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Enjoy quality sound at home with our favorite bookshelf speakers

6 min read
You don't literally have to put them on a bookshelf for these speakers to blow your mind. All products featured here are independently selected by our editors and writers.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission. By Simone Scully2020-08-28 09:00:00 UTC Whether you’re setting up a home audio…
Enjoy quality sound at home with our favorite bookshelf speakers

You don’t literally have to put them on a bookshelf for these speakers to blow your mind.

All products featured here are independently selected by our editors and writers.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.
By Simone Scully2020-08-28 09:00:00 UTC

Whether you’re setting up a home audio system to listen to your record collection or want to create your own home cinema experience, bookshelf speakers are a great choice. They deliver much better sound than portable speakers but they take up less space than floor speakers. 
Of course, good bookshelf speakers — like all speakers — can get pricey quickly. However, you don’t need to drop thousands to get great sound at home. It all comes down to what you need.
What should you look for in a bookshelf speaker?
When you’re picking a bookshelf speaker, you’re going to want to consider a few factors:
First, how much space do you have for your speaker? As their name suggests, bookshelf speakers should be compact enough and light enough to sit in a bookshelf, but that doesn’t mean you have to put them there. If you have room elsewhere — or want to mount them — that’s a possibility with some bookshelf speakers. 
Second, you’ll want to consider sound quality. For this, we recommend looking at what kind of drivers it has — this will help give you an idea about what kind of sound it is capable of producing. 
Third, consider what you’re using your speakers for. Is this for a home theater? To listen to records? To plug into your computer? Considering what you’re going to use the speakers for will help guide your search. 
FInally, you’ll need to consider your budget. There are speakers that cost upwards of 2K and there are many others under $500 or even under $200. 
With these factors in consideration, here are our favorite bookshelf speakers:


Great clarity in sound • Impressive bass • Well-built and attractive design • Four finish options • Decent price for exceptional quality

Sound less clear at loudest volumes

These speakers deliver excellent audio quality, especially considering their price point.

Q. Acoustics 3020i
These beautiful speakers deliver impressive audio, especially for their price.

  • Drivers:
    5 inch mid/bass. 22mm tweeter
  • Size:
    10.9 x 11.1 x 6.7 inches
  • Weight:
    14.1 lbs
  • Color:
    White, Carbon Black, English Walnut, or Graphite

If you’re looking for quality and looks, these are the speakers for you. Available in four finishes — including English Walnut — they will fit right into the decor of your home, thanks to their compact, modern design with durable, rounded corners that won’t chip if you bump into them. 
But you don’t buy your speakers just for their looks — it’s the sound that matters most, and they definitely deliver on that front. They produce a rich, crisp sound with minimal distortion and impressive bass thanks to their drivers. As one audiophile reviewer writes, “these speakers present the instruments across a natural and spacious soundscape. The instruments that are difficult to reproduce well — the diaphanous saxophone, the wide ranged piano, and the wonder of the voice — are all to be heard in their true tonality. This is no small accomplishment.”


Amazing audio quality thanks to curved cabinet design • Affordable price • Lightweight

May be too large for small rooms • Not as detailed as higher-end speakers • Somewhat fragile build

These speakers deliver amazing sound on a budget.

For quality sound, you usually have to be prepared to spend a fair amount — that is, unless you get these speakers. 
Whether you’re listening to your record player, digital music, or a movie, these speakers deliver well-balanced sound that doesn’t distort the audio at high volumes. This makes them a rare find for speakers under $200. “They defy belief. Unreal audio quality for the money,” one reviewer writes. “I think the lesson here is clear: you don’t need huge or even medium speakers for a great listening experience, even for stereo listening.”


Crystal clear sound • Ideal for home theater system

Heavy • Not the most attractive • Pricey

If you can afford them, these speakers deliver the best, crystal clear sound.

KEF Q150
These speakers deliver the very best balanced sound.

