Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500

Dave Mostert
Written by
Last update:

If you want to really improve the sound quality in your home, I recommend you buy a home speaker system. At some point you may even want to think about purchasing a home theater system, but for now, let’s keep it simple.

Here are the best bookshelf speakers available.

NameCategoryProduct
Polk Audio T15 100 Watt Home Theater Bookshelf SpeakersBest OverallPolk Audio T15 100 Watt Home Theater Bookshelf Speakers
Micca MB42 Bookshelf SpeakersBudget PickMicca MB42 Bookshelf Speakers
Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf SpeakersUpgrade PickEdifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

1. Polk Audio T15 100 Watt Home Theater Bookshelf Speakers

Our rating: 9 / 10

Polk Audio T15 100 Watt Home Theater Bookshelf Speakers

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Audio performance and design
  • Outstanding controls for different modes and system configurations
  • Size and portability
  • Fits up to your TV set

Cons:

  • Bass levels could be stronger
  • Bass limited to the front

These speakers are great for both home theater use and for music listening. The sound is clear and vivid and produces great volume for a home theater set up.

The Polk Audio T15 is a bookshelf speaker that can be mounted on the wall. It has a 6.5-inch woofer and is designed for wall mounting. The speaker has a Dynamic Balance technology and HDA (High-Definition Audiophile) enclosure that makes it a good choice for audiophiles.

Its six-element system including a very powerful magnet results in a well-balanced and dynamic sound. The speaker also has a high-quality crossover network, which allows for excellent fidelity when watching movies, listening to music, or playing video games.

2. Micca MB42 Bookshelf Speakers

Our rating: 9 / 10

Micca MB42 Bookshelf Speakers

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Excellently balanced for the price
  • Responsiveness and durability of the tweeter is exceptional
  • Mids and high frequencies are detailed enough for regular listening
  • Compared to other models in the price range, these speakers are full range and offer most of the features that would be expected of high range speakers
  • The workmanship is amazing, we give it 7 out of 10
  • Fantastic customer service

Cons:

  • The bass is not as powerful as we would like it to be
  • The power handling is not as good as we would like it to be
  • This is more of a bookshelf speaker that’s designed for small/medium rooms and not really for larger rooms or speakers intended for audiophiles
  • The range is limited probably not suitable for a home theater system
  • The sound does not get loud enough to cover small get-togethers

The MB42 Bookshelf Speakers have enough power to provide clear and crisp sound in any home or office setting. These speakers can be used with any stereo receiver due to the passive design. Weighing just 5.5 lbs each, these speakers are easy to move around and can be placed on a shelf without much hassle. The smooth curves and unique shape and design of the speaker makes them both attractive and appealing.

3. Sony SSCS5 3-Way 3-Driver Bookshelf Speaker System

Our rating: 9 / 10

Sony SSCS5 3-Way 3-Driver Bookshelf Speaker System

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Compact
  • Great balance in tone
  • Unobtrusive design
  • Full sound
  • Affordable
  • Multiple color options

Cons:

  • Bass could be more powerful
  • Can be awkward to set up

The Sony SS-CS5 brings together performance, style, and value. Sony is a trusted brand and you really get a lot with this set. The quality is evident from the moment you take them out of the box. The fit and finish is excellent. The frequency response is clear with a great mix of lows and highs.

The SS-CS5 also works wonderfully in a pair or even when you add a subwoofer. Speakers like these can create a great home entertainment system. These speakers make a great home music system too. The sound is rich and clear. The bass is deep and rich. These speakers truly bring together great sound for a reasonable price.

Although most people are more interested in the compact design, the midrange performance, and the positive customer reviews, there is a significant number of reviewers who found flaws. Some found the sound wasn’t full enough, while others said the set up could be awkward. Most people who had issues with the set up noticed that you need to be extra careful when screwing in the wires because they’re not uniform.

4. Edifier R1280DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

Our rating: 9 / 10

Edifier R1280DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Up to 15-hour battery life
  • Conveniently located Bluetooth buttons
  • Dynamic range of sound
  • Easy to set up

Cons:

  • Sound quality not comparable to premium portable speakers
  • Battery life may differ from manufacturer’s claims

A veteran office assistant told me that one important aspect of using speakers is that you want speakers that let you hear yourself think. I had never heard that before but decided to put the Edifier R1280DB speakers to the test.

