Whether you’re in the market for a small Bluetooth speaker, smart speakers with Amazon Alexa, bookshelf speakers, computer speakers, outdoor speakers or a full sound system, you’ll want to make sure you get the best performance for the money. If you’re thinking about taking your home theater or desktop system to the next level, our picks for the best speakers right now should help.
We’ve highlighted speakers that cost between $50 and around $1,000, including budget TV upgrades such as the Vizio V21. While most of the included systems are powered, you’ll also find passive loudspeakers, such as the Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2, that just need to be paired with a great AV receiver.
Each product highlighted is the best speaker in its particular category and all have great sound. We’ll update this list periodically as we review new products.
Budget Bluetooth speakers are seemingly a dime a dozen, but among the countless options there do lie some gems. The $50 Tribit Stormbox Micro is a compact, portable speaker that offers both waterproofing and excellent bass for its size.
Vizio has a reputation for making great budget equipment and the Vizio V21 is an excellent example. It sounds really good and it’s super easy to set up. It offers Bluetooth, HDMI connectivity and a separate sub, making for exceptional value.
With great sound, a compact size and the option of either Google Assistant or Alexa, the Sonos One reaffirms its place as the best smart speaker for the money and packs a lot of punch for a little speaker.
Elac has been belting out classic, affordable designs ever since its, er, debut in 2015. The Debut 2.0 exemplifies the brand’s appeal to both the budget-conscious and audiophiles. It offers a lively, insightful sound and attractive looks for well under $400.
Want the biggest sound? You’ll need big speakers. The size of the Fluance XL8 towers, and their fit and finish, is unmatched by other speakers at its price. The sound of the XL8F is open and thrilling, but never shrill, and when fed a movie soundtrack these speakers simply zing. They’re no slouch with music either. If you truly want the maximum speaker for your money, the huge Fluance XL8F has no equal.
The Edifier R1280DB offers almost everything you could want in a PC speaker — excellent sound, a range of connections including Bluetooth and a compact footprint — and all for a reasonable $130. It doesn’t offer USB, though, so connect the headphone/line out of your PC to it instead.
The Yamaha YAS-209 is one of the most fully featured soundbars the company has ever offered — especially at the price. With Alexa, HDMI connectivity and a wireless subwoofer, this soundbar doesn’t want for anything. The sound quality is great too.
The Vizio Elevate may have one big gimmick at the core of it, that revolving height speaker, but it also offers sound quality to back up the gee-whizzery. This is a 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos soundbar, with a hefty subwoofer, and its performance is equally thrilling in both movies and music. Add in a bunch of streaming features and you have the best surround system under a grand.