Best Subwoofer under $200 – Cheap Home Theater Subs for Cinema & Music

best subwoofer under 200 - buying guide

Best 2.1 Speakers with Subwoofers - For PC, TV and Music

The complexities and richness often remain hidden lower in the frequency range, where your average speakers can’t reach them. 

That’s where a subwoofer comes in, filling out the lower end, enriching the mid-range, and balancing out the highs in your favorite songs – and adding some roar and rumble to movie scenes, too. 

Even if you don’t have a large budget to work with, a subwoofer is still a must-have: 

Speakers are there to enable you to hear your music. Subwoofers, however, are there to make sure that you experience it, too. 

So, let’s find you the best subwoofer under 200, shall we?

In a hurry? After 27 Hours of Research, We Recommend:

best subwoofer under 200 - Yamaha 10-inch powered subwoofer

After all the tests and comparison, this sub is, hands-down the best choice under 200 dollars. 

Yamaha 10" 100W Powered Subwoofer

Why it is better?

  • ​Sleek and elegant design with a black finish and a slightly rounded front panel
  • The innovative Twisted Flare Port makes airflow around port’s edges smooth 
  • Active subwoofer with a built-in amplifier and Advanced YST II tuning
  • Excellent frequency response range with 25-Hz lower limit 
  • Produces tight-sounding, accurate, stable, and deep bass with no booming effects
88/100
our score

sourses
24

RESEARCHED SOURCES

556

REVIEWS CONSIDERED

27

hours researching

41

products compared

Last Updated: July 1, 2020

By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best subwoofers under 200 available for those who are interested in ramping the quality of their sound up without breaking the bank. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best subwoofers under 200 currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.

Best Subwoofers Under $200 – Comparison Table 

Product

 Driver
Size

Direction

Power (RMS/Peak)

Frequency  Range

Our Rating

Current Price

​YAMAHA 10" 100W POWERED SUBWOOFER

YAMAHA 10

10 inch

Front-Firing

50/100 watts

25 – 180 Hz

88/100

Polk Audio PSW10

Polk Audio PSW10

10 inch

Front-Firing

50/100 watts

40 – 160 Hz

84/100

BIC America F12

BIC America F12

12 inch

Front-Firing

150/475 watts

25 – 200 Hz

85/100

Acoustic Audio PSW-12

BIC America F12

12 inch

Down-firing

250/500 watts

45 Hz to
20 kHz

86/100

Polk Audio PSW108 10"

BIC America F12

10 inch

Front-firing

50/100 watts

40 – 160 Hz

80/100

Best Subwoofers under $200 Reviews

All subwoofers – regardless of their price tag – look pretty much the same: 

Some might be more compact, and others will boast a massive enclosure, but generally speaking, more often than not, you’ll end up with a cube or box of some sort. 

But as you’re about to see in my reviews of the best subwoofers under $200, they rarely ever sound the same. 

Not all subwoofers can produce the same bass sound levels – but I picked out a few that are bound to impress you!

best sub under $200 - Yamaha 10" Powered Subwoofer
Our Rating: 90/100

Okay, who here hasn’t heard of Yamaha before?

Yeah, I didn’t think I’d see a lot of raised hands.

The brand has a worldwide reputation for producing reliable audio equipment at nearly unbeatable prices. And if you hope to spend as little as possible, one of its masterpieces in the budget-tier category – the Yamaha NS-SW100 – should be your top contender.

Seriously, though, to my knowledge, this Yamaha 10-inch subwoofer is one of the best performing subwoofers you can get for the money – less than $200, to be exact.

The Design

If you feel like you’ve seen this particular design before, don’t worry – it’s not all in your head. The NS-SW100 is pretty much the bigger brother of the already famous – and inexpensive – NS-SW050, with the two sharing nearly identical design features. 

It’s reasonably compact at 16.2x13.9x13.9 inches, but surprisingly enough, it still weighs a little over 26 pounds.

It’s one of the rare subwoofers that avoid looking like a plain black box, too, and has a rather sleek and elegant vibe, with a slanted, gently rounded form of the front surface. 

The most notable difference design-wise is in the size of the front-firing subwoofer, which, in NS-SW100, measures 10 inches. 

Other than that, though, you’ll find the same high-performance, bass-oriented features, like the signature Twisted Flare Port. It utilizes a flared, twisting shape to smooth out the airflow around the port’s edges and keep the sound accurate, clear, and distortion-free.

The Performance

So, we’ve already established that it won’t exactly win any awards in terms of innovative design. What about its performance, though? 

The NS-SW100 is an active subwoofer, boasting a 50-watt amplifier with discrete amp circuitry. It doesn’t sound like much when you put it like that, but it makes a lasting impact. 

With the addition of Yamaha’s Advanced YST II tuning, the subwoofer dynamically compensates for the adverse effects of the speaker’s impedance. That helps the driver to maintain perfect linearity and tight control, and reproduce deep bass to the best of its ability.

You can expect crisp and tight, ultra-clear, and distortion-free bass – even at high volume levels.

Another highlight is the frequency response range, which dips as low as 25 Hz and goes all the way up to 180 Hz. The deep-hitting bass delivers quite a boom in mid-sized rooms.

Pros

  • ​Compact and elegant design
  • Delivers exceptional bass levels and sound quality
  • Employs advanced YST II tuning to produce precise, distortion-free sound
  • The subwoofer features an innovative Twisted Flare Port

Cons

  • ​Lacks additional input options
  • ​Only volume level is adjustable
best subwoofers under 200 - budget pick is Polk Audio PSW10
Our Rating: 84/100

Polk Audio has always been one of those brands that offered quality at affordable prices, so much so that they’re still considered a reliable entry-level option for homeowners. 

So, if you’re looking for subwoofers under $200 to kick your home theater setup up a notch, or add some depth to your stereo system, I’d recommend checking out the Polk Audio PSW10. There are but a few powered 10-inch subwoofers that cost less than $100 – and this is one of them.

You’ll get a chance to read about another one of Polk Audio’s subwoofers later on, but here’s the thing: 

Although they have nearly identical features and performance specs, this one’s a far better deal price-wise. 

The Design

There’s not much to talk about looks-wise – most subwoofers are nothing but square boxes, anyway. This one features a washed wood finish with a metallic silver front panel – a common design choice among Polk Audio’s budget-tier models.

Under the grille of this front-firing subwoofer, you’ll find a 10-inch Dynamic Balance subwoofer driver with a bass port next to it. 

It boasts a solidly built cabinet, constructed out of MDF – medium-density fiberboard – and weighs a hefty 26 pounds. That said, the subwoofer is still relatively compact, measuring 14.5x14x15 inches. 

All of PSW10’s controls are located on the back panel, where you’ll discover the volume and variable low-pass crossover controls and a phase switch. 

The subwoofer also comes with a three-position power switch, as well as speaker-level outputs and inputs, and RCA line-level inputs. 

The Performance

The PSW10 is an active subwoofer that costs less than $200 bucks, so you can’t exactly expect its built-in amp to boast insane amounts of power. On that note, you’re looking at a 50-watt amplifier with 100 watts of peak power.

Despite its rather skimpy power ratings, you shouldn’t dismiss it entirely before giving it a chance to show you what it can or cannot do: 

I mean, sure, there’s nothing earth-shattering about its performance, but it still delivers enough bass to complement your existing speakers by adding a low-end touch. 

The frequency response range goes from 40 to 160 Hz and does sometimes come off as muddy when pushed to the lower-end limits of its range. However, it still adds enough depth and has a tight and accurate low-end presence.

Pros

  • ​Solidly built cabinet in terms of used materials
  • Fills out the lower end with subtle contributions to sound quality
  • Power switch, volume level, low-pass crossover, and phase controls on the back
  • Has an optional auto On/Off function

Cons

  • ​The subwoofer isn’t magnetically shielded
  • ​Fairly skimpy power ratings
BIC America F12 - #3 contender for the title "Best Subwoofer Under 200"
Our Rating: 85/100

BIC America has been in the audio equipment business for half a century now. It has built a solid reputation for itself by manufacturing high-quality products at pocket-friendly prices. 

The BIC America F12 only continues the tradition, proving, once again, that BIC America’s subwoofers deserve a spot in your home theater or any budget-tier sound system. 

And yes, this one does come in at a little over $200 – but if you read the rest of my review, you’ll understand why I still decided to include it in my round-up of the best subwoofers under $200!

The Design 

The BIC America F12 is, for all intents and purposes, a black, rectangular box – but there’s something undeniably classic and minimalistic about its cube-shaped cabinet. The sturdy MDF enclosure prevents resonance and is finished in black laminate, with a removable mesh grille covering the front panel. 

The exciting part is hidden under the grille, of course – a 12-inch, injection-molded, long-throw subwoofer driver with a metallic cone center. If you're looking for the bass reflex port, it's hidden in the back panel, along with all the subwoofer controls.

You’ll find volume and crossover frequency controls, stereo input and output terminals, an RCA connector, and a three-position power button and indicator, with included automatic signal sensing. 

Did I mention how massive this subwoofer is? 

Not only does the entire subwoofer measure 17x14.75x17.25 inches but weighs a mind-boggling 42.7 pounds, too!

The Performance

Is it as loud as it big, though? 

