineer experts for optimal performance. The Bose SoundLink Revolve uses Bose’s outstanding speaker technology and puts it in a portable package for home and on-the-go listening.
Of course, like every other Bose product, the quality comes with an impressively steep price tag. While this won’t break the bank, per se, this is a good deal more expensive than the 2nd costliest speaker, so it might not be worth it if you aren’t an audiophile.
The circular design gives 360-degrees of sound coverage that can fill a medium to large sized room. The sleek gray casing is IPX4 rated for moisture resistance, so you don’t have to worry about water damage if you use at the pool, beach, or while taking a shower. The SoundLink Revolve is compatible with voice commands and can sync to Siri or Google assistant, allowing you to easily make (and receive) calls.
You can also link two SoundLink Revolve speakers to each other using the Bose Connect app for those times when loud is not loud enough.
Although this speaker performs incredibly well – especially for the money – it does have a drawback. I noticed that, when a song has very low frequency bass, the audio begins to sound a bit crackly, but only when the speaker is at full blast.
Still, considering the speaker doesn’t have a large dedicated subwoofer, it can still output rumbling bass. If you’re using the speaker at full blast, it’s probably because you’re in a party setting, and you wouldn’t be able to notice the slightly fuzzy bass anyway.
Very small and light (~0.5 lbs )
IPX5 rated resistant casing
Has trouble with low-frequency bass notes
No “low battery” warning; the speaker will die in the middle of a song
Weighing just over half a pound, the Oontz Angle 3 portable Bluetooth speaker gives a great ratio of sound quality/size at an extremely affordable price. If you’re concerned about range, then this is probably the best wireless speaker on the market considering it has a 100 foot wireless range.
Just like the previous speaker, this one struggles a bit with very low-frequency bass – in addition, the speaker doesn’t have a low battery warning. Instead, it will simply die in the middle of a song, which can be annoying.
Anyway, the angled design is made to project sound efficiently. This small speaker can easily fill a room with a hearty soundscape, just don’t expect its bass to be particularly punchy.
The battery is more powerful than other speakers of similar size and can play for 14 continuous hours at 2/3rds max volume (it will be shorter than that if you’re at max volume, though). Since you can charge your battery while using it, the music does not have to stop. The splash-proof and dustproof IPX5 rated casing means you can take this with you out on the trail and not worry about any technical failures.
A built-in mic for making and taking calls from your phone, an AUX input for alternate audio sources, and the 100-foot wireless range makes the Oontz Angle 3 a versatile speaker for all environments.
IPX7 rated casing extremely resistant to water, dust, and mechanical damage
Dual external passive radiator for an improved bass sound
Battery can degrade quickly
Slight crackling at very high volumes
The JBL Flip 4 is the next generation of the award-winning Flip series of Bluetooth speakers. The Flip 4 offers crystal clear audio in a tiny package that can easily fit in your backpack, purse, or coat pocket. The new IPX7 rated casing is extremely resistant to water and dust– so resistant you could completely submerge the Flip 4 in water, and it would still work.
The 3000mAh battery offers 12 hours of continuous playtime and comes in 6 vibrant color options to match your style. The built-in noise canceling and echo canceling speakerphone is perfect for making and taking calls and its voice command functionality means you can sync up Siri or Google. Just press the front button to activate voice commands.
The JBL Connect+ app lets you link up to 100 individual JBL speakers together so you can stream the same music on multiple devices.
This speaker will crackle a bit at its highest volumes, but believe me when I say this speaker can get loud. I have one that I use in my college dorm, and I am – more often than not – annoying my neighbors when it’s blasting at a high volume.
IPX7 rated casing extremely resistant to water, dust, and mechanical damage
Dual external passive radiator for an improved bass sound
Battery can degrade quickly
Slight crackling at very high volumes
The Anker Soundcore portable Bluetooth speaker is one of the best values amongst these speakers with good sound despite its small price tag.
