Modern bookshelf speakers are rather popular due to a small body frame and closely located MF/HF emitters, which bring the opportunity to avoid many frequencies and phase artifacts. Moreover, compact dimensions increase inertness, stability, and facilitate the placement of units in the room. That is why we picked the best bookshelf speakers under 200 dollars that combine compactness, quality, and affordability. The design of shelf speakers allows them to have great acoustic inertia and does not stain sounds at all.
Pay attention that the power indicator is directly related to the reliability of the unit. It is selected taking into account the size of the room. So, for a 215 sq. ft room, the acoustics at 60-80W are enough. It is important to know that the total power of the satellites must be higher than the power of the amplifier, otherwise, the acoustics will not last long. Sensitivity is responsible for volume and measured in decibels. The larger the numbers, the louder the technique sounds. The value should be a minimum of 75 dB.
Bookshelf Speakers under $200 Reviews
These are passive bookshelf speakers under 200 dollars, which have a perforated housing to provide resonant acoustics. Moreover, the wooden veneer holds its shape well, so the sound isn’t affected by changes in temperature and humidity. The construction isn’t lightweight (19.9 pounds) and requires some free space for location (17.9 x 10.7 x 16.2 inches). This 3-way bookshelf speaker system has a main soft dome tweeter with a diagonal of 25mm, which is made of polyester fiber (it ensures the reproduction of natural sound). I really like the 130mm MRC woofer, as it provides deep and stable bass sound for different tracks. Its sensitivity (87 dB) is enough to fill the average-sized room with a deep loud sound in order to “shake the walls”. Mica reinforced honeycomb woofers are stiff and retain their shape even under heavy load. The manufacturer has supplemented the unit with a 1-year official warranty.
- A solid dynamic range makes it easy to get a clear sound on the low volume level.
- The cabinet vibration is really low and almost unnoticeable.
- An impressive coherence allows enjoying the realistic instruments sounding.
- Sometimes the sound “s” seems sibilant to my ears, especially in high frequencies.
- Controls on the backside of the cabinet are flimsy and are covered with some scratches.
Video Sony SSCS5
The case (6.9 x 9.5 x 5.8 inches) is made of MDF board of the highest class, which guarantees the absence of formaldehyde and other toxic substances in the composition. This type of material is moisture-resistant. The front side is completely covered with a protective grill of acoustically transparent fabric. The metal strip in the middle and the brand name at the bottom also signifies a certain component of the decor. It’s really convenient that the volume controls, as well as low and high frequencies, are located on the side panel. This active bookshelf speaker has a wireless remote control with volume control and the ability to mute. Its 13mm silk dome tweeter allows a natural sound enjoying. The 4-inch bass drivers also demonstrate the positive influence of the clearness and loudness of the sound.
The Edifier R1280T can be placed almost in every apartment (its sensitivity is enough to fill with the sound even big room) and close to the wall without worrying about the appearance of sound distortion. It’s due to the fact that the output of the bass reflex for this model is located not on the rear but on the front panel. The volume resets on the power cycle to about 40% and such a peculiarity is a useful feature for Alexa usage. This device might probably belong to the best active bookshelf speakers under $ 200, but it doesn’t have a headphone jack and the left speaker goes out from time to time. The warranty period is really long – 2 years.
- Its maximum output power is only 42W.
- Two pairs of RCA input connectors for connecting multiple audio sources work great.
- Four legs of soft material protect the table/bookshelf surface from scratches and minimize possible vibrations at high volumes.
- Speaker’s highs are not really clear, as some distortions and hindrances are heard.
- Included cables are thin and work intermittently. It’s better to replace them with better quality ones.
Video Edifier R1280T
Each speaker weighs only 4 pounds and its dimensions (6.5 x 5.8 x 9.5 inches) allows placing the Micca PB42X almost everywhere in the room (the apartment should be small or average-sized). 15W per channel is a good indicator to get the speakers to about 100 dB. Such a sound is loud enough but no distortions are found. Its sensitivity (85 dB) is on a required level so the music sounds clear enough to get acquainted with the listener with all the vocal details. The 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter also is a great solution for wide dispersion. Bass sound really deep and absorbing, so it seems that the 4-inch balanced woven carbon fiber woofer is high-quality. The passive speaker has 2 audio inputs (1 RCA and 1 AUX Line) that perform their tasks without problems and contribute to the seamless connection of several devices. The Micca PB42X might be an almost flawless device but sometimes its hall/echo effect overdoses. The manufacturer proposes a 1-year warranty that is a minimum allowed term.
