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Buyers Guide & Information

10 Best Bookshelf Speakers Reviewed

Our guide will help you find powered, active & BlueTooth speakers for all budgets.

by

Buyers Guide & Information

10 Best Bookshelf Speakers Reviewed

Our guide will help you find powered, active & BlueTooth speakers for all budgets.

by PITeam

by PITeam

If you are searching for the best and most reasonable way to enhance your in-home audio experience, you should check out bookshelf speakers. These models are designed for home or office use.

They come in pairs and rest comfortably on a bookshelf or similar surface. We recommend checking out this review if you are in the market for bookshelf speakers.

How Bookshelf Speakers Work

A good pair of speakers added to your home audio setup can change the sound dynamic of your living room. Bookshelf speakers work well with almost any configuration. They are usually placed on either side of your TV. They are compact and are designed to be placed on a somewhat raised surface. They filter the sound from your TV or cable box to your amplifier and speakers.


Benefits of Bookshelf Speakers

They may seem like a significant investment at first, but once you experience the many benefits of these models, you won't be disappointed. 

The most apparent advantage of bookshelf speakers is their compact size. They can be placed almost anywhere with ease. They fit snugly next to your TV to create great sound.

Another advantage is that bookshelf speakers create fantastic sound in almost any average size living room. If your room is small, the speakers will create quality sound by filling the whole room. If your room is larger, bookshelf speakers will allow for even distribution on both sides of the room.

Bookshelf speakers are also relatively affordable. There is an extensive range of options available for almost any budget. You don't have to spend large amounts of money to get a set that will give you everything that you are looking for in a home audio experience.


Choosing Quality Bookshelf Speakers

Build Quality and Design

There are many different types of speakers available on the market, and they are built differently. For example, active speakers have an amp built-in, while passive speakers do not. Remember to check the dimensions of the space where you will be placing your speakers. There is a range of sizes from compact to large. Another factor is what you want your speaker to look like. You want to ensure that it fits in with the aesthetics of your living room. 

Audio Performance

This is one of the most important factors when choosing what to buy. Some speakers are made for listening to music while others are for movies. Some speakers are better at producing deep bass sounds. Decide what you plan to do with your speakers and pick a set that produces the sound you want.

Connectivity and Flexibility

If you want to stream music from your phone or computer, you are going to need different connectivity options available to you. Some speakers come with Bluetooth capabilities, and others do not. Also, keep in mind the amount of flexibility you need in your speakers. If you would like to upgrade to a more powerful amp in the future, you need to ensure your speaker can handle it.

Power Rating - Volume and Wattage

One important factor to consider is the size of the room in which you will be placing the bookshelf speakers. If you have a larger room, you may want to consider a speaker that can be turned up to large volumes without sound distortion. In short, the higher the wattage rating, the louder the speaker can be turned up.

Speaker Specifications

An essential factor in choosing any new electronic item is the spec sheet. Here you will find all of the vital information about your speakers. Pay close attention to ohms, watts, decibels, and size. You will find a quick guide chart with each review below. It will be of great use when choosing your preferred specs.

Additional Features

Most modern bookshelf speakers come with a few necessary extras. Your speaker should come with an extra power cable, speaker wire, and remote. You may also want to consider additional features such as Bluetooth, auto turn off, and sleep mode. These features won’t be present on every speaker set, but if it is something that you desire, read the spec sheets.

Price and Warranty

Every consumer has a budget in mind when making a purchase. Since there is such a broad range in the cost of speakers, there is a model to fit everyone's budget. Most bookshelf speakers come with a warranty. Make sure you register your device upon receiving it, so the warranty can help you if something goes wrong.


10 Best Bookshelf Speakers Reviewed

1. Klipsch RP-600M

Our Top Pick

Sound Level (Loudest Volume)

96 dB/w

Power Output

100 W

Impedance

8 ohms

Dimensions

15.69” x 7.95” x 11.85”

Weight

16 lbs each

Warranty

Yes, 5 years

One of the top names in audio performance goes to Klipsch. They have been designing amazing audio equipment for many years. It should come as no surprise that the RP-600M speakers are on our list. They come with Klipsch’s proprietary Tractrix horn technology. It reduces reverberations from surfaces to give you the clearest sound possible.

The RP-600M also features a vented tweeter design, which reduces the waves behind the tweeter for a smoother high-frequency sound. It also uses titanium construction in its tweeters, which is lightweight and rigid. It is superior to most other materials on the market. It also boasts a ceramic magnet that lowers distortion.