Placing them in a little more permanent position in my house, I found that they easily filled up a small living/decorating room combination. The bigger room was taken care of by them a little more easily, but I could not say that the sound was very rich and voluminous.

Setting everything up was pretty straightforward and the sound could be easily tailored to one's tastes.

5. Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones Home Audio Bookshelf Loudspeakers

Our rating: 8 / 10

Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones Home Audio Bookshelf Loudspeakers

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Easy to place
  • Excellent sound for entry-level bookshelf speakers
  • Economical price
  • Crafted from durable, hardwood cabinets with genuine wood veneer and a soft-dome tweeter

Cons:

  • Louder bass for smaller rooms
  • Midrange not as prominent as other brands

The Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones Home Audio Speaker set are two-way bookshelf speakers that produce clean, clear audio. The cabinet is crafted from hardwood and has real wood veneer, making them hard to damage. On the inside, the 2-way design boasts an 8-inch high-output woofer and soft-dome tweeter for great clarity.

The sound quality of these speakers is the result of its €Üadvanced design.€Ý

6. Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

Our rating: 8 / 10

Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Near-field studio monitors
  • IPS (in plane switching) tweeters to deliver crisp highs
  • Paper cone 10-inch woofers deliver thumping lows
  • With subwoofer output
  • Includes MDF cabinets
  • Classic black color
  • Class D amp
  • Solid wooden front
  • Dual 6.5-inch side-firing ports for enhanced bass

Cons:

  • Poor bass response throughout the mid-range
  • Weak high frequencies which diminish the treble
  • Thin and flimsy speakers
  • Mid-range is muddled
  • The overall sound is mediocre at best

7. Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

Our rating: 8 / 10

Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • High-quality sound
  • Compact and elegant design
  • Works best for smaller spaces
  • Available in two different colors
  • Good customer service

If you're looking for a long-lasting speaker set, these Bluetooth bookshelf speakers with a wooden enclosure are just the thing. Available in either black or white, these speakers are a great addition to your home or office.

They're designed to provide clear, high-quality audio output. They’re also quite easy to setup and can be used with a variety of music devices. Of course, some devices may need additional cables to work as a Bluetooth speaker. That said, the sound and build quality are exceptional considering the moderate price point.

These speakers weigh nine pounds each. So, while they're not super heavy or difficult to maneuver, they do need enough surface to keep them propped up. They're also available in a variety of other colors, but we went for this black finish for the sake of aesthetics.

8. Klipsch R-14M 4-Inch Reference Bookshelf Speakers

Our rating: 8 / 10

Klipsch R-14M 4-Inch Reference Bookshelf Speakers

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Sound amazing
  • Amazing bass
  • Quality material
  • Connectivity options
  • Integrates well with other Klipsch speakers
  • Easy installation
  • Lightweight
  • Looks good
  • Quality sound, amazing sound
  • Connectivity options

Cons:

  • No cables included
  • Hard to unplug cables from speakers, which are recessed
  • Bass requires a little to get use to

These are super quality speakers, that look great and weigh very little. You can use them very easily. They also sound great and are great value for money.

I was not sure if speakers that were this cheap could be any good. However I have been completely surprised. These are absolutely amazing speakers. No distortion whatsoever. The bass is amazing. It fills the room, but I don’t think it’s too overpowering at all.

I have some nice sound equipment and an expensive sound system in the house. With that I should be able to tell the difference. However the sound quality is really comparable. It’s amazing. Especially for the price.

9. Mackie Studio Monitor

Our rating: 8 / 10

Mackie Studio Monitor

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • They use refined audio processing technology
  • Extremely easy to install
  • Incredibly accurate sound reproduction
  • Affordable price compared to other brands

Cons:

  • Requires adequate ear training to get good sound quality
  • Poor sound quality at high volume

Want to build a nice home theater setup, but don’t want to spend a lot of money? Mackie studio monitor speakers are one of the best-value options out there. These speakers are built to give accurate, honest sound – so you can mix and master your music with ease.

The Mackie CR3 speakers are a 2-way design, featuring 3-inch woofers and a 1-inch dome tweeter. They use a waveguide with a 60Hz-18kHz frequency response. And the result is an extremely clear and accurate sound. These speakers are best for hardcore music lovers and recording experts.

