When you’re looking for a great bookshelf speaker, often the requirements are pretty simple.
You want a small and compact speaker that provides a great sound output.
Yet bookshelf speakers can be used for a number of purposes and, audiophile or not, looking into all the technical specifications can get overwhelming…
If you don’t have time for trawling through pages of internet text describing different specifications and you just want to find the best powered bookshelf speaker to suit your needs, we’ve got you covered!
This guide to powered bookshelf speakers contains everything you need to know to make an informed choice.
Quick List: Top 10 Powered Bookshelf Speakers
- Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers
- Wohome Bookshelf Speakers – Least Expensive
- Edifier S1000MKII Audiophile Active Bookshelf 2.0 Speakers
- Audioengine A5+ 150W Wireless Powered Bookshelf Speakers
- Kanto YU6 Powered Bookshelf Speakers
- Micca PB42X Powered Bookshelf Speakers
- Klipsch R-15M Bookshelf Speaker (Pair)
- Swans Speakers – M200MKII Wifi
- Swan Speakers – T200C – Luxurious 2.0 Powered Bookshelf Speakers
- Dali Oberon 1 Bookshelf Speakers in Dark Walnut (Pair) – Most Expensive
Researching Powered Bookshelf Speakers
Whilst researching powered bookshelf speakers, we made sure to take into account a number of key criteria. Bookshelf speakers can have multiple purposes, from acting as part of a home cinema or for connecting up to other speakers to stream music. Consequently, they require different specifications and the options chosen in our list reflect that.
Bookshelf speakers, compared to tower speakers, are generally smaller in size, but can still pack in an incredible amount of sound. Whilst all the speakers in this list offer a great sound quality and volume level, we have made sure to include a range of speakers to suit different budgets and different sound preferences. Generally, those speakers with a higher sound quality with come with a higher price but we’ve included some real bargains in this guide too.
There are a number of additional features that we have made sure to point out throughout this guide- for example, the inclusion of Bluetooth, ease of set-up and ease of use.
Of course, it is important that bookshelf speakers not only sound great but look great too. Whilst researching, we made sure to pick several different styles of speakers as well as speakers of different sizes. Some sizes are more subtle and might be more suited to tucking away on a shelf. Others are larger and ideal for displaying at the center of a room.
The Best Powered Bookshelf Speakers in 2020
1. Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers
Kicking off this guide with a powered bookshelf speaker that really packs a punch, the Edifier R1290T really has a lot to offer.
✔️ What we like: Great value for money
❌ What we don’t like: Sound lacking in the high end
- Easy to use
- High-quality wood finish
- Simple controls
- High-quality bass
- 2 AUX cables
For just under $100, the Edifier R1290T is certainly great value for money. It offers a very high-quality of sound particularly in the bass. Though you might not be able to hear all of the nuances at the higher end of the spectrum, the sound quality that this speakers offer is well above their price point. If you’re looking for a powered bookshelf speaker that really amplifies your music and brings a room to life, the Edifier R1290T is undoubtedly a great option.
Not only does the Edifier R1290T sound great but it is incredibly easy to set up and equally easy to use. With 2 AUX cables, you can connect the speakers to up to two devices at once. The remote control allows you to change music quickly and the controls on the side of the speaker itself allow you to adjust treble and bass levels.
The wooden finish of the Edifier R1290T adds a stylish and natural look that is sure to complement any room. If you are a fan of the retro look, these speakers will definitely be for you. What’s more, the Edifier R1290T is sturdy, resistant to scuffs or scratches and is made of a material that adds yet another high-quality touch to these affordable speakers.
2. Wohome Bookshelf Speakers – Least Expensive
The Wohome Bookshelf Speakers offer many of the great features of the Edifier R1290T with the additional inclusion of high-quality Bluetooth.
