Because sometimes you don’t want to listen to bird sounds
Sitting in a meadow listening to nothing but the wind and the chirping sparrows can be lovely. Everyone should do that. But there’s also something to be said for listening to “Smells like Teen Spirit” while rafting Class V whitewater. Everyone should do that too. Thankfully, Bluetooth speaker technology has evolved over the last few years and today’s speakers are lighter, more powerful, and built to handle the real world. We scoured the internet and found five of the best reviewed Bluetooth speakers under $100.
UE Wonderboom ($70)
Go ahead and drop your Wonderboom off the back of a camel in the in the Sahara—the dustproof, waterproof speaker that’s been drop-tested from five feet will be just fine. It will also give you 360 degrees of sound for up to 10 hours. And it floats, so you can even put it in the tub with you.
Lifeproof Aquaphonics AQ9 ($55)
Lifeproof takes its bomber approach to phone cases and applies it to portable sound systems with the Aquaphonics line of speakers, all of which are waterproof, dirtproof and dropproof. We think the smallest of the line, the AQ9, strikes the best balance of sound quality and portability, boasting a 16-hour battery life and a built-in carabiner so you can attach it to bags and bikes.
JBL Clip 2 ($60)
It’s hard to beat the size and convenience of the Clip 2, which gives you a relatively rich sound in a tiny, 6.5-ounce package. It’s rated IPX7 waterproof, so you can take it on that river trip, and it has eight hours of play time. It even works as a speakerphone. But it’s the built-in carabiner that makes the Clip 2 so handy; strap it to your pack, your tent, your dog’s collar and you’ve got tunes everywhere.
Outdoor Tech Turtle Shell 3.0 (from $99)
The Turtle Shell can take a beating. It’s waterproof, shockproof, and dustproof, and it floats so maybe you could use it as an emergency raft if things go south. It’s not small (about the size of a hoagie), but the sound is boom-box quality and there are multiple strap and mounting options so you can put it on your raft, paddleboard, bike, or cooler. It has 20 hours of play time and a power bank that lets you charge your phone.
Bose Soundlink Micro ($99)
This is one of the smallest speakers on this list (three by 1.37 inches), and it arguably has the most impressive sound because, well, Bose. The battery life isn’t the best (six hours), but the silicone exterior means it’s practically bounceable, and it’s rated IPX7 waterproof. There’s also a stretchy silicone strap that lets you mount this speaker to your handlebars. Bike party.