Best Powered Speakers Under $100

When it comes to powered speakers, there’s a great deal of them available in the market in different price ranges. But finding a good passive speaker under 100 dollars can be quite a bit of a challenge.

We usually have the misconception that the pricier a product, the better quality it is. The same goes for speakers. Whilst this may be true to some extent, you would be surprised at the quality of speakers you will get under 100! This article will review our top five picks for powered speakers under 100, and help you pick one of your likings.

Best Powered Speakers Under 100

Without further ado, here are five best-powered speakers under 100 dollars. The table below lists our picks of the best-powered speakers under 100.

Polk Audio T15: Bookshelf speaker

  • Magnetically shielded drivers
  • Wide dispersion over a broad range of area
  • Dynamic Balance features incorporated in the drivers
  • Wide and detailed soundstage
  • Front-mounted bass port

Drawback

  • Slightly weak sub-bass
  • Might have somewhat cupped sound in some recordings

JBL Flip 4: Bluetooth speaker

  • Great design
  • IPX7 property, meaning that the speakers can withstand contact with water
  • Bluetooth wireless connectivity
  • 12 hours of endless playtime
  • Siri or Google Assistant-enabled feature

Drawbacks

  • The midrange has scope for improvement

Dayton Audio MK402BT: Portable 2-way Bookshelf Speaker

  • Great build quality for such a reasonable price
  • Specially designed woofer for low-frequency extension
  • Very small so can be carried around almost anywhere
  • Offers Bluetooth 4.2

Drawbacks

  • Audio performance can be improved as it requires a bit of adjustment before playing

Read: Reasonably priced audiophile speaker

Micca MB42x: Compact Bookshelf speaker

  • Impressive sound quality
  • Great build and design
  • Good bass response

Drawback

  • Although it is compact, it is a bit bulky

Read: Where should you put your speaker in a room?

Edifier R1280T: Remote control Bookshelf Speaker

  • Stylish and smart design
  • Bluetooth enabled
  • Has dual RCA inputs
  • Ease of control with remote

Drawback

  • There is a slight distortion in the lower bass

Read: Kanto or AudioEngine–which one should you buy?

What are Powered Speakers?
There are generally two categories of speakers: passive speakers and active speakers.

A passive speaker is one that is powered by outboard amplifiers. These speakers do not require AC power to run them. They are suitable for permanent locations such as a school, church, or a live music auditorium. 

Active speakers are those which have a built-in amplifier. These speakers are suitable for portable systems and can be directly connected to a mixing board’s output jacks. A powered speaker is basically another name for an active speaker. These speakers can be great for usual bedroom music listening and even backyard barbeque parties.

Read: 2 best speaker from polk

Why do I need Powered Speakers?

There are some advantages of a powered speaker over an unpowered one. 

A Cleaner System

Firstly, powered speakers would allow you to have a cleaner and convenient system. If you use your speakers wirelessly, you will need two main cables. This means that you won’t have to worry about the cables being messy.

Right Out of the Box

Powered speakers are designed to work right out of the box. It might be a daunting task for amateurs to find the right combination of amplifier, source, and DAC speaker cables but all of it is already integrated into powered speakers.

Stereo Separation 

Powered speakers have a great audio advantage of stereo separation. These speakers will deliver the separation between the left and the right ears, making the audio sound just like it does when you’re in a concert.

Convenience in Set-up

These speakers are also quite easy to set up. All you have to do is plug the speaker into the power outlet, connect the two speakers with the cable that has been included, and then connect media directly or even wirelessly to the speakers.

Read: Best Centre Channel Speaker

Powered Subwoofers

Lastly, powered speakers work really well with powered subwoofers. You won’t need a receiver as these speakers have a sub-out line to connect the subwoofer.

