No matter what kind of music you are into there is one thing for certain and that is you need speakers! Over the last few years I have gotten really into my vinyl collecting and as a result, I have been tinkering with my stereo setup ever since.
While I love vinyl, I still like to listen to CD’s and even stream music on Spotify. I was recently given the chance to try out some of the best speakers below $300 and I wanted to share my thoughts on them. From what they look like, how well made they are if they are value for money and of course how they sound.
Wireless vs Wired
This is the big debate that you are probably having in your head. Of course with a wireless speaker, you do not need to worry about speaker cables getting all tangled up at the back of your set up. While on paper, wireless sounds like a lot less effort. You must remember that you are responsible for pairing what device you want to use with it.
This can be a headache for those who are not too tech savvy and want something quick and easy. But there is no denying there is a convenience to be had with a wireless speaker when you get it working just right.
Anyone who tells you that wired speakers are old fashioned and a pain in the butt does not know what they are talking about. Connecting a set of wired speakers could not be any easier and in my experience, far too many of these state of the art wireless speakers do not have a standard line in jack for something like a turntable so that is something you have to look at if you are considering a wireless one. In terms of the sound quality, the speakers being wireless or wired does not have any effect on the sound. It is all down to the actual quality of the speaker itself.
The Best Speakers Below $300
Here are many of what is classed as the best speakers below $300. I got a good mix to test out, some wired and some wireless and I am giving my brutally honest opinion on them all. I have also handpicked a couple that while I have not managed to test them out, I feel are worth a closer look.
1: Klipsch R-15M Bookshelf Speaker
2: Edifier R1850DB Active Bookshelf Speakers with Bluetooth and Optical Input
3: Polk Audio Signature Series S15 American Hi-Fi Home Theater Small Bookshelf Speakers
4: Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
5: Sonos PLAY:1 2-Room Wireless Smart Speakers for Streaming Music
6: Onkyo SKF-4800 2-Way Bass Reflex Floor-standing Speakers
7: Bose 201 Direct/Reflecting speaker system
8: Klipsch R-26F Floorstanding Speaker
9: Swan Speakers – M100MKII – Powered 2.0 Wireless Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
1.Klipsch R-15M Bookshelf Speaker
- Price is very reasonable
- The design is pretty smart
- They take up very little space
- Easy to use
- Sound is actually very good
- Not for wireless setups
- Not the loudest speakers
At a little over 200 bucks, these speakers from Klipsch are great value for money. They have a very old school, 80’s kind of vibe to them and that is something that I really like. In photos they look far, bigger than they are and I can tell you that these do not actually take up much space at all.
These are wired speakers so you will be connecting them directly to your receiver, turntable or whatever. It is very easy to do, you just use speaker cable and you are good to go. One other thing I want to mention is that the wood they have used for these speakers is very strong so they have a high quality feel to them.
As far as the sound quality goes, I was actually pretty impressed. As these are on the small size, I was expecting a rather “small” kind of sound. But once you break them in properly, you get a very nice and balanced sound with these. Are you going to be rocking out to Iron Maiden and keeping up the whole neighborhood?
Well no you are not, but these speakers do what they do very well and for the price, I think they are a great deal. I think that these are ideal if you have a more elegant setup when it comes to your music equipment and you want speakers that are going to blend right in.
Offering good sound and a smart design, these wired speakers are great value for money.
2. Edifier R1850DB Active Bookshelf Speakers with Bluetooth and Optical Input
- Incredible value for money
- The design is pretty cool
- Wired and wireless connection options
- You can adjust the bass and treble
- Nice size
- Bluetooth pairing can take a little while
- Not super loud
As soon as I opened these speakers up, I knew they were cool! Sporting a very sleek black design and made with some very strong materials, you would think that these cost far more than their roughly 200 bucks asking price. As far as design goes, this is exactly what I like to see in a set of bookshelf speakers. I knew right away why these were classed as some of the best speakers below $300.
Connectivity is why these are so popular. To start with you can connect these via a wire to a turntable, cd player, TV or whatever, but they also have Bluetooth connectivity so you can stream music from a smartphone. It even has a connection for a subwoofer! Edifier really have stacked this thing with features.
You can even change the bass, treble and overall volume on the back of the speakers and it comes with a handy remote as well. These speakers literally do everything that you want a set of speakers to do!
Sound is fantastic, but you have to adjust the treble and bass in order to get it just right. These are not the loudest speakers, but I really fell in love with the sound of these. I ended up listening to quite a bit of live music with these. Nirvana Unplugged is one of my all time favorite live albums and it sounded great coming through these.
Offering a ton of connection options and also pumping out some great sound, makes these speakers very easy to recommend.
