December 2022

Bookshelf Speakers: Meta Ranking Report

This report contains an aggregate consensus of Speakers rankings posted by key online experts, as of December 2022.

Summary

As of 1 Dec 2022, Q Acoustics 3020i takes the cake as the most critically-acclaimed speakers with 5 expert endorsements. 2 experts out of 5 recommended it as the '#1 speakers' this month. It is followed by Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 and Kef LS50 , with 5 and 4 expert endorsements respectively.

At a glance - December 2022 Ranking

Scroll horizontally to browse this ranking table
Rank Change Price Speakers
Wirecutter
Max Your Home Time
Gear Patrol
The Master Switch
Pitchfork
SoundGuys
T3
HiConsumption
Rolling Stone
What Hi-Fi
1
- $449
Q Acoustics 3020i
1
1
8
5
7
-
-
-
-
-
2
- $390
Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2
-
5
-
1
9
2
-
-
-
8
3
- $1300
Kef LS50
-
-
2
10
-
-
7
-
-
1
4
- $1750
Bowers & Wilkins 606 S2
-
-
6
3
-
-
5
-
-
3
5
- $379
Dali Spektor 2
-
-
11
-
-
-
2
-
-
6
6
- $305
Triangle Borea BR03
3
-
10
-
-
-
-
-
-
7
7
- $442
Klipsch The Fives
-
-
-
17
-
-
-
-
1
-
13
- $60
Dayton Audio B652 AIR
-
-
-
2
8
-
-
-
-
-
14
- Check price
Bose 301
-
10
-
-
-
-
-
2
-
-
15
- Check price
Bowers & Wilkins 607 S2
-
-
-
-
-
4
-
-
-
4
16
- $800
Kanto TUK
-
3
-
13
-
-
-
-
-
-
17
- Check price
Q Acoustics Concept 300
-
-
4
-
-
-
-
8
-
-
18
- $2300
KEF LS50 Wireless II
-
-
-
-
6
-
6
-
-
-
19
- $449
Wharfedale Diamond 12.1
-
-
-
11
-
-
-
-
-
9
20
- $300
Kef Q150
-
-
9
-
11
-
-
-
-
-

We ranked Q Acoustics 3020i #1 in December 2022 because:

  • 5 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 passive bookshelf speakers

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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.

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Gear Patrol

Pros
Fantastic value
Excellent sound quality
Easy to drive

Cons
Sometimes difficult to find

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The Master Switch

Best Bookshelf Speakers for Vinyl

Pros
Great looks
excellent treble
compact build.

Cons
Sound quality can be fatiguing at high volumes.

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Pitchfork

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We ranked Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 #2 in December 2022 because:

  • 5 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:
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.

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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.

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Pitchfork

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SoundGuys

Best design

Pros
Minimal, all-black design
Sound quality

Cons
Requires an app

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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

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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 December 2022 ranking

We ranked Kef LS50 #3 in December 2022 because:

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

Best upgrade

Pros
Gorgeous
Elite sound quality

Cons
Larger than your average bookshelf speakers
Expensive

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The Master Switch

Pros
-A genuine improvement on a classic.

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

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T3

Awesome passive speakers for a high price

Pros
Exceptionally clear sound
Stunning design

Cons
Pricey, even without an additional amp

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What Hi-Fi

These bookshelf speakers set new standards at the price.

Pros
Exceptional sonic transparency
Subtle and precise presentation
Innovative technology

Cons
Don't place them in a bookshelf or up against a wall

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We ranked Bowers & Wilkins 606 S2 #4 in December 2022 because:

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

Pros
Elite sound quality and clarity
Big and punchy bass
Available in several premium finishes

Cons
A touch expensive

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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.

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T3

The best passive bookshelf speakers for a premium setup

Pros
Clear sound
Punchy bass
Sleek looks

Cons
Might be too deep for some shelves

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What Hi-Fi

B&W hones its 606 standmounters to great effect.

Pros
Excellent clarity
Agile and articulate bass
Impressive dynamic punch

Cons
Minor upgrades over previous model

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We ranked Dali Spektor 2 #5 in December 2022 because:

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

Pros
Excellent value
Compact design
Surprisingly detailed sound

Cons
Design might not be for everybody

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T3

The best passive bookshelf speakers for most people

Pros
Affordable
Detailed and expressive sound
Compact size

Cons
Not available in white
No wireless or smart features

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What Hi-Fi

Fine build,great sound and a bargain price.

Pros
Agile, articulate and expressive
Small
Unfussy

Cons
Low rated sensitivity, so needs care with amplifier pairing

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We ranked Triangle Borea BR03 #6 in December 2022 because:

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

A step up in sound quality

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Gear Patrol

Pros
Excellent value
Big sound with impressive clarity

Cons
Design (especially without grille covers) won't be for everybody

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What Hi-Fi

These bookshelf speakers are serious contenders.

Pros
Sophisticated, detailed sound
Impressive sense of scale
High-quality, agile bass

Cons
Aesthetic won’t be for everyone
Slight peakiness to treble

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We ranked Klipsch The Fives #7 in December 2022 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:
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.

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Rolling Stone

Best Overall

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We ranked Dayton Audio B652 AIR #8 in December 2022 because:

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

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Pitchfork

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We ranked Bose 301 #9 in December 2022 because:

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

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HiConsumption

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We ranked Bowers & Wilkins 607 S2 #10 in December 2022 because:

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

Best Sound

Pros
Sound quality
Design

Cons
Price

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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
Small updates over previous model

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We ranked Kanto TUK #11 in December 2022 because:

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

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The Master Switch

Pros
A genuine evolution for Bluetooth speakers.

Cons
Volume issues
Bluetooth 4.2 only.

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We ranked Q Acoustics Concept 300 #12 in December 2022 because:

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

Pros
Epic sound
They are a statement piece

Cons
Incredibly pricey
Larger than your average bookshelf speakers
Tripod stands add an extra cost

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HiConsumption

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We ranked KEF LS50 Wireless II #13 in December 2022 because:

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

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T3

Incredible, premium wireless bookshelf speakers

Pros
Great design
Lots of connectivity, including HDMI for TVs
Wonderful sound quality

Cons
Existing KEF owners might prefer a newer design

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We ranked Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 #14 in December 2022 because:

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

Pros
Forgiving
surprisingly premium sound at an attractive price.

Cons
Don’t quite do enough to excel against heavy competition.

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What Hi-Fi

Surprisingly sophisticated standmounters for their size.

Pros
Detailed but easy-going nature
Seamless and fluid midrange
Pleasing build and finish

Cons
Tough competition

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We ranked Kef Q150 #15 in December 2022 because:

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

Pros
Big sound with wide soundstage
Bespoke and unique design

Cons
Doesn't come with speaker grilles

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Pitchfork

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