Computers, laptops, and TVs – do you know what these devices have in common? The answer is poor audio quality! That’s right: unless the PC, notebook, or TV is crazy expensive, the built-in speaker sound will leave you disappointed. This can be easily fixed, though, and you won’t have to spend big bucks. Instead, consider investing in a set of bookshelf speakers.
Designed with flexibility and ease-of-use in mind, these consumer-grade loudspeakers are compact, lightweight, and can fit in the tightest spot. The sound quality is pretty decent as well, and they last for a long time. So, let’s go ahead and see what we’re working with. We’ll start with a list of the Best Bookshelf Speakers Under 100. Next, we’ll check out the finest sets under $200. Let’s dive right in!
Best Bookshelf Speakers Under 100 Review
1. PreSonus Eris E3.5 – Best Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers Under 100
If you’re an up-and-coming musician looking for a cheap, yet decent-quality set of speakers, PreSonus might have the perfect offer for you. These entry-level studio monitors have an incredibly deep, pronounced, and accurate sound output for the price. On top of that, they’re also perfect for playing video games or watching your favorite movies and series. Yes, you could call Eris a jack of all trades.
I also want to mention the handy and precise controls for low and high frequencies. Use them for quick adjustment and fine-tuning of the sound to your liking. Another big pro: as a bonus, the speakers come packed with the company’s Studio One + Magic plug-in suite – premium-quality production software. The only minor con has to do with the cables: their quality leaves a lot to be desired.
- Studio monitors: perfect for games, movies, and studio work
- Low-/high-frequency controls for easy sound adjustment
- Come packed with the Studio One and Magic suite
- The included cables are pretty cheap
In many ways, the Eris 3.5 bookshelf speakers are a bargain. First of all, they sound great; secondly, they’re suited not only for connecting to a TV or gaming console but also for serious studio work. The enhanced controls and generous package are even more reasons to put them on your list.
2. Creative 51MF1610AA002 – Best Tiny Bookshelf Speakers Under 100
One of the biggest selling points of the Creative speakers is their flexible, universal design. They are compatible with a long list of devices, be it a TV, Smartphone, computer, notebook, or tablet. As for the price tag, it’s more than fair: you can afford this kit even if you have a very modest budget. Lightweight and compact, the GigaWorks series speakers are easy to fit in tight spots around the room, which is another pro.
The included BasXport technology, woven glass fiber driver, and precision tuning, in turn, ensure a solid audio quality. Unfortunately, the Creative customer support service isn’t at all client-oriented. It takes days to respond and does very little to help solve issues. This product is still a worthy pick, though, especially if you’re looking for one of those “cheap and angry” replacements for your factory speakers.
- Universal design: work with a wide range of devices
- Compact, lightweight, and easy to move around
- A great pick if you’re on a really tight budget
- Poor customer support
There’s very little not to like about the Creative speakers. They are competitively priced, sound pretty great (for the price, of course), and feature a highly compatible, lightweight design for mobility and extended connectivity. Sadly, customer support isn’t this company’s strong suit.
3. Logitech Z623 – Best Cheap Bookshelf Speakers Under 100
The one thing that immediately makes the Logitech speakers stand out is the subwoofer. Yes, it comes as a part of the package and does a great job of handling the lows. With it, you’ll get a deep, strong, believable low-frequency response for those bass-heavy music tracks. And what about the volume level: will you get enough? The answer is yes, you most certainly will because this kit packs 400 Watts of peak power (200W RMS).
That means Z623 will be able to fill out the biggest home theater with quality audio. Speaking of that, Logitech made these speakers THX-certified for an immersive, cinematic, and highly accurate representation of different music genres, movies/series, games, and more. The only downside has to do with the high-pitch noise that appears on the right speaker. This is reported by a minor percentage of buyers but can be an issue.
- Premium subwoofer included for deep, punchy bass
- Impressive power output: 400 Watts of raw power
- THX-Certified for an authentic experience
- Develop a high-pitch noise
What should you expect to get with the Logitech speaker + subwoofer kit? The list of pros is quite impressive, actually, and includes a punchy, satisfying bass, 200 watts of RMS power, and the THX technology for an all-around solid audio experience. The right speaker does fail sometimes, though.
Best Bookshelf Speakers Under 200 Review
1. Edifier R1700BT – Best Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers Under 200
Alright, moving up to the next price category, it’s time for us to check out what Edifier has to offer. Arguably, the biggest selling point here is the full support of the Bluetooth interface. It only takes a minute to get these speakers connected, and you’ll be able to control them through your phone or tablet. On the downside, in some cases, it’s almost impossible to turn Bluetooth off, which can lead to unwanted consequences.
I’m talking about the speakers pairing themselves up with your neighbor’s gadgets, and stuff like that. Again, this is a rather rare issue, but an issue nonetheless. The good news is – Edifier includes a handy RC (remote control) and is protected by a two-year warranty. So, if Bluetooth starts acting up, don’t hesitate to take advantage of the guarantee.
