Best Bookshelf Speakers [Under $200] – Buying Guide & Detailed Reviews (2020)

Regardless of whether you want to debut into the world of high-quality audio or you consider yourself as an audiophile, bookshelf speakers are a logical next step to create that dynamic-room filling sound.

Bookshelf speakers can be paired with a subwoofer or be a part of a big home audio setup.

Music is one universal language that we all share as everyone loves music. However, the experience differs based on the speakers used. It amazes how same music sounds after moving from cheap quality speakers to a hi-fi setup.

When every little thump, rumble, and bump is felt, only then we can say that the overall entertainment value has been realized.

Good bookshelf speaker offers a perfect balance between the size and quality of the audio and can easily be set up in the listening area, your living room or even your bedroom.

Finding the right bookshelf speaker and at a good price is not an easy task and as such we have compiled a thorough buying guide with top 10 bookshelf speakers available in the market today. Let’s get started!

How to Find the Best Bookshelf Speaker: Factors to Consider

How to Find the Best Bookshelf Speaker: Factors to Consider

Here are a number of factors to consider before buying a bookshelf speaker.


Here you should consider things like the type of amplifier, input types, driver size, output types, frequency range, power output, impedance and whether the speaker is passive or active.

Active or Passive speaker- what’s the difference?

Bookshelf speakers come in two types: active and passive. Passive speakers need an external amplifier and a pair of speakers in order to operate. This means that when shopping for a passive speaker you need to buy those two items as well and also include a speaker wire.

Active speakers on the other hands mean that the speaker is connected to an internal power as such no extra amplifier is needed and also connection to a stereo is optional.

Volume ratings in terms of dB needed

The efficiency or sensitivity of a speaker is measured in decibels (dB). Depending on the volume set, this is what indicates how loud the speaker is. This is crucial with regard to the size of the room you are intending to use the speaker.

For example, lower speaker sensitivity of around 96dB is appropriate for a much smaller room like your bedroom. Anything more than that should be for a much bigger room or any occasion that might need some extra volume.

The bottom line is when comparing different models; you should have an estimate of the dB needed in different cases.

Impedance and Wattage-Matching amps with Speakers

It is important to match the wattage level of both the speaker and the amplifier (in case of the passive speakers). Mismatch of speaker and amplifier wattage results into speaker distortion in the scenario that the amplifier wattage exceed that of speaker.

Too little wattage, on the other hand, makes the amp clip and also go red as it struggles to deliver the wattage.

Similarly, impedance should be a major consideration when choosing your speaker. Normally, the impedance of the A/V receiver or amp should be lower or equal to that of the speaker.

Important to note is that it’s at their lowest impendence that amp utilize their full potential wattage.

Placement of the Speakers

A bookshelf speaker tends to perform well when placed in a raised place such as a shelf or a table. But there are some which can be mounted on the wall especially when the space is limited.

Bookshelf speakers sound more distinct and clearer when placed on a sturdy surface such as a shelf. Setting these speakers in an enclosed area affect sound quality as it prevents flawless and smooth flow of audio.

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.

Speaker stands helps a long way in maintaining an ideal height of the speaker which consequently impacts on the sound.

How We Conducted the Research

You may have spent or might spend huge amounts on speakers. That’s why our list is a compilation of the best speakers at fair prices which is great for the budget.

Right from the top to the bottom we made sure all the brands are the best in terms of performance and quality. All of our chosen models have already made a name for themselves in the audio market and most of them are quite familiar.

We have made a point to highlight the differences as well as similarities of the connectivity and specs of each speaker to help you determine which best fits your needs.

1. Edifier R1700BT Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $200

The Bluetooth bookshelf speaker by Edifier comes in an elegant look from their hand-picked walnut vinyl cabinet. It is specially designed with a 10-degree angle for direct transmission of sound to the listening area, enhancing your listening experience and reducing interference as much as possible. This makes R17000BT offer a high level of practicality and convenience than other close competitors.