To summarize, you should consider getting a powered speaker if:

  • You have limited space to set up an audio system
  • high-resolution digital music
  • You find it difficult to understand the technicalities of audio system
  • convenient and clean minimal audio system with fewer wires

7 Things You Need to Know About Powered Speakers

Before getting started on the lookout for powered speakers to add to your audio system, here are seven things that you should consider about powered speakers:

Size of the Speaker

Powered speakers can have different sizes, which basically reflect the size of the woofers in the speaker. Some common sizes include 8 inches, 10 inches, 12 inches, and 15 inches. Usually, the greater the size of the woofer the greater is the low-frequency response. Therefore, the bigger the speaker, the more bass it has.

Power of the Speaker

The power handling of the speaker, which is specified in watts, is how much power a speaker can withstand without getting damaged. Usually, more wattage means a more powerful speaker, which essentially means that the audio would be louder. However, the efficiency of the amplifier also plays a pivotal role in the loudness of the speaker.

RMS vs Peak Wattage

You will notice two power rating measures: RMS and peak. RMS wattage is the average power an amplifier can produce over a long period of time. Whereas, peak wattage is the maximum power an amplifier can produce in short bursts.

Sensitivity Rating

Sensitivity rating indicates the loudness of the speaker in a non-echoing environment. This is measured in decibels. A higher sensitivity means a louder speaker, so it is essential that you look at the sensitivity rating before getting a speaker. Usually, a speaker with a sensitivity rating of above 90 dB is a good choice.

Frequency Response

The frequency response of a speaker is an indication of how high or how low the audio can sound.  The frequency range is measured in Hertz. If your speakers have a low-frequency response, it means that they can play better bass. Higher frequency means that the speakers can play better treble.

Impedance

The impedance of a speaker defines the resistance an amplifier will encounter when trying to drive the speaker. The impedance rating is measured in ohms and it varies according to the frequency of the speaker. Usually, most speakers have an impedance rating of 8 ohms.

Price Range

It is very important to know your budget and the type of speakers you will find within that budget. You should ensure that you budget not only for the speakers themselves but also the additional accessories that might be required in the near future- such as wiring, amplification, subwoofers, and also the installation of speakers. There is an incredible range of speakers found in the market. You have to make sure that they fulfill your requirements just as they are affordable.

Best Bookshelf Speaker under 100: The Polk Audio T15

If you are looking for a superior home theatre experience with exceptional surround sound technology, the Polk Audio t15 is the right set of audio systems for you. These dynamic bookshelf speakers provide five-way binding posts which have the convenience of wall-mounting options.  These speakers are not only great for music with their crystal clear sound but also wonderful for gaming and movies. With Polk’s proprietary dynamic balance technology, these speakers exhibit exceptional audio quality and provide an enjoyable experience to the listeners.

To get a glimpse of the speaker at a glance, we have listed out the specifications in the table below.

Table 1: Specifications of Polk Audio T15

Feature
Polk Audio T15
Color
Matte black
Size
7.25 x 6.5 x 10.63 inches 
Weight
8 lbs
Frequency Range
60 Hz- 24 khz
Sensitivity
89 dB
Impedance
8 Ohms
Power
150 Watt RMS
Feature
Polk Audio T15
Color
Matte black
Size
7.25 x 6.5 x 10.63 inches 
Weight
8 lbs
Frequency Range
60 Hz- 24 khz
Sensitivity
89 dB
Impedance
8 Ohms
Power
150 Watt RMS

Design and build

The two-way bookshelf speakers have a clean and finished look with their matte black exterior. Made of MDF, these passive speakers have a wood grain texture that feels nice to the touch.                                  
These vented speakers include a 5.25-inch cone woofer and 0.75-inch polymer composite dome tweeter, which does most of the work. At the front of the speaker, you will observe a 3.5 cm unflared front-mounted port, making the powered speakers convenient to be mounted directly on the wall.

The speakers are very compact in size too, making them easier to set up. Overall, the design and build of these affordable bookshelf speakers did not leave us disappointed.

