The 6 Best Affordable Bookshelf Speakers of 2023

Find quality speakers that won't blow your budget

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When searching for new speakers, the critical factors in your decision are the size, Bluetooth capabilities, and powered vs. passive output. Measure the spot you decide to make your designated speaker area to ensure a perfect fit. If weight can be an issue, make sure to purchase lightweight speakers.

Best Overall

Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers

Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers
What We Like
  • High-quality sound

  • Beautiful design

  • Reasonable price

What We Don't Like
  • Lack of connectivity options

  • Little sound-shaping controls

  • A little heavy and bulky

These 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 looks excellent 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 loudspeaker has a built-in tone control that adjusts treble and bass from -6 to +6db. A remote controls volume from across the room, while 100-240v range voltage input makes it easy to listen. The sound is fantastic for the price, thanks to 42 watts of RMS power, 13mm silk dome tweeters, and a four-inch full-range woofer. Because you can use this incredible pair of speakers independently or as part of a more extensive audio setup, they are ideal for just about anyone but the most discerning audiophiles. 

Size: 6.9x9.5.x5.8 inches | Controls: Remote | Input: 2x aux or dual RCA, Bluetooth | Power: 21Wx2

"On music listening alone, these speakers punch above their weight." Jason Schneider, Product Tester

Best Bluetooth

Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Speaker

Lifewire / Jason Schneider

What We Like
  • Great sound quality

  • Beautiful design

  • Bluetooth included

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy, bulky footprint

  • A lack of sound-shaping options

  • Bargain brand name

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 and a remote to control the action. Inside, clear sound comes from a 19mm dome tweeter and a four-inch bass driver, making 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 speakers have classic, high-quality MDF wood and an attractive walnut veneer. One speaker is active with a five-pin connector to the passive speaker, and both include RCA input.

Size: 6.0x8.0x9.75 inches | Controls: Remote| Input: 2x aux or dual RCA, Bluetooth | Power: 15Wx2 + 18Wx2

"Edifier has put its classic spin on these speakers by putting two walnut/cherry planks on the sides of each speaker." Jason Schneider, Product Tester

Best Value

Klipsch R-14M Reference Bookshelf Speakers

Klipsch R-14M Reference Speaker

Lifewire / Jason Schneider

What We Like
  • Full bass response

  • Sleek, impressive look

  • Reasonable price point

What We Don't Like
  • Lacks detail at low volumes

  • Small speaker drivers

  • Requires subwoofer for full experience

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 a remarkable low-frequency response. Together they produce speaker efficiency and clean sound unrivaled in their price range.

This is 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.

Size: 7.5x5.9x9.8 inches | Controls: Amp required | Input: 5-way binding | Power: Passive (amp required)

"With about 90 decibels of power and 8 ohms of resistance, we were pleased with the power of these speakers when we hooked them into our home theater setup." Jason Schneider, Product Tester

Best Splurge

Klipsch R-41PM Bookshelf Speakers

Klipsch R-41PM Bookshelf Speakers


What We Like
  • Excellent sound quality

  • No receiver required

  • Built-in Bluetooth

What We Don't Like
  • No automatic connectivity

Klipsch has carved out a reputation for its high-quality audio devices, and the R-41PM bookshelf speakers are no exception, fusing a classic, compact appearance with room-filling sounds. Measuring just 10 inches tall and well-suited for integration into many décor schemes, the speakers boast a built-in, custom-engineered amplifier designed to fill your space and create your ideal ambiance. The dynamic volume control adapts based on the human ear’s ability to hear different frequencies, providing a new standard of listening experiences. Tractrix Horn technology aims high frequencies at listeners to minimize artificial reverberation.

Thanks to Bluetooth wireless technology, an integrated phono preamplifier, and analog RCA and USB inputs, gone are the days of needing an A/V receiver, opening up the possibilities of connecting the speakers with any of your devices, from turntables to cell phones to televisions. The speakers come with Injection Molded Graphite (IMG) woofer cones that are light and rigid, but another subwoofer can easily be added to boost low frequencies. 

