Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500
We like to mix things up a little from time to time and categorise our product reviews according to their retail price, so we're going to scrutinise the 10 best bookshelf speakers below $500 today.
Given that the electronic audio market is drowning in competitive goods that find something superb, if you know what to look for in a bookshelf speaker, it should be a piece of cake for the relatively flexible budget.
In order to identify the key assets and help you make an educated decision, we have included a guide for bookshelf speakers to answer some of your questions.
If our budget restriction's upper regions are a little too rich for your tastes, you may want to head over to our 10 best bookshelf speakers for something a little more comfortably priced for under $200.
View The Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500 Below
1. Edifier R2000DB
A shining example of an inexpensive pair of powered near-field studio quality monitor speakers from the professional level line of Edifiers is at the top of our list.
The bass is powered by a 5" metal alloy cone woofer which is highly sensitive and suitably surrounded to protect against distortion. They feature newly designed Eagle Eye tweeters from Edifiers, which are 25 mm and domed in silk, rendering even the quietest whispers crisp and clear.
The onboard DSP has been modernised for all the circuitry, is high quality and hand in hand with its built-in Dynamic Range Control effectively removes distortion.
You can connect 2 devices simultaneously, and it has flexible dual connections, optical and RCA inputs, and Bluetooth pairing capabilities. The controls are user-friendly and allow for tonal adjustment (2-band EQ) and can also be wirelessly controlled.
- + Relations dual.
- + Tweeters at Eagle Eye.
- + Elevated efficiency.
Why We Liked It:For a 2-way class pair, they have a great build quality, great frequency response, the audio is beautifully balanced with natural highs and rich clear mids.
2. Polk Audio T15
Now the Polk T15 home theatre bookshelf speakers are for a pair sitting at the bottom end of our budget.
They are an extremely flexible range of speakers and they cost a fraction of some of the volume. They are a wonderful re-imagining of the loudspeakers of their monitor series. A 5.25" composite coned bass driver and a 0.75" silk dome tweeter are used in a 2-way class to produce full-range sound.
The enclosure is made from MDF grade furniture and has a front-firing bass port calibrated with Polks Dynamic Balance Technology to ensure total distortion-free visibility in the lower register. They have a traditional black oak finish and grilles that are removable.
They have a reasonably large frequency response, low impedance and suitable front or rear surroundings for an at-home device. Easy set-up and support for Dolby and DTS.
- + Total peak power of 200 watts.
- + Impedance nominal.
- + Enclosure Vented.
Why We Liked It:Polk produces some very affordable goods that are high quality without an unexpected price tag. They are high performing and extremely low priced.
3. Micca MB42
A comparatively priced Micca model in this lightweight, stylish pair that suits the high-quality nature of the top end sets. They are passive and make the surroundings on the left and right nice. For a pair with such a small price tag, they combine some premium components and design features.
In particular, they are considerably loud, given that they have a comparatively small footprint (5.8" X 6.5") and are just 9.5" tall." About 75 watts per speaker is their peak power. For optimum bass audio efficiency, the enclosure is ported and designed with high-grade MDF with a wood-grain vinyl covering.
To remove unnecessary vibrations, the woofer cones are made from woven carbon fibre surrounded by rubber. It is 4" and provides a great response from the bass." The woofer is combined with a silk-dome tweeter of 0.75" high performance, which features a crossover filtering capacitor. Together they have a relaxed frequency response and offer a balanced and diverse sound range overall.
- + Pair compact.
- With + 150 watts.
- + Low cost.
Why We Liked It:They outperform many passive models that are similarly priced, so we think they deserve to be highlighted among the higher priced options on our list.
4. Edifier R1280DB
If you are searching for a powered pair with integrated Bluetooth capabilities, then check out this Edifier upgraded model that has been fitted with optical, coaxial and wireless input mod-cons.
With its 13mm silk dome tweeter, it features a 4" composite cone woofer that functions in harmony. They have a large frequency response and together have a great mixed, well-rounded overall sound, satisfyingly bright highs, crisp and established vocals and great smooth mids.
They benefit from all the cutting-edge technology from Edifiers, their carefully tuned flared bass port design and high-quality composite cones with excellent endurance performance.
The user-friendly controls are located on the active speaker, with its bass and treble equalisation, offering users easy volume control access and tone shaping choices. It can be remotely controlled as well.
- + Cordless.
- + Inputs that are optical and coaxial.
- + Port enclosure for flared bass.
Why We Liked It:They are another affordably priced choice that performs extremely well, well below our budget.
5. Mackie CR3 CR Series
The eye-catching coloured trims are another striking studio monitor style pair from the Mackies CR collection. The low price, too, is well below one hundred bucks. For lush sound with rich depth, they are constructed using high-performance materials suitable for all multimedia uses.
With its production, the designers have been meticulous. The drivers have high performance and are easy to manage. It is a graded 2-way package that includes a 3-inch woofer and a dedicated tweeter housed in an all-wood cabinet.
It has a volume control front panel and an auxiliary headphone that are easily available. Mackie allows a Bluetooth streaming version if you are able to part with a little bit more dosh.
