The Best Bookshelf Speakers

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Everyone in the modern world needs some way to play sound in their home; bookshelf speakers are a great tool to use for you to liven up your space with music, or you could use them for your television sets or computers. This speaker type is also great for musicians looking for the most accurate and powerful sound possible while mixing your audio.

With so many different bookshelf speaker options on the market, it can be hard to know where to start your search. In case you’re feeling lost, we’ve put together this list of some of the best speakers you can find on the market right now. We’ll also go over the difference between active and passive speaker amplification at the end of this article, and then teach you all about some of the main features you should be looking for while shopping.

1. Editor’s Pick: Audioengine A2+ Plus Wireless Speaker

ProsCons
  • Multiple colour options
  • Clear and full sounding audio
  • Easily connects to any of your devices
  • Light and compact, while still packing powerful sound
  • Simple to set up in your space, no network set up required
  • Doesn’t sound as good at lower volumes

Key Specs

Amplification Type: Active
Connector Type: RCA, Bluetooth, USB, Aux
Dimensions: 13.34 x 10.16 x 15.24 cm
Weight: 3 kg

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These candy apple-coloured gems have a beautiful sound quality for a lower price point, and are the perfect choice for your listening needs as well as decorating your home.

The Audioengine A2+ Plus Wireless Speakers are not only gorgeous, but they also deliver a powerful and well-rounded audio quality that you won’t get from other speakers at this price. They’re light and compact and can fit essentially anywhere you want, which makes them a great way to brighten up your home with both colour and sound.

These speakers also have one of the most connectivity options out of the other alternatives on this list, so you’re sure to find a way to connect them to all your devices. Another feature that we love is that they’re simple to set up, and don’t require any network set up or passwords to connect wirelessly.

2. Best Runner Up: Edifier R2000DB Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

ProsCons
  • Comes with a remote control
  • Excellent audio quality for the price
  • Back panel with bass and treble control
  • Many connective options, like Bluetooth and Coaxial
  • Bulkier than some options
  • You’ll likely need an external subwoofer if you love bass

Key Specs

Amplification Type: Active
Connector Type: RCA, Bluetooth, Optical, Coaxial
Dimensions: 117.53 x 28.96 x 25.4 cm
Weight: 9.72 kg

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While these speakers aren’t as visually stunning as our top pick, they’re another great option to purchase because they produce powerful sound and have various control options.

At a slightly lower price point, the Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers are our second choice for bookshelf speakers because they deliver high-quality audio that’s balanced and clear. You’ll also find that there are knobs on the back panel that control the treble and bass of your sound, which can come in super handy. This set of speakers also has a variety of connectivity options, so that you won’t need to worry about any of your devices not being compatible — including gaming consoles like an Xbox or PlayStation.

3. Affordably Priced Option: Edifier R980T Active Bookshelf Speakers

ProsCons
  • Compatible with Mac
  • Adjustable bass
  • Well-rounded and affordable
  • Compact and easy to place in your home
  • No Bluetooth connection option
  • Audio isn’t as good as pricier options

Key Specs

Amplification Type: Active
Connector Type: RCA, Aux
Dimensions: 43.94 x 20.07 x 25.4 cm
Weight: 3.53 kg

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Take a look at these speakers if you’re on a budget and looking for good quality audio without spending all your money.

Don’t expect the best sounding audio in town with the Edifier R980T Active Bookshelf Speakers, but they offer a perfectly acceptable and well-rounded audio experience for causal music listening, playing video games, or watching movies, and they also come with a pretty wood finish that will look great anywhere you put them. These beauties pack a powerful enhanced bass for being such an affordable model; you’ll likely be able to listen to your music without wishing for more thump, but in the off chance you do find that you do want more bass you can always connect a self-powered subwoofer to the unit with an RCA cable.

One of the only negatives you’ll find with this model is that it won’t be able to connect to your devices wirelessly, and they will require either an RCA or Aux connection; if your devices aren’t compatible with these options, you should move on to a different speaker on this list.

4. Most Versatile: Polk Audio OWM3 Wall and Bookshelf Speakers

ProsCons
  • Compatible with Mac
  • Adjustable bass
  • Well-rounded and affordable
  • Compact and easy to place in your home
  • No Bluetooth connection option
  • Audio isn’t as good as pricier options

Key Specs

Amplification Type: Passive
Connector Type: Wired
Dimensions: 28.58 x 27.94 x 27.94cm
Weight: 4.76 kg

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If your bookshelves are already filled to the brim, try some versatile speakers like these that won’t take up precious room on your bookshelf.

The Polk Audio OWM3 Wall and Bookshelf Speakers are special because they’re wall mountable, and since they’re passive speakers you don’t need to worry about plugging it into a wall plug — you just need to wire it to an amplifier with speaker wire, which is long and easy to hide. With their curved design, it’s also very easy to mount these into any corners or angular areas that you want; some users even mounted these beauties onto their living room ceiling to create the feeling of surround sound.