Audio Quality

With Polk Audio’s unique Dynamic Balance Drivers and tweeters for wide response and low distortion, the Polk Audio T15s are a group of stereo speakers that deliver incredibly clear ambient soundscapes. It is equipped with rubber driver sounds that improve both frequency response and durability. To reduce any static distortion, these audio active speakers are designed with magnetic shielding. The overall sound produced by the bookshelf speakers is warm, loud, and with minimal distortion.

The Polk audio t15 bookshelf speakers are bass-heavy as they have a powerful dynamic range in the low end. However, the speakers could use some work on the sub-bass which is slightly weaker. The addition of a subwoofer to the Polk audio t15 is encouraged to get a full and immersive bass response.

Although the vocals are not as expressive with these speakers, the midrange is average for such a reasonable price. We also felt that the treble could have been better and overall the bass is where these speakers stand out the most. Nevertheless, you can use an amplifier to add details to the treble for an enjoyable musical experience.

Additional Features

When it comes to additional features, the Polk audio t15 has got quite plenty to offer. These features enhance the performance of the passive speakers and make them worth the money you will put into purchasing them. 

Dynamic Balance drivers

Polk Audio incorporates its signature proprietary dynamic balance technology in its drivers which offers a wide soundstage and premium audio for an immersive listening experience. Thanks to this amazing technology, the speakers produce a natural well-balanced sound with remarkable bass response.

Magnetic shielding

The best part about the Polk audio t15 is that they come with magnetic shielding. This is a great feature because you won’t have to worry about signal interferences from nearby devices or cables when you have the speakers working.

Adhesive rubber pads

The speakers come with adhesive rubber pads which can be placed in whatever part you want considering where and how you will mount them. The front bass port also makes mounting extremely convenient.

MDF cabinet

The cabinet of these passive speakers is composed of MDF material which helps to ensure that resonance is reduced and distortion is eliminated.

Best Bluetooth speaker under 100: The JBL Flip 4

Whether it is pool parties, barbeque dinners, or just a relaxing day out with friends, the JBP Flip 4 is a must-have to brighten up your day with the tunes of music. These portable passive speakers offer surprisingly powerful stereo sound, to make your party loud and fun. Not only this, with an IPX7 rating, these waterproof music boxes can withstand extreme weather conditions, making them suitable to carry anywhere you go. The noise-canceling feature is just the cherry on top- you get crystal clear sound with no distortion. Lastly, the JBL plus connect technology makes these Bluetooth speakers ever so convenient to connect with a wide range of technical devices.

Table 1: Specifications of The JBL Flip 4

Feature
The JBL Flip 4
Color
Black, grey, blue, white, red
Size
2.76 x 6.89 x 2.68 inches
Weight
1.14 lbs
Frequency Range
70Hz – 20kHz
Sensitivity
80 dB
Impedance
6 Ohms
Power
16 Watt
Feature
The JBL Flip 4
Color
Black, grey, blue, white, red
Size
2.76 x 6.89 x 2.68 inches
Weight
1.14 lbs
Frequency Range
70Hz – 20kHz
Sensitivity
80 dB
Impedance
6 Ohms
Power
16 Watt

Design and build

Although the JBL Flip 4 portable Bluetooth speakers may look quite simple and straightforward at first glance, these come in a range of different colors to make your listening experience colorful. The fact that these speakers come in six different pop of colors makes them more suitable for partying.   

The speakers have a cylindrical shape wrapped around in waterproof fabric. This fabric material is very durable. In fact, the speakers have been rated IPX7 for waterproof properties. This means that you can take these speakers to the pool or the beach without a worry.  

The device also has large play or pause, volume, and sync buttons for effective controls. It features an LED light which indicates the battery life of these powered Bluetooth speakers. There’s also a 3.5 mm input which can be used as an alternative to Bluetooth pairing.

Audio Quality

Whilst the build quality of the JBL Flip 4 is remarkable with its outstanding weather resisting properties, it falls a little behind when it comes to audio performance. Nevertheless, we have to agree that compared to its price, the audio output is quite satisfactory. 