- A solid wooden cabinet protects from vibration.
- It has an exalted bass response even with no subwoofer.
- The V-shaped muddy sound is absent (comparing with other models).
- It doesn’t have the built-in brackets on the rear side, so the wall mounting might be problematic (if there’s a need in it).
- RCA input will be accepted only when AUX Line input isn’t plugged in.
Video Micca PB42X
The speakers (8.4 x 9.1 x 9.9 inches) have a sloping front panel, wooden lining on the sides, and a translucent textile grill that protects the units; all this makes the model look harmonious in the interior. There are connectors for signal sources and power cord on the rear panel of this active speaker. The knobs of volume controls, bass, and treble are located on the rather comfortable side surface. The R1700BT has a DSP and DRC. In practice, the latter prevents the increase in the level of distortion at the maximum sound, and the DSP provides a separation of the signal in frequencies. It has a universal 110V-240V power supply on a pulse transformer. Such a solution is characterized as modern, has a wide range of permissible voltages, and, in addition, has high efficiency.
I truly enjoy the high-quality sound, as the range is evenly distributed, good bass, and all the details are heard. The 19mm dome tweeter and a 4-inch bass driver make it possible to get clear highs and rich lows. If you are looking for the best Bluetooth bookshelf speakers under 200 dollars, you may pay attention to the Edifier R1700BT, as the device can easily connect your smartphone via the built-in Bluetooth and boast the good sound quality. The facility is complemented with a 2-year warranty which indicates the manufacturer’s care about users.
- Signal sources can be easily connected using Bluetooth or via one of the dual RCA inputs.
- There’s no need to disconnect speakers from the network – they have a switching power supply.
- The manufacturer uses bi-amping to amplify the signal that leads to the decent sound getting.
- It gets hot rather quickly.
- The speaker produces a barely noticeable noise while working on low volume.
Video Edifier R1700BT
The Polk Audio T15 active bookshelf speakers are compact (7.3 x 6.5 x 10.7 inches) and comfortable to place even in small/medium-sized rooms. This acoustics has damped cases made of MDF with a neat granular ebony finish. A 19mm tweeter with silk dome and 135mm mid-bass speaker with composite diffuser designed in accordance with the Dynamic Balance technology, which provides high-quality sound without perversion even at high sound pressure levels. It can be installed close to the wall without fear of distortion at low frequencies. The system is equipped with proprietary speakers that provide detailed and rich sound. The tweeter has a wide metal base that protects it from external vibrations and creates the conditions for efficient heat removal from the voice coil. They have a relatively high sensitivity (89 dB), stable impedance (8 Ohms), and are able to sound very loud and powerful with any modern integrated amplifiers and AV receivers. The speakers come with a 5-year warranty that is amazing support.
- This speaker system is also convenient for hanging on the wall. There’s a built-in hinge on its rear panel for this purpose.
- It’s a good choice for games due to the great sound effects that take you to the center of every game action.
- The speaker comes with accessories for comfortable mounting on the wall (in a case of need).
- The bass response is normal but sometimes it’s bland.
- The speakers are shaking when playing at high volume.
Video Polk Audio T15
The Edifier R1280DB active speaker system (7.7 x 5.7 x 9.2 inches) connects multiple sound sources. It’s designed to be placed on a table or a shelf, as there are 4 soft legs on the bottom of the case that protect the surface from scratching. The front panel is covered with plastic decorative grilles and a piece of acoustically transparent fabric. All sizes are fitted very precisely, so no spurious vibrations in this case occur. Decorative grilles with the manufacturer’s logo can be removed. There’s a control unit located on one of the case’s sides. It consists of 3 controls – volume, low, and high frequencies, as well as an LED indicator that informs the user about the type of current sound source. Frequency knobs have a clearly tracked middle position that is easy to identify when a small click occurs. There are coaxial and optical inputs, 2 pairs of RCA connectors, and the opportunity to connect wireless audio sources via Bluetooth. Specified units are complemented with 4-inch bass, which is made of pressed paper interspersed with wool and 13mm silk dome tweeter. This model also has magnetic shielding. Note that the calibrated phase inverter used in the design has a frontal arrangement that’s especially useful for comfortable installation. The manufacturer proposes a 2-year warranty.
- A fairly compact switching power supply is located at the bottom of the speaker. It is designed to work with voltages in the range from 110 to 240V.
- It can be simply connected to an iPhone, Android, PC, or Mac and work without signal loss.
- Volume and toggle inputs adjusting are performed via the remote controller.
- There’s no balance adjustment for the speakers that’s not convenient in practice.
