10 Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500 To Buy In 2021 (With Buying Guide)

If you have a small or medium-sized space, finding a bookshelf speaker can be ideal for you if you have the right features in mind. You will delight at how the speaker will transform your listening experience while it sits on the shelf.

Like everything else, bookshelf speakers come in various sizes and types. Therefore, it is wise to research the best speaker option to buy before investing in one. As expected, the market for bookshelf speakers is vibrant, and the task of getting a great speaker can be daunting.

Therefore, we went into the market to find what bookshelf speakers were available. Here are the ten best bookshelf speakers that you should consider buying the next time you are out shopping for one.

Best Bookshelf Speakers Under 500

Best Bookshelf Speakers Under 500 Dollars

1. ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speaker

Your music and cinema experiences can become something you always look forward to with an exceptional speaker. Well, the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speaker comes in handy and transforms such experiences into magical ones.

Appearance

To help keep your surface clean, the speaker has a minimalistic design that is attractive to the eye. Instead of attachment holes, there are hidden magnets that help keep the front panel clean. The speaker is sturdy with a crossover design that makes it brilliant. It also comes in either black or white and has a satin finish for that posh look.

Are you looking for that beautiful bass? 

For a powerful effect, the speaker comes with aluminum woofers that make the frequencies deep and clean. The custom 5-1/4″ woofer works beautifully with the drivers since it also has a vented pole piece and a large magnet to make the sound even more powerful. The ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speaker will captivate you as it reproduces an apparent effect effortlessly.

Unique Driver

The ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speaker is keen to deliver perfection. For this reason, a concentric driver that is tailor-made makes up for a remarkable experience. In addition, the soft dome tweeter also handles powerful effects and gives that harmonic effect that you are always looking for in a speaker.

Base and Feet Design

To increase stability and for that sparkling effect, the speaker has a high-quality base and feet. As a result, the flexibility of the speaker is optimal as you relax in your space. For a compact three-way speaker, the delivery is pure and exceptional.

Pros
  • Custom made driver
  • Budget-friendly
  • Optimal woofers
  • Surround powerful effects
  • Quality design
Cons
  • Quality control can be a challenge
  • Different furniture cabinet

You may also like our guide on Best In-Wall Speakers & Best Floorstanding Speakers.

2. ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 Bookshelf Speakers

Rich sounds are a fantastic way to refresh your listening experience, and ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 Bookshelf Speakers do not disappoint. For a speaker within its price range, the sound performance is optimal.

The Build

For a modern look, the debut speaker is tall and deep. At 25x18x23 cm, the unit is visually pleasing and will improve the look of your shelf space. In addition, the 13 cm bass unit is proof of damping and increases the speaker’s durability. Usually, there are sensitivity problems whenever a speaker is close to the wall. However, for this unit, the bass port stands at the front panel.

Quality Tweeter

Elac has developed a new tweeter for this speaker that transforms listening experiences. The 1″ soft dome tweeter is responsible for significant surround effects. With a 35kHz frequency response, the speaker caters to a wide audio range.

Easy Placement

The bookshelf speaker embraces strength within its cabinets. The cabinets are large and have internal features that improve performance. For example, because bookshelf speakers can experience resonance, you will not experience annoying vibrations.

Woofers and Speakers

The woofer comprises of aramid fiber that gives it a polished feel. Additionally, the fiber helps deliver high-frequency sounds and is excellent at reducing dampness. Complimenting this feature are the center speakers. To ensure you get dynamic effects, Elac has optimized the speakers. The result of this is a speaker that delivers clear sounds and can work well with many amplifiers and AV receivers.

Pros
  • Flexible Placement in Rooms
  • Powerful and clear sounds
  • High-Quality Cabinets
  • Affordable yet powerful
Cons
  • The high-frequency port is at the front
  • Possible interference of magnets around the speakers

3. PSB Alpha P5 Bookshelf Speaker

The PSB Alpha speaker will transform your space as its large sounds offer a clear and crispy sound. We look at some of the features that make it an excellent speaker and addition to your bookshelf.