Edifier R1700BT Key Highlights

  • Bluetooth Connectivity: R17000BT ability to connect with your phone, computer or tablet is the main feature that makes this model standout from the rest. This speaker offers a hassle-free wireless experience as it makes it easy to listen to music from your computer or phone.
  • The Eagle Eye Tweeter: The latest development in this edifier series is the 19mm “Eagle Eye” tweeter.  This tweeter makes the slightest sounds clear, delivering a full professional listening experience by reproducing rich and full tunes. Coming with appropriate dimensions and refined specs, the tweeter lives up to its demand and reputation.
  • 2 x AUX Input plus a remote control:The two AUX inputs allow you to connect twodevices simultaneously at any given time; no switching or plugging is required.A compact size remote control is provided to help you control volume, switchinputs sources and mute or unmute the speakers whenever necessary.
  • checkClassic MDF Wood Finish: This speaker is built with high-quality MDF wood and walnut wood effect vinyl for finishing. This serve as a great compliment to most contemporary décors giving an impression of a sophisticated style without losing performance or quality.


  • The R1700BT connect seamlessly
  • R1700BT is very practical and Bluetooth mode is handy
  • Very engaging and easy to listen to
  • Mind-blowing sound with such atiny footprints
  • Great clarity with bass that rivals 2.1 systems


  • The Bass tends to be too strong and overpowering
  • Controls need to be more precise

Our Verdict: Edifier R1700BT offers performance that exceeds its value and all the connectivity that you may be looking for.

Buy this bookshelf speaker today and enjoy the fantastic clarity and vocals.

2. Mackie CR3 CR Series

The Mackie Reference Series CR3s are the closest rivals for the Edifier R1280T and are among the best bookshelf speakers.  This is designed using professional grade components delivering studio-quality and sonic performance with appropriate front-panel controls.

Mackie CR3 is easy to connect and its size is nice and compact making it fit perfectly into the bookshelf.

Mackie CR3 CR Series Key Highlights

  • Premium Components:CR 3 delivers premium components from all- wood cabinet, high-output drivers to a true studio-monitor wave guide system delivering a performance and quality that is unmatched while remaining true to its meticulous design.
  • Convenient Features:CR 3 includes features such as headphone out, a front panel aux input where you can connect with your smartphone or tablet and a volume knob which also acts as an on/off switch. Additionally, there is a switch between your left and right speaker which allows you to adjust the volume of the two sides independently.
  • Tons of Included Accessories: The CR monitors comes with loads of accessories to get you started right away. The accessories are normally meant to help you connect it up. They include cables and isolation pads. The two-piece isolation pads help to isolate the speaker from the surface that they are placed on which in the long helps to improve sound quality as well position the speaker at a certain angle relative to your listening position.
  • checkPolypropylene coated 3” woofer:The CR3 uses a 3″ polypropylene coated woofer and a .75″ Ferro-fluid cooled silk-done tweeter. These tweeters go up to 20 kHz and are mounted in a waveguide providing great imaging and stereo dispersion.


  • The multiple inputs make it possible to work with different audio sources.
  • Remote included
  • Has a front mounted power/volume switch
  • The inclusion of a treble knob allows you to adjust the treble as appropriate
  • It feels solid and sturdy thanks to its good build quality


  • Mackie CR3 doesn’t have USB or Bluetooth connectivity.
  • It doesn’t accommodate attenuation controls
  • Hand Pointing DownThe bass doesn’t feelas punchy as it lacks depth

Our Verdict: These speakers offer a surprisingly great value for money and they offer outstanding performance in small and medium-sized rooms.

Check Mackie CR 3 on Amazon and get one at an amazing price while stock last!

3. Klipsch R-14M

This compact black and copper Klipsch series is one of the best bookshelf speakers when it comes to design value for money and most importantly sound quality. The R-14 advanced sound system delivers crystal clear mids, incredible and fuller sound, enough for the budget conscious audiophile.

