The Best Bookshelf Speakers of 2021

The Best Bookshelf Speakers

There is a time and place for massive speakers or tower speakers. For most home users, bookshelf speakers make a lot of sense. They are compact, elegant, and deliver great sound. With advancements in technology, the performance of the best compact bookshelf speakers is as good as and often better than their larger rivals. They take up little space, are easy to use, and deliver exceptional sound. 

We take you through some of the top options available when looking for the best bookshelf speakers. Our favorite has to be the ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Bookshelf Speakers. They are affordable, sound amazing, and offer awesome power. That is just one of the fantastic options we look at in more detail. 

Bookshelf Speakers Quick Pick:

Bookshelf vs Tower Speakers

Before we get into the specifics, let’s look at the debate between the two main options for most home users, bookshelf or tower speakers. Both have a place and there is no perfect answer. It will come down to your needs and the environment. 

In the past, it was always preferable to have larger speakers but as technology and design have evolved, the best bookshelf speakers perform remarkably well. 

We will take you through what to look for when considering bookshelf speakers and this will help to guide you. If you want a powerful sound and have the space, tower speakers might be the way to go. If space is an issue you can get great performance from the right bookshelf speaker. 

FAQs

Why use bookshelf speakers?

There are many reasons to go for bookshelf speakers. The compact design is one of the main points. Despite their small size, the good ones will still deliver quality sound with decent power. There is no need to take up too much space in the room for larger speakers if you select the right bookshelf speakers for your needs. 

They are portable, versatile, and generally great value for money. Most can be stand or wall mounted if that suits the environment better. 

Are active or passive speakers better? 

This is a personal choice and will depend on your audio needs as well as the environment. Active speakers are powered and this makes them a bit more versatile. They are a good option if you want a wireless solution. They are easy to use and connect as well as easier to reposition if necessary. 

If you have a standard audio system with an amplifier then passive speakers are a perfect choice. When looking at passive speakers there are more options available and they are often more affordable. 

Do bookshelf speakers deliver good bass?

While a few years ago the answer to this might have been a bit more negative, new designs and modern technology allow these compact speakers to produce quality bass that will be more than enough for most people. They will never compete with large systems, especially those with dedicated subwoofers, but they should suit the needs of most audio fans. 

The 10 Best Bookshelf Speakers:

1. ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Bookshelf Speakers

ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Bookshelf Speakers

This product receives consistent stellar reviews and that speaks to the quality of these bookshelf speakers. The look is basic and simple yet not unpleasant. It is somewhat understated but then do you want your speakers to be a feature? They have a classical compact look that most people want from a quality speaker. 

More important is the performance and this is where the ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Bookshelf Speakers shine. ELAC has successfully built on the quality of their earlier models and this is evident in this model. The company has been around for more than 9 decades. They know their way around audio equipment. 

They deliver a decent 120 watts of power with a good frequency range of 46Hz – 35kHz. The build is top-quality so provided they are not abused, they should last you many years of audio enjoyment. 

The cabinet build is solid and of good quality. In terms of specs, these speakers deliver great sensitivity. Nominal Impedance is 6 Ohms. They have solid internal bracing and both the woofers and tweeters have been enhanced.  

In terms of price, the ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Bookshelf Speakers offer exceptional value for money. You will be hard-pressed to find better speakers in this price range. 

2. Q Acoustics 3020i Bookshelf Speaker Pair

Q Acoustics 3020i Bookshelf Speaker Pair

Q Acoustics has also been around for some time and they constantly fine-tune their great speakers making incremental but significant improvements along the way. The 320i speakers are pretty similar to the previous impressive models yet somehow even better. 

One of the first things that strike you is the great  English Walnut finish. This gives them a classy appearance that will look spectacular in any environment. Q Acoustics has won several design awards for this range. Other amazing color options include Graphite Grey, Carbon Black,  and the impressive Arctic White. No matter the style of the room there is an option that will look outstanding. 

The only drawback some people might find is that they somewhat deeper than many other bookshelf speakers. This does however enhance the sound. 

Speaking of the sound, it is impressive, to say the least. The sound is rich and full with impressive bass as well as accurate treble. This makes them ideal for any music style or even movie soundtracks. 

The build is solid and it has sturdy bracing. Another aspect that impresses is the dynamic reach. 

Despite the looks, performance, and features of these speakers they are highly affordable and give you a lot of bang for your buck. 

3. KEF LS50 Meta

KEF LS50 Meta

These have to be some of the best-looking and top-performing bookshelf speakers on the market. They are not cheap, expect to pay a fair investment for these premium speakers. However, what you get is an exceptional set of bookshelf speakers that deliver brilliant sound and look spectacular. 

The ratings and feedback on these speakers are near perfect and it would be rare to find anyone that does not love them. They are highly versatile and can be used for all your music, surround sound, or audio needs. 