The small black rectangular design is discrete, allowing for easy transportation. The IPX5 rated casing is highly resistant to dust and moisture, so you won’t have to worry about using this speaker outdoors. Two high sensitivity drivers and a patented bass port give high fidelity low sounds without crackling or distortion.
The Anker Soundcore is slated for 24 hours of continuous play from a full battery charge. Thanks to the speaker’s 66-foot wireless range, you won’t lose connectivity as you move around. Unlike many other speakers in its weight class, the Anker uses Bluetooth 4.0 to ensure maximum clarity connection.
The device will also save the most recently synced device so you can pick right up where you left off without a hassle. The Soundcore can also connect to Alexa enabled devices so you can issue voice commands from your speaker.
This speaker only has one major drawback– after prolonged use and multiple chargers, the charging port may begin to deform. If you’re gentle, it shouldn’t be a problem, but I wasn’t any rougher with this speaker’s charging port than I am with all of my other devices so it is worth being conscious of.
5AOMAIS Sport II Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speakers
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Extremely durable, tough, and waterproof
Special acoustic chamber enhances bass tones on the 20W speakers
Speakers can be damaged by playing loud for extended periods
Long charging times (3-4 hours)
The AOMAIS Sport II is a high-quality speaker built to withstand all kinds of damage and weathering. The IPX7 rated casing is tough enough to handle being run over by a car and can still operate while submerged under 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. Virtually indestructible, the AOMAIS Sport II is a perfect option for the outdoor music enthusiast and can be used while camping, hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, etc.
Its two powerful speakers can output 20W of full-bodied stereo sound with rumbling bass tones and crystal-clear high notes. The AOMAIS Sport II has a uniquely designed acoustic cavity to minimize feedback and harmonic distortion.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to listen to music for hours, you’ll love this speaker – it has a 15-hour battery life and it charges quickly too. The music never has to stop! Although the speaker has exemplary battery life, it also takes three to four hours to fully charge.
This speaker’s 4.0 Bluetooth connectivity is compatible with most smartphones, MP3 players, tablets, laptops, PC, and Amazon Echo. Like many Bluetooth speakers, you can link two AOMAIS Sport IIs together for up to 40W surround sound. Each speaker also comes with a 12-month worry-free warranty.Bluetooth Speaker Buying Guide
Bluetooth speakers are great when you have friends over at your place, or you want to bump some of your favorite tunes on the go. Personally, I love using my Bluetooth speaker when I’m at the top of a mountain after a hike.
In any event, there are a few things you should consider before you purchase a Bluetooth speaker. After all, not all Bluetooth speakers were created equally, and you should be getting the best bang for your buck.IPX
IPX is a rating of a device’s water resistance on a scale from 0 to 8, with 0 being not water resistant at all, and 8 being fully waterproof. You can learn more about IPX ratings here.
The only speaker without a rating is the Harmon Kardon Onyx Studio, but since it is the largest speaker that’s somewhat to be expected; I’d assume they expect you to take it outside around water less often. All of the other speakers are at least IPX4, which means it will be fine if it is splashed.
However, if you plan on taking your speaker around the pool, then you might want to get one of the speakers that are rated IPX7 (almost half the speakers are IPX7) since they are fine in up to 3 feet of water. And if you’re quick, they should be fine in deeper water… just don’t make a habit of making your hapless Bluetooth speaker swim.Portability
In general, the smaller the speaker, the better suited it is for taking places. However, smaller speakers usually mean less volume and power, so small and more portable Bluetooth speakers tend to be quieter than larger Bluetooth speakers.
All things being equal, this holds relatively true, but you can pay more to get a better sounding, portable speaker, like the Bose SoundLink Micro. Still, the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio trades a lot of that portability for more robust audio at a similar price point.Audio Input Options
Since this is an article about “Bluetooth” speakers, all the reviewed products are Bluetooth compatible. Nevertheless, many speakers come with an external audio jack for non-Bluetooth audio sources, like some TVs, game consoles, and stereos.