Klipsch R-14M Key Highlights

  • 90×90 Tractrix Horn: Klipsch R-14M feature the Klipsch proprietary 90×90 Tractrix Technology connected with an aluminum tweeter in order to offer the best high-end frequency response,powerful dynamics and great imaging. This generates the most natural and cleanest sound possible with minimal distortion.
  • The LTS (Linear Travel Suspension) tweeter: A combination of The Linear Travel Suspension (LTS) tweeter and copper-spun IMG (Injection Molded Graphite) Woofer provides great speaker efficiency, highest in its class.  The LTS tweeter works towards eliminating and minimizing sound distortion as much as possible delivering an elaborate and enhanced performance.
  • Spun Copper IMG(Injection Molded Graphite) Woofers: The woofers are rigid and exceptionally lightweightand they provide an impressivelow-frequency response and at the same time it utilizes the graphite to minimize distortion as well as cone breakup. The IMG woofer can also be paired with the Tractrix Horn all geared towards improving efficiency.
  • checkRear-Firing Port: Klipsch R-14M bookshelf speakers feature a rear-firing port with 5-way bidding posts for connection flexibility that will fit into your setup. The rear-firing port has been made to perfectly fit into the drivers and cabinet which help eliminate turbulence even if they occur at the lowest frequencies.


  • The position of the rear-firing port minimizes turbulence
  • Provides hours of listening pleasure with accurate and non-fatiguing sound
  • It plays loud with less distortion as compared with close competitors
  • Well-built tweeter and woofer for enhanced audio quality
  • Uses less energy to produce more output thanks to its efficient design


  • It is a passive speaker as such it requires more equipment i.e. amplifier and stereo receiver
  • The quality of the bass tends to be weak

Our verdict: When it comes to great experience, Klipsch series never fails. The R-14M feature top-notch qualities and we would recommend it you if you don’t mind the slight lack of low end.

However, you can always get a subwoofer and you will be good to go.

Spice up your listening experience with this amazing Klipsch series; R-14M.

4. Edifier R1280T

Edifier R1280T is one of the best-poweredspeakers (meaning it contains its own amplifier). As such it is easy to connect it the playback source by means of a simple RCA cable with no separate amp.

On top of that, the inbuilt EQ knobs for fine-tuning the sound and the included remote control are more than enough to provide a mind-blowing audio quality.

Edifier R1280T Key Highlights

  • Reliable Performance: The R1280T powered bookshelf speakers offers a combination of a retro look and a modern sense of audio quality. Featuring a calibrated flared bass reflex port and a 4-inch bass driver the R1280T delivers rich and robust bass notes that are deep and full of presence.
  • Precise Control:The include volume, treble and bass dials on the active bookshelf speaker helps to personalize your listening experience. What’s more, the included compact size remote control makes it possible for you to set your speakers to mute or adjust volumes as need be right at your fingertips.  The Edifier R1280T has built-in tone control and depending on your preferences you can make some micro adjustments of the bass and treble. Digital volume control is always set at appropriate level every time the speakers are switched on.
  • Dual RCA Input: Just like R1700BT the R1280T powered bookshelf speakers allows you to connect to multiple audio devices using the dual RCA inputs; you can connect these set of speaker to your phone, PC, tablet, laptop, or a record player at any given time.  These inputs support both RCA to AUX and RCA to RCA connections.
  • checkStudio Sound Quality: The 13mm silk dome tweeter and 4” full range unit ensure natural sound reproduction far much better to that of close competitors.
  • checkClassic Wood Finish:High-quality MDF wood build witha vinyl finish vinyl as a great compliment and fits into any interior.


  • It can connect with any gear using an RCA output
  • It can also connect with mobile devices and PCs
  • The two AUX inputs makes it possible to connect to two devices simultaneously
  • The bass and treble are flexible and adjustable
  • The wood vinyl finish provides a classy exterior


  • Very high volumes sometimes lead to distortion
  • Absence of wireless capabilities
  • Hand Pointing DownA subwoofermay be needed to improve the bass quality

Our VerdictEdifier R1280T has won the hearts of many audiophiles due to its ability to deliver a rich and balanced audio alongside adjustable EQ in an elegant design.`

Check Edifier R1280T on Amazon and see what you have been missing in your sound system.

5. Pioneer SP-BS22-LR

The SP-BS22-LR by pioneer offers one of the best bookshelf speakers at the market rocking some pretty neat specs and all the needed features at more than affordable price.