  • Drivers:
    5.25 inch Uni-Q Driver Array
  • Size:
    21 x 16 x 17 inches
  • Weight:
    25 lbs
  • Color:
    Black and white

If you’re willing to splurge a little, these bookshelf speakers will not disappoint. “This level of sound is well worth the price,” writes Amazon reviewer Suds
The sound is crystal clear, with minimal distortion, making them ideal speakers for your home. In fact, Amazon reviewer Brian writes: “They are easily the nicest sounding speakers I’ve ever owned. Everything is so clear and accurate and I can hear parts in music I have never heard before (at least not clearly or distinctly enough)”
While they are not necessarily the best looking speakers for some reviewers’ taste, they are available in multiple finishes to help you match your home decor. They are also a little larger than some bookshelf speakers, but they should still fit in most rooms. 


Incredibly well-balanced sound • Modern design • Available in two colors • Durable construction

These large speakers are an excellent choice if you’re setting up a home theater.

ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speaker
These large speakers are an excellent choice if you’re setting up a home theater.

  • Drivers:
    5 1/4 -inch woofer, 4 inch midrange cone, 1 inch tweeter
  • Size:
    10.8 x 7.9 x 12.8 inches
  • Weight:
    35.9 lbs
  • Color:
    Black

These speakers are large and heavy, which means they won’t work if space is at a premium in your home. However, that size makes the home theater sound experience even better — just be sure to consider your placement carefully to optimize your listening experience. You’ll need to get an amplifier, though. 
These speakers have a modern design and are available in two colors to help match your home’s aesthetic. They are also pretty durable and made out of solid material. 


Cables included • Can connect two devices via AUX at the same time • Comes with a 2-year warranty • Great sound • Real wood enclosures for acoustic resonance • Easy to set up • Bass knob

Large footprint • No Bluetooth connectivity • Heavier

These speakers are a great addition to your new work-from-home office.

Edifier R980T 4” Active Bookshelf Speakers
These speakers will deliver great sound from your computer, making them a great choice for your home office.

  • Drivers:
    4 inch bass driver and 13mm tweeter
  • Size:
    5.5 x 8.9 x 7.5 inch
  • Weight:
    7.77 lbs
  • Color:
    Black

If you can’t afford high-end computer speakers and you have the office space, bookshelf computer speakers can provide amazing sound ideal for watching movies, playing music, or gaming. 
These speakers are a deal, with many reviewers expressing their surprise over just how good they are: they’re well made, easy to set-up and feature wooden enclosures to minimize acoustic resonance and they feature a flared bass reflex port to provide extra depth and bass quality. Amazon reviewer Mike writes “I had never heard of Edifier before… I have to say, I AM SOLD! These things sound amazing for how small they are! Seriously, the quality of the sound coming out of these speakers would make me think I was listening to speakers two or three classes above what they appear to be. The bass booms, mids are perfectly clear, and the highs have a slight softness to them, making for an incredibly pleasant listening experience.”


Modern design • Incredible quality sound • Comes with floor stands • Compact size

Incredibly pricey • Look may not be for everyone

If you can afford their price, these speakers offer top-notch sound.

Dynaudio Special 40 Bookshelf Speakers
If you can afford their price, these speakers offer top-notch sound.

  • Drivers:
    17cm MSP cone, 28mm tweeter
  • Size:
    7.8 x 14.2 x 12.1 inches
  • Weight:
    17.9 lbs
  • Color:
    Gray Birch

If price isn’t an issue for you, these speakers are the ones you’ll want. Made by a company with 40 years’ experience, they deliver pro-level quality sound and they’re sold with floor stands, in case you don’t have a bookshelf to set them in. 
These speakers also have a very different look than most of the ones on our list, thanks to their gray birch exterior color. While their design may not be everyone’s choice, many reviewers like it. They’re also relatively small for being such high-end speakers, making them a great choice for apartments.

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