What are the best speakers under $300?
Having refined my audio setup throughout the years, I couldn’t help but learn a thing or two.
One key bit of advice on the search for prime audio quality is don’t scrimp on the speakers.
Sounds obvious, right? But you can spin through a record player worth $1000, yet if the speakers aren’t good, sound quality suffers.
So the big question is… what speakers are going to blow your mind for under $300!?
When I was searching for a good pair of speakers on a budget, the internet wasn’t helpful. So, I thought I’d share my findings.
In this article, I’ll highlight the pros and cons of all my favourite speakers in this price range. Let’s help you level up your sound system with the top speakers for under $300.
6 Top Speakers Under $300 in 2022
- Most Versatile Speakers: Edifier R2000DB
- Best Powered Speakers: Fluance Ai60
- Best Floorstanding Speakers: Klipsch-Pack-R-610F-Floorstanding-Speaker
- Best User-Friendly Speakers: Kanto YU Bookshelf Speakers
- Best Under $250 Speakers: Elac Debut 2.0 B5.2
- Best Smart Speaker: Sonos One
A fussy and/or knowledgeable audiophile could pick faults with speakers priced at $1000. The point is, with speakers priced under $300, you’ll have to expect cons. Look at the negatives and see which won’t affect your listening experience.
|Make & Model||Pros||Cons|
|Most Versatile Speakers||Edifier R2000DB||Powered SpeakersBluetooth connectivityHefty design for durabilityClear sound quality at high levels||Flimsy remote controlPiano black body finish prone to dirt marks|
|Best Powered Speakers||Fluance Ai60||Bluetooth connectivityTidy and compact designPlug and play. Powered speaker so no need for pre-amp.||Bluetooth sound quality isn’t the bestHeavy on low-mid frequencies through Bluetooth|
|Best Floor Standing Speaker||Klipsch R610F||Affordable floor standing speakersProminent rounded low frequenciesPristine detailed room-filling sound quality||Large units, so room space neededStereo image less audible than with bookshelf speakers|
|Best User-Friendly Speakers||Kanto YU||Powered speakers with built-in preampBluetooth 4.2 for high-resolution wireless listeningUser-friendly design with single-button control||Bass frequencies boomy with poor positioningBass and treble settings reset when turned off|
|Best Under $250 Speakers||Elac Debut 2.0 B5.2||Full frequency responseGreat for vinyl listeningStrong build quality with tweeter protection||Need a good preamp to get the best sound. A poor preamp makes for weakened overall sound quality.Very bright sounding.|
|Best Smart Speaker||Sonos One||A vast array of modern featuresPortable designUnassuming sound quality for many purposes||Unless you buy two, it’s a single unit, so there’s no stereo separationTechnology frequently needs updating and eventually becomes obsolete.|
Most Versatile: Edifier R2000DB
Edifier R2000DB speakers stake a strong claim for the best Bluetooth bookshelf speakers under $300.
What I enjoy with the Edifier R2000DB speakers is their flexibility. Sure, first hook up your turntable. That’s the priority, right?!
But, the Edifier R2000DB speakers come with Bluetooth connectivity. So, if you own a Sony PS-LX310BT or any other Bluetooth turntable, there’s a wired 3.5mm RCA connection free. Use this for TV, CD players, or computers. I’ll leave that up to you.
Or, for an easy switch between sources, use a receiver, and your home system is rolling.
There’s a long cable that connects the right speaker to the left. A nice touch that adds further flexibility to the sound scape and means you can achieve immense separation.
With a 5″ bass driver, 1″ tweeter, how does this combination sound? Well, considering there’s a 120 Watts output signal, these speakers are loud at the same time maintaining clarity at high volumes. Don’t upset the neighbors.
When the needle drops onto your favorite track, there’s a remote control included. So, after careful consideration, if you do want to upset the neighbors, you can do so without leaving your seat. Bass, treble, and volume controls make sure you can tweak the sound to suit.
Edifier R2000DB speakers not only belt out a sound quality that could pass for double the price. But they are well-built. Weighty, these powered bookshelf speakers won’t budge even with booming bass.
Shame we can’t say the remote control has similar durability. It’s kind of flimsy. But alas, it serves a purpose.
These passive speakers are available in two finishes. Piano black or wood. A word of warning: the piano black finish is prone to fingerprint marks. But once the Edifier R2000DB bookshelf speakers are in place, you’ll enjoy the sound so much, you won’t be moving them soon.
Best Powered: Fluance Ai60
If you’re searching for powered speakers, then the Fluance Ai60’s are high on the list.
Pffft. Passive or powered? Is your brain going into overload setting up your sound system? Let’s explain.
Passive speakers need a pre-amplifier to amplify the signal. Sometimes, a turntable has a built-in preamp. If so, passive speakers will work. If not, you’ll need an external preamp.
