April 2021

Speakers Rankings Report

This report contains an aggregate consensus of Speakers rankings posted by key online experts, as of April 2021.

Methodology: combine opinions of key experts

Identify Experts

We identify key publishers and experts that consistently review and recommend Bookshelf Speakers.

Capture Rankings

For each publisher we find a currently recommended "top 10" list of Bookshelf Speakers, it must be updated in the last 9 months.

Aggregate Rankings

We put all those lists together and aggregate them. The more frequently a product is recommended, the higher it is in our ranking

Experts chosen for April 2021 ranking

We ranked Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 #1 in April 2021 because:

  • 7 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Bookshelf Speakers” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Wirecutter

Great performance,dull design

Go to ranking

CNET

Go to ranking

What Hi-Fi

A mature and understated pair of speakers.

Pros
Hugely transparent
Don’t force their own character
Rhythmic and dynamic

Cons
Unforgiving of poor sources

Go to ranking

Pitchfork

Go to ranking

The Master Switch

Best Overall Bookshelf Speakers

Pros
Almost everything you could want out of a bookshelf speaker

Cons
The design and looks are a little dull compared to other models.

Go to ranking

SoundGuys

Best design

Pros
Minimal, all-black design
Sound quality

Cons
Requires an app

Go to ranking

Max Your Home Time

Runner-Up Bookshelf Speakers Under 300

Pros
Moving the bass port at the front of the speakers is a smart move, and one, other designers should note.
The pair offers excellent bass performance for bookshelf speakers.
The price is great for the quality of the sound offered.
The speakers are constructed very well.

Cons
The retro design of these speakers might impress someone else, but not me.

Go to ranking

We ranked Q Acoustics 3020i #2 in April 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Bookshelf Speakers” rankings.
  • Out of those, 2 experts ranked Q Acoustics 3020i as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Wirecutter

The best bookshelf speakers

Go to ranking

Pitchfork

Go to ranking

The Master Switch

Smallest Bookshelf Speakers for PC Gaming

Pros
Great looks
excellent treble
compact build.

Cons
Sound quality can be fatiguing at high volumes.

Go to ranking

Max Your Home Time

Best Overall and Best Bookshelf Speakers Under 300

Pros
The Q Acoustic 3020i delivers incredible sound across a remarkably broad range.
While not cheap, they are affordable.
Well designed and attractive, especially minus the grilles.
They are compact.

Cons
Not much.

Go to ranking

We ranked Kef LS50 #3 in April 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Bookshelf Speakers” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Kef LS50 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
CNET

Go to ranking

What Hi-Fi

These standmounters set new standards at the price.

Pros
Exceptional sonic transparency
Subtle and precise presentation
Innovative technology

Cons
Nothing at this price

Go to ranking

The Master Switch

Pros
-A genuine improvement on a classic.

Cons
-Still massively pricey, outperformed in some areas by more affordable models.

Go to ranking

Gear Patrol

Best upgrade

Go to ranking

We ranked Bowers & Wilkins 606 S2 #4 in April 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Bookshelf Speakers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
CNET

Go to ranking

What Hi-Fi

B&W hones its 606 standmounters to great effect.

Pros
Excellent clarity
Agile and articulate bass
Impressive dynamic punch

Cons
○ Nothing at this price

Go to ranking

The Master Switch

Best High-End Bookshelf Speakers

Pros
Elegant detail and soundstage, and the light and compact frame make these a joy to use.

Cons
Unforgiving nature, fussy with positioning.

Go to ranking

Gear Patrol

Go to ranking

We ranked Dayton Audio B652 AIR #5 in April 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Bookshelf Speakers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
CNET

Go to ranking

Pitchfork

Go to ranking

The Master Switch

Best Budget Bookshelf Speakers Under $200

Pros
Excellent detail and clarity for a sub-$100 speaker

Cons
Slightly weak bass, and the binding posts are irritating to use

Go to ranking

We ranked Q Acoustics Concept 300 #6 in April 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Bookshelf Speakers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
CNET

Go to ranking

HiConsumption

Go to ranking

Gear Patrol

Go to ranking

We ranked Elac Uni-fi UB5 #7 in April 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Bookshelf Speakers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
CNET

Go to ranking

Rolling Stone

Best Audiophile Pick

Go to ranking

The Master Switch

Best of the Rest

Pros
Terrific in both hi-fi and home theater systems.

