Bookshelf speakers are incredibly popular. They provide a middle ground between studio monitor style speakers, and speakers which can be used for casual listening.
Many people are in the market for an upgrade on the sound from their games console or home cinema system, but don’t want to spend a fortune. The best bookshelf speakers under $100 may be the answer. We’ve reviewed some of the best cheap options in this article.
The technology used in inexpensive bookshelf speakers has come a long way. The options at this price point (under $100) can actually be pretty high-rated. Don’t expect unbelievable audio clarity and high fidelity, but for decent power and clarity, $100 is plenty.
Top 9 Best Cheap Bookshelf Speakers Under $100
Here are the best cheap (under $100) bookshelf speakers 2019:
- Polk Audio T15
- Edifier R1280T
- Micca MB42X
- Dayton Audio B652-AIR
- Monoprice MP-65RT
- Rockville HD5
- Edifier P12
- Dayton Audio MK402X
- Micca COVO-S
1. Polk Audio T15
The Polk T15 speakers are a very good option for the price. As you might expect, they’re made out of an MDF material that can resist unwanted vibration noises.
The speakers feature a 5.25-inch woofer and 0.75-inch tweeter with a silk/polymer design. The neodymium magnet is something that isn’t always on offer at this price.
These speakers are pretty well-made and come with a mounting slot so you can mount on the wall rather than just sit them on a bookshelf.
- Bass boost at the lower frequencies for listening to low-end sounds.
- They can also be combined with other speakers to create a surround sound system.
- Sturdy build quality and 5-year warranty.
- Their frequency response is not the most balanced. Some frequencies are boosted.
- No mounting hardware – you need to buy it yourself.
- Passive speakers, therefore you need an amp to listen to them.
To sum up, the Polk T15 are certainly worth the money, as they combine affordability with decent sound performance as well as durability. They are not intended for professional use, but they meet the needs of an average user with low budget. They also make a good option if you plan to boost your speakers and turn them into a 5.1 system in the future.
2. Edifier R1280T
The Edifier R1280T are affordable active bookshelf speakers that deliver well-balanced audio performance across the frequency spectrum. Being active speakers, they don’t need an amplifier, this is one less expense to worry about.
Some of the high-quality and modern features include an EQ and remote control for convenience. The build (as with most inexpensive bookshelf speakers) uses MDF panels. These are sturdy, but not too bad when it comes to vibrations. They also help to keep the speakers cheap.
- Good-looking design and solid MDF construction.
- They perform really well at the middle and high frequencies.
- The package includes audio cables and remote control.
- Dual RCA inputs and aux inputs for multiple audio sources and easy connection.
- No need for an amp. These are powered speakers.
- The bass section lacks punch and power.
- No 1/4” or XLR. These are sometimes used for studio connections.
On the whole, the Edifier R1280T are value for the money, considering that you don’t need an amp to power them. It is worth considering pairing them up with a subwoofer if you want a bit more punch in the bass. All in all, they are recommended for anyone looking for a pair of bookshelf speakers with decent sound quality for under 100 dollars.
3. Micca MB42X
The Micca MB42X is a pair of compact speakers featuring a 4-inch carbon fiber woofer and a 0.75-inch silk-dome tweeter.
The reason these speakers are one of the best budget bookshelf speakers is mainly down to the crossover, a feature that was not included in the previous model. The crossover helps with distributing the sound frequencies to the right speakers and this can help with clarity.
These speakers have a minimalist feel to them with a black color and magnetic grill system to fit any decor.
- Sturdy build quality and durability.
- Impressive soundstage and acoustics.
- Decent low and mid frequencies.
- Passive speakers – they require an amplifier to work.
- Frequencies over 16 kHz are not strong.
The Micca MB42X are low-priced speakers that can fill a room with quality sound. However, you should note that an amp is needed to make them work. Also, a better high-end response could improve these speakers.
4. Dayton Audio B652-AIR
The Dayton Audio B652-AIR is a pair of two-way, entry-level speakers that deliver great sound quality and punch considering their price. They come with a large 6.5-inch driver for middle and low frequencies, which is big for low-priced speakers.
Their 1-inch square AMT tweeter is an upgrade compared to the previous model and it really helps these speakers to recreate the high frequencies. The design is simple and versatile.
- Smooth and clear audio performance.
- Their specs (power handling, sensitivity) are close to high end monitor speakers.
- 5-year warranty that ensures durability.
- Passive speakers – you need an amp to make them work.
- Low frequencies under 70 hZ get lost with these speakers.
While the Dayton Audio B652-AIR pair is one of the most affordable options on the market, the audio quality is good, and the low-end punch these provide is a bonus. The sturdy build quality combined and 6.5-inch woofer is a real bonus.
5. Monoprice MP-65RT
The Monoprice MP-65RT are also one of the cheapest choices on this list. However, in this case affordable doesn’t necessarily mean bad, as these entry-level speakers deliver decent sound performance with enough volume output to fill a room.
They feature a large 6.5-inch woofer and a ribbon tweeter, both quite rare for low-budget speakers. It is possible to use them also as surround speakers if you combine them with more speaker units.
- Clear and natural audio performance.
- Ribbon tweeter cuts down on distortion.
- Large woofer to give power in lows and mids.
- 60Hz ~ 20kHz frequency response.
- Passive speakers – you need an amp of some description.
