Audio can make all the difference when it comes to your home theater system.
But to get the best possible equipment that elevates not just your movie or Netflix watching experience but also captures all the highs and lows of your favorite music genres, you need to get your hands on a great set of bookshelf speakers.
But what is “great” and how much should you spend to get it?
Examining bookshelf speakers in the $300-$500 category is an excellent place to begin your search. If you think you might want a full bookshelf stereo system and not just the speaker, we have an excellent post on those.
This price range offers a good balance of quality, features and affordability – there is something for everyone in our lineup!
Quick Answer: 9 Top Bookshelf Speakers Under $500
- Edifier S2000 PRO Bookshelf Speakers – Top Pick
- ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Bookshelf Speakers – Runner-Up
- Edifier S1000DB Bookshelf Speakers
- Klipsch R-51PM Bookshelf Speaker
- Edifier R2000DB Bookshelf Speaker
- Yamaha NS-333 Bookshelf Speakers
- Klipsch RP-150M
- Bose 301-V
- Q Acoustics 3020i
All of the bookshelf speakers mentioned in the list above come under $500 but that doesn’t mean that they are all the same in terms of construction, features or even the exact price.
In this section, we will be concentrating a little more on each of the options mentioned above, so that you can come out with a better understanding of what the different bookshelf speakers on this list have to offer.
Along with the main features of each of the speakers, you will be able to look at the main advantages and drawbacks associated with each of these – so keep reading!
The Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500 In 2020
1. Edifier S2000 PRO Bookshelf Speaker Review
- USES HIGH-END AUDIOPHILE COMPONENTS - Built with flat diaphragm tweeters and 5.5 inch woofers, the S2000pro represents the top of the line powered speakers for home or studio use
- BLUETOOTH WIRELESS - Bluetooth 4.0 support with aptX decoder makes playing high fidelity audio from your mobile devices at ease.
Edifier is known for creating some of the best audio equipment and as you may have noticed in the list mentioned above, it has taken up three of the nine spots available — a cool one-third of the best bookshelf speakers in the under $500 category!
The most sophisticated of these is the Edifier S2000PRO Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers, which combine the company’s penchant for innovation in terms of technology with a superior design. The black components are complemented well by the wooden accents, which is somewhat a theme for this category of speakers. However, if all your other entertainment system components are black, this product may stand out.
These are powered bookshelf speakers with one Class D amplifier sending out 50 watts per channel to the aluminum cone woofers, along with 12 watts per channel for the 1-inch tweeters.
You get to choose from a wide range of connections that are made possible with this set of speakers, including Bluetooth, optical as well as coaxial inputs. There are manual controls on the speakers, but the company also provides you with a remote control for greater accessibility.
- While this is on the higher end of the price spectrum, these speakers offer great value for money because of the mind-blowing performance that they are capable of delivering.
- The design is fairly impressive, bringing together elements of both the modern sleekness and traditional wooden accents, which translate into a complete treat for the eyes.
- The product allows for a wide range of connections including Bluetooth and RCA inputs/output, which makes it very convenient to use.
- A remote control is included for those of you who prefer to control things by hand.
- In order to get the best possible performance out of your speakers, you may be required to play around with the different EQ modes, which can be a little confusing for newbies.
- These speakers do not support Bluetooth True Wireless Stereo (TWS), which can cut down a little on the conveni
2. ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Bookshelf Speaker Review
- New tweeter with Wide-dispersion waveguide
- New Woven Aramid-Fiber woofer. Sensitivity: 87db at 2.83v/1m
- New cabinets for easier placement
The next option in the bookshelf speakers below $500 category is the new set of bookshelf speakers from ELAC, a company with close to a hundred years of experience in the field.
The B6.2 speakers come under the German brand’s relatively new Debut series that offers a wide range of audio equipment. These particular bookshelf speakers are compact and relatively small when compared to the others, weighing just over 15 pounds. They come in one simply designed finish – black ash – and are fitted with a black grille, which makes it compatible with most other similar appliances that you probably have in your house.
The sound quality offered by the speakers is what will really impress you, as the company has incorporated all the popular features of the previous series and given them an upgrade. The woofers are woven and made up of aramid-fiber, which allows for the delivery of a distortion-free and crisp bass. The waveguide in the tweeters allows for better imaging and wider dispersion, which can otherwise be an issue if the tweeters are small.
- The sound quality that you get is fairly impressive, especially with these speakers coming out on the lower end of the price spectrum.
- The design is simple and compact, with the speakers weighing just over 15 pounds. This allows for portability and relative ease of use.
- The company has made significant improvements to the former products to come with the ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Bookshelf Speakers.
- Even though the tweeters are relatively small, they allow for wider dispersion because of the included waveguide.
- Ideally, for the features that the company is offering with this model, a slighter cheaper price tag would have been more preferable.
- There aren’t many color options or different finishes available with the ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Bookshelf Speakers, which can restrict its aesthetic appeal.
3. Edifier S1000DB Bookshelf Speaker Review
- BLUETOOTH 4.0 aptX connectivity – Stream high quality sound wirelessly with minimal loss
- OPTICAL / COAXIAL and AUX inputs - Attach the professional studio speakers to multiple sources at the same time
The second set of Edifier bookshelf speakers to make it to this list is the Edifier S1000DB Audiophile Active Bookshelf Speakers. Built with the classic two-way design, these speakers have two forward-facing drivers that face slightly upwards so that the low frequencies and high frequencies come to you at a similar time.
There is one 5.5-inch woofer, along with a one-inch titanium dome tweeter. As this is an active speaker, you do not have to worry about buying a separate amplifier to use with the speakers. You can choose between a wide range of connection options, which includes the regular 3.5mm AUX and RCA analog inputs along with optical/coaxial digital inputs. If you are looking for speakers that are Bluetooth enabled, the Edifier S1000DB falls in this category.
With an above average frequency response range of 48 Hz to 20 kHz, these speakers have a peak power handling capacity of about 120 watts. Overall, with a sophisticated wood and black finish and thin grills, this is a good looking set of speakers. The remote control is a welcome addition.
- These are one of the most impressive looking speakers on this list, especially if you are looking for something with wooden accents and a sleek build.
- You get to choose between a wide range of connectivity options, which is a definite advantage when it comes to the more advanced speakers.
- As these are active speakers, you do not have to worry about getting separate amplifiers to pair with them. Instead, the in-built ones will be able to do the job.
- The speakers come with a 2-year warranty offered by the company.
- The Bluetooth connection can sometimes act up, taking away from one of the biggest advantages of opting for this product.
- If you are one of those audiophiles who prefer to listen to their music at very high volumes, the sound quality may disappoint you to a certain extent.
4. Klipsch R-51PM Review
- Powered monitor
- Bluetooth wireless technology
- Phono/line analog (with switch and ground screw terminal)
Most people living in smaller apartments face issues when they try to come up with audio solutions for the limited amount of space they have, but the Klipsch R-51PM Powered Bluetooth Speaker can prove to be the ideal pick for limited spaces because of the compact size and powerful performance when it comes to sound.
The construction of these speakers has a modern appeal to it with an all-black body and copper accents that can easily make the speakers a conversational starter.
When it comes to the inputs supported by these speakers — in addition to being Bluetooth enabled — there is a USB for linkages with computers, optical for TVs, a 3.5mm aux, phono or line input for a turntable, as well as a sub out in case you are looking to augment the sound quality with the addition of an affordable subwoofer.
- If you enjoy listening to music or watching movies at high volumes and don’t want that jarring distortion, these are a great option.
- These speakers use Bluetooth wireless technology, which means you can control what is playing from the palm of your hand (through a smartphone or tablet).
- With the help of the Dynamic Bass EQ feature, these Klipsch speakers will be able to give you a deep and powerful bass response regardless of the volume that you are at.
- You can mount these on a wall or keep them on any other elevated surface, depending on what your personal preference is.
- These are some of the most expensive speakers on this list, so it may not be ideal for everyone’s budgets.
- If you are planning to use these as TV speakers, they will turn on with the setup but not get switched off automatically when the rest of the devices are turned off.
5. Edifier R2000DB Review
- BLUETOOTH CONNECTION - Pair your phone, tablet or computer for a true hassle free wireless experience, perfect for any iOS, Android, MacOS or Windows device.
- OPTICAL INPUT - Enjoy lossless digital connection from your TV, TV Box, DVD/blu-ray player, receiver, HTPC, computer or gaming consoles such as Xbox and Playstation.
The final Edifier speaker on this list is the Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers. Like many of the other bookshelf speakers that have made it to this list, the R2000DBs also have a Bluetooth connectivity feature, which allows you to link them with any of your Bluetooth-enabled devices and control easily.
In addition to this, they come with optical input that can be used to connect many other devices with a digital output to the speakers. There are also two aux inputs, which means you can have two different devices plugged in at one time.
The R2000DB are active speakers, which means that you do not need to get in a separate amplifier to get the best performance out of them. There is an in-built amplifier with 120 watts RMS power. Suitable for use with home theater systems, gaming consoles, TVs and more, these speakers can also be controlled with the remote control that is included in the packaging.
