Updated October 2021
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Buying guide for Best audio towers

When you spend a lot for a superior audio system, shouldn’t you have some way to show it off? One of the best ways to keep the various components accessible and safe is with an audio tower.

Audio towers have a variety of shelves to house not just amplifiers, CD players, and other audio components, but also video components such as DVD players, gaming consoles, and TVs or monitors. They also are an excellent way to organize elements of a home theater system.

Our guide includes everything you need to know to select the best audio tower for your audio/video system. In addition to materials, and styles, we cover drawers, cable management systems, and shelving. We examine the various sizes, the benefits and downsides of open and closed towers, and look at the range of price points. 

If you have the space for it, buy a larger tower than you think you need. This will provide you with room to grow your system in the future.

Key considerations


Audio towers come in a variety of sizes, and the perfect one for you depends on a number of factors. If you have a simple audio setup or if space is an issue, a smaller audio tower will probably better meet your needs. If you have a larger system with more components, a bigger tower is the way to go if you have the room for it.

Audio towers generally range from 30 to 48 inches tall, with width and depth typically in the 18- to 24-inch range. Before you decide on an audio tower, measure your existing space to verify that it will fit.

Weight capacity

Be sure to take note of the weight capacity of your chosen audio tower’s shelves, particularly if your sound system is heavy. The weight capacity for the shelves typically ranges from 30 to 60 pounds, although some towers only provide an overall weight limit for the whole tower. Use your bathroom scale to weigh the larger components, and check with the tower’s manufacturer if you have any questions about its weight limit.

Open vs. closed

Audio towers typically come with open or closed shelving, and both have their benefits.

Open towers generally provide more space than closed towers and are a great choice for holding oversize components. You can better access the technology, and for those with an expensive system, there is no better way to show it off.

Closed towers provide better protection and security for your audio components. A closed tower has a more uniform appearance and is a great way to cut down on dust accumulating on your components.


Audio towers come in a range of different styles, from simple contemporary designs to more traditional models. They are made of steel or wood, and some are available in finishes that provide you with color choices, commonly black or white. Give some thought to the décor of the room before selecting an audio tower based on its style.


You will probably have to assemble your audio tower, which can take a few minutes to a couple of hours. We recommend reading through the assembly instructions completely before beginning. Make sure that you received all the hardware and have any tools that you need on hand.

Did You Know?
An audio tower that includes adjustable shelving provides you with a wide range of options in terms of positioning components and adding new ones.



Audio towers are typically constructed largely of metal, wood, or some combination of the two. Shelving and doors are often glass.

Metal: While inexpensive audio towers may incorporate aluminum in their design, steel is much more common, particularly in support structures like legs. A powder-coated finish on metal provides added protection against corrosion.

Wood: An audio tower made of wood, such as oak, has a warmer look than metal and can blend in with a variety of decorative styles. Painted particle board is also common and is often used for shelving.

Glass: Some audio tower shelves and doors are made of tempered glass, which is stronger and safer than standard glass. In addition to clear glass, you’ll often find frosted, smoked, and even colored glass.

Tower elements

Shelves: Audio towers have anywhere from two to five shelves. The more shelves, the more options you have to organize and hold your audio equipment.

Take note of the space between the shelves, which is generally between 7 and 9 inches. This is particularly important if your audio equipment is large. Some audio towers have adjustable shelves that can be easily moved up or down to better fit your needs.

Drawers: While less common, some audio towers include drawers so you can conveniently store headphones, remotes, or other audio/video media or accessories.

Feet: Some audio towers have feet, which are a better option if you don’t plan to move the tower very often. A big feature here is levelers, which you can use to level the tower to cut down on vibrations. This is particularly important if your flooring is uneven.

Casters: Some audio towers have casters, making the unit much more mobile so it’s easier to move around the room or out from the wall to adjust a cable or clean behind it. If you choose casters, be sure they lock.

Cable management

Combine enough audio components and you will soon face a common problem: what to do with all the cables. Audio towers typically have some way of managing cables to cut down on clutter. This is usually achieved with holes in the back of the tower or through the sides or legs of the unit.

Did You Know?
Audio towers are also known as audio cabinets, audio racks, and AV towers.

Audio tower prices

Inexpensive: Audio towers that cost less than $100 tend to be all metal and have an open design. The weight capacity of the shelves is typically pretty low, often no more than 30 pounds. Towers in this range are usually geared toward small audio systems and those with fewer components.

Mid-range: More of the audio towers in the $100 to $200 range are made of wood (often particle board) and glass. These towers can be either closed or open, with shelves capable of holding up to 50 or 60 pounds.

Expensive: Audiophiles with extensive audio/video systems can find much to love in the $200 and up range. These audio towers are strong, stable, and durable. You can find more artistic designs here, often incorporating hardwoods such as walnut or oak. Individual shelves in this range are generally rated to hold larger components, with the overall tower capable of supporting much more weight than inexpensive options.

Did you Know?
Don’t have an audio system? An audio tower can also be put to other uses, including holding plants, pictures, collectibles, or books.


  • Don’t stack your audio components. While it might be tempting, you should never stack audio or video components one on top of the other. This practice can lead to improper ventilation and overheating, which can affect sound and video quality.
  • Make sure the tower provides adequate ventilation. If your audio tower has doors, make sure there are vents or other design elements to help dissipate heat.
  • Check the cable management system. If you plan on adding multiple components to your audio tower, go with one that uses a cable management system in the back of the unit instead of through the sides or legs. Systems in the back usually provide more room for numerous cables.
  • Choose glass doors if you use a remote. If you can’t live without your audio remote and plan to purchase a closed audio tower, be sure the doors are glass rather than wood. Wood can block IR signals.
  • Choose a wedge. If space is very limited, go with an audio tower designed in a wedge shape that can easily slip into a corner and out of the way.
If you want to highlight your audio components, CD cases, or other items on an audio tower, choose a tower that has a plain black finish.


Q. How will I know if an audio tower can hold all my components?

A. Your best bet before purchasing an audio tower is to inventory your components. Map it all out on paper, adding each component to a shelf to give you an idea of the number of shelves you need. Be sure to measure and weigh all your components too, so that you know what size and weight capacity the shelves should be.

Q. I have pets and children. What special features or other elements should I consider before buying an audio tower?

A. Both pets and children are notoriously curious and providing them with access to your audio components is not the best idea. You’d be better off choosing a closed audio tower that keeps paws and little fingers away from delicate equipment and limits the temptation to climb the tower. An audio tower with a robust cable management system can also keep wires out of curious hands and mouths and cut down on tripping hazards. If the audio tower doesn’t include a locking mechanism, you might want to secure it with a childproof lock.

Q. Can I put a TV on top of one of these towers?

A. This varies depending on both the audio tower and the weight of the television. Some towers are stable enough that they won’t easily tip over and sturdy enough that they can handle the extra weight of a TV on top. Other audio towers stipulate that you not put a television or other large component on top. Definitely check with the manufacturer before purchasing an audio tower with this application in mind. You should also add a safety strap to your budget for added security.

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