The KEF LS50 Meta features some leading speaker technology some of which you will not find in budget models. For starters, MAT or  Metamaterial Absorption Technology is an advantage. This eliminates unwanted noise from the back of the drivers. The effectiveness is as much as 99%. Another feature is the enhanced  Uni-Q Driver. This enhances the smoothness of the music and the latest iteration of this technology is a 40% improvement on earlier models that already impressed. 

The frequency range is also fantastic at 47 Hz – 45 kHz.

Going back to the looks, the Mineral White is spectacular but you can also choose from Titanium Grey,  Carbon Black, and a Special Edition Royal Blue. 

These speakers are in a class of their own. If budget is not a major concern you are very likely to be happy with these amazing speakers. The sound is close to perfect, they are robust, look divine, and work like a bomb. 

4. DALI – Spektor 2

DALI - Spektor 2

It is hard not to appreciate these value-for-money speakers. They have received a few awards and are a popular much-loved bookshelf speaker choice. 

These speakers are user-friendly and deliver an accurate crisp sound with great detail. The design is compact and appealing. You can choose between the black ash or walnut finish and both look impressive. They can be standard bookshelf speakers, wall-mounted, or stand mounted. 

Dali is a well-established Danish company with a proud reputation. They have been around since 1983 and make a range of quality audio products and accessories. 

The frequency response range does not disappoint and the power is what you want from a typical bookshelf speaker.  

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

Sony SSCS5 3-Way 3-Driver Bookshelf Speaker System

Sony is a brand we know and trust and they make some of the most affordable quality bookshelf speakers. The SSCS5 model is no exception. These versatile speakers are suitable for all your home audio needs. 

The 3-way design includes a sturdy woofer, a main tweeter, and a super tweeter. This gives it crisp delivery with a good frequency range. They produce an impressive 100 watts of peak power. That should be more than enough for most uses. 

Another feature of these speakers is Dolby Atmos that delivers an impressive range. 

If you want quality reliable speakers that offer good volume with great clarity then you need to look at the Sony SSCS5 3-Way 3-Driver Bookshelf Speaker System. They are popular and highly rated. 

6. Dayton Audio B652 2-Way Bookshelf Speaker Pair

Dayton Audio B652 2-Way Bookshelf Speaker Pair

If you simply want to play your music or soundtracks without any fancy features or massive volume, you can’t go wrong with these speakers. The price is incredibly low but these are far from inferior speakers. The many positive comments give credence to this. They are top-sellers that are much loved by consumers. 

On a budget bookshelf speaker, you might expect poor bass. Not so with the Dayton Audio B652 6-1/2″ 2-Way Bookshelf Speakers. The clarity and sound will probably exceed your expectations, especially in the price range. 

The look is neat, compact, and sleek. It also has a removable grill cloth if you want that look. 

For those that need decent bookshelf speakers but do not want to spend a fortune these are a brilliant option. Given the low price, you can purchase a few sets so that there is one for each room in which you want decent sound.  

7. Triangle Borea BR03 Hi-Fi Bookshelf Speakers 

Triangle Borea BR03 Hi-Fi Bookshelf Speakers

These are not budget speakers but they will give you plenty of power and exceptional performance for the price. If online reviews are anything to go by, and they generally are, these are high-performing speakers that most people love. 

These are durable speakers that will come with a full 5-year warranty if you register. They will probably last many more years if not abused. They look awesome and perform with clarity and audio accuracy. 

What helps with the clarity and range is the combination of a 16cm midrange/bass driver with a 25mm EFS silk dome tweeter. This results in quality audio output for all styles of music as well as TV or other audio content. 

These are compact bookshelf speakers that deliver powerful clear audio. 

8. Klipsch R-51PM Powered Bluetooth Speaker

Klipsch R-51PM Powered Bluetooth Speaker

As big fans of great speakers, we have always loved many of the Klipsch options. The R-51PM Powered Bluetooth Speakers are always one of our top recommendations. These are highly versatile offering Bluetooth, USB, and Auxiliary. We love these speakers and, judging from consumer feedback, we are not alone. These speakers get rave reviews. 

The fact that they are powered speakers makes them a bit more versatile and user-friendly. They also sport great Bluetooth technology for wireless operation. This opens up a range of options and gives you greater placement options. You can use it for your smartphone, TV, PC, and even a turntable without the need for additional equipment. This is thanks to the integrated phono pre-amp.

Apart from Bluetooth you also have options for digital optical as well as analog RCA inputs. The USB inputs make these speakers even more versatile. 

