Summary List Placement
A great speaker or speaker system can enhance your listening experience for music, movies, and TV. There are many types of speakers to choose from and different models will be better suited for different situations.
For instance, you don’t want to buy a small Bluetooth speaker to use with your TV, and you probably don’t want to use big tower speakers in an office. That’s why we’ve put together this guide: To help you find the best speakers for your needs.
You’ll want to stick with larger floorstanding and bookshelf speaker pairs for the best audio performance, since they’re able to deliver more bass and a wider range of frequencies than smaller speakers. Meanwhile, those who favor portability and digital assistants, will likely be better off with a simple smart speaker or Bluetooth speaker.
Whether you want a pair of full-fledged home theater towers for critical listening, or a compact speaker for casual use, we’ve selected the best speaker options on the market for a variety of needs and budgets.
Here are the best speakers you can buy:
- Best floorstanding speaker: Klipsch RP-8000F
- Best Bluetooth speaker: Sonos Move
- Best smart speaker: Amazon Echo (Fourth Generation)
- Best powered bookshelf speaker: Klipsch R-51PM
The best floorstanding speaker
The Klipsch RP-8000F speakers offer a stylish design, plenty of bass, and a detailed, clear high-end.
Pros: Beautiful design, excellent sound quality, solid bass without a separate subwoofer, great for movies and music
Cons: Pricier than smaller speakers, large size can limit placement, requires a separate receiver or amp
The Klipsch RP-8000F floorstanding speakers are versatile floorstanding speakers equally suited for home theater and music listening. Boasting a beautiful design, excellent sound quality, and a competitive price for their performance, the Klipsch RP-8000F speakers are a great choice for both audiophiles and the average listener alike.
They have a black wooden casing along with copper highlights on the woofers that scream premium, and they should complement any modern-looking home. The RP-8000F‘s drivers result in plenty of bass for most listening needs, so you won’t have to invest in a subwoofer unless you really want earth-shattering low frequencies. There’s also a ton of clarity. The high-end of these speakers is what really makes them sound above average in the home audio world.
The speakers have been well-received by reviewers. High-Def Digest gave them a 4.5/5, and noted that while the RP-8000F can’t quite live up to Klipsch’ more expensive RF-7 III, the performance they offer is very impressive considering their cost.
The RP-8000F aren’t exactly cheap, however, especially compared to smaller speaker models. But, when it comes to floorstanding options, they stack up well against other tower speakers with this level of quality.
The best Bluetooth speaker
The Sonos Move not only provides excellent sound quality, but it also offers good battery life and plenty of smart features.
Pros: Great sound, good for portable and home use, built-in support for Google Assistant and Alexa
Cons: Smart features missing in Bluetooth mode, size limits portability
Sonos is known for building some incredible Wi-Fi speakers, and now it has a portable speaker called the Sonos Move.
Unlike typical Sonos models, the Move features Bluetooth support and an integrated battery. Like its name suggests, the speaker is designed to be used at home or on the go. The unit has a charging base, which is where you can dock it when you’re at home. For portable use, the speaker is rated for up to 11 hours of battery life.
The Move offers plenty of bass response for a speaker its size, along with a well-tuned midrange and solid detail in the high-end. The speaker offers Sonos’ handy Trueplay tech, which automatically tweaks the frequency response based on your environment. If that wasn’t enough, the speaker even lets you use Alexa or Google Assistant when it’s connected to Wi-Fi.
On the downside, the Move is a little expensive and it’s a bit bulky. If you want something cheaper and more compact, you may want to check out the upcoming Sonos Roam, which promises similar features in a smaller size.
The best smart speaker
The latest Amazon Echo features an updated design, improved sound, and Amazon’s reliable Alexa digital assistant built right into it.
Pros: Solid sound quality, affordable, integrated Zigbee hub, 3.5mm port, attractive design
Cons: Amazon still saves your voice recordings by default, audio performance not on par with a bookshelf speaker
Compared to previous models, the new Echo has a completely new look that resembles a glowing orb rather than a typical speaker. Sound quality is improved as well, thanks to a second tweeter and new front-firing design. Our reviewer says the fourth-generation Echo sounds better than the third-gen speaker in every way.
Alexa capabilities are integrated for full access to Amazon’s digital assistant. A blue light glows on the bottom of the speaker when Alexa is listening. Amazon’s new AZ1 neural edge processor is also built-in to enable more responsive Alexa performance.
A microphone mute button is included for buyers concerned about privacy. Amazon still uses your voice recordings by default to help improve Alexa’s functionality, but you can disable this from the Alexa app.
The best powered bookshelf speaker
Klipsch’s R-51PM bookshelf speakers are easy to set up, feature a built-in amp, and deliver excellent audio performance.
Pros: Fantastic audio performance, true stereo pair, pleasing style, lots of connection options, built-in amp
Cons: More expensive than passive bookshelf speakers, larger than typical computer speakers
The R-51PM powered bookshelf speakers sound just as good as they look. The stylish speakers come as a pair and feature Klipsch’s exclusive Tractrix horn technology to help deliver impressive audio quality. Bass is particularly good for this price range, offering solid low frequency performance without the need for a separate subwoofer.
A 120W amplifier powers the speakers, allowing for simple plug-and-play connection to a computer or other audio source without the need for a separate receiver. The speakers feature several connections, including digital optical, analog RCA, and USB inputs, making it easy to pair them many devices, like a phone or TV. If that wasn’t enough, Bluetooth wireless connectivity is supported as well.
If you’re looking for similar speakers with a more compact design and lower price tag, the Audioengine A2 Plus offer a good compromise. They aren’t as impressive as the Klipsch speakers, but they’re still a good fit for use on a desk or bookshelf for anyone who needs to save some space.
How to shop for a speaker
There are a few things to consider when you’re deciding what kind of speaker to buy. First, you’ll want to figure out what you’re going to be using the speakers for — whether they’re for casual listening, for more critical music playback, for home theater use, for portable playback, or for use as a digital assistant.
This will also help determine whether you need a stereo pair for the best listening experience, or a single speaker solution geared more toward smart features and less demanding audio needs.
You’ll also want to decide where you plan to use your speakers. This will help narrow down what size fits best for your room or whether you need a portable model with an integrated battery. Your wireless connectivity needs should also be considered. Built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are increasingly common in certain models, particularly smaller ones, making it easy to stream music from a mobile device. Digital assistants, like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, are even integrated on some speakers for convenient smart home use.
Amplification is another important factor to think about. Smaller speakers designed for wireless playback, digital assistants, or for use with computers can typically be powered by simply plugging them right into an outlet or charging their batteries. Many bookshelf speakers and floorstanding speakers, however, require a separate amp or receiver to power them, which adds to their cost.
Generally speaking, if you’re most interested in audio performance, you’ll want to stick with a pair of tower or bookshelf speakers. They tend to cost the most, but these types of speakers will provide the best listening experience for music and movies with a wide range and genuine stereo separation.
Meanwhile, those who prioritize smart features and mobility, will be better off with a simple one-speaker solution with a digital assistant built-in or an integrated battery.
Check out our other speaker buying guides
Originally published at https://www.businessinsider.com/best-speakers on .