The F12 is a powered subwoofer, fitted with a high-current, BASH amplifier rated at 150 watts RMS, and with a dynamic peak power of 475 watts. It ended up being way louder than one might expect based on power ratings alone, due to the relatively high, 90-dB sensitivity. 

It delivered consistent volume, excellent frequency separation, and hard-hitting, deep bass. Plus, there wasn’t any muddiness or noticeable distortions at a higher level, either. 

This subwoofer delivers outstanding low-end performance, too, boasting a frequency response range of 25 to 200 Hz. 

What gives it an edge over the competitors and makes it special, though, is that it exhibits far more clarity and articulation than most other subwoofers I’ve tested. And that’s even when it’s pushed to the lower limits of its range. 

Not only can you hear each low-end tone clearly but feel it, too. 

Pros

  • ​Sturdy construction and a 12-inch, long-throw subwoofer driver
  • Delivers exceptional depth, articulation, and clarity of sound
  • The patented BIC Venturi vent helps eliminate a lot of port noises
  • Built-in BASH 150-watt amplifier

Cons

  • ​Extremely heavy for a stand-alone subwoofer
Our Rating: 86/100

When I first went over the Acoustic Audio PSW-12’s advertised specs, I couldn’t help but notice how ridiculously cheap it was for what it had to offer. 

Five hundred watts of peak power pushed out by a built-in amplifier for way less than $200? Sign me up anytime! 

It all sounds pretty amazing on paper, but I know better than to trust product descriptions blindly. When things seem a bit too good to be true, they most often are – so, I took this subwoofer for a real-life test drive. 

The Design 

There isn’t much to talk about design-wise – not that that’s a bad thing. What I’m saying is that, from afar, it looks like a black, ash-colored box sitting on top of four plastic feet. There’s a touch of elegance to its simplicity, though. 

The reason why there’s not much else going on is that what you’re looking at is a down-firing subwoofer:

Turn it upside down, and you’ll discover a 12-inch, long-throw subwoofer driver, which utilizes a high-rigidity, PVA-treated cone.  

The cabinet itself, although simple in appearance, has a standard MDF construction and measures 13.8×13.4×14.6 inches. It boasts internal bracing for added stability, as well as advanced RFL bass reflex. 

The Performance

I already mentioned that the speaker’s 500 watts of power made my jaw drop, but then I ran into a “red flag” of sorts – that was only the subwoofer’s peak power, while the RMS rating was nowhere to be found. 

I later figured out that it features a 250-watt RMS rating, though. The fact that it comes with a digital-drive, integrated amplifier – and a highly efficient one, boasting sensitivity of 98 dB – is nothing short of impressive. 

Furthermore, with a frequency response range of 24 to 250 Hz, it dives almost as deep as your hearing will go. To call its bass response deep would be an understatement: 

In terms of quality, it’s very dynamic, accurate, and full-bodied, yet oh-so-smooth. The sound doesn’t come off as an annoying “boom,” but instead fills out the lower-end with deep, distortion-free sound, picking up where the remainder of your system left off. 

It's easily one of the most recommended subwoofers under $200 for home theaters!

Pros

  • ​Elegant, simple design with a black finish
  • Down-firing subwoofer with a 12-inch, long-throw driver 
  • Highly-efficient integrated amplifier 
  • Dual RCA inputs and raw wire inputs and outputs
  • Phase control switch, along with gain and crossover level control knobs on the back
  • Signal-sensing auto On/Off feature 
  • The subwoofer can be mounted 
  • One of the best subwoofers under $200 for home theaters 

Cons

  • ​Doesn’t include a protective grille

5. Polk Audio PSW108 10" - The "STAY AWAY" Pick

Our Rating: 80/100

I’ve had a few people bring up the Polk Audio PSW108 in random conversations about pocket-friendly subwoofer options, which sparked quite a bit of curiosity on my part. And let me tell you something: 

What an underwhelming experience that was! 

It’s not that there’s something inherently inferior and unsatisfactory about it – it does a decent enough job. Still, it’s not nearly as impressive or impactful as others made it out to be, and that’s what kept bugging me about it.

The Design 

The whole thing measures 14x16.1x14.4 inches and weighs over 26 pounds. It’s constructed out of non-resonant MDF with additional internal bracing, though, so it gets bonus points for build quality. 

It’s not much to look at – an all-black box with a grille attached to it. Come to think of it; the grille is probably the only thing that could distinguish it as a subwoofer. 

I’m not sure what others saw in it.

Remove the grille, though, and you’ll uncover a front-firing, 10-inch Dynamic Balance woofer coupled with a specially configured bass port. 

I’ll give it to Polk Audio for making the PSW108 easy to integrate into your existing system: 

The back panel includes several line-level and speaker-level inputs and outputs, a continuously variable low-pass filter, a dedicated volume level control knob, and a phase switch. Plus, it has an automatic On/Off switch, too.

The Performance

The PSW108 doesn’t offer much in terms of power. Its built-in amplifier clocks in at 100 watts of dynamic energy, with its RMS rating being a mere 50 watts. 

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing: 

If you have to keep your bass at a reasonable level due to apartment building regulations, for example, you’ll learn to appreciate its subtle contributions to the overall sound. 

The frequency response is somewhat limited, sticking to a 40 to 160 Hz range. It still fills out the lower end nicely, and gives some balance to the high end, though.

And sure, maybe I’m judging it in comparison to other similarly-priced subwoofers – but either way, I don’t feel like you’re getting enough bang for your buck here. So, my initial verdict remains the same:

Stay away from the Polk Audio PSW108. 

Pros

  • ​Non-resonant MDF construction with internal bracing
  • Helps to add some balance to the overall sound
  • Easy to integrate into the existing system 
  • Comes with an automatic On/Off function 

Cons

  • ​It’s somewhat heavy and bulky for what it is
  • ​The power ratings are less than stellar, even for subwoofers under $200

Subwoofers under $200 – Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: Which powered subwoofer is the best?

A: Oh, come on – you already know that my vote goes to the Yamaha 10" 100W Powered Subwoofer! Sure, there are more powerful options available for a few more bucks. However, you’ll be hard-pressed to find subwoofers under $200 that can compete with its sound quality and design. 

It delivers exceptional bass performance, boasts advanced technology that improves overall sound clarity – and it’s one of the few subwoofers under $200 that doesn’t have that dull-looking, boring black box design.

Q: What is the best budget subwoofer?

A: All the subwoofer speakers I’ve shown you today fall into the budget-friendly category, so I’m pretty sure that, whichever one you pick, you’ll be pretty happy with the price-to-value ratio. However, there’s budget-friendly – and then there’s flat out cheap. 

And if you’re after the latter, the Polk Audio PSW10 fits the bill. It not only falls under the $200 price mark but goes well below it, too, clocking in at a mere 100 bucks. How’s that for a budget subwoofer?

Q: Which subwoofers are good for home theater?

A: In terms of home theater sound setups, my vote goes to Acoustic Audio PSW-12. This subwoofer delivers an unmatched sound and is capable of getting super loud when you need it to, thanks to the 250-watt amplifier. 

Plus, the subwoofer driver is a 12-inch one, too, so it certainly moves enough air to lend that “oomph” effect to your favorite movies.


Q: Are wireless subwoofers any good?

A: With the majority of modern gadgets boasting wireless functionality, it’s no wonder that you’re considering getting a wireless subwoofer, as well. And while a portable, wire-free – and arguably more stylish – setup certainly sounds good in theory, the reality of it is less than ideal: 

Wireless subwoofers are prone to sound interferences, tend to be underpowered compared to their wired counterparts, and their performance is typically regarded as “lower quality” by most audiophiles.

It’s all about finding what works for you and your budget – whether it means getting a wireless or a wired subwoofer.

After it's all said and done, we recommend:

best subwoofer under 200 - Yamaha 10-inch powered subwoofer

After all the tests and comparison, this sub is, hands-down the best choice under 200 dollars. 

Yamaha 10" 100W Powered Subwoofer

Why it is better?

  • ​Sleek and elegant design with a black finish and a slightly rounded front panel
  • The innovative Twisted Flare Port makes airflow around port’s edges smooth 
  • Active subwoofer with a built-in amplifier and Advanced YST II tuning
  • Excellent frequency response range with 25-Hz lower limit 
  • Produces tight-sounding, accurate, stable, and deep bass with no booming effects
  • Perfect subwoofer for medium-sized rooms
88/100
our score

Conclusion

I would say that you have quite a few reliable options worth considering here, all priced at – or under – the $200 mark. If anything, it goes to show that a subwoofer doesn’t necessarily have to eat through your budget. 

And if you do have less than $200 to spend on a new subwoofer, the Yamaha 10" 100W Powered Subwoofer is a highly recommended option. It’s easily the best subwoofer under $200, and a perfect fit for any room. 

If you’d like to go bigger and louder than that, though, the best 15-inch subwoofers might be right up your alley!


Barry Allen

About the author:

Barry Allen

I grew up to be a self-proclaimed stuck-up audiophile, and I – partially – blame Pinnacle Speakers for it.


The whole point of me starting this website was to keep the tradition going. Although the means have changed, the mission remains the same: Bringing „sterling sound“ as they once put it into home theaters and sound systems worldwide! 