If you only plan on streaming music from your phone or other Bluetooth devices, then don’t worry about an external jack. However, if you have multiple non-Bluetooth audio sources you would like to use, make sure to get a speaker with an auxiliary jack. Most auxiliary jacks use a standard 3.5 mm connector head and you can buy aux cords for cheap.Battery Life
Most Bluetooth speakers will give you at least 6 hours of battery life, though depending on how powerful they are, battery life may be less. Typically, larger speakers with more wattage have less battery life, but that is to be expected since they require more power to run. Smaller speakers can work for almost a day straight without interruption, although these speakers tend to be smaller and less powerful.
If you frequently find yourself in places without nearby sources of electricity, then a speaker with a long battery life is the best option. If you plan for more home use, then don’t worry too much about the battery life as you can just plug it in whenever you need a charge.Multi-Device Connectivity
Many Bluetooth speakers offer multi-device connectivity – in other words, they can link up to multiple speakers and play music simultaneously. This feature is pretty great when you need to fill up a large room for a party with many people. Otherwise, a single speaker probably wouldn’t be loud enough (assuming your party is lit!).Our Verdict
Best Bluetooth Speakers: The 10 Best Wireless Speakers of 2023
4 Best Laptops For Presentations [Top Picks]
An important decision factor when choosing a new laptop should be the main tasks you are going to use it for.
The laptops presented in this article come with an integrated camera and Office 365, perfect for presentations or videoconferences.
You can find other amazing hardware and software deals by checking out our
Black Friday section.
Don’t hesitate to explore our detailed
Laptop hub, for more useful troubleshooting guides and complete reviews.
Choosing a laptop nowadays can give you headaches just by thinking of how many different models there are on the market. A starting point is to concentrate on what you need it for.
If you only need a laptop for presentations and videoconferences, you won’t have to invest as much as for a gaming laptop. General system requirements are low for the Office suite, but you still need to buy a computer with a quality display to concentrate on writing and editing documents for hours.
In this article, we will also look for a laptop with an integrated camera and good quality sound system to help you out with your videoconferences.What are the best laptops for presentations and videoconference?
1 TB of OneDrive Storage for one year
Digital media card reader
USB 3.1 generation
Low storage of only 64 GB eMMC
The HP Stream model is one of the cheapest laptops with a Microsoft Office 365 subscription that you can buy.
The 14 inches HD display, will show you bright images even when working in a low light environment. Furthermore, it has a thin, lightweight design and bold look, which makes it very easy to carry wherever you travel.
HP Stream represents a good choice if you are on a budget and need the laptop only to create presentations and video communication.
Great sound with Acer TrueHarmony
AMD Ryzen 3 3200U Mobile Processor
Office 365 installed, but just trial version.
Acer Aspire 5 is another good choice if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a laptop, but performant enough for daily tasks.
It has a nice big full HD 15.6 inches screen, and with its IPS display panel, it shows true to life colors, just what you need for videoconferencing. Also, you’ll have no problem reading the smaller print on Powerpoint presentations.
If you like it, then take a better look at this Acer Aspire 5. The laptop comes with Amazon Alexa enabled, a big help when comes to appointments and to-do lists.
7th generation Intel Core i7 processor
16 GB RAM
Sleek and elegant design
Only one USB port
What better laptop with Windows and Office suite preinstalled to choose if not a Microsoft one. The Microsoft Surface DAL model combines perfectly portability with performance.
Creating large presentations and recording videoconferences won’t be a problem with this laptop due to its huge storage of 512GB SSD. Moreover, it has an edge-to-edge 13.5 inches PixelSense Display, with touchscreen feature and ultra-thin bezel.
If you’re on the go most of the day, Surface DAL is the best choice due to its battery performance of up to 14.5 hours of work.
8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor
Dedicated NVIDIA GeForce MX150 GPU
Windows 10 Home
No SD card slot
If the price is not an issue and you want to focus on performance, Huawei MateBook X Pro is the best laptop you can buy, as it is well suited for presentations.
