You might think that bookshelf speakers are out of your price range and you must stick with your TV or laptop's built-in speakers. However, with today's technological advances, there are several great bookshelf speaker options for under $200. Bookshelf speakers can create an immersive audio experience for you that you won’t forget.
These units are small, portable, and can easily be placed anywhere in your home as long as you put them on a raised surface. Audio pros recommend placing bookshelf speakers at ear height for maximum audio quality. This helps mimic the surround sound that you experience when watching movies at the movie theater.
Enhance your audio quality and create a captivating audio experience at home with affordable bookshelf speakers for under $200.
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|Edifier R1850DB Active Bookshelf...||291 Reviews|
How Bookshelf Speakers Work
Bookshelf speakers work as stand-alone units that can transmit power (watts) into sound (decibels). These speakers connect to a data source such as your TV, your laptop, or your smartphone.
Then when you game, or listen to music, movies, podcasts, and audiobooks, you will be able to amplify the sound. Bookshelf speakers deliver louder, clearer, more detailed audio for a more rewarding sound experience.
When you purchase bookshelf speakers, you want to make sure that you place them on a bookshelf, bookshelf speaker stand, or another ledge area. The speakers need to be off the ground to deliver the best sound quality. You also might have to purchase an amplifier to connect to the speakers.
Active bookshelf speakers come with their own internal amplifier, but passive bookshelf speakers require an external amplifier. Both active and passive bookshelf speakers can make great additions to your home audio system.
Benefits of Bookshelf Speakers
Technological advances have made it possible to purchase quality bookshelf speakers for under $200. You won’t find luxury quality at this price point, but it is possible to expand your audio system and enhance your home entertainment system with $0-$200 bookshelf speakers.
One of the greatest benefits of bookshelf speakers is their ability to fit with any pre-existing audio system. They can also easily be reconfigured in a new set-up if you purchase more expensive bookshelf speakers in the future. The customizable quality minimizes the risk of buying a set of affordable bookshelf speakers. If you can splurge on more expensive speakers in the future, you can reconfigure these units and continue to use them in your new set-up.
You’ll also love the portability and compact size of these bookshelf units under $200. These units are easy to rearrange when you move furniture or add new home entertainment elements. You can easily move them to the gaming room and back to the TV in the living room or into the kitchen for a dance party. Bookshelf units are easy to move, unlike larger tower speaker units or built-in speaker units attached to media sets.
Finding a Cheap but Quality Bookshelf Speaker
Build Quality & Design
Active speakers include amplifiers and do not require additional equipment, whereas passive speakers require an amplifier. At this price point, under $200, most of the speakers are passive. This doesn't hinder performance and amps are affordable.
Most designs are easily plugged into the wall, and although not as durable as higher-priced bookshelf speakers, these units can last ten to twenty years before being replaced.
The sound performance of these bookshelf speakers under $200 varies. Most bookshelf speakers under $200 have impedance levels of 8 ohms with 4-8 ohms the average rating for all bookshelf speakers. Audiophiles will want bookshelf speakers at 4-6 Ohms and might want to pass on these lower-priced options.
However, most homeowners will not notice the impedance difference with comparable decibel levels of 85-90 dB on most units and similar 80-120 watts options.
Connectivity & Flexibility
Bookshelf speakers offer both wired and wireless options. Wireless speakers increase portability, but wired speakers tend to have better sound quality. Wireless speakers also often come with built-in connectivity options such as Bluetooth. For front-facing speakers, a single pair of bookshelf speakers can be used.
However, many homeowners like to create a more dynamic home entertainment system and want surround sound. By purchasing several bookshelf speakers (two units in front, two units to the left and right sides, and two units in the back), homeowners can create their very own movie theater in their living room.
Power Rating - Volume & Wattage
Most bookshelf speakers fall within 50-100 watts. Bookshelf speakers above 100 watts are considered to be premium quality and primarily are available in higher-end units. Most of the bookshelf speakers under $200 will fall between 50-100 watts. Anything less than 50 watts will have distorted sound quality that won’t deliver as higher quality sound for movies, gaming, or music.
Most speakers at the $200 and below level are two-way speakers and lack the third driver for premium audio quality. Two-way speakers include a tweeter and a midrange/bass driver (also called the woofer). Three-way speakers include a tweeter, midrange driver, and bass driver.
Price & Warranty
Price ranges from approximately $150 to $200 for most speakers in this price range. Warranties range from two years to five years, typically. However, Fluance offers a lifetime warranty for their Signature Series HiFi Two-Way bookshelf speakers. If a lifetime warranty is important to you, purchase that set specifically.
