Our Top 3 Picks
Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73 Bookshelf Speakers
We rate this as our best bookshelf speakers under $500 because the brand makes sure all frequencies can be enjoyed thoroughly. You have three different drivers to help you with that. They’re also stylish and sleek and have the unique Atmos feature to fill the entire room with sound. And they won’t even take up a lot of space. Small. Dynamic. The best 500 dollars you’ll spend this year.
Another one that impresses because it provides excellent sound across the frequency board. The installed subwoofer will boom your bass more than most units in this review. And you’ll love the classic exteriors so they’re an investment of technology and style.
DALI – ZENSOR 1
Not our first choice purely because of the lack of sleek aesthetics. But you’ll enjoy bang for your buck and balanced sound when you pick these. They’re also light which makes them a practical option for regular transport or mounting.
Top Rated Budget Bookshelf Speakers Under $500
Best Option Under $500: Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73 Bookshelf Speakers
Install true vintage class and state of the art technology with these speakers from Pioneer. Even the design is unique so these will complement your room’s décor.
Inside you’ll find the dynamics through which a 3-way speaker design is optimized:
- A Dolby the enabled concentric driver
- Three different drivers; one each for high, mid and low-frequency ranges
- The drivers have CST (Coherent Source Transducer) technology
- Complex crossovers for balance and clarity
- Binding posts that are gold plated
You can imagine all this technology is quite heavy, so the Pioneer Elite SP-EBS73 weighs in at 31lb. However, it’s comfortably compact at only 7” x 10” x 15” so it’s easy to find shelf space for one.
Bookshelf Speakers: Edifier S1000DB
For a more classic look, you can try the Edifier S1000DBs for under $500. The exterior’s wood finish once again means your home entertainment system doesn’t have to ruin your aesthetics.
As with many Edifier products you get the benefit of Bluetooth connectivity. Send your audio straight from your Smartphone if you want. Thanks to a 5.5” subwoofer you get amazing bass sounds. Match this with an astounding 120W RMS thanks to DSP (Digital Sound Processing) technology and you know you’ll feel the music’s punch from now on.
Edifier provides a remote control so the owner of this has the ultimate luxury in controlling the sound output even if you’re not directly in front of the hi-fi.
Ideal as Stereo Speakers Dali-Zensor 1
With these the designers could have taken more time to improve the aesthetics, as they seem very basic. But the technology inside definitely isn’t so you get the following:
- Nominal impedance of 6ohm
- Frequency range of 53Hz to 26.5kHz
- Sensitivity of 86.5dB
While these good audiophile speakers are quite large (17.1” x 14.1” x 11.8”) they’re remarkably light, so if you don’t have shelf space, perhaps you can mount them easily.
They can handle up to 100W which is a step up from lower end speakers on the market that usually manage around 80W only.
Wharfedale – Diamond 220
Here’s another basic design that hides state of the art technology. Listen to this:
- Great sounding bass via the 5.1” Keval woofer
- High frequencies through the 1” soft dome tweeter
- A cabinet constructed with layers
All of this gives you a frequency response of 45Hz-24kHz. Just by looking at this range you’ll know why it’s worth it investing a little more and paying around $500, rather than settling for a lower range model. You don’t even need sub woofers.
The top-rated speakers under $500 weigh 11.7lb making them easily mountable, but on the shelf Wharfedale Diamond 220 will only take up this space: 12.4” x 6.9” x 9.8”.
2-Way Active Speakers A5+ by Audioengine
Here we see the effort put into producing good looking and excellent working speakers. The exterior is an impressive black enclosure.
Inside the brand impresses with features that make home entertainment—or just for music in your bedroom—rise to new heights. With thermal management—an improved version from other models—your speakers are protected against overheating, getting damaged or performing poorly.
We also love that they can be powered via USB. Since they’re compatible with PCs (Mac as well) you can easily hook them up and have them powered without much changes to your room layout.
Each channel can handle 50W, giving you 100W of power. Thanks to the Kevlar woofers and tweeters with silk you’ll have powerful audio across the frequency range. (Frequency response: 50Hz-22kHz).
Amazingly, Audioengine A5+ speakers are still compact at only 10.75” x 7” x 9”.
