Best Self-Powered Speakers: Premium Audio Without Any Compromises
Is compact and highly functional how you like your speakers?
Then keep reading.
Also known as active speakers, or simply just “powered speakers,” these are loudspeakers that have amplifiers built-in.
This is convenient because they do not need a receiver. What do you get in return? A nice & clean setup.
What I also love about active speakers is that they are so versatile. They can be used as computer speakers, or even as a party loudspeaker. And because of their ability to be controlled via Bluetooth, anyone can pretend to be DJ at the party.
Likewise, they are great for a gaming session on your PC or listening to music while you are cleaning your house.
Do you find yourself in the market to buy the best self-powered speakers?
Stay tuned for all the information you need before making your purchase!
- In a hurry? After 26 Hours of Research, We Recommend:
- Top 5 Self Powered Speakers – Comparison Table
- Best Powered Speakers: Detailed Reviews
- 1. Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers- BEST OVERALL -
- 2. PRORECK Club 3000 12-Inch 4000 Watt DJ/Powered PA Speaker System Combo Set
- 3. Micca PB42X Powered Bookshelf Speakers
- 4. Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers
- 5. Audioengine HD3 60W - Desktop Pick
- 6. Klipsch R-51PM Powered Bluetooth Speaker - High-End Pick
- 7. Swans Speakers - M200 DSP - Powered 2.0 Wireless Bookshelf Speakers - Best Entry-Level
- 8. Pyle HiFi Desktop Bookshelf Speakers Pair - 300 Watt Powered Bluetooth - Budget-Friendly Desktop Pick
- 9. Monoprice DT-3 50-Watt Multimedia Desktop Powered Speakers - Best for Office
- 10. Behringer Eurolive B210D Active 200-Watt 2-Way PA Speaker System, Black - PA Runner-Up
- Best Powered Speakers Buying Guide: Key Features to Consider
- Best Powered Speakers - FAQ
- After it's all said and done, we recommend:
- Final Words
In a hurry? After 26 Hours of Research, We Recommend:
Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
Why it is better?
Last Updated: June 1, 2021
By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best self-powered speakers available for those who are interested in ramping the quality of their sound up. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best self powered speakers currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.
Top 5 Self Powered Speakers – Comparison Table
Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
8.4 x 9.1 x 9.9’’
PRORECK Club 3000 12-Inch
38 x 21 x 18’’
Micca PB42X Powered Bookshelf Speakers
6.5 x 5.8 x 9.5’’
Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers
6.90 x 9.50 x 5.80’
Audioengine HD3 60W
5.51 x 4.13 x 7.09’’
15/30 watts (per channel)
Best Powered Speakers: Detailed Reviews
1. Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
- BEST OVERALL -
Our Rating: 96/100
Edifier is a reputable company known for making quality audio equipment.
So, it comes as no surprise that two of their speakers made it to the top of our list, the first one standing at the very throne.
This particular pair is the best model of bookshelves speakers that we have passed through our gauntlet of tests.
Throw into the equation that they are the most cost-effective, and you get the best specs in the mid-price range.
Without further ado, let's see what contributes to their premium quality.
The Edifier R1700BT are compact bookshelf speakers that will perfectly fit onto your shelf, desk, or TV unit.
Thus, they are so versatile that they will blend into any surroundings and interior easily.
The perfect combination of modern and retro walnut vinyl can add the extra something to any space.
All the dials and buttons are located on the side of the speakers, for your convenience and easy access. If you are too lazy to get off the couch to get to the dials, you can also control these powered speakers via remote control.
The bass reflex port is located at the front, which gives bass more power by emphasizing low frequencies.
There is also a 4-inch bass driver in both speakers enabling easy control over the bass.
Finally, the R1700BT set comes equipped with 19 mm dome “Eagle eye” tweeters, which are small, but efficient.
The hand-picked wood isn't there just for the aesthetics. It enables outstanding sound quality.
Namely, the Edifier R1700BT uses the advanced DSP (Digital Signal Processing) and DRC (Dynamic Range Control) in order to eliminate any distortion.
