When we think of Bluetooth speakers, it’s clear how much easier it is to entertain people from any device attached to your speakers without worrying about cabling or power. With excellent sound quality, you can amplify the audio in your device to a big crowd. Plus, it’s easily portable to wherever the party’s at, whether you’re camping or hosting a presentation in your office boardroom.
Bluetooth audio speakers are battery-powered, which makes them ideal for outdoor activities. Also, the battery power the speakers require is significantly less than your device, which means you can get more hours of playback with wireless speakers than you would with your phone. Unlike traditional speakers that require a cable to connect to the audio jack on your device, these speakers have Bluetooth transmitters to send and receive signals from your phone or laptop.
Remember, though: the device will need to be within range of the speaker to maintain connection.
As more brands get into the Bluetooth and wireless speaker market, the availability of high-quality and affordable speakers is skyrocketing. In this article, we share the best Bluetooth speaker under 500 dollars. Let’s tune in.
What to Look For When Buying Bluetooth Speakers
The main advantage of wireless speakers is the compact design that allows you to pack and carry them anywhere with ease. Also, less storage space!
While small portable speakers are convenient to bring along with you, larger-sized Bluetooth speakers like the JBL Boombox 2 deliver more powerful sound for the outdoors but are much heavier to carry around.
Besides size and weight, when you think about portability, don’t forget battery life, especially if you’ll be going off-grid. The average battery life for Bluetooth speakers tends to be 8 hours, but you can get 12 hours and even up to 24 hours of battery on a single charge. You may also want to consider how long it takes to charge when it drains.
If you need portable speakers for outdoor activities like beach days or camping, you might want to consider waterproof qualities to protect them from spills and splashes. Some Bluetooth speakers come with an IP rating, where IPX7 denotes water resistance while IP67 means it can withstand heavy rain with dust resistance ability.
Clear and detailed sound with little or no distortion is another attribute worth factoring in. Features such as bass radiators enhance bass, while dual and triple drivers deliver a more powerful sound. Modern Bluetooth speakers feature the aptX audio codec that allows them to perform with balanced sound that’s consistent across the sound spectrum.
However, if you’re after premium quality, opt for wireless speakers that support aptX HD, a step-up from aptX that produces superior quality audio with less distortion.
On the downside, the aptX HD codec is not available on Apple phones, which are using the AAC codec. However, it’s compatible with Android devices. On the other end, we have the aptX Adaptive codec that improves low latency in video content and audio quality for Bluetooth speakers.
Mono Vs Stereo
Monophonic and stereophonic sound refers to the type of signal amplified by the speaker. In mono format, the audio is recorded and played back on a single channel that creates a balanced sound that pushes forward. The Sonos Move Smart Speaker is an example of a monophonic speaker that produces uniform audio the width.
Mono speakers are ideal for listening to older recordings, made before the 70s when musicians preferred recording in mono format.
On the other hand, stereos use left/right audio channels to produce the perception of depth by recreating the individual sounds of musical instruments as coming from different directions. An excellent example is the Sony SRS-XB43 that produces stellar 3D stereo sound quality.
Pro tip: you can create your own stereophonic sound experience by pairing two mono speakers playing the same audio.
Along with audio quality, you may also want to consider other features that enhance the functionality of the speakers. These include auxiliary input to connect to older devices without wireless technology and built-in microphones that enable you to use voice functionality to make and receive calls.
Another worthy option includes premium speakers with voice-activated virtual assistants such as Apple’s HomePod. It has multi-room audio that allows you to connect multiple speakers via Wi-Fi.
However, most of these advanced wireless speakers are designed for home use — a perfect option if portability is not a concern.
We’re gonna get a little technical here.
Most modern devices use Bluetooth V4.0, V4.1, V4.2, and more recently, Bluetooth 5.0 and 5.1. In comparison, V5.0 has a significantly longer range at 800 feet and transfers eight times as much data as Bluetooth V4.2, while Bluetooth 5.1 offers the most reliable connectivity of them all.