✔️ What we like: Affordable, Bluetooth incorporated option
❌ What we don’t like: Difficult to switch from Bluetooth to other connection modes
- Enhanced dialogue technology
- USB and AUX input
- Strong bass
If you are looking for an affordable bookshelf speaker that also includes Bluetooth for easy streaming, you can’t go wrong with the Wohome. Though it can be difficult to switch between connection modes- from Bluetooth to AUX or USB and so on- for a price of less than $90, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue for many customers.
Not only does the Wohome offer a versatile range of connectivity options but it also includes a number of other features that make it really great value for money. One of these features is the enhanced dialogue technology which is ideal if you are looking to use your powered bookshelf speakers with a TV or home cinema.
The sound quality of the Wohome is good across the entire range and offers a particularly strong sound in the bass. This is great, again, if you are looking to use the speakers with a TV or, of course, when listening to music with a heavy bass.
If you like the wooden finish of the Edifier R1290T, you will definitely appreciate the appearance of the Wohome. It is a lighter wooden color but appears equally high-quality with a sleek black interface and MDF coating. This MDF is also part of what enables the speaker to really amplify sound.
3. Edifier S1000MKII Audiophile Active Bookshelf 2.0 Speakers
Since Edifier are so widely renowned for making great quality speakers, we just had to include another powered bookshelf speaker from them. The Edifier S1000MKII is ideal if you have a higher budget and are looking for a truly standout sound quality.
✔️ What we like: Consistently high sound quality.
❌ What we don’t like: Very heavy
- Remote control
- Varied connectivity options
- Striking, modern design
- High-quality Bluetooth
Even on first glance, it is difficult not to be impressed by the Edifier S1000MKII. Taking the wooden finish from the Edifier R1280T and adding a uniquely curved shape, the Edifier S1000MKII perfectly strikes the balance between the vintage bookshelf speakers and the modern. It would definitely make a talking point in any home.
It is fairly heavy which means it can be a little more difficult to set up and you won’t be able to move it around very often… but since it looks so great, we doubt you would want to move it anyway!
For around $350, it goes without saying that the sound the Edifier S1000MKII provides is of an incredibly high quality. If you are looking for a powered bookshelf speaker which will allow you to enjoy every detail of your music as much as the next, this is an amazing option to go for.
The Edifier S1000MKII offers a huge number of connectivity options. Not only can you stream using the latest Bluetooth technology but you easily can connect this speaker to a number of devices at once. This is perfect if you are looking to use your bookshelf speaker in a home cinema but really this compact and powerful speaker is ideal for use with any device, from computers to mobile phones. It also has a highly effective remote control.
4. Audioengine A5+ 150W Wireless Powered Bookshelf Speakers
While the Audioengine A5+ is certainly not suited for everyone’s budget, at around $570, there are definitely a number of reasons why this speaker has won so many awards. If you are looking to splash out a little more, you should certainly take a look at this one.
✔️ What we like: Incredible sound quality with DAC integrated
❌ What we don’t like: Bright LED light
- Highest quality Bluetooth
- Unparalleled volume capacity
- 3 beautiful designs
- Compact size
- Remote control included
The Audioengine A5+ comes in three stunning designs- white, black and bamboo. Though appearance is definitely not the most important feature of any speaker, this speaker is definitely one that you would be proud to display and that is significant.
The only fault we could find with the Audioengine A5+ is that it incorporates a fairly bright LED light which some users find irritating. However, this is a very minor issue… The Audioengine A5+ really is an all-round great quality, powered bookshelf speaker.
The Audioengine A5+ really goes to show that the sound quality of a bookshelf speaker system can match any other type of speaker. Despite the very compact size of the Audioengine A5+, it puts out an impressive 150 watts.
At every volume, you can expect a really crisp sound across the entire range. Every component of the Audioengine A5+ has been included with sound optimization in mind. Though there are a number of components we could point to, the most significant is the 24bit DAC. A DAC converts a digital signal to an analogue one and what this practically means is that you are able to enjoy the highest quality of sound when streaming from your phone or laptop.
This speaker also offers the highest quality Bluetooth of the speakers we have looked at so far, with a range of up to 30 feet. This makes it easy to stream from your phone as you carry out your daily tasks. The Audioengine A5+ is definitely a speaker that will change your entire experience of listening to music.
