Best Bookshelf Speakers for 2021

It’s a new year, and the number of speaker options continues to grow. Audiophiles and average people alike need a good set of speakers. Before buying a bookshelf speaker, you need to answer a few questions. Like, do you need a two-way system or a three-way system? And, what will you be using it for?  Without hearing the speaker, it’s hard to decide which speakers genuinely stand out.

This list is here to help out.  Below are full reviews and the pros and cons of the best bookshelf speakers in 2020. Find the perfect speaker for your needs, whether you want a lot of bass or just want a more immersive movie experience.

Top Pick

Edifier R1700BT

  • Remote control for switching input
  • Two aux ports
  • Light enough for any shelf 


How to Choose the Best Bookshelf Speaker

Bookshelf speakers come in all shapes and sizes. Knowing how big your room and furniture can narrow down the options. Also, think about the weight of the speaker and if your furniture can support it. Most bookshelf speakers can fit on a shelf, but some will sound better on a stand.

If you have an amp or receiver, then you want to look at passive speakers. Passive speakers have no power source, which is why they are often called unpowered speakers. Passive speakers produce less consistent sound quality than active systems.

Active systems are often called powered speakers. They include a built-in amp and are ready to go from the box. Often, they have Bluetooth built in. These are great for people looking to start making their surround sound. Active speakers are easy to use and use less power.

How you use your speaker matters too. Some speakers will sound great playing music yet they sound awful while gaming.

Finally, you need to decide how much you are willing to spend. A good bookshelf speaker can last over a decade. Invest more up front to get the best bookshelf speaker you can buy and avoid buying another one in a few years.

The 10 Top-Rated Bookshelf Speakers

Swans Speaker M10

  • Polished and colored cones
  • Three speakers for immediate surround sound
  • Designed with bass in mind
  • Easy setup
  • Internal amp

Most speakers either look good or sound good. With the M10 you get both! Swans’ M10 comes in an elegant white attenuated by rose gold and black. The volume dial resembles an antique washer knob, but in a good way. The M10 wins in a beauty contest.

But its what’s on the inside that counts, which is why Swans put an LW3 and LW5 drivers. Unlike other setups, the M10 has one main speaker and two satellite speakers. No need for an existing set up the M10 has you surrounded already.


Klipsch R-14M

  • Plays music well even at max volume
  • Sound fills small and medium-sized rooms
  • Great for high range audio

Klipsch has been a significant player for speakers since 1947. The R-14M is 9.75 inches tall and about 6 inches wide. The IMG woofer and suspension horn-loaded tweeter give excellent sound quality.

The R-14M is a passive speaker system, so there is no amp. The bass port is on the back so be sure to place them a few inches from the wall. The system is capable of high volumes without risking a blown driver. If you crank up the volume, the sound remains clear.

These are perfect for medium and small sized rooms. Whether you listen to classical, jazz, or EDM, these speakers won’t let you down.





Yamaha NS-6490

  • Great design
  • Perfect for all audio of all ranges
  • Reaches high volumes with little distortion
  • Multiple drivers

Yamaha makes everything, from motorbikes to incredible speaker systems. Each NS-6490 speaker contains three drivers. An eight-inch woofer, four-inch midrange, and a balanced tweeter work together for incredible audio at any range.

The speakers look good too. The all black finish and contoured design are very modern. The downfall of the NS-6490 is its size. Weighing in at 29 pounds and standing thirteen inches high, these speakers need a stable shelf.

Besides the size, the speakers produce great sound. Since these are Yamaha made you know they are durable and reliable. They work as a standalone system or as additional sound support.



Pioneer SP-BS22-LR

  • Crossover produces a well-balanced sound
  • The small design will fit in tight spaces
  • Designed to use less power without losing volume
  • Improved bass

Pioneer’s SP-BS22-LR puts a modern spin on the wood speaker. The black finished wood looks good in a theater or living room. They put just as much thought to the interior as they did the exterior. The six element crossover, four-inch woofer, and soft dome tweeter produce excellent sound fidelity.

Pioneer listens to their customers. Their previous model lacked the high-volume bass people desired, so they made the new model with more bass support. The changes make noticeably improve bass-heavy audio.

The height will affect the sound. While these are considered bookshelf speakers to get the best quality sound stands are recommended.




Edifier P12

  • Two-year warranty
  • Wall-mount brackets built in for natural surround sound
  • Modern wood finish

The P12 is another excellent option from Edifier. This bookshelf speaker can also be wall mounted. The wood finish is a classic look fit for any home. Like most Edifier products a two-year warranty is included. Since the P12 is a passive speaker system, you will need to buy an amp or receiver to use them.

The P12 is excellent for low and mid-range audio. The bass tends to garble at the higher volumes. Each speaker is sixteen inches tall so clear off your top shelf!  All in all the P12 is a good pair of passive speakers.