A lot of people consider Mackie to be a more affordable version of the KRK brand. That’s because they both use similar design and technology. You can use the Mackie to power an excellent sound system for your home theater setup. Just get a separate amplifier for your set and you should be all set.

10. Yamaha NS-6490 3-Way Bookshelf Speakers Finish

Our rating: 6 / 10

Yamaha NS-6490 3-Way Bookshelf Speakers Finish

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Widely lauded for their high-performance audio
  • Aesthetically pleasing design
  • Not the most expensive model on the market
  • High-quality materials and design
  • Also a great set of bookshelf speakers for home theater systems
  • Accentuates treble and bass tones equally
  • Only need a 5-watt amplifier to operate
  • Excellent product to include in larger home theater systems
  • Amazing audio performance once properly set up and placed in the right location

Cons:

  • If you’re not a sound nerd or engineer you might not notice the difference between models higher up on the price scale
  • Powerful bass can start to distort lower tones
  • The cabinet's weight tends to shift the tonal balance

(Pair) Black (Pair)

As far as bookshelf speakers for home theater systems are concerned, there are a lot of good options to choose from. They’re not quite as high-end as audio engineers would like them to be, but for the average consumer, they are definitely exceeding expectations. Still, if you’re an audiophile, you’re obviously going to want something a little pricier and more powerful.

The NS-6490 includes the following:

Cons:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Hi Fi Best Budget bookshelf speakers?

The bookshelf speakers we've selected here are all over our beloved mid-market price range, which gives us the opportunity to throw almost any budget audiophile into a total tizzy. These speakers simply showcase value and excellence on every level. You'll be hard-pressed to find another similar value to the bang-for-your-buck levels our sell picks will offer.

These speakers are all designed to generate the utmost simplicity of use, to be effortless in terms of setup and electrical connectivity, to provide for quality material and build, as well as providing some of the highest levels of sound quality out there for the price.

What are the best sounding bookshelf speakers?

The Klipsch speakers have been made for multiple rooms, like the bedroom or living room. Due to its size, it can be placed into almost any bookshelf.

The Klipsch RB-10 bookshelf speaker works great with any receiver or amplifier. In case you are using an electric guitar, this recommended speaker has a frequency response of 45Hz to 22kHz. The RB-10 has a clean and warm sound quality.

If you want to work with a more powerful amplifier, the Klipsch Quintet is a good option. With 5-inch speakers, the Quintet can produce a more impressive sound quality than the RB model. It has a frequency response of 43Hz to 23kHz, which means the audio is very easy to listen to.

Are bookshelf speakers good?

If you are shopping for bookshelf speakers, you probably know that they can be a bit tricky as the market is flooded with inconspicuous, yet forgettable options.

For bookshelf speakers to be worthwhile, they first need to sound at least average and have a stylish design. Perhaps even more importantly, they have to be easy to place and position in a room.

Some bookshelf speakers are so versatile it's almost as if they were designed to be used as part of a stereo system, your choice will ultimately be a matter of budget. If you are willing to splurge on a pair of high-end bookshelf speakers, you should definitely consider getting themselves a nice subwoofer, amplifier, and other speakers that you can place throughout your room for optimum sound quality.

Are floor standing speakers better than bookshelf?

It is a common argument and one that doesn't necessarily have a right or wrong answer. Instead, let's take a look at the advantages of bookshelf speakers over floor-standing speakers:

{1}. Space – As the name implies, bookshelf speakers are small and easy to place in just about any location. They don't take up much space.
{2}. Flexibility – With bookshelf speakers, you can choose the directionality of the sound you want. Large bookshelf speakers are made with multiple drivers and a crossover network to route the frequencies to the appropriate driver for the best audio performance.
{3}. Price – Bookshelf speakers tend to fall in the mid-range zone of prices.
{4}. Aesthetics – Bookshelf speakers look a lot better than an enormous floor-standing speaker.

Bookshelf speakers are not without drawbacks:

Conclusion

For this build we will choose the best bookshelf speakers under 500 dollars and that will bring you the realism without a sub amp connection and bring out the best deep and superb bass with its 3/4 inch MDF enclosure.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Polk Audio T15 100 Watt Home Theater Bookshelf SpeakersBest OverallPolk Audio T15 100 Watt Home Theater Bookshelf Speakers
Micca MB42 Bookshelf SpeakersBudget PickMicca MB42 Bookshelf Speakers
Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf SpeakersUpgrade PickEdifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers