Budget and Picks for Audiophiles: Best Floor Standing Speakers
I think that there’s one thing us audiophiles can all agree on:
Everything you do – whether it’s watching a movie in your home theater or chilling with your favorite tunes playing in the background – becomes ten times better when you have speakers that can rise to the occasion and take the entire experience on a whole new level.
And that’s why I’m going to cut things short here and get straight to the point:
You know why you’re here – to find the best floor standing speakers on the market.
Otherwise, you wouldn’t even bother reading this right now, am I right?
So, why not jump straight to it and find you some speakers that pack enough of a punch to rock your world?
In a hurry? The test winner after 24 hours of research:
Klipsch RP-8000F Floorstanding Speaker System
Why is it better?
Last Updated: November 1, 2019
By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best floor standing speakers available for those who are interested in improving their audio setup. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best floor standing speakers currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.
Our Rating: 86/100
Our Rating: 84/100
Our Rating: 81/100
Buying The Best Floor Standing Speakers? Here’s What To Look For
When it comes to the so-called tower speakers, the answer is much more complicated than you might think:
You want tangible performance-related benefits – a bass that can dig deep, and a speaker that is not only powerful but efficient enough to turn that power into room-filling, clear, well-balanced sound.
But at the same time, all these specifications and sound delivery are only a part of the equation with floor standing speakers. The other half, of course, is their design.
You can’t have a pair of large, attention-grabbing tower speakers sitting in the middle of the room, and have them look all ugly and out-of-place, now, can you?
I mean, you could – but it will be a not-so-pleasant sight.
So, be sure to take design and aesthetics into account, too.
It’s not that different from buying a new piece of furniture for your living room. Sure, you want it to be comfortable and functional – but the actual design and aesthetics matter, as well.
That said, what better place to start your search than my detailed best floor standing speakers buyer’s guide?
separate the frequencies into lows, mids, and highs by adding a mid-range driver into the mix, to produce more detailed sound.
If I were to explain frequency in the simplest way possible, I’d say that it’s a measure of how low or how high the sound is.
And as such, the more extensive the frequency response range of the speakers in question, the more details and clarity you’ll hear in the sounds they produce. So, pay attention to what you’re getting frequency-wise.
The human ear can distinguish sounds within the 20 Hz to 20 kHz range.
And while in practice that might be the upper limit of our hearing, don’t be surprised to see speakers that go well beyond it.
Well, things aren’t always that simple. I mean, sure, a new set of speakers won’t give you super-human hearing – your ears probably won’t pick up any new tones beyond that 20-kHz limit, no matter how broad of a frequency range the speakers have.
However, there will most certainly be a distinct difference in how detailed and precise the sounds are throughout the range – and that’s what matters here.
Wattage & Power Ratings
Okay, let’s start with the apparent part:
All floor-standing speakers require electricity to produce sound. That’s why the speaker’s power rating is so vital for determining what you can expect from it performance-wise.
Of course, I wouldn’t say that wattage is everything – a few other factors contribute to the speaker’s sound output.
However, if you want them to be able to go super loud without affecting the quality of sound, you’ll have to pick something with a bit more power to it.
Also referred to as wattage, this is the power that the speaker is capable of pushing out, and is usually split up into two separate categories – continuous (RMS) and pear power.
The latter refers to the speaker’s total maximum capacity – but they can only keep those levels up for shorter periods.
If you’d like a more realistic take on the speaker’s power, focus on what they can push out continuously, instead.
This one’s pretty easy – sensitivity, sometimes also referred to as efficiency, directly relates to loudness:
It defines how well your speaker converts power into volume – or how loud the speaker will go when a specific amount of energy is put through them.
In theory, if you were given several different speakers that have everything in common, except for their sensitivity levels, and gave them the same amount of power, you would notice a difference in how loud they all are.
In practice, though, things aren’t as simple as that, because there’s no universal testing or standard. So, while sensitivity does give you an idea of how much sound the speakers will put out, you should still take these ratings with a grain of salt.
Be that as it may, 88 dB or more is what you should aim to get from a tower speaker sensitivity-wise. As you’ll see later on in my best floor standing speakers reviews, a lot of top-of-the-line models go well beyond that point and shoot for 98-dB sensitivity.
Speaker drivers can be described as individual engines in charge of producing sound – but they can only be so powerful on their own.
That’s why a higher number of drivers in a single floor-standing unit typically ensures a richer, more detailed sound.
If you’re looking for rough guidelines and recommendations regarding the number of drivers per server, here they are:
You should aim to get at least three drivers per speaker – anything less, and you’re in for a not-so-stellar audio experience.
The three categories of drivers you’ll usually find in floor-standing speakers are tweeters, reserved for high-pitched sounds, mid-range drivers, and woofers, which tackle the lower range and bass lines.
