Bookshelf speakers are by far the most preferred type of speakers due to their size and functionality. The best models, however, are quite expensive.
But having a tight budget doesn’t mean you can’t experience quality sound. Surprisingly, cheaper bookshelf speakers still do offer quite a lot.
We’ve reviewed and put together the top 5 speakers under $300 to help you find the most suitable product.
While all 5 sets of speakers are worth buying, these are our top 3 recommendations:
We’ve described all of the products with their features and weighed up their pros and cons.
What really puts the R2000DB at the top of the list is their versatility. The speakers are ideal for a gaming setup, a small home theater system, or simply listening to music. They’re even loud enough for a dance party.
We really liked their sound quality, which is a league above other models in the same price bracket. The pure, detailed sound offers a satisfying music experience to casual listeners and audiophiles alike.
The speakers are relatively lightweight, so they’re easy to move around. Plus, they definitely feel better than what you would initially expect.
They come with a wireless remote control which is a pretty convenient addition.
The best overall bookshelf speakers under 300 are the Edifier R2000DB due to their versatility and ease of use.
Polk Audio is a brand that’s known for its reliability. So we knew we couldn’t go wrong with the Polk Audio Signature S15. The S15 speakers are somewhat similar to the RTi A3, as the models have the same tweeters and connection points.
We found the S15 to really excel in terms of build quality, especially in this price range. The vinyl covering and glossy finish give them a semi-premium feel.
The bookshelf speaker pair is also super sturdy and doesn’t excessively vibrate. This, by the way, positively affects their performance.
Speaking of which, there’s no problem in the sound department either. The audio is appropriately balanced and crystal clear.
Overall, they do offer a surround sound experience. So the model is quite suitable for a small home theater and undemanding listeners.
They come with adhesive rubber feet, grilles, and a wall-mount template.
The best durable bookshelf speakers under 300 are the Polk Signature S15 due to their excellent construction and full range sound.
The Cambridge Audio SX-50 currently have the lowest price on this list. Still, we were really impressed with what they have to offer.
If we’re talking looks, there isn’t anything out of the ordinary. Cambridge chose to go with a super simple design. The bookshelf speaker pair is relatively compact and well-built.
The sound quality, on the other hand, is unparalleled in their specific price range. We found them to be surprisingly powerful yet controlled. The delivery of high-end sounds is distinct and the notes are clean with minimal distortion.
So for an audiophile that’s on a budget, these are ideal. They’re also suitable for a small computer or home theater setup.
The speakers come with adhesive feet, grilles, and foam port inserts.
The bookshelf speakers with best value under 300 are the Cambridge Audio SX-50 due to their high quality audio and traditional look.
Since the company’s emergence in 2006, Q Acoustics has built quite a reputation. The 3020 definitely uphold — if not improve — the company’s name.
We really liked the style of the speakers. The 3020 are super compact and come in different appealing finishes.
It’s pretty clear that there’s logic behind the design of the bookshelf speaker pair. The structure is fully solid and made from high-quality materials.
We found them to do an exceptional job for their size and price. The vocals are prominent and the highs are detailed.
Overall, the 3020 are perfect bookshelf speakers for home listening in small rooms.
They come with magnetic grills, port bungs, and rubber grips.
The best bookshelf speakers for small rooms under 300 are the Q Acoustics 3020 because of their well-thought-out design and rich audio.
Klipsch has been around for a long, long time. The R-51M speakers are one of the models that received the most positive feedback.
What makes the R-51M so popular is their aesthetically pleasing design, which was the first thing we noticed as well. We noticed that they looked quite similar to the Klipsch RB-61.
The design is a mixture of a modern and classy look. The copper woofers over the front complement the grey bodies really well.
We also found the speakers to be somewhat large but well-built. The cabinet design felt pretty sturdy.
The R-51M sound pretty impressive as well. The audio is crystal clear and they definitely offer a bit of punch. The highs are perfectly accurate.
They come with self-adhesive rubber feet and grilles.
The bookshelf speakers with best design under 300 are the Klipsch R-51M due to their retro look and great sound.
While the list above may have narrowed down your options, choosing a bookshelf speaker pair is still a daunting task.
To help you choose the model that’s suitable for you, here are the aspects you need to be considering:
When referring to amplification, speakers are generally categorized into two categories: active and passive. Powered speakers are a part of the first category.
