8 Best Bookshelf Speakers (Review) In 2021
Nothing makes a house feel more home-like than the tunes of your favorite band playing subtly in the background as you get your chores done or relax in the comfy confines of your own four walls. Whether you live in a tiny urban apartment or have the luxury of larger rooms, the audio options are limitless and it’s possible to purchase a quality sound system without selling an arm and a leg (or other vital organs). In this buyer’s guide, we are going to look at some of the best bookshelf speakers on the market. These compact audio solutions are great when you are short on floor space or if you need to keep them raised and away from meddling kids and pets. To help you choose the ultimate home sound system, we have compiled a well-curated list of the most popular devices available.
The Best Bookshelf Speaker
If you’re after a retro look that boasts modern sound quality, then Edifier’s R1280ts aim to please! This pair of adequately powered home speakers make the cut for being our “best choice” for a number of reasons. Firstly, they will look great in any room. The smooth teak-colored wood paneling will work with most décor themes and could possibly even be the center of attention. Secondly, quality features are almost endless. With dual RCA inputs, a universal power supply, and a 4-inch bass driver with a calibrated and flared bass reflex port – you’re guaranteed the ultimate sound performance. Last but not least, the price ain’t too bad either!
If you are looking for a robust bookshelf speaker that can connect to a PC, laptop, tablet, phone or record player, then you will be pleased with the performance of this Edifer model. In fact, the R1380T is an extremely popular option for those who are looking to pair their turntables with a complementing audio system. Be sure to also check out our list of the best gaming speakers for more great items like this.
Speakers connect via wire/cables
Built-in tone control
Adjust treble and bass from -6 to +6 dB
Delivers a precise booming midrange
- Weight10.8 pounds
A sturdy and solid design
Balanced response across the range
Sub bass might be lacking for pop and rock genres
2Audioengine A5+ Premium Powered Bookshelf Speaker
If you are looking for compact speakers that pack a big sound, then you simply cannot go wrong with the classy A5+. Be warned, however, these premium features come with a premium price. But if budget is no issue, then there is absolutely no reason why we wouldn’t recommend this high-performance sound system that is capable of filling large halls with crystal clear and accurate sounds.
Available in an assortment of colors, including solid bamboo, black, and crisp white, Audioengine’s A5+ will add an aura of elegance to any room. The sleek appeal is further complemented by custom Kevlar woofers and silk tweeters that emanate a smooth sound. Simply connect your Smartphone, computer, TV, or any other audio component to the speakers and you will be rewarded with a rich audiophile-quality response. Our handy guide to the best best soundbars features more great products like this.
Built-in power amplifiers
50 watt per channel RMS
Compatible with most devices
1/8″ and RCA inputs
Improved thermal management
- Weight25 pounds
Extremely compatible with most devices
No network setup, no app downloads, no hassle
The Speakers are beautifully designed with attention to detail
Prone to overheating after extensive use
May need a subwoofer
There’s no beating around the bush with PreSonus’s Eris multimedia monitors. Instead, these powered bookshelf speakers get straight to the point with both design and performance. 3.5-inches in size, these studio monitors are a great choice if you’re after a plethora of unique features at a reasonable price. Noteworthy attributes include low-mass silk-dome tweeters, responsive Class AB amplification, and professional acoustic-adjustment controls.
Engineered using industrial materials, this monitor set is as hardy as it gets. Now, let’s take a look at its versatility. ThisPreSonusmodel is not only a studio monitor, but the speakers can also be used for gaming, home-studio recording, watching a movie, or for some serious entertaining. One final factor that sets the Eris studio monitors almost miles apart from similarly priced models is its notable ability to create accurate mixes – enough said! If you love music, check out our guide to the best portable turntables.
Kevlar low-frequency transducer
Crossover Frequency:2.8 kHz
Front-panel jacks and controls
50W (25W/side) class AB power amp
Small but loud
- ModelE 3.5
- Weight11.9 pounds
Great value for money
Perfect for making and listening to mixes
Customer service is lacking
Some consumers have reported blown fuses
This bookshelf speaker set features Bluetooth wireless technology at its finest. Add the integrated phono pre-amp, digital optical, and analog RCA and USB inputs to the mix – you now have one of the best performing and multifaceted speaker systems on the market. Yup, these machines don’t only look valuable with their copper-spun sub-woofers but their output performance is priceless too.
