Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500 – 2021

Getting bookshelf speakers on a budget isn’t necessarily as hard of a task as you might think. Not only are there plenty of models out there, but some of the best bookshelf speakers you can find aren’t even going to be at the top of your price range. Given that there’s not a lot of difference between actual components of individual speakers and that manufacturing costs have come way down, it’s a really good time to find some great bookshelf speakers.

What makes bookshelf speakers great, though? While there are plenty of marketing materials out there that will tell you that one feature or another makes a specific speaker set better than its peers, the truth is that there are only a handful of characteristics at which the average buyer needs to look. If you’re trying to track down the best bookshelf speakers that are in your budget range, you’ll want to look at the buying guide below.

Klipsch RP-160M Bookshelf Speaker – Ebony

Klipsch RP-160M Bookshelf Speaker - Ebony

The Klipsch RP-160M Bookshelf Speaker is a black-colored bookshelf speaker and it comes with a lot of features. It has a one-inch linear travel suspension tweeter made from titanium, ideal for those who love to travel. The speaker is also equipped with 6.5 inches spun cone woofer made from copper, and it has a 90 by 90 hybrid tractrix horn that comes with new tractrix port. The speaker has a good frequency response at 45 to 25 kilohertz, and its sensitivity is at 96 decibels at 2.83V/1m. The speaker’s power handling is also good, at 100W/400W. The speaker is ideal for those who are on a budget but wanted to experience great sound whenever they listen to music or watching a movie.

Advantages:

  • The Klipsch RP-160M Bookshelf Speaker produces a powerful, crisp sound. It is ideal for those who wanted to listen to music and watch movies at home.
  • Noise is non-existent, and it provides a clean sound
  • People who have purchased these speakers are stating that the music comes to life, giving them a phenomenal experience
  • When connected to the electronic bass house music, it produces a mind-blowing sound
  • When watching movies, the dialog can be heard, and the flow of the sound is natural
  • Delivers what the customers are hoping for when they read about a powerful bookshelf speaker online
  • It is an efficient audio system that has a smaller footprint. The size is a plus because it can do amazing things while being presented as a small box that is similar to the size of a paperback novel.

Disadvantages:

  • The manual made by Klipsch looks generic, and all of the information is the same, despite having different designs for their speakers. The manual lacks all of the information needed by the customers to set up their speakers.

 

 

Klipsch RB-61 II Reference Series Bookshelf Loudspeakers (Black)

Klipsch RB-61 II Reference Series Bookshelf Loudspeakers (Black)

The Klipsch RB-61 II Reference Series Bookshelf Loudspeakers utilizes the tractrix horn technology, creating a lifelike sound. If you are looking for a speaker that will transform all of your music and movies to life, then this speaker is for you. Despite the power of the speaker to generate lifelike sounds, it uses less energy and will result to lower power consumption and electricity bills. Aside from the tractrix horn technology, this speaker also comes with the woofer cone feature, which prevents the distortion of sound, and a tweeter made of titanium that makes you feel like you are inside a recording studio.

Advantages:

  • The Klipsch RB-61 II Reference Series Bookshelf Loudspeakers, being sold for under $500, is comparable to professional audio sets that cost thousands of dollars. It has the same functionality without the hefty price tag, making it an ideal choice for those who wanted to listen to better music.
  • The speaker produces a sound that is lively, smooth, and crystal clear. Each musical genre played through the speakers will make it sound much better.
  • When playing classical music through the speakers, the instruments and the voices sound too real.
  • Poor recordings can be detected through the speakers and it sound differently from the high-quality recordings.

Disadvantages:

  • Some people find the sound from the Klipsch RB-61 II Reference Series Bookshelf Loudspeakers to be very loud. These people wanted a better speaker that creates a smoother sound.
  • The loud sound produced by the speaker can startle your neighbors.

 

 

Audioengine HDP6 150W Passive Bookshelf Speakers (Cherry)

Audioengine HDP6 150W Passive Bookshelf Speakers (Cherry)

The Audioengine HDP6 150W Passive Bookshelf Speakers are made perfectly for tube amplifiers, integrated amps, and stereo receivers. These speakers are designed with audio quality in mind, and the manufacturers installed 5.5-inch woofers to make it sound better. The sound created by the speaker can instantly fill an entire room, and it only use a small amount of power to work. The high quality amplifier installed on the Audioengine HDP6 150W Passive Bookshelf Speakers is what makes it stand out, and it becomes an instant hit especially to those who are looking for a better speaker for their homes. The speaker also comes with a three-year warranty, making it a great deal for people who wanted to buy a durable and longer-lasting speaker.