They are purposely designed at a 10-degree angle to avoid sound reflecting off of any furniture, walls, or floor.
Thus, these four-Ohm speakers will make a great addition to your desktop or TV setup, regardless of where you put them.
Due to the wireless connection, you can pair your devices to this powered speaker via Bluetooth without a speaker wire.
Our Rating: 95/100
Are you ready for a beast?
This powered speaker system combo is any DJ’s dream.
PRORECK AUDIO has created a superb power speaker system that produces unbelievable sound quality with unmatched power.
This high-end pick is perfect for home theaters, music clubs, smaller concerts, large house parties, and weddings.
Let's see what makes them one of the best speakers for professional needs.
This set consists of two line array speakers and two subwoofers, one active speaker, and one passive. In other words, it is composed of four identical loudspeakers mounted in a line.
They are on the larger side, so they wouldn’t fit in with the furniture in a small room, but they are perfect for bigger rooms and studios. I can also imagine them as a perfect addition to any pool or backyard party.
Albeit they are large, they are still portable because you can easily disassemble them and put them together again. What is more, the poles are very sturdy.
Damage is not something that should worry you, as each speaker is made of non-resonant MDF construction. This reinforcement doesn’t affect the sound quality thanks to the sound-absorbing foam that cancels out any feedback.
By the way, this beauty arrived in three separate packages, so you might want to recruit a pair of helping hands!
This powered speaker set has a wide frequency response, from 40 to 20 kHz, which makes it ideal for amplifying both music and vocals. We found that it also performs great at low frequency.
The 12-inch active subwoofer with a 50 oz magnet has a built-in amplifier that magnifies the audio signal and then streams the music. With the full-range power from the active speaker subwoofer, the passive one also streams music. The result? A full range of premium quality sound.
Did we mention the 4000 Watt peak power? I told you these were the best powered speakers for high volumes and any occasion that requires loud music!
Also, this is one of the most versatile choices. You can connect it to another amplifier, monitor, speaker, recorder, etc. There are two mono XLR inputs and a single RCA input. Plus, it has Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, and an SD card slot.
We don't want to go around the elephant in the room: with such high performance comes an attractive price point. But if you're looking for high-end powered PA speakers, there's no better choice than the PRORECK Club 3000.
Our Rating: 89/100
Next up, we have a modern pair of bookshelf powered speakers produced by Mika. It packs a lot of power, which enables great sound in return.
Let's see more about the characteristics that make them a great entree for this top list.
The all-black design is certainly not the most innovative style out there, but it is timeless. The modern speaker box with a matte finish will look good wherever you choose to put it.
Plus, the ported magnetic enclosure at the front looks really sleek. If you prefer it without the grill, you can also remove it and show off your bass driver.
Speaking of the drivers, this set features a quality 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter, while the woofer is made from woven carbon fiber.
Its smart design features do not end there: this speaker can be used as a floor-standing speaker, or you can mount it to the wall. Dimensions are as follows: 9.5 (H) x 5.8 (W) x 6.5 (D) inches.
When it comes to sound quality, we can say that this pair of speakers outperformed many others. It has a deep and rich bass output and smooth treble due to silk finish.
The built-in Class-D amplifier (15W x 2) makes it a powered speaker. There are RCA and the classic 3.5mm input jack.
Really, our only problem with the Micca PB42X was that it does not offer any smart features, such as Bluetooth or remote control. In this day and age, this could have easily been implemented in such a quality speaker.
Meet another pick from Edifier, the R1280T. In comparison to its sibling that earned the first place on our list, this speaker is a budget-friendly alternative.
It has similar features but delivers less power and lacks a couple of characteristics. Then again, its price tag is lower.
In any case, if you're looking for quality sound and audio on a budget, keep reading about this Edifier model.
The two Edifier siblings really look alike. Both feature the MDF wood finish that is both trendy and practical. Wherever you place these speakers, they'll be eye-catching, and that's for sure.
