Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $100 in 2021 – Reviews & Buyers Guide

When it comes to finding great bookshelf speakers, there are a ton of options out there. When it comes to finding cheap bookshelf speakers, it requires a little more care. Sure, you can find a ton of budget bookshelf speakers but you also want to make sure you’re getting decent sound quality even when you spend less.

While you will find there are many choices out there, you also need to know what to expect and what to specifically watch for. Remember spending a little less might mean the speakers don’t quite perform the same as some high-dollar options but it doesn’t mean they have to be terrible either.

Best Bookshelf Speakers Under 100 in 2021 - Reviews & Buyers
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We’ve got you covered! We’ve put together an intuitive guide that walks you through the things you should look for. We will walk you through some of the best budget bookshelf speakers on the market and share some tips for picking out your new speakers.

Let’s take a look!

How to Choose Budget Bookshelf Speakers

Let’s start by checking out some helpful insights for picking out the best budget bookshelf speakers. This part of our guide is simply designed to give you some great information. It’s meant to be informative so you know what to expect or look for in these speakers.

What to Expect from a Bookshelf Speaker Under $100

What to Expect from a Bookshelf Speaker Under $100
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Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? First, we have to keep in mind that these bookshelf speakers are not going to be top of the line. With that being said, it doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice sound quality.

If you compare your $100 speakers to some $600 speakers, you will probably notice a difference. However, you can still find really great quality in this dollar range. So remember that you might be more limited on the range, overall sound, or maybe even the setup but in the end, it should still sound good.

We believe that even budget choices should be good choices so the cheap bookshelf speakers you will find in our guide are going to bring you good, reliable sound and that’s really the point isn’t it?

Amplifier

The amplifier is perhaps the part of the speaker that really makes or breaks the sound. For bookshelf speakers under 100, you may have to add your own amplifier to the system when you get it all set up. If this is the case, be sure that you check for compatibility.

We recommend planning to combine with an amp anyway so be sure to check out what is required and what will or will not work with the systems that you choose. You may find that you don’t need an amplifier but if one is required, this is an added expense.

Passive speakers always need an amp so if you see this terminology, be prepared to add that to your cart as well.

Bass

Bass is a quality that some brands or companies just can’t seem to get right. This may not be significant to you but most people who have full surround sound or use bookshelf speakers are also looking for a good bass sound.

In bookshelf speakers under 100, you will probably end up with lighter bass but what you really want is bass that is clear and concise in sound. The quality of the bass might just be one of the most important qualities to keep a watchful eye out for.

The challenge is the compact box so the bass design has to be well thought out by the manufacturer. Some of them are able to make that happen better than others. You will find there are companies who work so hard to make sure they have a bass that they don’t make sure it’s good bass so just keep a watchful eye out for that!

Power

Finally, you will want to take note of the power. This can be a challenging category but there are two things to consider here.

The first is that the more power behind the music, the more the sound can spread and probably be clear and uniform to listen to.

The other thing is that some speakers are not made to handle heavy power so more power is not always great sound. If the power is too much for the speaker to really handle, you will end up with fuzzy sound or feedback.

So what you really want is appropriate power for the design rather than power overload. You also want high-quality power and a system that knows how to separate the power to create quality sound.

Look for good power but also check out what others are saying because this is the best way to know whether the power is really great for the overall design or not.

The Best Bookshelf Speakers Under 100 Reviewed

Now that you’ve got some basic details, it’s time to dig into the options. We searched the market to try to find you the very best choices. Our goal was to bring you the best bookshelf speakers in this dollar range while still making sure you have a variety of choices.

We hope you can find something here that works for your needs.

1. Best Overall: Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers

Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers

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If you’re really looking for the best of the best cheap bookshelf speakers, take a look at these. Edifier have that really nice wood finish and they are highly-rated by users on Amazon. They’ve got more than 12,500 reviews to check out and still reach more than 4.5 stars so they must be doing something right!

This company uses high quality components to provide really great sound quality. You can adjust volumes and settings on the active speaker or use the included remote control. Edifier speakers bring the build quality and good frequency response to your home theater. The sound of these speakers is almost as great as if you were directly in the studio at the same time.

These best speakers are well balanced. You have RCA inputs and outputs. These are pretty close on the budget line but they are also well worth it if you can swing the cost. You can even connect to two devices at one time.

