5 best $100-300 Bluetooth speakers to consider in 2017

5 best $100-300 Bluetooth speakers to consider in 2017
A quality Bluetooth speaker is omnipresent at almost any casual gathering or social activity nowadays – be it an evening hang in the park, a mountain trek, or a home party – you better not come, unless you brought your music blaster.

From cheapo $15 units to high-end $1000 pieces, we are truly spoiled for choice, when we look to spill some cash on a portable speaker. And choosing a speaker is not exactly easy, as striking the balance between features, sound and price that suit you is like chasing a super-rare Pokèmon – it takes time and gets you mad along the way. That’s why we are giving you our take on the best mid-range wireless Bluetooth speakers that deliver a loud and crisp bang for your buck, and will not relieve you of more than $300.

Fugoo Style 

$139.99 | Fugoo.com


We are kicking off with this really good all-round speaker that exceeds what you would expect at this price, both in terms of portability and sound performance. 

The Fugoo features a slip-on jacket that envelops the raw speaker unit. The "naked" Fugoo actually looks quite cool and features speakers on each side to deliver a full 360° sound experience. The overall sound output is actually quite impressive for the relatively small size, and rivals that of $200+ price taggers. The speaker is water, snow, mud and dust proof and will play music for whopping 40 hours - way more than most next-tier alternatives. Despite the “Style” label that presupposes more elegance than durability, the speaker is made to withstand a degree of abuse, without looking bulky or rugged at all. Fugoo Style also integrates with Siri and Google Now, and is an absolute no-brainer if you look for a balance of price, durability and decent sound. 
You can pick from different styles and colours of jackets, sold on the company’s website. 

Pros

  • Water, dust, mud, snow proof
  • 40hrs battery life
  • Great 360° sound for the price

Cons

  • Limited indication on volume, battery life

B&O Beoplay A1 

 $249.99 | Beoplay.com


There aren’t many Bang & Olufsen products that you can buy for under $300 to be fair – we all know that the company is famous for its premium audio devices, rocking premium price tags. If you are looking for style, quality sound and light build, B&O’s Beoplay A1 is a fantastic choice for you. 

Beoplay A1 doesn’t really need any promotion of its sound characteristics, as the brand doesn’t compromise with crisp treble and heady bass. 2 x 30W woofer and tweeter units, with 2 x 140W of peak power will absolutely blow you away with crystal 360° sound. The round aluminium body is designed to withstand bumps, and is dust and splash resistant. The device can be paired with another A1 for stereo sound and connects with a native app to offer you thorough sound customization. The speaker is also Siri and Google Now enabled, and supports calls, thanks to an inbuilt mic. The battery should not die for up 24 hours at moderate levels, and you get to choose from quite an attractive and rich colour range. The Beoplay A1 is a good choice if you are looking for a speaker that you can easily carry in your bag, has simple and bijou-like image, and offers sound that is up to par with much larger competitor units. It's B&O after all. 

Pros

  • Size - very portable
  • Quality sound
  • Sexy design

Cons

  • Average battery life at louder volume levels

Bose SoundLink III 

$269.95 | Bose.com


Bose is an imminent market player that just cannot be omitted from any audio products pick. The SoundLink III is the most powerful of the line, far superior to its smaller versions, and well worth its price tag. The unit delivers massive sound for its size, on par with the performance you expect from bulkier, $300+ speakers. 

Four drivers inside deliver great sound clarity even at louder levels. SoundLink III sports improved digital signal processing that puts its output in a whole separate category, compared to cheaper SoundLinks speakers. Design-wise, the unit features a metallic body and front grill, with a silicone button panel to the top, which also protects the insides from dust. No water resistance rating and a battery that lasts only about 14 hours are the only cons on the speaker that are worth mentioning. Apart from that, it’s Bose’s best-performing Bluetooth speaker and delivers uncompromising sound in a very portable body. If you are not happy with the black/graphite finish, Bose offers a nice set of colourful soft covers that also add to overall durability. If you have had experience with smaller SoundLinks and are prepared to spend a little extra, the SoundLink III is the obvious choice for you. 