Advantages:

  • Those who tried this speaker are praising its sound quality, claiming that it is really good.
  • The speaker executes a nice blend of highs and lows, and it produces a crystal clear sound.
  • The color of the speaker compliments wooden surfaces, and it has great aesthetics, making it an attractive hardware for those who wanted to buy a speaker for their homes.
  • It has an awesome vintage look, perfect for those who love collecting antique pieces.
  • The speaker works best if connected to a television inside a small or large-size room.

Disadvantages:

  • The sound produced by the speaker can become too noisy, especially when used inside a small room.
  • It is not recommended to be used as a desktop speaker because the sound might be too loud. It is not made to be used up-close.

 

 

Kanto YU4 Powered Speakers with Bluetooth and Phono Preamp – (Matte White)

Kanto YU4 Powered Speakers with Bluetooth and Phono Preamp - (Matte White)

The Kanto YU4 Powered Speakers comes with a phono pre-amp and Bluetooth feature. It produces crisp music and greatly differentiates highs and lows. The mid-range is also wonderfully balanced using this speaker. The speaker can also connect to a Bluetooth device, making it easier to stream music. The speaker also comes with a remote that will give the user full controls on how they wanted the music to be played. The small size of the speaker makes it suitable for any spaces inside the house, and it can be carried around because it is not heavy.

Advantages:

  • The speaker produces great sound, and the music played is life-like. The instruments and voices played from the speaker are crisp and clear.
  • There are no issues when connecting any Bluetooth-capable device to the speaker and no feedback sound is created which is usually an indication that there is a problem with connectivity.
  • The size of the speaker is perfect – it can fit inside a bookshelf, and it can be carried around the house without using too much effort.
  • The speaker has a very good build quality.

Disadvantages:

  • Some users are disappointed with the maximum volume because it did not reach their expectations. They are saying that the maximum volume is not that loud.
  • The remote does not work sometimes, and users are suggesting that the manufacturers should make the connection stronger.

 

 

Audioengine HDP6 150W Passive Bookshelf Speakers (Walnut)

Audioengine HDP6 150W Passive Bookshelf Speakers (Walnut)

The Audioengine HDP6 150W Passive Bookshelf Speakers exhibits a walnut-like hue, and its surface is wooden. This speaker uses a small amount of power, but its performance is top-notch, with people praising the sound that it produces. This speaker is compatible with high-quality amplifiers, and it creates a whole new experience for those who love listening to music. Just like the Cherry-colored Audioengine HDP6 150W Passive Bookshelf Speaker, the walnut-colored version has a three-year warranty.

Advantages:

  • This speaker is perfectly made for gamers because it creates a different listening experience
  • It can be used for listening to musical composition and other forms of media like movies and videos.
  • The speaker produces a crisp, neutral sound that makes it an ideal addition to the entertainment room.
  • The speakers were built using high-quality materials, and it also has great aesthetics
  • The speakers can be purchased for a low price, and with a price tag of under $500, buying this speaker is a great deal.

Disadvantages:

  • The speaker can produce an extremely loud noise, especially when installed inside a small room and playing music at maximum volume.
  • Manufacturers are advising the people buying this speaker not to use it for desktop computers because it can produce a very loud noise, which is not suitable for hearing in a close range.

 

Audioengine HD3 60W Wireless

Audioengine HD3 60W Wireless

The Audioengine HD3 60W Wireless Powered Desktop Speaker is equipped with Bluetooth connectivity that allows capable devices to connect to the speakers wirelessly. It has a maximum range of around one hundred feet, and it produces credible audio that sounds crisp and clear. The phone’s low-quality sound card produces low-quality audio, but connecting it to the speaker will automatically transform it to have premium quality sound. The speakers are small, and it is portable. However, despite its smaller size, this speaker can fill up an entire room with sound. Setting up the speaker does not require a lot of things, and it can be connected using only a headphone jack or Bluetooth connectivity. The speaker also comes with a three-year warranty.

Advantages:

  • The speaker produces high-quality sound, and people who purchased this speaker are saying that it creates a crisp and clear sound.
  • The speaker has an analog input resolution and an onboard amplifier quality.
  • It also has a headphone output quality.
  • The speaker is made with a cool design, and it looks beautiful.
  • The speaker requires a simple setup.

Disadvantages:

  • While it does not affect the sound quality of the speakers, the backplate can get very hot. To prevent this from damaging the speakers, try to turn off the unit and wait until it cools down.

 

 

Swans Speakers-M200MKIII+-Powered 2.0 Bluetooth Bookshelf Speaker-HiFi Speaker

Swans Speakers-M200MKIII+-Powered 2.0 Bluetooth Bookshelf Speaker-HiFi Speaker

This award-winning speaker is highly recommended for use inside a small to mid-sized room, and it produces high-quality sound from different media. It also showcases a classy design, making it a favorable option for those who are searching for a durable and high-quality speaker with great design.

