The 8 Best Overall Stereo Speakers Under $1,000 to Buy in 2018

Take your home theater experience to the next level

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Speakers are the most important part of a stereo or home theater system and the key to determining the overall sound from your system. Speakers can be floorstanding, bookshelf, in-wall, on-wall or a satellite system with a subwoofer. They come in all sizes, shapes and finishes and the best way to choose speakers is to listen to several models before making a decision and using your personal tastes in music as a guide. Need some help? See our favorite picks below.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall Bookshelf Speaker: ELAC Debut B6

ELAC Debut B6
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Sharp looks, excellent sound and a fair price make the ELAC Debut B6 bookshelf speaker one of the best all-around choices in the space. Measuring 14 x 10 x 8.5 inches and weighing 14 pounds, the B6 takes up hardly any room on a decent-sized shelf, making them a perfect fit for any room in the house where you want excellent audio quality. The fiberboard cabinet build is covered by an eye-catching brushed black vinyl finish and removable, black cloth grilles. Inside the case, there’s one-inch cloth dome tweeter set and a 6.5-inch woven Aramid fiber woofer with a single bass port on the rear panel.

The B6 offers just as much sound as a bigger-sized (and more expensive) speaker. Bass definition sounds superb, the tonal character seems right on the money and while it vibrates a little with sound, there’s little fault to be found at the B6 price point. Pair the B6 with an excellent amplifier and you’ll have few complaints about sound and you’ll equally impress friends, family and neighbors with the audio quality. The B6 ultimately rests as a standalone combination of musical quality that audiophiles will love at a price that won’t break the bank.

Best Budget Bookshelf Speaker: Dayton Audio B652-Air

Dayton Audio B652-Air
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Very much at the affordable end of the bookshelf speaker scale, the 13.5- x 8.1- x 11.7-inch Dayton Audio B652-Air has a 6.5-inch woofer and weighs just 11 pounds. Along with the woofer, the B652-Air offers an air motion transformer tweeter in lieu of a dome tweeter, which promises a clear, less-distorted sound than what traditional dome tweeters can manage. Along with great sound, the B652s look good for the price, sporting a black ebony pica vinyl cabinet finish and removable grilles.

Overall, the 40-watt Dayton speaker takes up very little space while offering a clear sound and fit in just about any room in the house. The sound comes off nicely balanced without feeling too bassy or too high. Lastly, as a sealed speaker, it’s a little less sensitive to poor placement near walls or corners.

Best Overall Floor Speaker: Klipsch RP280FA

Klipsch RP280FA
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The Klipsch name is known for its HiFi and excellent home theater setups, so it's no surprise that the RP280FA are the best overall floor speakers on the market. The RF280FA system is all about exceptional sound and it does not disappoint. You won’t find window-rattling bass, but that’s OK. Support for Dolby Atmos adds a whole new dimension to the audio experience, as it allows the sound to move around, above and through the listener for a heightened audio experience you rarely find in a floor-standing speaker.

Inside each speaker are two eight-inch copper woofers and one-inch titanium tweeters. An elevation channel is integrated into the top of each speaker to reflect sound off the ceiling, which helps bring you the Dolby Atmos experience. The speaker itself offers a contemporary aesthetic with real wood or polymer veneer finishes available. At 19 x 10.6 x 43 inches and weighing 71.5 pounds, the RP280FA speakers aren’t unusually large or tall, which makes them ideal for most rooms where primary audio listening will occur. While the price tag is just for one speaker, there’s absolutely every reason to invest in the Klipsch audio experience. There’s little chance you’ll be disappointed. 

Best Budget Floor Speaker: ELAC Debut F6

ELAC Debut F6
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The ELAC Debut F6 floorstanding speakers look classy and have excellent tonal range. The speakers stand at 43 x 10 x 8.5 inches and are 46.7 pounds, which feels like the right size for the sound. The price tag on these may be “budget-friendly,” but the audio quality will have you forgetting about price in no time. The three-way bass reflex design pushes audio quality to the limit in a package that feels luxurious, thanks to its textured vinyl finish. Inside, there's a one-inch cloth dome tweeter, one 6.5-inch woven aramid fiber cone and two 6.5-inch woven aramid fiber cone woofers. All in all, tune your amp and subwoofer and prepare to watch fantastic sounding movies or television shows.