How to connect a soundbar with (or without) a optical cable

How to Connect Soundbar to a TV with or without an Optical Cable

Handy Tips & Tricks to help you set up your system

Getting a soundbar for your TV can take the entertainment experience in your home to a whole new level. It is a legitimate way of enjoying your music or watching the latest blockbuster movies with a true surround sound.

Now, if you’ve just bought a soundbar, you might be wondering what the best way to connect it to your TV is.


You’ll be glad to know that there several ways to go about, and depending on your TV design or personal preferences, your television will have the sound quality you desire.

In this post, we will consider some of the options you have; particularly how to connect the soundbar with an optical cable and without one.

How to Connect Soundbar to TV using Optical Cable

Soundbar Back ports

First off, we will look at how you can improve the quality of sound on your TV set by connecting it to a soundbar. Follow the steps below:


  1. Check the optical cable to see if there are any protective plastic caps fitted at the ends; if any, remove them to ensure that the cable will plug into the various ports/

  2. Locate ports on your TV marked for Digital Audio Out. This port releases an optical signal that can be passed on to a soundbar, speakers, or any other compatible device.

  3. Plug in your optical cable into the Digital Audio

  4. Out port on your television.

  5. Plug the other end of the optical cable into the Digital Audio In port of the soundbar you want to connect. 

  6. Ensure that you are connecting from the Optical Output port on your TV to the Optical In on your soundbar so that data flows from the TV to the soundbar to produce sound. Doing the opposite won’t work!
  7. Switch on the power on both the TV and soundbar.

  8. Press the source button on the soundbar’s remote control and set it to digital IN. “D-IN” will be displayed on the front panel of the soundbar to show that it is ready to go.

​How to Connect Soundbar to TV without an Optical Cable

Samsung Soundbar

There are various reasons you’d want to connect your soundbar to your TV without an optical cable. Maybe your television is just too old or perhaps you just like doing things your way. Whatever the reason, you’ll be glad to know that there are several ways to achieve this:

Connecting Wirelessly via (Bluetooth)


If you are looking to ditch all that clutter and tangle of cables in your living room, connecting with wireless technology is the best solution you have. The process is generally easy, especially if you are working with Bluetooth soundbars under $200.


  1. Firstly, you’ll need to enable the Bluetooth on your soundbar so that the device is discoverable. This will allow you to establish the connections; soundbar and the TV.

  2. Enabling Bluetooth is fairly intuitive, but will vary from one device to another, depending on the soundbar model you are using. In most cases, you will find a dedicated Bluetooth button, either on the soundbar or remote control, that you’ll need to press and hold until the LED indicator lights up.

  3. Once your soundbar is in discoverable mode, you can now move to your TV. Usually, this will require navigating through the settings with your remote control. For some Tv models, simply press the home button and scroll your way to the Add Accessory menu; here the TV will automatically start to search for Bluetooth devices.

  4. If your TV is not Bluetooth enabled, there are several adaptors you can use to connect a sound signal source to a Bluetooth signal. This should enable you to establish a Bluetooth connection.

Once you have connected the two devices, you can press play to start enjoying your music or movie.

How to Connect with Aux Cables

In case your TV doesn’t come with wireless capabilities, you can opt for aux cables to connect your soundbar. Some TV models have a 3.5mm output jack that you can use for this.

The connections involved are quite straightforward; the same kind that is used in headphones. Just plug one end of the cable into the TV and the opposite end into the soundbar.

If your soundbar lacks a 3.5mm input, you can buy an AUX to RCA cable on Amazon. The cables are relatively cheap and serve to divide the stereo signal between two RCA cables.

The problem with this method is that you only get right and left sound. This means if you have a 3.0 soundbar or anything higher, you might not get the best sound quality. 


How to Connect with RCA Cables​


Most TV models with wireless capabilities or a 3.5mm output also come with HDMI or optical ports. But older TVs only have RCA and coaxial inputs, and in this case, the soundbar will usually cope with a two-channel RCA configuration.


Ensure that you have RCA output ports on your TV and not input ports. If not, you might have to split the signal before it reaches the TV. You can do this by connecting the yellow video cable to the TV and the red and white radio cables to the soundbar. 


Just like with the 3.5mm cables, RCA cables mostly have left and right output. Therefore, you’ll need to improvise with the center channel of a 3.1 or 3.0 soundbar.


In some situations, there will be a 5-channel RCA output that you can hook up the right, front left, and center jacks to your soundbar. However, most soundbars with three speaker channels or more will only connect with optical and HDMI cables or wirelessly.


How to Connect with HDMI Cable


This is a fairly simple process, but before you start, ensure that your TV supports HDMI-ARC, which enables sound to travel along a cable on both sides. ARC or Audio Return Channel allows you to use HDMI as an audio input, as well as audio output.

HDMI Connector


Most HDMI ports on TVs are only input, meaning they won’t send any data from the TV. They strictly receive data. If your TV supports ARC, you can connect all your kits (like set-top box) to the soundbar and use the HDMI cable to connect your soundbar to your TV. 


Follow the steps below to connect a soundbar to your TV:

  1. Turn on both the TV and soundbar

  2. Find the HDMI OUT port on the soundbar and plug in the HDMI cable.

  3. Locate the HDMI ARC port on the TV and plug in the free end of the HDMI cable then you can start enjoying the surround sound.

With the latest of quality soundbars under $300, you’ll need to select the HDMI option to enable the audio output. The benefit of using HDMI cable is that you’re able to transmit huge amounts of audio data. 

Conclusion


The easiest way you can connect a soundbar to your TV is by using an optical cable. However, many TV models don’t come with an optical cable input, which may force you to experiment with alternative methods of getting these connections without the optical cable. 


Luckily, the other methods available to you have been discussed in the article. So, if you have a TV model that doesn't support an optical cable, you can rest assured that it won’t stop you from reveling in the quality surround sound that even a cheap soundbar can offer.


FAQ


Do you need an optical cable for a soundbar?


An optical cable will help you to connect a soundbar to your TV. However, you don’t always need it to connect the two devices; there are alternative ways of doing this. For instance, you can connect them wirelessly via WiFi or Bluetooth technology if both devices are compatible or use an HDMI cable. You can as well opt for RCA or AUX cables to connect your TV with soundbar. 


Is Optical Audio as Good as HDMI?


Both optical and HDMI cables help to transmit digital audio between devices. They both deliver a better sound profile than the red and white analog cables. The main difference between them is that HDMI can transfer higher-resolution audio, such as formats found on Blu-ray- DTS HD MASTER Audio and Dolby TrueHD


What is Optical Cable for Soundbar?


An optical cable for soundbar is an optical digital-audio cable that is used to connect the soundbar to a TV to improve sound quality. It is usually included in the package when you buy a soundbar for TV and features a relatively easy installation process. 


Keep up to date with our latest news and releases:

How do bluetooth speakers work: Wireless Speaker Guide

How do bluetooth speakers work: Wireless Speaker Guide

Handy Tips, Tricks & Useful information

Entertainment, in general, has come a long way ever since the introduction of Bluetooth technology. Gone are the days when speakers needed loads of wires connected from an audio system to function. 


Considering its extensive application; from car audio systems, home audio systems, and outdoor speakers to Bluetooth speakers you can use in the shower, we can conclude that Bluetooth is the new normal!


Even though the speakers have been in the market for a while now, most people still don’t understand the technology behind these relevant entertainment devices. So, just how does a Bluetooth speaker work?

What is Bluetooth?


For you to understand how wireless Bluetooth speakers work, you must start by understanding how we use a phone to talk to each other. Cell phones make use of radio waves to communicate to cell towers, which can be located as far as a couple of miles away.

Bluetooth technology, on the other hand, uses considerably weaker radio waves. This means that the range will not exceed 10 meters. As such a Bluetooth speaker should be placed a few feet from the audio streaming source for it to work.

While the most advanced devices (mostly for industrial use) will give a range of about 100 meters, you will rarely find the same range in consumer appliances.

Essentially, Bluetooth speakers are a kind of speaker that improves the convenience of listening to music or watching movies. Unlike traditional speakers, they eliminate the need to connect a cable or wires from the audio source.

This allows you to remotely use speakers on stereo systems, tablets, iPods, and even a smartphone without having to connect any wires to a specified jack port. You also get to move around with the speaker without having to carry the entertainment source.

​How Bluetooth Speakers Work

There is normally a level of confusion when it comes to Bluetooth vs WiFi speakers. The thing is both are a type of wireless speakers that don’t require wires to be connected to the sound system.


However, you need to know that the two function quite differently.

Bluetooth speakers use the same technology and protocol found in phones and car speaker systems. Sound is transmitted wirelessly from the source through airwaves to the receiver, in this case, the earpiece.


This is unlike WiFi speakers that require a bridge between the speaker and the audio source.

Synchronizing Bluetooth devices together is quite easy! The connection between them is established automatically as soon as you activate the devices when they are within range.


The communication occurs over a piconet- short-range network and can include multiple Bluetooth devices.

Once you have your Bluetooth speaker and the relevant audio source within a single piconet, the two connect automatically and are able to communicate. One will act as a control center while the other acts as a discoverable device.

This is the same way your Bluetooth keyboard automatically connects to your mouse as soon as you start your PC and you can also change the settings and properties.