It comes with a 13.9-inch full view 3K touch-screen display with 3000×2000 resolution and 91% screen-to-body ratio. With this screen you’ll have a sharp and clear visual experience.
Besides the incredible display, it also provides a high-quality camera and quad microphone with speakers. In fact, the camera is hidden in a key shape between the F6 and F7 keys, which offers great security.
You will be delighted by the performance of MateBook X Pro and by its battery that offers 14 hours of office work, or 15 hours of web browsing.
Is not easy to find laptops that include the Microsoft Office Suite, most of them having just a simple operating system. You will still need to activate a Microsoft account, but the best part is that you don’t need to install anything.
If you choose one of the options above, you can start writing, editing documents and present them over videoconferences out of the box.
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Written By Carsen Joenk
Updated Nov 18, 2023 8:47 PM
There is no shortage of Bluetooth speakers under $100, even $50, which can make choosing the right one for your listening needs particularly difficult. While you’d think a less expensive option might not boast outstanding audio quality or unbeatable battery life, there are many models that are going to deliver exactly what you need when it comes to wire-free listening. Hone in on your top priorities and search accordingly. Do you need something waterproof? A speaker that will clip onto a backpack? Or maybe something extra bass to bump at a party? When it comes to the best budget Bluetooth speakers, it’s okay to focus on one or two central features so you get the most bang for your buck. Here are picks for speakers that can fit your needs and your budget.How we chose the best budget Bluetooth speakers
Many of the speakers recommended here have been personally tested by myself or our team, which is why we are able to confidently recommend this selection. We retested some of our personal favorites and compared them to new units from other reputable brands with a focus on sound quality. While smaller portable speakers can’t deliver audio that’s as precise as premium stereo or multi-channel models, we made sure to pick products that preserve the integrity of our favorite albums. To further pare down the list, we only looked at speakers that currently retail for under $115, primarily focusing on those around $50, while paying particular attention to durability, portability, and battery life. Then we considered special features like onboard controls, EQ customization, and connectivity to bring you the best of the best when it comes to affordable Bluetooth speakers.The best budget Bluetooth speakers: Reviews & Recommendations Best overall: Anker Soundcore 3
Why it made the cut: The Soundcore 3 is a well-rounded, budget-friendly Bluetooth speaker with an impressive 24 hours of battery life and the option to boost the bass without distortion.
Battery Life: 24 hours
Bluetooth Range: Up to 66 feet
IP Rating: IPX7
Size: 6.9 x 2.4 x 2.2 inches
Excellent Battery Life
Bass Up technology
Voice assistant capability is lacking
The Soundcore 3 is a robust, portable Bluetooth speaker that won’t cost an arm and a leg making it the best budget Bluetooth speaker overall. Available in four colors, this powerful unit utilizes 16 watts of power to push dual 1.5-inch drivers with titanium diaphragms. Meanwhile, dual passive radiators combine with improved BassUp technology to analyze music in real-time and work to punch up the low-end during your favorite bass-driven songs. Alongside BassUp, there are three additional preset EQs you can choose from, or customize your own using the Soundcore app. The treble on the Soundcore 3 stretches all the way up to 40kHz. Bluetooth 5.0 offers a consistently stable connection and PartyCast compatibility means you can link up to 100 Soundcore speakers for a truly impressive array of sound. To get a full battery faster, this speaker charges via USB-C, and the 24-hour battery life beats more expensive models. While $55 isn’t the steepest cost if you needed a replacement, an IPX7 rating means you won’t have to worry about water damage if you get caught in the rain or drop it in the pool. And if you’re definitely planning to fill a patio with friends, there’s also the Anker Soundcore Flare Mini, an outdoor-friendly speaker that offers 360-degree sound, a pulsing LED halo, and IPX7—all for less than $50. Snag the Soundcore 3 on the Soundcore website.Best for bass: Sony SRS-XB13
Why it made the cut: The SRS-XB13 is a compact, portable waterproof speaker that automatically boosts the bass for party-worthy sound wherever you are.