Oh, and I’d like to take a second to talk about two different setups commonly seen in tower speakers – two-way or three-way configurations. I’ll keep it short and simple, so pay attention:
- Two-way speakers split the frequencies into two – lows and highs – by employing two types of drivers – tweeters and woofers.
- Three-way speakers separate the frequencies into lows, mids, and highs by adding a mid-range driver into the mix, to produce more detailed sound
Best Floor Standing Speakers Reviewed
1. Best Overall: Klipsch RP-8000F System
Our Rating: 86/100
Is it just my imagination, or have I been reviewing quite a lot of Klipsch speakers lately?
Even if it’s true, I couldn’t skip this opportunity to talk about the refreshed Reference Premier line and show you what Klipsch’s been up to when it comes to loudspeakers.
But this time around, I’m not only reviewing the RP-8000F – I’m declaring these the best floor standing speakers under $2000!
And yes, I’m confident enough in its abilities to start things off with such a bold claim – and you’ll see why soon enough!
With the grille on, it is a sleek, tall, black box. I do have to admit that I prefer this one with the grilles off, though – it gives the 43 inches tall tower speaker a lot more personality:
The one-inch, horn-loaded Hybrid Tractrix tweeter and dual eight-inch copper-spun woofers, combined with the copper rings, give it a muscular touch, but at the same time, they’re implemented in a refined, attractive manner.
I also noticed that the increased beveling moves up along the edges of the speaker, adding a touch of class, as well.
On the back, you’ll find a rear-firing Tractrix port, that is perfectly matched to the woofers, and the cabinet as a whole.
The cast aluminum feet – or, rather, rails – that hold the speaker have a slight upward tilt to them, steering away from the perfect 90-degree angle.
I’d like to add that, out of all the Klipsch speakers I came across lately, this one’s, by far, the most good-looking one.
With its horn-loaded tweeter and two woofers, the maximum power rating of 600 watts, and sensitivity of 98 dB, these are bound to be some of the most powerful loudspeakers for home audio you’ll come across.
Above-average firepower is undeniably a good thing here – but what about the actual sound quality?
I’m glad to report that the RP-8000F were molded into high-fidelity speakers, and I mean that quite literally, too:
Their sound performance was primarily influenced by their design, mainly the new and improved Hybrid Tractrix horn geometry. Due to that same design, the speaker does change its sound slightly depending on where you’re standing, so keep that in mind when you set it up.
Its bass performance would be best described as authoritative in the lower end, with a well-balanced, tonally-accurate mid-range, and well-controlled, yet rich highs. The sound, the range, the reach – it’s all oh so dynamic and life-like.
The Klipsch RP-8000F system brings a thunderous power into your house, encased in premium, great-looking casing and fantastic tone accuracy.
Definitely a big score for anyone who's into getting some serious quality!
2. Close Second: KLH Kendall 3-Way Floorstanding Speaker
Our Rating: 84/100
There are only a few speaker brands that are famous enough that even non-audiophiles recognize their name – and I’d say that KLH is one of them.
And what you’re looking at here is the KLH’s flagship tower speaker, a handsome tower with a three-way design, better known as Kendall.
So, is Kendall truly the best floor standing speaker under $1000 that has everything going for it – from design to performance?
Read on and find out!
Design-wise, the KLH Kendall floor-standing speaker is an absolute beauty – every single detail is subjected to achieving a high-quality look, worthy of being the center of attention in any room.
Configured as a three-way speaker, it combines a total of four drivers:
Its components include a one-inch anodized aluminum tweeter, a woven Kevlar, a 5.25-inch mid-range driver, and two 6.5-inch Kevlar woofers.
The low-resonance cabinet further complements the quality of its internal components, featuring real-wood veneers and low-profile magnetic grilles with no visible attachment points to enhance that streamlined, clean look of the speaker further.
Plus, it comes with rubber feet and chrome-plated floor spikes, which not only add stability but decouple it from the floor, too.
The first specifications that caught my eye – besides the four-driver configuration that is – were the 250-watt power rating and the custom-designed, multi-element crossover.
The result was a smooth blend of frequencies among the four drivers, throughout the 25 Hz to 23 kHz range.
What blew me away was how efficient these floor-standing speakers are. The Kendall boasts a sensitivity rating of 96 dB, which, if you remember what we talked about previously, goes above and beyond the average 88-dB sensitivity.
As a result, they don’t drain a ton of power but still manage to deliver big sound – and match well with a wide range of modern amplifiers.
I put it to the test with quite a few tracks and genres, and the result was always the same – excellent tonal versatility and dynamic range. I was beyond impressed with its expansive soundstage and room-filling bass.
Kendall even delivered that „live show“ feel where it was needed, too. It reproduced sound with natural details and deep bass that could be both heard and felt.