We can conclude that Bluetooth is, in essence, not only a communication technology. The same way other wireless technologies work, Bluetooth also offers data transfer capabilities. This is why your portable speaker is able to play the audio from your stereo system.


What are the Benefits of Using Bluetooth Speakers?


A Bluetooth speaker offers you various benefits; one being that you don’t need any tech skills to operate or set up. You simply switch on the Bluetooth speaker and once your audio system discovers the speaker, the two devices automatically sync with each other and the music is played.

Generally, these wireless speakers are more compact compared to other types of speakers but produce a high-quality and clear sound, which makes them the perfect appliance to have at home.


Their compact design also makes them quite portable and you won't believe how handy a blackweb speaker comes in when you want to move around while listening to your favorite playlist.

Furthermore, the absence of connecting wires ensures there is minimal clutter in the home or studio.


The Bluetooth speakers are highly versatile and compatible with a range of entertainment devices, including tablets, laptops, smartwatches, smartphones, just to mention a few.

Finally, the limited range of these speakers can also be an advantage in that it prevents the transmission of large amounts of data over large distances and areas, which may interfere with the operation of other connected devices or networks.

The Downside of Bluetooth Speakers

Bluetooth speakers are great when it comes to affordability and convenience. However, they have a security concern that you should always watch out for. Hackers can easily intercept the signal from your phone and hack into it using software. 


Connecting to an unsecured connection makes your phone vulnerable to hackers who may access photos, videos, texts, and whichever information you have on your phone and mess up the whole experience.


It is always wise to take the relevant precautions, in a world where multiple devices are continually getting wirelessly connected and hackers lurking in the background. 


Another limitation is that your speaker will only be able to function over a short distance. It needs to be a few feet away from the audio source for the two devices to sync and communicate. 

​Selecting the Right Bluetooth Speaker


The rapid growth in audio streaming technology and the explosion of online music-streaming services are making Bluetooth speakers one of the hottest properties in the Bluetooth devices market.


With this comes an increased rivalry between brands that has led to all size and manner of Bluetooth speakers.



It is easy to get overwhelmed by the immense number of options available to you. You simply need to visit your neighborhood store or go online to find the best Bluetooth speakers for less than 100 bucks.


However, these speakers are built differently and not all will offer you the sound listening pleasure you are looking for. 


If you are trying to get the best deal, you should always pay close attention to the brand reputation, product reviews, dealer experience, as well as your personal preferences.


No need to panic if you are wondering how to buy on a tight budget too, you can find the best Bluetooth speakers under $50 that will still offer you the quality you deserve.

Conclusion


Bluetooth devices such as car audio speakers and home speaker systems are getting more and more popular thanks to their convenience and overall benefits that they provide.

 

That’s why it not surprising that you’ll find at least one Bluetooth device in the average home that you visit today.


Understanding the principles behind the functioning of Bluetooth technology , knowing the overall advantages of using these speakers, and choosing the appropriate product is essential if you want to improve the experience of listening to music in your home.  


It is advisable to search for the appropriate models in the market by comparing competing brands and liaising with trustworthy dealers to have a fulfilling experience. In addition to the satisfaction, you won’t have to keep on asking questions such as “what is a Bluetooth speaker?”. 


FAQ


How Can I connect to a Bluetooth speaker?


Before you can pair any audio devices to your wireless speaker, you must first ensure that the speaker is in pairing mode for it to be discovered by the phones or tablets you are using for the initial setup.


Although each speaker enters into pairing mode using a different method, these two tips should allow you to get your Bluetooth speaker to work quickly:


Hold Down Power


Most Bluetooth speakers will get into pairing mode when you turn off the speaker then power it back on while holding your finger down on the power button. The speaker will then notify you that it is in pairing mode by either producing a sound or rapidly flashing its light indicator. 


Hold Down Pairing Button


In some cases, the Bluetooth speakers have a dedicated button that will place the speaker into pairing mode. Try to locate the button on the speaker (usually with the Bluetooth icon next to it) and press on it until you hear the sound notification or see the light indicator.


With the Bluetooth speaker now discoverable, enable Bluetooth on your cellphone to pair the two devices and turn up the volume to start enjoying your favorite playlist. However, if the methods above don’t apply to the speaker you are using, check the manufacturer’s user manual for proper guidance.


Do you need an Internet connection to use Bluetooth?


No! Bluetooth does not require the internet to transmit data. The same way a Bluetooth speaker won’t need to be connected to the internet to play music coming from a paired audio source. 


This is because Bluetooth devices communicate with one another regardless of an internet connection.  

For instance, when you are using a Bluetooth keyboard, the keystrokes don't get transmitted to the internet and back to your computer.


On the contrary, the transmission goes directly from the keyboard to the tablet or computer. 


In short, your Bluetooth speaker will function perfectly without connecting to WiFi connection. In fact, Bluetooth is already a wireless transmission technology so the internet doesn’t enable or improve its functionality. 



Keep up to date with our latest news and releases:

What speakers fit in my car – Choose the correct size and type

car speakers fit in car

What Speakers Fit My Car?

Handy Tips & Tricks to help you make the right choice

So, your automobile’s audio system has been acting up lately and you can’t wait to upgrade it with a set of fresh and booming speakers.


One problem though, you just can’t seem to decide which type of stereo system is best suited for your vehicle.


The best speakers to fit in your car will ultimately depend on the kind of music you listen to. Normally, different types of music will require different speaker setups to deliver the needed quality of music.


And the most expensive option doesn’t always reflect the highest quality you can get!

Choose Quality When Shopping for a Car Speaker


Selecting the best auto speakers is not a routine activity that anyone can perform. However, it will go a long way to save you the cost of constantly replacing your automobile speakers.

 

If the pre-installed factory speakers you find in the car do not measure up to your preferred sound quality, you might want to look for a relevant upgrade.


But before you embark on a project to soup up your new ride, you want to make sure that you are getting the best fit of speakers for your car, especially if you’re thinking of replacing the factory speakers.


There is no point in spending a fortune on a new set of speakers only to come and realize later on that they are not suitable for your ride.


To save yourself all the trouble and disappointment, you will have to pay keen attention to the speaker's size and type. 


After all, one crucial feature in the most sought-after vehicles today is the existence of the best fit of speakers. And this is exactly what you’ll learn as you go deeper into this article. 

Speaker Sizes

What are the Different Categories of Car Size Speakers Available?


The first thing to consider here is the type of speaker products that will complement your vehicle’s stereo system. This will also be determined by the kind of audio system that your vehicle is compatible with. Let us look at some of the different sizes of speakers you’ll find in the market:


Woofers and Subwoofers


If you are interested in the kind of music that will boom at every inch of the car, woofers and subwoofers will be the best choice for you.


These come in different sizes, from 8-ich subwoofers to 15-inch subwoofers and deliver a high bass and range of sound as the products increase in size. These are also the biggest car speakers you can get.


6 by 9-inch Speakers


If you are looking for a decent sound-range with less bass power than what a woofer or subwoofer offers, then try a 6 by 9-inch speaker. These have a relatively more compact size, but will still require a decent amount of space to be installed.


5 by 7-inch Speakers


One thing you’ll love about the 5 by 7” speakers is the high level of sound clarity it offers alongside a wide sound-range. These come in a reasonable size, so space shouldn’t be an issue for you. A 5 by 7” can handle more power while distorting less than smaller speakers. 


Another advantage is that it can fit in a large variety of car models. The only limitation is that it can only use specific ports.

 

5-inch Speakers


These speakers are what you’ll find in most vehicles and offers a good range of sound. Its versatility ensures that it fits in almost any car model you can think of and they play low, as well as high-frequency music with equal efficiency. 

These speakers come with stiff yet lightweight cones to handle harder kicks and deliver a more efficient response thanks to a higher handling capacity.


Tweeters


This speaker type falls within the 1 by 2-inch range of car speakers. Tweeters provide amazing sound support to the existing audio systems. They help to improve the quality in your car stereo system. 

Choosing the Right Speakers for your Vehicle


When in search of the appropriate speakers for your car, be sure to follow the tips below:


Decide on the kind of speakers you want: This is the first thing you should have in mind.


Determine your price range: Choose a price range that you’ll be comfortable with when buying the products.


Check the speaker configuration: Ensure that the speaker you choose is compatible with your automobile’s audio system.


Match the speakers with the automobile’s stereo: This will require you to


  • Measure the speaker size 

  • Check the sensitivity 

  • And determine the power-handling

 

Important Features of a Speaker that will Determine the Right Size for your Auto Speaker


Establishing the size of a car speaker can be a tough ask, but this is a puzzle that has already been solved for you. Sometimes, it's more essential to consider the size of the speaker as a category rather than taking it as an individual size. 


In essence, being aware of the measurements determining you’re the size of your speaker may at times go beyond considering it as a mere category.


These determining parameters include speaker diameter, mounting height, and mounting depth. 


Let us take a deeper look at each parameter.


Speaker Diameter


This refers to the distance between the outside frames or the diameter of non-circular frames. In case you are considering a change to the arrangement of your mounting to create more space for an extra speaker, you will need to know the speaker's diameter. 


In such an instance, you’ll need to know the speaker's diameter to accommodate the new set up configurations. The mounting ports for speakers with a similar diameter size are usually the same and standardized. 


