Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $100 Reviews

There is nothing sweeter than the sweet thumping and rumble of a powerful bookshelf speaker to enhance your home entertainment. A few years back, we left bookshelf speakers for audiophiles but now every modern home needs a bookshelf speaker for a home theater in every room, office or general entertainment from your home devices. Inbuilt speakers on your phone, laptop, and TV may be loud but not all you need for a complete home theater to entertain friends and family. This is why everyone is out here looking for a bookshelf speaker that enables you to enjoy every beat and rumble of your favorite music, movies, and gaming. The good news is that you don’t have to drain your accounts to get the best bookshelf speaker.

Basically, the value of your speaker is determined by the quality of sound you receive from your source of choice. It may sound like a simple decision to make but the technical details and thousands of exaggerated reviews make it very difficult to decide on one perfect speaker, especially when buying online. This is why we decided to employ a team to test the best bookshelf speakers for small, medium and large rooms.

The market is full off praised bookshelf speakers some of which are not up to the standard which is why you need a primary base past the technical terms and confusing reviews. Before you buy any speaker, there are just three basics that will ensure your choice doesn`t let you down.

Hertz: The number of hertz on your speaker limits the range of base you will receive so going for lower hertz means a higher bass range.

Watts: The watts determine the power of your speaker which reflects the range and frequency of your sound. High wattage means a richer solid sound.

Drivers: These are the actual creators of the boost to the natural sound delivered from the source. Large woofers deliver a strong bass aided by large magnets. You also need a powerful tweeter for higher range although mid-range tweeters are the basic standard on most bookshelf speakers in the market.

Top 5 Best Bookshelf Speakers Reviewed

1. Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf speakers

Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers - 2.0 Active Near Field Monitors - Studio Monitor Speaker - Wooden Enclosure - 42 Watts RMS

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Edifier has made a mark on the market with these midrange speakers, well larger than other bookshelf speakers but smaller than a floor speaker giving you full location convenience and sound richness. Its classy wooden finish complements any home setting but best of all, its 13mm silk dome tweeter that releases a balanced sound with a high base or maximum treble aided by its 4-inch full range unit.

These speakers can be placed on a table, cupboard or dresser according to your convenience. The primary speaker has dual RCA inputs allowing you to connect to any device as RCA to RCA or RCA to AUX including PCs, laptops and record players. It can also be remotely controlled. The manual controls for the volume and bass and conveniently located on the side of the main speaker for easy access and control.

These speakers can be used alongside a subwoofer for a longer sound range. However, when used independently, these speakers are great for a small and medium-sized room with the silk dome preventing scattered sound for better entertainment. The speakers switch automatically to a balanced sound when powered on. The package is also covered by a 2-year warranty.

Pros:

  • It has a classy wooden vinyl finish
  • It uses natural silk dome tweeters to prevent a scratchy scattered sound
  • It is can be placed anywhere in the room taking up little space
  • Dual RCA inputs for multiple source connection
  • Controls are conveniently located on the sides for easy access

Cons:

  • Its low range bass is very high
  • Not suitable for very small rooms

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2. PreSonus Eris Professional Multimedia Reference monitors

PreSonus Eris E3.5 - 3.5" Professional Multimedia Reference Monitors with Acoustic Tuning (Pair)

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If you are an audiophile or the owner of a home studio, then these speakers have you covered. This is one of the few bookshelf speakers in the market with acoustic tuning best suited for the most balanced sound production in your own home studio. They are all about balanced sound production for both midrange and large rooms aided by the acoustic tuning and the super sound cut-off design. These speakers are built from premium material with large tweeters for a smoother sound and less noise.

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They are light speakers easy to carry and install on any surface such as a table for your most convenient sound. Customers highly recommend it for producing homemade music and videos because of the customizable sound on these speakers. The premium build is also tough, resistant to scratches and cracks making the whole set very durable even when used in a harsh outdoor environment.

These speakers` controls and connections are all located at the front for easy access. It accepts RCA, AUX and TRS sources delivering equally balanced treble and bass from your input. These speakers can also be connected to multiple inputs at a time releasing balanced mix sounds which are a great advantage for any studio. They are professional class bookshelf speakers suitable for great home entertainment or even commercial grade audio production.