They have 28 watts of very low output power, so they are a choice for low consumption.
- + Low wattage.
- + Drivers with high results.
- + All timber enclosures.
Why We Liked It:It is another option at a low price, suitable for those with a small budget.
6. Sony SSCS5
This flexible couple made our 10 best bookshelf speakers in 2020 list, which you can read here over to nose at what Sony is serving up. Essentially they are a newly revamped variant from their top-notch series. They make for an outstanding bookshelf speaker in a 3-way class. They have a rigid Mica Reinforced Cellular woofer, measuring 5.2" the cellular nature of the composite diaphragm actually enhances bass frequencies, giving it an advantage over drivers of comparable size.
The tweeter is 0.98" and, despite its tiny size, the brand new additional super-tweeter is 0.75" and has large dispersion. To ensure absolute description, each has correct acoustic tuning. The concept also integrates felt sound-absorbing to counter problems with rear sound pressure. The high-performance components are housed in a robust all-wood enclosure that is ported and offers ideal conditions for genuine reproduction of audio, have a peak power of 100 watts and are affordable.
- + Graded 3-way Package.
- + High frequency spectrum expanded.
- + system of 100 watts.
- + Professional level sound from Sony 3-ways.
- + Fantastic upgrades.
Why We Liked It:Some awesome enhancements benefit from this new package. The MRC cones are heavy duty and are impeccably treated, providing well rounded audio with high performance.
7. Klipsch R-14M
The R-14M from the Reference bookshelf speaker series by Klipsch is another cost-effective top contender. We have tested other models from this series previously as they feature some high-end design aspects impressively.
One is their decision to go for a square horn tweeter with its patented Tractrix Horn 90x90 technology and Linear Travel Suspension aluminium (LTS). This provides the speakers with prolonged high-frequency response and also minimises the possibility of distortion by suspension.
The woofer is made of copper spun injection moulded graphite and handles extremely well with a very slight break-up. It measures just 4" but provides optimal audio in combination with the LTS tweeter and advanced crossover technology, outperforming the majority of speakers in their class." They have 180 watts (RMS) of peak power per pair.
With sufficient cooling and damping measures in place, the enclosure is well-manufactured and robust and has been built with a rear-firing port that is flared to combat distortion and noise.
- + Total peak power of 180 watts.
- + Technology Tractrix horn.
- + Materials of good quality.
- + Value for cash.
Why We Liked It :They are filled with advanced features, offering excellent value for money for a very modest price when compared to similar speakers on the market.
8. Yamaha NS-6490
Another model that has seen a recent update to circuitry and components is these three-way speakers from Yamaha. They have been developed to provide a professional level audio solution for larger 7.1 set-ups.
Thanks to their dedicated 3-way set-up, which consists of a high output woofer, a mid-range driver and a balanced dome tweeter, they have an ultra-wide frequency response. They are composite in nature and engineered from components of high quality. They benefit from the comprehensive research of Yamaha and offer a simple and tight sound response capably. "The woofer is 8" with a rubber surround, the mid-range driver is 4" and only 7/8" with a tweeter. They work together at a combined peak power of 140 watts.
To make them perfect for home theatre applications and build the ideal front or rear surroundings, they are magnetically shielded or you could even hook them up as auxiliaries for a second room.
- + 8 inch woofer.
- + Mighty full-range sound.
- + Frequency response of ultra broad range.
- + Class 3-way.
- + Housing with wood.
- + Excellent dispersion.
Why We Liked It:The bass is tight, some bookshelf speakers have no depth and bass reaction was a stand-alone pair to handle bass well but they are impressive alone and a perfect addition to any home set-up.
9. Edifier R1700BT
Now for a Bluetooth-capable active pair of Edifier bookshelf speakers, who also made our top 10 bookshelf speakers in the 2020 post.
They feature some of the most popular design features of Edifiers, such as their sophisticated advanced digital signal processing and Dynamic Range Control to ensure clear, distortion-free audio. "The 4" diameter high-performance bass driver is engineered from a top-quality composite mix. The silk dome tweeter is 19mm and copes with tailored cooling in place extremely well.
Naturally, its acoustic wooden enclosure, which features a flared, front-facing bass reflex port that provides illuminated and idyllic bass response, dampens unwanted resonance.
On the active speaker in the pair, you can find control dials conveniently placed, allowing users to change their treble and bass equalisation and volume levels, of course. They are low watts at a low matching price. They also have wireless capabilities in particular, and it is easy to connect with Bluetooth.
- + 66 watts of peak capacity.
- + Priced fairly.
- + Construction of all wood enclosures.
- + Connectivity wireless.
Why We Liked It:They are a great power choice that they will not break the bank and they benefit from some of the top design features of edifiers and have the modern convenience of booting with Bluetooth connectivity.
10. Pioneer SP-BS22-LR
With this very beautiful pair from Pioneer, we are rounding up our reviews. For their incredible audio, Pioneer is renowned and this package is a credit to them. World-renowned Andrew Jones has painstakingly and lovingly designed them and they pack in some luxury design aspects. In order to minimise internal standing waves, they are RF moulded cabinets that have been curved.
