Even if many might not realize it, bookshelf speakers have started with a bad reputation. They first appeared in the 1960 and everyone looked at just like they did for regular small speakers. At that time, small speakers had the reputation of delivering poor sound quality while large, floor-standing speakers were considered to be significantly superior.
Bookshelf speakers changed all that. These compact loudspeakers are being sold as consumer-grade high fidelity speakers that can pack a heavy punch in a small form factor. Over time, technical improvements decreased manufacturing costs while sound quality kept on improving. Today they are part of a separate category of speakers and do not mix with other types of speakers of the same size due to how they are made and the quality they deliver. In general, they come in pairs, but they can be part of a larger home theater system along with a subwoofer or smaller speakers. As the name states, they are intended to be placed on raised surfaces and not directly on the floor due to the acoustics of the enclosure and the type of driver users.
Best Bookshelf Speakers in 2018
For our list, we selected 10 different bookshelf speakers out of hundreds of different models. Their design might seem similar, but there are some key differences between them in terms of frequency response, power output and the enclosure. To keep things short let’s jump right to our list of the top 10 best bookshelf speakers in 2018 reviews.
- 10.Pioneer Bookshelf Loudspeakers Andrew Jones Designed SP-BS22-LR
- 9.Sony 5 1/4 Inch Bookshelf Speakers SS-B1000
- 8.Dayton Audio 6 1/2-Inch Two-Way Bookshelf Speaker B652
- 7.Micca Bookshelf Speakers MB42
- 6.ELAC B6 6.5-Inch Debut Series Bookshelf Speakers
- 5.Yamaha 3-Way Black Finish Bookshelf Speakers NS-6490
- 4.Klipsch 4-Inch Bookshelf Speakers R-14M
- 3.JBL Bookshelf Speakers Loft 40
- 2.Cerwin Vega Two-Way Bookshelf Speakers SL5M
- 1.Edifier Wooden Enclosure Bookshelf Speakers R1280T
- Bookshelf Speaker – Buyer’s Guide
10.Pioneer Bookshelf Loudspeakers Andrew Jones Designed SP-BS22-LR
These bookshelf speakers from Pioneer are not only pleasant to look at, but these also come with a reasonable price tag. You can use these to enhance your home theater system or as stereo speakers and expect quality audio all the time. In fact, these speakers can handle a total of 90 watts, and they can deliver superb sound quality and a wide frequency response no matter what the source is.
Among the other great features you will love about these speakers include a 6-element crossover, a 1-inch soft dome tweeter with outstanding efficiency, and a 4-inch structured surface woofer. Just set it up anywhere you want in your room, connect it to your audio source, and be impressed by the audio quality it offers.
What you have to realize about these speakers is their sensitivity to the mounting height. So, be sure to try different heights for the stand to achieve the finest sound quality depending on the location you are planning to set the speakers up.
- Lightweight and sturdy speakers.
- Comes with a 4-inch structured and well-made woofer.
- Sound quality is decent for the price you pay for this item.
- The mounting height should be perfect to ensure the best audio quality.
- Simple and mediocre appearance of the speakers.
9.Sony 5 1/4 Inch Bookshelf Speakers SS-B1000
A powerful pair of speakers comes your way with this Sony bookshelf speakers. The SS-B1000 offers 120 watts of power, along with a brilliant design for both the tweeter and woofer. For the size of these speakers, you will not believe how great the sound quality is, despite the absence of a wall-pounding booming bass. These should suffice if you like to fill up the room with good music to keep you and your guests entertained.
On the other hand, if you really want to make the most out of these speakers, it may be worth spending a few more dollars on a subwoofer. This should help you achieve a surround sound quality for an exceptional music listening experience.
- These speakers can handle 120 watts of superior power.
- Stunning design for the woofer and the tweeter.
- Well-designed and classy appearance of the speakers.
- If you want to achieve surround sound from these speakers, a subwoofer is worth an extra expense.
- The bass is not too powerful, which may disappoint those who look for a booming bass.
8.Dayton Audio 6 1/2-Inch Two-Way Bookshelf Speaker B652
This 2-way pair of bookshelf speakers from Dayton Audio is designed for use in a smaller space whether it is in your dorm room, office or apartment. Lightweight and compact, these speakers are just 12-inch tall, yet they boast of a nice quality sound to satisfy your need for great music playing in your indoor space.
You will love the fact that when set at a reasonable volume level, there is no rattling, buzzing, or distorted audio to worry about. Installing these speakers is also easy as there are mounting features including the removable grill, key-hole terminal, and the speaker terminals with a quick-connect design.