Some speaker ports come with adjustment devices that allow you to drill any new holes you want to when installing speakers.  This is a crucial feature worth considering and may come in handy depending on how you want your new car speakers installed. 


Another important parameter is the cut-out diameter; usually associated with the speaker's diameter. This is determined by measuring the distance from the mounting holes to the center of the cone surround. 


Mounting Depth


The mounting depth refers to the distance from the mounting plane to the back of the speaker. This parameter comes in handy when you want to replace or improve the speakers in your car.


Although most automobile speakers are usually installed on the vehicle’s doors, there are some instances when the car door clearance may not be deep enough for the new speakers to fit. 


This means you need to determine the car door clearance available by either measuring the clearance or your car speakers and use this information to ensure that the shallow mount subwoofers you are getting do not go deeper than the available door clearance. 


Mounting Height


This is the distance from the outer extension of the speaker’s front part to the mounting plane. The majority of the coaxial speakers have tweeters protruding from the front plane.


This implies you’ll need to prevent the tweeter from constantly hitting the grille with the help of a spacer.

Other Ways You Can Determine Your Automobile’s Speaker Size

There are several methods of determining your car speaker size, and this will help you choose the right fit for a new speaker system you intend to install on your car.


It is something that you should always consider if you appreciate great music listening experience whenever you are driving vehicle. As such, consider the following ways of determining car speaker sizes:


Measure the Speaker Brackets


This involves reading the marker on the speaker slots. Note that this method has a limitation in that some cars lack speaker boards and/or speaker size markers. The method may, therefore, not apply to some vehicle models.


Online Tools


You can also find online databases with good information concerning every automobile model and the sizes of speakers it can accommodate. All you have to do is input your vehicle model and the searcher will provide a list of speaker sizes that will fit the model. 


These online tools assist you to figure out the correct fit of car speakers by analyzing the features and model of the car. They will further test for clarity, balance, and other aspects associated with the car model.


A good online tool you can use is "online car stereo".

Car Manual


Another way you can determine your car speaker size is by referring to the car manual. There is information provided under the audio system action that contains accurate and absolute speaker sizes for your car.


This will be important in case you want to improve the stereo system with speakers that are the same size as the factory speakers. 


The manual will as well guide you in knowing whether your speaker system is expandable.


Trial and Error Method


This method involves randomly experimenting with different size speakers to see which one among them will fit into the mounting hole. You should be warned, however, that this method can be tedious and frustrating.

Other Considerations to Make Before Buying Car Speakers

Woofer Quality


Before you look at the speakers, be sure to check the woofer quality. A good woofer has stiff and light materials to deliver a quality bass. Manufacturers tend to pair polypropylene with other materials to give off a more accurate bass response. 


Sensitivity


The sensitivity of a speaker is how much sound it can yield. Every speaker needs power which determines the level of sound being produced.

 

Normally, factory stereos feature low power of around 15W RMS per channel or less, which will ideally require a speaker with high sensitivity- over 90dB. 


On the other hand, if the car comes with a high-power stereo system, get a speaker with low sensitivity. 


Power-Handling


This parameter is usually indicated by the RMS rating. It refers to the total amount of power that a speaker can handle continuously.


For a low-powered system, you don’t need to get a speaker with a high RMS rating while for a high-powered system, the RMS rating should be near the output of the power source. 


It is recommended that you get speakers with an RMS rating matching the power source output to get the best speaker experience. 

Conclusion


The next time you are wondering “what speakers fit my car?” the above post will help you find the appropriate answer.


Ultimately, the right answer will depend on the car model you’re driving and there are various ways you can figure out the speaker size as discussed above. 


We believe the information provided will help you find the best speakers to effortlessly fit in your car and greatly improve your listening experience while driving.

 

FAQ


What are the best speakers for a car?


Depending on the car model you’re driving and the kind of music you want to play in your car, the following are some of the best car speakers you can get:

 

How much does it cost to get speakers installed in your car?


The cost of installing new speakers will vary depending on the type of speakers you want to be installed and the scope of work to be done.


A simple upgrade may cost you around $100 while some practitioners will charge you as low as $40.

However, some speakers may require complicated installation work that may last a whole day and push the cost to $300 or more. This could also include installing the amplifier and its enclosure. 


Still, some customers will pay more. It is not unheard of that a customer will pay $800 to $1000 for a high-level upgrade of their car stereo system.


To be on the safe side, I suggest purchasing all the sound system components from a dealer where the installation cost is included in the purchase price. 

 

 

How many speakers does a car have?


This is something that will also depend on the type of car. Some vehicles will have as few as two (on the front doors only) while others can have as many as 9 (3 at the front, 1 on each door, and 2 in the rear).


Others like the Bose panaray system in a caddy will have as many as 32…you heard me right!


However, a good car audio system will need just five speakers; a speaker on each door and maybe a 12-inch subwoofer in the trunk to provide the needed bass and a quality overall sound experience. 


Keep up to date with our latest news and releases:

Top 5 Best Bookshelf Speakers Under 200 for 2020

best bookshelf speakers under 200 - buying guide

Top 5 Best Bookshelf Speakers Under 200 for 2020

Midway through the past century, bookshelves stopped being just for books.

This was the time when the bookshelf speaker entered the market and flipped the world upside-down. The reason it became so popular is simple -  small size, but a big sound.

This is a very compelling reason, and it’s why bookshelf models still hold a large piece of the audio market. They are the ultimate all-purpose speakers, and I imagine this is why you're here today.

Regardless of whether you want to listen to music on your PC, or watch movies in the living room, bookshelf speakers are the way to go. Have no dilemma about this.

Also, with the stellar advances in technology, you can get high-quality sound for a very tempting price. A $100 will get you much more than it did just a decade ago, so there’s no need to go broke just to enjoy good audio.

So, where am I heading with this?

I just want to say that versatile, quality, and affordable speakers are indeed a real thing, and to convince you, I’ve prepared reviews of the best bookshelf speakers under $200 that’ll knock you off your feet.

In a hurry? The test winner after 22 hours of research:

Best bookshelf speakers under 200 - Edifier R1850DB

Why they are better?

  • ​Powerful with a clear sound
  • Wide range of connectivity options (BT, line, coaxial, optical)
  • Solid build quality
90/100
our score

sourses
34

RESEARCHED SOURCES

777

REVIEWS CONSIDERED

22

hours researching

44

products compared

Last Updated: July 1, 2020

By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best bookshelf speakers under 200 available for those who are interested in enhancing their audio setup without breaking the bank. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best cheap bookshelf speakers currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.

Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $200 On The Market - Comparison Table

Product

Driver 
Size

Direction

Power (RMS/Peak)

Frequency  Range

Our Rating

Current Price

EDIFIER R1850DB ACTIVE BOOKSHELF SPEAKERS

Edifier R1850DB Active Bookshelf Speakers

10 inch

Front-firing

70 watts

60 – 20 Hz

90/100

Yamaha NS-6490 3-Way Bookshelf Speakers

Yamaha NS-6490

4 inch

Front-firing

 140 watts

55 – 20 Hz 

87/100

Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

Edifier R1700BT

4 inch

Front-firing

30/60 watts

60 – 20 Hz

85/100

Sonos One SL Microphone-Free Smart Speaker

Sonos One SL

4 inch

Front-firing

– 

50 – 60 Hz

85/100

Polk Audio T15 100 Watt Home Theater Bookshelf Speakers

Polk Audio TP15

5,25 inch

Front-firing

100 watts

24 – 45 Hz

80/100

Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $200 Reviews 

Since $200 isn’t a lot, you’ve got to dig deep to find the best you can get for it. 

Don’t worry, I already did the digging.

And, here’s what I’ve found. Five solid, flexible sets of speakers that’ll make you forget just how little you paid for them. 

Let me be very clear - you will not find better speakers for the money than the ones that you’re about to see, so don’t waste your time, but start reading!

Best bookshelf speakers under 200 - Edifier R1850DB
Our Rating: 90/100

What I love about these new bookshelf speaker models is that they’re redefining what it means to be versatile. Seriously, with each passing year it seems that they can do more and do it better.

The rant above somewhat refers to Edifier R1850DB speaker set, as even I was surprised by what the manufacturer managed to put in it for less than $200.

The design 

As soon as you lay your eyes upon them, you’ll see that Edifier wasn’t taking any chances with these speakers. What I mean is, the design isn’t innovative by any stretch of the term, but that’s completely fine for this kind of product.

The two MDF black boxes have the dimensions of 6.1 x 8.8 x 10 inches. The front side is not vertical, but is leaning back, as if the speakers were designed to be placed on the floor. 

If anything, this feature gives them a characteristic look, in case that’s what you’re looking for.

The fabric panel on the front hides three speakers, and you can remove it if you like the more aggressive look.The above-mentioned speakers include a 19mm silk dome tweeter as well as a 4 inch woofer/mid-range.

The connectivity options with R1850DB are vast. You can choose between coaxial, optical, line and even bluetooth. If you think that this isn’t enough, the left speaker hides a sub out, so you can attach a woofer for more bass.

As for the weight, the speakers aren’t the heaviest out there, but at 16.45 pounds (both), they aren’t light either.

