The 10 Best Hi-Fi Speakers of 2020

High quality sound for high quality entertainment

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The Rundown
"For a reasonable price, you’ll get a pair of speakers so you can enjoy hi-fi sound in stereo."
"We love not only the eye-catching style of the Q Acoustics 3030i Bookshelf Speaker Pair but also its strong sound quality."
Best Studio Monitors:
Yamaha HS8 at Amazon
"Though they cost a fair bit, the speakers have their own amplifiers built-in."
Best Affordable Bookshelf Speaker:
Edifier R1280T at Amazon
"You don’t need to invest in extra sound equipment to get these stereo speakers up and running."
Best Affordable Tower Speaker:
Polk Audio T50 at Amazon
"[Its speakers] measure 3 feet tall, with enough real estate to accommodate all four included drivers."
Best In-Wall Speaker:
Polk Audio RC85i at Amazon
"Once you install them into your walls, they’re made to virtually disappear."
Best Wireless System:
KEF LSX Music System at Amazon
"The KEF LSX Wireless speakers can connect to each other wirelessly or using an Ethernet cable."
Best Budget Wireless System:
Edifier R1700BT at Amazon
"All the more impressive is that these bookshelf speakers cost as little as they do and still look this good."
Runner Up, Best Soundbar:
Sonos Playbar at Amazon
"If you want simplicity without sacrificing quality, this one will meet your needs."
"Soundbars are a great speaker option for smaller rooms or for those who prefer their sleek, streamlined design."

If you’re looking for a way to improve your sound quality at home, you need to invest in a set of high-fidelity speakers, more commonly known as hi-fi. Hi-fi speakers can be used for both your home theater and audio, but they really shine when it comes to music, as they’re known for their accurate sound replication. You want hi-fi speakers that provide full, clear sound and give you the best possible listening experience. 

Whether you’re looking to get started with your first set of hi-fi speakers or you’re ready for an upgrade, we’ve reviewed the best options on the market. We’ve considered all the factors that make or break a sound system, including price, sound quality, wireless connectivity, design, and compatibility with your current devices. If you don’t already have a home theater set up, be sure to check out our roundup of best home theater systems.

Here are the best hi-fi speakers on the market from brands including Sonos, Klipsch, and Edifier.

Best Overall: Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 Speakers

What We Like
  • Reasonable price

  • Wide frequency response range

  • Solid performance

What We Don't Like
  • Not plug-and-play with TV or phone

The  ELAC’s Debut 2.0 B6.2 bookshelf speakers are one of our top recommendations, as there’s a lot to like about them. The B6.2 is more affordable than you’d think and impresses with gorgeous sound quality, internal bracing to prevent vibration, and front-firing ports, making it easy to place them anywhere in the room. In each speaker, you’re getting a 6.5-inch woofer and a vented pole piece paired with a 1-inch soft-dome tweeter. Set-up is simple, although note that they aren’t plug-and-play with your phone—they’ll need to be wired and paired with audio equipment. 

One of the best features about these speakers is their wide frequency range, which spans from 44Hz up to 35kHz on the high end. This gives you a vibrant, accurate sound that sounds balanced, even at loud volumes. The B6.2 offers a max power of 120 watts and a nominal impedance of 6 ohms. If you wanted to upgrade to a full surround-sound home set-up, all of the Debut 2.0 speaker products are compatible with each other. We think the B6.2 would suit just about any music enthusiast.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Q Acoustics 3030i

What We Like
  • Stylish design

  • Accurate sound replication

  • Well-priced

What We Don't Like
  • New speakers can take some time to break in

We love not only the eye-catching style of the Q Acoustics 3030i Bookshelf Speaker Pair but also its strong sound quality. At first glance, you’ll notice the simple curves of these stylish speakers, available in black, white, or walnut. But once you turn them on, the clear sound, offering a 46Hz bass response, will quickly make these a favorite. The 3030i offers point to point bracing, which provides internal support to the speakers so that they’re more rigid. Point to point bracing creates incredible accurate vibrations and sounds, helping you hear every detail of your favorite song. The overall result are speakers that deliver an incredible bass and sound quality, all without blowing your budget.