The four inch woofer paired with the silk dome tweeters is the perfect pair and with premium components, you get premium sound from the speaker. The bass response is nice and the performance is best in class for any room!

Specs:

Max Power Output: 42 watts
Frequency Response: 75 Hz to 18KHz
Woofer Size: 4 inches
Speaker Dimensions: 6.9 x 9.5 x 5.8 inches

Key Feature (On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest)

  • Bass: 9
  • Power: 10
  • Range: 9
  • Price: 9
  • Sound: 10
Pros:
  • Two drivers so you can connect two devices at once
  • One of the best bookshelf options on a budget
  • Nice wood look
  • Quality performance and design
  • Well balanced sound
Cons:
  • You won’t get really deep bass here but rather a quality bass driver for low frequencies

Why We Like It: When it comes to a budget option, you really can’t go wrong here. It’s made with quality materials and has nice features. The tweeter is perfect for rounding out the overall sound. If you want an awesome pick, this might be your best bet.

2. Budget Pick: Moukey Passive Bookshelf Speakers

Moukey Passive Bookshelf Speakers

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If you want lower prices without sacrificing performance, Moukey could be perfect for a tight budget. The power handling is nice and these really are top notch speakers. These have a copper rimmed four inch woofer for good bass response. It’s a passive speaker design so be prepared to add an amp or other connections to the right speaker for your sound.

The enclosure is wooden, which can be hard to find at a mid range price like this. The tweeters are one inch and your sound will be present in any room with good volume. These have built in crossover features to split up the audio signals and help deliver the best noise quality.

Each feature was well thought out to bring you a bit of quality at a low end price range. These can be wall mounted if you like as well. The wooden boxes are actually hand crafted and the quality is the top priority in making them.

If you set up these speakers wisely without overdoing the power, you will find they really do produce optimal sounds compared to some options out there. These are meant to be immersive with your noise needs and requirements so they are pretty versatile in how you use them as well.

Specs:

Max Power Output: 100 watts
Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20KHz
Woofer Size: 4 inches
Speaker Dimensions: 8.1 x 10.8 x 6.5 inches

Key Feature (On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest)

  • Bass: 10
  • Power: 10
  • Range: 10
  • Price: 10
  • Sound: 10
Pros:
  • Mid range price with quality performance
  • Passive design for more versatility
  • The bass sounds great without being heavy
  • Easy to pair with other parts of your setup
  • Subwoofer is four inches and copper rimmed
Cons:
  • Passive style will require additional components for operation
  • The bass is inconsistent depending on the source

Why We Like It: We love great performance and when you look at the subwoofer and the tweeter pair here, you really get the best of both worlds. It’s also a perfect budget pick with outstanding quality that you can depend on.

3. Best Value: Polk Audio T15 Surround Speakers Bookshelf Style

Polk Audio T15 Surround Speakers Bookshelf Style

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Next up is a classic winner in the market, the Polk Audio T15. These are a really great value. The sound waves are smooth to perfection and you can use these as a surround speaker or some other function. These speakers sound really nice when connected and have a quality bass response as well.

Add to your home theater or simply set up the best bookshelf speaker for music listening. Let the sound waves call your name. Hi res audio has really never sounded so good. These even have RCA inputs that have a 5 way binding post and it’s gold plated.

The bass driver woofer is nearly 6 inches, measuring in at 5.75 inches. The tweeter is just under an inch. The rubber surround really helps to produce quality sound at the same time as you get reliable power handling. The result is an immersive home theater experience.

These mountable speakers use premium components and Polk Audio T15 is well known as the best speaker in this price range when you look at quality, sounds, and value as a whole.

Specs:

Max Power Output: 100 watts
Frequency Response: 60 Hz to 24KHz
Woofer Size: 5.75 inches
Speaker Dimensions: 7.3 x 6.5 x 10.7 inches

Key Features (On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest)

  • Bass: 10
  • Power: 10
  • Range: 9
  • Price: 10
  • Sound: 10
Pros:
  • Well known brand in the market with high rankings
  • Rubber surround swaddled in a wooden frame makes it very clear
  • The bass response is perfect for surround speakers
  • Versatile for a lot of different uses with volume and reliability
  • Pair with other home theater pieces or just enjoy music
Cons:
  • The bass can sometimes get a bit tinny because of the more limited range. It’s better at mid range

Why We Like It: We love being able to rely on a trusted brand and get the performance you deserve. If you want to deliver the best noise for any use, you really can’t go wrong on a budget with this particular speaker solution. It’s the best bang for your buck.