5. Kanto YU6 Powered Bookshelf Speakers
Kanto is another big name in the world of audio products and for good reason. If you’re looking for a speaker that looks and sounds impressive but you aren’t drawn to any of the options we have explored so far, you can get yourself a Kanto YU6 for around $450.
✔️ What we like: Range of visually striking designs
❌ What we don’t like: Not highest quality of bass
- High-quality Bluetooth
- Great connectivity options
- Power saving mode
- Remote control
Though the Kanto YU6 does not offer quite the same quality of bass as some of the other speakers in our list, it is a strong contender in terms of sound quality in the mid and high end of the range. If you have a subwoofer that you could hook the Kanto YU6 up to then this is no issue but, even if not, you will most likely be perfectly satisfied with the bass quality of the Kanto YU6.
The Kanto YU6 is very widely compatible. It can work well with both with modern devices as well as vinyl turntables making this great speaker for vinyl. What’s more, it has an awesome, fast Bluetooth connection and a highly effective remote control that can be used to control everything about the speaker. You don’t need to worry about turning the speaker off, though, since it’s unique power-saving mode will activate if you don’t use the speaker for a long while. This is a real lifesaver if you are someone who tends to forget that your speaker is on as you get swept away with something else at home.
It is the appearance of the Kanto YU6 that really sets it apart. If you are looking for a powered bookshelf speaker that will make a really attractive centerpiece to your home audio system, definitely check the Kanto YU6 out. It comes in 6 beautiful colors- from matte black to gloss red. We recommend the matte white for a modern, stylish look.
6. Micca PB42X Powered Bookshelf Speakers
If the speakers we have considered so far are above your budget and you’re actually just looking for a powered bookshelf speaker that does what it supposed to, that produces a great sound, the Micca PB42X is sure to please.
✔️ What we like: Simple design and high-quality sound
❌ What we don’t like: Not best suited for larger spaces
- Easy to use
- Clear sound across the range
- Very compact size
Whilst people often look for bookshelf speakers with awesome, stylish appearances, others think that bookshelf speakers should be heard more than seen. If you are looking for a no-fuss, powered bookshelf speaker that can blend in to any room seamlessly, the Micca PB42X is ideal. It is made of a nice black material and, at only 6.5 x 5.8 x 9.5 inches, it can easily fit into any nook or cranny. It isn’t flash or shiny but it does exactly what a great powered bookshelf speaker is suppposed to.
The sound quality that this small speaker puts out is super impressive. Whilst they cannot offer a sound to fill the largest of spaces, they can certainly fill most rooms with a great sound. The Micca PB42X offers an incredibly precise sound, whether you are using it to watch a TV show or listen to a piece of music.
The Micca PB42X is super easy to use, with output/input cables and a number of stereo jacks. If you’re looking for a small set of speakers that you can easily set up with a desktop computer, the Micca PB42X are a great choice. What’s more, you can get a set of Micca PB42X speakers for around $120.
7. Klipsch R-15M Bookshelf Speaker (Pair)
If you’re on a budget but don’t want to compromise on sound quality the Klipsch R-15M is a great option.
✔️ What we like: High-quality sound at an affordable price
❌ What we don’t like: The audible sound switch between the horn and woofer
- Striking design
- Incredible tweeters
- High-quality woofer
- Horn technology
If you heard the sound that the Klipsch R-15M produces before knowing its price tag, you would likely place it as far more expensive than it is. At around $180, the Klipsch R-15M offers a sound quality that is comparable to many more expensive models.
Klipsch is a brand that has been creating speakers for years and this shows. From the IMF woofers that prevent distortion to the notably high quality tweeters, you can certainly expect to enjoy an enhanced music experience with these.
The Klipsch R-15M also contains the Tractrix horn technology that Klipsch speakers are known for. This adds real depth to the sound that the speaker puts out and also allows you to reach those higher volumes without compromising on sound quality. Some audiophiles note that being able to slightly hear the switch between the speaker’s use of the horn and woofer is a little irritating. However, most users won’t notice or be bothered by this.
The Klipsch R-15M offers a simple, minimalist design that is both easy to use and aesthetically pleasing. The black wooden finish is really nice and would blend into any background and yet the classic Klipsch inclusion of copper adds a really edge.
8. Swans Speakers – M200MKII Wifi
An incredible option at the middle of our price range is the Swan M200MKII. For around $300, you can purchase a pair of speakers with not only a classic look but a classic sound too.
✔️ What we like: Visual design looks great as well as working to enhance sound
❌ What we don’t like: Less compact than other options
- Varied connectivity options
- 5.25 inch woofer
- Remote control
- Very durable
It is immediately obvious that the Swan M200MKII is an incredibly well designed speaker system. With thick, sloping panels of high-quality wood, the Swan M200MKI has a really timeless look. This acute design, in actual fact, works not only to aid the visuals of the speakers but to optimize the sound they can produce. Part of the reason why the Swan M200MKI offers such a high-quality sound is that this design ensures that it is braced against distortion and will not wear over time. It also directs the sound upwards to where you need it most.
The Swan M200MKII includes a 5.25 inch woofer that enables an incredible quality of bass but sound quality is just as crisp throughout the entire range. If you are looking to invest in a speaker that you will enjoy for a great number of years, this is definitely one to consider. As well as its sloping design, the Swan M200MKII includes a fiber screen to protect the driver and sturdy, high-quality materials.
The only thing to bear in mind is that if you are looking for a speaker that you can use in a small space or move around, this wont be the best option. It’s sturdy design makes it a little larger than some of the options on out list.
The Swan M200MKII is not only Bluetooth enabled but offers a huge variety of connection methods and is even WiFi enabled.
9. Swan Speakers – T200C – Luxurious 2.0 Powered Bookshelf Speakers
If you have a high budget and are looking from a step up from even the Swan M200MKI, the Swan T200C might be for you. At around $400, the sound quality of the Swan Speakers – T200C is, needless to say, incredible but it is the striking design that also attracts many people to choose it.
✔️ What we like: Standout design
❌ What we don’t like: Remote control isn’t the easiest to use
- High-quality Bluetooth
- Incredible sound
- Great volume control
When you’re looking at a speaker and the only bad thing about it is that the buttons on the remote control can be a little stiff to press, you know that you’re looking at a truly standout option. The Swan T200C is incredibly well constructed with a design that is both visually striking and unique as well as being optimized to create an incredible sound.
Like the Swan M200MKI, the Swan T200C has an acute design that works to direct sound to where you need it most. It has long-throw 5.25 inch woofers that create a truly powerful bass and a great driver design that ensures no distortion.
Despite its intricate design and high-quality components, the Swan T200C is incredibly easy to set up and use. It is a slightly more compact option which makes it ideal if you are looking for a speaker to use with a computer or in a small space on a shelf. It also has the latest Bluetooth technology incorporated as well as easy to use controls. The Swan T200C allows you to adjust volume to exactly as you want it, which is great if you are looking to use your powered bookshelf speaker for a number of different purposes.
10. Dali Oberon 1 Bookshelf Speakers in Dark Walnut (Pair) – Most Expensive
The DALI Oberon 1 are the most expensive powered bookshelf speakers on our list and certainly wont suit every buyer’s budget. However, if you are looking for the very highest quality speakers and you’re willing to spend extra to get it, the DALI Oberon 1 really does have a lot to offer.
✔️ What we like: Practically unparalleled sound quality
❌ What we don’t like: The most expensive option
- Large tweeters
- Light and compact
- 4 great designs
Where to start with the Dali Oberon 1? These speakers combine so many of the great details that we have explored so far as well as contributing their own incredible, unique features.
Despite being the most expensive option on our list, if you choose to splash out you definitely wont be disappointed since the sound quality truly makes these speakers great value for money. Not only do they have woofers that are ready to power the most intense bass but they also have larger than average tweeters that really convey the high ends of sound in impeccable detail.
