Since not everyone has the space, the money and the opportunity to buy and install huge floor standing speakers at home, smaller sized, bookshelf speakers have been popular and are still among the most popular type of speakers being offered on the market.
These more compact speakers are designed to fit in smaller spaces. They can be placed on shelves, on a table, desk, and stand, and are often used as computer or gaming speakers as well as for home theaters, and music listening.
But just like with any other technology, the price range of these speakers can vary from low to sky-high.
We have carefully selected the best bookshelf speakers for under $200 for 2020 for you, to make your choice easier, if you have a limited budget, but still want to enjoy the best sound possible for the money you will be spending.
The best overall
If you are looking for a combination of the best sound and exceptional performance with a reasonable price tag, then the Polk Audio Monitor 40 Series II bookshelf speakers could be one of the best options you can find on the market for 2020.
These bookshelf speakers under $200 are part of the bestselling monitor series by Polk Audio, and each one is equipped with a 1-inch dynamic balance dome tweeter and two 5 ¼ inch dynamic balance woofers.
The result is a premium quality, powerful 2-way clear and crisp sound of up to 125 watts.
This pair of high-quality, affordable bookshelf speakers are perfect additions to your immersive home theater sound system, or for a 3D sound in any room of your home or office.
The size of each speaker is 15 ¾ (H) x 13 1/8 (D) x 7 1/16 (W) inches, and it comes in an elegant and stylish black oak vinyl finish.
This is a superb set of bookshelf speakers under 200 dollars suitable for medium or small-sized rooms.
- 125 watts
- Part of the famous Polk Monitor series
- Offer a lifelike 3 dimensional surround immersive listening experience
- A beautiful design
- A very attractive price for the value offered
The Klipsch R-41M Powerful Detailed bookshelf speakers are an amazing pair of speakers for home use, which come at a surprisingly affordable price.
Each of these premium quality speakers has a 4 inch spun copper IMG woofer, as well as a 1inch aluminum LTS tweeter with a high-end 90×90 Tractrix Horn.
The two can handle up to 200 watts of power and have an extended high-frequency response, which is the best in this class and this price range.
The hallmark Klipsch LTS aluminum tweeters minimalize the distortion, and so do the 4-inch woofers with copper spun injection-molded graphite.
The speakers look great, and they have flared rear-firing ported designs that help eliminate the unwanted noise.
The size of each of these excellent bookshelf speakers under 200 dollars is 11.3 x 7.9 x 5.75 inches.
Not only will they look great in any room, but these speakers will provide you with a premium quality sound.
They are suitable for small or medium-sized rooms as main speakers or can be installed and used as part of a home theater surround system.
- They can handle up to 200 watts of power
- They feature the premium Tractrix horn and the trademark Klipsch LTS tweeters
- They are sold at an excellent price for the sound quality, and premium make provided
The best budget-friendly option
These top-rated speakers are an excellent solution if you are looking for the best budget-friendly bookshelf speakers. They cost a fraction of what the other speakers on this list cost, but still offer a premium sound, Dolby and DTS surround.
Each of these affordable speakers by Polk Audio is fitted with a 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter and a 5.25 composite Dynamic Balance Driver, which together produce a well-balanced, natural sound with a booming bass.
Together they can handle a peak power of 100 watts.
They can be used as bookshelf speakers or can be wall-mounted. You can also use them as rear, surround, or front speakers for your home entertainment sound system. They can be enjoyed with the grilles on or off.
They are suitable for small or medium-sized rooms and are compatible with the majority of the home theater AV receivers on the market.
- With a price of about $70 for the pair, they are among the best deals you can find in 2020
- They can be mounted on the wall or placed right against it
- They can handle a wattage of up to 100 watts
- They have high quality, distortion and resonance reducing MDF cabinets
- They are compatible with most home theater systems
The rest of the best bookshelf speakers for 2020
The JBL Arena B15 bookshelf speakers cost just under $200, but every cent you spend on them will be absolutely worth it.
These top-quality speakers have 1-inch soft dome tweeters and 5.5-inch polycellulose woofers, which together will produce clean, crisp, and powerful highs and a room-filling surround sound.
They are suitable for your home theater, as well as for listening to music, playing games, and watching TV.
The two speakers feature high-end special edition grills and the JBL logo and come with an option for wall-mounting.
They can be used as surround or bookshelf speakers in various systems – stereo or multichannel. They work best when paired with a subwoofer.
The recommended power for the speakers is from 20 to 100 watts. Their frequency response is 100Hz to 40 kHz, and they have 86dB sensitivity.
- They have a compact and elegant design and can be wall-mounted
- They are an affordable surround set
- Made of premium quality JBL components and featuring special edition grilles and logo in black or silver colors
The premium quality speakers can easily be paired with your phone, music player, or any Bluetooth enabled device wirelessly.
The speakers can also be connected to devices with 3.5mm headphone or dual RCA outputs.
Each speaker has a 19mm tweeter and a 4-inch bass driver. The speakers use advanced signal processing as well as Dynamic Range Protocols for nominal distortion.