Most customers loved the quality that Klipsch produces, and this model was no exception. They loved the compact size and exceptional mid-range quality sound. They liked the fact that these speakers only got better with age. Once they were broken in, the sound and driver quality increased. This model is also perfect for small or large spaces. The sound at lower volumes sounds tonal, while at higher volumes the bass picks up a bit. This gives you a superb range of sound.

Pros

  • Tractrix horn technology
  • Vented tweeters for less distortion
  • Exceptional mid-range sound

Cons

  • Might take a while to break in the bass driver

2. Monitor Audio Silver 100

Best Bookshelf Speaker Under $2000

Sound Level (Loudest Volume)

88 dB/w

Power Output

120 W

Impedance

8 ohms

Dimensions

14.75” x 9” x 13”

Weight

20.8 lbs each

Warranty

Yes, 5 years

This model comes packed with quality features. They have been on the market for a while and still continue to be a bestseller in home audio equipment. This model features a powerful 8-inch C-CAM RST bass and mid driver. It is capable of reaching the lowest bass rumbles in any environment. The drivers are situated in a highly efficient cabinet that moves air through effortlessly.

They also feature a 25 mm C-CAM tweeter to deliver the high-frequency sound waves. They are coated in Monitor’s ceramic and magnesium alloy. They also feature a vented neo magnet system that will help with providing the high sounds. It features the RST cone design that will reduce distortion and maintain its rigidity. This model also comes with ORC Pureflow copper internal cabling, which carries sound incredibly.

Many customers seemed to enjoy the fact that these speakers had a great overall sound out of the box. They did not require much break-in time for them to really shine. Customers also enjoyed the crisp and clean treble sound. The tweeters needed minimal break-in, and they reached the high frequencies perfectly. When listening to music or watching movies, the vocals really stood out.

Pros

  • Great overall sound out of the box
  • ORC Pureflow copper cabling
  • Patented RST cone design

Cons

  • Larger than some of its competitors

3. Dynaudio Xeo 2

Best Bookshelf Speaker Under $1000

Sound Level (Loudest Volume)

88 dB/w

Power Output

100 W

Impedance

8 ohms

Dimensions

6.8” x 10” x 6.1”

Weight

8.8 lbs each

Warranty

Yes, 8 years

These bookshelf speakers are incredibly versatile. If you are looking for a compact and capable sound machine that will give you the connectivity options that you want, then this is the model for you. It comes with the ability to connect via Bluetooth, which makes streaming your music playlist from your phone as easy as it gets. It also comes with plenty of other connectivity options in case you want to stay wired. This model features optical, analog, and 3.5mm jacks.

One innovative feature that is included with this speaker package is a rear switch that can relay to the machine where they are located in a room. You simply flip the switch, and the Xeo 2’s will adjust the sound accordingly. They come with a 28mm tweeter, which produces fantastic high frequencies. They also feature a 14 cm mid and bass driver.

Many customers loved that these bookshelf speakers were some of the most compact on the market. They also liked the ability to connect via Bluetooth or standard wires. This allows for maximum versatility. We enjoyed the ability to flip a switch to relay the location of the speakers.

Pros

  • Bluetooth or wired connectivity
  • Rear switch to relay location to speaker
  • Compact size

Cons

  • Small for some users

4. ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2

Best Bookshelf Speaker Under $500

Sound Level (Loudest Volume)

87 dB/w

Power Output

120 W

Impedance

6 ohms

Dimensions

7.69″ x 14.76″ x 10.55″

Weight

16.3 lbs each

Warranty

Yes, 3 years

This brand is a somewhat newcomer to the field of home audio, but we were not disappointed in these bookshelf speakers. This ELAC model is amazingly compact but packs a ton of sound quality. It can be placed on nearly any bookshelf or desk without taking up much space. These speakers feature a silk dome tweeter that can reach the highest frequencies, so you can hear sounds as they were intended to sound.

This upgraded model also comes with a redesigned aramid fiber woofer. The cone has increased stiffness and higher dampening power. It is far superior to most other materials on the market. The added strength allows flexibility is providing smooth, low bass sounds. With this model, ELAC moved the bass port to the front of the cabinet. This will enable you to place the speakers against or near a wall without compromising performance.

Many users liked that this model included the bass port closer to the front. They claimed it allowed for more punchy bass with less distortion. Many users agreed that the size was perfect for almost any space. You can even place them on your office desk. You can also transport them virtually anywhere.

