The Best Bookshelf Speakers – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

best-bookshelf-speakers

Our Top 3 Picks

Micca MB42X

Micca-MB42X-Bookshelf-Speakers-With-4-Inch-Carbon-Fiber-Woofer

Here you have an exceptional speaker and you don’t even have to spend a lot of money. The Micca pair’s crossovers provide exceptional clarity so you can enjoy low and high notes. The bass benefits, even more, thanks to the ported feature that limits distortion. So you get quality design at a low price and the speakers look amazing too. That’s why it wins on this list of reviews.
KEF Q300WH: Audiophile Quality Sound
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Klipsch R-15M

Klipsch-R-15M-Bookshelf-Speaker

Here is a combination of unique design on the exterior and high-quality components inside. The copper woofers look exceptional and work to provide optimum output for your low frequencies. They’re designed for both small and medium-sized rooms, so they’re versatile in their applications. Is this the high-end bookshelf speaker you need?

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Edifier R1280T

Edifier-R1280T-Powered-Bookshelf-Speakers

Who can say no to a classic wood design? Pair this with multiple inputs, good sound and extras such as a remote & you make studio owners’ dreams come true. And they’ll match stylish décor in a living room too if you need a home entertainment system. With a two year warranty, this is a noteworthy purchase and our third pick in these reviews.

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Top-Rated Bookshelf Speakers

Micca MB42X Bookshelf Speakers

Micca MB42X Bookshelf Speakers With 4-Inch Carbon Fiber Woofer

This is what you want if you’re pedantic about good bass and transient audio. Thanks to a carbon fiber woofer, sounds are extremely balanced. Combined with this your high pitches will sound clear thanks to the silk dome tweeter. The clarity is further enhanced by the 12Db crossover.The enclosure is ported which once again benefits the bass sounds. Can you see these good bookshelf speakers are necessary when you prefer feeling to only listening?

On the specs side, you get an 85 dB sensitivity and 60Hz-20kHz frequency response. And as a bonus, Micca MB42X speakers look stylish too.

FAQ

Can you use these audiophile speakers to enhance the audio experience in a surround sound home entertainment system? Will they be loud enough?

Be prepared to be pleasantly surprised. Even though they’re half the price of speakers you’ll usually use for this purpose, the crossover makes for clear sound on par with high-end speakers. You’ll enjoy both high and low audio optimally thanks to Harmon Kardon 1510 AVR and the ported enclosure which optimizes bass.

What is the difference between the 42 and the 42X?
Because of the crossover the 42X pair sounds much clearer.

Won’t the speaker interfere with TV visuals?
No. Because the central channel speaker is shielded, the TV picture won’t be affected.

Klipsch R-15M Bookshelf Speaker

Klipsch R-15M Bookshelf Speaker

You’re going to love—or hate—these speakers’ exteriors. The copper spun woofers are quite striking, but perhaps you prefer a more demure black or silver finish.

However, the performance of these woofers will be useful in both small and medium rooms. You get a high-output IMG woofer while your Linear Travel Suspension tweeter (horn loaded) will provide the high pitched audio in clarity too.

The dimensions are 12.5” x 7” x 8.11” and they weigh 10.3lb. This makes Klipsch R-15M ideal to leave on your bookshelf, and not carry around too often. However, they’re powerful enough to use outdoors if you need to.

FAQ

Are these powered speakers?
Note that there are no Aux ins as this pair of speakers require an amp to drive them.

Are these only meant as front or rear speakers?
You can use these units in any positioning that your setup requires. Because of the power and clarity they will perform well in both roles.

How can I mount these on the wall?
You’ll need separate mounting equipment as it’s not provided with your purchase. A practical option is a side clamping bracket which allows for tilt and swivel. VideoSecu sells an excellent, strong bracket.

Edifier R1280T Powered Speakers for Music

Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers

Edifier R1280T are the top-rated bookshelf loudspeakers in a classic look if you prefer that. The speakers are enclosed in wooden enclosures which of course make for beautiful audio. The exteriors showcase wood finish vinyl.