Pros

  • Good sound
  • Portable design
  • Price

Cons

  • Battery life
  • No water resistance

Marshall Kilburn

$299 | MarshallHeadphones.com


The Kilburn speaker is your must-go if you are a true audiophile and connoisseur of stylish, retro looks, and big,BIG sound. Yes, it is bulky, and yes, it is heavy. But we honestly don’t care because the sound on this large gem is one of the best in this price tier. 

The speaker offers thick, full bass in a 4” woofer, and clear, high vocals that will keep the party hot. The sound will easily fill a small house and will be felt from afar, when played outdoors. If we forego the fact that it weighs a staggering 6.6 pounds (3 kilograms!), design-wise, the speaker is a flashback of a bygone era. Black or cream Tolex vinyl body, combined with the signature Marshall sign and metallic grill on the front, make the device look like it came out of a Beatles song. Analogue knobs and gold-coloured panel let you fine-tune your jams, and give the unit a true vintage look. The battery should be good for up to 20 hours of playback time, which could have been better, given the large body. You will certainly turn heads with the Kilburn hanging from your shoulder on its thick, leather strap – with both impressive sound and looks. But, yes, you might need to change shoulders occasionally. 

Pros

  • Deep, rich sound
  • Cool, vintage look

Cons

  • Size and weight – could be awkward to carry around
  • Battery could be better
  • No water resistance

UltimateEars Meagboom

$299 | UltimateEars.com


UE’s Megaboom is a great choice if you look for reliable 360° sound and better portability than Kilburn’s. A lot better, that is. 

The speaker houses smaller sound drivers than our previous pick, with output that definitely deserves credit, especially when you consider the overall convenient and travel-friendly profile. Megaboom offers good balance of performance and durable design, also sporting a water resistant, 877-gram body. The battery life is slightly on the low side, with around 15 hours of music time, but recharges fully for only 2.5 hours. The speaker has a featured app that gives you remote control over the sound, and can connect with up to two devices at a time. If you have $300 to spend on sound and dread Kilburn’s awkwardness in size, the Megaboom is definitely worth your consideration. 

Pros

  • Very portable, travel-friendly
  • Water resistant, durable build
  • 360° sound

Cons

  • Battery life could be better


If your pockets run deeper than our best $100-300 Bluetooth speakers list, check out our selection of 5 fanciest Bluetooth speakers to get if money wasn't a factor. 

FEATURED VIDEO

9 Comments

1. bucky

Posts: 3774; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

For the size I highly recommend the Bose soundlink mini. I'm no bose fanatic but it's really impressive sound has kept me happy.

2. joeytaylor

Posts: 957; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

Few years ago I was looking at them....but the UEboom was better all around.....i liked the water resistant..... 360 sound and battery life

3. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

I'd buy the Marshall if it went to 11.

4. threed61

Posts: 259; Member since: May 27, 2011

UE Booms are awesome! if you want wifi music as well, Libratone Zipp is very nice.

5. stefan69

Posts: 1; Member since: Apr 07, 2017

no sony speakers on the list omg

6. lyndon420

Posts: 6480; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Clicked on the article because I saw girls. Article opened up and the girls were gone - I feel so violated and taken advantage of...thanks again PA. #disappointed

7. tangbunna

Posts: 455; Member since: Sep 29, 2016

jbl out

8. diggie32

Posts: 388; Member since: Apr 03, 2016

I use a Porter Cable jobsite radio w/ Bluetooth. Uses the same battery as my power tools

9. Highonandroidftw2

Posts: 1; Member since: Apr 09, 2017

To PHONEARENA, ERROR report. The megaboom app allows Up To 55 speakers to be connected simultaneously. I run 5 at work daily. And no that isn't a typo above you can simultaneously run FIFTY FIVE UE Megabooms through the app.

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