On the negative side, these speakers don’t sound as good as other more traditional options. If you’re an audiophile or just looking for the clearest sound possible for your music or entertainment, these might not be the speakers for you.

5. Best for Home Theaters: Klipsch R-41M Home Speakers

ProsCons
  • Excellent sound for the price
  • Removable magnetic grille
  • Compact and elegant without sacrificing performance
  • Great bass, you might not need a subwoofer for lighter uses
  • No wireless connection
  • Some users reported a very high treble, you might need to equalize your audio

Key Specs

Amplification Type: Passive
Connector Type: Wired
Dimensions: 19.99 x 14.61 x 28.7cm
Weight: 3.18 kg

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These are another pair of passive speakers that are designed with your home in mind; consider these if you’re putting together a home theatre.

The Klipsch R-41M Powerful Detailed Bookshelf Home Speakers have a variety of design features that work to give you the best sound that it can; the speaker itself is shaped using special technology that directs the sound to the listener, while also reducing reverb and sound bouncing off walls, and it’s equipped with a unique tweeter and woofer that both work to minimize distortion.

Not only do they sound good, but they look sophisticated and have a sleek design — since they’re a passive speaker, they’re also easy to place anywhere you want without worrying about the unit being near a plug.

6. Best for Musicians: PreSonus Eris E4.5 2-Way Powered Studio Monitor

ProsCons
  • Great for musicians balancing audio
  • Large optimal listening area
  • Adjustable tuning controls
  • Smooth and accurate frequency response
  • Less connective options, no wireless
  • Some users heard an audible hum from the speaker

Key Specs

Amplification Type: Active
Connector Type: RCA
Dimensions: 42 x 23 x 30 cm
Weight: 907 g

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If you’re a musician looking to create and mix the best music you can, you’ll need a pair of speakers that have an accurate frequency response like these.

Any musician who mixes their audio digitally will know the importance of having accurate audio while producing their work; the PreSonus Eris E4.5 speakers don’t disappoint, and they have a smooth frequency response that will help reveal hidden sounds and mistakes in your music tracks. You can also quickly plug in your headphones right to the speaker without unplugging anything else, so you can check how your music is sounding on both devices.

One thing you’ll need to know is that you’ll need to connect these speakers through an RCA cable, and according to other customers none are supplied in the box — this information wasn’t prominently displayed on the product page and many customers learned the hard way, so make sure you already have the proper cables you’ll need or purchase some at the same time!

Active vs Passive Speakers: What’s the Difference?

All speakers need some sort of amplification to function; active speakers have an amplifier built into the body, so they just need to be connected to a wall plug to have power, while a passive speaker needs to be wired to an amplifier unit first to work. Active speakers can be much easier for those who don’t know much about audio because you won’t have to worry about finding an amplifier that will work with your speaker, and the process is more streamlined.

Many speakers these days come with active amplification, but there are some advantages to purchasing a passive model. They’re usually lighter and more compact, since they don’t have an amplifier unit built into the body, and they’re easier to place around your home because you don’t have to plug it in using a wall plug — you just need to connect it to an amplifier (which will be plugged into your wall) using a speaker wire, which can be purchased in very long lengths. The main disadvantage to owning a passive speaker is that they generally can’t be truly wireless like an active speaker can because you’ll always need to have it connected to an amplifier.

Features to Look for in Bookshelf Speakers

Connector Type: Before you purchase your new bookshelf speakers, make sure that they have the connectivity options that you’re looking for; if you want to have less wires around your home and all your devices have Bluetooth, for example, you’ll need a speaker that can support a wireless connection. If you’re a musician or building a home theatre and you’re looking for the most smooth and powerful audio possible, you’ll likely want a more classic wired connection. There are many kinds of wired connections as well, such as those that use RCA or Aux cables, so be sure to do your research and determine which ones you’ll need based on the devices you already have.

Subwoofer: Feeling a booming bass can be a big part of enjoying movies and music; most speakers will come with some way of producing bass, but if you want it to be extra powerful you can connect an external subwoofer, which is a speaker that’s specifically designed to accurately recreate the lower frequencies in your sound. If purchasing an additional subwoofer is something you know you’ll be interested in, double check the speaker’s specifications and make sure that it’d be compatible with a subwoofer.

Size: The size of your new speaker can be an important factor to think about, especially if you’re tight on space or wanting to place them actually on your bookshelf; make sure the model you purchase can fit between your shelves, or that it can fit on your desk without overcrowding it.

Placement: Just because they’re called bookshelf speakers doesn’t mean that you need to put them on your bookshelf — some models of these speakers now come with other mounting options, so you can place them in more opportune and space-saving places around your home, like on your walls or ceiling. If you purchase a passive speaker, this process is also much easier because you won’t need to worry about placing it close to a plug.

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