8 Best Bookshelf Speakers in 2021

ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Bookshelf Speakers

KEF LS50 Meta

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2″ 2-Way Bookshelf Speaker

Large speakers might provide you with the best sounds, but not everyone has the budget or space for a set of floor standers. Bookshelf speakers are a great balance between quality audio and size, and they offer you value for your money. They are larger than portable speakers but smaller than floor speakers; they provide you with loud, solid and amplified sound that is great for small to medium sized rooms. They provide you with a fantastic listening experience.

They are mostly known as bookshelf speakers and as stand mount speakers, and they are small enough to fit comfortably on a bookshelf, on a desk, on stands or on a table. However, it isn’t compulsory that you place them on a bookshelf. Some of these speakers require more space in order for them to perform optimally, so ensure you check the manufacturer’s recommendations before making a purchase.

ARE EXPENSIVE SPEAKERS BETTER?

You may believe that expensive speakers are way better when you think about it because they are made from higher components, and more money has been spent on their production. Yes, some high-end speakers will outshine the cheaper speakers, but the sound isn’t entirely subjective. Not everybody has the room size to house a large speaker; they would be too loud and powerful for a small room, the sound will be boxed in, and it wouldn’t have the best sound clarity in that space. Also, technology has advanced to the point that inexpensive speakers sound great.

BUYING GUIDE FOR PURCHASING THE BEST BOOKSHELF SPEAKERS

However, before you can purchase a bookshelf speaker, you need to know what features to look out for in order for your speaker to serve you in the best way possible. We are going to be looking at some important factors you need to consider when choosing a bookshelf speaker. These factors include.

Size And Sound Quality

Bookshelf speakers are small enough to fit on a bookshelf, but that doesn’t mean that they do not vary in weight and size. It is important to consider the size of the speaker, especially if you would like to move the speakers from one spot to another.

The sound quality of the speaker depends on the cabinet design, tuning and materials. It’s the tech present in the speaker that matters. However, the cabinet size plays a role in the different aspects of the sound, such as the volume, but that doesn’t mean it’s universal. Just know that when you’re buying a bookshelf speaker, you shouldn’t think that the larger speakers will give you better sound quality because it’s not true.

Wired Versus Wireless

The world of wireless technology has been ever-growing, so it is archaic to think that wireless speakers aren’t as good as their wired counterparts. Some wireless speakers release such powerful sounds that you would believe that it was wired. Many wireless speakers can produce loveable sounds, and the same goes for wireless bookshelf speakers. Whether the speaker you choose is wired or not, you’ll get great sound out of it, but do not relate wireless to lesser quality.

One of the benefits of using a wireless speaker is the lack of a cluster. Even though wireless bookshelf speakers aren’t totally wireless as they need a cable to connect the right and left channel, they help reduce the amount of cable running all over your room. Another benefit of wireless speakers is that you don’t have to bother about plugging it via an analog input. They come with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, sometimes both, and this means you can connect them to your smartphone or laptop; it can come in handy.

Passive And Active Speakers

Bookshelf speakers come in two types. Passive bookshelf speakers need to be powered through an external amplifier because they have no in-built amplification. Active speakers come with preamp, inputs, and volume control right on the speaker. Most wireless bookshelf speakers are classified as active.

Passive speakers allow you to choose the hardware your speaker can connect to instead of relying on what the company selected. Active speakers tend to be heavier than passive speakers, and they have smaller drivers because the speaker is already accommodating a lot of hardware.

Drivers

Drivers are the part of the speaker that produces sound. In general, larger drivers are better, but their location in the speaker and the material used in making them also matters. Most of our picks have multiple drivers that can handle various frequencies to produce clear and smooth sounds.

Impedance And Wattage

It is vital that you consider the wattage of the bookshelf speaker before making a purchase. Active speakers all have the same range when it comes to wattage. However, things are a bit more complicated when it comes to passive speakers, especially when matching them to an external amp because you’ll have to know if they are compatible. That part is quite easy. For instance, the Elac Uni-Fi 2.0 has a suggested amplifier wattage of 40 to 140 watts per channel. It means that you would have to get an amplifier that puts out a wattage within that range, and you can enjoy your speaker.