Built for serious audiophiles, the R-15PMs have been strategically designed to take up little space while boasting a magnificent built-in amplifier that has been custom-engineered to maximize output and sound quality. Versatility is definitely the name of the game when it comes to Klipsch models and the R-15PM sits at the top as one of the premium sound system solutions currently available. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the best bose speakers.
USB digital audio from a PC or Mac
Full featured IR remote
62Hz to 24kHz frequency response range
RCA phono-level inputs
- Weight10.3 pounds
Perfect fit for at-home DJ-ing
IMG woofer is magnetically shielded
Low-noise amplifiers maximize the performance
A broad range of input options
Volume levels could do better
Defaults to a sleep mode after a few minutes of playing
The M200MKIIs are the perfect choice if you want to upgrade from tiny desktop speakers to something more, let’s say, substantial! With these wireless speakers, you’ll certainly get more than you bargained for. Sporting a unique and interesting design, these monitors will sit smugly on your shelves as they show-off their sloped wooden cabinets and boast a crisp and clear sound that’s sure to please the keenest of audiophiles.
Perfectly capable of seamlessly connecting to Smart devices, desktops, TVs, and Turntables, these Swans offer a full-frequency sound at a great value. Featuring a 1” silk dome natural fiber tweeter that produces a treble with accurate flat frequency response and a 5.25” woofer, the M200MKIIs guarantee a punchy bass that extends all the way down to 56Hz with a vented port. We can also happily announce that our take on this model is followed up by some awesome and reassuring online reviews. Don’t forget to also check our guide to the best smart speakers.
Compatible with IOS, Android, MacOS or Windows
Includes Line 1 and Line 2
LAN connectivity for lower signal loss
Rated Impedance: 5Ω
- BrandSwan Speakers
- ModelM200MKII WIFI
- Weight30.4 pounds
Beautiful cherrywood-finished panels
Decent driver size
The sound is detail and dynamic
Excellent quality knobs
Gamers might prefer more thunderous speakers
Wow! Just wow! Moving higher – way higher – up on the performance ladder, these small wireless loudspeakers might be superbly compact in size but their capabilities surpass many similar more affordable brands. Yup, there’s no denying that the LS50s are probably the best on the market – the question is, can you meet the premium price?
Using a 5.25″ Uni-Q driver that’s capable of reaching down to 40Hz, combined with a built-in 192Khz/24bit DAC and 230W amplifier -the sound that emanates from the KEFs is superbly full-bodied and balanced. It also gives out a beautiful midrange and a very satisfying base. To call this model a completely wireless system is a bit misleading, however, since each speaker still needs to be connected to an AC wall plug via a power cable – and then there are the LAN cables linking the speakers to each other. All-in-all, this is still an extremely versatile A-grade sound system that’s suitable for professional studious – or just because! Don’t forget to also check our guide to the best shower speakers.
Available in an assortment of colors
Wi-Fi connectivity or Bluetooth 4.0
Power Input: 100 – 240VAC 50/60Hz
Wireless controls featured on the iOS or Android app
- Weight22 pounds
Fantastic sound and build quality
Easy setup and home integration
A-grade sound quality
Not a completely wireless solution
Next up, we’ve got another pair of Edifier bookshelf speakers. For the price, this brand is pretty hard to beat. Combining a retro hardwood finish, excellent sound quality, and modern features like Bluetooth, the Edifier R1700BT provides the best of the old and the new. At less than $150, these speakers are cheap for active near-field studio monitors. There isn’t enough clarity or depth in the audio for them to be considered for actual studio work. But for the home, they’re perfect. To achieve the sound quality, the R1700BT has a 19mm dome tweeter and a four-inch bass driver, which work together to deliver rich lows and crisp highs. Serious audiophiles might notice some lack in the mid-range, but they probably wouldn’t buy a speaker at this price anyway.
To control distortion, the R1700BT utilizes two technologies – Digital Signal Processing (DSP) and Dynamic Range Control (DRC). You won’t notice this stuff working but it ensures that different inputs don’t adversely affect the sound quality. We also love the fact that the speaker’s equipped with Bluetooth for wireless connection and comes with remote control.
