Best PC Speakers

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Computer speakers play the largest role in determining the quality of the audio from your system. Most basic computer speakers have two "satellites" which are often placed on either side of a computer monitor. This setup provides left and right channels for stereo sound, which is suitable for everyday use. Beyond that, 2.1 and 5.1 speaker systems are growing in popularity.

These setups have multiple satellites and a dedicated subwoofer, and offer much higher performance than basic speaker systems. They have substantially better bass response, making them an ideal choice for PC gaming and watching movies. While a simple pair of speakers can be inexpensive and easy to choose, take a look at the PC speakers buyer’s guide below for more information to help you pick exactly the right speakers for your setup.

Best 2.1 Computer Speakers:

The designation "2.1" means a speaker system has two satellite speakers and a dedicated subwoofer. These types of systems can be pretty expensive, though home theater setups often end up costing hundreds or thousands of dollars. For a computer setup, the sound is usually going to be close and intense, and really nice speakers can definitely enhance that experience. The two main factors to look at while making these picks are the sound quality and the types of features offered with each setup. Of course you want a unit that sounds good and can get as loud as you want, but it should also be user-friendly.

We’ve chosen these options as the best 2.1 computer speakers because they have at least 120 watts of peak power, ensuring great volume and sound quality. You also get excellent sound control on these models, which include control pods for convenient adjustment of both volume and bass. These speakers have also been designed to look good and last a long time with sturdy metal stands to keep them stable, rubberized padding to protect the speakers and drivers, as well as LED lighting on some of these picks for extra visual flair.

Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2500 2.1 Speaker System

Though Corsair might be better known for producing computer memory and other components, this is one terrific offering from them for computer sound. Not only is it incredibly powerful, but it includes a control pod with a screen and some of the best user controls around. Terrific sound quality and a sleek design make this a great choice for any computer setup. Read Full Review

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    Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2500 2.1 Speaker System

    Harman Kardon SoundSticks III 2.1 Speaker System

    These are undoubtedly the nicest looking speakers you can find and definitely look great in any setup. While they are powerful and sound great, they don't have a remote control pod, so you need to interact with the speakers to control the volume. The subwoofer looks great, but since you'll probably have it under your desk, making it a bit pointless for most setups. Read Full Review

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      Harman Kardon SoundSticks III 2.1 Speaker System

      Creative T4W 2.1 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker System

      If you are interested in great 2.1 sound and want a wireless option, then take a look at this model. It sounds great, looks nice, and has a solid design which includes a remote control and wired audio control pod. This is a great choice if you want Bluetooth connectivity, but otherwise you’re paying more for wireless functionality you might not use. Read Full Review

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        Creative T4W 2.1 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker System

        Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 Speaker System

        These are great speakers that sound terrific, but just lack some of the options and functionality to really set them above other models. While these are THX-certified speakers (which means they are guaranteed to sound fantastic) controls for volume and bass are located on one of the satellite speakers rather than on a control pod. This means you'll need to have the speaker close to make audio adjustments, which can restrict how you set them up. Read Full Review

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          Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 Speaker System

          Logitech Z623 2.1 Speaker System

          This is an excellent speaker setup offered by Logitech for a pretty reasonable price. Their sound quality is great, though they are not quite as powerful as some other models on the market. The audio control pod is easy to use and includes a 3.5mm input jack so you can connect other devices to these speakers. Read Full Review

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            Logitech Z623 2.1 Speaker System

            Best 5.1 Computer Speakers:

            When it comes to 5.1 computer speakers, you really want to look for overall sound quality and the types of features these setups include. You're not going to find many of these systems at a budget level and they are usually designed for serious audiophiles. 5.1 means there are five satellite speakers, usually arranged with one to the front left side of a listener, one to the front right, another to the back right, one to the back left, and one in the center. These systems also come with a dedicated subwoofer for much more powerful bass sound quality than a setup with only satellite speakers. This is something of a specialty market for computer audio, but there are some great options available.

            What really set these following models apart as the best 5.1 computer speakers on the market is the level of power they have, with these picks offering at least 30 watts RMS of power, though some of these offer much more. All of these speakers have excellent volume and audio controls along with great options for multiple inputs that make it easy to connect other devices to your speaker system. These options are also all built with durable materials by reliable manufacturers to ensure these speakers last you a long time.

            Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System

            This is a tremendous set of speakers for use with a computer or even a home entertainment center. They're THX-certified and incredibly powerful to provide you with all the volume and deep bass you could want. There's a small control center and even a remote control you can use to adjust the volume from across the room. Read Full Review

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              Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System

              Cyber Acoustics P560 Powered Speaker System

              In many ways this is comparable to the Logitech Z906 speakers and they give you amazing sound quality and great control over your system. With over 1,000 watts of peak power, these THX certified speakers are great sounding, even at high volumes. It also includes a desktop control unit and wireless remote for great options to keep it sounding good in any situation. Read Full Review

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                Cyber Acoustics P560 Powered Speaker System

                Logitech Surround Sound Speakers Z506

                Another great option for 5.1 sound at a reasonable price, these speakers from Logitech offer some pretty great performance without breaking the bank. At this price, it should probably have better controls, but the audio performance on this model makes up for it a bit. Read Full Review

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                  Logitech Surround Sound Speakers Z506

                  Creative Inspire T6300 5.1 Surround Speakers

                  Creative offers a great, budget-friendly option with these speakers, which you can find at a reasonable price and they include solid overall functionality. While these might not be as powerful as more expensive models out there, with just over 50 watts RMS, they still sound terrific. You also get a wired control here to easily adjust volume while you use your computer. Read Full Review

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                    Creative Inspire T6300 5.1 Surround Speakers

                    Creative Labs Creative A550 5.1 Gaming Speakers System

                    This is another great option if you are looking for budget-friendly 5.1 surround sound; just don’t expect the performance you might get from more high-end models. It has about 35 watts RMS of power, which is quite low, but you still get 5.1 audio. The wired control unit is a nice feature, especially at this price point. Read Full Review

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                      Creative Labs Creative A550 5.1 Gaming Speakers System

                      Best Budget Computer Speakers:

                      When looking at budget computer speakers, first and foremost you should look at the price. A top of the line set of speakers can run hundreds of dollars, potentially into the thousands if you're willing to pay it. But for a budget set you should find speakers that come in at $50 or less, and within that category these are the best ones around. Overall, these models give you great sound quality at a cost that won't compete with the price you paid for your computer itself.

                      We've chosen these best budget computer speakers because they have at least two separate units, giving you left and right audio channels. One thing to consider is that most of these picks all include 2.1 sound, which means they also include a separate subwoofer. All of these speakers also have peak power of at least 10 watts, though some of them have much higher power levels, especially the 2.1 models. You get basic volume controls on each of these models, though some of them also have bass options and even control pods that let you better manage your audio performance.

                      Logitech Z313 2.1-Channel Speaker System

                      Excellent 2.1 sound at a reasonable price makes this a great choice but it does come in right at the top of the budget price range. This set includes two main speakers and a dedicated subwoofer. There's also a control pod you can use to easily adjust volume without having to have direct access to a speaker within reach. Read Full Review

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                        Logitech Z313 2.1-Channel Speaker System

                        Cyber Acoustics Platinum CA-3602 3-Piece Speaker System

                        Here is a terrific option for 2.1 sound that includes a great subwoofer and two solid satellite speakers. This set also includes a control pod that is wired to the speakers, which limits where you can place it. It sounds good and looks good, but the price on it is a bit high. Read Full Review

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                          Cyber Acoustics Platinum CA-3602 3-Piece Speaker System

                          Gear Head Powered 2.1 Studio Pro Speakers (SP3750ACB)

                          While not as powerful as some budget speakers on the market, this is still a great option that you should consider before making a purchase. Although the speakers here aren't going to give you quite the same level of performance as those from Logitech or Cyber Acoustics, they're still pretty good and cost a little less. You still get a control pod with this one and a lifetime warranty, which no other pick on our list has. Read Full Review

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                            Gear Head Powered 2.1 Studio Pro Speakers (SP3750ACB)

                            Logitech Multimedia Speakers Z200 with Stereo Sound

                            If a 2.1 speaker setup is more than you need, then take a look at this option for a budget two-speaker model. While it lacks a subwoofer and control pod, it has simple volume controls and good quality speakers that still provide great audio. The lack of subwoofer also makes this a much more affordable option, so it’s a great choice to go really easy on your budget. Read Full Review

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                              Logitech Multimedia Speakers Z200 with Stereo Sound

                              Creative A250 2.1 Multimedia Speaker System

                              This is a great little set of budget computer speakers that offer solid sound at a very reasonable price. You don't get a wired control pod or anything like that, which means you'll need to place one satellite speaker close enough to control your sound easily. Other than that, however, this is an excellent option available at a great price. Read Full Review

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                                Creative A250 2.1 Multimedia Speaker System

                                Best Wireless Computer Speakers:

                                Wireless computer speakers are typically designed to function at a distance from a computer with a receiver of some kind, such as an internal Bluetooth component or a dongle. Such devices are often meant for a wide range of uses, including desktop computer areas without room for speakers by the computer, laptops that can work with portable speakers, and some are designed to function with other media devices. In general, however, look at how well the speakers work with a computer and keep other functions as largely secondary considerations.

                                We've chosen these best wireless computer speakers due in part to their maximum wattages of at least 25 watts, which ensures loud, clear sound quality during use. Most of these models also have at least two satellite speakers, though some of them are 2.1 systems, and the single-unit Harman Infinity still includes multiple drivers within its case. While most of these are Bluetooth speakers that you need to have Bluetooth connectivity to use, the Klipsch ProMedia system uses a wireless dongle that works with any USB port. These speakers are made by some of the best sound companies on the market, all of whom provide excellent warranties to your in vestment in these systems.