Performance wise, these speakers sounds surprisingly good such that they outperform most speakers within their price range. Their black wooden cabinet gives them a solid as well as sophisticated look.

Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Key Highlights

  • 6 Element Complex Crossover: In any speaker, the work of crossover is to separate the audio signal into its constituent high frequency, low frequency and at times mid-range frequency. To accomplish this task, the crossover uses capacitors and inductors that are circuitry like. Most speakers utilize a very simple and inexpensive crossover usually with a single inductor and capacitor. SP-BS22-LR employs high-quality and an advanced 6-element crossover delivering best quality sound, making a name for itself in this field.
  • 4-inch structured surface Woofer: The added 4” woofer in the SP-BS22-LR improves rigidity of the speakers tremendously as well as bass accuracy. The vented pole piece and oversized magnets improves the bass response further.
  • 1-inch High-Efficiency Soft Dome Tweeter: Pioneer has developed a custom wave guide meant to emphasize the sweet spot for the 1” soft dome tweeter.This increases the tweeter efficiency and paired with newly reinvented crossovers, Pioneer SP-BS22-LR plays loud and it consumes less power.
  • checkCurved cabinets:RF Molded Curved Cabinets helps to reduce to reduce any internal standing waves.


  • Offer incredible sound quality and good performance with minimal or no distortion in any frequency range
  • It is made to last if well taken care of
  • Lightweight and sturdy speakers for portability and versatility
  • Comes with  durable RF material
  • Quality tweeter and woofer ensuring efficiency and as less power is used


  • It may sometimes sound dull at highs
  • The placement height should be perfect if youwant good audio quality
  • Hand Pointing DownThese speakers work better as support speakersto an already existing sound setup

Our verdict: Pioneer SP-BS22-LR bookshelf speakers are designed to provide remarkable and extraordinary sound quality. The SP-BS22-LR Bookshelf Speakers reproduces authentic audio resulting into unimaginable listening experience.

Install Pioneer SPBS-LR and enjoy many decades high-quality system.

6. Yamaha NS-6490

These set of Yamaha speakers comes in aesthetically appealing old-school design and you can feel the quality of the speaker by a mere glance. Solid specifications, meticulous design, and consistency in sound performance are one of the striking factors that made these speakers feature in our top 10 picks.

Yamaha NS-6490 Key Highlights

  • A 3-way acoustic suspension design: Each set of speakers comes with a 4” midrange, 3 drivers, an 8” woofer and a 0.75” dome tweeter. They all work together to provide an incredible frequency range of 45Hz to 23 kHz. These 3-way speakers can be used as front or rear speakers and can be added anywhere in your speaker system including being used auxiliary speakers for another room.
  • Ferro-fluid cooled tweeter and mid-range: The Ferro-fluid cooled tweeter and midrange works concurrently enabling Yamaha NS6490 to handle 70W of nominal input or 140W for each channel. These speakers have an in-built cross-over a common scenario with three-way systems. come with a simple yet effective built-in crossover, which isn’t all that surprising for a three-way system.
  • Massive long throw woofer: Yamaha NS6490 comes with a massive long throw 8-inches woofer whose job is to saturate the low ends with some tangible bass. As we move up the frequencies, the woofer helps to balance off the middles rendering super clear vocals. Trebles are not spared either as they are made super bright and sharp.
  • checkMagnetically shielded: NS6490 Yamaha bookshelf speakers are magnetically shielded to suit home-theater applications and also making it possible for them to be placed near a TV or the projecting screen.  The drivers are enclosed in a black satin grille cloth that is both acoustically transparent and aesthetically pleasing.


  • Accurate 3D imaging with a wide soundstage
  • The sound is usually clean even when pushed to the limit
  • Yamaha NS6490 comes with 3 drivers to enhance the audio output
  • The magnet shield enables you to place your speakers near your TV and no distortion of sound results
  • NS6490 is an affordable three-way configuration at its best


  • It’s a bit bulky and might look too big for smaller places
  • Midrange is average as compared to what other brands offer
  • Hand Pointing DownThese speakers are not good for poorly-mixedtracks

Our verdict: if you are looking for an old-school aesthetic appeal coupled with solid specifications and consistent sound performance, then Yamaha NS6490 is the right place to be.