A common problem is mismatching speakers to amps. If you pair your speaker with an amp that is too powerful for it, it will cause the optimum volume level on the amp dial to reduce. If you try to turn the volume up to a certain level, it will result in a tearing sound known as speaker distortion. If you keep playing in that condition, it may cause blown drivers.

When an amp wattage is lower than the speaker’s wattage, the amp will most likely clip and go into the red as it would be struggling to deliver the needed wattage. If you keep using it like that, it may just go boom.

You also need to pay attention to the impedance of the speaker. It is important that your amp or A/V receiver has a lower or equal impedance number as the speakers. Amps tend to use their full potential wattage when the impedance is at the lowest. For example, suppose the amp has a wattage of 100 watts at four ohms. In that case, the rule is that when the amp is working at 8 ohms, meaning it’s powering a pair of eight ohm speakers such as the SVS Ultra, then it can only deliver half the wattage from its four ohms ability, for this example, it means that it would work at 50 watts. It might sound like a whole lot of math, but a lot of people use it to their advantage. If they wanted to use the amp’s full power, they simply had to connect another pair of eight-ohm speakers; the joined impedance of the speakers will match the amp’s impedance number.

Bookshelf Speakers vs Floorstanding Speakers

A very common question that goes around is whether to purchase a set of bookshelf speakers or a set of floor standing speakers. Floorstanding speakers are tall tower-designed speakers placed directly on the floor instead of being placed on stands or on a shelf. They mostly have more drivers than the bookshelf models.

Floorstanding speakers offer you two things; the first is that they can present a wide range of the frequencies spectrum, which means a deeper bass than most bookshelf speakers. If you get a set of them, you won’t need an extra subwoofer to boost the bass.

The second thing they offer is that they allow greater volume than their counterpart due to their large size. However, this does not mean they provide better sound quality, but it means that if you have a larger space and you want to include speakers in your home theatre setup, then they would be great. However, it is most important to consider your space and volume in order to know which speaker to choose, whether it’s bookshelf speakers or floor standing speakers.

Bookshelf Speakers vs Surround Sound

These two setups tends to work well when paired together. Nothing is stopping you from incorporating your bookshelf speaker into a 5.1 or 7.1 multi-speaker setup. However, you would need a surround A/V receiver that has enough power to match your speakers. Sometimes it is recommended that your amp/receiver has a bit more wattage than the speakers. Each speaker needs to be connected to its own power outlet. The only issue is that bookshelf speakers are sold in pairs; if you would like a 5.1 setup, you may need to purchase three pairs with a sub while you leave one of the speakers in storage or use it for whatever you want. However, if you go for this setup, then we would suggest that you set the bookshelf speakers as the front right and front left speakers in the surround setup.

Bookshelf Speakers vs Standmount Speakers

For the longest time, bookshelf speakers and stand mount speakers were the exact same thing; the terms were just used interchangeably. You can decide to mount them on their dedicated speaker stand or place them on a bookshelf or any other furniture. However, their definitions over time have become clearer.

Now, stand mount speakers are used to referring to speakers that are designed to be placed on their dedicated stands. Sometimes, the manufacturers make their own custom stands that can be shipped with the speakers or sold independently.

However, we think the definition may have gone a bit far. Except the speakers are specifically made to sit on custom-made stands, then you can simply place them wherever you want. You should place them at a spot where the sounds will be best displayed; you can experiment to find the right spot. If you have a small space, you can simply place them wherever you can; you will still get a nice sound quality.

Choosing the right bookshelf speaker might not be the easiest thing to do because of the various sizes and specs they come in, and it can be quite overwhelming for a beginner, but with the buying guide, you know what to look for in a speaker, and that should help you narrow down your choices. That is why we have compiled a list of the best bookshelf speakers available on the market to help you ease the stress of shopping for a bookshelf speaker. Let us take a look at the list.

The Best Bookshelf Speakers Are Reviewed Below

We have conducted our research and provided you with a comprehensive list of the best bookshelf speakers, and it includes their key features, specifications, pros and cons. Having this information will allow you to make the right decision. Below are our favourite bookshelf speakers.

1

ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Bookshelf Speakers

The Elac brand has been in the speaker business since the 1980s and has produced a lot of great products, and this speaker is one of them. The sound quality is top-notch; it provides you with a smooth and natural sound whether you’re streaming or listening to vinyl. The speakers come with enough power to satisfy bassheads, and sonically, they are far better than other speakers in their price range, such as the Q Acoustics 3020i.

This speaker can be placed anywhere, so no matter where you place them, you would get great sound, and they can play from anything ranging from simple Spotify stream to more expensive vinyl. They all sound great from this bookshelf speaker.

However, these speakers are not the newest in the group, and they might have a boring look because they come in just one colour option, but you can save money while getting the best sound. This speaker is one of the best speakers Elac has ever made, and they are great for everyone, but if you want a more high-end product, you could check out other models such as the SVS. However, we think this speaker is more than great for anyone as it’s a fantastic speaker.

Key Features:

  • Wide dispersion waveguide
  • A Crossover frequency of 2200Hz
  • Sensitivity of 87db at 2.83v/1m
  • New woven Aramid fibre woofer
  • New tweeter
  • A Nominal impedance of 6 Ohms
  • Maximum power input of 120 watts
  • New cabinet for easier placement
  • Frequency response of 44Hz to 35000Hz

Specification:

  • Brand: ELAC
  • Model: ELAC (Debut 2.0 B6.2) Bookshelf Speakers
  • Weight: 16.31 Pounds
  • Dimensions: 10.6 * 7.7 * 14.8 inches
  • Colour: Black
Pros
  • It provides you with high quality, detailed and organized sound
  • It is durable
  • It has a solid build
  • It doesn’t have a fussy nature
  • It provides you with everything you need in a bookshelf speaker
Cons
  • Its design and look is not as sleek when compared to other models

2

KEF LS50 Meta

The KEF Metas have a similar look to the LS50s, but they have their differences. The manufacturers tried to improve the beautiful enclosure but decided that there was little to be improved.

One area that really needed to be improved was the LS50’s driver array which was the position of the tweeter on the mid/bass unit. It has been remodelled; it now uses all the refinement that KEF has developed over the past eight years. It added something extra in the form of a Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT). It’s the brand’s way of dealing with the sound that comes off the back of the aluminum tweeter dome.

It’s quite easy to notice that the LS50s have improved significantly over time. The basic sonic character remains the same, but the newer ones now have a higher level of clarity and finesse that the originals didn’t fully feature.

Key Features:

  • Features KEF’s Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT)
  • It uses KEF’s 12, the generation Uni-Q driver
  • A Frequency range of 6db, 47 Hz, 45 kHz

Specification:

  • Brand: KEF
  • Model: KEF LS50 Meta Titanium Grey
  • Weight: 39.2 Pounds
  • Dimensions: 7.87 * 11.02 * 11.89 inches
  • Colour: Available in four finishes; Mineral White, Carbon Black, Royal Blue special edition and Titanium Grey
Pros
  • It uses innovative technology
  • It has an exceptional sonic transparency
  • It has a subtle but precise presentation
Cons
  • None

3

Dayton Audio B652-AIR 6-1/2

The Dayton Audio B652-AIR will prove to you that you can buy a budget speaker without compromising the build and sound quality. It might not be as expensive as other options, but they offer you great sound. This speaker comes with an Air Motion Transformer Tweeter, which is quite uncommon for speakers this inexpensive. This type of tweeter is known for its openness and detail, and it doesn’t fall short in this speaker. This speaker is one of the most realistic and cleanest we have seen for this price range, and it will easily beat other models such as the Fluance XL8S.

However, the Dayton Audio B652-AIR is not without its fault. The bass on this speaker is underpowered, so bass lovers might want to check out another speaker model, such as the Fluance that was mentioned earlier. Also, the binding spots on the rear end of the speaker do not allow the use of banana plugs; this means you would have to use bare speaker wires. That can be irritating, but it’s not a total deal-breaker, especially because of the good sound quality it provides. It is quite difficult finding a speaker that’s below $200, which’s excellent for both newcomers and audiophiles, but we think that this speaker will surprise anyone.