Powered speakers, also known as active speakers, like the Fluance Ai60s, have a built-in preamp. So, if your turntable has no preamp and you don’t want the bulk of an external preamp. Here’s your answer.
They’re ideal if you’re short on space. Not only the lack of pre-amp, but at 332mm in height, 235mm in depth, and 198mm wide, they’re nicely compact.
The elegant handcrafted wood speaker enclosure will look the part in your setup, whether on the shelf or stands.
What do the Fluance Ai60 speakers sound like?
Crisp and articulate these bookshelf speakers will project nuances of vinyl groove. You have Bluetooth connectivity, yet the sound quality diminishes through this connection. The emphasis on the low mids can overbear in some tracks.
But for plug-and-play speakers, these are a quick-fire answer, and when connected through the RCA connection, they sound great. If you want a little more oomph, there’s the option to connect and subwoofer from the line-out connection.
Best Floorstanders: Klipsch 610F
Larger than bookshelves speakers, floor standers have more pronounced bass. The bigger size allows for more air to pass, creating a powerful bassy sound.
Problem is, in general, they’re more expensive. So, priced under $300, the Klipsch 610F floor standing speakers are an affordable way to own a true powerhouse.
Regarding the sound, big is the keyword here. They’ll fill a room better than most other bookshelf or desktop speakers. But it’s not a case of floor-standing speakers being better than bookshelf speakers.
For example, for improved stereo imaging, bookshelf speakers are great. I could argue this is more suited for musical listening. Nonetheless, the Klipsch 610F floor standards are a different proposition. If you want room fillers, they’ll create a cinematic wall of sound.
Not only huge-sounding, but they’re also huge in, well, size. 41.25″ in height, 18.252″ depth, and 12.75″ width, you’ll need the space to accommodate them.
But if you’ve got the room, then you’ll have full-sounding music and TV experience. It’s the spun copper woofers that give the 610F speakers its unique look and low-frequency response.
Then, for the highs, it’s over to the Linear Travel Suspension (LTS) aluminum tweeter. A hallmark of Klipsch, these tweeters capture plenty of detail.
Overall, you get a lot of speakers for your buck.
Best User-Friendly Speakers: Kanto YU Powered Speakers
Kanto’s YU speakers could fall into the best-powered speaker category. But they deserve high praise for their ease of use too.
The round knob on the front does it all. From here, you can connect to an analog or Bluetooth source. Turn the speakers on and off, or rotate the dial for volume adjustment. For everything else, there’s a remote control.
Canadian company Kanto has found a gap in the market. Affordable, compact, all-in-one speakers with a simple and user-friendly build. The matt black finish and the small dimensions make them great for a small vinyl listening room.
With a very musical sound, Kanto aims these speakers at the music listener. The silk dome tweeter and 4” Kevlar drivers deliver crisp high-end frequency and a smooth balance to the mid-range.
Sure, they won’t offer big bold bass. But where they excel is high-resolution music listening. As a musician, I love these, as you can pick out each instrument’s performance on a track. They’re pure. Besides, if you want added bass, there’s a subwoofer output.
With durable build quality, these speakers stake a claim as the best affordable compact powered speakers.
If a wireless connection is high on your list. The Bluetooth 4.2 connection offers the purist wireless sound of all the speakers on the list.
Keep them away from a wall or corners and boominess won’t be an issue. While you can notice some glue connecting the speakers, overall, they look amazing.
A pair of Kanto speaker stands really open the midrange, and the remote allows for fine-tuning frequencies to suit your musical tastes and room acoustics.
Best Under $250: Elac Debut 2.0 B5.2
For under $250, the Elac Debut 2.0 B5.2 speakers are a bargain. Here’s why the most affordable speakers on this list are a solid investment.
They don’t offer bells and whistles, no Bluetooth, no built-in preamp, just plain-looking speakers that do exactly what they say on the tin.
They deliver high-quality audio throughout the frequency spectrum. With a frequency response of 46Hz – 35kHz, there’s a wide range of audio detail. You won’t miss out on any details that music producers want you to hear.
The bass is weighty yet full of detail. Mid-range frequencies are neutral and relaxed. While high-end frequencies are transparent and airy.
They’re perfect speakers for chilled-out vinyl listening.
But all those traits are worthless if you feed these speakers with a bad external amplifier. Weak power from external amps will make the Debut 2.0 B5.2 speakers closed and lifeless.
This is the downside, you need to consider your rig. If you haven’t got a pre-amp, factor one into your budget. To get the best out of these speakers, you can’t cut corners.
But when fired with a decent preamp, the sound quality alone makes them one of the best in the price range.
They’re built to last with even the detail of the tweeter being protected by a mesh wire. Good if you have inquisitive children roaming around who have mistaken a tweeter for a button.