6 Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $200 Reviewed
1. Fluance Signature Series
best bookshelf speakers under $200
12.8 x 7.87 x 8.22 inches
Yes, full lifetime parts and labor manufacturers warranty
The Fluance Signature Series HiFi Two-Way bookshelf speaker set is an affordable option for homeowners who want a cool retro vibe aesthetic with the yellow speaker fiber "popping out" and composite wood exterior. These speakers lend a cool aura to any home or apartment.
One thing we love about these bookshelf speakers is the sheer amount of power that they can harness (120 watts!). It's a lot for bookshelf speakers at this price point, and it means that the bass will be loud for your favorite action flicks.
The impedance on the Fluance Signature Series HiFi Two-Way bookshelf speaker set is a little high at 8 Ohms with higher quality speaker sets at 4 or 6 Ohms. However, 8 Ohms is acceptable to most homeowner's ears, and only an audiophile is going to demand 4 Ohms. The average speaker range is 4 — 8 Ohms, so these speakers do still fall within the average range, and the higher-end gives them their wonderfully affordable price tag.
These versatile speakers can act as the front speaker unit for your surround sound or can be placed on the sides or in the rear as a true bookshelf speaker unit. Ultra high-end neodymium tweeters keep sound especially clear at mid to high frequencies, and the inner cabinet uses composite wood engineered to create a warm, clean sound.
These units include wall mounting brackets and two magnetic front grills. Sound isolation pads and a 5-inch glass fiber woofer round out the specs. These speakers pack a powerful punch at an affordable price point.
The last important detail to consider with the Fluance Signature Series HiFi Two-Way bookshelf speaker set is the warranty. Fluance offers a lifetime warranty on parts and labor. This is unheard of in the industry. If a strong warranty is important to you, then this is the bookshelf speaker set for you, guaranteed to last a lifetime.
2. Klipsch R-14M
best passive bookshelf speakers under $200
9.75 x 5.88 x 7.5 inches
Yes, Klipsch offers a five-year limited warranty for all passive bookshelf speakers.
The Klipsch R-14M bookshelf speakers are the best passive bookshelf speakers under $200. Because they are passive speakers, you will want to purchase an amplifier or subwoofer to use them. Two-way speaker set is made with a unique black and copper design that fits well with most decors.
The copper woofer avoids distortion with its cone direction. This unit does have a rear-firing port rather than a front-firing port. Homeowners should take care to place the unit in a location where the rear port won't be directly up against another surface.
These speakers include a 90x90 tractrix horn paired with an aluminum tweeter to create powerful clean sound. The 90x90 tractrix horn is proprietary technology exclusive to Klipsch. The lightweight 4" woofer can help sound travel to any part of any room. However, these speakers are recommended for small to medium-sized rooms.
Large rooms might struggle to be adequately filled with these speakers alone. If you want to place these speakers in a large room, we recommend purchasing two sets to create a surround sound quality.
One reviewer on Klipsch’s website wrote, “I use the R14MS as surround, they sound outstanding. I use the little monster r15ms as my main speakers and wow such clean powerful sound from a compact size.”
These speakers can be used as your main front speakers or in addition to main speakers for powerful surround sound.
Klipsch offers a five-year limited warranty for all of their passive speakers. Purchases must be made from an authorized retailer (Amazon is your best bet!). If you want small portable speakers at an affordable price with copper accents and strong decibel ratings, then the Klipsch R-14M bookshelf speakers are perfect for you.
3. Micca Powered
best powered bookshelf speakers under $200
9.5 x 5.8 x 6.5 inches
1-year limited warranty.
Micca Powered MB42X bookshelf speakers are the cheapest and smallest speaker units on our list. Still, they pack 85 decibels and include a high-performance silk dome tweeter to keep treble audio quality at premium levels. A basic carbon fiber woofer brings out the bass, but the power is lacking at 75 watts.
If you want maximum performance, these speakers won't work for you, but if you want excellent sound performance at an unbeatable price, then you want these speakers. The appearance is all black, slim profile, and consists of cheap plastic parts, but the size makes these units easy to hide.
At just four pounds, the Micca Powered MB42X bookshelf speakers are the lightest on our list. They also come with a high-performance amplifier built-in (active speakers!) and won't need any additional equipment or wires to start enjoying your sound. These speakers can simply be connected to your existing TV, gaming center, laptop, computer, or smartphone and music, movies, and gameplay are ready to go!
The Micca Powered MB42X powered bookshelf speakers come with Micca’s limited 1-year warranty. This warranty isn’t as strong as other brands, but these are the most affordable speakers on our list as well as the smallest (a minuscule 4lbs!). If you want the absolute cheapest bookshelf speakers that still hit 85 dB, then the Micca Powered bookshelf speakers are your best choice.
4. Edifier R1700BT
best Bluetooth bookshelf speakers under $200
6 x 8 x 9.75 inches
2-year warranty for labor and parts.