The pair of affordable Edifier speakers can handle a combined RMS of 66 watts.
You can connect them to two sources simultaneously via AUX.
They have premium quality MDF walnut wood cabinets, which will look great in any room and in any home, and add to the clear sound. They also have conveniently placed tone control dials on the sides.
The affordable Edifier speakers also come with a useful remote control for easier adjustment of the sound volume and for switching in between the different inputs.
The set of speakers is sold at a very reasonable price and comes with a 2-year warranty.
- 66 watts
- Dedicated premium tweeters and woofers
- Bluetooth connectivity
- The ability to connect to more than one source
- A remote control, and onboard dials
The Sony SSCS5 2-way bookshelf speakers from Sony are one of the most versatile of all bookshelf speakers under $200.
They are fitted with 1-inch polyester tweeters paired with ¾ inch super tweeters from Sony, 5 ¼ inch foamed Mica cellular reinforced woofers, to create a 3-way, 3-speaker bass reflex system.
All components are composite and provide a superb vocal definition and acoustic tuning.
The sound-absorbing felt on the back, absorbs the rear sound pressure.
The cabinets are made of vibration dampening wood.
The Sony 3-way 3 drive bookshelf speakers can handle up to 100 watts.
- Premium quality 3-way system provided at an excellent price
- An added Sony super tweeter for an even bigger high-frequency range
- Handles up to 100 watts
- Top-quality wood cabinets with resonant acoustics, and sound-absorbing rears
- They provide a realistic and clear sound and natural vocals
If you want a set of bookshelf speakers with as many connectivity options as possible, which cost less than $200, then the Edifier R1280DB is possibly one of the best options you can find on the market right now.
These premium quality bookshelf speakers can be paired to any phone, or other Bluetooth enabled device so that you can enjoy a wireless listening experience.
At the same time, they offer a wide variety of other wired connectivity options, including an optical input. Thanks to the digital inputs, you can connect the pair of speakers to just about any computer or TV directly.
The speakers come with a highly functional remote control which can be used to switch among input sources, as well as for tweaking the sound and adjusting the volume. It can also be used to control the connected Bluetooth enable device.
They also have easy to access manual dials on their sides, where you can adjust the bass and treble.
The speakers by Edifier have 13mm silk dome tweeters and 4-inch basses.
The two affordable bookshelf speakers have a maximum RMS of 42 watts and sold expertly calibrated.
- They have Bluetooth connectivity, optical and coaxial inputs of different types
- You can pair them with your phone or any other device offering Bluetooth connectivity for a wireless listening experience
- Their remote control can be used to control other Bluetooth devices as well
- They have solid MDF wood housing
- Sold with a 2-year warranty and at a very attractive price
The crystal clear audio and the affordability of these premium quality speakers are what makes them one of the most popular and high rated bookshelf speakers under $200 in 2020.
They have a sleek and narrow design (12.5 (H) x 8.11 (D) x 7 (W) inches), so that you can fit them in tight spaces, and weigh less than 10 lbs. They feature the high-end 90×90 Dynamic Tractrix Horn for a crisp natural sound. LTS tweeters and 5.25-inch copper spun IMG woofers.
The affordable speakers come with elegant and durable brushed polymer veneer cabinets and have rear-firing ports.
Overall, these small-sized monitor speakers offer a high-quality sound, especially for the affordable price asked.
- A beautiful design combining elegant black housing and copper-colored components and accents
- Small-sized, suitable for small spaces and small rooms
- They provide an accurate sound with a 62 – 24,000 Hz frequency range
- A 90×90 Tractrix Horn proprietary technology
- IMG woofers and LTS tweeters
- Rear-firing port
The speakers are built with premium quality components, which will provide you with a clear and natural sound. You can use them as main speakers or as part of your home theater surround system.
They have high-quality engineered wood MDF cabinets, 5-inch polymer treated drivers, and butyl rubbered surrounds Neodymium tweeters, 1-inch soft dome, and Ferrofluid cooled.
The size of each speaker is 13.5 x 9.1 x 8.3 inches, and it weighs 11.6 lbs.
They can handle 30 to 100 watts of power and have a frequency range of 50 to 20,000 Hz and 8-ohm impedance.
- They provide a natural and clear sound thanks to the premium components and build
- Top-quality Ferrofluid cooled neodymium tweeters
- You will get a moderate bass and clear highs
- They offer excellent value for the price asked
- They sound great out of the box, but the bass does need some burning in
Each of the speakers is only 8.9 (H) x 6.3 (W) x 9.4 (D) inches.
They are fitted with 5.25-inch doped paper cone mid-bass drivers, 25mm silk dome tweeters, and can handle an amplifying power of 10 to 100 watts. Their frequency response is 50 to 22,000 Hz, and they are 8 Ohms compatible.
The Cambridge Audio SX50 speakers have durable MDF cabinets that help for the production of crisp, clear, and natural sound.
