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1 October 2020

Top six best cheap speakers for 2020

Whether you're after portable or multi-room, these speakers prove you don't need to break the bank to get excellent sound.
Sony SRS-XB01 v2
OT
Oliver Trebilcock

Top-of-the-range speakers from premium brands can cost more than £500. But you don't need to spend that much money to improve the sound of your music, with Best Buy models available for a fraction of the cost of a Sonos or B&O speaker.

A low asking price doesn't mean you should have to sacrifice battery life on a Bluetooth speaker, or features on a multi-room system. And no matter the cost, sound quality should never be compromised.

Below, we've listed the top-scoring Bluetooth and multi-room speakers. These Best Buys are easy to use and deliver excellent sound, no matter what type of music you like to play.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, you can join Which? to get instant access.

Top cheap Bluetooth speakers

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82%
Best Buy
Great value
£54.99
Reviewed

This is our best-scoring portable speaker since 2015 – and it’s at a great price too. This Bluetooth speaker is fully waterproof, and you have the option of a 3.5mm wired connection to connect to your devices. It’s easy to use with a choice of using the buttons on the speaker or the accompanying smartphone app. Music is engaging and detailed, and you can connect two together for stereo sound.

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73%
Best Buy
£166.00
Reviewed

With a durable cylindrical design, this portable and waterproof Bluetooth and wi-fi speaker produces well-balanced, powerful and clear sound, with crystal-clear speech. It performs strongly across genres from classical to pop, and has a high maximum volume. It also has Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant integrated so you can control the unit hands-free, and the 12.4-hour battery life will see you through the day.

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71%
Best Buy
Great value
£17.99
Reviewed

If you’re looking for a low-cost simple Bluetooth speaker on a budget, this speaker is ideal. It’s rare to find a small portable speaker with great sound, but this speaker excels, impressing our expert panel with its great energy and drive, and a surprisingly large sound for its size. It’s very easy to set up, with a ten-and-a-half hour battery life, and is even splash-proof as well.

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Top cheap home speakers

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82%
Best Buy
Great value
£169.00
Reviewed

This wireless speaker offers exceptional quality sound at a great price. It’s nicely compact, well build and easy to use too via its app on your smartphone. A plethora of music-streaming services are supported (may require subscriptions). Our professional listening panel praised its balanced, warm and engaging sound, packed full of detail and depth.

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79%
Best Buy
£149.00
Reviewed

Among the very best-sounding smart speakers, this Bluetooth and wi-fi wireless speaker has internet radio and voice control with Google Assistant, which allows you to control the speaker hands-free plus perform tasks like setting calendar reminders. There’s also multi-room support to connect other speakers, and the beautifully warm, well-balanced sound will do justice to whatever you listen to. See how easy it is to use and what music services are supported in our expert review.

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69%
Great value
£55.00
Reviewed

If you’re just looking for a simple, great-sounding speaker, this very attractively-priced Bluetooth speaker is just the ticket. In fact, it’s so good it’s almost a Best Buy. The rotary dials are easy to use, there’s a 3.5mm input socket and even a useful USB port for charging your portable devices. It offers plenty of bass and it does a good job with vocals, too, offering a lovely amount of warmth.

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Want to know more about what to buy? See our guide to the best wireless and Bluetooth speakers.

And here are three cheap speakers to avoid

We've found low-cost speakers that do an excellent job, whether you're looking to add some music to more rooms in your home or you want something to take on holiday with you. Unfortunately, a hefty portion of the cheap speakers we've tested sound abysmal.

Little or no bass, unpleasant distortion if you push the volume beyond a whisper and an atrocious battery life are all hallmarks of cheap speakers that reinforce the notion that you can't get good sound without spending hundreds of pounds.

We've shown you the speakers that buck the trend by delivering excellent sound for less - now look at the models giving cheap speakers a bad name.

Cheap speakers to avoid

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52%
£15.00
Reviewed

A speaker being small is no excuse for bad sound and that’s why this one is a Don’t Buy. The sound is woeful and, incredibly, you can’t use it while it’s charging. Although, in fairness, that could be a blessing in disguise.

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47%
£24.95
Reviewed

This brand is capable of making an excellent speaker, but this one is way wide of the mark. Its battery life is a paltry four-and –a-half hours and the sound has virtually no bass, which leaves music sounding flat and dull.

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47%
£100.00
Reviewed

This brand makes some of the best multi-room speakers, which is why we were so surprised that the same brand managed to produce our worst-rated Bluetooth speaker. The battery life is excellent at 30 hours, but that’s 30 hours of harsh, unpleasant music. Hopefully the company’s multi-room team will share some of their wisdom and make future iterations of this speaker sound better. This model is beyond saving.

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What to look our for when you buy a cheap speaker

You don't need to compromise on sound quality to get a speaker for less, but it's a good idea to have realistic expectations, particularly when it comes to Bluetooth speakers.

Low-cost models are often smaller portable speakers. These aren't going to be your best option if you're looking for room-filling sound, but can be great for small group listening and for taking out and about.

If you're looking for multi-room speakers to add to each room in your home, top multi-room speaker brands such as Sonos, Samsung and Bose have bigger more powerful speakers designed for your main listening room and smaller ones for bedrooms or your kitchen. You may find that the smaller speakers don't have the oomph you were looking for your living room and that spending a bit more for a larger speaker is a better option.

View all Wireless, smart and Bluetooth speakers