The powered speakers show heavy bass response with limited distortion. However, the mid-range requires some improvement. Whilst the vocals sound clear, they are missing the punch. There cannot be a clear distinction made between the instruments and the vocal in the midrange as things sound a bit muddled. 

Nevertheless, these powerful speakers are very loud and dynamic, which means that they offer the best kind of party-friendly sound any other speaker might have. 

Additional features

The JBL Flip 4 has some great features which make them very convenient to use.

IPX7 Waterproof

The powered speakers have been designed to ensure that they can withstand water and are durable. This makes them especially equipped for pool parties or used in any other harsh environment. 

Wireless Bluetooth streaming

You can easily connect around two or more smartphones with the JBL Flip 4 wirelessly because of its wireless Bluetooth streaming feature.

JBL Connect +

One of the most convenient features of the JBL Flip 4 passive speakers is the JBL Connect plus. You can connect more than a hundred speakers with the JBL connect plus feature to make your party even more rocking than ever.

JBL Bass Radiator

What makes the JBL Flip 4 party material is the bass radiator property. With dual external passive radiators incorporated in JBL’s Flip 4 design, the bass is louder than ever. You certainly have to prepare to have a booming party with these powerful speakers.

Voice Assistant Integration

The JBL smart speakers allow the convenience of access to Siri or Google Assistant. All you have to do is press the button and you are connected to your voice assistant.

3000mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery

The speaker consists of a 3000 mAH rechargeable lithium-ion battery which allows up to 12 hours of playtime.

Best Portable Two-way Bookshelf speaker under 100: Dayton Audio MK402BT

The Dayton Audio MK402BT are Bluetooth-powered speakers that offer incredible audio quality at a reasonable price range. These speakers allow Bluetooth technology and can be connected anywhere with your smartphones in seconds. The design of the bookshelf speakers include a technically built woofer and tweeter which reduce noise distortion and result in the production of crystal clear audio.

Table 1: Specifications of Dayton Audio MK402BT

Feature
Dayton Audio MK402BT
Color
Black
Size
9.5 x 6 x 7 inches
Weight
11.65 lbs
Frequency Range
60 Hz to 20,000 Hz
Sensitivity
84 dB
Impedance
4 Ohms
Power
40 Watt RMS
Feature
Dayton Audio MK402BT
Color
Black
Size
9.5 x 6 x 7 inches
Weight
11.65 lbs
Frequency Range
60 Hz to 20,000 Hz
Sensitivity
84 dB
Impedance
4 Ohms
Power
40 Watt RMS

Design and build

If you’ve seen the Dayton Audio MK402 model, chances are you will mistake the MK402BT for that because of the resemblance these speakers have. These powered and affordable speakers come in the classic color black and have a textured vinyl exterior which gives it a simple yet sophisticated look. 

The bookshelf speakers include a glossy black tweeter which is a ¾ inch soft dome and a 4-inch woofer which is composed of aluminum all of which are enclosed by thick grilles. This specially crafted design of the tweeter allows it to produce high frequencies with wide dispersion.  The aluminum used in the woofer ensures thermal dissipation.

At the top of the speakers, there are buttons that can be used to control the volume levels, play or pause songs and change music tracks. In the bottom you will find translucent rubber pads attached in the four corners for support.

Audio Quality

As mentioned earlier, the passive Bluetooth bookshelf speakers have specially designed woofers and tweeters which contribute heavily on its audio performance. Thanks to the silk dome tweeter, the high end is very airy and spacious with a wide dispersion. This means that the vocals will sound very clear and crisp. 

When it comes to the low end, the woofer does the trick. The woofer can go very low and deep, meaning that the bass response is quite impressive. Although the bass is extended, we feel that it could have been more powerful as it seems to be lacking volume. Whereas, the treble is louder than the rest of the ranges.

Additional features

The different features that make the Dayton Audio MK402BT special are as follows.