Battery Life: 16 hours
Bluetooth Range: Up to 32 feet
IP Rating: IP67
Size: 3.43 x 3.43 x 4.41 inches
5 cool colorways
Extra bass isn’t adjustable
If you’re looking for a compact speaker weighing less than 1 pound and costing less than $50, but don’t want to sacrifice bass-booming sound, then the SRS-XB13 is the best bass Bluetooth speaker for you. With a 20Hz – 20kHz frequency response and a dedicated passive radiator to reinforce low-end, your music won’t be found lacking when it comes to heart-thumping beats. An IP67 rating means it’s protected from water and debris, so you can toss it into your beach bag without worrying about sand getting into the speaker grill. Available in five modern colors, each unit comes with a matching multiway strap, so you can easily carry the speaker if you run out of room in your backpack, or hang it up for easy access at a pool party. With an extra XB13 speaker, you can enable stereo mode and a USB-C port means you can charge quickly to keep the party going all night long.Best waterproof: UE Wonderboom 2
Why it made the cut: The Wonderboom 2 is one of the best budget Bluetooth speakers around even when compared to more expensive options.
Battery Life: 13 hours
Bluetooth Range: Up to 100 feet
IP Rating: IP67
Size: 3.68 x 3.68 x 4.02 inches
No auxiliary connection
No onboard skip backBest for travel: JBL Clip 3
Why it made the cut: The JBL Clip 3 is a stalwart when it comes to travel speakers; the included carabiner easily clips onto any backpack, belt loop, and more—plus you won’t sacrifice when it comes to volume.
Battery Life: 10 hours
Bluetooth Range: Approx 35 feet
IP Rating: IPX7
Size: 4.33 x 2.7 x 4.30 inches
Available in over 10 colors
Lacking in the low-end
The Clip 3 are the best budget Bluetooth speakers for those who want to spend less than $50 and stay on the go. It is specifically designed to travel with you, weighing less than half a pound and featuring an integrated metal carabiner to clip to a backpack or belt loop, a waterproof IPx7 rating, and rubber housing that provides shock absorption. While it utilizes a somewhat outdated Bluetooth 4.1, the noise and echo-canceling speakerphone and built-in microphone will keep you connected when you’re on the move, and the connectivity range is solid at roughly 10 meters (or 35 feet). With a 120Hz – 20kHz response range, the bass is less powerful than it would be with a larger speaker, but the mids and highs come through loud and clear. Onboard controls let you play, pause, skip, and adjust the volume; they also let you pick up or end phone calls. The Clip 3 is available in 12 colors and you can even design your own on the JBL website, making this tiny but mighty speaker the perfect gift for outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re able to extend your budget to around $80, JBL released the Clip 4 just over one year ago—it has improved connectivity with Bluetooth 5.1, USB-C charging, and an IP67 rating.Best budget: Oontz Angle 3
Why it made the cut: With an impressive connectivity range, solid battery life, and thousands of positive user reviews, the Oontz Angle 3 is one of the best budget Bluetooth speakers for those looking to spend less than $35.
Battery Life: 14 hours
Bluetooth Range: Approx. 100 feet
IP Rating: IPX5
Size: 5.3 x 2.8 x 2.6 inches
Extended Connectivity Range
Not fully environment proof
Limited onboard controls
Sound quality is just okay
While the Angle 3 isn’t touting many bells and whistles, it will have what you need to take tunes with you on the go. It’s got 10 watts that power acoustic stereo drivers, as well as a passive radiator—all wrapped up in 10 different colorways. Equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, this wedge-like speaker delivers a strong connection across 100 feet and is compatible with most current devices. With its IPX5 rating, you won’t want to toss this model into the pool, but you don’t need to worry about a few splashes or drops of rain. While the volume is certainly there, don’t expect a lot when it comes to wide stereo, booming bass, or true clarity across mids and highs. It’ll do the trick for lite listening on the go, but it won’t necessarily stand up to other, more expensive models. That being said, if you just need something that’s far preferable to silence, the Angle 3 should do the trick.Best party speaker: Tribit XSound Mega
Why it made the cut: Boosted bass, additional EQ presents, and a veritable light show deliver a high-end listening experience at a reasonable price.