What’s more, unlike some of the other options on our list, they are capable of producing a volume to fill even larger rooms.
At just 10.8″ x 6.4″ x 9.2″ and weighing just 16 ounces, the Dali Oberon 1 is perfect if you are looking for a versatile bookshelf speaker that can be placed exactly where you need it. The Dali Oberon 1 comes in four beautiful designs- white, dark walnut, black ash and light oak- each bringing that special element of style to a room. They’re sturdy, scratch resistant and very clearly a high end bookshelf speaker– a definite conversation piece in your home.
A Guide To Choosing Powered Bookshelf Speakers
Powered VS Passive Speakers
The first thing to ensure you look into when choosing a powered bookshelf speaker is that it is, in fact, powered rather than passive. Passive bookshelf speakers require a separate power amplifier to operate and ensuring that you buy a speaker that is powered will save you having to buy other equipment as well. All the speakers included in our list are powered so if you use this guide, you won’t have to read too extensively into this if you don’t want to.
Sound Quality And Budget
There is a balance to be struck between getting a speaker with a great sound quality that suits you and one that fits your budget. Of course, with unlimited budgets, we would all be likely to go for the best powered bookshelf speaker money can buy. However, when you do have a budget to stick to, it is still definitely possible to get a high-quality bookshelf speaker.
We have made sure to include several great, affordable options. If you are on a tighter budget, take a look at the Edifier R1280T, the Wohome or the Klipsch. If you are looking for a speaker at mid-price range but with a surprisingly superior quality of sound, check out the Swan M200MKII. If you want to splash out on a more expensive speaker, you can’t go wrong with the Dali Oberon 1.
Spend some time weighing up the options throughout the guide. Whilst they all provide a very decent quality of sound, you might decide that you want to invest in a slightly more expensive option that will really enhance your listening experience for years to come.
If you know which type of sound you want to optimize with your speakers, you should also take into account the specific technical details of the sound quality that is offered. For example, if you are looking to play a lot of bass, the Edifier R1290T will be a great option for you. If, on the other hand, you are more concerned with tweeter quality, take a look at the Klipsch R-15M.
Of course, when you’re looking at buying a bookshelf speaker, you’ll likely want something that’s going to complement the overall décor of your room. Look into the structures and finishes of these speakers and see which suits you best. Many of these speakers offer lovely wooden designs- from the natural light wood of the Wohome to the warm, dark finish of the Dali Oberon 1.
If you’re looking for a speaker that will blend well into any room, the black designs of the Klipsch R-15M and Micca are nice. If, on the other hand, you want a bookshelf speaker that makes more of a statement, the Kanto YU6 comes in a range of striking colors including gloss red.
If you want to get your speakers up off the ground, there are some quality speaker stands on the market that would be worth looking at.
The most well designed powered bookshelf speaker for you will depend on the space you are looking to put it in. If you are looking for a really compact option, for example, take a look at the Micca PB42X or Dali Oberon 1. If you want something larger to form part of a home cinema, check out the Swan M200MKII.
It can also be important, of course, to look at which devices you are going to use your powered speaker with. Many of the options in our list are Bluetooth enabled and the Audioengine A5+ offers the highest quality of Bluetooth. If you are looking for a WiFi enabled speaker, consider the Swans Speakers – M200MKII.
Many of these speakers allow you to connect to a huge range of devices and even multiple devices at once so take a look at the details of this when you know exactly what you are looking for. Similarly, consider whether the use of a remote control is important to you since we have included a number of the speakers in our list that offer this.
Powered Bookshelf Speakers For Every Budget
These days, powered bookshelf speakers are an essential addition to any home audio system.
There are so many factors to consider and so many technical specifications to read through…
With this thorough guide, however, the process of finding the right powered bookshelf speaker will no longer be time-consuming or stressful.
With options to suit every budget, every style of room and every sound preference, we’re sure you’ll find the perfect bookshelf speaker to take your listening experience to the next level.
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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.