Some users report that the speakers sound differently straight out of the box than after a few weeks of use, so patience will pay off if you’re not initially happy with the sound quality. This set includes two bookshelf speakers, each with a speaker grille and foam bung.

“I love the rounded edges of the 3030i, and the option to either place on a shelf or mount gives them versatility.”Katie Dundas, Freelance Tech Writer

Best Studio Monitors: Yamaha HS8

What We Like
  • Superior sound

  • Simple design

  • Wide frequency response

  • Amplifiers built in

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Studio monitor speakers are designed for those who want to try their hand at audio recording and producing or those who simply want to hear every detail of music and audio as it was intended. If this is what you’re looking for, we recommend the Yamaha HS8. These powerful studio monitor speakers give you plenty of tuning control, ensuring your sound quality is exactly as you want it. You’ve also got access to up to 120 watts of output power and a 38Hz to 30kHz frequency response. The woofers measure 8 inches across while the tweeters are 1 inch, but they are on the larger side, so make sure you have space for them—ideally, they should be set at least a few inches away from the wall.

Whether you want to try your hand at recording or just love the accuracy and vibrancy of studio monitor speakers, the Yamaha HS8 is a top choice. While pricey, the speakers include built-in amplifiers for both the tweeter and the woofer, so the higher cost includes plenty of customization and tuning options.

Best Affordable Bookshelf Speaker: Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Built-in amplifier

  • Includes remote control

What We Don't Like
  • Not as powerful as the competition

Cheap speakers don’t mean you need to sacrifice quality. If you’re looking for premium sound for a budget-friendly price, check out the Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers. They produce a clear and balanced sound that will be ideal for your home, and they even have built-in amplifiers, which saves you purchasing additional equipment and makes for a simple set-up process. The R1280T are a stylish set of bookshelf speakers too, with a walnut and matte black design.

Each speaker features a 13mm silk dome tweeter and a 4-inch full-range bass driver as well as a 21-watt total power output and a 60Hz-to-20Hz frequency response range. You’ve also got two AUX inputs, making it easy to connect to two devices at a time, such as headphones. A remote control is included too. While you shouldn’t expect the same sound as you get from a higher-end speaker, especially when it comes to bass, the R1280T still delivers a strong performance. It may leave your friends to think you paid more for your speakers than you actually did.

"For the average listener who wants a pair of computer speakers for multimedia and gaming, the Edifier R1280T are the most affordable pair you can get without compromising on performance." Alice Newcome-Beill, Associate Commerce Editor

Best Affordable Tower Speaker: Polk Audio T50

What We Like
  • Slick design

  • Wide frequency response range

  • No need for dedicated subwoofer

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Requires AC receiver or amplifier

The Polk Audio T50 proves that quality tower speakers can also be affordable. Tower speakers are popular for both their look and booming sound quality, but they can run into the thousands of dollars, making the T50 one of the best tower speakers on a budget. They measure three feet in height and stand on your floor, consisting of a 1-inch silk dome tweeter, a 6.5-inch composite driver, and two 6.5-inch, front-firing sub-bass radiators. You’ve got a wide frequency response range, from 38Hz on the low end to 24kHz on the high end. A pair of these speakers means you have a balanced, dynamic system that won’t require a separate subwoofer. However, you will want an AV receiver or amplifier for the T50 to work its best, as it’s a passive cabinet system. 

We like that the T50 offers a clear and balanced neutral sound, almost similar to what you’d get from studio monitor speakers. They’re a top choice for your home theater, listening to music, or capturing all the action of the big game, though don’t expect the sound quality to be quite what you’d get from a higher-end tower.