Battery Life: 20 hours
Bluetooth Range: Up to 98 feet
IP Rating: IPX7
Size: 10.66 x 3.42 x 3.14 inches
3 listening modes
Dual charging/powerbank ports
Some distortion at high volumes
If you’re having a gathering with more people you’re going to want more sound, and that may mean spending a little more, so here’s the best Bluetooth party speaker if your budget can stretch slightly above $100. The Tribit XSound Mega, released in early January, follows the waterproof, outdoor-friendly XSound Surf and slightly more powerful, though still ultraportable XSound Go models with a similar form factor but significant upgrades when it comes to sound quality and visual appeal.
Right out of the box, the Mega feels sleeker than some of its contemporaries with a texturized rubber surface that’s easy to grip, a black speaker grill, a discrete brand label, and smooth, integrated onboard controls. These seven intuitive buttons control power, Bluetooth pairing, play/pause, volume down, volume up, light adjustment, and EQ adjustment. Directly underneath the EQ Mode button are three indicators that will tell you which mode has been triggered: options include XBass, Music, and Audiobooks. At the back of the speaker is a rubber panel housing USB-A and USB-C ports for charging/using the 8000mAh battery as a powerbank to top off other devices, plus an AUX input. The included carrying strap is black and grey with silver hardware and two small carabiners easily clip onto the discrete embedded handles, which certainly helps shoulder the speaker’s 2.2 pounds. The visual pièce de résistance is the frame of LEDs that surrounds the front face of the speaker—a rainbow gradient of light that slowly cycles through colors while you pair your device.
When it comes to sound quality, this Tribit speaker has the thump if not exactly the clarity and soundstage of comparable models, like the JBL Charge 5, JBL Flip 5, or Treblab HD77. An impressive 30 watts powers a driver with a pure titanium diaphragm, which combines with two passive radiators to reproduce low frequencies to 45Hz and high frequencies up to 14kHz. Audiobook mode successfully isolates the dulcet tones of Jim Dale, who you might recognize as the reader of the Harry Potter series, though the audio can get a little muddy if you are listening to a music- or sound design-heavy podcast. However, Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan’s sultry vocals and staccato keys on “Come Undone” are smooth and clear when Music mode is triggered. The low-end on Subtrakt’s “Wildfire” is big and bold when XBass is engaged, delivering a party-appropriate level of “thump” to get things going without overpowering the vocals. The volume can reach over 100 dB but some distortion does occur when pushed to its max, though that is to be expected from a speaker of this size.
One of our favorite features is the light display, which flashes in time with the beat of whatever you are playing. You can select from different options: a continuous oval of rainbow lacing glowing around the speaker grill’s perimeter; colors pulsing rhythmically in a symmetrical left/right or top/bottom pair, almost mimicking the metering you’d see on a recording studio console or DAW; or a circuit traveling the display track changing color, speeding up and slowing down in time with the beat. You can also forgo the light display altogether, but a 20-hour battery life keeps all that flair from fading fast.
While this model is a bit more expensive than other budget-friendly models, you will certainly get what you pay for when it comes to audio quality and special features.Things to consider before buying the best budget Bluetooth speakers
In order to find the best budget Bluetooth speaker for you, think about what features will be a defining factor in your final decision. Are you prioritizing battery life? Volume? Portability? When it comes to inexpensive speakers, you might not have all the fancy features of a high-end model at your fingertips, but as long as you know what you want to focus on, you’ll be satisfied.What should a budget Bluetooth speaker sound like?