Key Features:

  • Air Motion Transformer Tweeter
  • Removable acoustically transparent cloth grill
  • Unobtrusive and compact design
  • Black ebony pica vinyl cabinet finish
  • 6-1/2 inches woofer

Specification:

  • Brand: Dayton Audio
  • Model: Dayton Audio B652-AIR Bookshelf Speaker
  • Weight: 10.93 Pounds
  • Dimensions: 13.5 * 8.1 * 11.7 inches
  • Colour: Black
Pros
  • It has excellent detail and clarity
  • It is affordable
  • It has an impressive tweeter for improved sound
Cons
  • It has a slightly weak bass
  • The binding spots can be annoying to use

4

DALI - Spektor 2

This speaker ticks all the boxes, but once you start using them, you’ll notice that they offer much more for decent pair of budget bookshelf speakers. They provide you with a range of skills that only a few speakers in their price range can match.

The vocal from this speaker is powerful and distinctive, and they are delivered with nuance and precision, and the performance has a lot of energy. The dynamic of the speaker is handled with assurance, while the soundstage is quite expansive. They are also easy to partner with a kit, so they come highly recommended.

Key Features:

  • Engineered to suit any amplifier
  • Wood fibre cone woofers

Specification:

  • Brand: DALI
  • Model: DALI Spektor 2
  • Weight: 18.48 Pounds
  • Dimensions: 11.5 * 6.69 * 9.37 inches
  • Colour: Brown and Black
Pros
  • It is agile, expressive and articulate
  • It is compact, so you don’t have to worry about how much space it would take up
  • It is unfussy
Cons
  • None

5

ELAC Uni-Fi 2.0 UB52 Bookshelf Speakers

If you would like to own a pair of Elac speakers but would prefer something more refined than the older model, you can go for this model. They might be a little too expensive for most listeners, but they are great to pair of speakers. Whether these speakers are used in a small office or large room, they performed wonderfully well. It’s also impressive how easily they move between hi-fi and home theatre systems; they sound great with a stereo amp and an AV receiver. These speakers were redesigned from the original by designer Andrew Jones and the improvements show.

Our major problem we had with the Elac Uni-Fi 2.0s, apart from their high price, is that they have a lot of competitors for their price range. They are quite great, but they are only slightly better than their competitors, such as the Aperion Audio Novus and the QAcoustics 3020i speakers.

Key Features:

  • 3-way speaker design
  • Concentric driver
  • Single-piece aluminum cone
  • 4-inch aluminum midrange
  • One inch wide roll surround tweeter
  • 5-1/4 inches bass driver
  • 6-Ohm nominal impedance
  • Five-way binding post connector type

Specification:

  • Brand: ELAC
  • Model: ELAC Uni-Fi (2.0 UB52) Bookshelf Speakers
  • Weight: 18.26 Pounds
  • Dimensions: 10.83 * 7.28 * 13.62 inches
  • Colour: Black
Pros
  • It works great in both hi-fi and home theatre systems
  • It is durable
  • Its front-firing ports allow for easy placement
Cons
  • It might be a bit intimidating for beginners
  • They face a lot of competition

6

Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers

The Edifier isn’t really known as a high-end brand, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t any good. They manufacture affordable and excellent speakers and headphones, and this model is one of the best they have ever produced. It is a combination of affordability and value, along with great sounds. It is ideal for smaller spaces.

Unlike most speakers on this list, the Edifier R1280T is an active set of speakers; each speaker has its own amplifier. It makes it easier to connect the playback source through a simple RCA cable without a separate amplifier, but they aren’t wireless. But they have great value for your money; it comes with a remote and the ability to fine-tune the sound using the in-built EQ knobs. The audio quality of these speakers is great and even mind-blowing. However, they are not incredibly loud; the speakers use a max of 21 watts per channel, the detail and definition should be accurate enough to satisfy most people.

Key Features:

  • Two AUX input
  • Non-Bluetooth version
  • Natural sound production
  • High-quality MDF wood
  • Two-year warranty
  • Adjust the volume using the remote control

Specification:

  • Brand: Edifier
  • Model: Edifier R1280T Bookshelf Speakers
  • Weight: 10.8 Pounds
  • Dimensions: 6.9 * 9.5 * 5.8 inches
  • Colour: Brown and Black
Pros
  • It is affordable but efficient
  • Produces great audio sounds
  • It has a durable and sleek finish
Cons
  • It doesn’t have a very high volume
  • It lacks subtlety

7

Triangle HiFi Borea BR03 Bookshelf Speakers

Triangle is a French speaker manufacturer trying to pave the way for itself in the speaker industry, and they are succeeding. These affordable speakers have to be on this list.

