Best Bookshelf Speakers [Under $200] – Buying Guide & Detailed Reviews (2018)
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
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.
Comparison Table for 2018’s Best Bookshelf Speakers
9.1 x 8.4 x 9.8
60Hz - 20kHz
6.2 x 5.5 x 8.2
80Hz - 20kHz
5.9 x 7.5 x 9.8
6.9 x 9.5 x 5.8
75Hz ~ 18kHz +/-9db
8.4 x 7.1 x 12.6
13 x 13 x 25
45 Hz -
9.5 x 5.8 x 6.5
17.9 x 10.7 x 16.2
70 Hz -
7.3 x 6.5 x 10.7
60 Hz -
21.7 x 13 x 8.7
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
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
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
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
Our Verdict: Edifier 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
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
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
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
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
Our Verdict: The 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
Our Verdict: This 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.