Sound quality is typically a top priority, no matter what kind of speaker you’re looking at. While we cannot expect a 6-inch speaker to carry the same sonic weight as a set of premium monitors, you can still make smart choices if you value sound above the rest.
First and foremost, if you want better sound you’ll have to sacrifice a little bit of portability. That’s because larger units are generally more equipped to maintain consistent, distortion-free audio even as you turn the volume up (a common critique of compact speakers is that though they can get pretty loud, the audio quality significantly degrades with each decibel). Bigger speakers also have more room for well-designed subwoofers, which provide an accurate low end that won’t totally overpower the mids and highs, making for a more satisfying mix.
If you really want booming bass but can’t upgrade when it comes to size, many smaller units now come equipped with “bass boosting” technology that uses digital signal processing to put an emphasis on low-end frequencies that bumps without any rattle. While this can be a major pro for parties or at-home workout playlists, beware of speakers that use these boosts to overcompensate for a lack of clarity throughout other frequencies.
To learn more about where your new speaker will succeed or fall short when it comes to audio quality, look at the frequency response. Measured in hertz and kilohertz, this range lets you know the range of frequencies (lows, mids, and highs) the speaker will support. More often than not, you’ll see a response range from 20Hz – 20kHz, which are the limits of human hearing for both highs and lows. This is certainly an ideal range; however, just because the model boasts a wide range doesn’t mean it won’t suffer from dips and peaks around specific frequencies. For a really in-depth understanding of the speaker’s success at accurately reproducing audio, you can take a look at a frequency response graph for the product, often created with audio testing by a third party.
For more information about volume, check out the speaker’s specs to find a maximum decibel level, notated as dB. If you are primarily playing music inside, you won’t need to go over 100 dB and we don’t even recommend listening at that level, as it’s akin to listening to a jackhammer at close range. On the other hand, if you’re hosting an outdoor party with many people in attendance, you could think about increasing the volume to 115 dB, which is concert-level; music at this volume will cover a large area, but you wouldn’t want anyone standing too close. Generally speaking, we are satisfied with Bluetooth speakers that maintain good sound quality at 85 dB for larger gatherings. As I write, I am happily listening to music at 74 dB and really don’t require any more volume.What’s the deal with codecs and connectivity?
While options can be limited when it comes to budget speakers, we recommend looking for gear that supports the most recent version of Bluetooth you can find (at the moment that’s anything in the 5.0 range). A Bluetooth 5.1 or 5.2 speaker will have a more stable connection, which makes it easier to support brand-specific features like allowing more than one person to connect and control the speaker at a time. Bluetooth 4.0 will still function just fine with most devices, but you may miss out on some range, stability, and special features like multiuser pairing.
A Bluetooth codec describes the way in which your digital audio data is encoded and decoded from a source device to your speaker or headphones. To get the most from these high-speed transfers both your receiver and transmitter need to be equipped with the same codecs. The most common codec to see is SBC, which is supported by every Bluetooth speaker. While not the highest quality codec, it’s a virtually universal, reliable way to transfer data. If you’re an iOS user looking for higher quality, consider a speaker with AAC, or Advanced Audio Coding. If you have an Android smartdevice, select a speaker with aptX/aptX HD/aptX Adaptive (or LDAC) support for faster transfer rates that preserve more data.
One final thing to keep in mind when considering connectivity is Bluetooth range. This describes how far you can wander away from your device before the sound starts to get fuzzy and eventually you get disconnected. If you plan to never leave your speaker’s side, you’ll probably be fine with a connectivity range under 30 feet. However, if you’re listening to music outdoors, need to go inside, and you don’t want to leave your phone unattended, then look for a speaker with a range above 35 feet.What kind of special features should you look for?
Typically, the best budget Bluetooth speakers lack high-flying special features, though this isn’t always the case. If a Bluetooth speaker provides custom EQ options via an app or onboard control, that is a major win. Custom equalization will give you way more control over your sound and is particularly helpful if you are listening to various types of media—as you certainly won’t need to boost the bass when you’re listening to Terry Gross on “Fresh Air.” Some inexpensive models are starting to roll out visual features first employed by higher-end models, like bold colorways or LED panels that pulse to the beat.