4. Bestisan Bookshelf Speakers with Bluetooth

Bestisan Bookshelf Speakers with Bluetooth

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You probably won’t recognize the name brand of these bookshelf speakers but that doesn’t take away from the sound quality that you can depend on. When it comes to the best bookshelf speakers, don’t overlook this option. They’re affordable, they’re reliable, and they sport a very nice wood look that stands out when it comes to style.

Bestisan is one of the few pairs in this price range that is an active speaker and offers you Bluetooth connectivity as well. The sound waves are gentle and balanced and your right speaker has controls that you can work with right on the speaker. You also get a remote control to keep it simple too.

You will find the sound is undistorted as these are powerful but not so powerful that they overload. They support three different sound modes, including music, dialogue, and movie and you get to set your preference for your use.

Use these wired or wireless, whatever works for you. The front firing bass port helps to control the range while still providing you with quality bass for your listening pleasures.

Specs:

Max Power Output: 50 watts
Frequency Response: 40 Hz to 20KHz
Woofer Size: 4 inches
Speaker Dimensions: 18.5 x 7.8 x 12 inches

Key Features (On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest)

  • Bass: 10
  • Power: 9
  • Range: 10
  • Price: 10
  • Sound: 10
Pros:
  • A great range to fully enjoy the power of the front firing bass port
  • Wooden style that looks nice anywhere
  • Bluetooth connectivity adds more versatility
  • Three sound modes
  • Comes with a remote or controls on the speaker itself
Cons:
  • The lower the sound, the more you lose quality

Why We Like It: We love to throw in a little something different. This has a great range, a good price, and overall nice sound. The performance is definitely there for a budget option and you can pair it with Bluetooth or other devices to customize the theater setup you prefer.

5. Micca MB42 Round Up Bookshelf Speakers

Micca MB42 Round Up Bookshelf Speakers

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Pair these beauties with any part of your home theater’s design and you won’t be disappointed. Micca have mid range responses, quality subwoofer and bass delivery, and a volume that lets you enjoy the music. Your tweeter and your woofer pair together to bring you a bit of performance in a simple design.

These simple black speakers can be used in any space. The pair is passive so you can perfect your space with amps and any other accessible additions to the overall setup. The drivers are perhaps the best feature here with silk down tweeter and crossover to add balance and quality bass to the performance.

The front gills are removable too so you can choose your style. If you want to show off the simple tweeter and woofer or if you want to make it more uniform by covering the drivers. The choice is totally yours, allowing you more versatility to plan and control your space.

This brand even allows you to have a home trial so you can test out the quality and performance and if you hate it, let them know. We don’t think you will though. The feature components are well rounded and the sound is bright all around.

Specs:

Max Power Output: 75 watts
Frequency Response: 60 Hz to 20KHz
Woofer Size: 4 inches
Speaker Dimensions: 9.5 x 5.8 x 6.5 inches

Key Features (On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest)

  • Bass: 9
  • Power:10
  • Range: 9
  • Price: 10
  • Sound: 9
Pros:
  • Leave the tweeter and woofer uncovered for a different look
  • Quality performance with bright sound
  • Pair with an amp or other theater pieces
  • Quality connections for easy use
  • The drivers bring balance and volume
Cons:
  • 60 Hz leaves bass notes a bit more limited but the tweeter helps to clear the sound
  • The overall build could be improved. Some of the parts don’t hold up as well

Why We Like It: It’s refreshing to present a variety of options and prices. The drivers and the tweeter on this help to feature reliable sound and it’s perfect when you pair it up. You get power in a more compact size than most other speakers in this mid range category.


Related Reviews:
Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $200 in 2021
Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500


Bookshelf Speaker Buyer’s Guide

Photo by Spencer Selover from Pexels
Photo by Spencer Selover from Pexels

Now that you’ve seen your options, we want to give you some helpful details to choose bookshelf speakers that meet your needs. These details are focused on things you want to be sure to consider before you buy a bookshelf speaker. Keep in mind, some of these will be personal preferences but hopefully, they can help you make an informed decision.

Sound Quality

Why is that you want to buy a new bookshelf speaker set? Our guess is you want to enhance your listening experience? Correct us if we’re wrong but the overall goal is typically to produce the best noise to enjoy.