This brand delivers a large sense of scale, which is much larger than other rivals such as the formidable B&W 607. They also have great separation and precision. The frequency range has a lot of detail and insight. Given the size of the speakers, their bass quantity is perfectly acceptable. The older Triangle models may have sounded bright or hard, but this model is perfectly balanced.

It has a distinctive design with a great finish. The Borea BR03 are great speakers with wonderful music performance coupled with a great sense of scale and the ability to present music in a transparent manner. It is worth considering.

Key Features:

  • Silk dome tweeter
  • Protection grid
  • 5 year limited warranty
  • Cellulose midrange
  • Sound clarity and neutrality
  • Precise low frequencies
  • 8* adhesive rubber plots

Specification:

  • Brand: Triangle
  • Model: Triangle HiFi (Borea BR03) Bookshelf Speakers
  • Weight: 34 Pounds
  • Dimensions: 8.11 * 12.36 * 14.96 inches
  • Colour: White and Black
Pros
  • They are high-quality speakers
  • It has an agile bass
  • They come with an impressive sense of scale
  • It produces detailed and sophisticated sound
Cons
  • Not everyone would like the aesthetics
  • It has a slight peakiness to treble

8

KEF R3 Speakers

These speakers are part of the brand’s premium R series; the R3s offer you part of the engineering used in the more expensive Reference 1 and also the sonic performance for half the price of the Reference 1.

The R3 are great speakers with a winning combination. They are sonically balanced and work great with a wide range of systems. If you provide them with a top-class feed, they will deliver great sounds that would impress anyone. This is one speaker that you can buy with confidence.

Key Features:

  • Three-way speaker
  • Powerful 165mm bass driver
  • Aluminum dome tweeter
  • Matching precision-cut magnetic microfibre grilles
  • 12th generation Uni-Q driver

Specification:

  • Brand: KEF
  • Model: KEF R3 Speakers
  • Weight: 29.8 Pounds
  • Dimensions: 13.59 * 8.39 * 17 inches
  • Colour: Available in Gloss Black, Real Wood Veneer Walnut and Gloss White
Pros
  • It has an excellent finish
  • It has great resolution and insight
  • It produces balanced and entertaining sounds
Cons
  • None

Buying Guide Questions

Below are answers to some commonly asked questions.

What is the best brand of bookshelf speakers?

Our top pick for the best bookshelf speaker is the ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Bookshelf Speakers.

How do I choose bookshelf speakers?

If you follow our buying guide, you will see the most important factors you need to consider to make choosing a bookshelf speaker easy.

Are bookshelf speakers as good as tower speakers? Are floor speakers better than bookshelf speakers?

Tower speakers are generally better than bookshelf speakers due to their larger drivers, as small drivers tend to have less impact on the bass frequencies.

Bookshelf speakers that are set up correctly can produce sounds that are as great as that of a floor-standing speaker.

Why are bookshelf speakers so expensive? What Hi Fi best budget bookshelf speakers?

The bookshelf speaker’s price range varies, but they are mostly pricey because of their design, quality of material used, the weight and durability of the speaker, and the speaker’s branding.

There are numerous Hi Fi budget speakers; some include Elac Debut B5 and Dali Spektor 2.

Can you lay bookshelf speakers on their sides?

You can place bookshelf speakers on their sides, but the cancellation effect might be more noticeable.

What is the top 10 speaker brands?

The 10 top speaker brands include Bose, JBL, Klipsch, KEF, Bowers & Wilkins, Definitive Technology, Focal and Quested.

Is JBL better than Bose?

It depends on the model of the speaker. The JBL Charge 4 is better than Bose’s Soundlink Color II. It has a better battery life, sound quality and durability.

Conclusion

Bookshelf speakers are a great option if you do not have enough space for larger speakers or the budget. They provide you with quality sound while taking up less space, making them efficient and cost-effective. However, you have to know what you’re looking for before purchasing a bookshelf speaker; you need to know the specifications that will suit your needs.

We provided you with a buying guide and product list. The buying guide will inform you of all the factors you need to know before making a choice, while the product review will help make it easier for you to choose the right bookshelf speaker. Ensure you pick a bookshelf speaker that meets your needs and makes you happy.

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