Another prime feature to look for is the elusive onboard microphone that will let you conduct phone calls or speak to voice assistants like Siri or Alexa without having to pick up your device.What is the bare minimum when it comes to battery life?
Luckily, one of the things budget Bluetooth speakers rarely sacrifice is battery life. Even at a lower price, it’s unlikely you’ll come across a model that has less than a 10-hour charge and many can do even better. For infrequent listening at moderate volume, 10 hours of playback could last you up to a week, however, the louder you play your music, the faster battery life will deplete. If a speaker boasts 13 hours of consistent playback, you may get something closer to 7-10 hours if you’re blasting EDM all night long. Party throwers and party-goers should look for a model that boasts a battery that can last over 12 hours.How do you know if your budget Bluetooth speaker is actually waterproof?
The only way to guarantee your speaker is waterproof (or dustproof) is to look at its IP rating. If you’ve ever purchased a portable speaker before or checked out one of our other reviews, you’ll know that IP rating is one of the most important specs to check out before buying. This is especially true if you know you want to prioritize outdoor use. If you want a speaker to safely take you to the beach or into the shower—make sure you investigate how well it’s already protected from the elements.
IP stands for “Ingress Protection,” which tells you just how fortified an electronic device is against dirt, dust, and water. These ratings are typically composed of two numbers, or one number and an X. We often cite the Wonderboom 2, a tried-and-true favorite, when it comes to durability. The Wonderboom 2 has an IP67 rating. The first digit describes particle protection, the second liquid. The “6” indicates it can keep out most dust and dirt particles, while the “7” means it can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes before any damage occurs, making it a great option for poolside tunes. The higher the number, the more protected your speakers will be from debris and water. This is why you can often find the Wonderboom poolside, or hanging off a showerhead.
You may find an IP that replaces particle protection with an “X,” written as IPX7, for example. An “X” in place of any number means no data is available for that substance, or rather that the unit is not protected from that substance.FAQs Q: What’s the best Bluetooth speaker brand?
The best Bluetooth speaker brand is widely debated and will certainly depend on your unique needs and preferences. Bang & Olufsen are known for turning out high-end products with excellent sound quality. Sonos continues to top the charts when it comes to in-home connectivity. For more rugged, portable models our favorite brands have to be Ultimate Ears and JBL, both of which have products that claimed top spots in this article.Q: Which speaker is best, JBL or Sony?
When it comes to finding the best budget Bluetooth speakers, JBL is going to give you more variety. They have a diverse range of budget-friendly options in various sizes, with distinctive features, including the JBL Clip 4 and JBL Go 3. These JBL models are compact, travel-friendly units designed to move with you. Currently, Sony only has one Bluetooth speaker under $90, the SRS-XB13—a model we love, but you might be better off searching elsewhere for inexpensive speakers. Return to Sony if your budget gets a bit higher, or if you start the search for other techy treats, like a new television or game console.Q: Which is better, JBL or Bose Bluetooth speaker?
Similar to the JBL versus Sony debate above, JBL continues to come out on top when it comes to affordable options. Bose does not currently have a model, the SoundLink Micro, that regularly retails for under $119. However, if you plan on looking for a high-end speaker, soundbar, or home system in the future, Bose is certainly a brand worth investigating.Final thoughts on selecting the best budget Bluetooth speakers
You don’t need to go above and beyond your means to find the best budget Bluetooth speakers that will satisfy your sonic needs. There are plenty of options out there that you can take with you to the park, beach, or nearest house party without breaking the bank. Generally speaking, an inexpensive speaker won’t have all the bells and whistles a fancier model might, but you can still tune into your favorite audiobooks, podcasts, and playlists—which, at the end of the day, is all a Bluetooth speaker is designed to do.
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