These speakers are so user-friendly for music listening thanks to these features:

  • A volume control via remote
  • A 3.5mm input
  • You can listen to two devices at the same time because there are two inputs
  • Both bass and treble can be adjusted on the speaker

In terms of sound, your high frequencies are complimented by the 13mm silk dome tweeter.

FAQ

What is the bass performance of these speakers, as the high frequencies are mostly mentioned in reviews?
You’ll enjoy high-quality bass audio, but not the best on the market. This is because the drivers are small. Add a sub if a bass is a priority.

What is the difference between these and the 980T models?
You’ll hear how uniquely these perform when you turn up the volume. The 1280s can handle loud audio without losing quality.

Are these Bluetooth enabled?
No. You need to connect via the 3.5mm input as no Bluetooth connectivity is provided.

KEF Q100 High end Bookshelf Loudspeakers

KEF Q100 Bookshelf Loudspeakers

These are some of the best bookshelf speakers because of their look. With black oak at the back and silver stripe finishes in front, they complement any studio.

KEF Q100 speakers measure in at 11.8” x 7.1” x 10.7” and has a frequency response of 49Hz – 40kHz. This is quite impressive so you’ll enjoy both high and low tones and it’s thanks to the brand’s Uni-Q driver. This driver also ensures you enjoy this level of quality audio throughout the room. So yes, this is a home entertainment center solution.

A few specs:

  • Weight: 13lb which is heavier than many other units on this list
  • Sensitivity: 86dB
  • Crossover frequency: 2.5kHz

If you want to go big, it’s easy to pair these with other speakers.

FAQ

Are these wise options as near-field speakers?
While you won’t have a problem with the sound that comes out of them—it will be balanced—you’ll get the optimum effect when you’re slightly removed from them (such as mounting them on a bookshelf, instead of placing them directly in front of you).

What type of connections will work with these speakers?
They’re quite versatile as you can either use stripped wire or banana plugs. And the set is user-friendly because you don’t even need tools to connect them. Note that you can decide to use them as bi-wired or single wired.

Yamaha NS-6490 3-Way Speakers

Yamaha NS-6490 3-Way Bookshelf Speakers

You’re assured of excellent audio with this pair. Because Yamaha NS-6490 are kitted with all necessary components, audio across the 45Hz-23kHz frequency range will sound clear:

  • 8 Woofer
  • 4 Midrange driver
  • 0.75 tweeter

If you’re looking for home theater solutions you’ll be glad to know the interior is magnetically shielded. No interference with your TV imagery!

They look amazing with a sleek black and silver finish. Just note their slightly bigger size than other items on this list. At 10.5” x 13.2” x 16.2” they weigh in at a full 29.3lb.

FAQ

Are these speakers made of wood?
It may look like it, but it’s actually a material known as MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard). Therefore you won’t get the effect of audio bouncing off wood surfaces. Some consumers place pillows’ stuffing inside for added effect.

Please clarify connection and installation specifications.
You can place these on your shelf. This is preferable as they’re not manufactured with mounting holes. When you connect them to your system, note that they’re not powered speakers so you need an amplifier. Speaker wire works well, but not banana plugs.

Audioengine A5+ Active 2 Way Speakers

Audioengine A5+ Active 2-Way Speakers

Audioengine A5+ bookcase speakers are designed for those of you who want to establish a small home studio (or simply enjoy your computer’s gaming sound at high velocity). The speakers can interpret signals from either Mac or other PCs and the brand even provides connection cables.

Note that they’re powered via USB so you need an open input for these on your PC from now on. They also have these extras:

  • A remote control
  • Tiny 8” inputs
  • RCA inputs

You get an exceptional bass and the audio is warm sounding which is something audiophiles are usually after. This is thanks to Kevlar woofers and silk domed tweeters.

Their dimensions are 10.75” x 7” x 9” and they weigh 25lb.

FAQ

Do they have standby modes?
No, these aren’t programmed to go into standby mode. However, a PowerCenter modification can help that your speakers shut down and restart along with your PC.