- The remote is plastic and the buttons are hard to press (I have to put great pressure on it).
Video Edifier R1280DB
This passive model has a curved cabinet design (8.45 x 7.13 x 12.55 inches) and reduces sound waves within the body frame. The facility produces sparkling audio that easily fills up a medium-sized apartment with its sound. The 1-inch soft-dome tweeter makes it easy to play loud using low power. It’s an impressive improvement that the 4-inch woofer is complemented with oversized magnets, which high up the bass accuracy. The Pioneer SP-BS22-LR produces the low sound tone and is especially a good choice for vinyl owners. The bass is deep and low, while even classic records sound somewhat in a low tone. The speakers provide increased sensitivity (85 dB) and are equipped with structured diffusers that boost bass dynamics and soften sound at mid frequencies. They have pleasant mid frequencies and long, detailed tops, which are achieved through the well-thought-out general design. The user gets a 1-year warranty with the speaker.
- Excellent sound quality both in 5.1 or 7.1-channel and in 2-channel home theater.
- The highs are really smooth and the sound is 100% clear.
- They are created by famous designer Andrew Jones, so the speakers look rather stylish.
- One speaker has a significantly lower volume.
- It sounds much better as a support speaker but not the basic one.
Video Pioneer SP-BS22-LR
The speaker housing (17.3 x 7.9 x 10 inches) is made of high-quality MDF. The surface is pleasant to the touch and all the corners and joints are made extremely neat. Front speakers are protected by a synthetic black fabric that exposes the silver diffuser. The speaker’s power is 12W each that guarantees really decent music. They sound is realistic and much louder than the acoustics that declare 20 or even 30W per channel for their products. I don’t feel the lack of volume or bass for such power at all, for a room of 194 sq. ft, they are more than enough. The sound is lively, the frequency range is noticeably wider than most competitors, and there is still no sensation of plastic sound. There’s no background hum or hiss in the standby mode because the transformer is pulsed here. The Edifier R980T can be probably called one of the best bookshelf speakers under $200 as, despite all the functional peculiarities, the speakers are connected to each other using a cable, the ends of which do not have connectors. They are simply clamped in special holes. This will make it easy to replace the standard audio cable with any other longer, if necessary. The warranty period is 2 years.
- The sound is loud and clean at different volume levels.
- The speakers do not detect interference from mobile phones and other devices.
- The protection against voltage spikes is also present that prolongs lifespan.
- Packaged cables look quite modest and work intermittently.
- The range for frequency response aligning isn’t enough to unleash the full potential of music.
Video Edifier R980T
The housing (10.2 x 7.5 x 12 inches) is made of MDF and has deep internal damping. Such speakers are suitable for small rooms and full bass reproduction, but it is better to supplement them with a small subwoofer. However, the Polk Audio S15 provides confident mid-bass sound, pleasant mid frequencies, and long, detailed tops. The Terylene tweeter reproduces high frequencies in the range up to 40 kHz with minimal distortion and a wide radiation pattern. A custom 5.25-inch bass is equipped with a mica reinforced polypropylene diffuser. A light and rigid diaphragm is resistant to mechanical stress and is able to move quickly, reproduce shock and focused sound. The Dynamic Balance technology provides not only an extended dynamic range of sound with minimal distortion but also the consistent sound. The sensitivity is rather high (87 dB) and suitable for small/mid-sized apartments. The passive unit can boast the 1-inch tweeter with a terylene dome for playing High-Res files and one 15.25-inch woofer with polypropylene cone. These elements positively influence sound quality (allow getting clean highs and deep bass). A pair of universal screw terminals with gold-plated contacts is intended for connection to an amplifier. The warranty period is standard – 2 years.
- The removable protective grid with magnetic fixation has an anti-diffraction design that eliminates the distortion of sound waves at the edges of the front panel.
- The unit is able to work with the old/new amplifiers or receivers. Also, it is compatible with the latest Dolby and DTS surround sound technologies.
- The branded Power Port bass reflex is covered with a special plug required for normal airflow in the case of wall-mounting.
- The bass is lacking sometimes.
- The speakers shake when playing pop music at high volume.
