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Which bookshelf speakers are best for your household?

Sound is essential to add ambiance to a space or immersive experience to a film. With clear sound, a soundtrack is more prominent, action is more intense and horror more terrifying. They also make a great addition to your bookshelf setup. When bringing your sound set up to the next level, adding bookshelf speakers creates a more extensive, clearer and immersive sound quality experience for your room. 

What to know before you buy bookshelf speakers

Built-in amplification

Every set of speakers will need amplification to produce high-quality sound. Many speakers need to be connected to separate amplifiers to deliver the power necessary to create booming bass or rich tenors. However, specific speakers also have built-in amplification, meaning they are powered through the stereo and don’t require a receiver. Instead, speakers with built-in amplification already have a receiver and can be plugged directly into a music source, such as a soundbar or record player.


The size of your bookshelf speakers will affect sound quality and need to fit on the bookshelf you own. If you intend on putting speakers on your bookshelf, you want to make sure that the bookshelf can support the speakers and make sure they fit on the shelf. Thankfully, most bookshelves have adjustable shelving, allowing any size speakers to fit. However, it will still be crucial to note when planning where you want your speakers how large they are so they do not become cumbersome or too large. 

Wired vs. wireless

Choosing whether you want a wired or wireless set of bookshelf speakers comes down to a matter of convenience. Does the bookshelf you intend on using have wire holes to aid in the setup of the speakers? Or would you prefer to have a set of speakers with no cables or cords whatsoever for a cleaner look? Most wireless speakers come with built-in amplifiers, so you won’t need additional devices for your speakers to operate. 

What to look for in quality bookshelf speakers

Sound quality

Because bookshelf speakers are generally on the smaller side, the speakers have a limited number of drivers, which are the circular speakers on the front that create sound. Despite this, many bookshelf speakers still produce an excellent bass but generally will cost more as a result. A recommendation for improving audio quality when buying bookshelf speakers is to add a subwoofer to help round out the low-end sounds to create a fuller sonic environment. 


The sensitivity, or how loud your speakers can get, will be measured in decibels, which is the power output that the speakers produce. As a general rule of thumb, speakers that produce less than 86db will be considered low, 87 to 95db is average and anything over 95db is powerful. However, to get this higher sensitivity, you will have to pay more. 


Many bookshelf speakers are capable of doubling as both music speakers and home-theater speakers. This is thanks to their design. Because they are traditionally smaller than floor-standing speakers, they are easier to maneuver and take up less room, making them easier to manage and place for the right occasions. 

How much you can expect to spend on bookshelf speakers

The cheapest bookshelf speakers should be around or under $100. These speakers are generally made from more inexpensive materials and most likely only have two drivers. Mid-range speakers will range from $100-$500 and provide richer and more well-rounded sound quality. Sometimes these models will also have more than the standard two drivers. Expensive premium speakers will most likely cost $500 or more due to their high-quality construction and typically aesthetic design. 

Bookshelf speakers FAQ

Where is the best place to put bookshelf speakers?

A. It is recommended to keep bookshelf speakers a foot or two away from the wall and at ear level for optimum sound quality. 

Can bookshelf speakers connect to multiple audio sources?

A. Many speakers can connect to more than one device, such as your television, computer or phone. 

What are the best bookshelf speakers to buy? 

Best of the best bookshelf speakers

Klipsch R-15M Bookshelf Speaker

Klipsch R-15M Bookshelf Speaker

What you need to know: These speakers work great for any environment, whether utilized stand-alone or as a part of a home-theater setup. 

What you’ll love: They have premium sound quality with clear high tones. The Klipsch speakers come equipped with dual 5.25-inch copper-spun high-output IMG woofers and Tractrix Horn technology. 

What you need to consider: To produce the best sound quality, this speaker will need a few weeks of breaking in. 

Where to buy: Available at Amazon

Best bang for your buck bookshelf speakers 

Dual Electronics 3-Way High-Performance Indoor Speakers

Dual Electronics 3-Way High-Performance Indoor Speakers

What you need to know: The Dual Electronic speakers provide a solid sound quality for a very affordable price. 

What you’ll love: Versatile for both indoor and outdoor use, these speakers are weather-resistant for patio use. Swivel brackets allow the speakers to be hung from anywhere and provide a decent range of motion. 

What you need to consider: A few users noted that the spring for holding wire speakers needs to be stronger and that the wire connection can be weak. 

Where to buy: Available at Amazon

Honorable mentions

Edifier Powered Bookshelf Speakers

Edifier Powered Bookshelf Speakers

What you need to know: With built-in RCA inputs, this speaker is ideal for sound setups that you can connect to a stereo or record player. 

What you’ll love: It features two RCA inputs and comes with a speaker wire, RCA to RCA cable and AUX to RCA cable for several different setups. 

What you need to consider: Users reported there is no indication to let users know when maximum or minimum volume is reached. 

Where to buy: Available at Amazon

Polk Audio Home Theater Bookshelf Speakers 

Polk Audio Home Theater Bookshelf Speakers 

What you need to know: These Polk speakers offer great sound for a reasonable price, with a classic look designed to match any setup. 

What you’ll love: Speakers have Dynamic Balance drivers and tweeters to provide a rich and comprehensive response to distortion. They can be wall-mounted as well. 

What you need to consider: Speakers will require some time to break in to produce the best sound quality. 

Where to buy: Available at Amazon


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Jared Lindsay writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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