As these are classic bookshelf speakers, they can fit pretty much anywhere and are fairly easy to carry around.
The main unit is only 4 inches wide, and it contains a 13 mm silk dome tweeter. The bass and treble control is easily accessed on the side of the speaker. You can adjust them from -6 to +6 dB.
Boy, do the Edifier powered speakers deliver a great sound, with excellent bass drivers full of depth, and faithful tone reproduction at any frequency range. And this one is no different.
A part of the package is also a remote control that is intuitive and easy to use.
While we weren't excited that the Bluetooth capability and 10-degree angle cones were missing, a lower price tag compensates for that. And you can still connect them to your target devices efficiently because it has dual RCA inputs.
Basically, this means you can connect them to 2 devices via the standard Aux port simultaneously, without switching or plugging. They are perfect for PC, tablet, phone, and TV.
It's nice to know that you are backed by a two-year warranty, though we believe that these speakers will serve you for much, much longer.
If you want to add premium powered speakers to your desktop setup and bring the sound and audio experience to the next level, look no further than the Audioengine HD3 set of speakers.
It looks sleek, which may attract you initially. But when we tried it out, we learned that its advantages do not end there.
We do find it a bit pricey, but one thing's for sure: if you want a premium speaker, this is a great choice.
Stick around to learn why!
Don't let the relatively small size fool you - this speaker can blast out at full volume much better than you would expect.
It contains 2.75-inch aramid fiber woofers and 3/4-inch silk dome tweeters, which is a perfect choice of materials for durability and exquisite sound.
If I had to describe the design in one word, I'd say "premium." It comes in two attractive color schemes: Cherry Wood, with dark red highlights, and White.
All the cables are included. You also get a setup guide and an Audioengine brochure with the purchase.
The wood cabinet provides well-rounded sound properties, and the dual analog amplifier brings out the 60W peak power (30 per channel) at its best.
Its versatility cannot go unmentioned, either. It has a 3.5 mm jack, RCA, USB port, and Bluetooth connectivity. The Bluetooth system is one of the most advanced I've seen in a speaker, with an extended 30-meter range.
Also, it accepts all the major OS (Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android). This is an important factor when picking a speaker to connect to all of your devices without any hassle, such as downloading additional drivers and installing software.
While at it, the Audioengine audio player supports all the major music streaming platforms, including iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube.
The 24-bit upsampling DAC nicely balances out the frequencies.
Klipsch never fails to amaze me with their speakers, so it was only logical that one of their models would find its way to my top list in this category.
The R-51PM bookshelf speaker with the built-in amplifier is the best choice for the Klipsch crowd out there.
The reason that some other picks have vaulted past this model is the fact that you need to be a bit more tech-savvy to set it up and get the most of it.
Klipsch stays faithful to their signature: black speaker box with inevitable dark amber highlights. And it doesn't fail to amazes me every time.
Generally, Klipsch has done a sterling job making its recognizable design with sharp edges and similar color schemes. Every music connoisseur will notice these speakers from the other end of the room.
Sleek details, such as exposed fasteners, magnetic grills, and textured vinyl, all add to the stylish design.
This is a bookshelf model, which means it is compact, though it's not as lightweight as some other picks. It won't be too easy to move these around too much.
The tweeter is made from aluminum, and the cones are IMG (Injection Molded Graphite). I must admit that this isn't the most common choice of materials, but in practice, it turned out to be a good combo.
The integrated phono pre-amp really adds another dimension to the sound.
Klipsch's patented Tractrix Horn Technology reduces the artificial sound. All the frequencies are well-balanced, without any cranked up noise and clutter.
Additionally, the Linear Travel Suspension tweeter nicely minimizes the distortion.
All of these features unite to produce a crisp and clear sound, ideal for vocals.
I don't want to go around the elephant in the room: with such high performance comes an attractive price point. But if you're looking for high-end powered speakers, the Klipsch R-51PM is amongst the most competitive models.
The Swans M200 DSP pair of speakers delivers performance that can match the average user's needs.
It's not made for the most advanced users, but offers a great balance between the price and features.
You should go for this set if you want a classic every-day bookshelf solution that you can use in a variety of settings.
The rather unique black matte design with wooden side panels and irregular lines makes this speaker an eccentric choice. It's certain that everyone in the room will notice them.
At first glance, I thought that manufacturers just wanted to make something innovative. But I soon realized that the specific design is there for a good reason.
Namely, the sloped front baffle balances out the sound so that it does not become muffled or pitched.
There's the so-called "cat-eye" 28 mm tweeter made of cotton and topped with silk.
Overall, the speakers are compact and well-designed.
The bit that makes this model powered are two digital amplifiers.
First and foremost, the front-end amp supports high precision signals at any frequency. The rear-end features the DSP noise-canceling and a built-in equalizer to adjust treble and bass.
You can control the EQ and adjust bass and treble by using the dials at the front. While at it, I liked how all the dials are accessed from the front. This adds to the exceptional versatility of the model.
Coaxial tweeters accentuate instrumentals and vocals nicely.
Alternatively, you can control the set via a remote that comes with the purchase.
Bluetooth is also a possibility, though I found that the range was a bit lower than with some other speakers. Just make sure that you are using it from the same room where the speaker is, and you'll be good.
If the Audioengine HD3 was the top desktop powered speaker, this Pyle HiFi Bookshelf Speaker is the winner in the budget-friendly desktop category.
It is slightly less durable than my first choice but does not stay far back when it comes to features.
Okay, I'll be honest with you: the design is simple. Perhaps too simple. There are no attractive details or highlights that would make this unit stand out.
But then again, the all-black aesthetic is a classic. These speakers may not be striking or something like that, but they will blend in nicely.
I can see why manufacturers chose to implement the rear control panel - so that the front looks sleek - but it takes some time until you get used to the positioning. Bass and treble control are also located here. I wish that at least the volume control dial was at the front.
The set comes with active and passive bookshelf speakers and all the cables that you need.
The 300-Watt power is more than enough for desktop or home theater needs. It can also be used for house parties easily, as the loud sound is very stable.
Pair that with 50-20 kHz frequency, and you get a premium model at a low price.
Just like all of my picks today, it has a built-in digital audio amplifier to fine tune the sound and volume to your preference.
It has the RCA, headphone jack, and USB port. The maximum USB flash support it can handle is 16 GB.
The length of the cable that you get is above average (3.9 feet). If you prefer to go wirelessly, it also supports Bluetooth.
The speaker arrived with a sheet that contained vague instructions, but I had no trouble setting it up, so I didn't deduce any points for that.
Say that you're looking for a simple and portable set of speakers that you can use on various occasions - from one device to another or to your office.
You don't want something that is too expensive because you'll be carrying it everywhere and it can get damaged.
The Monoprice DT-3 is the solution.
It won't give you the most brilliant sound output than other speakers from my list, but it also does not promise to do so. It's a classic office desktop set of power speakers.
The grey cabinet looks simple but modern, with the dotted pattern at the front and the back and matte sides. Rounded edges give it a little bit of charm, though it doesn't stand out much from the crowd.
Material-wise, woofers are made of polypropylene, and tweeters are silk dome.
Damage is not something that should worry you, as each speaker is made of non-resonant MDF construction. This reinforcement doesn’t affect the sound quality thanks to the sound-absorbing foam that cancels out any feedback. All of this equals a steady construction that will last you for years to come.
I also awarded bonus points to the user-friendly placement of the inputs and buttons.
Tonally, it has admirably balanced bass and treble, and it brings out vocals and sound effects well. Another property that deserves mention is a wide frequency range (from 75 Hz to 20 kHz).
The Class AB amplifier this speaker sports is a bit less efficient than my picks with a D Class amp.
I have, by now, definitely seen speakers that offer a better sound. But when you consider the price tag, it should be easier to forgive it a couple of mistakes. If money is tight, and you need a quick solution for your office speaker, this is your safest bet.