The performance 

Don’t be fooled by the term “bookshelf” as these speakers are fit for a party. They have 56 dB sensitivity and 70 watt power output, which is probably more than you’ll ever need. 

Now, the frequency response range of 60hz-20kHz, isn’t bad per se, but could be a bit wider. In other words - it could use a bit more bass.

Don’t be discouraged by this because they can still pack a punch!

The overall sound is clear and fills out the entire room without a hint of distortion. The stereo separation is immaculate, which a well defined sound that’s important when listening to music. 

Given that these are stereo speakers, the placement is important if you want to get the most out of them.

Again, perhaps the greatest thing about this set is the absence of any kind of rattling or unwanted vibrations. 

There’s not much to add except that it’s hard to go wrong with Edifier R1850DB, if you’re willing to pay a bit more (within the $200 range, of course).

Pros

  • ​Excellent stereo separation
  • Solid build quality
  • Wide range of connectivity options (BT, line, coaxial, optical)
  • Decent bass
  • External volume control
  • High watt power
  • Easy setup

Cons

  • Indistinct bass

best bookshelf speakers under $200 - Yamaha NS-6490
Our Rating: 87/100

At first glance, Yamaha NS-6490 made me giggle with excitement. Why? Because these speakers look so damn old-school, and if you ask me, there’s nothing better than that! 

Of course, this industry giant needs no special introduction, and the Yamaha name gave me one more reason to check out this pair.

These speakers are not for the faint of heart, or those looking for a compact model. They don't share the versatility of some other speakers on this list, nor do they aspire to be. 

Instead, they will find sympathy with people who love loud, quality audio and don’t need a high-tech, over-the-top model. For this kind of crowd, they have a lot to offer.

Learn more about this incredible set of speakers below!

The design 

Like I’ve said, NS-6490 has an old-fashioned design, the kind that was popular around the early 2000’s. They are quite bulky for bookshelf speakers and the dimensions of one speaker amount to 10.5 x 16 x 12 inches. 

Yeah, if want small speakers, keep scrolling.

When trying to picture how they look, imagine two black boxes. There you go. The speakers weigh 13 pounds each, so be careful when moving them around if you have back problems, and definitely don’t place them on a flimsy shelf.

It’s not clear which materials were used to make the cabinets, but they feel very sturdy and durable. These are three-way speakers so, under the cover, you will find three drivers - 8” woofer, a 4” mid-range, and a 0.87” tweeter.

If you’re looking for connectivity, look elsewhere, because NS-6490 can only be attached to a stereo, record player or home theater systems.

The performance 

The nominal input power is 70W while the max that it can tolerate equals 140W. The 90 dB sensitivity is the highest out of all the speakers on my list. To put it simply, these speakers are loaded with power 

The speakers have a solid frequency response which ranges from 55 Hz to 20 kHz. It delivers quality low ends with clear highs, and has an excellent crossover, thanks to the three-way design. 

The lack of acoustic fine-tuning is something that audiophiles will notice, while it shouldn’t bother your “average” listener. The sound is a bit more saturated than necessary, so you won’t be able to hear the fine details.

As I’ve said earlier, the speakers are excellent for living room (or any other room) music listening purposes, as well as a home theater. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll get something as powerful for this price.

Pros

  • ​Simplistic, old-school design
  • Very powerful for bookshelf speakers
  • Wide range of connectivity options (BT, line, coaxial, optical)
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Heavy and bulky

Our Rating: 85/100

I want to share something with you - I’ve never considered Edifier a high-end brand – and I’m sure a lot of you will agree with me on that.

But when I first got my hands on the Edifier R1700BT, a "not so remote" cousin of R1850DB, I couldn’t help but feel amazed:

What they managed to fit inside these speakers while retaining a pocket-friendly price tag is beyond me.

They’re easily one of the best active Bluetooth-enabled speakers you’ll get for less than $200 – and you’ll find out why soon enough!

The design 

Edifier isn’t a speaker manufacturer that bothers with the aesthetic aspect of their products. Instead, they offer well-constructed, sturdy-feeling speakers, as the MDF cabinet of the R1700BT goes to show.

You only get one finish option – matte black of front and top panels is paired with the warm brown color of the vinyl wood veneers. It’s a classic yet straightforward approach to design.

They measure 6 x 8 x 9.7 inches, so they’re not oversized, but they are a little hefty for a set of bookshelf speakers. With the weight of 14.5 pounds, placement is something you should carefully consider.

Under the grille, you’ll find a 19-mm soft dome tweeter, a 4-inch bass driver, and a front-firing bass port located directly underneath it. I find that it looks much better when the grilles are off – but maybe that’s just me.

On the back, you’ll find dual RCA inputs and the main power switch. The right speaker’s side panel, however, houses all the essential controls, including sound volume, Bluetooth pairing, as well as bass and treble adjustments. 

The performance 

The R1700BT employs DSP (Digital Signal Processing) and DRC (Dynamic Range Control), which form a program designed to provide improved sound quality and minimize distortion.

They offer a well-balanced performance, enough to land in the Hi-Fi sound territory – for the most part, that is. The sound is clean and energetic and full of clarity and warmth, which is particularly noticeable in the richness of its mid-range reproduction.

Granted, you’ll notice a bit of thinness around the rim of treble, but it’s nothing too severe – it doesn’t turn into uncomfortable, ear-piercing sharpness.

The bass, however, is somewhat faltered, and limited by the 60 Hz to 20 kHz frequency range. But what it lacks in range and definition, it makes up for in its ability to move a lot of air. Its wattage is decent, so your inner basshead will be satisfied.

Even though it doesn’t dig deep, you’ll hear it booming away – sometimes to a point where it will unintentionally dominate the sound entirely!

Pros

  • ​Controls for volume, bass, and treble on the side panel
  • Line-in and Bluetooth connectivity
  • Energetic sound with lots of clarity and warmth
  • Remote control included

Cons

  • ​Boomy bass tends to stick out

4. Best Smart Bookshelf Speaker Under $200: Sonos One SL Microphone-Free Smart Speaker

Our Rating: 85/100

Sonos expanded its One speaker range by adding one more to the line-up – and with this one, they quite literally dropped the mic.

While retaining the same rich, room-filling sound and nearly identical design, the Sonos One SL is, in many aspects, a carbon copy of the highly-popular Sonos One. Except that it doesn’t have voice control built-in, a key feature of the latter.

The „SL“ portion of its name stands for „speechless.“

It’s okay – I was left speechless when I first saw it, too.

The design 

Visually speaking, you’d be hard-pressed to pinpoint the exact differences, and tell the Sonos One SL apart from the Sonos One – especially from a distance.

Measuring 6.4 x 4.7 x 4.7 inches and weighing just over four pounds, it has the same dimensions as its microphone-carrying counterpart.

The similarities don’t end there, either. It has that compact, modern-looking design with an industrial vibe to it, and comes in two available finishes. You guessed it – all-white or all-black with a matching matte grille.

All the controls are located on the speaker’s top panel, and that’s where the first differences become visible:

Since it lacks a microphone, the One SL’s top panel features only capacitive touch controls for Play/Pause, volume adjustments, and Previous/Next Track. It does have an LED status indicator, though.

I'd like to add that this model is one of the most portable bookshelf speakers under $200.

Oh, and one more thing:

You can team it up with another One or One SL model – and with a $20 discount, too – and have them working as a pair of speakers for stereo sound reproduction.

The performance 

They’re a lot closer than one might expect regarding sound quality, too. Considering that the One SL boasts the same setup of a tweeter, a mid-woofer driver, and two Class-D digital amplifiers, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.  

I told you, these two are nearly identical – and the brilliant sound quality of the One SL only proves my point. It’s rich and warm, with crisp, nicely-balanced and clearly-pronounced highs and mids, and thumping bass. ​

With a lower-end frequency response of 25 Hz, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, though.

And despite its minuscule size, it’s perfectly capable of filling the room with high-quality sound due to a combination of power handling ratings and 90-dB sensitivity!

And despite its minuscule size, it’s perfectly capable of filling the room with high-quality sound!

The sound isn’t the only aspect of its performance worth mentioning here. Wi-Fi connectivity and the option to control it via dedicated apps are key features that make it a smart bookshelf speaker – even one without built-in voice control. And the Sonos One SL excelled in that department, as well.

If you’re not big on built-in voice controls, anyway, you’ll love the Sonos One SL!

Pros

  • ​Controls for volume, bass, and treble on the side panel
  • Line-in and Bluetooth connectivity
  • Energetic sound with lots of clarity and warmth
  • Remote control included

Cons

  • ​Boomy bass tends to stick out

the cheapest best bookshelf speakers - Polk Audio T15
Our Rating: 82/100

The last one up might be the perfect bookshelf speakers under $100 for those of you who are on a shoestring budget. It doesn't come from one of Polka Audio's famed signature series, but it's a pleasant surprise.

Seriously, the Polk Audio T15 is a remarkable solution for the budget crowd!

They might not blow your mind with their modern design or hard-hitting bass. But still, if money is tight, I recommend that you give these speakers a shot (they cost way less than $200).

What an offer, right?

The design 

Looking at the design of the T15 bookshelf speakers, it’s somewhat clear that the price range they were aiming for was a somewhat limiting factor. I wasn’t surprised to see that they feature a magnetically shielded MDF cabinet construction.

