The 8 Best Affordable Bookshelf Speakers To Buy in 2018

Find quality speakers that won't blow your budget

If you are looking to upgrade your listening experience from your computer speakers, bookshelf speakers are a logical next step. They can be part of a larger home audio setup or paired with a subwoofer to create dynamic room-filling sound. There are two types of bookshelf speakers on the market: passive and active. Passive speakers need to be connected to an external amp or stereo receiver. If you are buying passive, make sure you have one of those two, as well as speaker wire. Active speakers mean that one of the speakers has an internal power supply and connection to a stereo is optional. You will find both types on this list, so read on to see which suits you most.

Best Overall: Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers

These best-selling bookshelf speakers evoke a retro feel with their classic wood finish, but the sound quality is very modern. The combination of grained walnut brown wood and a smart grey speaker grill look great in any room, while the two sets of RCA inputs and easy aux setup make for a flexible option for any sound system.

The active speaker comes with built-in tone control that can adjust treble and bass from -6 to +6db. A remote gives control over volume from across the room, while 100-240v full range voltage input makes it easy to listen. Sound is amazing for the price, thanks to 42 watts RMS power 13mm silk dome tweeters and a four-inch full range woofer. Because you can use this incredible pair of speakers on their own or as part of a larger audio set-up, they are ideal for just about anyone but the most discerning audiophiles. 

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Klipsch R-14M Bookshelf Speakers

Klipsch, an iconic American audio manufacturer, has designed a remarkable pair of copper and black bookshelf speakers that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face every time you fire them up. The small, versatile speakers are built with one-inch aluminum linear travel suspension horn-loaded tweeters and a four-inch copper high-output IMG woofer. A proprietary 90x90 Tractrix Horn pairs with the tweeter for crystal clear high-end response, resulting in a dynamic and natural sound. Meanwhile copper-spun Injection Molded Graphite woofer minimizes cone breakup and distortion, creating remarkable low frequency response. Together they produce speaker efficiency and clean sound unrivaled in its price range.

This is all packed in a black polymer veneer cabinet with a rear-firing port with five-way binding posts, so it's ideal for connection flexibility that will work with your setup.

Best Budget: Polk Audio T15

This pair of Polk bookshelf speakers has been a mainstay on the market for a few years now, but it is still the best entry-level option. The case is finished with minimalist black polymer veneer, matched by a black mesh speaker grill. Inside, you will find a polymer composite 5 ¼-inch woofer and a silk ¾-inch tweeter that can handle 100 watts at overall frequency of 60Hz-24kHz.

The wide dispersion drivers and tweeters are enhanced by Polk’s exclusive Dynamic Balance function that deliver a cinematic wide response and low distortion. The pair of speakers have magnetically shielded enclosures for reduced distortion and improved clarity, while the engineering ensures the speakers work in a synergistic manner, performing complementary tasks for the best sound performance. 

Best Bluetooth: Edifier R1700BT

These bluetooth-connected speakers offer a hassle-free wireless audio experience that pairs well with any Apple or Android device. They also have two aux inputs where you can simultaneously connect two devices, as well as a remote to control the action. Inside, clear sound comes from a 19mm dome tweeter and a four-inch bass driver that make for a well-rounded sound. Low frequencies are enhanced by a front-facing bass reflex port, which routes to give more bass power. You have further adjustment options with included digital volume control, including bass and treble adjustment between -6b and +6db.

The pair of speakers are constructed with a classic high quality MDF wood and have an attractive walnut finish. One speaker is active with a five-pin connector to the passive speaker and both include RCA input.

Fill your room with an unprecedented and expansive audio experience with these Core Series speakers from Sony. They feature a three-way, three-speaker bass-reflex system that stays in harmony with your room, whatever its layout may be. The speakers are constructed with foamed mica woofer diaphragms that deliver supple sound and balance low weight with powerful and deep bass response from a 5-¼-inch foam woofer. The woofer is complemented with a one-inch polyester main tweeter and a ¾-inch Sony Super Tweeter. The super tweeter delivers ultra-responsive high-frequency audio up to 50kHz. The speakers have a 100-watt max input power that delivers clear and powerful audio.

Most Compact: Sonos Play:1 Speaker Pair

The Sonos Play:1 pair is one of the coolest (and smallest) speakers for your living room or entertainment center. The first spec to talk about is the wireless functionality. Sonos speakers operate via Wi-Fi, not Bluetooth, which not only lets you seamlessly pair the speakers for same-room or different-room play (spinning different music or the same music between units), but it also lets you line up the speakers with other wireless devices such as Amazon Alexa or the Google Home.

You control the speakers via the Sonos app, which connects flawlessly with basically every music playing software you can think of, including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Soundcloud, Pandora, SiriusXM and more. With dimensions of 6.36 x 4.69 x 4.69 inches and a weight of only 4.08 pounds, it is the smallest speaker in the Sonos line and will fit just about anywhere you need it to. And with the highly engineered, crystal clear HiFi sound, you can bet these things will sound great, whether they’re pumping music or a movie soundtrack.

Best Passive Bookshelf Speakers: Micca MB42X

Passive speakers require an amplifier or stereo receiver, but if you are ready to build a complete audio center, these budget bookshelf speakers are a great option. The speakers are built in a ported enclosure that balances a four-inch woven carbon fiber woofer with a .75-inch silk dome tweeter. They also contain a 12dB crossover and baffle step compensation, creating a balanced and dynamic sound that faithfully reproduces highs and lows.

The tweeters and woofers are housed in a classic back polymer casing with a mesh grill. The sophisticated design looks great in any room, while the frequency response of 60Hz-20kHz and impedance of 4-8 ohms sounds great.

Best Design: SPS Prime Elevation Speakers

The Prime Elevation's tweeter is one inch, made of aluminum and equipped with an FEA-optimized diffuser for ultimate clarity. The mid-woofer is 4.5 inches with a super high stiffness-to-mass ratio for the ultimate dynamic range. The cabinet is ultra-heavy, reinforced MDF, which translates to no unwanted resonance in the cabinet…meaning nothing will affect the sound coming out. There’s a precision-tuned sound-match crossover that connects the tweeter and the woofer perfectly for a balanced, even sound between the two.

There’s an expertly engineered port in the front that is designed to position and project sound perfectly no matter where the speaker is positioned. Its tilt-back look will fit in perfectly on a modern-looking bookshelf, but it’s also designed to be mounted upright, sideways or even upside down. That way, you can get it to fit in any home layout, whether you want to mount it on the ceiling or put it on your bookshelf.


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