The front-panel 3.5mm offers easy access, and when you connect your headphones, it automatically mutes the output.
Last but not least, the Behringer Eurolive B210D set of speakers offers a good deal for audiophiles who want high volumes for a middle price range.
It is primarily aimed at outdoor parties, ceremonies, and everything in-between, blending perfectly into the natural surroundings.
If you plan to accommodate this set of speakers, keep in mind that it is bulky, and it's probably best to use it outside.
Even though it is large, its lightweight capabilities surprised us. Manufacturers have really managed to make the most of the choice of materials. So, it weighs only 18.80 lbs, which is nothing for a unit of this size.
Behringer utilizes the trapezoidal shape in its speakers to achieve versatility. Therefore, the Eurolive B210D adapts to a variety of applications, from vertical and side placement to the mounting poles.
You can hook it up via an XLR cable that connects to the backside of the unit.
The ultra-wide dispersion and 10-inch long-excursion driver account for deep bass. There's a dedicated 2-band EQ for easy control of treble and bass.
200 Watts of power with the integrated DSP is synonymous with a powerful output. The result? A full range of premium quality sound.
I also liked the fact that it sports a revolutionary Class-D amplifier that maximizes efficiency.
Basically, the Eurolive B210D can automatically process the sound so that you get the most optimal output. Of course, if you're an audio aficionado, you can tweak the settings yourself until you get that impeccable sound.
Buttons are a bit inconveniently placed, and I wish Behringer had put more thought into their positioning. But that's a small quibble for the audio sound quality it delivers.
Best Powered Speakers Buying Guide: Key Features to Consider
You don't buy powered speakers every day, but they are a good investment because they will last for years to come.
Naturally, you want to make sure you're getting the best deal possible.
There’s the right speaker for everyone, so let me break down the characteristics of the powered speakers for you. When you read them, you'll be able to find the perfect match.
Here are all the factors to consider before you buy the best powered speakers for yourself:
If you are buying speakers for the first time, you will most likely be overwhelmed by the options and variations.
There are bookshelf speakers, desktop powered speakers, towers, powered PA speakers... The options go on and on.
To determine which type you need, you have to assess your listening habits and needs.
Are you looking for powered speakers to complete your gaming setup, or do you want a pair to enhance your TV watching experience? Do you want high performance for parties? Are you using powered speakers for your job?
In any case, I made sure to cover each and every purpose with the best pick for your category on the list above.
Size and free space are also paramount.
It might sound silly that I'm mentioning the room you are putting your speakers in, but it actually makes a world of difference.
If you are planning to put your speakers in a small room with walls on all sides, you will not want large speakers. Why?
Large speakers tend to load small rooms with bass, and the sound will be muddy. If you are buying speakers for a big, open room, small speakers will sound localized.
You'll find all sizes on my list so that you can choose accordingly.
Pro tip: If you get yourself excellent speakers, and notice that the sound isn’t exactly right, check whether there are large hard surfaces around your speakers (e.g., exposed walls and floors). Believe it or not, the sound that reflects off of hard surfaces will immensely affect what you hear.
For my people who are not tech nerds, this might get a little boring. But there is some tech stuff and numbers that you need to know before investing your money.
Impedance refers to how power-hungry your speaker is, and how much power it will draw from the amplifier.
If you do not want to complicate your purchase learning about impedance, powered speakers are perfect for you because they have built-in amplifiers.
The power rating of your speaker is measured in Watts.
As powered speakers have one of the most efficient ways of adding power to your speaker - an amplifier - you don't have to worry about matching your audio system to an amplifier.
It's just good to know that the maximum power generally results in how loud your speaker can perform.
Sensitivity refers to how loud a speaker plays per Watt.
Low-sensitivity speakers require more power to get loud, and high-sensitivity ones require less.
An average speaker will have a sensitivity of 80 dB. What I'm aiming to find is above average - so I won't settle below 80 dB. These will require less power to deliver quality sound.
Frequency response is the range of tones a speaker produces. Let me put this in simple words: the wider the frequency response, the fuller the sound. It is measured in Hertz.