But keep in mind that these are simply average, middle-of-the-road kind of speakers, in terms of the audio quality they can produce. There is nothing jaw-dropping about their performance, but for the price you pay, these speakers are worth it.
- Measures 12 inches tall, which can fit in a small space without a problem.
- There is no distortion or buzzing when music is played at an average volume level.
- Installation is easy because of the design of these speakers.
- The audio quality is just so-so, which means you cannot expect these speakers to blow your mind away.
7.Micca Bookshelf Speakers MB42
For decent speakers that will not cause you to break the bank, the Micca bookshelf speakers should be a good choice to consider. These offer an impactful bass because of the woofer with woven carbon fiber, along with the high efficiency silk dome tweeter that gives you a smooth treble. The neutral sound signature of the speaker offers an accurate and superb vocal clarity. So, combined with the excellent features, audio quality, and the classy design of the speakers, this is indeed a practical buy for an avid music lover.
It is worth noting that you will need to use an amplifier with the speakers. However, this is not included in the package, but you can always use an existing amplifier or your home theater receiver without a problem.
- The dimensions of the speakers are reasonable enough to position them neatly anywhere you want.
- The bass is satisfactory considering the size of the speakers.
- The treble is smooth and the vocal clarity is impressive.
- You will need to use an amplifier with the speakers.
- There is no amplifier included in the package, so you have to buy your own.
6.ELAC B6 6.5-Inch Debut Series Bookshelf Speakers
These speakers come with a custom-designed woofer made with aramid fiber that enhances the damping characteristics, as compared with what plastic drivers or conventional paper can offer. The cabinet is also well-built with a glossy vinyl finish and thick MDF exterior walls for optimum strength.
As for the tweeter, there is a deep spheroid design that boosts directivity control while shielding the dome tweeter from the diffraction modes of the cabinet. Lastly, the 5-way gold plated binding posts offer multiple connectivity options to choose from.
When it comes to the appearance, it looks rather simple and nothing out of the ordinary. The workmanship is also average, so you cannot expect to be wowed by these speakers.
- Instead of plastic drivers, the woofer has aramid fiber for better damping qualities.
- There are multiple connectivity options available, thanks to the 5-way gold plating for the binding posts.
- The cabinet has a nice finish with decent MDF outer walls.
- The speakers only offer an average quality of sound.
- The workmanship and overall design is simple and mediocre.
5.Yamaha 3-Way Black Finish Bookshelf Speakers NS-6490
Yamaha never fails to impress with its sophisticated and luxurious finish, as what you can observe with these bookshelf speakers. But it is not just the appearance that will wow you, but also the build and features on the inside. There are three drivers in the speaker enclosure, which lead to a superior sound output with a frequency response range of 45Hz up to 23kHz.
As there is a magnetic shield to the speakers, you should be able to use these near your TV without any interruptions or distortions to the sound.
Unfortunately, you cannot expect much from this unit if you play a poorly mixed track as it cannot transform the sound into something highly impressive. Also, the midrange is nothing special, unlike with other brands of bookshelf speakers in the same price range.
- The enclosure comes with 3 drivers to boost the audio output.
- There is a magnetic shield that lets you position the speakers near the TV without any distortion to the sound.
- You will love the chic and elegant appearance of the speakers to complement your interior design.
- The midrange is just average and not as spectacular as what other brands offer.
- Poorly-mixed tracks do not sound too good on these speakers.
4.Klipsch 4-Inch Bookshelf Speakers R-14M
At 4 inches in height, these speakers can fit easily in your room or any cramped space without a hassle. But even with a small size, you can expect a good audio quality from these bookshelf speakers, thanks to the IMG high output copper-spun woofer for an excellent low frequency response and a 1-inch linear travel suspension tweeter that can reduce the distortion.
There is also the rear-firing port to match the drivers and cabinet while minimizing turbulence such as buzzing and rattling even at very low frequencies.
While these are inexpensive bookshelf speakers, there is nothing extraordinary about the speakers. They serve their purpose well, but these will not suffice to satisfy an audiophile because of the weak bass quality.
- One of the smallest bookshelf speakers in the market.
- Well-made woofer and tweeter for an enhanced audio quality.
- Turbulence is minimized by the rear-firing port.
- The appearance is rather bland and ordinary.
- The speakers offer a weak bass quality.
3.JBL Bookshelf Speakers Loft 40
You will love the slim profile of these speakers, yet without compromising the sound quality. You can set up your multi-channel surround sound entertainment system or a two-channel stereo with these speakers because of the quality sound they offer. You can count on this unit to handle a maximum of 125 watts while ensuring an accurate signal using the Straight Line Signal Path that minimizes alteration from the source. Just as how much you will love the looks of these speakers, the sound quality is equally impressive with an extended bass and accurate vocal clarity.