Bluetooth Connection

The Dayton Audio MK402BT offers Bluetooth connection, particularly Bluetooth 4.2 which allows wireless audio playing. This means that you won’t have to worry about the cables being tangled up and occupying most of the space in the music room. You can easily carry them around and connect them to your device to listen to happy beats!

Built-in amplifier

The high-quality speakers are equipped with a built-in amplifier, which makes it convenient to connect them. 

Low-frequency extension

The Dayton Audio MK402 BT includes a 4-inch woofer which can quite easily play down to 60 Hz. This means that the speakers exhibit incredible low-frequency extension and impressive bass response.

Best Compact Bookshelf Speaker Under 100: The Micca MB42X

Even better than its predecessor, the Micca MB42X are high-performance powered speakers that offer dynamic, open, and balanced audio. These speakers are specially designed to include a carbon- fiber woofer and silk dome tweeter which allows efficiency and effectiveness in its functionality. The compact ported enclosure means that the size of these speakers is extremely user-friendly- adding to the convenience of portability and set-up in any location in the room. The five-way speaker wire binding posts make mounting options available and add detail of sophistication in the design of the Micca MB42X. Overall, these speakers are quite a great offer for the price range they come in.

Table 1: Specifications of Micca MB42X

Feature
The Micca MB42X
Color
Matte black
Size
9.5  x 5.8 x 6.5 inches
Weight
8 lbs
Frequency Range
60Hz-20kHz
Sensitivity
85dB 
Impedance
4 to 8 Ohms
Power
75 Watts 
Feature
The Micca MB42X
Color
Matte black
Size
9.5  x 5.8 x 6.5 inches
Weight
8 lbs
Frequency Range
60Hz-20kHz
Sensitivity
85dB 
Impedance
4 to 8 Ohms
Power
75 Watts 

Design and build

The MB42X bookshelf speaker looks quite similar to its predecessor at first glance, the MB42s. The audiophile speakers come in a faux laminated wood grain finish with rounded smooth edges which give them a modern vibe. The ebony laminated wood grain truly makes the speakers look sophisticated, making them complement any kind of environment that they will be put in.

The speakers are very compact in size, meaning that they can easily be carried around and placed anywhere in the room with ease.  The speakers include a 4-inch carbon fiber woofer and a 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter. The cabinets of the speaker include a black removable grille, which is magnetic. 

On the back of the powered speakers, you will find sturdy binding posts which are compatible with banana plugs, pins or bare wires. These posts are essential for wall mounting and easy set-up of the speakers.

Whilst the design may seem a bit too simple for some, it does give off a nice and minimal look. Overall, the build quality of these speakers is quite great for the price the speakers come in. 

Audio Quality

The Micca MB42X looks quite small… will it be powerful enough? Your concern about the power of the speaker will disappear once you plug them in. 

The bass response of these powered speakers may not be as heavy but comparing the size and the price, it is quite satisfactory. 

The treble of these speakers shines the most. The highs are bright and punchy with just the right amount of kick and the sound being projected is evenly dispersed in the room. These dynamic speakers perform the best in their mid-region. The mids exhibit a remarkable clarity- the vocals can be separated without sweat from the instruments and every detail is unveiled with such delicacy. You can pair these speakers up with a rear surround speaker on a home theatre system for an exciting movie experience. 

Additional features

The compact powered speakers have some additional features which make them even better for purchase.

Smart and efficient design

First of all, the speakers are very compact and can easily be placed anywhere in the room. Not only does the Micca MB42X have an elegant design, but also a functional one that makes operating it convenient. There are magnetic grilles that can easily be taken off for cleaning or replacement. The speakers also have an optimized 18 dB crossover that offers a balanced and dynamic sound.

Neutral and accurate sound performance

The Micca MB42X powered speakers are composed of a carbon fiber woofer and silk dome tweeter. The 4-inch carbon fiber woofer is enclosed with rubber to enhance the audio. This ported enclosure ensures bass response which is extended and has low distortion. The 0.75 silk dome tweeter is designed to provide wide dispersion and accurate stereo imaging with a smooth treble. 