But how exactly are these categories different?
To put it simply, active (and powered) speakers have a built-in amplifier. Passive speakers don’t.
If you don’t feel like going through the process of matching your speakers to an amplifier, we suggest getting an active model. The amplifiers and drivers in active models are already built to work with each other.
However, passive speakers allow you to change the amplifier instead of having to replace the whole thing. If you want to have more room for upgrades, passive models may be better for you.
The design of a speaker pair is often overlooked by people. In reality, it’s a pretty important aspect to consider.
Speakers that look out of place can ruin the impression of an entire room.
As speakers now come in various colours and finishes, it’s really not that hard to match them with your home interior.
If you plan to use them in the living room, perhaps look into speakers with furniture-grade finishing. On the other hand, if you need desktop speakers, a minimalistic design would suffice.
It’s pretty obvious that you need to match the dimensions of a speaker with where you plan to fit them.
But another thing that you need to consider is the size of the speaker in relation to your room.
The features of a room can be an issue as they directly affect the sound quality.
Large speakers aren’t suitable for small rooms. The bass can get a bit too much which affects the clarity of sounds.
Similarly, small speakers sound weak in large rooms.
It’s best to measure your room beforehand to know whether a model of speakers would get the space it needs.
Before you even think about buying a product, you need to know how much you’re willing to spend.
Once you’ve decided, make sure you don’t end up going over your budget. It’s much better going for a product that’s cheaper but has all of the features you may need.
And if you plan to buy passive speakers, don’t forget to include all of the gear that is needed in audio setups. Speakers that are connected to a low-quality amplifier are only going to disappoint you, even if they’re one of the best models.
Hence, set a budget for the entire system and spend accordingly.
If you look at the specifications of any model of speakers, you’ll find its power output or recommended power range.
But what does that range mean?
The lower number tells you the minimum wattage a model needs to work, and the higher number indicates the maximum wattage a model can take without getting damage.
You need to take the power rating into account when matching your speaker with a suitable amplifier.
If you connect your speaker with an amplifier that’s too weak, you may end up permanently damaging it.
The frequency response of a speaker refers to the range of frequencies it can reproduce.
In simpler terms, this frequency range can tell you how heavy the bass is going to be. So if you’re looking for heavy bass, go for the speakers that can reproduce lower audio frequencies.
And if you’re looking for a rich sound experience, go for the speakers that offer a wider range of frequencies.
But don’t get the wrong idea. This range of frequencies doesn’t correlate with how well the sounds are reproduced, which is entirely different.
The sensitivity is another important rating that you need to know about.
It refers to how efficiently a set of speakers can convert power into volume. More sensitive speakers are noticeably louder, despite the same level of power being supplied.
How is this important?
You can use this rating to figure out how loud a speaker pair can get. And based on the volume you need, you’ll know which model is more suitable.
While you can find affordable bookshelf speakers on the market, most of them do cost quite a lot.
The price of bookshelf speakers mainly depends on their construction and branding.
As you go up the ladder of prices, the build quality of speakers massively improves. They’re perfectly engineered and heavily tested to make sure they meet expectations.
These speakers are generally stiffer. This is why they sound even better and in turn, come with a bigger price tag.
The actual position of a speaker pair is up to you, but there are a few tips you can follow.
First of all, make sure the tweeters, whether they are soft dome or metal dome, are at ear-level. A simple way to do this would be to place your speakers on stands or mount them on the wall.
After that, angle your speakers inwards, so that they face the listening position. This will ensure optimal performance.
Lastly, make sure the speakers aren’t too close to the walls or the windows. We advise a distance of at least 50cm between a wall and the speakers. This improves mid-range sounds.
A subwoofer can pretty much be placed anywhere on the floor without an issue. The best location will depend on the characteristics of your room, so you’ll have to experiment.
Subwoofers are most commonly placed in the front of a room so they don’t sound isolated. On the other hand, they can also be placed in the corner of a room to make them sound louder.
It all really comes down to personal preference.
Bookshelf speakers offer a satisfying experience in a relatively small package. All of them come with their own benefits, so choosing one definitely wasn’t easy.
But our winner is the feature-packed Edifier R2000DB, thanks to their superb audio and ease of use. They offer an incredibly full sound experience due to their wide frequency range.
The speaker pair can be used for several purposes at once, so we definitely recommend getting them for yourself.