What is really impressive is that these speakers are affordable. You get exceptional value for money with the Klipsch R-51PM Powered Bluetooth Speaker

9. Devialet Phantom II – 98 dB – Compact Wireless Speaker

Devialet Phantom II - 98 dB - Compact Wireless Speaker

Something slightly different is the compact and portable Devialet Phantom II – 98 dB – Compact  Speaker. Not that this is not a speaker set like all the others we have reviewed but a single speaker. Do not let that put you off, this little best delivers. Before we get into that, what is striking about this product is the futuristic modern design. If that is your thing, you will love this speaker. It looks spectacular! 

Don’t think for a second that the design was the only aspect that Devialet gave attention to with the  Phantom II – 98 dB. This little beast performs. To be honest, it is not a bargain wireless speaker option. You will pay for the design, technology, and performance. But, it will be worth it if you are in the market for something amazing. 

It delivers quality sound with precise clarity and purity. You can expect no background issues, distortion, or saturation. The range is excellent going from 18Hz to 21kHz. The experience is impressive and you can literally feel the sound. Power is not an issue as it kicks out a whopping maximum of 400 Watts RMS. 

If you are looking for a feature speaker that gives great sound you owe to yourself to check this model out. 

10. Sonos Five – The High-Fidelity Speaker for Superior Sound

Sonos Five - The High-Fidelity Speaker for Superior Sound

If you like the idea of a single yet effective bookshelf speaker you have to look at this option. It is great value for money and has a lot to offer. Despite the fact that this is a single speaker it has great sound. By this, we are talking about clarity as well as volume. 

Even the bass is highly impressive and should meet the standard of the most serious music aficionados. This is thanks to the triple high-excursion woofers. The accurate structure improves the performance and reduces any echo or reverb. 

The Sonos app or even Apple AirPlay 2 and others give you convenient and easy control over the speaker. The design still allows for excellent stereo. 

If you really want to, you can add an additional speaker to the system. In most environments, this will not be necessary. This speaker will work well with all audio inputs. 

So What are The Best Bookshelf Speakers?

We all have different needs so what is best for one might not be ideal for others. You need to give some thought to the requirements you need from a speaker set. These include power, clarity, size, versatility, and a range of other factors. 

Our overall favorite bookshelf speakers are the ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Bookshelf Speakers. They tick all the right boxes and the public love them. 

Selecting The Best Bookshelf Speakers

There are several important factors to consider when investing in the best bookshelf speakers. 

Power

Many people assume that compact bookshelf speakers are not loud but this is no longer the case. Many of these compact options deliver exceptional power with clarity. Many even have deep bass and a spectacular frequency range. This makes them ideal for any environment and all audio styles. 

Clarity

This is more important than the power output. There is no point in listening to music or other audio if the quality is distorted or poor. The speakers should have a good frequency range giving you deep bass as well as crystal clear high notes. The best bookshelf speakers, despite the compact design, deliver excellent crisp sound. 

Size

One of the reasons people invest in bookshelf speakers is because they want to save space and not have large bulky speakers. Fortunately, there are many models that are extremely compact and still able to deliver quality sound with more than enough power. 

Give some thought to the space available before making your selection. While bigger is often better you can still get super-compact models that will give you great sound. 

Looks

While bookshelf speakers are supposed to be compact and discreet you will want them to look good. There are many great options that look very attractive and there is something to suit any décor style. There are many options in terms of colors and finishes. 

Compatibility and connectivity options

While not everyone needs multiple connections it does come in handy. It also makes the speakers more future-proof. If you want to connect a new device or upgrade other equipment it is always handy to have a range of connectivity options. 

Features such as Bluetooth, USB, HDMI, and others will make the speakers more versatile and allow for more options now and in the future. 

Wireless speakers

Many people are more than happy to run a cable but there are many benefits to wireless speakers. They make placement and movement easier. This is an important decision and one you need to give some thought to. Both options have advantages and disadvantages depending on your circumstances and requirements.  

Build quality

This is important for several reasons. Better quality workmanship and materials will ensure that the speakers give you many years of enjoyment. It will also mean that the sound is more accurate and clear.

Price

For most of us, budget is always a concern. The more you spend on speakers the less you have to invest in other equipment or content. Given that speakers are one of the most important aspects of your sound system, it makes sense to invest in quality. Good speakers will last you many years and give you loads of enjoyment. That being said, there are many quality options if you are on a tight budget.  

Conclusion

The best bookshelf speakers are perfectly capable of delivering quality sound with plenty of power. They are compact and take up very little space with little to no compromise on performance. Some are more basic in features and functionality while others are more advanced and offer cutting-edge technology. 

Styles and prices range so you need to give some thought to your needs in order to find the best option for your needs. We have reviewed only the best of the best and there is something for everyone. Given the above information, you will be able to make an informed decision and find the perfect solution for your needs. 

This article was last updated on November 24, 2021 .

By Charl Jooste

Writing full time from home, Charl enjoys modern technology and advanced gadgets but still has a soft spot for quality reliable appliances. He is passionate about durability and quality going to great lengths to find the very best ideas and leading products to share with readers.