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Having a pair of the best computer speakers is essential for a top-notch desktop listening experience. Unless you're relying solely on headphones to deliver your sound, you're going to need a pair of speakers. There's certainly no shortage of budget-friendly speakers out there, but these picks are some of the best.
When looking for a pair of speakers, you'll obviously want the size and aesthetics to vibe with your current desktop setup, but there are some other things to consider as well. Think about the dB levels and frequency range, both of these metrics measure the loudness and fidelity of your listening experience. While its hardly necessary, having a speaker setup that comes with a subwoofer included can also have a compounding effect on your listening experience.
If you're looking for a way to bench test your new speakers, check out our guide to the best tracks for evaluating audio equipment.
Robust build quality
Excellent audio fidelity
Need a DAC to fully experience
When it comes to desktop computer speakers, your options are almost as varied as computers themselves. The trick is zeroing in on a pair of speakers that can satisfy the largest variety of circumstances. The Audioengine A5+ 2-Way speakers are those speakers.
Our testing showed that these dynamic bookshelf cans offer the right mix of sound reproduction with accurate, balanced frequency response. They deliver a deep, rich bass that doesn’t overwhelm, as well as a smooth treble range that doesn’t pierce the eardrums. There’s an integrated digital-to-analog converter that allows you to bypass analog output for a purer signal. Like most desktop speakers, they’re easy to set up, featuring built-in amplifiers (50 watts per channel) that skip the need for a stereo receiver.
Just connect them to your player’s headphone jack or USB device. Simple. There’s also a remote control for convenience, RCA inputs and a USB power port for charging mobile devices directly.
If you're thinking of upgrading to an even more immersive surround sound system, find out if a 5.1 system is right for you.
"The Audioengine A5+ speakers are expensive, but if you’re on the market for high-fidelity audio, these speakers are worth the price." — Bill Thomas, Product Tester
Great for watching movies
Mids and highs get drowned out
Heavy and hard to move around
The Z623 speakers from Logitech are some of the most popular desktop speakers around. They feature a sleek design with a powerful subwoofer that is sure to boost any music, movie or gaming endeavor you could imagine. And it's pretty cheap. For an extra $30, Logitech throws in a Bluetooth adapter. Our testing also revealed that the Z623 is THX certified, which may be more of a branding component than anything else, but it still evokes that big cinema sound we all love.
The 2.1, 200-watt speaker system features on-speaker controls, as well as RCA and 3.5 mm inputs that allow you to connect up to three audio devices at a time. And the subwoofer features a seven-inch driver made to deliver a deep bass sound. Keep in mind, these speakers are mid-range. They’re not meant for recording studios or amphitheaters. But for pretty much any desktop computer application, they’ll deliver a high-quality bang for your buck.
"Whether you’re watching “Game of Thrones” or trying to catch up to all the Marvel movies, the Z623 can provide a cinematic experience." — Bill Thomas, Product Tester
Lots of details lost in the mix
Distortion at higher volumes
Cheap build quality
The name Cyber Acoustics might not be familiar to you, but their 30-watt desktop speakers are among the best inexpensive options you can find. The 2.1 three-piece system includes the 5.25-inch subwoofer, and the 2 x 2-inch satellite speaker drivers create an excellent and wallet-friendly audio experience for gaming, movies, and music.
A separate control panel turns the speakers on and off, adjusts master and bass volume and contains the 3.5mm headphone jack and aux-in jack. Housed in an acoustically balanced wood cabinet, the subwoofer offers clear audio and good bass response. The magnetically-shielded satellite speakers offer clear and open sound to round out the full audio experience.
The included five-foot cable offers more than enough cord to connect to a PC, and there is an 11-foot speaker cable to connect both satellite speakers.
Powered through USB
Average sound quality
If you’re looking for a basic set of speakers that will upgrade your listening experience without breaking the bank, the Logitech S150 USB digital speakers are a great choice. They don’t have a lot of extra bells and whistles, but they do provide quality acoustic stereo sound — especially for speakers of this size and price.