For the value pricing, there’s no question you’ll find high-end clear and lifelike vocals that are lively without feeling too harsh on your ears. Sound aside, the F6 design goes a little against the grain without trying to feel too modern.

Best Overall Home Theater Speaker: Onkyo HT-S7800

Onkyo HT-S7800
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The Onkyo HT-S7800 is one of the systems that helps provide concrete reasoning why Onkyo is such a prolific manufacturing company of excellent quality audio equipment. There’s support for all the latest and greatest digital trends, including Dolby Atmos, 3D support, TrueHD, DTS:X, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. Right out of the box are an a/v receiver, five satellite speakers, a powered subwoofer and a full assortment of color-coded cables for easy setup. The front left and right speakers have an additional speaker on the top that aids in support of the Dolby Atmos sound, so audio output bounces off the ceiling.

While the sound quality might already have you hooked, there’s more to love with the HT-S7800 home theater in a box. As a bonus, all eight 4K HDMI inputs support 4K/60Hz video and if your television isn’t 4K compatible, the receiver will scale 1080p content to display at 4K. The HT-S7800 includes support for Apple’s AirPlay and Google Cast, as well as streaming capabilities for Pandora, Spotify and Tidal.

Best Budget Home Theater Speaker: Polk Audio T50

If you’re looking for booming speakers that won’t break the bank, your best bet is a pair of Polk Audio T50 floor-standing tower speakers. These are large speakers measure 36.5 x 9.25 x 8.75 inches and weigh 20.4 pounds each, but once you have two of these in your home theater, you’ll see their size is worth it. Each speaker has a one-inch silk dome tweeter, a 6.25-inch extended throw composite driver, as well as two front-firing sub bass radiators. All of this leads to high-quality sound that will bring to life your next Star Wars marathon or Pink Floyd listening session. As for compatibility, these speakers have standard ports on the back that will work with most home theater receivers, stereos and processors.

Amazon reviewers have been mightily pleased with these speakers. Customers said these speakers offer excellent clarity with good highs and lows. They also mention that if you deeply care about bass, you might need to also purchase a subwoofer.

Best Overall In-Wall Stereo Speaker: Polk Audio 255-RT

Polk Audio 255-RT
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First released in 2011, Polk Audio’s 255-RT in-wall speakers remain the gold standard for the category with pitch-perfect sound, excellent build quality and good looks. The “vanishing” in-wall center channel speakers have only the screen visible, so they won't be an eyesore in your home. The magnetically secured grille protrudes just 7mm from its surroundings making the “vanishing” claim by Polk all the more believable. Installation is a snap with easy one-cut, drop-in setup with “perfect fit” templates that help achieve a vibration-free experience with minimal installation time. The speakers itself feature a pair of 5.25-inch woofers made with a composite polymer cone and rubber sound. There’s also a single tweeter with a silk and polymer cone to round out the sound. And drivers mounted on a flat base allow for easier wall mounting.

Best Budget In-Wall Stereo Speaker: 82W Silver Ticket

82W Silver Ticket
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If you’re looking for an inexpensive option for in-wall speakers that can be placed in a bathroom, sauna or even outdoors, the 82W Silver Ticket are a perfect choice. Each speaker features one eight-inch mic polypropylene cone woofer with rubber edge and a 30-ounce magnet, so you’ll immediately be impressed with the clean, distortion-free sound. Additionally, Silver Ticket included a 20mm silk dome tweeter to add smooth sound and a 15-degree pivot to directionally push the music for the best possible audio experience.

In addition, the solid construction and moisture-resistant speakers are proof that budget pricing doesn’t mean budget quality or sound. The speakers works perfectly with 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1 home systems, and the flexibility to place the speaker horizontally or vertically means you'll have plenty of opportunities to find the right space.