Best Smart Speaker: Sonos One
As a vinyl enthusiast, I love tradition. But I also respect time moves on.
Smart speakers have changed how we listen to music. Voice-assisted playback is as far removed from dropping a needle on vinyl as it gets. While I could go on and on about the joys of vinyl and how it’s my preferred method, I also listen to music through a smart speaker. Don’t tell anyone.
Truth is, there’s so much practicality involved in the Sonos One. They’re tech for the modern-day. While nothing is stopping you from connecting to your Bluetooth turntable, the Sonos One offers so much more.
From the number of inputs, multi-room possibilities, and taking high-definition listening on your travels, the Sonos One is peak functionality. As a singular unit, it offers one of the best sounds from a smart speaker.
The downside of tech-heavy speakers is the constant requirement for device updates. I can’t promise you’ll be listening through these speakers in years to come. Of course, the speaker will work for years, but as for the tech, like your phone or laptop, it’ll be onto the next thing.
But there’s a place for all music listening. The Sonos One is a contemporary, stylish-looking speaker versatile enough for the modern-day listener. And sometimes, with the busy lives we lead, that’s all you need for a quick musical fix.
Comparison Chart Of Speakers Under $300
Let’s merge all the information of each of the top speakers under $300. The following table shows some of the important specs at a glance.
|Make & Model||Powered/Passive||Speaker Type||Frequency Range||Connection||Weight|
|Edifier R2000DB||Powered||Bookshelf||55Hz-20KHz||RCA, Aux, Bluetooth||21.4 lb|
|RCA, Aux, Bluetooth, USB||29.3 lb|
|Klipsch R610F||Passive||Floorstanding||45Hz-21KHz||Gold plated binding posts||87.7 lb|
|RCA, Bluetooth||11.5 lb|
|Elac Debut 2.0 B5.2||Passive||Bookshelf||46Hz-35kHz||Metal-binding posts||13.1 lb|
|Sonos One||Powered||Smart Speaker||52Hz-|
|Ethernet, Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay, Streaming Platforms||4.1 lb|
Which bookshelf speakers are the best?
The best bookshelf speakers depend on the budget. A pair of KEF LS50 Meta offers peak performance and detail. But priced above $1500, they’re out of reach for many. In the below $300 price bracket, Edifier R2000DB, Fluance Ai60, Kanto YU, and Elac Debut 2.0 B5.2 all offer value for money and sound quality.
Are audiophile speakers worth it?
You can spend thousands trying to achieve high quality sound on an entertainment system. There’s an element of you paying for what you get. But, top-of-the-range speakers become least effective alongside poor gear like preamps and turntables. Furthermore, to get the most out of audiophile speakers, you need a treated room to minimize sound reflections. But, if the setup is well-considered, audiophile speakers will sound outstanding.
Can bookshelf speakers sound as good as tower speakers?
Yes. While bookshelf speakers won’t have the same powerful bass, you can supplement them with subwoofers. One is not better than the other and many bookshelf speakers will stand up against floor standing speakers.
So there we have it, the top speakers for under $300.
$300 may seem like a lot, but in fact, it isn’t. Look at the Wharfedale Linton speakers, priced around $1800, they’ll add some perspective.
Will speakers in this price range live up to the sound quality of other speakers in their thousands? No, but it’s not to say they don’t sound great.
If you’re starting your journey and you’re used to budget speakers. Like speakers under $100, or the ones built into your turntable or TV. This collection of speakers is an immediate upgrade. You’ll notice the difference upon first listen.
There’s something for everyone. No need for a pre-amp, powered speakers are the easy plug-and-play option. The Edifier R2000DB are great all-around speakers. Whether it’s TV or music, they have the flexibility for both.
While the Bluetooth sound quality isn’t the best, another powered option is the Fluance Ai60 speakers. There’s a punch from these compact-sized speakers. Offering both sound quality in a tidy package, they’re ideal if you’re short on space.
Then, the Kanto YU Bookshelf Speakers, with 4.2 Bluetooth, offer one of the best wireless connections for the price.
If you’re going for a full-on audiophile experience, then consider the Elac Debut 2.0 B5.2. Because they require a preamp, you can sculpt your setup. And when combined with a killer preamp, there’s an affordable yet exceptional rig.
These are the more traditional options, so what about something a little different?
Floor standing speakers in the price range are rare. So, for a room full of sound, the Klipsch R610F is an affordable way to own this type of speaker.
Then, there are the smart speakers. The epitome of modern-day music listening. At under $300, it’s hard to look past the Sonos One. You’ll get a lot of sound quality from a small package.
There’s plenty to think about, but whichever way you decide, I hope you now have a clearer picture of your speaker options.
I suppose all that’s left is to kick back and enjoy the music!