- The speakers come fitted with the company’s newly developed Eagle Eye tweeters that allow for crisp and clear reproductions of even the lowest of sounds.
- The speakers allow for a great degree of versatility as devices can be connected through optical and RCA input. It is also Bluetooth enabled.
- If you want to plug in more than one device with the speakers, this may be the speaker for you.
- There is no need to purchase a separate amplifier as each speaker comes with an in-built 120-watt amplifier.
- The sound quality cannot match the clarity offered by some of the more advanced options on this list.
- The speakers can come across as slightly bulky when compared to the more compact bookshelf speakers that are available in the market currently.
6. Yamaha NS-333 Bookshelf Speaker Review
- 5 inch PMD cone woofer and 1 inch aluminum dome tweeter in each speaker
- Waveguide horns reduce reflected sound while directing more sound waves to your ears
- 60 watts nominal power; 150 watts music power
If you are looking for a product that comes out on the lower end of this price spectrum, the Yamaha NS-333 2-Way Bass Reflex Bookshelf Speakers are surely worth a shot.
The speakers are constructed with a 5-inch PMD cone woofer as well as a 1-inch aluminum dome tweeter. The waveguide horns help in reducing the amount of reflected sound, which can otherwise lead to some amount of distortion. The main problem with these speakers is that you may have to invest in some additional power in order to get the best performance out of this set.
With these speakers, you can be assured of highs that have a touch of freshness and great detail. The midrange is smooth as well, but the lower mids and bass can get a little disappointing. However, for the price that you are paying for these speakers, the overall extension is pretty impressive.
- These Yamaha bookshelf speakers are beautifully designed but they won’t take away from the other centers of attraction in your room as they are built to blend in seamlessly.
- The sound produced is crisp, with great attention to the details in the notes.
- The Yamaha NS-333 speakers also boast of good bass extension and dynamics.
- The speakers are small enough to be portable but large enough to give you impressive sound quality.
- The speakers need good quality power to be able to give you their best possible performance.
- There is some scope for improvement in the lower mids and bass, which prevents these speakers from reaching their highest potential.
7. Klipsch RP-150M Review
- 1" Linear Travel Suspension Titanium Tweeter
- 5.25" Spun Copper Cerametallic Cone Woofer
- 90x90 Hybrid Tractrix Horn
This is the second Klipsch product to make it to the list and there is a lot going for this high quality product, including its price, which is well within the $500 range.
These speakers have most of the more advanced features offered by the company, including the Hybrid Tractrix Horn technology that improves its overall frequency response.
The speakers are made up of a 5.25-inch spun copper cerametallic cone woofer along with a one-inch travel suspension titanium tweeter. If your ultimate aim is to achieve sounds that are clean and natural but also high resolution, this Klipsch bookshelf speaker is a great option.
- The 90×90 Hybrid Tractrix Horn technology ensures that you get a high-frequency experience without the annoying reverb that is common for cheaper speakers.
- The overall build of the speakers is sturdy yet good to look at, which is a difficult combination to achieve in most cases.
- These speakers offer impeccable sound from the top to the bottom of the spectrum.
- The Klipsch bookshelf speakers are complete value for money when you look at the price and the features.
- Weighing close to 20 pounds, this is not the lightest option when it comes to bookshelf speakers.
- The sound produced can be a little lacking for larger rooms, as the size of the speakers is not the largest available.
8. Bose 301-V Bookshelf Speaker Review
- Horizontal design fits easily on bookshelves. Spatial Dispersion speaker lens creates a smoother high frequency spatial response and wider distribution of sound
- Exceptional performance as front left and right speakers in a home theater (best matched with BOSE VCS 10 Center Channel and BOSE 161 Surround Speakers)
Bose is one of the biggest names in the speaker industry but a lot of lists miss out on this when it comes to bookshelf speakers. That isn’t the case here, as the use of Bose’s advanced technology makes the Bose 301-V Stereo Loudspeakers a great option for people who don’t want the conventional type of bookshelf speakers but still want to maintain great audio quality and a good sound profile.
The unique horizontal design of these speakers makes them ideal for any setup location. In addition to this, it is one of the safest speakers to use because of the great automatic circuitry protection offered by the company.
- These speakers offer a great deal of versatility in use, as they are equally good on their own and as a part of an overall system like the home theater you have at home.
- The design of these speakers is very different from the conventional bookshelf speakers and more in line with the modern aesthetic.
- The patented Direct/Reflecting speaker technology is able to give you an experience that can be compared to a scaled down version of a concert hall.
