Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500 – Reviews & Buyers Guide

Best Bookshelf Speakers Under 500 – Reviews & Buyers Guide

Do you hear that?

It’s the sweet sound of music. The best way to really enjoy your music in an open room is to get some great bookshelf speakers. You get high-quality sound without taking up a massive amount of space for your speakers. You can customize the look and choose just about anything you want.

Best Bookshelf Speakers Under 500 – Reviews & Buyers Guide
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Bookshelf speakers come in an assortment of styles, sizes, and prices. In this guide, we’re going to focus on the best bookshelf speakers under $500 so you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get your speakers set up.

Keep in mind that there are many options out there but we’ve done our best to sort through the choices and narrow it down to bring you the top picks on the market.

What to Look for in a Bookshelf Speaker

Best Bookshelf Speakers Under 500 – Reviews & Buyers Guide
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Before you spend your money, it’s a good idea to have a basic plan. We can show you speaker options all day long but in the end, you want to know you’re choosing something that really works for you. We will have a detailed buyer’s guide later in this post but for now, we want to focus on the highlights that you should consider before you buy.

Sound Quality

Sound quality is a must. If you can’t find a speaker with audio quality that is clear and doesn’t issue feedback then you’re looking in the wrong places! Even affordable speakers should have great quality with precise sound.

Of course, it can be hard to know if they sound amazing since you can’t always try them out before you order them. However, you can look at what others have to say and check out things like bass controls, a built-in amplifier, or even the optical output to know if you will get well balanced sound from your speaker.

You want quality audio regardless of your tastes in music or sound from the speakers.

Passive Speakers Vs. Active Speakers

You will want to pay attention to whether or not you’re getting passive or active speakers for your bookshelf speaker set. On the speaker market, you will find that the bookshelf speaker is typically passive speakers but that is not always the case.

Passive speakers need an external amplifier to aid in their performance. Think of that as the control for the speaker.

The active speaker is basically self-powered and it will actually have a built-in amp inside of the bookshelf speaker. Active speakers just need some sort of connection to audio. With wireless bookshelf speakers, this will be Bluetooth but if your speakers aren’t wireless, they will probably need a line in connection to the source.

Wireless or Wired

That brings us to talk about whether or not you want the best bookshelf speakers in your home to be wired or wireless. This will really be a matter of your own preferences and setups. In this modern day of technology, it’s pretty easy to find wireless options but there are also still plenty of wired options out there.

To be honest, a lot of people look for wireless anymore because it allows them to just connect to their smart phone through Bluetooth rather than having to worry about hook ups. You see this in mobile speakers and even systems like The Echo or Google pieces that you can place in your home.

These often go beyond just a speaker but it’s a good example of the wireless technology out there.

How Many Bookshelf Speakers are Needed?

How Many Bookshelf Speakers are Needed?

Finally, you want to know how many speakers you need and be sure to purchase as such. What you will find is that bookshelf speakers typically come in a pair and a single pair is typically sufficient for your needs.

Very few of these speakers are sold individually but watch for that possibility just in case. Very rarely will you need more than one set unless you just have a really large space that you need to provide sound for. In larger homes, you may need to add another pair. When you add an extra pair, be sure to set up one pair for front left and front right and the other pair for rear left and rear right so that they don’t overlap.

Now, let’s look at some great speaker options to consider!

The Best Bookshelf Speakers under 500 Reviewed

In this part of our guide, we will share our top picks for the best bookshelf speakers under 500. We’ve researched and tested to find some really great options to share with you and we hope that you can find something here that works for you.

Once you check out the speakers, go ahead and check out our buyer’s guide with some more intuitive information for an informed decision.

In these reviews, you will find a detailed overview, a rating of the key specs, and some pros and cons for each set of bookshelf speakers.

1. Best Overall: Edifier R1280DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

Edifier R1280DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf SpeakersCheck Latest Price

The Edifier Bookshelf Speaker is our best overall pick. It’s made with premium components that stands out against other speakers in design and quality. You can purchase it in a solid design or in a wood-grained look, whichever style appeals to you more. We like the wood grain because it just brings a little extra class to the overall design.

These are Bluetooth wireless so you don’t have to worry about an optical input or output or those added cords and connecting to a specific device. You can connect to anything in your home that has Bluetooth connection capabilities with these powered speakers. With that in mind, they do still have optical and coaxial inputs so you can connect them with digital connections that are great.

These powered speakers have a nice punchy bass and studio sound quality for every little sound. Each bit is fine tuned from the bass to the silk dome tweeter and each piece in between too. These stereo speakers bring you smooth sound that you won’t want to ever shut off.

Did we mention that this set also comes with a remote control? You don’t even have to get up to be able to adjust volume or settings like bass and treble. However, you can also control these manually if you are up. The speakers are also covered by a 2-year warranty in Canada and the USA.