The Build 

The P5 speaker has an elegant design that will complement your shelf space. The walls are thick, and the finishing is of woodgrain vinyl, giving it that luxurious look. Further, it comes with removable magnetic grilles. The speakers are solid since they have the woofer Overallabove the tweeter for better sound. The bookshelf unit can work even as a surround speaker as it’s powerful with deeper bass. Overall, the P5 speaker delivers very well despite its small size.

Aluminum Tweeter

If you like detail and richness in your sounds, then this anodized tweeter will delight you. Not only does it deliver clear music and sounds, but it also responds well to high frequency. In addition, the high-quality tweeter has a magnet for situations that require high sensitivity. Further, a fluid helps reduce compression and, in turn, offers clarity for a remarkable experience.

Balanced Effects

For a budget-friendly bookshelf unit, this speaker offers balanced, powerful bass. The 5.25″ woofer is excellent for low frequency and helps deliver brilliant sounds. For durability, the woofer has polypropylene material. Further, you can adjust controls by using the rear port for that optimal experience.

Pros
  • High performance for its price
  • Aluminum done tweeter enhances sound
  • Elegant design that will complement your space
  • Balanced Sound
  • Clarity with minimal distortion
Cons
  • The rear port is small
  • Relatively costly

4. Klipsch RP-150M Bookshelf Speaker

The first glimpse of this bookshelf is an impressive one. Well, this is not to cover up for anything. The Klipsch speaker is an outstanding unit that will improve your sound experience since it comes with brilliant features.

Elegant Design

The speaker comes with an appealing ceremetallic woofer that will entirely change the aesthetics of your home. Further, the design of the drivers is top-notch and minimizes the breakup of the unit. Its design is also keen to deliver a lightweight unit that will not break your shelf.

Additionally, there is a tractrix horn design that provides high-frequency sounds. The unit has rubber components around the horn, which enhance sound clarity. The Tractrix has a port that allows air within the cabinet and produces immaculate sounds, and the MDF cabinets are also well polished and have a veneer baffle finish.

Titanium Tweeter

There is a linear travel suspension tweeter at the core of this unit, which means that you will experience excellent performance with clear and crispy sounds. The highs are clean and not sharp, making the speaker a perfect addition for anyone. You can adjust controls for your space, as the bass is powerful.

Magnetic Grilles

As with the best speakers, the Klipsch bookshelf unit has removable grilles. The grilles not only help improve the speaker’s appearance but also produce high-frequency sounds. If you are looking for an engaging experience, you will appreciate the high frequency.

Pros
  • Linear Travel Suspension Tweeter
  • Improves clarity
  • Deep bass and powerful effects
  • Elegant Design and Tractrix Horn
  • Able to build a home theatre system by just adding subwoofers
Cons
  • It can be overpowering for some users

5. Audioengine A5+ (Plus) Powered speaker

The influential bookshelf unit makes it to the list for it is versatile yet simple. With brilliant quality and outstanding features, this speaker will enrich your experience.

Powered Speakers

The Audio Engine are great speakers with 5″ woofers that produce rich sounds. It comes with an amplifier, which is a dual class-AB monolithic whose effect fills the room. Audioengine has come up with an all-inclusive system. The speakers deliver warm results as one system removing the need for numerous receivers.

Versatile

The engineers of the speaker realize the importance of the unit being compatible with any device, which is why the unit has mini jackpot inputs and RCA. Further, it comes with cables and variable preamps outputs, and a USB power port for charging.

You will find a wide range of devices that can work well with this speaker. So whether it’s for your TV, desktop, DVD player, or your analog unit, the speaker will complement it.

Clear and Powerful Sounds

The way the Audioengine speaker produces its sounds transforms your music. You will feel the warmth of the high-quality speaker that ensures the mid and high sounds are apparent. The low-end frequencies are smooth, and the overall effect is harmonic.

The speakers can play loud if you after that and you can add other effects through it. Moreover, this unit is easy to set up as it does not need a receiver, apps, or networks for you to enjoy its performance.

Pros
  • Works with many devices
  • Has built-in amplifiers
  • MDF cabinets are aesthetic and wood built
  • Magnetically shielded
  • Powerful and offers clarity.
Cons
  • You need a subwoofer if you want powerful bass
  • Relatively costly

6. Polk Audio RTI A3 Bookshelf Speakers

If you are an avid music listener, you will love the Polk Audio RTI A3 Bookshelf Speakers. The unit improves the look of your bookshelf and has an incredible sound.

