The Best Bookshelf Speakers (Review & Comparison)
Of 2020 – Our Top Picks Reviewed
A ‘bookshelf speaker’ is a term used for a general speaker that’s perfect for use in the home. They’re marketed based on their size and their ease of use. But what makes for the best bookshelf speakers online right now? Let’s take a close look.
We have had our experts test each speaker for the most important factors so we can bring you this review article and buying guide for The Best Bookshelf Speakers in 2020.
The Products We Reviewed – Click to go
3 Bookshelf Speakers You Must See – Our Winning Picks
The Best Bookshelf Speakers and Sound Systems Reviewed
1. Yamaha NS-6490 (#1 Top Bookshelf Speaker)
Dimensions: 13 x 13 x 25 inches – Weight: 29.3 lbs – 3-Way Acoustic Speakers
Yamaha is a fantastic name in music and audio tech. Their studio speakers are some of the most reliable on the market. Besides those, however, the NS-6490 system offers three-way playback and superb flexibility. You can set it up with a length of cable if you wish. What sets these speakers apart from most of the pack is the sound engineering. Once again, it’s a speaker set that isn’t afraid to go heavy on the bass.
You shouldn’t need extra woofers with a built-in driver for bass and midrange. You can claim up to 23Khz in frequency response, too, making these units pretty powerful. The outward design, too, might appeal to you if you’re looking to set up a sleek, contemporary home theatre – maybe not so much for bedroom playback.
- Type- 3-way acoustic suspecsion speaker system magnetic shielding type
- Driver- 8″ Cone Woofer, 4″ Cone Mid-Range, 7/8″ Balanced Dome Tweeter
- Frequency Response- 45 Hz – 23 kHz
- Nominal Impedance- 8 ohms
- Nominal Input Power- 70W
- Maximum Input Power- 140W
- Sensitivity- 90 dB/2.83 V/m
2. Micca COVO-S (#1 Best Value Bookshelf Speaker)
Dimensions: 5.1 x 4.2 x 5.2 inches – Weight: 2 lbs – 2-Way Speakers
You may want to look at Micca’s more compact speaker range if you’re keen to save on space. You might also prefer these small yet powerful speakers if you want to save a little money in the bargain. Despite being compact, these mighty units should give you enough power for your buck. It boasts plenty of impressive internal sound engineering, including cone woofers and dome tweeters. Therefore, you might well find they give you the clarity and bass you’re searching for. Who says you have to always go with the bigger systems?
Patented design aside, you’ll need to keep in mind that these speakers will need an extra speaker wire and amplification. While some speakers do give you everything you need straight out of the box, you do sometimes need to undertake a little assembly yourself. That might not bother you too much with this system, however, as it is so flexible and unique.
- Patented concentric driver design delivers common acoustical center point and maintains coherency through crossover region
- 3-Inch wool paper cone woofer with waveguide cone design for improved tweeter dispersion
- 0.75-Inch PEI dome tweeter for crystal clear treble and accurate imaging
- Ported enclosure delivers extended bass response with low distortion
- 6dB/octave crossover at 3.2kHz makes for a smooth transition between the woofer and the tweeter
3. Fluance Ai40W (#1 Premium Pick Bookshelf Speaker)
Dimensions: 7.6 x 6.5 x 10.9 inches – Weight: 15.1 lbs – Bluetooth: Yes – 70W Class D amplifier
let’s take a look at Fluance’s premier collection. These contemporary speakers might appeal to you if you’re looking for a striking, modern design. Emblazoned in pure white with a ‘lucky bamboo’ backing, these speakers offer full power and amplification, so there’s no need to fumble around with extra bits and pieces.
It’s a flexible system, meaning that you can connect devices and systems through Bluetooth or through AUX in as you prefer. Silk dome tweeter technology and woven drivers promise high sound quality, however, you’ll need to be the judge of that. In terms of durability and warmth in sound, the bamboo backing is a curious, yet likely worthwhile touch. If you need an all-in-one system, this is likely to do enough for you.