3 Way Bookshelf Speakers Uni-fi UB5 by ELAC
Here’s another 3-way speaker that will fill your rooms with sound for the ultimate audio experience, no matter you prefer it for vinyl or CD’s. The audio’s balance and clarity are heightened by:
- A crossover design using the latest technology
- Concentric drivers
- A 5 ¼” woofer made of aluminum
That’s how a compact 7.87” x 10.75” x 12.75” speaker can deliver such power. It’s the
Just note they’re on the heavy side at 35lb, so you need enough shelf space, or strong brackets to mount Elac Uni-Fi UB5.
Audioengine HD3 Powered Speakers
Go old school with these speakers’ design. The wood finish with black protective grids is reminiscent of 50 years ago. But the technology is definitely modern.
Best of all is you can stream your music from your other devices—a phone or PC—without wires. They’re Bluetooth enabled and which is super easy to install do it can communicate with most devices.
The Bluetooth can work from up to 100ft away. If you do want to connect a device via wires you can pick from RCA, USB or mini jack ports, meaning you can also plug in your headphones to listen.
High quality sound will come forts thanks to:
- 2.75” Kevlar woofers
- ¾” tweeters
These are smaller than many others in this review and this is not the most powerful unit for $500 (only providing a frequency range of 65Hz—22kHz and RMS of 30W per channel), but still impressive.
Best Pick Under $400: Klipsch RB-61 II Bookshelf Loudspeakers
A striking look and excellent sound thanks to Cerametallic woofer cones. They prevent distortion and the orange-copper color adds to your aesthetics.
With WDST (Wide Dispersion Surround Technology) which is exclusive to this brand your audio’s placement is flexible with sounds localized.
They measure at 8.5” x 12.28” x 15.39” and weigh 35lb.
Great HiFi Booskhelf Speakers for Home Music by Swan Speakers
Here’s quite an original design. Hopefully the unique exterior—protruding wood finishes—won’t make mounting or positioning harder.
The long-throw woofer works well thanks to the advanced reflex channel. The 1” coaxial tweeters have fiber domes. Despite these features, note that the frequency range is only 53Hz—20kHz, which is not the best on this list.
Best of all is that they’re not passive and the power range is an impressive 120W RMS.
ELAC B6 Debut Speakers with Nice Cabinet Vinyl Finish
Here’s a very basic design, but hopefully the quality sound—brought on by the custom drivers—will impress you. The woofer is a woven aramid-fiber type and at 6.5” large, it’s more than you’ll get in many other speakers on this list.
The brand gives you an option of only purchasing the pair of bookshelf speakers or adding a center speaker. This can add that X-factor your entertainment system needs.
With dimensions of 14” x 8.5” x 10” it’s pretty easy to get the necessary space for these. And with consumers’ love for vinyl, you know why these easily get picked from this list.
Portable Speakers: Q Acoustics 3020
You’ll be forgiven if you think these small (10.23” x 8.89” x 6.69”) won’t do the job. But there’s a reason they’re in this high price range:
- The frequency range of 64Hz—22kHz gives you higher tones than many other ones mentioned here
- The 5” woofer driver is quite large giving you excellent bass tones
- The tweeters’ unique 2-in-1 ring/dome design are revolutionary
These features provide clear and detailed audio in small or medium sized rooms.
$500 Bookshelf Speakers PerformanceSo you’re working on a budget, but you want some epic sound from your speakers. What is a wise price range to shop in?
If you can make a $500 investment in your sound equipment you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you get out of the deal. In this range brands place some impressive features to set the speakers apart from lower end units. Otherwise, why consider these, right?
That’s why you can look forward to this level of performance (and don’t settle for less):
- While the power won’t match what you’ll get from speakers priced at $1000, proper output comes standard on all $500 speakers.
- In lower end models crossovers—providing the clarity and balance between low and high frequencies audiophiles require—are bonuses, but in this category they usually come standard.
- Don’t overestimate these best-rated bookshelf speakers. They will blast your average sized rooms with sound, but they’re not powerful enough yet for large spaces.
- Take your pick of either passive or powered loudspeakers under $400.
Also be aware of each brand’s specialty. If you pick a brand experienced in developing high quality tweeters, you’ll get better high frequency audio. So remember certain features aren’t determined by the price range, but are very brand specific.
So how do the brands keep the costs low while providing you with sound an audiophile will deem on par?
The main area of concern can be with the design of the enclosures and cabinets. You may not find a wide range and aesthetics may not be as impressive as high-quality Hi-Fi speakers in other price ranges. But that’s no reason to say no to exceptional sound!