Best Remote Controlled Bluetooth Speaker Under 100: The Edifier R1280T

The Edifier R1280T is an extremely stylish and elegant-looking powered speaker which comes with a great variety of options for the convenience of the listener. Not only are these speakers Bluetooth enabled, but they also come with a small remote control that can be used to adjust the volumes or play or pause the music without getting too close to the speakers. Their wooden grain structure is appealing to the eye and pleasing to touch. These speakers also come with two RCA inputs and accept a wide variety of cables. Overall, they produce wonderful sound and are a great option for audiophiles!

Table 1: Specifications of Edifier R1280T

Feature
Edifier R1280T
Color
Wooden 
Size
9.2 x 5.7 x7.7 inches
Weight
10.80 lbs
Frequency Range
75 Hz – 18 KHz 
Sensitivity
85 dB
Impedance
6 Ohms 
Power
21 Watt
Feature
Edifier R1280T
Color
Wooden 
Size
9.2 x 5.7 x7.7 inches
Weight
10.80 lbs
Frequency Range
75 Hz – 18 KHz 
Sensitivity
85 dB
Impedance
6 Ohms 
Power
21 Watt

Design and build

First look at the speakers and you will be blown away. The wooden texture is something refreshing and new, something we don’t get to see much in a sea of matte black models available in the market. 

The powered speakers are composed of premium quality MDF with a classic wood finishing that feels smooth to the touch and gives it a vintage vinyl effect. The side panels of the speakers are mainly made of wood whereas the top and bottom have grey panels. The exterior is wrapped in a protective clothing panel, which of course, can be removed and replaced. 

The Edifier R1280T includes 4-inch primary woofers and a tweeter for dynamic audio performance; two RCA audio jacks as connection points and control knobs for volume adjustments, play or pause options, and forwarding options.

Compact and classy in design, the bookshelf speakers are quite portable because of their dimensions and can be easily set up anywhere of the listener’s liking. Overall, the smooth finishing adds a touch of modern and sophisticated vibe, and the build quality is just the cherry on top.

Audio Quality

Although the small speakers may not be that packed with power for desktop use, you can certainly get a satisfactory listen when you pair them up with a separate woofer or just use them for other applications.

Now their technical specifications may not speak much but when you test these little musical boxes, you’re in for a surprise. The speaker performs quite well over a wide range of frequencies. The bass is rich with a substantial amount of depth and you won’t be disappointed when you listen to a bass track from your playlist. 

Not only the bass, but you will also get uncompromised quality in the midrange. The highs are decorated with the perfect amount of details, sounding crystal clear and free of distortion. Overall, the sound quality is sweet to the ears and these powered stylish speakers are definitely worth the few bucks you put into buying them.

Additional features

There are some additional features that come with these modern speakers that caught our attention. Let’s take a look at them.

Remote control

The Edifier R1280T includes a sized remote control which is very useful. The remote control can be used to adjust the volume and mute the speakers when required. This means that you can control the speakers even when they are out of reach. Moreover, every time the speakers are turned on, the digital volume control is automatically adjusted to a comfortable level. 

Dual RCA input

The powered speakers feature a dual RCA input using which multiple devices can be connected. One of the speakers is active whilst the other is passive. The active speaker includes two inputs at the back, which have RCA to RCA or RCA to AUX connections. There are also many different cable options for the convenience of the listeners.

Conclusion

We have seen that great speakers can be found at an affordable price range when you are on a budget. However, you should keep in mind that these affordable speakers won’t meet most of the expectations of an audiophile. Hence, keeping unrealistic expectations may leave you a little disappointed.

Whether you want to dance to the beat of the music or watch a movie with your loved ones, speakers are an essential part of a sound system. It’s hard to get a speaker at an affordable range but finding a good speaker on a tight budget is not a miracle, though. And the Polk Audio T15, JBL Flip 4, Dayton Audio MK402BT, Micca MB42X, and Edifier R1280T are just some prime examples of great powered speakers under 100.

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