Best In-Wall Speaker: Polk Audio RC85i 2-Way Premium In-Wall 8″ Speakers

What We Like
  • Nice hidden setup

  • Affordable

  • Solid performance

What We Don't Like
  • Requires installation into wall

  • Needs amp or AV receiver

Not everyone likes the look of tall speakers cluttering their living room. If you want a more subtle look, in-wall speakers like the Polk Audio RC85i might be for you. This set of two requires installation into your drywall, providing a professional look that won’t disrupt the feng shui of your room. They’re small in size but produce a vibrant sound, coming from a 1-inch tweeter with a metalized soft dome and a swivel mount, plus an 8-inch dynamic-balance woofer. Combined, they offer a frequency response range from 30Hz up to 20kHz.

One installed into your walls, you’ll hardly notice these flat speakers. Although they’re popular in basements or living rooms, they come with a rubber seal, meaning they can be installed in rooms that experience moisture, such as a kitchen or bathroom. You can even paint the front panels so they blend in with your wall. However, remember that these are passive speakers, so you’ll also want to purchase an amp or AV receiver. If you’re looking for an alternative to large speakers in your entertainment area, you may enjoy the look and sound of the RC85i.

Best Wireless System: KEF LSX Wireless Music System

What We Like
  • Connect wirelessly or with Ethernet

  • Excellent sound quality

  • No amp or AV reciever needed

  • Many inputs and Bluetooth stupport

What We Don't Like
  • Remote and app could use some work

The KEF LSX Wireless Music System is one of the best choices if you’re after a wireless system. These premium speakers can connect wirelessly or via an Ethernet cable, including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. Apple AirPlay, Tidal, and Spotify Connect are also compatible with this high-tech device, giving plenty of options. In addition to fantastic sound quality, these stylish and modern speakers offer five color finishes. The LSK delivers a powerful sound that’s great for gaming, movies, or listening to music. Your purchase includes two speakers and a remote control. 

You’ll enjoy the convenience of these gorgeous speakers and no distracting wires, which look great in any space. The LSX system supports audio inputs up to 96kHz/24-bit, so you can enjoy seriously hi-fi audio, but you’ll need to use the Ethernet pairing for that, as the wireless connection only transmits 48kHz/24-bit. Although they’re an expensive piece of tech, their design, sound quality, and tech feature justify the cost.

“With smart home tech increasingly growing in popularity, I like all the compatibility choices provided by the LSX, and the colorful fabric design will appeal to just about anyone.”Katie Dundas, Freelance Tech Writer

Best Budget Wireless System: Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

What We Like
  • Built-in amp

  • Supports Bluetooth and inputs

  • Great design

  • Reasonable price

What We Don't Like
  • Frequency range could be wider

If you’re shopping for a wireless speaker system on a tight budget, we like the sound quality and features of the Edifier R1700BT. You’ve got plenty of connectivity options, including Bluetooth and two AUX inputs for headphone or RCA outputs. The R1700BT is a two-speaker system, each with a 19mm silk dome tweeter and a 4-inch bass driver, which combined offer a frequency response range from 60Hz to 20kH. Together, they offer a maximum power of 132 watts, with an amplifier included in the right speaker. They create a lovely stereo sound right out of the box, with a remote control included—or, control the tone via the side dials. 

These bookshelf speakers are stylish as well, with a classic wooden look and a premium finish and feel. While we think the frequency range could be slightly wider, it’s still a fantastic choice, but for a budget wireless option and for its good-looking design.

Runner Up, Best Soundbar: Sonos Playbar

What We Like
  • Nine amplified speakers

  • Minimal cables

  • Supports Wi-Fi and Ethernet

What We Don't Like
  • Costly

For a simple but powerful soundbar, the Sonos Playbar has much to offer. It can do everything a larger set of speakers can do but in a more compact and stylish package. Although it’s just one unit, it actually has nine amplified speakers built-in. Six are mid-woofers, meant to handle the middle and low frequencies; three are tweeters responsible for high-frequency sounds. All of that is packed into a chassis measuring under 3 feet wide, 5.5 inches tall, and 3.3 inches deep. They all work together to create a dynamic sound that can be accessed via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. For movies and audio, Sonos offers automatic speech enhancements, ensuring you can clearly hear all the details of your films and music. 