With the grille on, the all-black finish looks inconspicuous enough to blend in seamlessly into any modern home interior. Remove the cloth grille, and you’ll uncover the three key components located on the front baffle.

Considering that we’re talking about two-way speakers, the two Dynamic Balance drivers shouldn’t come as a shock. The T15 features a 0.75-inch composite dome tweeter and a 5.25-inch mineral-filled polymer composite-cone mid/woofer driver. 

The front-firing bass port was a pleasant addition to the front panel, though.

Why?

The front-facing port, paired with a keyhole mount on the back, gives you the freedom of mounting these on the wall.

This particular pair of speakers, which measure 10.7 x 6.5 x 7.25 inches and weigh 8.25 pounds each, aren’t tremendously complex. Then again, very few models in this price range are. 

The performance 

These aren’t meant to be exceptionally-sounding – they’re intended to give an unbeatable price-to-value ratio. And that they most certainly do!

First off, they boast a 45 Hz to 24 kHz frequency response range, which blows some of its much pricier competitors out of the water.

Their power handling isn’t exactly mind-blowing, though. The recommended wattage per channel is 20 watts, coupled with 89-dB sensitivity, and 100-watt peak power.

That said, they still produce a sound loud enough to fill a smaller-sized room.

Now, for the sound quality:

The highs are crisp and crystal-clear, even at higher volumes, and the wide-open mid-range offers plenty of definition, too. Even more so, there were no noticeable distortions.

I was expecting more in the lower range, though – when it’s time to dig deep, the woofer driver fails to keep up and lacks that signature punch. To improve the overall listening experience, you'll need to add a dedicated subwoofer to it.

Pros

  • ​Dynamic Balance drivers and a front-firing bass port
  • Can be wall-mounted 
  • No distortions, even at higher volumes
  • Pleasant mid and high-range reproduction
  • A cheap two-way speaker 

Cons

  • ​They require a dedicated subwoofer

Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $200 – Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are bookshelf speakers good for surround sound?

A: As long as you get the positioning right, you can use pretty much any speakers – including bookshelf ones – as a part of your surround sound setup. To answer your question more specifically, yes, bookshelf speakers perform rather well when integrated into a surround sound system as either front and surround channels.

Q: What are bookshelf speakers used for?

A: These speakers are specifically designed to be more compact than their floor-standing counterparts, and maximize sound in small or medium-sized rooms. As the name implies, they’re meant to rest on a bookshelf, sit on a table, or any other elevated surface, such as a dedicated stand. They’re best suited for consumer-grade audio applications, such as stand-alone use, home theater and surround sound setups.

Q: What is a passive bookshelf speaker?

A: As opposed to an active speaker, which has an amplifier built into the cabinet, a passive speaker doesn’t. It has to be connected to an independent amplifier. Such speakers are sometimes referred to as non-powered speakers, as well, because they require an external power source.

Because they’re not all-in-one systems, you’ll have to be extra careful when matching them to a dedicated amplifier’s power ratings. On the plus side, you always have the option of upgrading your system if you want more power.

After it's all said and done, we recommend:

Best bookshelf speakers under 200 - Edifier R1850DB

Why they are better?

  • ​Powerful with a clear sound
  • Wide range of connectivity options (BT, line, coaxial, optical)
  • Solid build quality
90/100
our score


Barry Allen

About the author:

Barry Allen

I grew up to be a self-proclaimed stuck-up audiophile, and I – partially – blame Pinnacle Speakers for it.


The whole point of me starting this website was to keep the tradition going. Although the means have changed, the mission remains the same: Bringing „sterling sound“ as they once put it into home theaters and sound systems worldwide! 


Top 7 Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500: Enter The High-Performance Range

best budget bookshelf speakers - ultimate buying guide

​Top 7 Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500: Enter The High-Performance Range

Chances are you’re a bit too young to remember, but back in the 60s, home audio entertainment mostly came in the form of built-in amplifiers and speakers inside radios and record players. 

As far as stand-alone HiFi units went, you had the option of using something that resembled today’s floor-standing models. But more often than not, these were too bulky and way too expensive to justify purchasing them for the sake of at-home audio entertainment. 

That all changed when bookshelf speakers entered the market as we know them – with their small cabinets and larger-than-life sound. 

Fast forward to today, and I’ve tested bookshelf speakers that cost less than $50. I’ve also had those that could pay one month’s rent – or more. I’m not bragging here; I’m making a point: 

I still think that the middle ground is the best way to go for most people. 

At a $500 mark, the price is low enough to be easily justifiable, but at the same time, high enough to give you plenty of reliable, high-quality options.

So, today’s all about the best bookshelf speakers under $500 – and getting the best bang for your buck!

In a hurry? The test winner after 23 hours of research:

Why they are better?

  • Powered speakers with built-in analog, rather than digital, amplifiers
  • Key connectivity options include Bluetooth with aptX HD codec, RCA, and 3.5-mm jack inputs
  • Exceptional clarity with deliberate sound reproduction and natural, tuneful bass
88/100
our score
sourses

30

Researched sources

178

REviews considered

23

hours researching

21

products compared

Last Updated: July 1, 2020

By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best bookshelf speakers under $500 available for those who are interested in getting the best sound available. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the current bookshelf speakers under $500 currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.

Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500: Comparison Table

Product

 Driver
Size

Direction

Power (RMS/Peak)

Frequency  Range

Our Rating

Current Price

​​Audioengine A5+ 150W Wireless Powered Bookshelf Speakers

Audioengine A5+ 150W Wireless Powered Bookshelf Speakers

5 inch

Front-Firing

50 watts

50 – 22 Hz

88/100

Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

5 inch

Front-Firing

60 watts

55 – 20 Hz

85/100

Edifier S2000 Pro Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

Edifier S2000 Pro Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

5.5 inch

Front-Firing

50/12 watts

48 – 20 Hz

84/100

Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500 Reviews 

So, what’s the absolute best you can get in this price range as far as bookshelf speakers go? 

To answer your question, I’ll give you a few Hi-Fi speakers worth considering. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better-sounding, more flexible set of speakers for less than $500 than the ones listed below, so pay attention!

best bookshelf speakers under $500 - Audioengine A5+ 150W

Our Rating: 88/100

The world of wireless technology is ever-growing, and to think that a Bluetooth speaker could never match the performance of an analog HiFi speaker is archaic and outdated. 

To audiophiles reading this and frowning upon the fact that not only a wireless bookshelf speaker but a powered one, too, landed on top of my list of bookshelf speakers under $500: 

Keep an open mind. 

Read the rest of this review, and give this set of speakers, known as Audioengine A5+, a chance to impress you. 

The design

Even at a glance, it’s clear that Audioengine didn’t spend too much time or effort trying to come up with a revolutionary enclosure for the A5+. In terms of design, these bookshelf speakers are nothing but two 10.75 x 7 x 7.75-inch black boxes. 

Then again, there’s something so undeniably attractive about their simplicity and industrial-like flair. Less can be more in some cases, and the A5+ proves it to be true.

The sturdy built, MDF cabinet’s front panel is home to two drivers – a 0.75-inch tweeter and a 5-inch aramid fiber woofer driver, complete with advanced voice coils.

The left speaker is the one that houses the analog amplifier, and all its connectivity options, including RCA and 3.5-mm inputs, a USB port, and the Bluetooth antenna on the back. A volume control knob and a power indicator can be found on the front panel. 

You’ll undoubtedly be able to tell which is which because the left speaker weighs a whopping 5 pounds more than its right counterpart.

The performance

With the RMS rating of 50 watts per channel and 95-dB sensitivity, these speakers can get loud when you need them to – insanely loud, might I add. But more importantly, with a 50 Hz to 22 kHz frequency response range, they avoid shrillness and harshness and sound good doing it. 

So good, in fact, that they make you want to get up and dance!

The sound packs clarity, producing every single note with deliberateness. The highs are tight and defined – but not at all edgy – and mids seem to lean towards a warmer, smoother side. 

It’s the wonderfully natural bass response that blew me away. There’s none of those overly-enhanced, simulated boosts – just deep, rich, and tuneful bass. 

And if you get the placement right, you’ll get some astounding stereo imaging, too.

They’re good enough to have those of you who correlate the term „wireless“ with lower-quality sound sold on the idea of buying a pair of $500 Bluetooth-enabled bookshelf speakers.

Pros

  • ​Combines a 0.75-inch tweeter and a 5-inch woofer driver with advanced voice coils
  • Uses analog amplifiers
  • Bluetooth aptX-HD wireless capability
  • Gets loud and clear, but avoids harshness and shrillness
  • Natural, fine, and tuneful bass and exceptional sound quality

Cons

  • Not as stylish as other options
best bookshelf speakers under $500 - Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

Our Rating: 85/100

I first encountered Edifier almost a decade ago but forgot all about them for a couple of years there. It was nothing personal – their speakers just fell under my tech radar. 

Or was it because they simply couldn’t compete, considering that they were never a company that spent vast portions of their budget on advertising?

Either way, by the time I rediscovered them, their range of speakers had become enormous. Now, that includes everything from home theater and surround sound systems to as of lately, Bluetooth-enabled, active speakers. 