Sony SSCS5

  • Solid wood cabinet
  • Great for mid and high range audio
  • Mica reinforced woofer cones

Sony’s SSCS5 may not look special on the outside, but its solid wood construction doesn’t disappoint. The inside and outside were built to last. On the inside, Sony has added two mica strengthened woofer cones. These cones will withstand the heaviest of bass music for years to come.

Even with an all wood cabinet each SSCS5 weighs nine pounds, making it light and durable. It is almost eighteen inches tall, so this is another speaker meant for the top shelf. The sound is clear in the mid and high ranges but suffers in the lower field.




Audioengine A5+

  • Bass for days
  • Bluetooth
  • Bamboo cabinet
  • Fits anywhere

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a pair of Bluetooth speakers with wired speaker quality? Well, that is precisely what Audioengine is offering. The A5+ is bringing bookshelf speakers into the modern age. The two bamboo speakers are not only wireless but they also easily play music from your favorite streaming app.

Small enough for a shelf or desk and loud enough for action movies. The built-in analog amp ensures your music sounds good over wireless or an aux cord. The A5+ is excellent for bass music but not so great for records.





Edifier R1700BT

  • Remote control for switching input
  • Two aux ports
  • Light enough for any shelf

Edifier is known for their high-quality speakers. The R1700BT is an exemplary bookshelf system.

Along with Bluetooth connectivity, this system has two aux ports. You and a friend can attach your devices and play music. No more fighting over the aux cord. This is a must-have feature for people that like to entertain guests. 

The wood finish gives off an antique vibe, but the performance is anything but dated. Edifier has included adjustable treble and adjustable bass. Both of which can be adjusted from -6 decibels up to +6 decibels. Play your music loud or end the evening on a mellow note.





HiVi - DIY 2.2A

  • Incredible sound
  • Easy to assemble
  • Premium drivers and internal parts

HiVi’s DIY 2.2A is a unique speaker. As the name implies, you build this speaker yourself. The kit includes all the parts for a set of bookshelf speakers, tools not included. When assembled the speakers are comparable to other luxury speakers.

Audiophiles in the DIY community will revel at the chance to build their own speaker. The assembly isn’t tricky, but you should expect to spend an hour or two building it. If you can’t afford the upper echelon of speakers but still want that level of sound, the DIY 2.2A is the solution. 

The DIY 2.2A kit turns into an excellent speaker. A pair of these will compliment a great surround sound system. The booming bass will fill a studio, living room, or man cave.



Peachtree Audio M25

  • Bluetooth enabled
  • An excessive amount of input options
  • Easy to use
  • Remote control

Peachtree Audio’s M25 comes in two colors, matte bamboo, and glossy black. The M25 is a powered speaker. Out of the box it has Bluetooth, built in phono, USB, and analog input. Each input correlates to a colored light, so you know where your music is playing from.

The built-in amp helps the fiberglass woofers produce high decibel sound. These are great speakers for streaming music. The M25 doesn’t excel at surround sound. The M25 offers convenience too. The remote control allows you to change the input, control the volume, and adjust bass and treble.



FAQs about Bookshelf Speakers

What kind of speaker do I need for heavy bass music?

Look for bookshelf speakers with that are rated for producing sound cleanly down to at least 30 Hz, the lower the better. Bass and other low-frequency noise is produced by the woofer. So, a bookshelf speaker with quality woofers will be best.

Higher frequency music is formed by tweeters. Vinyl and softer music will sound better on higher wattage speakers.


What is a mid-range driver, and do I need one?

A mid-range helps the woofers and tweeters create full-bodied sound. If you want smooth sound, you must have a mid-range driver. Music with a lot of vocals and string instruments will want a speaker with one.

You don’t need one if you are just adding to your current surround sound system. Heavy bass and electronic music will sound fine without one. Bookshelf speakers without the midrange driver are known as two-way speakers. Those with a woofer, tweeter, and mid-range are known as three-way systems.



Why buy bookshelf speakers instead of tower speakers?

Bookshelf speakers take up less room than tower speakers. They also play low range audio much better. When using several bookshelf speakers, you can reach cleared levels of sound and base than a tower speaker can.

If you are building a theater, then both might be needed. If you are a music producer, then a studio monitor will be required. For standard living rooms, you can’t beat a pair of bookshelf speakers.


Buyer’s Tips

Buy from reputable brands and certified online dealers. Amazon offers more speakers than any brick and mortar shop. With prime, you can have your speaker in a day. Brands who have been in the business a long time are generally safe options.

Measure your room and shelves. Some bookshelf speakers can be wall mounted to conserve space. Hefty speakers will need their own shelf.

Assess your needs. Do you stream a lot of music? If you do, you will want a powered speaker with Bluetooth. If you like vinyl, you will want a built-in phono. Some systems have the option for multiple inputs at once. Besides the input options, you also need to consider two way and three way systems.

Don’t be afraid to spend too much. If you love movies, gaming, or music you won’t regret buying a bookshelf speaker. If you want even more sound, you can always add more speakers later. These are the best bookshelf speakers in 2020, so you can’t go wrong with any of them.