Video Polk Audio S15
The powered speakers are relatively compact (8.2 x 7 x 12.5 inches), look strict, and have the usual color combination for the brand (dark tones and copper). Dust is clearly visible on the film protecting the case, so they should be cleaned from time to time. The indicator light under the subwoofer of the main speaker shows the selected mode. The remote control allows volume controlling, quickly switching between Bluetooth, optics, or using a vinyl player. You need to connect the speakers with one cable and hook up the system to the mains with the second one to start using it. The power supply is built into the active speaker. Pay attention that one of the speakers in the system is active, it contains a power supply, a phono stage, an amplifier, and connectors for hooking up. The second one is passive. It might be perceived as probably one of the best powered bookshelf speakers under 200 dollars because its sensitivity indicator is at the level of 94 dB that positively affects the clarity, quality, and detail of the sound. A 1-inch aluminum horn-loaded tweeter together with the 5.25-inch copper-spun high-output woofer lead to the high sound clarity and contribute to the endurance of the device. A 1-year warranty comes with the Klipsch R-15M.
- There is a volume control knob on the backside of the speaker that is useful when there’s no time to look for the remote (when connecting a device via Bluetooth the volume can also be controlled via app).
- There is a button on the remote control to quickly switch to wireless mode.
- It’s worth moving away from the speaker 5-6 steps, as interruptions between connected device and speaker immediately occur.
- The module is sensitive to the obstacles between connected units./li>
The Basic Features you have to Consider Purchasing Bookshelf Speakers under $200
Don’t perceive a low price as an indicator of poor quality, because many speakers at an affordable cost are supplemented with high-quality components and can significantly improve the process of movies watching and listening to music. Moreover, they look great and are able to become an aesthetic addition to the interior. All you have to do is place the speakers on the elevated surface, perform simple adjusting (which is in most cases intuitive), and enjoy the quality sound. Get acquainted with the features you have to consider before bookshelf speakers buying.
First of all, you have to come up with the room in which the bookshelf speakers will be placed. The specified units are suitable options for small rooms with an area of up to 258 sq. ft. Such shelf speakers, unlike floor-mounted facilities, do not look bulky and save space in such apartments. In addition, they allow you to achieve high-quality sound without a menacing rumble and wall-shaking in a small area. The task of sound speakers is to “shift” air masses, filling the room with sound. The larger the room, the larger the speaker should be in order to move a larger volume of air. The wrong choice of acoustics in size can lead to serious sound distortion: too big speakers in a small room will make the sound dull and heavy, and not large enough will sound weak and lost.
Consider shelf speakers’ acoustic design that directly affects sound quality. The vast majority of modern speakers have housing with a special hole – a bass reflex. The sound turns into deep bass while passing through it, and we hear a great sound at low frequencies. Structurally, the bass reflex can be located on the front or rear wall of the housing. You must correctly place the speakers in the room considering its location. If you have doubts, just read the manual and follow its recommendation on the speakers placing.
The Upper, Middle, and Low-Frequency Signal
Most speakers have 4 terminals for cables connecting that make it easy to enjoy the bi-wiring. The single wired system work with a single set of cables, where the entire frequencies will be commoved into the available speakers together. In spite of this, the bi-wiring and 2 sets of cables allow the amplifier to drive the upper/middle/low frequencies on a standalone basis. Such a solution brings the clear and precise sound, so you should make sure that the speaker you are interested in supports bi-wiring.
Passive, Active, and Powered Bookshelf Speakers
An amplifier allows getting exactly the sound you are craving for. Systems that are equipped with a built-in audio amplifier are called active. The sound in them is output directly to the speakers, which themselves amplify it. Active wireless speakers are attractive for their mobility, they don’t have to be connected to the receiver or other devices, and you can easily create a multi-room speaker system by placing active speakers in another room (via connecting them to a power source).
Passive speakers do not have a built-in amplifier, and a separate device must be used to amplify the sound. In this case, the sound signal first passes through the amplifier and only then transits into the speakers. Passive speakers cost less than active speakers, but you need to buy an amplifier or receiver with it. Pay attention that even luxury acoustics will sound bad if you pick the amplifier to it incorrectly. When choosing this device, you have to consider that its power, resistance, and other indicators must be combined with the technical parameters of acoustics in order to transmit exactly the sound that you want to get.
Do not confuse powered speakers and active ones. They have a lot of similarities but the main difference is that powered units have an inbuilt amplifier in the right speaker, but the signal is running by way of a passive crossover. This denotes that the signal is amplified before being parted into frequency intervals and fed into the drivers. Each driver in active speakers is fed by a separate amplifier.
Hi everyone! I’m Thomas Moody, also known as Guitarzan.
All my life, the guitar has always been my real love. I played as a featured guitarist in several bands over the years.
My extensive experience of teaching lessons and blogging taught me to write useful texts. I tried to keep as many notes about musical instruments as possible. So stay tuned—new articles are coming.