If you want to expand on your sound system, the Playbar is easy to connect with other Sonos products, such as one of their subwoofers or satellite speakers. Initial set-up is easy too, as the Playbar only requires one cable. It’s an overall great soundbar choice if your budget allows.

"The Sonos Playbar is a great home audio solution for an apartment dweller. It packs all the power of a multi-speaker setup, without requiring the same degree of hassle when it comes to installation." Ajay Kumar, Tech Editor

Best Soundbar: Klipsch Cinema 800

What We Like
  • Plenty of wireless connectivity options

  • Dolby Audio built-in

  • Beautiful sound quality

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Soundbars are a great speaker option for smaller rooms or for those who prefer their sleek, streamlined design. If it’s a soundbar your home entertainment system needs, the Klipsch Cinema 800 is one of the best on the market. Thanks to Dolby Atmos technology and the included 10” wireless subwoofer, the Cinema 800 delivers a stereo sound system to replicate the thrill of action movies or Hollywood blockbusters right in your home.

We also like the wireless and smart home compatibility of this system. The built-in Wi-Fi works with Bluetooth, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Spotify Connect, to name a few. This makes it easy to control your soundbar from your smartphone, and the set also includes everything you need for wall mounting. Also, if you happen to have an 8K TV, the Cinema 800 offers HDCP 2.3 support, allowing for 8K UHD and HDR pass-through. Although expensive, we highly recommend the CInema 800, especially for home theater use.

Final Verdict

The best hi-fi speakers for your home audio setup is the ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2. They're some of the best low-cost stereo bookshelf speakers you can get, with a wide frequency response range and solid performance. If you're in the market for studio monitors, the Yamaha HS8 is a pair of excellent studio monitors with 120 watts of total output and a stylish look. They're not cheap, but they have their own built-in amplifiers making them well worth the price.

About Our Trusted Experts

Katie Dundas is a freelance journalist with over two years of tech reporting. She’s very familiar with sound systems and personally uses a soundbar for its slim, space-saving design and impressive sound quality.

Mark Thomas Knapp has been working in tech journalism since 2012. He's covered everything including TV, streaming content, smartphones, tablets, computers, games, audio, and more.

Alice Newcome-Beill is Associate Commerce Editor at Lifewire. Previously published on PCMag, PC Gamer, and GamesRadar, Alice has been building and working on computers since she was six. She's very familiar with PC products and accessories, including computer and bookshelf speakers.

Ajay Kumar is Tech Editor at Lifewire. With over seven years of experience in the industry, he's previously been published on PCMag and Newsweek where he's reviewed thousands of products in every category. He's very familiar with speakers, Bluetooth audio devices, soundbars, and computers. He prefers using soundbars like the Sonos Playbar in his apartment setup.

What to Look for When Buying Hi-Fi Speakers

Design - Hi-fi speakers can come in a few different designs. Most are bookshelf speakers. They tend to be a pair of modestly sized speakers (small enough to fit on a bookshelf or desk), and often have an exposed woofer and tweeter, though some may have a mesh or fabric covering to keep dust off. Some speakers may have amplifiers built-in, while others may require you to connect to an AV receiver. A few interesting designs include wall speakers that let you hide most of the unit inside a wall mount, as well as soundbars, that live under your TV console.

Audio Quality - A wide frequency response range that goes from the low to high end is an important aspect of hi-fi speakers. If you tend to listen to bassier music, you'll likely want a pair of speakers with good response on the lower end, while if you want music at its cleanest (a flat frequency response) you want a pair of studio monitors. Other factors that impact audio quality include the number of woofers and tweeters, if there's a built-in amplifier or not, and if playback is happening through wired output or Bluetooth.

Compatibility - Some speakers are powered, meaning they can function as standalone devices and plug directly into your TV without needing to go through an AV receiver. Others are passive and will need to be connected to an amp and AV receiver. Other extra features might include Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth, to allow for playback from your phone or other devices.