The Edifier R1700BT bookshelf speakers are a fantastic affordable speaker set. Edifier is one of the most trusted and respected brands in the audio industry. If you want an expensive brand’s cheapest bookshelf speaker option, then the Edifier R1700BT is going to be your best option.
We also recommend these bookshelf speakers for anyone who wants active speakers with wireless connectivity options. These Edifier speakers can easily connect to your TV system, your smartphone, your laptop, your computer, or your gaming device via Bluetooth.
Aesthetically, these speakers are made with an MDF wood composite that has a walnut wood finish to match most home decors. The woofer is visible, and the slight 10-degree angling at the front looks great on home entertainment centers as well as helps distribute sound.
The Edifier R1700BT offers treble and bass adjustment from -6db to +6db and offer two sets of RCA inputs. The two-way system features two strong drivers including a 4" front-facing bass driver for additional power.
When it comes to active Bluetooth bookshelf speakers under $200, you can’t go wrong with the Edifier R1700BT. Affordable with acceptable sound quality, these bookshelf speakers can give you an immersive audio experience at home. Low impedance creates richer sound, but low watts mean these speakers will perform best in a smaller room.
5. Polk Audio OWM3
Best small bookshelf speakers under $200
4.1 x 7 x 10 inches
Five-year limited warranty for home audio speakers.
Polk Audio OWM3 bookshelf speakers are the smallest bookshelf speakers on our list. These units weigh a tiny 4 lbs. These units are not only easily portable to new locations, but they can fit almost anywhere. Aesthetically these units leave a lot to be desired with white and black plastic parts, but the profile is sleek and thin. The modernized sleek element makes it easy to hide them in different places around the room.
At 89db, these units hit mid to high ranges well, but the 8 ohms and lack of a bigger woofer can mean that the bass is lacking. If you want powerful bass sound quality and expect to use these as front room speakers rather than side or rear surround sound speakers then you may be disappointed.
Ruben reviewed the speakers on Polk Audio’s site and said, “Because my home theater room has a tall roof, I put the surround speakers in high positions to clear the furniture. Also the sound is very good.”
The various placement options because of the angle make it possible to hang these speakers horizontally, vertically, on a corner, on an angle, a shelf top or even mounted directly to the wall. Every option is available to you, which makes these perfect for small spaces like a summer home condo.
If you are a homeowner who wants a cheap bookshelf speaker set that can still deliver good sound quality and can easily fit into any tiny space, then the Polk Audio OWM3 bookshelf speakers are perfect for you.
6. Edifier R1850DB
best active bookshelf speakers under $200
8.9 x 6.1 x 10 inches
2-year warranty for labor and parts.
The Edifier R1850DB bookshelf speaker set is our favorite active speaker set on this list. Low impedance levels create clear, clean, crisp audio at mid to high levels and a strong 4" woofer provides proper bass levels for an affordable unit of this size. Aesthetically this unit is a step up from the Edifier R1700BT. It’s all black, clean design is angled and has a modern aesthetic. The unit is sleek and refined. Although the build materials are cheaper than other units, the quality is fantastic for speakers in the under $200 price range.
The Edifier R1850DB also offers Bluetooth connectivity. Other connection options include a 3.mm Aux port as well as optical/coaxial and 3.5mm to RCA connections. A slim wireless remote makes adjustments easy.
This is an active speaker, which means that you won’t need an amplifier to get set-up and start listening. This is a classic bookshelf speaker ready to enhance your movie nights, play your favorite music, and add the best sound effects to your gaming parties.
Finding an active bookshelf speaker with under $200 is rare. This R1850DB model from Edifier is a steal and is perfect for the homeowner who wants the easy compact portability of an active bookshelf speaker at an incredibly affordable cost. The Edifier R1850DB is also made by one of the most respected audio brands and can be a great purchase for homeowners who plan to upgrade in the future with additional speaker units.
Matching Amps & Speakers
If you want to create the highest quality audio experience at home, then you need to make sure that you match your amps and speakers. What does this mean? Well, wattage is the amount of power that your speakers can use, and the more watts that can be used, the louder the audio.
Impedance is the resistance speakers have to wave currents. If you mismatch the watts and impedance ratings with your amps and speakers, then your speakers might blow!
To match your amps and speakers, first, determine what speaker impedance your speakers are. This is typically somewhere between 4 to 8 ohms. Once you know what impedance level your speakers are, you can search for an amplifier or receiver that can handle that impedance level. For example, if you have a 6 ohms speaker but your amplifier or receiver is listed at supporting 8 ohms, and above then these two units are incompatible.
Active vs. Passive Bookshelf Speakers
Active speakers have their own amplifiers while passive speakers do not. This means that if you purchase passive bookshelf speakers, you will need to buy an amplifier to use your speakers. Active speakers won't need their own amplifier because they have one built-in.