3. Polk Audio Signature Series S15 American Hi-Fi Home Theater Small Bookshelf Speakers
- Very smart walnut design
- Compact so great for tight spaces
- Easy to setup
- Price is not bad at all
- Sound is very balanced
- Wired only
- There is a breaking in period if you want to listen to music loud
At just about 12 inches high, these Polk speakers are great if you are short on space. I have an old school turntable upstairs that is in a woodgrain style. The “classic brown walnut” style of these is clearly aimed at people like me who have a more old school looking turntable or hi-fi as these fit in great alongside something like that.
These are wired only so there is no Bluetooth here. However, I get the impression that what Polk was going for here is that they will be close to the turntable, CD player or whatever it is you are using. You simply connect these to your device with speaker cable and you are good to go. I do wish they allowed you to change the bass and treble on the actual speakers, but for most people, this will, not be a big deal at all.
Sound wise, I was very impressed with the sound that these little speakers pumped out. They have Polk’s custom drivers inside them which some people swear gives the best sound around. I was certainly very happy and I was listening to some 80’s metal (Scorpions, Poison and Bon Jovi) and I was genuinely impressed with how balanced the sound coming out of these was. Also the bass is very deep which was a pleasant surprise. If you like to listen loud, then there is a breaking in period so keep that in mind.
With a retro design and a very nice balanced sound. These wired speakers are great for a more classic setup.
4. Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
- Awesome design that is very modern
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Multiple wired devices can be connected at once
- Easy to use
- Sound is amazing
- Not for those who want something basic
- Remember to break them in gradually
These are a more high end version of the Edifier speakers we looked at just before and right off the bat, I want to tell you that these are worth the extra 50 bucks! The set I was sent were black and they look really, really cool. They are modern, awesome and will fit in with any setup. While the black looks cool, for the exact same price, you can get these in a cherry red color if that is more your thing.
Connection wise, you have multiple inputs on the back so you can have more than one device directly connected to these speakers. So you can have them connected to your turntable and TV at the same time or a home theater receiver. As well as connecting things directly to the speakers. Bluetooth is also available.
So if you are the kind of person who loves to stream music from Spotify, you can do that with these speakers. The pairing time is not the fastest, but once paired I had zero issues.
These are a bit more powerful than the other Edifier speakers and there is also a subwoofer built in so the sound has a real kick to it. I would recommend that you break these in you want to listen to them loudly. These speakers also come with a remote so you can tweak the bass and treble so it is just the way you want it.
I honestly can tell you that once you get the settings just right, you will struggle to beat the sound that these offer. These are certainly some of the best speakers below $300.
Offering wired and Bluetooth connectivity, these cool looking speakers sound awesome!
5. Sonos PLAY:1 2-Room Wireless Smart Speakersfor Streaming Music
- Great compact design
- Come in a variety of designs
- Sound is surprisingly strong
- Uses Wi-Fi to connect to your phone
- Ideal if you stream all your music
- Not suitable for older devices
- Close to 300 bucks!
These speakers are very compact in their size and they are currently one of the most popular set of wireless speakers on the market right now. They have a very modern look to them and I really like the kind of mesh design they have over them. These are made to be moved all over the house so I feel that if you were to drop one, they would be fine. While the set I got were black, other colors are available.
Connecting these is very easy to do and while you may think that as these are wireless speakers, they will connect to your phone via Bluetooth. They actually connect via Wi-Fi, this makes connecting much easier and supposedly the signal is much stronger so you can beam music to these from all over the house. There is no wired inputs though so you cannot connect an older turntable or CD player to it, but these are clearly aimed at the “streaming generation” so I will not be too harsh for that.
I was expecting the sound to be tiny as they were so small, but these have some serious kick to them and even at higher volumes the sound was impressive. I do like to use Spotify everyone and again and I found that the music quality was great coming through these and I went all over the house to see how far I could push them and I never lost connection once! While not ideal if you have older decides, if you stream all your music these would be ideal.
Perfect for people who are all about streaming music digitally and who have moved past things like CD’s and vinyl.
6. Onkyo SKF-4800 2-Way Bass Reflex Floor-standing Speakers
- They look so cool!
- Sound is great, especially for vinyl
- Perfect if you want a showcase pair of speakers
- Very high quality design
- Ideal if you want speakers that you can actually see
- Size probably makes them impractical for most people
- They can be pricey when not on offer
Now these are cool! Back in my student days, I had a tall set of speakers like this and I loved them! Speakers these days try and be as compact as possible, but if you are like me and love tower standing style speakers, you will love the design of these. Of course at 40 inches high, these take up a fair bit of real estate, but you cannot deny that they look cool.
These are wired speakers, so you will need to make sure that you have speaker cable. However, I do feel that speakers like this are always best when close to the turntable, CD player, entertainment center or whatever, so it is not like you will have a mess of speaker cable to deal with.