Key Ratings (on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest)

  • Speaker Maximum Output Power: 10
  • Power Range: 10
  • Cost: 10
  • Material Construction: 10

Product Specs

Max Power Output:21 Watts each
Active or Passive:Active
Frequency Response:55 Hz – 20 kHz
Speaker Dimensions:5.75 x 9.5 x 7 inches
Speaker Connection:Bluetooth or line in
Pros
  • Wood grain visual appeal that adds some class
  • Active speaker with Bluetooth capability
  • Covered by a 2-year warranty
  • Frequency Range is from 55 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Comes with a remote control
Cons:
  • You may need to attach a sub woofer if you really want the most bass response possible

Why We Like It: We love these speakers for both the look and the sound. They’re set up nicely with optical and RCA input and they give you quality sound with Bluetooth and remote control functionality.

2. Budget Pick: Polk Audio T15 Home Theater Bookshelf Speakers

Polk Audio T15 Home Theater Bookshelf SpeakersCheck Latest Price

Next up comes a really great option from Polk Audio. These inexpensive speakers are highly-rated with more than 8,000 ratings on Amazon and almost 5 stars. We feel like that says at least a little something about these best bookshelf speakers under 500, right? It comes in a pair but you can also get a single or purchase a bundle if you need.

These speakers feature immersive sound with .75-inch silk dome tweeter and a 5.25-inch balance driver integrated into the speakers. They are meant to provide natural but well balanced sound to enjoy and still capable of producing hearty bass response as well, even with a lower frequency.

These are bookshelf speakers but they can also be wall-mounted if you prefer. Whether you use your Polk Audio speakers for surround sound or to enjoy clear vocals, you won’t be disappointed. These are also compatible with most home theater received systems so you can integrate them if that is what you are looking to do.

This is a passive speaker that does need to be wired in.

Key Ratings (on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest)

  • Speaker Maximum Output Power: 9
  • Power Range: 9
  • Cost: 10
  • Material Construction: 9

Product Specs

Max Power Output:100 Watts each
Active or Passive:Passive
Frequency Response:60 Hz – 24 kHz
Speaker Dimensions:7.3 x 6.5 x 10.7 inches
Speaker Connection:Wired
Pros:
  • A budget pick with quality and a lower price tag
  • Good frequency spectrum for the price
  • Powered speaker with compatibility
  • Great sound
  • High peak power of 100 watts
Cons:
  • The bass frequencies don’t really possess the punch you might be looking for with bass

Why We Like It: Not a lot of speakers can be compatible with any setup and bring you quality like Polk Audio has done for such a low price. It’s an overall good speaker with minimal distortion and quality sound.

3. Best Value: ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Bookshelf Speakers

ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Bookshelf SpeakersCheck Latest Price

If you know anyone who knows speakers, it’s very possible that they will recommend ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 speakers. This brand has a positive reputation and the reason is quite clear. They stand out for quality, frequency response, and overall design. These do cost a bit more but they are well worth it from what we found.

This comes in a pair and if you really like the ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 speakers, you can bundle up and get other parts to add to the speaker system as well. You can also add extensive cable wire or even banana plugs in the packages.

The speakers look great and work great for bookshelf speakers under 500. They have nominal impedance and a very wide frequency response that is simply unmatched in the industry. These speakers have won multiple awards through the years and are definitely a high choice in the industry.

The only thing we want to point out is that these are not Bluetooth powered, they require wiring. You can pair them with a Bluetooth amplifier though.

Key Ratings (on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest)

  • Speaker Maximum Output Power: 10
  • Power Range: 10
  • Cost: 9
  • Material Construction: 9

Product Specs

Max Power Output:120 Watts
Active or Passive:Passive
Frequency Response:46 Hz – 35 kHz
Speaker Dimensions:7.09 x 13.43 x 9.21 inches
Speaker Connection:Wired
Pros:
  • Premium model bookshelf speakers under 500
  • Excellent sound quality
  • High range frequency response
  • 1-inch silk dome tweeter has been revamped
  • Classic style that looks great
Cons:
  • For the price, it would be nice to have Bluetooth functionality
  • These don’t do as well at low volumes

Why We Like It: The ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 speakers have a hearty reputation and it’s easy to see why. They’re sleek and classy and they bring you one of the highest frequency ranges you’re going to find. They are a classic winner that has withstood the test of time for clear reasons.

4. Klipsch Speakers R-41 Powerful Bookshelf Home Speaker

Klipsch Speakers R-41 Powerful Bookshelf Home SpeakerCheck Latest Price

Next up is a popular choice in the speaker industry. You really can’t go wrong with Klipsch. Again, these come in a pair and you can also upgrade your package to include 100 feet of wire cable as well. These are really sleek with a copper dome in the woofer to bring the best visual appeal and just a tad of color to the black speaker.