- They don’t perform quite as highly at the high frequencies.
In conclusion, the Monoprice MP-65RT are a decent solution if you are on a really low budget as their sound performance won’t disappoint you. You can also improved on distortion which can occur with some speakers, due to the fact these have a ribbon tweeter.
6. Rockville HD5
The Rockville HD5 are amazingly powerful bookshelf speakers with a built-in amp that allows them to deliver a real punch. The features available at the price are amazing considering these are inexpensive bookshelf speakers. Added extras like USB connections and preset EQs are great.
They have analog and digital inputs, Bluetooth connectivity, and a multicolor LED indicator. These speakers package come complete with a remote control and audio cables.
- Very loud sound performance.
- Powered speakers with a built-in class D amplifier providing loads of power. 150 Watt RMS and 600W max is impressive.
- Variety of inputs (2 aux, coaxial).
- USB input allows you to listen from a memory stick or flash drive.
- Wireless Bluetooth connectivity.
- Bluetooth range could be a little lacking (this depends on how you plan to use the speakers of course).
- Frequency response could be better.
All in all, the Rockville HD5 might be the best inexpensive option on the market right now for power. It’s a surprise to see such good two-way Bluetooth speakers with this loud level. They are certainly a decent option for people who need their versatility of inputs. You don’t need an amp to get the most out of the HD5s either.
7. Edifier P12
This is the second model of Edifier on this list, and its main difference is that this time the set has two passive bookshelf speakers. The Edifier P12 come with 4-inch woofers and 0.75-inch silk dome tweeters that deliver smooth sound performance.
Their design really makes them stand out among their low-priced competitors. Though these speakers are made out of MDF, like most options at this price, the wood finish and the brown color on the side looks more professional than cheap bookshelf speakers.
- Rich sound performance with enhanced low frequencies.
- Bracket built in for mounting to the wall.
- 2 aux inputs.
- Remote control.
- Stylish design with a wood finish.
- Passive speakers – you need an amp to drive them.
- Not amazing at the high-end frequencies.
The Edifier P12 are fine for most people with their audio performance and volume output, but the looks are far better than most competitors. A lot have people have described this as being a cheaper alternative to the Sonos speakers.
8. Dayton Audio MK402X
The Dayton Audio MK402X is a pair of passive bookshelf speakers that has been around for more than a year now and in that time received some good user reviews.
The speakers come with a 4-inch aluminized paper woofer cone and a 0.75-inch soft dome tweeter along with a crossover. These are okay, but not amazing.
Additionally, the Daytons feature proper binding spots that allow you to connect them to a stereo system. Their design is simple and minimal, and they come in plain black color.
- Good response at the low end.
- Warm sound performance.
- Removable grills.
- They might not provide enough volume output for large spaces.
- Passive speakers – you need to use these with an amp.
- Paper cone is decent but not amazing. You could do with upgrading this, in an ideal world.
Overall, the Dayton Audio MK402X is one of the best entry-level options for potential bookshelf speaker buyers. They are good value for money, especially if you can provide the amp to power them. If you want exceptional audio fidelity, the paper cone probably won’t quite provide enough quality.
9. Micca COVO-S
The Micca COVO-S may be the best bookshelf speakers under $100 if you want something compact. Its main advantage is its small size (4 x 5 x 5 inches). These small speakers can fit on any desk, in compact places or even as an alternative to a soundbar.
On the other hand, the compact size has been achieved by putting the tweeter inside the woofer, which has led to it lacking a little in frequency response. A more balanced sound would be a big upgrade. However, for the price, it’s hard to argue with these small speakers.
A concentric driver design means an acoustical center point is created and maintains a coherent crossover region so no gaps in the frequency response.
- Very compact size that can fit on desks or even be portable.
- Clever concentric driver for better acoustics.
- Decent for listening to spoken word and audiobooks as well as podcasts.
- Poor sound performance both on the low and the high end of the spectrum.
- Passive speakers.
- No speaker wire included.
If you are looking for a tiny sound system, the Micca COVO-S could be an option for you. However, if space is not the issue we would recommend you to also check the other options on this list for a more balanced frequency response and better bass and high end sound.
Cheap Bookshelf Speaker FAQs
What is a good frequency response for bookshelf speakers?
Human hearing runs from 40 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Not many bookshelf speakers will have a frequency response that runs as low as this o anything from 60 Hz upwards is decent. 60-20,000 Hz is ideal.
Active vs. Passive Bookshelf Speakers – Which Should I go for?
If you are comfortable running an amplifier or a sound system with a built-in preamp then you can use passive speakers with ease. A lot of the top cheap bookshelf speakers are passive as they don’t have to include the extra components of an active speaker. If you don’t want to mess around with amps, however, active speakers are an ideal choice.
What Can I Use Bookshelf Speakers Under $100 for?
Speakers at this price don’t tend to be good enough for producing music or mixing audio. Instead, they tend to be more suited to listening casually to televisions, music and even games consoles.
It is totally possible to buy a decent pair of bookshelf speakers for under 100 dollars, and you even have many different options to choose from.
It is useful to pay attention at certain specifications of the speakers before you buy them. The most important thing is whether they are powered (active) or they need an amp. If you need to amplify your passive speakers, it will increase the cost, unless you already own one.
To find the best bookshelf speakers for your needs, you should learn a little bit about the features and functionality of these speakers and decide what is most important for your own needs.