Pros:

  • Controls are located at the front for easy access
  • They are built from Premium material
  • It has acoustic tuning for studio sound production
  • Designed to accommodate many sources for balanced mix sounds
  • They take only a little space once installed

Cons:

  • They need a subwoofer for best performance
  • They only have manual control for volume

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3. Pioneer SP-BS22 bookshelf speakers

Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones Designed Bookshelf Loudspeakers(7-1/8" x 12-9/16

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Pioneer is the most popular brand among audiophiles especially this light bookshelf package with one of the highest bass and treble boosts in the market. This great bass is all thanks to large magnets and their super silk dome tweeter that concentrate your base to the set range without noise designed by Andrew Jones. The domes are also covered by a removable grill that prevents dust and spills from ruining the tweeter especially when you use it outdoors. The upgraded curved cabinet design on these speakers automatically reduce the echo and noise inside the speakers to deliver the rich sound you can enjoy from any device.

The speakers are designed for low, mid-range and high frequencies allowing you to enjoy a balanced sound environment in your bedroom, living room or basement regardless of the size. This versatile sound range is supported by the 6-piece crossover on these speakers that give you full control of the sound range. Buyers really appreciate the compatibility of these speakers with a subwoofer cranking out a theater-style sound.

Customers also loved the sleek design and the universal finish that complements your décor while blending in with any home theater design. These speakers only support one RCA/AUX connection which is a downside if you intend to use them as your primary wireless speaker.

Pros:

  • Extra-large magnets
  • It has a curved cabinet
  • It has a 6-piece crossover
  • The tweeter is protected by a removable grill
  • It has rigid joints for durability

Cons:

  • It is limited to wired connectivity
  • The controls are hard to access

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4. Creative Labs Gigaworks 2.0 Multimedia speaker system

Creative Labs 51MF1610AA002 GigaWorks T20 Series II 2.0 Multimedia Speaker System with BasXPort Technology

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If a bookshelf speaker is all you want for your home entertainment, then this system got you covered. This is another versatile speaker best suited for stand-alone use. It is one of the best bookshelf speakers for a small or medium size room that can be comfortably used without a subwoofer thanks to a glass fiber cone with a powerful mid-range driver. You can also plug in your headphones if you want to listen privately.

The package has extra-large tweeters with matched magnets that boost the delivery of natural sound as well as a solid bass. Its lower range sound is especially rich and balanced because of the BasXPort technology that produces a balanced low range delivery for enjoyment by everyone in the room. It is, however, larger and heavier than the other bookshelf speakers in the guide.

Its powerful bass is its greatest deal breaker. Customers loved its easy controls conveniently located at the front of the speaker including bass, treble, and volume. You can still connect it to a subwoofer without altering its bass quality. These speakers can also be connected directly to your gaming console, TV, computer or phone via RCA.

Pros:

  • It can work perfectly without a subwoofer
  • It has glass fiber drivers
  • Extra large cone tweeters
  • It allows listening via headphone
  • Controls are conveniently located at the front

Cons:

  • The midrange volume is still very high
  • The speaker cables are rather short
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5. AVX Audio 6.5-inch Bookshelf speaker

AVX Audio 6.5 Inch Bookshelf Speaker Pair (AVX Audio 6.5" Speakers)

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If you are looking for a pair of powerful bookshelf speakers on a budget, this set will not disappoint. It has the same large silk dome tweeter of a large floor speaker with dual RCA to AUX connection allowing you to connect it to a subwoofer or use it independently. It is also a very portable speaker able to fit in any small space or be mounted on a wall using the pre-drilled attachment on the speaker.

These speakers are built from premium material featuring large magnets for short and mid-range bass boots and a silk dome tweeter with balanced bass and treble delivery. Its greatest advantage is the 6.5-inch woofers made of polypropylene which are better at delivering mid-range bass.

Its thick granular wood finish is also very durable and also blends in with most modern home theater applications including computers, TVs and subwoofers. This is probably the most favorite bookshelf speaker for audiophiles because of the customizable output. It Is covered by a three-year warranty with cover for labor and spares.

Pros:

  • It is made of tough durable material
  • Three years warranty cover
  • It has attachments for wall mounting
  • It has extra large tweeters
  • The tweeters are covered by a tough mesh grill

Cons:

  • The grill is rather hard to remove
  • The tweeters are held by a plastic frame

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Buying Guide for Getting the best bookshelf speaker

Bookshelf speakers are a lifetime purchase that just has to meet your requirements to earn a ticket on your shopping list. There are two main levels of testing to confirm if the speaker is right for you. You have to check out the primary features that determine functionality. Then like any other electronic, you have to give it a test.