And one such example of their bookshelf speakers is the Edifier R2000DB.

The design

The R2000DB is pretty much the definition of „function meets style.“ The slightly backward-sloping cabinet takes on a sleek and elegant form with its high-gloss, black finish – but it’s not just for show. The angled design helps direct the sound right where you want it.

In its high-quality, low-resonance MDF cabinet, the speakers house a 25-mm Eagle Eye silk dome tweeter and a 5-inch alloy bass driver each, complete with rear-facing bass ports. The right speaker is the much „busier“ of the two, featuring RCA and optical inputs, the indicator light, and the control knobs for bass, treble, and volume levels.

Oh, and the speakers are Bluetooth-compatible, too. 

Not only are they built to the highest of standards but have the right performance specs to deliver high-quality sound, as well – which brings me to my next point.

The performance

In terms of RMS power, you’re looking at 60 watts per channel, coupled with not-so-stellar 85-dB sensitivity. They can get crazy loud if you want them to. But as promised, the sound remains free of audible distortions thanks to built-in Digital Signal Processing and Dynamic Range Control. 

Regarding the frequency response of 55 Hz to 20 kHz, it delivered more sound than anticipated in the lower end. It remained powerful but detailed throughout the range, with no noticeable dips or „dead spots.“ 

The tweeters did a fantastic job with the highs, all while blending seamlessly with the mid to lower-end contributions of the woofer drivers, resulting in smooth, well-balanced sound.

One particular area where the sound reproduction of the R2000DB truly excels is stereo imaging. Not only are the depth and the width there to give you a wider soundstage but offer a relatively large stereo „sweet spot,“ too. 

They might be overkill for desktop uses, but could be a key component to a home theater setup. Plus, considering the price range, the listening experience that these Edifier speakers offer is hard to beat. 

Pros

  • ​Built-in and wireless controls for more convenience
  • Onboard volume, bass, and treble controls
  • Features Dynamic Range Control
  • Excellent stereo imaging with a broad soundstage

Cons

  • Somewhat heavy for the bookshelf category

3. Best Self-Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers: Edifier S2000 Pro Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

best self-powered Bluetooth bookshelf speakers - Edifier S2000 Pro Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

Our Rating: 84/100

There’s a fine line that separates consumer bookshelf speakers from professional studio-quality monitors. Well, I think I’ve found a pair of powered speakers that walks it perfectly, punching way above their weight class: 

The Edifier S2000 Pro – a couple of powered speakers that combine classic Hi-Fi concepts with cutting edge technology in a way that can go neck to neck with professional-grade studio monitors. And considering that they cost less than $500, they’re a flat out steal! 

This review will tell you everything you need to know!

The design

The S2000 Pro features genuine birch side panels, and I know that people either love or hate wooden veneers. However, the subtle throwback to classic bookshelf speaker form is here paired with matte black baffle plates and a metallic surface grille. 

These details give them an elegant and luxurious touch, rather than making the speakers feel outdated. 

The cabinet, which measures 8 x 13.5 x 10.5 inches, has an angled design, with the front panel leaning back slightly, for both aesthetics and functional purposes.

You’ll find flat diaphragm tweeters and a 5.5-inch aluminum cone woofer on both speakers, along with a status indicator on the main speaker.

The master speaker’s back panel packs quite a bit of connectivity options, too, including RCA, XLR, optical, coaxial, and 3.5-mm ports, and three knobs for adjusting the bass, treble, and volume levels. And yes, Bluetooth connectivity (paired with an aptX decoder) is enabled, as well.

The performance

The Edifier S2000 Pro boasts three digital amplifier chips, which power the tweeter and the woofers individually at 12-watt and 50-watt RMS respectively, along with 94-dB sensitivity and 48 Hz to 20 kHz frequency range. 

More importantly, every bit does its part, exceeding all expectations performance-wise: 

The sound character can be best described as dynamic, yet neutral with a touch of pleasant warmth, especially throughout the mid-range, and crisp and clear highs. Furthermore, the balance throughout the entire range is nothing short of amazing. 

The most impressive part has to be the bass response. It squeezes out every bit of power, sounds deep and hard-hitting, but doesn’t affect the overall musicality. It’s safe to say that you won’t need a dedicated subwoofer for these.

Oh, and did I forget to mention that you also have the option to play around with the four onboard EQ settings – Vocal, Classic, Monitor, and Dynamic?

Pros

  • ​Three digital amplifier chips that power the tweeter and the aluminum cone woofer individually
  • Bluetooth connectivity with an integrated aptX decoder
  • Knobs for volume, treble, and bass adjustments
  • Features four onboard EQ settings
  • Comes with a wireless remote control

Cons

  • The adjustment dials are located on the back panel

Our Rating: 80/100

The M200 series has been around the speaker market long enough to know what’s up – for over a decade, to be precise. So, when Swans Speakers decide to release a new and improved version of the speakers – and in the below $500 price range, too – I had to take a closer look at this redesigned classic. 

They stuck to the sloping wooden cabinet design but upgraded it where it counts, adding a digital amplifier and optional Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. 

That’s how you keep up with the digital era – Swans Speakers style!

The design

Is it just me, or does this pair of speakers loosely resemble the Edifier S2000 Pro? 

The combination of cherry-accent side panels with the otherwise black baffle and a slightly angled cabinet form gets me every time. 

You’re looking at high-quality MDF braced cabinet construction here, measuring 7.2 x 12.5 x 9.5 inches. Both the one-inch silk dome tweeter and the 5.25 woofer driver sit on the front panel. 

The grille is nothing but a mesh screen, so you have to consider if this „exposed look“ would fit your home theater or the stereo sound setup. 

A huge plus to the designers of the M200 MKII HiFi speakers for placing the controls for volume, bass, and treble on the front panel, making them much more accessible. The back panel is reserved for two lines, AUX, optical, and coaxial inputs, as well as LAN connectivity. 

On that note, the speakers are capable of going fully wireless, as well, by utilizing either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection.

The performance

In terms of sheer power, these are some of the most powerful bookshelf speakers under $500, consuming 40 watts each at a 90-dB sensitivity. So, yes, the speakers can get pretty loud – and almost come alive at 50-percent volume. 

Another key thing I’d like to mention is the frequency response, which goes from 56 Hz up to 20 kHz. Moreover, it offers excellent consistency throughout the range, with hardly any detectable drops around the specified lower limit. 

The sound that this set of speakers produces is best described as detailed and clear, and more importantly, capable of achieving impressively coherent imaging. They’re not quite at the level of high-end monitors, but they do come close with the detail-revealing clarity and overall sound quality. 

The bass response is outstanding, too – it’s tight, yet deep, and at the same time, it avoids sounding too „boomy,“ if that makes sense.

Pros

  • ​Controls for bass, volume, and treble located on the front panel
  • Utilizes both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections
  • Detail-revealing clarity and quality of sound

Cons

  • Might need a subwoofer, depending on your preferences
Klipsch R-15PM Powered Monitor

Our Rating: 82/100

The speaker market is slowly, but surely getting flooded with wireless bookshelf speakers. Klipsch decided to remain on the sidelines of this ever-growing trend – until the release of the R-15PM, that is. 

Even though they entered the wireless home audio arena for the first time, the superior sound and build quality still reign supreme – and at a solid price-to-value ratio, too. 

Plus, I can see the R-15PM fit in many a scenario – from man caves to college dorm rooms.

The design

First of all, it’s quite refreshing to see a performance-first, two-way powered speaker system with flexible connectivity options. And by „flexible“ I mean everything from 3.5 mm jacks, digital optical inputs to USB and RCA Phono/Line inputs – and yes, even Bluetooth. 

These are easily some of the most versatile speakers I’ve seen in the under $500 bookshelf category. 

Considering that they’re purpose-built and that their design was a result of intelligent engineering, it all comes together from an engineering point of view:

Both speakers feature a one-inch aluminum tweeter fitted inside the rectangular Tractrix Horn and a 5.25-inch copper-spun, magnetically-shielded IMG woofer, which is an immediate eye-catcher. The bass ports are, however, located on the rear panel of the 8.2 x 7 x 12.5-inch cabinet.

Is it just me, or is the contrast of the brushed black vinyl finish on the housing and the copper accents turning into Klipsch’s trademark color scheme?

The performance

Although the R-15PM is small in stature, their production and sound delivery are anything but: 

With 50 watts of power per channel coming straight from the built-in amplifier, these things can get loud. 

Regardless of what I put them through, the sound remained clear, dynamic, and non-fatiguing. Every single component is perfectly optimized for its task in a real active-powered speaker manner.

The woofers deliver clean, distortion-free, and reasonably full bass. However, the lower-end frequency cuts off at 62 Hz, while still going up to 24 kHz in the upper range. So, an external subwoofer might be a welcome addition in terms of deep-hitting bass.

That said, they offer rock-solid performance throughout their specified range, a natural and lively listening experience, and a wide soundstage with pretty good imaging, too. As such, this model is easy to recommend to anyone interested in stand-alone Hi-Fi speakers.

Pros

  • ​An array of connectivity options, including RCA phono inputs and Bluetooth
  • Turntable, PC, and TV-ready
  • One of the most versatile and flexible speakers in the bookshelf category
  • Comes with a full-featured IR remote