Pros

  • Bass port close to the front of the cabinet
  • Aramid fiber woofer
  • Compact size

Cons

  • Lower volume levels may not be as great as competitors

5. Fluance Signature Series HiFi

Best Bookshelf Speaker Under $200

Sound Level (Loudest Volume)

85 dB/w

Power Output

120 W

Impedance

8 ohms

Dimensions

12.8” x 7.87” x 8.22”

Weight

9.7 lbs each

Warranty

Yes, lifetime

These bookshelf speakers are some of the best bargain speakers that money can buy. They cannot be beat for their value. Fluance upped their game on the signature series to bring you the best sound quality. They feature premium neodymium tweeters that will make you feel as if the concert is happening in your living room. They deliver an immersive experience with life-like high trebles and low bass rumbles.

They also feature a woven glass cone that allows the mid-range sounds to be delivered directly to where you’re seated. The woven glass bass and mid drivers also pair well with the premium neodymium tweeters. They match each other in sound quality and deliverance. Fluance ensures that you will receive the sound as the engineers intended.

Customers really enjoyed the lifetime warranty. They also provide fantastic customer service, so if you need any new parts, Fluance can assist. Customers also liked the dual tuned front bass port. Like previously reviewed products, that means you can place it against a wall without distortion. It is also noted that it may take about three days to break-in the drivers.

Pros

  • Neodymium tweeters
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Front bass port

Cons

  • Does not have as much bass as some competitors

6. Polk Audio T15

Best Budget Bookshelf Speaker

Sound Level (Loudest Volume)

89 dB/w

Power Output

100 W

Impedance

8 ohms

Dimensions

7.3” x 6.5” x 10.7”

Weight

8.25 lbs each

Warranty

Yes, 5 years

We placed this model in the budget category for a reason. They produce high-quality sound at a very affordable price. Polk has produced many fantastic audio devices over the years, and these speakers are great for any home theater setup. The T15s feature a 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter that is superb at producing high sounds without distortion. It also features a 5.25-inch composite driver for deep bass sounds.

This model also comes with a performance-tuned cabinet. It features a front-firing bass driver that will lessen any interference between the sound and objects in the room. Polk has also engineered its proprietary Dynamic Balance technology. It produces the perfect combination of high-frequency sounds and low bass. The mid-range sounds are also perfectly balanced.

Customers seemed to like the all-around great sound quality of these bookshelf speakers. They claimed that the high, mid, and low range sounds were all well balanced in most size rooms. Many users also liked the punchy bass sound that was present while playing their favorite tunes.

Pros

  • Well balanced sound from Polk’s Dynamic Balance technology
  • Front-facing bass driver
  • Great value

Cons

  • Highs may be too sharp for some users

7. Micca PB42X

Quality Powered Bookshelf Speaker

Sound Level (Loudest Volume)

85 dB/w

Power Output

120 W

Impedance

4 ohms

Dimensions

9.5” x 5.8” x 6.5”

Weight

4 lbs each

Warranty

Yes, 1 year

This is one of the only powered models that we have reviewed, which is why we placed it in this category. Micca has made some of the most high-end speakers on the market, but the PB42X is an excellent effort at a budget price. It comes packed with features that will suit any home audio setup. Micca has included the latest chip in their new design. It gives the included amplifier an excellent sound range. 

The amp’s frequency response delivers smooth and even tones with less distortion and floor noise. It also comes with an 8-element crossover that provides perfect voicing to the speaker. This model also comes with plenty of connectivity options, including an RCA input and a 3.5mm jack. It includes rear mounted audio controls that maintain that aesthetically clean look on the front-facing grill. It comes with a woven 4-inch carbon fiber woofer. It also has a 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter.

Customers liked that these speakers were of great value. They also loved the quality of this model out of the box. Many reviewers also liked the fact that these worked really well in their home theater systems. They placed one on each side of the TV for premium sound quality. The sound distribution was supreme.

Pros

  • Comes with an 8-element crossover
  • Fantastic value
  • Great sound distribution in small rooms

Cons

  • Sacrifices some mid-range for more bass

8. Edifier R1700BT

Best Bluetooth Bookshelf Speaker

Sound Level (Loudest Volume)

85 dB/w

Power Output

120 W

Impedance

6 ohms

Dimensions

6” x 9.75” × 8”

Weight

14.5 lbs each

Warranty

Yes, 2 years

If you want to be able to stream music from your phone or laptop, then this is the best option for you. The R1700 is one of a kind in this category. It comes loaded with features to make your home audio experience top-notch. This model comes with two AUX jacks for all of your devices. It also comes with Digital Signal Processing (DSP) and Dynamic Range Control (DRC) for the best wireless audio. Edifier’s new technology reduces distortion.