These are a pretty great price too. The output offers great performance with up to 200 watts of power handling. Whether you enjoy listening to musical instruments or you want ample bass, these best bookshelf speakers have got it going for you. They do not have wireless connectivity and use wired connections for play.

The nice thing is you can use these with a home theater system and enjoy crisp bass from your speakers. The build quality is pretty great and the auxiliary input and the wire makes it easy to pair with other pieces.

The crossover frequency on these speakers is compatible with 1,730 Hz. These look like expensive speakers but they really are not too pricy. We think you will be happy if you give them a try.

Key Ratings (on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest)

  • Speaker Maximum Output Power: 10
  • Power Range: 8
  • Cost: 10
  • Material Construction: 9

Product Specs

Max Power Output:200 Watts
Active or Passive:Passive
Frequency Response:68 Hz – 21 kHz
Speaker Dimensions:11.3 x 5.75 x 7.9 inches
Speaker Connection:Wired
Pros:
  • Impressive performance from simple powered bookshelf speakers
  • Great for a small to medium sized room
  • Dome tweeter offers copper accent
  • Powerful bass response
  • High peak power of 200 watts
Cons:
  • This does have a low frequency extension compared to some other models

Why We Like It: These are not small speakers. They are perfect for the bookshelf or setting up a room with a snazzy appeal to it. We love the style of these but they are also good quality with a dynamic range that is decent enough for most input sources.

5. Audio Engine HD3 Wireless Bookshelf Speaker System

Audio Engine HD3 Wireless Bookshelf Speaker SystemCheck Latest Price

Next up, check out these really awesome powered bookshelf speakers with wireless capabilities. These Audio Engine HD3 are Bluetooth enabled devices so you get a little bit more ability and can stream music from your favorite source. What you will notice is the build quality of these speakers is totally different than your traditional speakers that you see out there.

They still have that same quality and sound but there is no visual dome tweeter or a carbon fiber woofer or anything like that. It creates a more aesthetic appeal. These do cost a bit more because of the updated and modern technology approach. You will also find them in several different color options, including wood, black, red, or white.

These are small speakers that pack a huge punch. With the Bluetooth connectivity, you can control your options. The soft dome tweeter and the carbon fiber woofer are built into the system and covered by the mesh lining for the look like we mentioned above. They have a 100 foot range.

These are a next level option basically. They even come with speaker bags and cable bags.

Key Ratings (on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest)

  • Speaker Maximum Output Power: 8
  • Power Range: 10
  • Cost: 9
  • Material Construction: 10

Product Specs

Max Power Output:60 Watts + Subwoofer passthrough (125 watts)
Active or Passive:Active
Frequency Response:unidentified
Speaker Dimensions:7 x 4.25 x 5.5 inches
Speaker Connection:Bluetooth Connectivity
Pros:
  • Premium style and design
  • Silk dome tweeter and the woofer are “hidden” inside
  • Small speaker with good sound
  • Bookshelf speakers connect to Bluetooth
  • These bookshelf speakers are available in several color options
Cons:
  • It does take some tweaking to figure out the best sound and the use of the passthrough subwoofer is a must for the best sound from these bookshelf speakers

Why We Like It: This is a gorgeous set. The peak power is best when you use the subwoofer passthrough but we really like the small size, modern style, and the sound quality when you get the settings figured out!

6. Sony SSCS5 3-Way 3-Driver Bookshelf Speakers

Sony SSCS5 3-Way 3-Driver Bookshelf SpeakersCheck Latest Price

You may or may not know Sony but many of us are familiar with the Sony brand when it comes to technology. These bookshelf speakers certainly fit in with the expectations of the brand and are well worth a glance. They are highly-rated with almost 5 stars and more than 5,600 ratings on Amazon.

These speakers are tall and slim with foamed-mica woofers that really do the work. They also have a tweeter and are built for excellent sound. The peak power is pretty great for the price and you can set these up with other pieces or just use them as they are on their own.

These are 3-way speakers with bass reflex system that really stands out. The sound is meant to be immersive and high-quality. The build quality is excellent with dynamic range that you will really enjoy. The audio is light, effective, and clear with pros smooth crossover.

With these speakers, you can count on rich acoustics and high-resolution audio. The tapered faceplate edges look great and give you a sleek yet simple design that will fit in anywhere.

Key Ratings (on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest)

  • Speaker Maximum Output Power: 9
  • Power Range: 8
  • Cost: 10
  • Material Construction: 10

Product Specs

Max Power Output:100 watts
Active or Passive:Passive
Frequency Response:53 Hz to 50,000 Hz
Speaker Dimensions:7 1/8 x 13 1/4 x 8 3/4 inches
Speaker Connection:Wired
Pros:
  • Build quality is excellent
  • You could connect to an amplifier as a wireless alternative
  • Good sound and power
  • Simple and sleek design
  • Reliable brand that’s been around for a long time
Cons:
  • Compared to other models, the frequency and the max power really could be improved but is still decent enough for good sound

Why We Like It: While there are areas that could be better, what you will find is that these deliver reliable sound that really does sound pretty great when you give it the chance. These will fit in anywhere, and work great in smaller spaces.