- The construction of the speakers leaves a little to be desired when it comes to the higher tones of the spectrum.
- When compared with some of the other options on this list, the dynamic range can seem a little underwhelming, especially for the price that you are paying.
9. Q Acoustics 3020i Review
- Award-winning design heritage to shelf or stand mount to fit seamlessly into your chosen listening room, Larger cabinet increased cabinet volume from previous models delivering a larger scale sound...
- P2PTM bracing - helps keep the enclosure extra quiet through computer aided placement of internal bracing, Uses a 22mm decoupled High Frequency Driver with wide surround creating a wide even...
The last option on this list is the Q Acoustics 3020i, a big improvement on the company’s 3020 speakers that were released earlier. These speakers can be kept on a bookshelf or mounted on a stand.
The main improvement comes in the high-end, where the sound is more refined when compared to the slightly brittle highs produced by the older version. There has been a marked improvement in the bass and low-end as well.
The main issue, however, is that you can get some additional features and more impressive performance with some of the other options on this list, for example, the ELAC speakers.
- This is one of the best looking models in this price range, so if the aesthetic appeal is a big factor for you, this may be a good option to keep in mind.
- These bookshelf speakers are built to be compact, which makes them ideal for smaller rooms or people who have some space constraints.
- The treble is impressive, a great step up from the previous models in the same range by the manufacturer.
- The speakers can prove to be great value for money if you are looking for good but small speakers.
- There are other product that will be able to offer you some more advanced features for the same price range.
- While this isn’t exactly a new brand, it is not as well known as some of the others on this list.
What to Expect from a $300-$500 Bookshelf Speaker
If you are looking for a pair of bookshelf speakers that will be able to give you a powerful performance and still not throw your budget completely out of order, you have found yourself at the right place.
Bookshelf speakers are available in a number of different budgets, ranging from the under $200, under $300, under $1000 to even above $1,000. The speaker that you buy for $60 will not give you the same performance as a $900 one, so here we will delve into greater detail about what you can expect from bookshelf speakers in the under $500 range.
Room Size and Acoustics
Not all speakers perform the same way in different setups. The size of your room plays a big role in determining how effective your speakers are going to be. For example, if you opt for a speaker that costs less than $500, it may be best suited for a small or medium-sized room.
This isn’t a blanket assumption, there are a lot of factors that come into play here, for example, the size of the speakers and the number of things you have in the room. Large pieces of furniture, uncovered walls, rugs or carpets can end up absorbing some of the sounds that will be emitted from the speakers.
If you are looking to choose from some of the better-known brands in the speaker market, there are a large number of options that come under this price category. While there is no hard and fast rule that speakers from one particular company will always be the best option for you, these companies have made a name for themselves for good reason — constant innovation, great service and more.
If you haven’t tried out a lot of bookshelf speakers and want to invest in a good quality one, most of the options on this list are manufactured under brand names with years of experience in the field.
Wireless integration is one of the basic requirements for most people these days, as it is extremely convenient for you to control all the functions of the speakers through your smartphone or tablet.
While there are many bookshelf speakers under $200 that don’t give you Bluetooth features and wireless connectivity, as you move higher to the $500 category, most of the more sophisticated speakers come with this feature and give you the chance to control the functionality without actually pressing any buttons.
Passive or Active Speakers
Most bookshelf speakers are usually passive, which means that they need an external amplifier for the best possible performance. On the other hand, active or self-powered bookshelf speakers are the ones that come with their own power amps built into the system.
In most cases, there are two different amps, one for the woofer and another for the tweeter. All you need to do is attach an audio feed, either in the form of a mini-jack from the smartphone that you are using, or the main line out if you are using the A/V receiver.
Wattage and Impedance
Wattage is an important consideration when you are purchasing bookshelf speakers, especially the ones that need to be matched with power amps as they don’t have their own in-built amps. You need to ensure that the wattage of your speakers is compatible with the amplifiers if you want them to produce the best possible audio.
Another factor that needs to be given due attention is the impedance of the speakers, as that can also help you determine whether or not you need to employ a separate amplifier.
Bookshelf Speakers Under $500 – This Could Be The Sweet Spot!
With a $500 budget, you will be able to take a look at some of the more popular pair of speaker options from most well-known brands that manufacture bookshelf speakers but the final decision needs to be based on your personal requirements.
Overall, this price range hits that sweet spot between affordable speakers with excellent build quality and great performance, so there is literally something for everyone to choose from!
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Simon is a music lover, musical instrument player and passionate audio afficionado. When he is not playing the guitar or listening to music he is either eating tacos or snoring too loudly.