- With an integrated 70W Class D amplifier, these active speakers deliver room-filling stereo sound that elevates your musical experience
- Marry your music from your turntable, PC, Laptop, TV, or wireless Bluetooth device to these versatile speakers
- The 1-inch silk dome tweeters and 5-inch high performance woven drivers produce crisp highs, balanced mids, and powerful deep bass, with stunning acoustic accuracy
- Enjoy warm sound from the engineered MDF wood cabinets, meticulously designed for exquisite audio reproduction
- Easily connect directly to your favorite audio source through RCA/Aux or Bluetooth aptX without the need for a separate amplifier or receiver
4. Polk Audio T15
Dimensions: 7.3 x 6.5 x 10.7 inches – Weight: 8.25 lbs – Power: 100 Watts
Polk Audio is a name that many people are familiar with. These T15 speakers are designed for home theatre use and are a fair bit on the chunky side. However, as they are mountable to your wall and offer a nice amount of power, many home users will likely find them a good first option. The presence of Dolby surround technology could appeal to most sound aficionados, too. On top of this, these speakers should be pretty versatile for most people’s needs, and they don’t seem too tricky to get up and running with. That ‘plug and play’ appeal is alive and well. It’s part of a wider range of home theatre products in the brand’s line, which you may wish to look at.
- 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter
- 5.25-inch composite driver
- 100 Watts peak power
- Vented enclosure
- Enjoy premium acoustics, high quality construction, easy setup and a spectacular theater experience right at home
- Compatible with most home theater AV receivers
5. Edifier R1280T
Dimensions: 6.9 x 9.5 x 5.8 inches – Weight: 10.8 lbs – Power: 42 Watts
Using near-field technology, these remote-controlled speakers are probably going to appeal to anyone looking for convenience. What’s more, the wood panel effect might appeal to you if you are keen to bring speakers heavily into your interior design. Beyond this, Edifier is a great brand to trust with home and studio tech alike. Therefore, you should have plenty of confidence in this product from the word go.
Boasting a 13mm tweeter and 4-inch unit, these speakers also allow you to plug in two AUX devices at once. That’s a nice, flexible approach which might appeal to people who have various bits of tech they want to blast out through their living spaces. In any case, many people will likely buy these for the fact they look great.
- Natural sound reproduction from 13mm silk dome tweeter and 4 inch full range unit
- Adjust volume at your figure tips. Bass and treble control located on the side of main speaker
- High quality MDF wood build finished with wood effect vinyl
- 4-inch bass driver and a calibrated, flared bass reflex port
- Near-field technology
6. Micca MB42
Dimensions: 6.5 x 5.8 x 9.5 inches – Weight: 3 lbs – Power: 75 Watts
Micca might not be a brand that everyone has heard of on the home audio front. However, the MB42 line seems to be pretty popular. Offering a passive system, these speakers might be a good entry-level option for anyone who is just getting to grips with setting up their home entertainment system. Offering a solid, black design, you might find the neutral look works perfectly as part of any bedroom or living room look.
These speakers boast a 4-inch woofer, which means you might find that they offer a bit more bass than you’d expect from an average bookshelf choice. They are also pretty neat and compact, meaning if you really don’t want your audio tech sticking out a mile, the MB42 could be a good all-round option.
- The MB42 is a passive speaker and needs to be used with an amplifier or receiver
- High performance 0.75 inch silk dome tweeter for smooth treble and accurate imaging
- Balanced woven 4-Inch carbon fiber woofer for enhanced transient and impactful bass
- Ported enclosure delivers extended bass response with low distortion
- Neutral and accurate sound signature with excellent vocal clarity
- Compact classic design is easy to place and disappears into any room or decor
7. Wohome BT106
Dimensions: 6.5 x 8.8 x 11 inches – Weight: 7.7 lbs – Power: 60 Watts – Frequency: 40HZ-20K HZ
Wohome’s landmark bookshelf audio system is probably going to appeal to people in terms of looks first. It’s a very retro-looking set of speakers, though it’s the connectivity and power which is likely going to appeal to the wider public. Need to connect Bluetooth and wireless devices without any fuss? You might find these speakers a great option, with a 30 feet range using bluetooth 4.2 technology, complete with classic wood effect and a stack of bass.