This model also features new 19 mm “Eagle Eye” dome tweeters. They produce crisp and clear high sounds even over wireless. Edifier also created a unique ten-degree tilt on these speakers to elevate the sound to you. This means there is less interference between you and your music. They also come with 4-inch bass drivers that allow for perfect mid-range notes and low bass. The bass port is front-facing to prevent reverb. 

Customers loved the Bluetooth capability of this model. They claimed that the wireless signal was delivered superbly with no distortion. They also liked that the speakers came with a sleek remote to control your music from almost anywhere in the room.

Pros

  • Bluetooth capability
  • “Eagle Eye” tweeters
  • Sleek remote control

Cons

  • Some users experienced a low hum at mid-volume

9. Polk Audio OWM3

Best Small Bookshelf Speaker

Sound Level (Loudest Volume)

89 dB/w

Power Output

120 W

Impedance

8 ohms

Dimensions

4.1” x 7” x 10”

Weight

4 lbs each

Warranty

Yes, 5 years

This is another excellent product from Polk Audio. They have created a versatile and compact loudspeaker that can handle whatever audio you give to it. This model features a 4.5 inch mid/bass driver for fantastic bass ranges. It also comes with a 1-inch tweeter to complement the driver. They sync well to provide you with the best possible sound quality.

One unique feature of this model is that it comes with multiple different mounting options. Polk claims that these speakers can be mounted in seven different ways. This gives you a truly versatile experience. It will fit into anyone’s existing or brand-new setup. They can easily be placed on a bookshelf, stand, or even wall mounted. They also feature Polk’s trademark Dynamic Balance composite drivers.

We loved that these speakers can basically be placed anywhere you want. Many customers agreed with us and even managed to find creative ways to integrate the speakers into their setups. They also loved that this model allowed for perfect distribution of sound throughout any room. Since you can place these speakers at virtually any angle, everyone will be able to have an immersive sound experience.

Pros

  • Omnidirectional mounting options
  • Dynamic Balance drivers
  • Great sound distribution

Cons

  • Not enough bass for some users

10. Audioengine A5 Plus

Best Active Bookshelf Speaker

Sound Level (Loudest Volume)

95 dB/w

Power Output

150 W

Impedance

10 ohms

Dimensions

7.75” x 7” x 10.75”

Weight

25 lbs each

Warranty

Yes, 3 years

This model comes in as another great value for home theater enthusiasts. Audioengine stepped up their previous A5 model with added features and sound quality. This model features built-in amplifiers, so you don't need to add anything once you get these out of the box. This model features custom Kevlar woofers and silk tweeters. It comes with a powerful bass driver as well.

Audioengine wanted to create an all in one speaker system that you can easily setup. You can connect your devices via Bluetooth or wired for all your audio needs. The A5 Plus is compatible with any computer, phone, or tablet. It also features a remote so that you can change your music from across the room. They come with gold plated connectors to ensure there is no interference. It also has a variable preamp audio output that allows for superb distribution.

Many users liked that these speakers were the total package for home audio. They are powered, so they have built-in amps. We liked that they were easy to set up. You could almost immediately start listening to your favorite tunes. Many customers liked that these are also a great value.

Pros

  • Built-in amplifiers
  • Kevlar woofers
  • Wired or wireless functionality

Cons

  • Some users had issues with a buzzing sound after some usage

Top Bookshelf Speaker Brands

We have reviewed the best options that are available on the market today. You will notice in our roundup that there are a few recurring brands. Some of the best bookshelf speaker brands include Polk, Audioengine, Monitor, and Klipsch. These brands continuously strive for excellence by providing the best products at the best possible price point.

They have years of industry experience to create the best listening environment. Brands such as these strive to bring you the best by listening to their consumers and implementing your desires into their products. They also offer stellar warranties and customer service.


Impedance & Wattage: Matching Amps & Speakers

Unless you purchase a powered bookshelf speaker, you may want to pair your new purchase with an amplifier. There are few terms that you will need to pay attention to on the spec sheets if you plan to match your speakers with an amp.

Impedance is measured in ohms. It describes the resistance of all of the components in your speaker cabinet. Speakers typically have ohm ratings between 4 and 10. Amps are generally rated to pair well within a specified ohm range. So, if your speaker operates at 8 ohms, then you need to match it with an amp that operates within that range. You also need to consider the wattage. Ensure that your speaker can handle the recommended wattage range of your amp.