The Design

Polk Audio RTI A3 unit comes as a pair of MDF fibreboard speakers that make it great for your bookshelf. For the size, the units measure 14.4 by 14.8 and thus occupy considerable space for superior sound.

On the backside of the speaker are five-way binding posts, which are gold plated. The unit also has two ports, one at the front and the other at the back, to improve clarity. The curved cabinet enhances the speaker’s flexibility. Overall, the build is stable with an elegant style brought about by the finishing.

Superior Sound

Polk did not disappoint when making this unit. The 6.5-inch woofer rests beautifully at the front, and the woofer is in a rubber compartment that enhances the surrounding effects. Additionally, the silk tweeter performs well and has a cooling fluid. For a bookshelf unit, the speakers do not compromise on the frequency response range since it stretches from 40HZ to 27000 HZ, which makes the bass even more powerful.

PowerPort Technology

Keen to deliver excellent quality, Polk has used PowerPort technology at the mouth of the port. For this, the unit gathers air and directs it reducing air disturbance. The result is a crisp sound that the Dynamic balance driver enhances.

Pros
  • Wide frequency response
  • ferrofluid cooling
  • Incorporates Power Port Technology
  • A versatile unit
  • Produces superior sounds
Cons
  • Occupies a lot of space for a bookshelf unit
  • A bit heavy

7. Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

The Edifier R2000DB Speakers is a unit that uses Bluetooth connectivity to enhance your listening experience. As such, you can seamlessly connect to any of your blue-tooth enabled devices and enjoy your favorite tracks.

Great Sound System

The shelf uni sits in a wooden enclosure that helps reduce resonance. Whether you want it for your home theatre or to enhance your gaming experience, the speakers have brilliant performance as they elevate sounds well. Optical and RCA inputs enable you to connect multiple devices and complement the Bluetooth function.

Further, the tweeters help clear sounds and measure 25mm. You can listen to sounds with minimal distortion, brought about by the Dynamic Range Control. There is also the use of Digital Signal processing which helps enhance audio for a remarkable experience.

Elegant design 

For suitable addition to your bookshelf, the Edifier nit has a superb piano finish. The speaker is elegantly done and appears modern and appealing to the eye. In addition, there is no much clutter from the unit, making it an excellent addition to your living space.

Dual Controls

To bring about convenience, the speaker has two control features. You can either use the wireless control or use the side panel. For adjustments, there are functions for your volume, the bass, and treble to the preferred setting for that optimal experience. In addition, there are easy connections through optical cable and dual RCA AUX cable within the unit.

Pros
  • Easy connectivity
  • Versatile for gaming or music
  • Uses Dynamic Range Control to minimize distortion
  • Produces superior sounds
  • Has dual controls
Cons
  • The remote control can have technical issues.

8. Triangle Borea BR03 Hi-Fi Bookshelf Speakers

The intense speaker will impress you with its sound quality. In addition, you will love the improvement that the speakers bring as they have exciting features that make them an ideal unit.

Impressive Sounds

The unit is keen on details and delivers high-quality sound. For smooth listening, the speakers eliminate lag, and you can thus enjoy your music excellently. In addition, the harmonic balance makes the speakers stand out among many other brands.

You can listen to powerful highs and, at the same time, hear clear lows. Overall, the speakers deliver the best sound qualities for your favorite music, and you will get value for your money.

Modern Design

The compact units will beautify your space as the finishing is of excellent standards. The design is compact yet stylish, with the unit fitting in a room from 15-30m2. The speakers can work perfectly for your stand and complement sounds with the dynamic effects they have. Interestingly, the bookshelf unit handles power well without being shy about delivering bashful and highly energetic tones.

EFS Tweeter

The Efficient Flow System tweeter improves the performance highly. In addition, you will be able to receive great sounds regardless of where you are, as the high-frequency diffusion from the tweeter is explicitly made for this.

A unique feature of the unit is the paper membrane. As a result, the speaker delivers a midrange that sounds naturally realistic. Further, there is brilliant tonality that you will enjoy.