What is the bass sounds like through these?
You’ll enjoy quality low notes, but if a bass is your main priority you may require subwoofers which the brand also sells.

KEF Q300WH: Audiophile Quality Sound

KEF Q300WH Bookshelf Loudspeakers

Do you prefer white or black? This white KEF Q300WH set is quite a statement for your studio or can fit beautifully with modern décor. But other styles are also available.

Because they’re designed to fill rooms—living room-sized spaces—with sound, they serve perfectly as part of your home entertainment system. So yes, put these on display!

Your low notes coming from your hi-fi will be clear thanks to a 2” voice coil, and an 1.65” aluminum cone driver. On the other side of the spectrum, a 1” tweeter will prevent distortion from ruining high frequencies.

Specs:

  • 42Hz-40kHz frequency response
  • Weight is 17lb which is lighter than many others on this list
  • 87dB sensitivity
  • 32.25” x 13.25” x 19” dimensions make them some of the largest units, so plan your bookshelf or living room layout well before purchasing

FAQ

What do you need to connect these two speakers?
Remember you need an amp to drive these speakers. The amp you use must have A and B speaker connections. It’s not necessary to use banana plugs, as stripped speaker wire does an excellent job.

Do these work well with EDM (Electronic Dance Music)?
Yes, these are suited to most music genres. One complaint is that the bass is too low, but that is easily rectified by the provided KEF foam.

Dali-Zensor 1: Cool Stereo for Small and Mid Size Rooms

DALI - ZENSOR 1 - Bookshelf Speakers

Another classic design with a cool wood finish, so this is perfect to place in your classically decorated front room with your entertainment center.

The frequency range is average—but adequate—at 53Hz-26kHz. The sensitivity is 86.5dB with a 6ohm nominal impedance.

All of this you get from a relatively light speaker weighing in at 8.82lb. This makes Dali-Zensor 1 ideal for mounting. And these high quality small speakers’ dimensions make it even easier to work with: 10.7” x 6.3” x 8.6”.

FAQ

How do you connect these to the rest of you system?
The Dali-Zensors are versatile in that you can use either wire, plugs or spades.

Must you fill the port if the speaker is placed near a wall?
Luckily these speakers are so well designed you don’t have to seal the port. The sound won’t bounce back or create bass heavy audio.

Pioneer SP-BS22-LR

Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones Designed Bookshelf Loudspeakers

Here’s another set of relatively light speakers that despite the size performs exceptionally well.

Specs:

  • They weigh 9lb
  • The dimensions are only 8.4” x 7.1” x 12.6”

The quality sound is thanks to:

  • Oversized magnets
  • An efficient vented pole piece which helps with bass tones
  • Molded curved cabinets to limit standing waves
  • 1” high efficiency tweeter for high frequencies

Read here about key features: Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Review 

FAQ

Are these ported and shielded speakers?
While these are ported, they’re not shielded. This requires you to plan installation well. You may have to plug the port if it’s going to stand against a wall. Also, beware of the speakers messing with your screen’s visual output.

Can you easily standmount these speakers?
While they’re nice and light, which works great on mounting brackets, note that they’re curved at the back. This may influence how you can position them. Therefore hanging is difficult and a shelf or bracket is more practical.

Edifier R 1700BT Wireless Bluetooth Speakers

Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

Here’s what you’ve been waiting for in these monitors we’ve reviewed. Edifier R 1700BT Bluetooth speakers can communicate via Bluetooth so all your devices’ audio can now be streamed. Alternatively, use the 2 Aux inputs.

The walnut look complements any room and you get exceptional sound from:

  • 4” mini bass driver
  • 19mm dome tweeter

And best of all, these are wireless loudspeakers, so your room will look tidier.

FAQ

Can I send audio via my Smartphone’s Bluetooth while the speakers are plugged into an entertainment system?
Yes. Leave the speakers connected to your TV and stream your phone’s audio. No problem.

Do these add value to gaming?
Yes the bass and clarity are of high quality.

High-End Bookshelf Speakers Buying Guide

Here you have a list. How do you pick? We made it easy be highlighting some of the most prominent features you need to keep an eye on.