- Bluetooth-compatible and very easy to get connected
- The package includes a useful remote controller
- Backed by a two-year warranty deal
- Bluetooth is always on
Are you in the market for a Bluetooth-enabled set of affordable speakers? Then the R1700BT set might be exactly what you need. The Bluetooth feature doesn’t always work properly, but you will get a remote controller and a two-year Edifier warranty. Overall, this is a sure pick.
2. Sony SSCS5 – Best Budget Bookshelf Speakers Under 200
This company doesn’t need an introduction: Sony is one of the pioneers of the home audio bookshelf speaker market. So, does that mean this kit is the best deal out there? Well, let’s take a quick look at what this product is all about. Most importantly, the SSCS5 speakers are factory-optimized. They deliver a pronounced, sharp, sizzle-free audio output, which is quite rare in this price range.
The three-driver + three-way design also contributes to the audio quality. You’ll get an equally decent experience when playing games, watching movies, or listening to different genres of music. I do have to say that the middle frequencies are slightly hollow, but that’s not a very big con. Besides, there are lots of different configurations to choose from with the SSCS5 speakers.
- Optimized for a clean, pronounced, and crisp sound
- Three-way/driver system for full-range audio
- Lots of different packages to pick from
- Sound a bit hollow in the mids
One of the most common things that people complain about when buying speakers is the “cheap” audio quality. Well, you won’t get that with Sony. These speakers sound great, especially in the lows and the highs. Plus, the company offers various configurations/packages.
3. Klipsch R-14M – Best Sounding Bookshelf Speakers Under 200
This is the least affordable bookshelf speaker set on the list – let’s just get that out of the way first. Now, with the biggest con revealed, let’s see whether the pros outweigh it, or not. These speakers have durable, sturdy construction and serve for a very long time (up to a decade or more). The design also deserves our attention, as it’s an eye-catching combo of modern trends and old-school styles.
The R-14M loudspeakers look and sound pretty “expensive”, and that makes them the Best Bookshelf Speakers Under 200. Yes, the sound quality is well above average, and you won’t notice any dips or hollowness across the frequency spectrum. So, if you’re ready to commit to a pricey kit that’s gonna be worth every single penny, Klipsch could be the right deal for you. If not, you’ll be better off with the other options that we reviewed earlier.
- Brick-strong, durable construction – can take a beating
- Sound equally great in the lows, mids, and highs
- A strong mix of retro and modern designs
- Slightly on the expensive side
Impeccable audio quality, a durable, long-lasting body/construction, and a catchy design – that’s the best way to describe the Klipsch speakers. They are pricey but do carry excellent value, especially for an audiophile ready to pay extra for a set of premium speakers to connect to a computer or a TV.
What Can You Expect From $100 Loudspeakers?
The good news is – even if you’ve only got +/- $100 in your pocket, that will still land you with a decent loudspeaker pair. True, the audio quality, connectivity options, and extra features won’t be on par with the more expensive sets. However, the kit will still introduce a dramatic improvement over the built-in TV tweeters or whatever old and cheap speakers you had connected to the PC/laptop.
If you do some digging, you’ll even be able to find a kit that fully supports wireless connectivity (I’m talking about Bluetooth) and at least one analog interface – RCA or Auxiliary. Now, the bass frequencies won’t sound like much, unless the package includes a proper subwoofer. Again, it’s very well possible to find a two-speaker set + a woofer for less than #100. The power output will also be decent, by the way.
For example, the Logitech kit on today’s list boasts 200 Watts RMS – quite impressive regardless of the price. A quick note: don’t rush yourself with the purchase. Take some time to check out at least a dozen options before making a commitment with your hard-earned bucks.
What To Look For in Bookshelf Speakers Under $100?
The first thing that I always check is the size/dimensions. On one hand, the smaller the speakers, the easier it will be to fit them on your bookshelf. Plus, small loudspeakers are usually more lightweight and take little effort to carry around. On the other hand, bigger size means higher sound quality. This isn’t a universal rule, but, in most cases, size does matter, as the engineers get more room to fit all the right hardware for proper audio output.
The drivers come next. To put it simply, it’s the drivers that handle the lows, mids, and highs. As I just said, the bigger the drivers, the more accurate, crisp, and satisfying the music will sound. The material also matters, of course, along with the manufacturing process and the implemented technological features. My advice to you: look for speakers with separate tweeters (for the highs) and woofers (for the lows).
The package is very important as well. If you only receive a pair of speakers, and no cables, you won’t be able to connect them (unless Bluetooth is a part of the deal). Also, see that the package includes a detailed user manual. True, plugging the speakers into a computer or a TV isn’t rocket science, but if this is your first time, instructions will be very helpful.
What Is a Bookshelf Speaker?
This is one of those cases when the name is 100% self-explanatory. Yes, bookshelf speakers are loudspeakers that were specifically designed and engineered to, well, fit on a bookshelf. You don’t have to put them there, of course, but the size and the overall design do allow them to fit in spots where a regular-size set would probably be too big and bulky to fit.