Size and Design

Bookshelf speakers have the same tweeter and woofer size as floor-standing speakers but you have to install them at a height for the best sound effects which are why size really matters.  When buying a bookshelf speaker, you are making an addition to both your home theater and room design. The first thing you see in a bookshelf speaker is the cabinet size which actually determines how conveniently you can locate it apart from its addition to general sound effects thanks to the stuffing in the cabinet. It is also important to ensure that your speakers make a perfect match to your existing system to complement the general design of your home. If the appearance and size please you, then you can narrow down to the specifics.

Room size

Bookshelf speakers are the most versatile range of speakers designed for any room from a 6 feet sturdy to a 20 feet movie hall. This means you need to check for the sound range specified by the manufacturer. Getting a high range speaker for a small room totally distorts the entertainment because most of the sound bounces back against the walls and furniture causing noise and discomfort. Bookshelf speakers are also meant to be listened to at ear level meaning you should put them on a table or on the wall at the same level as your ears for the best experience. This why a speaker that gives you full access to mid-range and high range settings are always the best.

Connectivity

Bookshelf speakers are complementary to your device of choice, amplifier or surround system which means you have to look for a speaker that can connect to your available source. Generally, all bookshelf speakers including wireless supported ones can be connected via RCA to AUX which is why they can be added to any system. However, if you intend to use them in your home studio or for private listening, you may need dual connectivity including headphones.

Sensitivity

Speakers are fitted with magnetic sensitivity to protect them from being fried if your amplifier sends in too much power. Most amplifiers are rated at 8 ohms meaning speakers with 2- and 4-ohm sensitivity can be easily destroyed by the amplifier. It is advisable to go for a 6 or 8-ohm speaker on any standard amplifier. You should also look for a sound rating of 80db and above to blend in perfectly with any system you may be using.

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Access

This is all about how easily you can access the controls on your speaker and whether you are in control of sound effects including bass and treble apart from the volume. Remote control is always the easiest way of controlling sound although manual volume, bass, and treble adjustments are a life saver. You should also ensure the speaker wires are easy to connect and long enough to reach across the two speaker locations. This saves you the cost of extension cables.

Testing a Bookshelf Speaker

Sound balance

Manufactures either make bright speakers which have a high treble or high bass speakers determined by the magnet size and tweeter size of the speaker. These features are described in the buyer`s manual and easy to understand. If you understand the sound specifications of your amplifier, then it is easy to match it to the speaker. If you already have a bright amplifier, then a high bass speaker will be the best option because the two will compliment each other. It is wise to test each speaker on your system or a matching amplifier to be sure.

Positioning

Bookshelf speakers don’t perform well when installed on the floor which is why you need a cabinet for the speakers, wall mounts or place them on a table. The height should be as close to your ear level as possible with both speakers standing at equal distances from the listeners.

Frequency

Not all manufacturers say the truth about their midrange or high range speakers. Some speakers have large tweeters but the stuffing in the cabinet is poor leaving the whole sound muffled and limited to a short range. It is important to test the speakers` ability to produce a rich balanced sound in your room considering its size and furnishing. Sofas, carpets and other soft furnishings in your room absorb sound so you may need more power from your speaker to deliver the required sound quality.

FAQs

1. Is it a must to buy a subwoofer alongside bookshelf speakers?

Not really! Bookshelf speakers can be connected directly to your device and deliver the natural sound as produced by your device. Subwoofers, however, improve the sound quality by improving the sound effects. This allows your speaker to deliver its best sound.

2. How Do I know I have the right bookshelf speakers?

Solid is the standard for the term for sound quality no matter what brand of speakers you buy. Once you test the sound, you should feel that solid output that gets to your ears without strain or bumps.

3. Which is the best type of bookshelf speakers?

As we explained from the start of this guide, the best bookshelf speakers are simply a combination of hertz low enough to allow a powerful bass, wattage high enough for powerful output and a powerful tweeter. Other functional factors as discussed above should also match with your needs leaving you in full control of your expected sound delivery.

4. Which is better between wireless and wired speakers?

Wireless speakers are great for convenience but only if you have a matching wireless system. Otherwise, wired speakers are the best with a stable connection all the time. Wired speakers do not really cause operational strain because you only need to connect them once then the rest is all about switching on and off.

Conclusion

If you have decided that you need a bookshelf speaker, you are already a step close to next-generation sound quality. Bookshelf speakers are a life changer whether used alone or if added to a system. However, narrowing down your choice to one particular speaker can be a hard task which is why we decided to simplify everything past the confusing terms. This is a guide for both audiophiles, first-timers and those seeking bookshelf speakers for professional use at a budget-friendly price.

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