If it doesn’t improve the listening, it’s probably not really worth your money or your efforts. With that in mind, for this dollar range, you also need to be prepared to learn ways to make it even better. This may be the addition of a good amp or even connection to a full theater system.

All of it requires drivers that are built to bring balanced sound from the high notes to the low notes.

Bass quality can be really hard to find here. The lower the frequencies, the better this will be but there is certainly no guarantee that it can still pick up each of those notes in detail. This is where it can be helpful to see what others have to say before you buy.

What are Bookshelf Speakers Used For?

These simple speakers have a specific purpose. They can sometimes be used as standalone but other times they require other connections. This is where active and passive come into play but we will touch on that more in a moment.

These are meant to be hung on a wall, set on a bookshelf (hence the name bookshelf speaker), or be placed elsewhere. It is typically recommended that you don’t place them on the floor as this could impede sound.

The goal of a bookshelf speaker is basically to maximize the sound in a specific area. They work best as mids so in small to medium sized spaces is where you will notice the best auditory improvements.

Active Vs. Passive

Does it really matter whether you go with active or passive? Well yes and no is the answer here. You see, there are certain requirements and differences between the two so you just need to be familiar with those to really get the best noise results from your setup.

Here’s the primary difference. Passive speakers require other connections to power them. In this case, you need to plan to add an amp and potentially some other pieces to really make the most of it. They won’t work without at least an amp to connect and pair with so keep that in mind. It could mean an additional cost if you don’t already have one on hand.

Active speakers can function on their own. They just need a source for the sounds they produce. Whether that means hooking up to a stereo, a TV, or some other setup is totally up to you. Some of them even have Bluetooth or something along those lines so you can just stream from your music app on your phone if you want to.

Compatibility

You’re always going to want to make sure that the various components and parts and pieces are all compatible.

This is simple for people who know exactly what to look for but it might require some additional effort on your part if you aren’t familiar with the connections and details like that.

Always check out your connections to be sure that they can be paired together. RCA, auxiliary, things like that. Your speakers really won’t do you any good if you can’t sync them up right? A lot of the newer models have 5-way plugs so they are more compatible or can be adapted easily enough if needed.

What you don’t want is to end up with something that you can’t make work so check out the plugs and the compatibility with what you plan to add or what you already have. This will just help the connection process go much more smoothly in the end.

Frequently Asked Questions

Check out some of these common questions and answers for some more useful information.

Can Bookshelf Speakers be Used as Front Speakers?

Yes, they can be used as front speakers. What you want to be aware of is that the bass and overall sound results are not necessarily as purposed when you use them as front speakers. Bookshelf speaker options typically work the best when used as a part of the overall picture but they can easily stand alone, be used as front speakers, or serve in another capacity as well.

Do You Need Your Bookshelf Speakers to Have Bluetooth or Not?

Bluetooth is not required and you will actually find that many of them don’t have Bluetooth compatibility. Bluetooth can simplify your setup and make connections easier or more versatile but you can also connect with wires and generally not have a lot of issues.

Whether or not you choose to have Bluetooth is really going to be a matter of personal preference. If you want a wireless connection, you will want either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth but if you aren’t picky and you just want a good setup, you don’t have to search for this element.

Do You Need a Separate Subwoofer?

Bookshelf speakers are created with both a subwoofer and a tweeter already built into them. They are not necessarily the only solution to this type of device though. What you will find is that sometimes the bass is lacking or simply doesn’t pull in the lowest notes on a bookshelf speaker.

This is where a separate subwoofer could come in handy but the good news is that you don’t have to use one to get reliable soundbites from the speakers.

Conclusion

We hope that you find this guide to be a valuable resource for finding a reliable set of bookshelf speakers under $100. There are some really great options out there but you always want to make sure the quality is still reliable, even with the dollar range that we are reviewing.

We’d love to hear about your home setup!

Expert Tip

Plan your setup before you purchase so you can check for drivers, connections, and any additional parts or features that you will need to add to the design. Think of all of the parts to make your setup work the best.

Did You Know?

Bookshelf speakers shouldn’t be on the ground if you really want to make the most of their provisions. They work best in an elevated position as the floor could impede their output. Hang them on the wall, set them on a shelf, use them on a bookshelf like they were designed for. It’s up to you but make sure they are off the floor!

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