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Best budget bookshelf speakers

Which budget bookshelf speaker is best?

Whether you happen to be an audiophile on a budget or are simply looking for the best audio equipment you can get for your budget, finding a quality bookshelf speaker that meets your needs without breaking the bank can be difficult. 

Thankfully, the Klipsch RB-51 II (Pr) 2-Way Bookshelf Speaker will not only vastly improve the quality of your audio entertainment but is also attractive while taking up much less space than a conventional model.

What to know before you buy budget bookshelf speakers

A brief history of bookshelf speakers

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, size mattered when it came to the quality of your home entertainment speakers. Smaller units were incapable of generating decent lower frequencies and thus gained a reputation as being of cheaper quality and cheaper price, while larger speakers that practically filled entire living rooms were prized for their abilities.

Credit for the invention of the bookshelf speaker is generally given to a company known as Acoustic Research founded by American inventor Edgar Villichur and his partner, audio engineer Henry Kloss. Specifically, Villichur created a more stiff and rigid frame that resulted in a smaller design footprint, as well as separating the other driver from the woofer in separate sealed chambers, both of which are now design standards for stereo, even today. 

Initially made popular by increasing levels of urbanization and larger numbers of apartment dwellers in need of compact, hi-fi speaker systems, bookshelf speakers can be used in your home theater outdoors and even on your bookshelf, as originally intended.

Music genres

Sometimes there’s nothing like good old-fashioned rock and roll, while other times you need to cut loose to the latest chart-topping hit. Regardless of your musical tastes, it’s worth considering the kind of audio experience you’re looking to enjoy. For example, an audiophile looking to affordably upgrade their home theater’s stereo setup might have different needs than a professional DJ who needs to stay light and work in multiple venues. 

Some bookshelf speakers are only meant to be used indoors, while others are equipped with an array of features to let you enjoy your favorite content wherever you have power and an internet connection. Check out BestReviews’ buying guide to figure out which model of bookshelf speaker is right for you.

What to look for in quality, budget bookshelf speakers

Weather conditions

Technology and weatherproofing have made considerable progress for putting stereo equipment of any value in an outdoor setting. In fact, some bookshelf speakers are expressly designed to survive the elements while preserving the integrity of the speaker. They do so through the use of innovations like ABS enclosures for vital components and UV-resistant coatings to prevent damage from long-term sunlight exposure. In other words, while you might prefer to have your bookshelf speakers stay outside or in your living room, there’s no reason not to have both options available.


Some people prefer to permanently wire their speakers in place, while others prefer to use Bluetooth technology to easily connect and swap between compatible devices and take music wherever they want. Whatever your preference, it’s always nice to have the option to mount your speakers on the floor, wall or any other desired location while ensuring your audio quality doesn’t diminish. 

Depending on your desired setup, it might be worth investing in a model that’s capable of utilizing both optical and coaxial cables, so you can connect your bookshelf speakers to computers and TVs as well as your preferred mobile devices.


It’s well worth taking the time to examine any warranty for coverage details before finalizing your purchase. Some companies only offer a 1-year warranty on the electronics of your speaker, while offering a 2- to 3-year warranty on the cabinet, woofer and non-electrical components. To avoid any disappointment, make sure that whatever manufacturer you decide to go with offers a sufficient warranty.

How much you can expect to spend on budget bookshelf speakers

Depending on the capabilities desired and construction materials, a budget bookshelf speaker can cost between $42-$200, and sometimes more.

Budget bookshelf speakers FAQ

Can I use a bookshelf speaker for surround sound?

A. While not as great as a purpose-built, bipolar stereo speaker, bookshelf speakers make excellent additional speakers in a surround sound setup or work individually in limited spaces.

Can I connect a bookshelf speaker to my computer?

A. Any Bluetooth-enabled bookshelf speaker can easily connect to your computer, though vintage speakers may require considerable effort to connect.

What are the best budget bookshelf speakers to buy?

Top budget bookshelf speakers

Klipsch RB-51 II (Pr) 2-Way Bookshelf Speaker

What you need to know: An attractive bookshelf speaker that will complement your living room for years to come.

What you’ll love: This unit comes with an Enhanced 1-inch titanium Linear Travel Suspension horn-loaded tweeter, as well as a 5.25-inch high-output Cerametallic woofer. It comes in a black ash wood grain vinyl veneer and with a 1-year warranty.

What you should consider: This unit must be hardwired physically, and users have reported muddy bass with poor clarity.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top budget bookshelf speakers for the money

Dual Electronics LU43PB 3-Way High Performance Outdoor Indoor Speakers

What you need to know: Affordable and versatile bookshelf speakers that work well both indoors and outdoors.

What you’ll love: This unit has components protected by sealed ABS compartments and UV-resistant coatings, as well as 3-Way Component Speakers and 4-inch Woofer, Dual Electronics DBTMA100 Bluetooth Amplifier and a 1-year warranty.

What you should consider: Users have reported the units malfunctioning in extreme weather in as little as 2 years.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Edifier R1280DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

What you need to know: A modern bookshelf that can be connected to a wide range of devices.

What you’ll love: This unit allows Bluetooth connectivity with PCs, Macs, iPhones and Androids and can receive both optical and coaxial cables to connect with both computers and TVs. It comes with a 2-year warranty.

What you should consider: Users have reported issues with background noise as well as blown speakers within months.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Daniel Martin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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