I targeted those active speakers that perform well at both high and low frequency so that you don't have to compensate for the good quality of the sound.
RCA input is used to connect speakers to a TV. So, if you want to connect speakers to your TV unit, you want to make sure it is possible to achieve with your new powered speakers.
Aux input, or auxiliary port, is the main audio input method. You can use an Aux cord or headphone jack to connect your powered speakers to multiple devices.
Speaker materials also matter. The material used in speaker production will not only affect how durable it is but also the sound quality. Additionally, it influences the price point of a model.
Speaker cones turn vibrations into audible sounds for your enjoyment. Aramid fiber is a great material for your cones. It is very robust and stiff, and has a quick response to vibration and produces quality sound. Other equally good options are metal and plastic.
The speaker box is the speaker enclosure. The best material for the speaker box is wood. It does not allow for distortion that damages the quality of the sound, and it is virtually indestructible.
When it comes to tweeters, they are usually made from softer materials (e.g., silk) that can smoothen the audio.
Nowadays, audio equipment comes with numerous extra features to ensure that you get the best of speaker user-experience.
Now, these aren't a must - more like nice little details - but they make your life easier.
Some options include:
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- Remote control
- FM tuners
- Headphone jack
- App control
Best Powered Speakers - FAQ
As usual, I addressed some of the most frequently asked questions by my readers:
Q: What are the best powered speakers?
A: Based on my extensive lab tests and hands-on experience in real-life settings, the best powered speakers as of now are the Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Speakers Bookshelf.
This pair has an outstanding sound quality and an attractive design that will nicely blend into any room.
If you're willing to pay for more powerful speaker systems that you can use in professional settings, then go for the PRORECK Club 3000 12-Inch 4000 Watt DJ/Powered PA Speaker System Combo Set.
Q: What is a shelf powered speaker?
A: "Shelf powered speaker" stands for "bookshelf powered speaker."
Does this mean that you need to place this speaker on a bookshelf? No, not really.
It's just a common way of letting you know that these are not too big and that you can get creative with their placement strategy.
Its lightweight design allows it to stand on a table, shelf, or similar surfaces. Due to their size, you can fit them in pretty much any small or medium-sized space.
Bookshelf speakers aren't tailored to stand on the floor or outdoors, or they could get damaged.
Q: What are the best sounding PA speakers?
A: The Behringer Eurolive B210D Active 200-Watt 2-Way PA Speaker System takes the top position as the best sounding PA speaker.
Another good choice is the Club 3000. Its performance came second only to the Eurolive B210D that is more affordable. But if you want to obtain premium audio quality and deep bass, you can't go wrong with the PRORECK Club 3000 12-Inch 4000 Watt DJ/Powered PA Speaker System Combo Set.
Q: Are Behringer powered speakers any good?
A: Yes, Behringer powered speakers are a great choice for excellent sound!
That's why one of their models, Behringer Eurolive B210D Active 200-Watt 2-Way PA System, made it to my top list of powered speakers.
Since you're reading this, it's safe to assume that you're interested in buying a Behringer power speaker. My recommendation is the Eurolive B210D.
Before you get this one, ask yourself: Is the primary use of your speaker going to be parties? Will you keep it outdoors? Are you in favor of powerful bass?
If the answers are "Yes," then this audio system will serve you well.
On the other hand, in case you're looking for powered speakers to keep in your room, it might be better to search elsewhere than this Behringer model. It's quite large, and it isn't suited for indoor use.
Based on hours of testing and evaluating speakers, I've decided to crown the Edifier R1700BT the best powered speaker overall.
This one exceeded my expectations on numerous fronts.
It can be difficult to find a speaker that can pull out any genre, from danceable 60s and rock and roll to techno and jazz instrumentals, equally well.
I can comfortably say that my top pick will fit any occasion that requires high-fidelity audio reproduction. Plus, it doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
Let me know which of these powered speakers you will use to listen to your favorite tracks. See you in the next review!