Both active and passive bookshelf speakers offer great listening options for homeowners. Active speakers tend to be easier to use and provide wireless capabilities such as Bluetooth while passive speakers are easier to upgrade by merely switching out an amplifier.
How to Use Bookshelf Speakers
Bookshelf speakers are easy to use and require simple cable connections to set-up. Passive speakers must be connected to your devices via cable while an active speaker can be connected wirelessly via Bluetooth. Many bookshelf speakers will not require charging as they can be plugged directly into a wall outlet. However, some speakers use batteries to allow for maximum portability, and these will need to be regularly charged.
You can also use your bookshelf speakers to connect to multiple devices. Bluetooth pairing will allow you to select which device you connect with. Using Bluetooth helps to eliminate clutter and limit the number of wires you need to use to set-up your home audio system.
Care and Maintenance Bookshelf Speakers
The most important part of maintaining your bookshelf speakers is caring about their cleanliness. If dust enters your bookshelf speaker system, you’ll find that the speaker routinely has interference and the sound quality suffers.
You’ll also find that your speakers won’t work after the dust breaks down each component. Make sure that you dust off your speakers, including the woofer at least once a week.
Wiping down the speakers won't get all of the dust and using a vacuum is also recommended. Keep your bookshelf speakers dust-free! It only takes a few seconds each week as this video proves.
Another vital care consideration for bookshelf speakers is ventilation. You need to make sure that your speakers are placed in an area where they will receive plenty of ventilation. Make sure that the speakers have open space on every side: front, back, left, right.
Common Bookshelf Speaker Issues & Fixes
Sometimes bookshelf speakers act strangely and need to be reset. Sometimes the settings you've chosen are not working, and you want to restore the speakers to factory settings.
There is one way to reset most bookshelf speakers, and that involves looking for the little reset button (typically located on the bottom of the speaker or the rear of the speaker). Take a paperclip or other similar item and press the reset button. This will take you back to factory settings and restart your speakers.
If you encounter sound quality problems with your bookshelf speakers under $200, start first by looking for interference. Are there any other speakers or wireless gadgets within 15 feet of the speakers whose sound quality is off?
When speakers are too close to other speakers or wireless gadgets, the interference can create poor sound quality. Another possibility is that the wiring has degraded. If your wiring and cables have poor connectors or have exposed wires, try replacing them first to fix sound quality.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the best place to buy bookshelf speakers?
The best place to buy bookshelf speakers is Amazon.com. Amazon offers all of the highest quality brands at affordable prices under $200 and from authorized retailers.
How do I minimize playback interference?
The best way to minimize playback interference is to make sure that wireless products are not interfering with one another, or that the speakers are not interfering with one another. To do this, keep all wireless products and speakers at least 15 ft away from one another.
What does sensitivity mean in speakers?
The volume of sound when you use your speakers is the sensitivity rating. This rating is measured in decibels. The higher the sensitivity rating is, the louder your speakers will be. This is also true when it comes to audio clarity. Higher decibels mean louder speakers and clearer audio.
What determines the sound quality of speakers?
A variety of factors determines the sound quality of speakers, but we think speaker sensitivity and total harmonic distortion (TDH) are the two most important. Speaker sensitivity is the number of decibels the speaker can produce.
We recommend anything above 85 decibels with anything above 90 decibels considered premium sound. The total harmonic distortion is a rating that speaks to how well the speaker can read data values and create accurate sound value. We recommend anything below 0.08% (the lower the percentage, the higher the quality).
What kind of audio performance can I expect from bookshelf speakers under $200?
Audiophiles are unlikely to be happy with bookshelf speakers under $200. Too many critical quality build components are missing compared to speakers in the $200—$500 range or $500—$1,000 range. However, most homeowners won’t notice much of a difference and can save dramatically by sacrificing a bit of sound quality.
What are the best bookshelf speaker brands?
The best bookshelf speaker brands vary depending on the price point. In the under $200 bookshelf speaker range, we recommend Fluance, Klipsch, Micc, Edifier, and Polk Audio. Edifier is also a brand recommended in the $200-$500 range as well.
Each of these six bookshelf speakers for under $200 are great purchases. While every homeowner has different needs, if you want the highest quality speaker under $200, then we recommend the Edifier R1850DB bookshelf speakers. These speakers have a low impedance rating of 6, have enough watts to fill a standard size room with sound, and offer the best customization options if you purchase additional equipment in the future.
If sound quality is not your most significant concern and you would rather have a trendy, retro unit, then we recommend our top pick the Fluance Signature Series HiFi Two-Way bookshelf speakers. These speakers have the cool retro yellow woofer and add an ounce of flavor to any home decor space while still providing high quality sound.
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