Bookshelf speakers always come in a pair for a proper stereo image. Plus, it won’t take you a science degree to add new speakers into the system. That’s right: you can easily switch from the standard two-speaker configuration into a 5.1 or even 7.1 set. All you’ll have to do is buy new speakers (say, a wireless rear speaker kit), get them connected, and that’s it.
The bookshelf speaker concept became really popular in the 90s. It offers a pretty great compromise between the bigger, more expensive studio monitors and the small speaker cabinets with an average-at-best sound. So, if you’ve got a home theater setup, and don’t want to invest in a full-fledged 5.1 system just yet, you can start with a bookshelf set and go from there.
What to look for in Bookshelf Speakers under $200?
Ok, now that we’ve learned about the most important factors to keep in mind while shopping for under-100 speakers, let’s see what we can go for with under-200 kits:
A premium finish. If you dig deep enough, you’ll find bookshelf speakers in this price range with a top-quality finish. I’m talking about that classic, walnut finish, and premium MDF wood. This combination gives the speakers a distinctive look and they will add to any home décor. The black polymer also looks pretty good.
A remote control. This is more of a bonus than anything else. However, even if the speakers are Bluetooth-friendly, the RC will still come in handy. You’ve got all the buttons and controls at your fingertips, and even when the wireless connection fails, you’ll have the remote control to set the right volume, play around with the EQ, and more.
A proper warranty deal. You can never be 100% confident in any purchase, especially one made online. That’s why a speaker set that’s covered by a warranty is a deal you don’t want to pass by. Standard warranties start with a one-year guarantee. A more client-oriented brand, in turn, will offer a two-year deal. A quick note: some warranties only work within the States (no official Canada support).
Can you Get Good Cheap Bookshelf Speakers?
Yes, you most certainly can. As we already learned earlier from this FAQ, even if the speakers cost less than 100 dollars, they will still sound significantly better than, say, the built-in TV speakers. You will, however, have to make sure the speakers are of the right size, come packed with big-enough drivers, and that the package includes all the necessary extras.
And don’t go too cheap: generally, a set of bookshelf speakers that’s available for less than $50 won’t be a good investment. Yes, it will be pretty cheap, but the audio quality, connectivity options, durability, and even design will leave a lot to be desired. Therefore, begin your search for the perfect speakers in the $70-100 range. Or, better yet, go back to my detailed reviews of three top-notch speakers under $100, and take your pick!
There are lots of things to keep in mind while scrolling through the available bookshelf speakers at an online store. Earlier in the FAQ, we talked about the key aspects to consider when you’ve only got 100 or 200 bucks in your pocket. So, we already covered the most important factors. But, if you want to become a pro at picking speakers, there’s more to learn, including the difference between passive and active speakers, compatibility, and the extras. Stay tuned!
#1: Active vs. Passive Speakers – What’s the Difference?
The difference is pretty big, and it has to do with amplification. No speaker kit will be able to make a sound unless its signal is amplified. The best thing about active speakers: they come packed with an amp that handles everything. You won’t have to buy a standalone, external device to make the speakers work. Passive speakers are more affordable, of course, and you might be able to pair them to a higher-quality amp.
However, in the $100/200 range, I would go with active speakers for a hassle-free experience. The only time when it would be wiser to buy passive speakers and invest big bucks in a premium amplifier is if you’re working with studio-quality monitors. If not, buy an active kit, get it connected, and enjoy!
#2: Connectivity Options: The More, the Better
RCA will always be a part of the picture, no matter how cheap or expensive the speakers are. An Aux input is also pretty common, just like Bluetooth. In contrast, digital interfaces (USB and HDMI) are very rare with bookshelf speakers, at least if we’re talking about (relatively) affordable options.
#3: And what about the Extras?
If you’re going for a cheap set of bookshelf speakers, you probably won’t find anything else in the package except for a speaker pair. With that said, I would very much recommend checking the specs before making an order and making sure you’ll get an OEM cable. Instructions would also come in handy. As for the techy features, THX is a pretty great deal. It makes everything sound better and more authentic.
Some brands even go the extra mile and add sweet bonuses like the Studio One suite with PreSonus. And one more thing: while you won’t be able to create a true Dolby Digital experience with a pair of speakers, some kits are pretty great at simulating it. Finally, on the control panel or the RC, you’ll find options like Bass Boost and EQ. Don’t expect these features to introduce any ground-breaking changes!
Bookshelf speakers might not be premium-quality audio equipment (especially if they cost less than 200 US bucks). However, as a quick, affordable, and user-friendly solution, these speakers can, indeed, be exactly what the doc ordered. They work with desktop PCs, notebooks, tablets, television sets – you name it. Plus, thanks to the relatively small size, you won’t have a hard time making them fit in the environment.
Just place the speakers on a raised surface, get them connected, and that’s it! Today, we checked out six bookshelf speakers – three sets in the under-$100 category, and six units that cost less than $200. So, yes, you’ve got plenty to choose from. Don’t rush yourself, take a minute to check out the FAQ and Buyer’s Guide, and reach out to me if you’ve got some questions!