When it comes to features, the Logitech S150 USB Speakers keep it simple: volume control (including a mute button), easy-to-use USB connectivity, and an LED power indicator so you can make sure everything is in working order. They don't even require a separate power cord — just plug into a single USB port and you're ready to listen. Ideal for a dorm room or office, these speakers will bring out the best in your favorite songs, videos, movies or games.
Good sound quality
Bass and high end a bit lacking
When you want to take your computer speakers to new heights in sound quality, your best bet is a pair of Audioengine HD3 speakers. These modestly sized speakers pack a lot of power and don’t even require an external power amp to blast great-sounding tunes.
When it comes to design, the Audioengine HD3 speakers have a cool retro look and come in black, cherry and walnut. These speakers also have a ton of versatility. On the back of the speakers, our testing showed that there are multiple inputs to accommodate both digital and analog sources, including a USB audio input and a digital-to-analog converter. They also have Bluetooth connectivity, so you can stream music from your smartphone or tablet on top of playing it through your computer.
Customers have been extremely happy with these speakers. They note that the sound quality for Audioengine HD3 is second to none for computer speakers and that the speakers give off great mids, highs, and bass, so every song sounds amazing.
"The Bluetooth connectivity, built-in DAC, and solid sound quality add up to a pretty compelling product." — Bill Thomas, Product Tester
Stunning, futuristic construction
Angle-adjustable satellite speakers
Questionable long-term durability
Take one look at these speakers from Harman Kardon and the next time you hear the words "futuristic design," you’ll think of them. Guaranteed. These things look like something out of Minority Report — more like chemistry equipment than computer speakers. You could place them as a centerpiece in a modern home and they’d fit right in.
So, yes, the design on these speakers is truly unique and impressive — but what about the sound? By all measures, it's top-notch. The SoundSticks include four, one-inch full-range transducers per channel powered by a 10-watt amplifier. There’s also one, six-inch low-frequency transducer with a 20-watt amp for room-filling bass response. Through the 3.5 mm stereo connection, you can connect the speakers to virtually any device.
However, some users have complained about the speakers’ out-of-the-box frequency balance. Depending on your preferences, you may want to compensate through a digital equalizer, but it’s really up to you.
"If you’re on the hunt for the best speakers to complement your computer system, the first and foremost thing to consider is obviously audio quality. That said, you should also take note of important features like connectivity options, bass output, and stereo separation." — Rajat Sharma, Commerce Writer
Funky design with LED accent lights
Not the best sound quality
The GOgroove certainly makes for an eye-catching accent piece for your desk. The sleek glass alone of the two left-right speakers gives you a modern look, but the built-in LED tech lets you customize the colors between bright blue, deep red, and sparkling green. While the sub-woofer unit doesn’t have the full see-through glass look, it does provide a lighted accent section on the front that will match whichever colored mode you’ve activated on the main speakers.
Let’s talk about sound features now: the speaker set offers 20 watts of RMS, which is pretty low for loudspeakers but will probably be sufficient for most desktop office setups. You can push the speakers up to 40 watts, but extended use at the volume might blow or fatigue the system, so it’s best to plan on sticking around the 20-watt zone.
The satellite speakers are directional, though, so they’ll maximize that wattage, and the side-firing subsystem gives you a nice, full, clear bass channel to add oomph to the system. It’s your standard computer set, so no compatibility concerns are necessary because it’ll connect via 3.5mm aux cable to any computer that has that input, from PCs to Macs.
Easy switching between source devices
Powerful sound output
Somewhat boring design
Computer speakers are (and have always been) usually connected to their audio source (i.e. PCs) using wired options. That's perfectly fine, but what if you could connect them wirelessly to your phone or tablet and enjoy some music? Say hello to Logitech's Z337, which let you do just that. It features Bluetooth 4.1 support for fuss-free wireless connectivity, in addition to a 3.5mm audio port and an RCA input for wired connections.
