The Best Bookshelf Speakers under $300 – Reviews

bookshelf-speakers-under-300

Our Top 3 Picks

KEF Q100 Bookshelf Loudspeakers

KEF-Q100-Bookshelf-Loudspeakers

In a sleek black and silver enclosure, you get exceptional sound in terms of range but also balance. The state of the art drivers provide clear sound across a room, so pair them with other components to create perfect surround sound and you have the best bookshelf speakers under $300.

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Polk Audio RTI A3

Polk-Audio-RTI-A3-Bookshelf-Speakers

Leave the grill off and you can enjoy looking at the stunning wood finish. Alternatively, the grill turns the speaker into the modern feature your room’s décor needs. Inside you find state of the art technology. It’s a bit big, but this Polk product impresses all the way making it our second top-rated speakers under $300.

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Polk Audio RTI A1

Polk-Audio-RTI-A1-Bookshelf-Speakers

In the RTI A1 you get the benefit of wood—in the form of MDF—to provide warm tones, but also ensure the speakers perform the same, no matter the environment. MDF is designed not to expand or move, even when humidity rises. The MDF contains high-end components that provide clear and balanced tones coming from a classically styled speaker.

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Top Rated Budget Bookshelf Speakers Under $300

KEF Q100 Bookshelf Loudspeakers: Best Pick Under $300

KEF Q100 Bookshelf Loudspeakers

Here’s a good looking and excellent working pair of bookshelf speakers and you can get exceptional features for less than $300. With KEF’s Q100s you get an amazing frequency range of 49Hz to 40kHz. That’s remarkably higher tones than many other similarly priced models can offer.

Part of the success in the frequency range is that the brand uses their Uni-Q driver that extends the spectrum and keeps all audio in balance. If you’re using this for your entertainment setup everyone in the room will hear each sound wave clearly. The large tweeter (1”) also prevents distortion.

These features are in black enclosures with an oak finishes so you can use them anywhere to complement the furniture. And at dimensions of 11.8” x 7.1” x 10.7” it’s easy to find shelf space for them.

FAQ

Can you hang (mount) these speakers?
Yes, these speakers—unlike many other lower end units—actually have hanging brackets. In addition, the provided rubber spacer ensures that neither your wall nor your speaker gets damaged.

In what settings (gaming, studio, theater etc.) can you use these speakers?
These aren’t designed as near-field speakers, but they actually sound amazing, so most setups will work. However, note their dimensions as they’re bigger than some similar models. Plan your layout before you buy.

Polk Audio RTI A3: Best Option Under $250

Polk Audio RTI A3 Bookshelf Speakers

All parts of these Polk Audio RTI A3 speakers are designed to promote excellent sound:

  • Real wood is used, making audio sound warm
  • MDF construction promotes quality sound
  • The enclosures don’t allow resonance so audio is clear and balanced

The technology that produces the 40Hz – 27kHz includes:

  • Neodynium magnet
  • Ferro fluid cooling to help it operate optimally at all times
  • Power Port technology to limit port noise

You can see the engineers were determined to counter many general problems these lower end models present with. They put all of this in a unit that weighs only 16lb, but note the dimensions are slightly bulky: 14.75” x 14.25” x 7.75” .

FAQ

What are your mounting options with these Polk products?
Firstly, note that the units are slightly curved. This means they’re not ideal to place on their sides, as they won’t be stable. Upright positioning is best and they’re perfect for your bookshelf if you have the space. However, mounting them against the wall is a secondary option. Just note their size so they don’t spoil your aesthetics after being mounted. Also, note that there is a rear port. Mounting them against a wall may impede with bass tones, so plan your layout well.

Polk Audio RTI A1 Bookshelf Speakers

Polk Audio RTI A1 Bookshelf Speakers

This Polk product is similar to the A3 model, but the brand always upgrades. Get ready for a stunning exterior reminiscent of real wood. They’re slightly smaller than their big brothers mentioned above:

  • Dimensions: 12” x 11.5” x 7”
  • Weight: 12lb

This makes it easier to find space for Polk Audio RTI A1 on your bookshelf or to mount them.

FAQ

What setup will optimize the bass sounds the most?
Even with an 8 ohm amp you’ll only get loads of 4ohm if the setup isn’t correct. Don’t use parallel connections with your amp, but rather regular mode. Firstly it promotes the bass audio and secondly, it will protect your amp. Another alternative is to hook up a subwoofer for which you’ll find a port.