Connection Options
You want your system to cater for the connections you love. Not many speakers offer Bluetooth connectivity, so don’t make your list of preferences too hard to come by. But if you know you need a 3.5mm input, don’t settle for less.

Specs
Draw up this list below and jot down your ideal specs. Then you can compare units and see which ones rate the best in most of the categories:

  • Dimensions: They must fit into your bookshelves, on a floating shelf or your bracket for them to be practical solutions.
  • Weight: If you plan on moving them often, don’t pick heavy ones. And remember your brackets must be able to support that weight.
  • Frequency range: If you love bass sounds, make sure the speaker can clearly produce frequencies of around 30Hz or even lower. For lower sounds, you may need an additional subwoofer.
  • Speaker power: Make sure you’ll get the power you want by opting for the right Wattage. Around 50W is a standard and remember your amplifier must match this rating.
  • Impedance: In this instance, the rating of the amplifier must be lower than that of your passive speakers’ impedance.

Volume and Balance

What was the speaker designed for? Some speakers are made for studio setups where you sit in front of the speakers. Others are more versatile and can fill a room—such as your living room—with balanced audio that no matter where you stand, you’ll hear clearly.

How loud do you want to go? This is stated in dB and 96dB is usually acceptable. But the bigger the room, the more sensitive your speakers must be.

96dB will fill rooms in your home and a compact studio but not large open spaces. Remember you can always use headphones if you want a more focused, loud experience.

Decide where you will use them and pick speakers that will suffice.

Mounting
Before you buy your awesome speakers, make sure where you’ll place them. If you know you don’t have enough space on a shelf you can always consider mounting brackets. These may seem more clinical than placing them on a shelf. Do you accept this change to the aesthetics?

And remember, where you mount them determines the cabling length you’ll need. The brand may provide a certain length, but measure before you start installation so you can buy additional micro wire if needed.

Aesthetics
The feature above brings us to the important matter of aesthetics. Speakers can be quite large and can influence the overall feel of a room.

What is your personal style? You may not always find the specs you like in the casing you prefer, but keep an eye out for:

  • Walnut enclosures
  • All black designs
  • Unique designs such as all white or with neon finishes

Some brands provide different editions of a one product so do your homework. You may find a set that makes you smile whether you look at them or listen to them.

Passive vs Active Speakers

This is probably the first thing you need to check when you’re planning your studio or home entertainment system. Are the speakers you’re considering passive or active?

With active speakers you’re lucky. All the power you need comes from the units themselves. You can simply connect them to your audio source and enjoy the sound. This is what you need when you have limited space available.

Passive speakers are quite different. Your system now needs an amplifier. The amp drives the speaker’s sound, because the speaker doesn’t have an amplifier installed. As a result, you need more space, as your system now requires:

  • The audio source such as your desktop PC
  • The speaker
  • An amplifier or small receiver connected between the source and the speaker

This may require a bigger capital investment if you don’t own an amplifier yet.

Remember to read reports and double check the type of connections you need to connect all these components such as:

  • Bluetooth
  • Banana plugs
  • Radio wire

Price Range

So which ones are best to consider? We identified these high fidelity ones as our favorites of all time. As they fall in different price categories, you can’t really draw comparisons between their ratings.

Under $100 (click to check our 3 top-rated models)
The set from Micca (MB42X) is our favorite low priced speakers because that crossover really provides exceptional audio.

Under $200 
We love the Edifier R 1700BT because of the impressive, best-looking aesthetics. And who can say no to Bluetooth connection these days?

Under $300
The KEF Q100 set is priced just under $300 and is highly recommended based on the compact-sized matched with balanced stereo sound. This you’ll enjoy all around the room, which is what you want in both your studio and living room.

Under $500
The Dali-Zensor impressed us with both the look and the sound coming from those two small monitors. You can use them anywhere!

Under $1000
The KEF Q300WH really impresses with the features that improve the bass tones. And in white, they make a real stylish statement. They’re expensive but worth it.