Advantages:

  • Many people who purchased the speaker are saying that the design is top-notch, and they also loved the fact that the products come with foam and a white cloth cover to protect it during delivery.
  • The speaker is sturdy, although it weighs a lot at twenty pounds.
  • The sound that the speakers produce is of high quality, and it is highly recommended using it while watching epic films. People who have used it to watch movies are saying that you will feel like you are inside the scene when the music begins.
  • Using this speaker while listening to music creates a clear, high-quality sound.
  • The speaker can be placed anywhere inside the house, and putting it near a desktop computer is not a problem because of its small size.
  • The speaker comes with a two-year warranty, especially for defects. However, the warranty does not apply for cases wherein the user actually contributed to the damage on the unit.

Disadvantages:

  • Some users cannot differentiate the highs and lows when the volume is not set at the maximum level.

 

 

Q Acoustics 3020 Bookshelf Speaker (Graphite)

Q Acoustics 3020 Bookshelf Speaker (Graphite)

The Q Acoustics 3020 Bookshelf Speaker is using a concentric ring dome tweeter, giving it a wide dispersion and low distortion feature. It is also upgraded to have a low resonance cabinet, making it an ideal speaker for those who wanted to listen to high-quality music. The speaker also produces a realistic mid-range sound, and because of Kevlar, the speaker delivers a big bass response that is extended and has a fast dynamics. People who have purchased the Q Acoustics 3020 Bookshelf Speaker are stating that their money is worth is because of all of the features found within the speaker. It is also a great investment for those who are in love with audio. The price tag of less than $500 for a unit also enabled it to become one of the most favorite speakers in the market.

Advantages:

  • People who purchased the Q Acoustics 3020 Bookshelf Speaker are praising its great build quality.
  • It produces a clear sound, and there is a huge difference when you are using a smart phone and using the Q Acoustics 3020 Bookshelf Speaker to play music.
  • When playing musical instruments, voices, or dialogs, the speaker transforms it into high-quality audio that seems life-like.
  • The price tag is reasonable, and to buy a similar speaker that has similar capabilities, you need to spend at least $3,000.
  • The speaker is beautifully engineered, and it has great aesthetics, allowing it to become an instant favorite by those who are basing their choices on the design of the speaker.

Disadvantages:

  • Invest in a good subwoofer if you wanted to take care of the speaker’s bottom end.

 

 

Wharfedale – Denton 80th Anniversary Speaker (Red Mahogany)

Wharfedale - Denton 80th Anniversary Speaker (Red Mahogany)

The Wharfedale – Denton 80th Anniversary Speaker is a limited-edition speaker that is being sold in red mahogany color. The speaker’s dimensions are 12.6″ x 7.8″ x 10.8″, and its small size makes it a portable speaker that you can carry anywhere inside the house. People are loving these speakers because it produces high-quality sound, and it has a great design.

Advantages:

  • The speakers produce a high-quality sound, and it creates a smooth, crisp, and clear sound where the highs and lows can be differentiated. The sound that is coming out of the speaker also feels more natural.
  • The speakers can also produce a good-sounding bass, especially when it is placed near the walls.
  • The design looks great, and people are praising how the Wharfedale – Denton 80th Anniversary Speaker is engineered.
  • When placed inside a small room, the speaker can be used to its full advantage. It will produce better sound, and when placed in the maximum volume level, the sound can easily fill the entire space.

Disadvantages:

  • People who are buying this speaker should check the color carefully. Some people who ordered this speaker are stating that they were sent the Walnut color instead. The two colors are slightly similar, but Red Mahogany is more noticeable because of the strong hint of redness applied to the surface of the speakers.

 

 

Vanatoo Transparent Zero Powered Speakers (Black, Set of Two)

Vanatoo Transparent Zero Powered Speakers (Black, Set of Two)

The Vanatoo Transparent Zero Powered Speakers have four inputs, which are Bluetooth, USB, analog, and optical. This makes it possible to connect to many devices, including smart phones, tablets, and desktop computers. The speaker is also designed with a four-inch aluminum woofer, a four-inch passive radiator, and a one-inch tweeter with the soft dome, resulting in a better quality sound. This is the best speaker for desktop computers and television sets, and it is highly recommended to be installed inside a small to medium-sized room. The speaker also comes with remote control, a magnetic grill, two analog cables, a single USB cable, and several acoustic isolation pads.

Advantages:

  • The speaker sounds similar to a $50,000 professional audio system, and experts who have used the Vanatoo Transparent Zero Powered Speakers are recommending it for people who wanted to listen to good music without spending a lot of money.
  • The music produced by the speaker is smooth and gentle, and it also plays a clear and crisp sound. When connected to an acoustic instrument, the sound it produces is almost perfect.
  • It is impressive to know that a small speaker like the Vanatoo Transparent Zero Powered Speakers can play high-quality sound, and because of its small size, it can be placed anywhere that the user desires.
  • There is a lot of connectivity options for the speaker.