Another advantage of Bluetooth V5.0 is the connectivity of multiple speakers to one device to amplify sound. Party speakers such as the Sony SRS-XB43 can connect up to 100 speakers with its Bluetooth V5.0 and NFC technology.
However, there are not many Bluetooth V5.0 wireless speakers currently in the market. That means Bluetooth V4.2 is the next best thing. It features Low Energy technology that allows more hours of playback before you need to charge the battery. It also blocks interference from other wireless devices in the 2.4GHz band, thereby giving you better audio quality.
The new Sony SRS-XB43 is the most expensive model in the SRS speakers line, and it delivers a powerful bass sound with built-in LEDs to really light up your party.
This two-way speaker system combines dual tweeters for improved vocal clarity, a woofer for low and mid-range tones, and side passive radiators that reproduce the bass sounds. Together, the SRS-XB43 produces deep, resonant bass and clear vocals for a phenomenal audio experience.
The speaker weighs 6.5 pounds, which makes it a little heavy for travel. It’s available in black, blue, and taupe colors and features a stylish and robust design with built-in LED lighting that syncs with the beat. The top panel has an intuitive display with multiple buttons, while the rear panel accommodates the charging port, a 3.5mm auxiliary input, and a USB-A port for charging your phone.
Extra features include adjustable EQ to set sound preferences and various sound effects such as the LIVE SOUND that produces a 3D sound experience, Party Connect, and Stereo-Pairing Mode, both of which work when you combine several speakers.
The SRS-XB43 is one of the best waterproof speakers on our list, with an IP67 rating. It is waterproof up to 3 feet and 100% dust resistant, making it an excellent choice for pool parties, picnics, camping, and the beach.
Compatibility with Bluetooth 5.0 and NFC is another attractive feature that allows the SRS-XB43 to connect up to 100 compatible wireless speakers with one device to boost the sound at a party or set up a multi-room sound system.
The Music Center app helps you choose sound modes and music playlists, while the Fiestable app allows you to change the lighting patterns on the speakers. However, the speakers don’t support aptX audio codecs, just the AAC and SBC codecs.
- Battery Life: 24 hours
- Bluetooth Technology: 5.0
- Dimensions: 12.8″ x 4.8″ x 4.6″
- Weight: 6.5 lbs
- Excellent sound performance with Live Sound feature
- Robust design with an IP67 rating
- Extended battery life lasts all day
- Connects multiple speakers with Bluetooth 5.0 technology
- Built-in mics for hands-free calls
- Huge and heavy
- Lower mid-range sounds are missing
Fugoo is a relatively new brand on the market compared to more established brands like Sony or Bose. Created in 2014 by industry-leading designers and innovators, Fugoo developed the first Go-Anywhere Bluetooth speakers for adventurous people. Initially, they came in three models: Sport, Style, and Tough. Their phenomenal audio quality put Fugoo on the map.
The Fugoo Tough XL is the second generation of these wireless speakers. While it’s significantly larger, it still features most of the design principles that made the original model an outstanding product. With a unique two-piece construction that has an outer shell and an inner core, it can handle any outdoor conditions.
The drivers include four Neodymium-magnet tweeters, two Neodymium aluminum domed woofers, and two passive radiators to deliver the full spectrum of sound. The speakers are at an 8-degree upward tilt so that the sound is radially spread out and not directional like the SRS-XB43, which really limits outdoor performance.
Also notable is that the speaker balances out the sound at Outdoor Mode so that the low-end tones are audible at high volume. This is unlike the SRS-XB43 that loses out mid-range tones to deep bass.
Other worthy features include the Aux-In 3.5mm jack, USB, Micro USB, adapter ports, built-in microphone, and voice-activated Siri and Google Now assistance.
The Tough XL is also a power bank that allows you to fast-charge your phone through the USB port when you are off-grid and has a fantastic 35-hour battery life with 50% volume. Although the sound quality is exceptional, the audio may distort at a high volume, and the built-in mic doesn’t offer clear sound for calls.