Active vs Passive Bookshelf Speakers

There are two types of bookshelf speakers. When you start shopping, you should keep in mind what you want your speaker to have out of the box. Active speakers are ones that have a built-in amplifier. They only need a power source to operate. On the other hand, passive speakers do not have an amp built-in.

Active speakers are set up to be an all in one unit. This can be ideal for someone who simply wants to unbox and plug in their devices. Passive speakers are suitable for someone who is looking to upgrade their system. If an amp breaks, you can simply replace that component.


Wired vs Wireless Bookshelf Speakers

In this day and age, many people enjoy being wireless. You can walk around and still stream to your device. When it comes to bookshelf speakers, many users want the flexibility to play music from any device. Some speakers come with the capability to connect via Bluetooth or wired. This is the best of both worlds.

For the true audiophile, wired speakers provide better sound. The signal is carried over speaker wire so that you won't lose any sound quality.


How to Use Bookshelf Speakers

Now that you have decided which model you want to buy, you need to know how to set it up. If you have an active speaker, you plug it into a power source and connect a device. You can either use a cable for your device or connect via Bluetooth. Like all Bluetooth devices, ensure that your speaker is in pairing mode.

If you have a passive speaker, then you may want to set up your amp along with it. To connect your amplifier, you need to have speaker wire on hand. Place the stripped end of the speaker wire into the correct terminal on the back of your speaker. Connect the other end to the corresponding terminal on your amp. Speaker wire generally comes with banana clips attached to clamp down the wire.


Speaker Care and Maintenance

Like with every big purchase, you want to make sure you get the most life out of it as possible. Bookshelf speakers are relatively low maintenance. Many of them also come with warranties, so you can have it repaired if you need to.

The first tip for caring for your speakers is to keep them free of dust and debris. You can use a microfiber cloth to wipe down the cabinet and cones. You should also check the speaker wires for any fraying and replace them if you need to.


Common Bookshelf Speaker Issues & Fixes

With proper care, your bookshelf speakers should not run into any issues. If you do encounter a problem, there are a few quick fixes. If your speakers don't produce sound, you should make sure that all of the connections are secure. Most of the time, it is just a loose cable.

Many people experience a low humming sound from their speakers. This is a result of the woofer being attached to the power outlet. You can try inverting the plug and seeing if that helps. If not, you can also use an audio ground isolator. This will block out the sound at the source.


Frequently Asked Questions

What does sensitivity mean when it comes to bookshelf speakers?

This rating is measured in decibels (or dB). The higher the sensitivity rating on your bookshelf speaker’s spec sheet, the louder it will be able to play without distortion.

What determines the sound quality of bookshelf speakers?

Great speakers are measured in many different ways. The sound quality that you get from yours will be determined by almost every rating found on the spec sheet. There are some factors that will not be found in the specs. For example, a powerful bass driver will determine the quality of low frequencies that you receive.

What is the best location to place bookshelf speakers?

Everyone wants to make sure that they are getting the most out of their speakers. Depending on your setup, the placement of your speakers will have a lot to do with the sound distribution. In general, the best place to put them is on either side of the TV.

Can bookshelf speakers be used for surround sound?

Yes. You can set up multiple different speakers to be used in a surround sound setup. Bookshelf speakers are ideal for the left and the right front-facing component of your installation.

Does it matter what cables I use for my bookshelf speakers?

Most bookshelf speakers will come with most of the cables that you need. They come with speaker wires and a power cable. If you need additional wiring, most common speaker wire will be fine to use.

Are older bookshelf speakers still worth buying?

Since they have a long lifespan, most older speakers still have up to date components. There may be some features, such as Bluetooth, that won’t be available on older models.

Are speaker stands worth buying for your bookshelf speakers?

Even though they are typically made to sit on a bookshelf, some models can be mounted on speaker stands. Stands are fantastic for raising the speaker up to ensure there is nothing that will cause the sound to reverberate.

Can small speakers sound as good as larger ones?

Depending on the components and ratings, many compact speakers will sound just as good as large ones. The larger ones may be slightly louder, but the quality is similar.


Conclusion

We have reviewed the best bookshelf speakers on the market today. This guide has given you the full spectrum of options so that you can find the right model for you. We have also included helpful tips and tricks to ensure that you get the most out of your purchase.

In this roundup of bookshelf speakers, we have determined that the best one is the Klipsch RP-600M Reference Premiere. While it is pricier than other models we reviewed, it has exceptional sound quality. It provides the best all-around sound to fill any room.

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