Disadvantages:

  • To get the best quality, the speaker can only be used inside a small or medium-sized room. When used in a large room, the expectations for the speaker to play high-quality music might not happen.

 

 

DALI – Zensor 1 (Black Ash)

DALI - Zensor 1 (Black Ash)

The DALI – Zensor 1 is an award-winning speaker that comes in Black Ash color. Many audiophile outlets around the world gave this speaker and accolade because of its great design and its capability to produce high-quality sound. This speaker is small, and its dimensions are 10.8 inches by 6.4 inches by 8.7 inches. The speaker is also engineered to have a rounded edge, which results in reduced diffractions and minimizing the distortion.

Advantages:

  • The portability of the speaker enables it to become a better choice for people who are living in places with limited spaces.
  • The speakers can produce high-quality sound, despite its small size, and it has the capability to fill up a small or medium-sized room with life-like sounds.

Disadvantages:

  • Some people are stating that the DALI – Zensor 1 is pricier compared to other bookshelf speakers on the market.

 

Buying Guide For Bookshelf Speakers Under $500

Bookshelf speakers are compact speakers that are made to be placed on a raised surface – on a bookshelf, for example. These speakers come in several shapes and sizes, but they all make a number of trade-offs in order to keep to their relatively small sizes. If you’re looking for good bookshelf speakers, you’ll want to prioritize the following characteristics:

 

Sensitivity/Volume

In more technical terms, the sensitivity of a bookshelf speaker is one of its most important characteristics. To non-audiophiles, sensitivity is a measure of how loud the speaker can get in relation to the amount of power being put through the system, The higher the sensitivity, the lower the power requirements to get the volume pumped up. It’s an important measure for anyone who is looking to ensure that his or her speakers provide an adequate sound experience.

Typically speaking, the volume that you can achieve on cheaper speakers is going to be a bit less than what you’ll get on the high end – but the gap might not be nearly as large as one might think. The more decibels per watt you get, the better the volume you can expect from the device. There’s not a huge range here, though, so finding a speaker system that has even a slightly higher range can make a very big difference in terms of volume quality.

 

Sound Quality

Of course, loudness isn’t everything. You’re going to want to look for a bookshelf speaker that that actually provides a reasonably good sound experience. Though bookshelf speakers do tend to work best as part of a larger sound set-up, you should still do a bit of homework to figure out what kind of sound quality you’ll get from a given set-up.

Your goal here is to think about your sound needs and how they’ll be best satisfied. If you’re generally listening to bass-heavy music, you might want to look for a bookshelf speaker set that can be paired with a good subwoofer. If you’re more concerned with the higher end sounds, though, finding a set of speakers that has a reputation for being brighter might be your best bet.

Only you know the sound experience you want, so read descriptions from others to see if their experience matches what you need. There’s no right or wrong here – just personal preference.

 

Size

Yes, size matters when it comes to bookshelf speakers. On the primary level, the size of the speaker is going to determine exactly where you can place it in your home. If you need your speaker to fit on a specific bookshelf, you’ll want to measure its dimensions to determine if it’s right for your home. There’s nothing wrong with having a large or small speaker, but you might have to rethink your audio plan depending on where you can sit the device.

Size also matters in terms of how large your own space might be. More powerful speakers are better for larger areas, while smaller speakers might be better for smaller rooms. Try to keep in mind that the speakers you choose are going to need to work for a particular part of your home or apartment and make sure that you don’t make a choice that overwhelms or comes up lacking in that space.

 

Housing

Take some time to take a look at the housing of your speakers as well. The housing does impact the overall quality of the sound, and you don’t want to end up with a casing that’s actually going to impede your ability to enjoy music. The vast majority of bookshelf speakers these days use a wood or faux-wood casing, and you really can’t go wrong with either.

If you want to get deeper into your audio experience, you might find that specific case composition makes for a slightly different tone. It’s a good idea to check out fan forums and website reviews to figure out if the casing actually makes an impact on our listening experience or if those claims are just more from the marketing department.

 

Reliability

Finally, make sure to take a look at the reliability of your speakers. Does the company offer a warranty for your bookshelf speakers? If so, for how long does it last and what does it cover? If the company doesn’t offer a warranty, you’ll want to check to see what kind of experience others have had with these units. If the speakers tend to degrade in sound quality over time or there are problems that tend to pop up after installation, you may want to look elsewhere.

Reliablity is one of those things that’s hard to quantify and that always takes extra research to find out about. Always look for a good warranty when you can, but settle for a good reputation when you cannot. If you can get a speaker that you can trust, you’ll be able to depend on it for quite some time to come. Make sure that this is one of your major factors when you’re shopping for new speakers.

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