Cons
May be a little intimidating for beginners, and they face stiff competition.

Go to ranking

We ranked Klipsch The Fives #8 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Bookshelf Speakers” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Klipsch The Fives as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Rolling Stone

Best Overall

Go to ranking

The Master Switch

Pros
One of the simplest ways to create a combined TV/hi-fi system.

Cons
Uncontrolled bass and hit-and-miss mids.

Go to ranking

We ranked Pioneer SP-BS22-LR #9 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Bookshelf Speakers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
CNET

Go to ranking

Max Your Home Time

Second Overall and Best Bookshelf Speakers Under 100

Pros
These speakers are genuinely affordable, and they offer excellent value at a low price point.
They feature a visually pleasing design.
While they have a two-way design, the smart six-element crossover provides a better experience across the whole frequency range.

Cons
While solid for their price, these speakers aren’t built quite as well as some of the options around $300 or higher.

Go to ranking

We ranked Kef Q150 #10 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Bookshelf Speakers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Wirecutter

A step up in sound quality

Go to ranking

Pitchfork

Go to ranking

We ranked Bowers & Wilkins 606 #11 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Bookshelf Speakers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
What Hi-Fi

The famous B&W 600 Series is back with a bang.

Pros
Smart, stylish design
Brilliantly balanced sound
Dynamic and detailed

Cons
- Nothing of note

Go to ranking

HiConsumption

Go to ranking

We ranked Kanto TUK #12 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Bookshelf Speakers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
The Master Switch

Best Wireless/Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

Pros
A genuine evolution for Bluetooth speakers.

Cons
Volume issues
Bluetooth 4.2 only.

Go to ranking

Max Your Home Time

Best Bookshelf Speakers Under 1000

Pros
Best looking speakers
Performance at high frequencies is simply extraordinary due to the use of the AMT tweeter.

Cons
These speakers aren’t exactly affordable, but as mentioned, I do believe the price is justified.
The Bluetooth version used is outdated.
Volume control could be easier to use and offer extra precision.

Go to ranking

We ranked Bose 301 #13 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Bookshelf Speakers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
HiConsumption

Go to ranking

Max Your Home Time

Pros
These speakers feature a fresh horizontal design and small size.
I like the idea of automatic protection of my drivers.

Cons
I am not a fan of the rear-facing driver and muddy sound.
Also, for its price, you do not expect a cheap finish.

Go to ranking

We ranked Harbeth P3ESR #14 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Bookshelf Speakers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
CNET

Go to ranking

Pitchfork

Go to ranking

We ranked Kef Q350 #15 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Bookshelf Speakers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
CNET

Go to ranking

What Hi-Fi

These speakers' sophisticated,insightful presentation goes beyond their modest price.

Pros
Stunning clarity and detail
Huge sound scale
Excellent timing

Cons
Lacks drive
Demands loud volumes

Go to ranking

We ranked Bowers & Wilkins 607 S2 #16 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Bookshelf Speakers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
What Hi-Fi

A happy anniversary for these upgraded B&W 607 S2 speakers

Pros
Improved clarity and detail
More expressive than predecessors
Tighter, more agile bass

Cons
-Nothing at this price

Go to ranking

SoundGuys

Best Sound

Pros
Sound quality
Design

Cons
Price

Go to ranking

We ranked Edifier R1280T #17 in April 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Bookshelf Speakers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
The Master Switch

Pros
Good if unspectacular Bluetooth audio at a highly affordable price.

Cons
Lacks volume and subtlety.

Go to ranking

SoundGuys

Best for your Buck

Pros
Price
Volume, treble, and bass knobs

Cons
Design might not be for everyone
Build quality isn't the greatest

Go to ranking