MDF wood finish
19mm dome tweeter
Four-inch bass driver
Two aux inputs
Digital Signal Processing (DSP)
Dynamic Range Control (DRC)
- Weight14.52 pounds
Crisp highs and deep lows
Bluetooth is intermittent
Poor customer service
It’s rare to find a speaker as good as the Polk Audio T15 for less than $100. In fact, it’s pretty much impossible. There might be just one. So, if you’re looking for high-end sound quality at an affordable price, you can pretty much stop reading now. Just click the buy button. Just in case you do want more detail – the speaker’s equipped with a 0.75” tweeter and a 5.25” Dynamic Balance Driver, which provides a well-balanced sound with highs that cut through and bass that can shake the walls. You can also pair these speakers with other Polk Audio speakers for a more immersive surround-sound setup.
5.25” Dynamic Balance Driver
Sold as a pair
- Weight8.25 pounds
Amazing low price
Good looking speaker
Not supported by all amps
Bookshelf Speaker Buying Guide & FAQ
How We Chose Our Selection Of Bookshelf Speakers
When it comes to shopping for bookshelf speakers, you’ll soon discover that you are spoilt for choice. With a wide variety of pretty impressive models on the market, choosing a sound system that’s suited to your needs can become a tad tricky. This is why we narrowed down your options to the 10 best compact speakers all while taking the following factors into consideration:
Brand – A brand is the backbone of the products it creates and how it conducts itself gives great insight into what you can expect from the models in question. This is why we like to stick to brands that hold a popular reputation for delivering top-notch items that come with awesome aftersales services.
Reviews – While we have our own biased opinions, we like to keep things fair. This is why we scour the net for accurate feedback on the products we list and then we use these reviews to compile conclusions that are valuable and hold true to their worth.
Price – Different people have different budgets to work with and just because you weren’t born into the Rockefeller family, it doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a quality speaker system that brings the finest music to your ears. This is why we like to make sure that our well-curated list features an assortment of price tags without skimping on quality and performance.
Features To Look For In Bookshelf Speakers
Sound quality – Sound quality is a personal decision. What sounds great to some might be depicted as “so-so” by others. While all of our listed models have made the cut because of their excellent sound quality, the end results can vary considerably. What’s important is that the music you love to listen to should sound natural to your ears, it should have a balanced tone quality, and it should be easy to enjoy for long periods without fatigue.
Wired–Wired speakers tend to offer the most dependable A-grade sound when compared to wireless options. But while they do boast quality features, they lack the convenience of wireless monitors. Again, it all comes down to personal preference. If you’re only concerned about sound quality, then wired is the way to go. If you need your speakers to be more versatile, then a wireless option might be the best solution.
Wireless – Wireless speakers connect to music players, Smartphones, computers, and even TV sets via a WiFi, Bluetooth or a Multiroom connection. While wireless technology might not be as streamlined as wired connectivity, there are certain perks. For instance, you can listen to music from any device without depending on cables. Wireless speakers also look neater and they can conveniently run on batteries if necessary.
Passive/Active – speakers feature built-in power amplifiers and just need a power source (or battery) to run. Passive speakers, on the other hand, require an externally powered amplifier to operate. Active speakers are great for home use and are certainly more convenient. For studio-quality sound solutions, then passive speakers are more of an adequate solution.
Impedance – Most bookshelf speakers are rated either 6-ohms or 8-ohms. Any sound monitor’s impedance rating that’s measured at 4-ohms is typically going to be a premium-grade audiophile speaker that’s been paired with a quality amplifier suitable for professional studio use. If you’re just looking for speakers that are ideal for your average home use, then 6/8-ohms will do just fine.
Wattage - If you crave high volume, enjoy hosting wilds parties or have a huge room, then the more watts - the merrier! With this being said, most people find 50 watts to be more than enough, especially for home use. A very important factor to keep in mind, however, is that the amp you use should not put out more power than your speakers can handle, this could destroy them indefinitely or at the very least, create a wonky sound.
Connections – Apart from choosing the best connectivity options suitable to your requirements, you might also want to consider how many input and output jacks each model features. If you have many devices that need to connect to your speakers via a cable, then the more connection ports there are, the better.
Bookshelf Speaker FAQ
Q: What are bookshelf speakers?
A: A bookshelf speaker is a small-medium sized speaker that has been compactly designed to fit most shelves or raised surfaces. Despite their mini-features, some brands still have the same sound and performance quality as larger speakers. Bookshelf speakers are mostly used for home-use and can connect to your music player via a cable and/or wirelessly.
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