The sound engineering in these speakers appears to be pretty impressive and should give the average user plenty of control. 60W in power might also be a good choice to go for, especially if this is your first major investment in terms of home audio. If you do want to plug things in here and there, you can use USB and AUX porting for full flexibility.
- Bluetooth 4.2, wireless operation range of up to 30 feet in the open area
- Built-in 4-inch full range driver
- 1-inch silk dome tweeter, and bass reflect tube, produce deep bass for all your movie, TV show, music, and gaming
- Designed with DSP technology for amazing clarity and precision for enhanced dialogue
- USB and AUX input
- Stylish outlook with the classic wood finish
- Powerful 60W, output 95 dB loud sound
8. Edifier R1700BT
Dimensions: 8.4 x 9.1 x 9.9 inches – Weight: 14.5 lbs – Power: 66 Watts – Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes
Heading back to Edifier, the R1700BT speakers might appeal to you if you are in need of flexibility as well as a classic look for your home. These speakers should be nice and lightweight for you to handle and will work seamlessly with any devices or systems using Bluetooth out. Remote control functionality might help to make things even more stress-free for you, while the presence of two AUX inputs means you can still plug in and play with anything you like.
The classic wood finish might appeal to anyone looking for a smooth, refined speaker system that looks as good as it performs. You can easily adjust bass, treble, and digital audio from the remote as well as directly through the unit as you desire.
- Active near-field technology
- High quality MDF wood build finished with walnut wood effect vinyl
- Total power output RMS 15W×2 + 18W×2
- Pair your smartphone to the chic bookshelf speaker through Bluetooth. With a touch of a button
- Digital volume control resets to a comfortable level at power on
- 19mm dome tweeter and a 4-inch bass driver in each speaker creates rich lows and clear highs
How We Chose The Bookshelf Speakers On Our List
Bookshelf speakers come in many forms. We wanted to choose speakers which not only offer you great sound quality, but also ease of use and a great aesthetic. We also wanted to make sure you had access to choices that boast internal amplification and power, as well as those which don’t. It’s important to go shopping and compare between the two strands on the market.
Overall, however, we wanted to stray from getting picky about brands. There are some big names in our list, but if a speaker system promised us solid sound engineering, we went with it – and as such, all of the tech in this list is worth looking into and trying for yourself.
Bookshelf Speakers Buying Guide
With the market flooded with all types of speakers, we have decided to make this buying guide for bookshelf speakers to assist you in your purchase.
We have reviewed the top 8 bookshelf speakers on the market today, each with there own USP.
Why Should You Buy Bookshelf Speakers?
Bookshelf speakers have plenty of plus points. First of all, they are small, neat, and easy to manage. They’re called bookshelf speakers because they should ideally fit on your bedroom or lounge shelves. However, you can really put them wherever you like – there’s no restriction.
These speakers are likely to appeal to people who want to be able to ‘plug and play’. Bookshelf speaker systems are getting more popular because of their ease of use, as well as their advancing tech. Many speakers, for example, connect wireless, and you won’t have to control them at the base. You can use a remote.
Are Bookshelf Speakers as Good as Other Home Speakers?
This is going to vary from case to case. Most people will likely buy bookshelf speakers when they want to set up a soundscape, for example. However, there’s nothing to say that you can’t get a good amount of bass out of a nice pair of bookshelf units.
Some sources and experts will tell you that bookshelf speakers will generally have a good place as part of a surround sound system. When paired with subwoofers, it’s likely that they will work great as part of the front array. However, you can often use them completely separate from a surround setup (as you desire).
What Should I Look for in a Bookshelf Speaker?
There are plenty of different factors that tell you whether or not a bookshelf speaker system is worth buying.
- Look at the brand. Branding doesn’t always mean you’re getting a guaranteed perfect deal, but it might help you find some solid sound engineering.
- Look at the shape and design. Bookshelf speakers are some of the most versatile in terms of look and feel, particularly as many of us use them as part of our interior design.
- Consider ease of use. As mentioned, many bookshelf speakers work wireless, and some will allow you to connect devices via Bluetooth. If this is going to make your life easier, then you should of course keep an eye out for the feature.