Size: 8.51x5.75x11.3 inches | Controls: On-speaker| Input: 3.5mm analog mini jack, USB, digital optical, analog RCA, Bluetooth | Power: 70W (240W peak)

Best Bass

Sony SSCS5 3-Way 3-Driver Bookshelf Speaker System (Black)

Sony SSCS5 3-Way 3-Driver Bookshelf Speaker System (Black)

 Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Robust, triple-driver design

  • High max power

  • Great bass and overall audio

What We Don't Like
  • Dull design

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.

The speakers have foamed mica woofer diaphragms that deliver supple sound and balance low weight with a powerful and deep bass response from a 5¼-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, and the speakers have a 100-watt max input power that provides clear and powerful audio.

Size:  7.18x13.25x8.75 inches| Controls: None | Input: Wired | Power: Passive (amp required)

Best Passive Bookshelf Speakers

Micca MB42X

Micca MB42X Bookshelf Speakers


What We Like
  • Highly affordable

  • Compact design

  • Crisp sound signature

What We Don't Like
  • Won't fill room as well as more powerful options

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 made in a ported enclosure that balances a four-inch woven carbon fiber woofer with a .75-inch silk dome tweeter. They also contain an 18dB crossover and baffle step compensation, creating a balanced, 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 excellent.

Size: 9.5x5.8x6.5 inches. | Controls: None| Input: Wired | Power Output: Passive (amp required)

What to Look For in Affordable Bookshelf Speakers

Powered vs. Passive

Check to see whether the speakers you are purchasing are passive or powered. A set of powered speakers can be plugged into the wall and begin working immediately because their amplifier is built-in. For example, 100-240v range voltage input tends to be standard for powered speakers, with the two speakers being capable of between 40-100W. The downside of the powered speaker is that they tend to weigh more. However, a pair of passive speakers will require you to purchase an additional amplifier to get them to produce sound, requiring a bit more setup and expenditure. Speaker wire typically comes in 100-foot spools, offering some flexibility in the placement, though the process is undoubtedly more involved.


With speakers, sometimes size does matter. You might be inclined to search out the smallest and cutest pair, a larger set generally offers fuller sound. Our top pick on this list has measurements of 6.9x9.5x5.8 inches and weighs a hefty 12.5 pounds. That's much more than the passive Klipsch R-14M, for instance, which measures a similar size at 9.75x5.88x7.5 inches but comes in at a modest 7.13 pounds.

Additionally, as bookshelf setups typically lack a subwoofer, you will rely on your two speakers to produce sufficient bass. If you're keen on the room-filling sound, you'll want to look for bookshelf speakers that are compatible with surround sound setups so you can augment their audio. You'll want to watch the standard audio channels for 2.0, 2.1, 5.1, 6.1, and 7.1.


Do you want to stream music from your smartphone or computer? Check to see if the speakers you are seeking offer Bluetooth streaming built-in. The latest standard is Bluetooth 5.0, but older speakers tend to have Bluetooth 4.1 or 4.2. The Bluetooth range averages 33 feet for a reliable connection, so if you want anything longer, your best option may be wired. The wireless technology will allow you to send music from any modern device to your speakers with a button. This can help you cut the cord, though most bookshelf speakers also have more traditional inputs.

  • Will the distance of my speakers from the audio source affect my sound quality?

    Yes, while it's not always possible, for the best audio quality, you'll want to keep the length of cable tethering your speakers to your receiver as short as possible. Although your sound quality won't suffer very much unless they're 25 feet or more from your receiver. For any wired speakers, you should use a 14-gauge cable, and potentially use a 12-gauge cable for any speakers extending past 25 feet from the receiver.

  • Where should I place my speakers?

    This can be a little different depending on if you're using a stereo, 5.1, 7.1, or 9.1 setup. However, there are a couple of evergreen rules to follow regardless of how many speakers you're using. This will obviously depend on your room layout, but you should try and have your speakers equidistant from each other with surround speakers placed in the corners around your listening area. You should also try to keep your speakers free of obstructions and if you can safely mount them on a wall, even better.

  • How many subwoofers do I need?

    This all depends on the size of your room, more subwoofers give you a better bass quality and offer you more flexible placement when looking for the best spot for optimal sound quality. However, having more than a single subwoofer in a small listening area may be overkill. Also, some single speakers provide enough bass as standalone options that an additional woofer isn't required.

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