Related Reviews:
Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $200 in 2021
Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $100 in 2021

Buying Guide

Buying Guide
Photo by Shiraz Khan on Unsplash

We’ve shared some really great options here, complete with the specs and details. Now, let’s talk about how to actually pick out bookshelf speakers. This section is meant simply to give you some basic guidance on things you want to consider or know about before you buy your bookshelf speakers.

Size

The size of the speaker really does matter. You’re purchasing bookshelf speakers and while you might end up placing them somewhere besides a bookshelf, you still need them to fit wherever you plan to place them. If they are too large, they won’t fit and if they are too small, they might look strange in your space.

Size will be based on your preferences and the placement that you intend to use for your bookshelf speakers. This won’t be a standard measurement. You may find that sizes are similar between models but they are rarely exactly the same.

You also want to consider the size of space you are using them. Check out the range and make sure it’s compatible with the size of space you are applying sound to so you know it’s actually going to work in the end.

Compatibility

It may be your intention to use these speakers as a stand-alone and that typically will work just fine. However, if you plan to pair your bookshelf speakers with an amplifier or any other potential addition, you need to be sure they will be compatible.

Make sure that the speakers you choose are compatible with whatever types of hookups and additions you plan to use them with. It would be a shame to order a pair of speakers and find the input or output isn’t compatible with the other parts and pieces.

The other thing you need to know about compatibility is the wattage. Your peak wattage is important when you start to pair with amplifiers and other speakers. If the wattage of your speakers is not the same or at least compatible with the wattage of your amp, the sound will be terrible most likely.

If you find yourself with a pair of speakers and unhappy with the sound quality, you might check out these things. Some people don’t realize that compatibility between the different pieces makes a big difference in the end result.

Budget

Here, we are looking specifically at speakers under $500 but you should know that this gives you a lot of options. While there most definitely are speakers that are above and beyond that price, this is a pretty good range for finding some high-quality speakers.

In fact, you might find more options under $500 than over.

But, not everyone can afford to spend up to $500 so you need to consider your own budget before you pick out a set of bookshelf speakers. If your budget is more like under $200, try to find the speakers that stick to that range.

What we want to point out is that you can find quality speakers for any budget range. You do not always have to over spend to get a good option. There are certainly times that features or materials may stand out from the costs but in the speakers, you can find good quality even on a budget.

We made every effort to provide you with a variety of prices in this guide.

Take a Look at the Features

Finally, before you make a final decision and settle on a specific set of speakers, take a look at the specs and the features. You will notice that we shared some specific specs of each speaker option. The specs we shared will directly affect how you use the speakers and just what they are capable of overall.

You may know what you’re looking for when it comes to features or you may feel totally lost. We recommend specifically looking at these components.

  • Dimensions
  • Peak power or watts
  • Frequencies
  • Input/Output design
  • Bass design
  • Control capability
  • Active or Passive

These are just some basic specs and features that you want to take a look at. It’s hard to tell you exactly what to look for because everyone’s needs for these speakers are really pretty different overall. What you will find is that you may need to do a little bit of research to see what is best for your space.

Most bookshelf speakers will have some general ranges and you may notice that many of these are similar. However, what you need for your space may be different than your neighbor or friend’s setup so keep that in mind as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Best Bookshelf Speakers Under 500?

Our top pick is the Edifier that you will find in our best overall selection in this guide. However, you really can’t go wrong with any of the choices here so you very well may decide that the best option for you is a different option shared here. Remember to keep your needs in mind.

Do Bookshelf Speakers Have Good Bass?

Yes, they absolutely can. Most of these speakers are built with woofers and tweeters in them, both of which directly affect your bass. If you feel like you get some that don’t have great bass, you can try adding another woofer to the mix to help you out as well.

Do I Have to Use a Subwoofer?

No – you are not required to use a subwoofer in order to use and appreciate these speakers. However, you may find that a subwoofer really helps to perfect the sound that you are looking for. If you want that little something extra, it’s a good idea but it’s not required.

Conclusion

We hope that you find this guide to be a valuable resource. There are many great bookshelf speakers out there in this price range and we made every effort to bring you some of the very best here. What does your dream speaker setup look like?

Expert Tip

The key to perfect sound is to add a subwoofer to the mix. It’s not required but you will notice a difference in the overall sound. Just add something small!

Did You Know?

Did you know that you can find bookshelf speakers in either wired or wireless types? If you want to be able to stream or connect to Bluetooth, just be sure you find something that offers that type of capability!

Amazon Recommends:

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