With KLH Kendall you're aiming for quality & recognisable sensation of fine wood casing. The dynamic range, the bass, and of course, the amazing sensitivity.
With two of these in your room, audio immersion will get a completely new meaning!
3. Best Budget: Onkyo SKF-4800 2-Way Bass Reflex Floor-standing Speakers
Our Rating: 81/100
My next choice is Onkyo SKF-4800 speakers – a pair of speakers that offers a satisfying sound experience at a pretty much unbeatable price.
So, if you want floor standing speakers that are as budget-friendly as they are useful, you probably won’t come across a lot of other models that can compete with this Onkyo pair.
I’ve come to expect flimsy-looking cabinets from speakers at this price range, so the SKF-4800 was a breath of fresh air in that particular department.
Although somewhat bulky – they do stand at 40.7 x 11.6 x 12 inches – they still manage to look good, and not at all weird or out of place.
A considerable part of that is the high-quality, natural black wood-grain finish – always a favored option compared to plastic – and the clean-looking design.
Plus, it comes fitted with a thin MDF stabilization, which not only prevents them from vibrating but adds a nice finishing touch to their all-black appearance, too.
The front side of the speaker contains a one-inch soft-dome tweeter, paired with twin 6.3-inch cone woofers, while the rear panel houses a set of connectors – including banana plugs – and a bass port.
Some of you could complain about here is that the grille doesn’t cover the entire front side of the speakers – but that’s mostly a matter of preferences.
I’m kind of on the fence about these.
While they managed to deliver quite a sound, and their overall performance was more than satisfactory – even tough to beat in its price range – a few things held it back, and resulted in a not-so-stellar listening experience.
For instance, the speakers have a less-than-ideal sensitivity of 88 dB. The frequency response isn’t something to call home about, either, sticking to a range of 55 Hz to 35 kHz, which is somewhat lacking in the lower range.
Bass could be described as decent at best. Investing in a good subwoofer might be a smart move for all the bass-heads reading this. Also, the mid-range tones sounded a tad bit too boxy, and muffled at times:
The highs and lows were there, but it got to a point where they became prevalent and drowned out the rest.
Then again, it would be unfair to write them off immediately. The pocket-friendly price tag is still reason enough to add the best floor standing speakers under $500 to your surround sound system or home cinema – without going bankrupt along the way.
This 2-way speaker system is such an obvious choice for everyone on a budget. It brings decent features & quality casing to the table (floor in this case), MDF stabilization and always wellcome banana plugs, alongside other connectors.
Don't skip on this offer - you won't regret it!
4. Best Floor Standing Speakers for Music: Polk Audio Monitor 60 Series II Floorstanding Speaker
Our Rating: 79/100
Did you know that the original Polk Audio Monitor series dates back over four decades, back when the brand first introduced HiFi loudspeakers into our living rooms?
That means that these speakers were popular enough among consumers that the company decided to pull them out of retirement and revamp them into a second version. And long story short, that’s how what we now know as Polk Audio Monitor 60 Series II, came to be.
How cool is that?
Now, I’m not going to lie:
Looking at the design of the speakers, it’s clear that it’s not keeping up with the latest trends for floor-standing speakers. The standard rectangular shape, with a foam grille that covers the cones, ultimately seems a bit outdated, making them look all boxy.
But then again, I’m pretty sure some of you are willing to give this 40 inches tall, all-black box a pass if it manages to deliver performance-wise. Plus, sturdy and straightforward is often the way to go.
The primary perk construction-wise is their three-way design with four drivers in total. The baffle houses a one-inch Dynamic Balance dome tweeter, along with three 5.25-inch Dynamic Balance woofers.
As I already pointed out, the Monitor 60 is nowhere near as up-to-date as some other models on this round-up. Nevertheless, it remains one of the best floor standing speakers for music.
No surprise there, though – some of its specifications are rarely seen in speakers in this price range:
Its power range offers approximately 60 watts of continuous power, going up to a 200-watt maximum, and is coupled with 90-dB sensitivity. Plus, it covers a frequency range from 38 Hz to 25 kHz, which is more than decent for a budget-tier speaker.
When you’re listening to music, you should aim for that clear, „uncolored“ sound – and that’s what you get here. The sound quality they deliver is worth it – detailed and clear, with woofers that do a pretty good job at handling low-pitched frequencies.
Even if you find that they don’t pack enough bass for you – or you mostly listen to bass-demanding music genres – they’re still cheap enough that you get an extra subwoofer without sweating it!
There's no audiophile out there who doesn't know about Polk Audio hardware (or even preaches it).
Polk Audio Monitor 60 Series II Floorstanding Speaker continues the 40-year tradition, and brings exactly what broad masses need - sturdy & quality design solutions, solid performance, and clarity in tones, especially when paired with low-pitched riffs of heavy guitar distortion.