Explain why MDF—not wood—is used.
You probably think wood is best because it provides quality, warm sounds. However, there are many challenges. When the environment becomes hot, cold or moister wood will react. For example it may expand. Enter MDF. This is a quality type of plywood containing real wood. However, it doesn’t react as easily as normal wood.

Definitive Technology ProMonitor 1000

Definitive Technology ProMonitor 1000 Bookshelf Speaker

Note that this is a single speaker and they’re not necessarily sold in pairs. This misunderstanding often creates unhappiness when clients expect the usual set of speakers.

But with these technological features, you don’t necessarily need a second unit. The 1” aluminum tweeters handle the high notes. Thanks to the 5.25” bass and midrange drivers—not only bass as in most cases—you get a great frequency range of 47Hz—30kHz

Yes, you’ll find better frequency ranges on the market, but his item only requires payment below $300. For home theater or hobbies, this frequency range may be ideal and because they’re shielded, they won’t’ affect your screens’ visuals.

We love the exterior of the Definitive Technology ProMonitor 1000. It’s modern in its glossy enclosure, but not overdone. Just note that the design is rounded at the back, which can be bothersome when mounting your speakers, rather than placing them on a shelf. But they’re quite compact at 6.25” x 6.5” x 11.88” so you’re bound to have enough space.

FAQ

How does the brand enhance bass sounds?
While other brands install ports, this one uses pressure coupled bass-radiators. It forces air from the drivers and the air inside the speaker actually resonates. This is what gives it those epic bass tones, even without a proper port.

Yamaha NS-333 2 Way Bass Reflex

Yamaha NS-333 2-Way Bass Reflex Bookshelf Speakers

Yamaha proves once again why the brand has been in business so long. The brand uses waveguide horns:

  • These can minimize the reflected sounds
  • They guide audio’s waves towards listeners’ ears

With quality wiring—Monster Cable—all sounds that travel through are clear instead of distorted.

You’ll enjoy both low and high frequencies thanks to a 5” cone woofer and a 1” aluminum tweeter.

They’re quite compact at 8” x 7” x 12”, but note they weigh in at 25.6lb, so they’re not ideal for easy transporting. However, the size makes this Yamaha easy to find space for on a shelf.

The bottom range of the frequency response is slightly higher than many others on this list at 65Hz. However the 35kHz is much more impressive than others mentioned here in this list of speakers under $300.

Find here the comprehensive review of Yamaha NS-333 Bookshelf Speakers.

FAQ

Is it difficult to mount these speakers?
You’re in luck if you want to mount these speakers. Yamaha manufactures them with mounting brackets that only require two screws. Just remember the speakers are on the heavy side, so ensure the wall’s substance will hold the weight.

What type of connection points do the speakers have?
There are five-way binding posts on these speakers. This is not the spring clips many people are used to.

ELAC B6 by Andrew Jones

ELAC B6 Debut Series 6-5 Bookshelf Speakers by Andrew Jones

With the grill on this unit it’s one of the most basic designs on the market and perhaps you want this minimalistic look.

Luckily the interior is much more complicated, producing 44Hz to 20Khz frequency response, and featuring:

  • A woven aramid-fiber woofer
  • A custom waveguide
  • An intricate crossover that ensures the bass notes and high frequencies are all heard in balance
  • Noise reduction with the help of a dual flared vent which keeps turbulence to a minimum

Just a note on weight: At 32lb these speakers are quite heavy. That’s ideal if you know where you want to use them, so they can stay on that piece of shelf long term. Don’t consider these as traveling speakers.

Dimensions: 8.5” x 10” x 14”.

FAQ

How well do these perform in bedrooms or small studios?
You’ll enjoy the power and balanced audio in average sized rooms such as 130ft². The only challenge is that you must always place them at least 1ft from walls to prevent boomy audio.

Audioengine P4 Passive Speakers with True Stereo

Audioengine P4 White (Pr) 2-Way Passive Bookshelf Speakers

Audioengine caters to all décor styles as you can get this in a classic wood finish, black or a striking white.

The very decent frequency response of 58Hz-22kHz is thanks to the 4” port on the front, silk tweeters and Kevlar woofer. Don’t worry, this unit is shielded so it’s safe to use near your TV in your home entertainment system.