- Think about how many speakers you want. There shouldn’t really be any kind of limit put on you here. On the whole, two or three is probably a good marker.
- Frequency. The higher the frequency, the better your speakers are going to perform. If sound quality is crucial to you, then you’re going to need to look for a high frequency range as standard.
You should also check whether or not a bookshelf speaker is powered and amplified. If not, you’ll need to invest in some extra kit to get everything up and running.
What Can I Use Bookshelf Speakers For?
One of the joys of setting up bookshelf speakers lies in the fact that they are almost endlessly versatile. For example, you could use them for home audio, such as when you’re watching TV or movies, or when you’re listening to music on your PC, Mac or laptop.
However, you can also use them for studio purposes, in some cases. If you record podcasts or broadcast online, you may find that speakers give you a nice amount of background noise. They can also be great for gaming.
Bookshelf speakers, however, probably aren’t going to be the best fit for taking on the road. They’re perfect if you’re recording and mixing at home, or are practising before heading to a gig, but you’re going to need a bit more power and more specific sound engineering if you want to play to a bigger stage.
Where Can I Place Bookshelf Speakers?
Ideally, you should place them up on high, as their names suggest, on a bookshelf, for example. However, you may find that this will differ from system to system and model to model. Some experts will tell you that you need to place your speakers at 10 and 2 o’clock in your room. You can then move and angle them towards you as you wish.
Otherwise, your bookshelf speakers should perform for you in any way you wish. This is just a small amount of advice to help you get started! A good place to start will be to look at user reviews and to see if manufacturers offer any particular advice.
Are Bigger Speakers Necessarily Better?
That all depends on who you ask. Generally, bookshelf speakers can be fairly small. However, they can often outperform some of the larger units on the market. The bigger the speaker, the more power you’re likely to get – at least, that’s safe to assume. However, you’re really going to need to look carefully here.
In our collective opinion, don’t go throwing all your money behind a big pair of speakers just because you heard that size matters. Crucially, it’s important to look at individual sound design. Some of the best-performing bookshelf speakers and similar units are small in stature. Trust us on this one!
Do I Need More Than One Speaker?
As stated, two or three speakers should probably offer you enough in the way of enjoyment, especially if you are looking for a soundscape or surround experience. However, many people looking for a simple sound system or who may not be too worried on this front will do fine with a single speaker. In many cases, you can buy bookshelf speakers in pairs. In others, you can purchase them solo. The choice is yours, though your own experiences and entertainment needs are probably going to dictate to you here.
Do I Need Separate Amplification and Power for My Bookshelf Speaker?
Most modern speakers will contain amplification and power inside their units, however, it is not always a given. It is important you look for these details before you buy, as you may have to hook up more tech to get your speakers up and running.
Can I Use Bookshelf Speakers in My Studio?
You can, especially in a home studio format, however, it’s probably more advisable that you look for specific speakers for studio use. Try and buy speakers and units that are built for your purpose, if you can!
Are Bookshelf Speakers Better Than Tower Speakers?
Bookshelf and tower speakers all do very separate things. Therefore, it’s probably unfair to judge them. You should consider your own entertainment needs and compare across different types of speaker, not just those that fall in a specific line.
Do I Need a Separate Woofer for Bookshelf Speakers?
Not always. As you can see from our list, there are many speakers out there which have built-in bass and treble tech. It’s not a given, especially as not all speaker users actually want all that much bass. However, these speakers are always evolving, so keep your eyes fully peeled.
What Makes a Bookshelf Speaker Sound Better?
There are many different factors which can impact on sound quality! Inner engineering, size, frequency response, wattage and even housing can affect how speakers sound. Generally, what sounds good to you may not sound good to everyone, however, so don’t take any advice in this regard as read. Just know what to look for and be smart when choosing your eventual speakers.
Bookshelf speakers offer more than just simple home audio. You can use them for surround sound and also for home mixing and recording. However, there’s a lot of choice out there! Be sure to take our advice in mind, and look for a system that looks great, offers lots of promising tech, and which will last you years of happy, uninterrupted playback.