Furthermore, the price is great - so why not give it a shot?
5. Best Floor Standing Speakers for Audiophiles: SVS Ultra Tower Flagship 3-Way Loudspeakers
Our Rating: 84/100
The last one up will be a real treat for my fellow audiophiles – the SVS Ultra Tower Loudspeaker.
Did you guys seriously think that I’d forget to include something for you, too?
And if you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking that, if they’re going to call your tower speakers the “Ultra,” they’d better have a way of backing it up.
But, you know, this is SVS, after all – if there’s a brand that could pull off creating one of the maddest, meanest-looking pair of speakers and get away with it, it’s them.
Floorstanding speakers can be – how do I put this – a bit bland and boring, nothing but tall boxes, designed to blend into the background.
Not the SVS Ultra Tower, though:
At 45.6 inches each, to say that they dominate the room they’re in would be an understatement. Even more so, rather than going straight down, the backside of the speakers flares out, creating an eye-catching, geometric – almost sculptural – statement.
The all-black, real oak veneers with matching drivers enhance that dramatic effect even further.
The front baffle is host to an aluminum-dome tweeter and two 6.5-inch mid-range drivers with composite glass-fiber cones. And at the base, you’ll find two opposing eight-inch ForceFactor woofers and a single rear-firing port in the back.
Design-wise, they’re in a league of their own.
There’s a pretty good reason why I consider these to be one of the best floor standing speakers under $2000 – and it’s not just their good looks:
Let’s talk about specifications first. The Ultra boasts a frequency range of 28 Hz to 32 kHz, maximum power of 300 watts, and a sensitivity that falls into the average, 88-dB category.
The four angled eight-inch woofers are capable of pumping enough low-end sound. The bass is so ear-melting, deep, and roaring that you can skip adding a subwoofer altogether.
The mids, on the other hand, remained fluid and captivating, with this pleasant warmth to them – and no traces of muffled or unfocused sound.
With everything in full swing, the highs lacked a bit of a „snap“ at the very top, as if the tweeters couldn’t keep up with the absolute monsters that were simultaneously thundering below.
However, that should be nowhere near enough to deter you from considering the SVS Ultra Tower – they still offer a powerful and convincing audio experience.
These are the floorstanding speakers that will draw attention even when they're not on. Design-wise, SVS Ultra Tower Flagship 3-Way Loudspeakers are on another level.
When you do plug them on and start the rumble, you'll feel these recognisable tremors that evoke satisfaction & excitement - loud bass. The mids & highs are following it, completing the package for sure.
Choosing SVS has never been a bad idea, and these speakers confirm this fact vigorously.
Best Floor-Standing Speakers – Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Floor-standing vs. bookshelf speakers – which one’s better?
A: Floor-standing speakers tend to be the favored type among audiophiles searching for the perfect home theater setup. They’re large enough to fit multiple drivers – tweeters, mid-range, and woofers – and in some cases, even an additional passive radiator or integrated powered subwoofer that extends their low-frequency output. That said, bookshelf speakers still have their fans, too. So, yes, it all depends on where – and how – you plan on using your new speakers.
Q: What is the speaker’s wattage?
A: Everyone knows that the speaker’s wattage is in charge of producing room-filling, booming sound. However, the power rating can be quite an interesting concept, since it usually comes with two different sets of numbers. One is the RMS rating or the speaker’s wattage consumption during continuous use, and the other is the peak power rating, which shows the maximum wattage capabilities in short bursts.
Q: What is the speaker’s sensitivity?
A: Arguably, just as important as the wattage rating is the speaker’s sensitivity. This specification, expressed in dB, tells you about the unit’s efficiency. More precisely, it shows how efficient the speaker is in converting sheer power into volume output. Given the same amount of energy, speakers with higher sensitivity will deliver better sound quality and output levels.
Q: Three-way vs. two-way floor-standing speakers – which one’s better?
A: To say that three-way speakers are better than two-way speakers would be a hard generalization – something I’m not fond of at all. However, one can’t deny the fact that a speaker with a higher number of drivers has more components, each dedicated to specific frequency ranges. That may lead to a more accurate, better audio performance coming from three-way floor-standing speakers.
After it's all said and done, we recommend:
Klipsch RP-8000F Floorstanding Speaker
Why is it better?
Each of the floor-standing speakers I’ve shown you today can be the right choice – it all depends on what you’re looking to get performance and design-wise. I’d say that’s pretty apparent here.
One model did stand out of the bunch, though, and deserved the title of the best floor standing speakers currently on the market – and that’s the Klipsch RP-8000F Floorstanding Speaker.
Drop me a line if you agree – or let me know about your personal favorite in the comment section!