Pros
  • EFS drivers that enhance performance
  • Great for dedicated listeners due to its compact design
  • Delivers powerful bass and clear sounds
  • Wide frequency response
  • Enhances tonality
Cons
  • Relatively pricey

9. Q Acoustics 3030i Bookshelf Speaker

A speaker that meets style and functionality is ideal for an avid listener. Well, this unit plays both roles. By producing powerful sounds and having excellent details, you can obtain an incredible listening experience.

Elegant style

The Q Acoustics 3030i Bookshelf Speaker is a unit that is appealing to the eye with modern finishes. It comes in an English Walnut color makes up for its attractive design.

The drivers also have a chrome finish surrounding them, which makes them aesthetically pleasing—further, the units have magnetic grilles to complete the look. The Q Acoustics 3030i Bookshelf Speaker has custom-made stands, which help place the speakers in a great location in your living space and improve stability.

Clear Sound

To deliver sound free from distortion, the speakers have an excellent motor and a mid/ bass driver. There is also the 25 mm tweeter that does not produce vibrations. You will enjoy low-frequency sounds through this dynamic unit. To elevate your music, the speaker has a powerful high frequency with tonality for mid-range.

High-End Technology

Q Acoustics 3030i Bookshelf Speaker embraces P2P computer-aided. The P2P technology plays a critical role with regard to cabinet enclosures; hence, you will enjoy accurate sounds that are clean from your living space without using other devices to cater for the resonance.

Pros
  • Powerful Sounds and deep bass
  • Option of custom made stands
  • Great bass driver
  • Have magnetic grilles
  • Precise and accurate sounds without resonance
Cons
  • The speakers are relatively costly
  • It can seem a bit heavy

10. Klipsch RB-61 II Reference Series Bookshelf Loudspeakers

Klipsch does an excellent job when it comes to bookshelf speakers, and this unit shows that. The design and components make up for a fantastic speaker that fits the bill.

Tractrix Horn Technology

To be able to produce clear sounds, the Klipsch RB-61 speaker bears a tractrix horn design. As a result, you do not need to dig deep to enjoy seamless music. Instead, the effect of the Tractrix Horn minimizes distortion and allows for air distribution. The result is stunning and clear music.

Simple Design

One of the features that this unit has is its neutral design. The unit will complement your decor effortlessly as its appeal is not so busy for a bookshelf speaker. Instead, it embraces a wood vinyl veneer that is black and gives it a polished look.

The small size is also a great benefit, as it will perfectly fit your space. In addition, with significant Surround Effects, the speaker sounds will fill your room as it produces refreshing sounds that go beyond its limits.

Powerful Sounds

To stay at the top of the game, the speaker has a frequency response of 45

Hz-24kHz. It does not require much power to produce dynamic sounds and is an excellent addition to your living space. Further, it has a ceremetallic cone subwoofer that enhances the delivery of sounds and a titanium diaphragm for compression.

The Klipsch RB -61 remains true to its course, delivering pure and natural sounds. If you are looking for a dynamic unit and one that celebrates powerful tones, this speaker beautifully does so.

Pros
  • Delivers powerful sounds
  • Quality Design
  • Small minimalistic size
  • Produces accurate and precise sounds
Cons
  • It measures 35.3 pounds which are relatively heavy for a bookshelf speaker

Best Bookshelf Speakers Buying Guide

This guide will help you precise your requirements before you go ahead and buy any bookshelf speaker for under 500 dollars.

best bookshelf speakers buying guide

What are Bookshelf Speakers?

Compact speaker units can be placed in any small space like a shelf or a mantle. They have a separate amplifier housed in their enclosure and draw little power. They are therefore called passive speakers. Active speakers are Bluetooth and wi-fi speakers. Choosing a bookshelf speaker is a no-brainer if you prefer listening to music from analog and digital sources. 

These speakers are suitable as stand-alone speakers. Or even when combined with subwoofers. They are small but have a good bass effect. 

How To Choose Best Bookshelf Speakers under $500?

Since you have a clear budget in the mind – it is easy to select across any category or criteria. But there are some factors which we’d prefer you to consider.

  • Size and Style of speakers-

Bookshelf speakers are designed to complement the aesthetics and interiors of a room. Some speakers stand out for their design and there are some which have a standard design and can be used for computers.