Upgrade your living room with Yamaha NS6490 and we are sure you will love its phenomenal performance.

7. Micca MB42X

The MB42X Micca bookshelf speaker is one of the best passive bookshelf speakers in our list. It pays particular attention to every detail delivering a phenomenal depth and clarity to the acoustic elements in the music. From the casing, the tweeter, the crossover,and magnetic grills, this speaker is designed to provide optimal sound.

Micca MB42X Key Highlights

  • Carbon-Woven Fiber Woofer:The speaker comes with 4” well-balanced woofer, woven with carbon fiber and surrounded with rubber to enhance transients. On top of that, it has enclosed a matched, ported tuning for a richer and deep bass output with minimum distortion.
  • Silk 0.75”Dome Tweeter: The silk 0.75” dome tweeter offers high performance by providing a matched driver-output interaction for accurate imaging and a smooth treble. The tweeter also provides a wide sound dispersion resulting into a wide soundstage.  The tweeter is enclosed in a classic black polymer casing with a mesh grill.
  • A Sophisticated Crossover Design:Coming with 9 elements and an improved 18dBcrossover, the  MB42X revolutionalizes the sound signatures to one that is remarkably balanced, open, dynamic and with a natural soundstage.
  • checkA Magnet-Based Grill System:The MB42X features a front grill that is magnetic,just for adding sophistication to the system.  The grills are easy to put on and take off. Along with the grills are full- size 5-way speaker wire binding posts and hex fasteners for installation purposes.


  • The dimensions of MB42X are appropriate to be positioned neatly anywhere you want
  • Offers Powerful picture projection
  • The vocal clarity is impressive and the treble is incredibly smooth
  • The crossover technology provides amazing sound imaging and a wide soundstage
  • Special magnets allow you to attach speaker covers with ease


  • You will need to use an amplifier with the speakers
  • Distortion may be felt at max volumes
  • Hand Pointing DownThe dated look may not be appealing to all

Our Verdict: Micca MB42X are among the most capable bookshelf speakers yet so affordable offering some adjustments that with a lot of sonic potential.

Seize this rare opportunity today and upgrade your listening experience.

8. Sony SSCS5 3-Way

This 3-way speaker from Sony fills your house with expansive and unprecedented audio regardless of the room layout. The soundstage is so expansive such that the passion and energy of the original performance can be felt and it’s the kind of a speaker that brings out the best in all kind of music.

Sony SSCS5 3-Way Key Highlights

  • 3-way, 3-driver speakers for enhanced clarity:Sony SSCS5-3 way is the master of natural depth and total clarity in all audio. The 3-driver bookshelf speakers include a 0.98” tweeter and 0.75” super tweeter for reproducing high-resolution audio tracks. It also has a rigid 5.12 in MRC woofer for dynamic bass.
  • Tapered faceplate edges for clear sound:High-quality performance demands for total elimination of any unnecessary noise from the cabinet and baffle board. The inclusion of slightly tapered faceplate edges, diffraction that might occur at the edges is suppressed resulting into a natural and clear soundstage.
  • Rich acoustics with strong cabinet design: Sony SSCS5-3 way speakers come in an all- wood and ported enclosure that is built for resonant acoustics. The rigid construction which also includes some interior joints and strengthened with a wooden structure absorbs and dampen all unwanted vibrations.
  • checkMica Reinforced Cellular cone,  meaning undistorted audio:These speakers have mica reinforced cellular fiber woofers that are rigid and do not deteriorate with time like with other speakers in the list.


  • They deliver expansive and unprecedented audio system.
  • They are compact in size for easy installation
  • Delivers a tight and powerful bass
  • They tend to be loud and but also very clear
  • This speaker has a smart black finish that blends with most interiors


  • They may sound too noisy for some users.
  • Too loud amp but its somehow manageable

Our Verdict:  Sony SSCS5-3 ways bookshelf speaker is amazing audio equipment with great sound quality that fills the entire room with crisp and clear sound.