The Tough XL is compatible with Bluetooth V4.0 technology that allows you to pair two devices simultaneously and is IP67 rated for waterproofing and dust resistance. It’s also compatible with several accessories to customize the speaker, such as multiple outer shell styles and colors, a variety of straps, and Bluetooth remote control with voice assistant support.
- Battery Life: 35 hours
- Bluetooth Compatibility: 4.0
- Dimensions: 13.8″ x 4.4″ x 4.7″
- Weight: 6.21 lbs
- Exceptional sound quality for outdoors
- Fast charging power bank for your phone
- Excellent battery life at 35 hours playback
- Rugged construction with an outer jacket
- Multi-directional sound system
- Supports voice-activated virtual assistants
- Poor quality built-in mic
- Low Bluetooth range
- Audio distorts at high volume
The Revolve and the Revolve Plus are the newest entrants to Bose SoundLink wireless speakers product line, and both are at a higher price range than their peers. They feature an attractive tapering tubular design with an in-built carry handle which gives it a lantern profile.
The Revolve Plus is available in black and grey color options, and you can buy the charging cradle as an accessory. It has a compact and lightweight design that makes it the best portable Bluetooth speaker under $500 on this list.
Producing an impressive amount of sound for its size, the Revolve Plus delivers balanced sound even at high volume. However, it’s better adapted for indoor spaces than outdoors due to its limited wireless range of 9 meters.
The Revolve Plus demonstrates significant improvement in sound quality compared with previous models in the SoundLink series, such as the SoundLink Mini II. It comes with dual passive radiators for low notes, a downward-facing, full-range transducer, and an omnidirectional acoustic deflector that produces a phenomenal 360-degree sound.
It is also IPX4 rated for small spills and shock resistance for low falls and bumps, while the Mini II is not IP rated. However, the Mini supports wireless connectivity to multiple speakers to improve volume and is more suitable for playing music in your backyard.
The soft function buttons are located at the top of the speaker and include a multi-function button that allows you to connect to your phone’s virtual assistants with voice prompts. The base of the speaker has a micro USB charging port and a 3.5mm Aux-In jack.
The Revolve Plus comes with a wall socket adapter and USB cable that you can also use for connecting to your laptop and a speakerphone mic for clear calls and virtual assistance.
It is compatible with Bluetooth 4.1 and NFC, which allows you to connect wirelessly to another Bose speaker via the Connect app. Overall, the Revolve Plus delivers excellent volume for its size with detailed audio performance even at top volume.
- Battery Life: 17 hours
- Bluetooth Tech: 4.1
- Dimensions: 7.25″ x 4.13″ x 4.13″
- Weight: 2 lbs
- Phenomenal and detailed sound
- Plays high volume without distortions
- It can be wired via USB cable
- Compact and lightweight design for travel
- Attractive design with seamless construction
- Not adapted for outdoors
The Sonos multiroom audio systems firmly established the Sonos brand as one of the best home audio systems on the market that allows users to connect multiple speakers via Wi-Fi. Though other brands offer multiroom functionality, the Sonos wireless speakers are the top choice for many due to their variety, excellent sound quality, and ease of use.
The Sonos Move now marks this brand’s entry into the portable speakers market with a seamless transition between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, an inbuilt battery with 11 hours of playback, a highly intuitive app, and stereo pairing with other Sonos wireless speakers.
The most outstanding feature of this smart speaker is its Automatic TruePlay function on the app. This awesome option tunes the sound to match the environment and whatever you’re rocking out to. On the other hand, it comes with a front-facing driver that produces a monophonic sound, which may not be appealing to many audiophiles who prefer stereo.
The Sonos Move is expensive, considering it’s a mono audio type of speaker and should be less costly than stereo. However, it delivers a more uniform sound where the bass is deep and doesn’t get distorted at high or low volume.