It’s really compact so if you have limited shelf space, these dimensions of 6.5” x 5.5” x 9” are ideal.

FAQ

These speakers don’t have grills. Aren’t they essential to all speakers?
Grills don’t add anything to a speaker’s performance. They’re purely a protective measure against someone accidentally damaging the front of the drivers. They may also add some aesthetic value, but on these white units, that’s not necessary at all.

Are these practical options to use with a computer?
Because you’ll need an amplifier, these aren’t ideal for a simple computer setup. The amplifier will require more space. It’s ideally designed for home theater.

3-Way Speaker System by Sony

Sony SSCS5 3-Way 3-Driver Bookshelf Speaker System

Here’s a bigger model than others on the list and quite impressive as it can handle up to 125W. However, the dimensions of 10.4” x 17.9” x 16.3” don’t make the good 3-way speakers heavy, weighing in at only 9lb. That makes them easier to mount if necessary.

The clear sound of frequencies up to 50kHz are made possible by an optimized crossover and a Sony Super Tweeter.

FAQ

Is double amping possible?
No, you can’t send separate channels to different drivers (woofers/tweeters)

With what wire should these be connected?
These speakers don’t take kindly to normal speaker wire. Rather use 12 Gauge speaker cable (not more) to regulate the impedance.

Edifier R2000DB Powered Speakers

Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

Consumers love this because the brand provides the connection we all use: Bluetooth. Now you can send any audio to the 5.25” woofers. And remember, these have amplifiers embedded so no need to buy one as with so many others on this review list.

You’re given ultimate control with the provided remote and controls for treble & bass, located on the speakers near the inputs.

And of course, the black and wood finish of the quality powered speakers is a stylish addition to any room.

FAQ

What Bluetooth version is used?
You’ll have Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, which is more reliable than ever.

Can these speakers make up part of a surround sound system?
Note that these aren’t designed to be connected to other speaker units. Also know that when set up, the speakers connect via one wire, while your audio is sent via Bluetooth. There’s no way to add other speakers to this layout.

HiFi Music Listening System by Swan

Swan Speakers M50W Powered 2-1 Bookshelf Speakers HiFi Music Listening System

Why settle for a pair of speakers if you can get a subwoofer too for under $300? Swan Speakers gives you a 6.5” subwoofer that handles frequencies lower than 120Hz, as low as 38Hz, which is lower than most speakers on this list.

Mid range and higher (up to 20kHz) can be handled by the 3” mid bass drivers and hard dome tweeters.

And as a bonus the wood and black finish form a striking design that will complement any room.

FAQ

How do you connect these to an audio source such as your computer?
You only need a 3.5mm jack, making it possible (some with converters) to play music from Smartphones, turntables, instruments, car speakers and more.

What does the red light mean?
When the light is red the speaker is muted. Note that this doesn’t mean it’s powered down, so you need to switch it off if you don’t want to waste power.

What to Expect from the $300 Bookshelf Speakers

So for who will a bookshelf speaker costing less than 300 really work?

Each price range will affect the performance you get out of your speakers, so let’s help you see if this is the price range you should be looking at?

What Range can You Expect?
As you move away from the really low-end units to top-rated ones, your frequency response will improve. In the $300 price range, you can already expect frequencies as high as 40kHz to come through clearly. This has to do with tweeters that are of a higher quality, but also designs of the insides of enclosures that prevent distortion.

At the lower end of frequencies you’ll enjoy a few bass notes, but don’t expect super low notes. You may still need a subwoofer if bass notes are a priority for you.

Are the Speakers Active or Passive?
While this isn’t directly related to price, only a few in these lower price ranges will ever by active. That means you’ll still need to invest in an amp that matches your speakers’ power ratings. If you don’t have and amp yet, isn’t it wiser to simply buy a higher end unit with an amp or receiver? This saves you money and space.

What About Crossovers?
Don’t expect crossovers to come standard in speakers. You may occasionally see one in this price range, but not often.

If you do it’s worth taking a chance on the speaker, so you can enjoy more balanced audio. Some drivers do well on their own, but it’s always better with crossovers connected.

Will They Look Good?
Luckily aesthetics is something you don’t have to be concerned about as you can see in these reviews. Brands always produce striking speaker sets, no matter the price range. And as you can see above, they cater for people who like modern, contemporary designs and classic wood finishes too.