If you only need a pair of speakers for your home theater, then this product should suffice. But you will need a subwoofer if you plan on using the unit as a front primary surround sound component.
- Sleek and slim profile add to the modern look of the speakers.
- Can be used as a 2-channel or a multi-channel surround sound home entertainment system.
- Minimal alteration and distortion from the source.
- Some people think that the bass is a little inadequate.
- Not ideal for surround sound unless used with a subwoofer.
2.Cerwin Vega Two-Way Bookshelf Speakers SL5M
Compact and versatile, these speakers are good for a variety of audio applications whether you need these as your main speakers for a home theater or surround sound rear speakers. It can handle as much as 125 watts to ensure you of a clear audio. Plus, with a stunning cabinet to house all the great components of these speakers, you can easily set it up on your desk while complementing your interior space.
When used for your games and movies, these speakers are satisfactory. But if you are planning on listening to orchestra music with this unit, you may have to use speakers with sealed enclosures packed with large woofers.
- The size is compact for ease of set up anywhere in your home or office.
- Great-looking exterior to match your interior design.
- Handles a maximum of 125 watts for a superb audio quality.
- Orchestra music does not sound as impressive when you use these speakers.
1.Edifier Wooden Enclosure Bookshelf Speakers R1280T
The exterior of these speakers is rather impressive with an elegant wood finish, which should look good on your desk whether at home or in the office. There is a remote control included, so you can easily adjust the volume. However, you can control the treble and bass settings on the side of the speaker. Connecting two devices at the same time is also made possible as there are 2 AUX inputs, and this eliminates the need to plug and switch.
In terms of the sound, the treble and mids are clear enough, but the bass lacks that power you can expect from a subwoofer. There is also a slight hollow ring that you can detect when listening to the notes.
- Classy exterior with a wood vinyl finish.
- Remote control included for ease in adjusting the volume.
- The 2 AUX inputs make it convenient to connect your two devices at the same time.
- The bass is not very distinct and impressive.
- Adding a subwoofer may be necessary to improve the bass quality.
There are several key elements that need to be looked at when selecting a pair of bookshelf speakers. First of all, it is the frequency response determines how the bass sounds. Second of all the power will determine how loud they are. All the models on our list have wooden enclosures which help a lot with the acoustics. Only one pair of bookshelf speakers have a plastic enclosure. Other than that all of them are well made, deliver excellent sound and decent pricing.
Bookshelf Speaker – Buyer’s Guide
If you are an audiophile, having a good quality speaker at home that can offer a great music listening experience is a must. If you prefer a speaker that you can easily set up in the living room, bedroom, or your home entertainment area, then a bookshelf speaker is your best bet. Here, we talk about the basics of this speaker type, as well as features to look for when buying one for your specific needs.
Where to Position a Bookshelf Speaker?
- A bookshelf speaker works great on a raised area such as a table or a shelf. However, there are also some models that can be attached to a wall mount, if you want to save more space. But what is most distinct about this type of speaker is you usually see it with a set. With a pair of bookshelf speaker in your home, you can expect the sound quality to be even better than just having one.
- If you want the sound to be clearer and more distinct, then the best place to position your bookshelf speaker is on top of a sturdy surface such as a table. It is not recommended to set your speaker in an enclosed space for long hours since this prevents the audio from flowing flawlessly and smoothly. Thus, the sound quality is greatly affected and becomes less satisfactory to listen to.
- Using a designated stand is a great idea as this helps maintain the ideal height of the speaker that impacts the sound. There are even rubber stops included on the stand to keep the speaker at your desired position and prevents it from shifting.
- When it comes to superior quality bookshelf speakers, it is best to look for a unit with three drivers instead of just two. Most speakers have just the tweeter and a woofer, which creates high and low frequency tones, respectively. But if you expect a full range of audio, then a midrange driver added to these basic drivers is a great choice. A mid-range driver ensures the focus of the tweeter on the treble, and the woofer on the bass.
- Choose a cabinet that is sealed, as this ensures a superior quality sound. Once there are holes or cracks that causes the air to escape, the audio quality becomes inferior. There are also different materials used for the cabinet including metal, fiberboard, and plastic. The size, shape, and construction of the cabinet all affect how the sound will turn out.
- It is also essential to check the size of the speaker. If you have more space at home, it should not be troublesome to buy a bigger speaker. But this is not the same case when you have a cramped area at home. Plus, a bigger bookshelf speaker should cost more than a smaller one, unless there are advanced features incorporated to the unit.