The Move is significantly bulky and not easily portable, and is as heavy as the FUGOO Tough XL. However, the sound quality is ideal for both indoor and outdoor purposes. The smart speaker is also IP-rated IP56 with protection from dust and high-pressure water jets.
The function buttons are situated on top of the unit, and it comes with a stylish-looking charging base and a drawstring protective pouch. Other features of note include the Sonos app that has simplified the setup process, gives you access to internet radio and built-in voice assistants.
- Speaker Type: Monophonic sound
- Battery Life: 11 hours
- Dimensions: 9.5″ x 6.3″ x 5.0″
- Weight: 6.61 lbs
- Powerful sound with augmented bass quality
- Seamless Wi-Fi to Bluetooth connectivity
- Excellent for indoor and outdoor use
- Features IP56 weather resistance
- Comes with a stylish charging base
- No smart features in Bluetooth mode
- Doesn’t have a speakerphone function
The JBL Boombox 2 is the best outdoor Bluetooth speaker under 500 dollars for backyard parties and car camping with its weighty sound, intense bass depth. It’s also a power bank to boot. Though the listening experience and price range are not significantly different from the original Boombox, the wireless connectivity with other speakers has changed, and it’s also waterproof.
The Boombox 2 is physically similar to the original model with a large carry handle and a cylindrical, robust design available in black and camo colors. It’s the bulkiest portable speaker on this list at 13 pounds and is twice as heavy as the JBL Xtreme 3 and Sonos Move Smart Speaker. It’s not easy to carry it with a bag, and it’s portable in the sense that you can take it outside or go tailgating and car camping with it.
The speaker is also IPX7 waterproof rated, and it can be submerged up to three feet and still work, a feature you’ll not get with the original Boombox. Pretty impressive.
The Boombox 2 boasts two passive radiators with 20mm tweeters and 4-inch woofers that blast out that deep bass with minimal distortion for audio performance. However, it lacks Indoor/Outdoor modes that would adapt the sound to suit the environment, but you still get decent sound quality either way. It also omits the Equalizer function because, unlike the original Boombox, it doesn’t feature Wi-Fi to connect with the app.
The Boombox 2 includes a PartyBoost function that allows you to stereo pair with other JBL Bluetooth speakers with PartyBoost. It’s not as versatile as the original model that allowed Wi-Fi connectivity with multiple speakers via the Connect Plus app.
Another disadvantage is that it doesn’t support aptX or AAC audio codecs that would have significantly improved sound quality for an expensive speaker. Instead, it only supports the SBC Bluetooth codec.
The Boombox 2 delivers a fantastic bass output with little distortion at 90% volume, and it’s pretty darn loud at that level. It also offers 24 hours of playback time that you probably can achieve at 50% volume. Another great feature is that it’s compatible with Bluetooth 5.1, which gives a more reliable connection and takes less time and energy to connect.
- Battery Life: 24 hours
- Bluetooth Tech: 5.1
- Dimensions: 10.1″ x 19.5″ x 7.9″
- Weight: 13 lbs
- Powerful sound delivery with intense bass
- Robust construction with IPX7 waterproof rating
- Power bank to charge phones off the grid
- Offers decent sound quality in and outdoors
- Does not support codec for Hi-Res audio
- Heavy and bulky for portability
So, Which is The Best Bluetooth Speaker Under 500?
While our top 5 list of the best Bluetooth speaker under 500 dollars includes tons of excellent choices for your next buy, here are some tips to help you narrow it down. Our top choice is the SRS-XB43 that delivers a 3D sound experience. Seriously, it’s like listening to a live concert.
However, it’s significantly heavy at 6.5 pounds compared to the compact Revolve Plus, which we recommend as the best option for portability. The Revolve Plus is a top notch option for traveling, or as a bookshelf speaker for home or office with its compact design at only 2 pounds.
The Fugoo and Boombox 2 are our favorite options for camping and tailgating due to their robust structure, extended battery life, and ability to charge your small devices. Finally, the Sonos Move is ideal for backyard parties where you might want to stereo pair two speakers to enhance your listening experience.
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