These cost around 300 bucks, but there is a lot of speaker you are getting for your money here and they do tend to go on sale quite often. I think that the design and the fact they are wired only shows that they are aimed at a specific kind of music listener.
I was very happy with the sound that these put out. I am sure after some serious break in, you could crank up the sound and really rock out. I used this with my turntable and I was very happy with how crisp vinyl sounded through these speakers. I know that these will be impractical for the majority of people reading this, but I love them. They look cool, sound great and are a real throwback to the way speakers used to be.
Standing tall and proud, these tower speakers offer great sound and a great look!
7. Bose 201 Direct/Reflecting Speaker System
- Very nice design
- Compact design is ideal for those short on space
- Price is more than reasonable
- One of the most popular sets of speakers!
- Sound is good
- Not the best at higher volume
- Wired only
At a little over 200 bucks, I was very excited to test these out as these speakers from Bose are often regarded as some of the best speakers below $300. The first thing you notice is how cool and modern they look. While these speakers look great, they are also very compact in size so they can go on the wall or right next to your stereo or TV.
Connecting these is very easy and you will be doing it with speaker cable. Bose do offer wireless speakers, but these are for the more budget conscious so you will have to connect them directly to your receiver which is actually very easy to do.
The sound for such tiny speakers is actually very impressive. I did notice a little rattle when I cranked the sound up, but I feel that if I broke these in over a period of a couple of weeks that could go away. At mid level volume though, these sound great.
I have never used a Bose product that did not offer rich and clear sound and the same goes for these speakers. I just wish they had a bit more oomph to them. In all these are great if you are looking to spend close to 200 bucks and are not too worried about blasting music so loud it wakes the people living next door!
With a very sleek design and a good mid level sound, these speakers are great if you want good sound at a reasonable price.
8. Klipsch R-26F Floorstanding Speaker
- They could not look any cooler
- Nice, big old school style speakers!
- Sound is said to be amazing
- Very high quality build
- Tons of great reviews
- You have to buy one at a time
- Price is rather high
Ok so these last two speakers I did not personally test out, but I wanted to talk about them anyway as they look pretty interesting first of all is this epic speaker from Klipsch. Notice I said speaker and not speakers? That is because these are sold one at a time!
I know that makes the price really, really high, but come on how cool do these look? These are some of the fanciest looking speakers I have ever seen and not many companies are making standing speakers like this anymore.
This is not a wireless speaker, so you will have to have your devices plugged directly into it, but you can plug two things in at once so that is a nice touch. To be honest, at this kind of price range, I do feel that this should have been wireless/wired combo kind of thing, especially as they are selling one at a time.
When it comes to the sound, as I have not personally used them I cannot say. But I have read a lot of reviews and looked at the specs. From what I understand, Klipsch was going for a really lifelike sound with these. So if you are watching a movie it sounds like you are in a theatre if you are listening to an album, it sounds like you are there.
I would love to test these with some of my favorite live albums! I have not read one negative review about the sound quality. I know the price puts these out of reach for a lot of people, but if you have a lot of money to play with and really want to spoil yourself….. do it!
With an elegant style, fantastic sound, and a hefty price tag. If you are a hardcore audiophile who wants the best, this could be for you!
9. Swan Speakers – M100MKII – Powered 2.0 Wireless Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
- Very classy design
- Nice and compact size
- Can also be connected via cables
- People love the sound quality
- Design may not be to everyone’s taste
- May have to play with settings to get best sound
The last set of speakers I am looking at, I did not test, but they are very popular so let’s take a look at them. At around 250 bucks, these speakers from Swan look fantastic. They have a classic, wooden kind of design to them so they caught my eye. If you have a classic kind of set up with a lot of woodgrain, these are the kind of speakers you want to go for.
These are heavily advertised as Bluetooth speakers, but you can also use RCA cables so you should have no trouble connecting these to a turntable, CD player or your phone. It gives you the best of both worlds. If you look closely, you can also see that there are dials which allow you to mess around with the bass and treble so you can get the right kind of sound that you like.
People seem to love the sound that these produce. Swan have made thee very carefully and their aim was to use materials that limit rattle and distortion so I really would love to get my hands on these and test them out for myself. What I noticed in the reviews was how people who use things like Spotify and people who love old vinyl were both praising the sound.
If you want a classy looking set of speakers that gives you everything you need, you have to take a closer look at these.
What Are The Best Speakers Below $300?
I had a great time testing these out and while all seven of the speakers I had the pleasure to test did a fine job. For me there is a clear winner here and that is the Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers. Yes they may cost a little more than the other Edifier speakers, but I think that money is very well spent.
First of all the sound, no matter what you are listening to is fantastic. But these allow for wireless and wired connections and you can even tinker with the bass and treble. These offer everything that you want in a set of speakers and they look great on display too! So that is why I think these are the best speakers below $300.