Sony has never disappointed and neither will SSCS5 do. Check it out on Amazon.

9. Polk Audio T15

The T15 Polk Audio takes your music system to new heights as it expands the boundaries of what entertainment should feel like. In addition, it support DTS and Dolby, connects to most stereos, home theatre receivers and processors and what’s more, it’s easy to install.

Polk Audio T15 Key Highlights

  • Wide dispersion drivers and tweeters: Polk Audio T15 exclusive dynamic balance drivers and ¾ -inch silk tweeters that can handle 100W are incorporated to provide wide frequency response of 60Hz-24 kHz and low distortion.
  • Magnetically shielded enclosures:T15 has magnetically shielded enclosures which help reduce distortion from nearby audio and video source and improve sound clarity,while its designs provides for a platform where the set of speakers work with each other in a synergistic manner, each complimenting each other for the best output possible.
  • Dynamic polymer woofer and tweeter: 5-1/4″ Dynamic Balance polymer composite woofer with rubber surround and 3/4″ Dynamic Balance silk/polymer composite tweeter with neodymium magnet translate into a lush yet balanced soundscape delivering great sound for music, movies, and TV.


  • Produces a smooth and warm sound with clear highs and ample bass
  • The keyhole mounting points provides for wallmounting when preferred
  • These speakers not only look the part but actually feel very well built as well
  • T15 comes in pairs as such you do not need to do a lot of searching for speaker pairs
  • Their all black and no-frills design makes them match virtually with any home décor


  • You will need to buy your own speaker wires as these are not included in the box
  • ​​​​These are passive speakers so they require a separate amp
  • Hand Pointing DownIt is heavyweight making wall mounting difficult

Our VerdictThe T15 high versatility is built to impress. Designed with Polk’s proprietary Dynamic Balance technology,they are here to improve your home theatre experience with no room for failure.

Go big on great sound made for everyone by adding the T15 to your home audio today.

10. Rockville HD5

The Rockville HD5B is an all in one powered and complete home theater system. No extra equipment is required; all you have to do is to take advantage of the amazing features that comes with these speakers.

Rockville HD5 Key Highlights

  • 600 Watts Peak / 150 Watts RMS:With a built-in digital class “D” amplifier HD5 boost of a highly advanced digital sound processing deliver some of the best sound quality in the market.
  • Built-In Bluetooth: The inbuilt Bluetooth connectivity comes with a range 33-foot and perfect signal transfer with no room for loss in audio quality.
  • Built-in USB: Apart from the inbuilt Bluetooth, HD5 also has an inbuilt USB whereby you can playback songs that have been stored in the USB drive
  • check2 Aux input ports: Just like many active speakers, HD5 has a dual AUX inputs ports where you can connect the speakers your phone, TV, or any other device, allow you to connect the speakers to your TV, phone, or any other device.


  • The included remote enables you to custom tailor the sound to what you are using the speakers for at the time
  • Beautiful wood finish built from the top quality MDF
  • It features the multi color LED indicator which enhances the look of any room they are being used in
  • These speakers have 4 preset EQ modes allowing you to select music, movie, news or 3D at any given time


  • The 600W may be too loud for some people
  • Sound distortion when the bass is pushed to the limits

Our VerdictThis is one of the best bookshelf speakers from Rockville. Its high connectivity among other amazing features is what makes it worth trying.

That’s said check our Rockville HD5 on Amazon and don’t hesitate to get one for your audio system.

The Bottom Line

We know you have learned a couple of important things concerning bookshelf speakers. Our comprehensive review has clearly highlighted the major differences and types of approach among various brands and models.

Based on your personal preferences, you can go for the Bluetooth speakers, 2-way speakers, or 3-way bookshelf speakers which are available at pocket-friendly price despite being top rated.

Shopping around and comparing different models will ensure that you get a set of speakers and amplifier that that will work together and produce amazing results for a long period of time if well taken care of.  That said get any of these today and you will really like its sound system.

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