The 2.1 audio system is comprised of two satellite speakers (each having an 8-watt power output) and a front-facing subwoofer (with a 24-watt power output), working in tandem to deliver 40 watts of powerful sound. A wired "Control Pod" allows convenient access to all major functions (e.g. Power, Volume Up/Down), and the subwoofer comes with a dedicated control knob that lets you adjust bass level. Logitech Z337 is backed by a one year warranty.
Multiple connectivity options
Custom RGB lighting support
If you want a feature-packed speaker setup to go with your new custom gaming rig, look no further than Razer's Nommo Pro. Having 3-inch full-range drivers coated with Kevlar fiber and woven silk dome tweeters, the 2.1 system delivers a premium audio experience. The speakers - which are THX certified and come with Dolby Virtual Surround Sound technology - are complemented by a downward-firing subwoofer for enhanced bass output. You also get a handy "Control Pod" (with LED illumination) that makes it easy to access different functions like Power, Volume Up/Down, Mute, Pairing, and Source Selection.
The Nommo Pro system features a variety of connectivity options, including 3.5mm audio, Bluetooth 4.2, Optical Audio, and USB. Then there's integrated support for Razer's "Chroma" custom RGB lighting system, which ensures that the whole thing looks just as great as it sounds.
400 watt output
Supports numerous devices
No Bluetooth or Wi-Fi
The Logitech Z625 is a powerful THX-certified speaker system that's a successor to the popular Z623. It consists of two satellite speakers and a subwoofer that can deliver 400 watts of power. The audio is crisp and accurate, while the bass is booming for games and movies.
In terms of output, it can support up to three devices using the optical, 3.5mm, and RCA ports. The right satellite speaker has physical controls for easy access when it's sitting on your desktop.
The speakers with TVs, PCs, phones, tablets, Blu-ray players, and gaming consoles, making it a good, flexible option for just about any usage. The one downside is there's no Bluetooth or Wi-Fi for added functionality.
If you're looking for awesome sound and can spare no expense, look no further than the Audioengine Active. Its massive speakers will bring studio-quality sound to your desktop.
Our expert reviewers and testers evaluate computer speakers on the basis of numerous qualities. First, we look at the design and connectivity options, we look at how much space the speaker takes up, how big the drivers and tweeters are, and how easy it is to hook up to your PC. Next, we play a variety of media content, including music, movies, and games, so we can get a good idea of the sound profile, frequency response, and bass.
Here's also where we consider any special features like software customization that allows tweaking of frequency response, directional audio, gaming enhancements, or extras like RGB lighting. Finally, we compare it to competitors in a similar price range to make a final judgement. All of the computer speakers we test are purchased by Lifewire; none are provided by the manufacturer.
As a technology writer who also happens to be an audiophile, Rajat Sharma has tested out numerous speakers, headphones, and similar gear. He knows a good set of PC speakers when he sees one.
Bill Thomas is an editor fluent in all things tech. Besides employing their talents at Lifewire, they also work with Techradar as a computing editor.
Sound quality - Obviously, the sound quality varies from set to set. You can spend the value of a popcorn and soda for a decent set of desktop speakers or break the bank on a system that’ll fill your room with excellent sound. Either rely on reviews to assess a speaker's sound quality or head to your local electronics retailer to test it out for yourself. Additionally, if you’re looking for heavy bass, make sure you pick up a system that includes a subwoofer.
Design - You’ll have your chosen set of speakers sitting on your desk, so you might as well pick a pair that’s visually appealing. Beyond aesthetics, consider how the size of the speakers will fit into your existing setup. For example, if you select an option with a subwoofer, will you have room for it under your desk?
Wireless - If you're using your new speakers with a laptop, consider choosing a set with built-in Bluetooth capabilities so you can be completely wireless at your desk.