They have added foam inserts, which you can use if you plan on placing the speakers close to a wall or other surface. They also come with two grilles and self-adhesive feet.
The cable inputs are gold plated for a perfect low resistance connection.
Overall, this set of beautiful bookshelf speakers for under $200 is one of the best options you can find in this price range when it comes to design, sound quality, and versatility.
- A high-end sound at an affordable price
- A beautiful, premium quality design
- 100 watts
- Gold-plated ports
- They offer a smooth and non-fatiguing listening experience
Why choose bookshelf speakers?
Even though smart speakers seem to be overtaking the mass consumer market these days, there will always be a market for traditional bookshelf speakers. The reason is that for audiophiles, listening to music recorded in stereo can be best enjoyed when using the proper format – two stereo loudspeakers.
Even though some of the latest smart speakers attempt to reproduce the stereo sound via multiple drivers in a tiny body, good quality stereo bookshelf speakers do a much better job in recreating the actual soundstage or physical space where the original music was recorded. Plus, they can reproduce the recording scale much more convincingly.
With a pair of high-quality bookshelf speakers, you can close your eyes and imagine that you are part of the recording experience.
Choosing active or passive bookshelf speakers
There is a wide variety of passive and active bookshelf speakers costing less than $200 to choose from. The question is – which type to choose?
Passive speakers require an external amplification, while active ones have integrated amplification.
Passive bookshelf speakers are the more flexible type, as you can connect them to different amplifiers, choose different placement options and DACs.
The active bookshelf speakers are the more suitable option for those of you looking for a more budget-friendly option and who don’t want to spend more money on amplifiers and other components. Plus, they take up less space because you won’t need to stack up additional components and use bundles of cables in order to listen to the music of your choice.
The negative side of choosing active speakers is that you will have to listen to the music or other audio like the final product sounds, and you cannot alter the sound with the help of an external amplifier or DAC.
Active speakers also require that one or both are plugged into the wall, which can be limiting when it comes to placement.
Thankfully, there is a wide assortment of both passive and active bookshelf speakers under 200 dollars, so there is a pair for every need and preference.
Wired or wireless – which are better?
We have chosen several Bluetooth enabled speakers that can connect wirelessly to your phone, laptop, music player, or any other Bluetooth enabled device.
The wireless bookshelf speakers under $200 have an obvious advantage of the ability to pair them to your phone or any other wireless device without the need for messy cables and complicated connections. This gives you more freedom of placement of the speakers and eliminates the need for connecting them to a source and amplifier like traditional loudspeakers. You will be able to enjoy listening to the streaming services you are already paying for with the help of these wireless speakers.
While wireless speakers have been plagued with sound quality issues in the past, today, you can find an excellent pair of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth enabled speakers that offer superb sound quality.
One thing to keep in mind, that while they are wireless, they still will need to be plugged into a power source, and some of them require a connection to the master speaker, too, in the cases when the amplification is built in the master speaker only.
The importance of the enclosure type
Since speakers are made up of different types of drivers for high and low pressure, which have to handle the high and low frequencies, the size, shape, and material used for their housing is essential for their performance. Even the premium quality drivers will not sound right if they are placed in the wrong type of enclosure, and some of the lower-cost drivers can improve their performance dramatically when placed in the right housing.
The bass-reflex designed enclosures, which are known as vented or ported boxes, feature a hole through which fresh air enters via a pipe or tubing. When built properly, these could be louder than the sealed enclosure types.
The enclosure size should also be carefully calculated in accordance with the driver diaphragm, the mechanical resistance, the weight of the components, the air volume, voice inductance, and other factors.
As for the material of the enclosure – wood is the better option than plastic, as it offers better acoustics and also helps inhibit sound clarity and dampen the vibrations. Plastic housing can rattle at low notes or loud decibels.
2-way or 3-way speakers
For the budget of under $200, you can find some excellent 2-way and even 3-way class bookshelf speakers.
2-way speakers have two drivers – a tweeter and a woofer. 3-way speakers have three separate drivers – tweeters, woofers, and mid-range, and can cover a larger frequency range.
If you want to buy passive speakers, which you will use as a standalone set, then you may want to opt for 3-way passive speakers. If you want to add them to your existing sound system, then you may choose 2-way speakers because the other speakers in the system will probably be able to handle other parts of the frequency spectrum.
As you can see from our list, there are some excellent quality bookshelf speakers under $200 you can buy in 2020. They are all made by reputable manufacturers and offer a superb stereo listening experience as standalone speakers or as part of your sound system.
Many of them have features used in the much higher-end flagship speakers made by the manufacturers.
Since technology is evolving rapidly, and more products are being released on the market every day, all of the leading manufacturers are doing their best to keep their leading positions and to win over customers.
This is good news for those of you with limited budgets because the bookshelf speakers under 200 dollars, which you can buy today are of much better quality than you can expect for such a price.
So, the best advice we can offer you is to opt for the best you can get for the budget you have, and enjoy listening to your favorite music with your new bookshelf speakers!
Last update on 2020-09-20 at 10:34 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API