Size – Large size doesn’t necessarily equate with better quality of sounds. It generally means higher volume. Small speakers are easy to place and move around, while large speakers are, well, large.

  • Wired or Wireless-

The question is simple, what is your preference? A wired speaker or a wireless one. This question not only defines the convenience of use but also the quality of the output sound.

Wired speakers are connected to a stereo amp using a speaker wire. The amp is responsible for the power that is needed to play music. It also directs audio signals towards speakers. They are messed up with wires, but with a separate amplifier, they sound better too. Amplifiers add a boost to the sound. Active speakers are mostly wired speakers.

Wireless speakers on the other hand have internal amps. They just need to be connected to a power supply and boom they work. They are incredibly convenient. They have an option to get connected to other equipment like a turntable. Passive speakers generally require an external amp. 

  • Sound Quality of the bookshelf speakers

Bookshelf speakers have an extremely high quality of output. A speaker set has to be badly made to have poor sound. The small size of bookshelf speakers restricts the drivers it is composed of. It only has a circular speaker in the front that creates the sound. Commonly they comprise two tweeters and an all-in-one driver. An all-in-one driver handles all ranges between mid to bass. They need added support for thumping bass but are decent as everyday bass speakers.

Most wired and wireless speakers connect well to subwoofers that can be added for additional bass.

  • Amp matching with speakers

This is a need when selecting a wired bookshelf speaker. The amp has to be tuned and matched to send an adequate amount of power to the speakers.  Anything which is not sufficient damages the speaker and/or the sound quality. When you select a speaker, look for amp power watt input and output. Match what the amplifiers output with what the speakers need to input.

  • Sensitivity, volume and output sound

Sensitivity is what answers ‘how loud a speaker is going to be.’ It is measured in decibels per milliwatt of power. Or how much sound does the speaker let out for every measure of power? A speaker under 86dB is a low-sounding speaker; a speaker in the range of 87-95 dB is average; anything above is loud. This is a measure of how loud your speaker is going to be.

FAQs About Bookshelf Speakers:

  • How many bookshelf speakers do we need?

Most commonly, bookshelf speakers come in pairs and are used as such. For those looking for a more powerful sound, invest in a sub-woofer. So it is safe to say that one is enough. If you are looking for a home theatre-based setup, you may invest in two sets of bookshelf speakers. 

  • Who should invest in a bookshelf speaker?

Those looking for a complete and satisfying sound for various music or sound needs should invest in one. These speakers stand the test of time and seldom become obsolete. You can always upgrade them with the latest amplifiers to have a budget and fantastic sounding bookshelf speakers. Bookshelf speakers are great at delivering vocal dynamics and background sounds as well. 

  • Are bookshelf speakers good for front speakers?

Bookshelf speakers have all-range drivers and are effective in a home theatre setup. Individually you might want to pair them up with a subwoofer to increase the bass. One can use them as front speakers if they are correctly placed and set up.

  • Are bookshelf speakers better than Floorstanders?

Floorstanders are larger. Size doesn’t necessarily equate to the quality of sound output. It does impact the volume, though. Some floor-standing speakers have better sound dynamics as compared to bookshelf speakers. However, bookshelf speakers have excellent mid-range and clarity. So one is not necessarily better than the other.

  • Do bookshelf speakers have good bass?

They have average to workable bass. They excel in midrange sounds and vocal quality. They are not designed to be primary bass speakers but more of an overall everyday speaker. To make the bookshelf speakers have more powerful and effective bass, one needs to invest in a good sub-woofer.

Bottom Line

If all you are looking for is a bookshelf speaker that sounds good, then there is a wide array of options in the market. However, it would help if you select a speaker that thrives in performance, size, clarity, connectivity, appearance, and technology. To meet value for money, you should be keen to look at speakers that deliver quality for your hard-earned money.

Be keen to check out warranty and other requirements such as the need to purchase extra cables before purchase. Our list entails exceptional units for your bookshelf and is versatile to the different needs of various customers.

The speaker that stood out for us is the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speaker. Its features and price will fit the needs of different users since it also doesn’t compromise on its sound qualities. We also commend the brand, Elac, since it delivers top-notch speakers that transform listening experiences wildly. Thankfully, this speaker has a custom-made tweeter that will elevate your music and movies by leaps.

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