With a designated woofer tweeter blend, they are the first tier, 2-way classified set. As a newly structured board, the 4" woofer now houses over-sized magnets and a vented pole piece to enhance bass beyond most of its class and size capabilities." The tweeter is 1" and a soft dome tweeter design is highly effective, each of the drivers is made from hand-picked composites, suitable for their specified frequency spectrum areas, their response is perfect.
The most significant changes are its new Complex Crossover 6 feature, which blends seamlessly between the two, providing a complete and rich mid-range of high-definition content. They have a handling capability of 80 watts.
- + Andrew Jones expertly engineered it.
- + Excellent construction of the enclosure to combat excessive noise.
- + Complex technologies for crossover.
- + High performance 19mm top of its class tweeter (2-way).
Why We Liked It:Each factor has been carefully measured, all distortion risks have been accounted for and discussed head on in some way. These are beautifully made. As these guys are understated eye candy, did we mention their aesthetics?
Bookshelf Speakers Under $500 Buyers Guide
What to look for in Bookshelf Speakers under $500?
You would probably have noticed that interestingly not one of the prices in our product reviews climbs any higher than the price halfway mark here since the industry has grown to such a state in recent years that there is little space for improvement and electronics development has always been simpler for the source. These main ingredients mean that with price-tags, we see a lot of really capable models that get lower over time.
Those that we have looked at today reflect a good cross-section in their given class or type of the best available on the current market. We have looked for several great bookshelf options, which will slip perfectly into most surround configurations and work as well as a few driven options. You can check out our 10 best-powered speakers section here for more efficient speaker choices.
Actually, $500 for bookshelf speakers is a fairly large budget, especially if you are shopping for a passive pair and plan to add them to a larger system. You can only look at a 2-way class requirement to use them for 5.1 and up, since the bass can be more effectively managed separately, allocating less workload.
In at least a 2.1 method, the majority of the passive pairs we have looked at would fit best.
In the case of a plastic pass, enclosures made of wood are a must at this price level.
Since we see some incredibly inexpensive models on the market in modern times, you want to do a little comparative analysis to ensure that it is best in its categorical class before parting with the top end of our budget.
With smaller speakers, enclosure designs are paramount, so make sure they have been well-thought out with methods in place to assist ventilation and dampening, for optimum audio free of distortion.
What are bookshelf speakers?
A bookshelf speaker is a kind of speaker built to be mounted on a raised surface or shelf. In reality, where a speaker is positioned in the set-up is critical and can have a dramatic effect on the type of enclosure that the speaker needs to sound his best. While in a 2.0 system they can suffice alone as a stand-alone pair of loudspeakers, many are built in larger systems to be left and right front or rear surrounds.
You will sometimes find that the bass in the mix is not as deep as you would like or maybe not punchy enough since bookshelf speakers usually have a compact size and it is important to maximise bass in a restricted space. Many manufacturers combat this by implementing ported or vented enclosure designs. This uses a piece of tubing for the intake of fresh and continuous air.
How many bookshelf speakers do I need?
You only need one pair of bookshelf speakers. Luckily, as individual versions, they seldom sell. You'll need a speaker amplifier if they're not active (powered models).
For instance, even a bigger system would only incorporate one or two pairs of bookshelf speakers. For most smaller home set-ups, front left and front right channels as well as rear left and rear right channels would be devoted to these.
All of those we looked at today make a perfect addition to any home system and you certainly won't grudge buying a second pair for a more efficient scheme with the prices so low.
What are the best budget bookshelf speakers?
It's always a very difficult one to call, especially with the speaker market so full of bargain options. The Polk Audio collection is the cheapest choice of those we tested in this post, they are not the most powerful pair on the market, but we can't emphasise how good the design features actually are for less than fifty bucks, they're a steal.
Polk audio has some great speaker options and the T series is very attractively priced, so if you want a little more power, but don't have a lot of money to spend, check out the rest of it. We will consider them all as decent budget bookshelf speakers without one of our products coming anywhere near the top region of our restrictions. So to send you a short roundup of the best overall sound that we award to the Edifier R2000 collection, they are very difficult to beat, the Sony set will be the runner-up for us.
It has just never been easier to get your mitts on a well-manufactured model with the freedom of the world wide web. Really, you just need to spend about $100-$300 bucks on a decent set of bookshelf speakers, if you have your heart set on a 5.1 or 7.1 setup, we wouldn't recommend parting with more.
Anything that's too high or too high is not worth the investment. If you run a company and music is key, it is likely that something over the $300 mark would just be overkill. We have a large selection of speaker posts archived that might be worth checking out if you are not happy with the wattage or want more of a browser.
Today we have checked some excellent options here some outperform others if we had to select a favourite in terms of quality audio we would settle for the Sony 3-ways they are an ideal stand alone but the Edifiers are close competitors. A 2-way class is appropriate for a larger system and we propose the Pioneers pair.
It's always worth browsing through the rest of the series if one of our budget bookshelves catches your eye, sometimes an upgrade won't set you back as much as you would expect.
Did You Know?
Edifier produces some excellent systems that can be purchased as a packaged set-up that meet both budgets and power requirements and are worth a look.