                                Harman Kardon SoundSticks Wireless Bluetooth Enabled 2.1 Speaker System

                                These are some of the best speakers on the market in general, and they just happen to be wireless. They look quite striking on a desk, bookshelf, or other location and include two satellite speakers and a subwoofer. With Bluetooth connectivity to top it off, these are pretty much the best wireless speakers around. Read Full Review

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                                  Harman Kardon SoundSticks Wireless Bluetooth Enabled 2.1 Speaker System

                                  Creative ZiiSound D5x Modular Wireless Speaker System with Bluetooth Transmitter

                                  This is a great setup for anyone looking to build a system over time, thanks to its modular design. You can purchase the main speaker, start using it, and Creative offers additional units that you can buy later to add to the setup. There's even a Bluetooth dongle available from the manufacturer which is ideal if you don't already have a component in your computer that handles a Bluetooth signal. Read Full Review

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                                    Creative ZiiSound D5x Modular Wireless Speaker System with Bluetooth Transmitter

                                    Infinity One Premium Wireless Portable Speaker

                                    Here is a great little wireless speaker that might not be ideal for every situation, but it certainly works well in a wide range of setups. While you do not get two satellites with this model, the housing includes four drivers within it for great audio quality. It is battery powered, so this one gives you true wireless functionality. Read Full Review

                                    Infinity One Premium Wireless Portable Speaker

                                    Creative T30 Wireless Bluetooth Speakers

                                    This is a set of two speakers that lacks any options for 2.1 sound since there is no subwoofer, but the satellites sound great and work well. The audio quality from this set is pretty good overall and it includes Bluetooth NFC connectivity. If you're going to use your wireless speakers with a wide range of devices, such as tablets and smart phones, then this is a great choice. Read Full Review

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                                      Creative T30 Wireless Bluetooth Speakers

                                      Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 Wireless Computer Speakers

                                      This system includes two separate speakers and a dedicated subwoofer for terrific 2.1 sound. While no wires may be needed to connect this to a computer, there are cables running between each component and the wall, so this won't be ideal for all setups. The biggest issue with this model is that you can only purchase it directly from the Klipsch website or unlicensed secondary dealers. Read Full Review

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                                        Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 Wireless Computer Speakers

                                        Best Laptop Speakers:

                                        A laptop with the right internal components and connections can essentially work with any type of standard computer speakers. Laptop speakers, however, are usually designed to be fairly small and easy to use wherever someone might want to have a laptop set up. Most laptops have internal speakers that are usually weak and tend to sound terrible, so external speakers let you listen to music or watch movies more easily from a laptop and still have decent sound quality. Since these are usually pretty small and relatively inexpensive, you're not going to get tremendous audio from them.

                                        Portability is the most important feature and these are the best laptop speakers because they are small and lightweight so you can easily take them with you just about anywhere. These models include a wide range of different designs, including single speakers and sets with two speakers, but all of them are less than 7 inches in size. All of these models give you good volume and audio quality, with a minimum of 2.5 watts of power. They also all feature higher end materials like metal and real wood rather than just having all plastic construction.

                                        X-Mini UNO Capsule Speaker

                                        It is pretty much impossible to beat the size and functionality of this model. It's nice and small, so you can easily pack it up in a laptop bag or just put it in your pocket, and it comes with a rechargeable battery. Perhaps the best aspect of this model is that it is modular, so you can connect more than one of them together to boost your sound quality. Read Full Review

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                                          X-Mini UNO Capsule Speaker

                                          Arctic Sound S113 BT Portable Bluetooth Speaker

                                          This is a great option if you're looking for something with Bluetooth connectivity, rather than something restricted to a physical connection. That makes this is a great choice if you need a speaker to work with one or more Bluetooth devices. This one is a bit larger than something like an X-Mini UNO Capsule speaker, but it is still quite portable in a bag or laptop case. Read Full Review

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                                            Arctic Sound S113 BT Portable Bluetooth Speaker

                                            House of Marley EM-JA007-BK Chant Mini Bluetooth Portable Speaker

                                            This is a very interesting, eco-friendly design if you're interested in a portable speaker that can work with a wide range of products. It's a little larger than something like the X-Mini UNO capsule speaker, but it's definitely small enough to easily carry around, and it is smaller than other Chant models. If you want a really "earth-friendly" option, then you should definitely take a good look at this one. Read Full Review

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                                              House of Marley EM-JA007-BK Chant Mini Bluetooth Portable Speaker

                                              JBL Jembe 2.0 Multimedia Speakers

                                              As a two speaker option, this is a little bit bigger than a single speaker, but it is still a good choice. You get 2.0 sound with great volume and audio quality, and the two speakers are small enough to transport pretty easily. This model requires a power connection, rather than working with a battery, so that limits where you can use it. Read Full Review

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                                                JBL Jembe 2.0 Multimedia Speakers

                                                Logitech Z130 2.0 Speaker System

                                                In many ways, these are essentially small desktop speakers. They have good sound quality, and while they are not small enough to fit in your pocket, they can be packed up in a bag or laptop case pretty easily. They do require a wall outlet connection for power, but they also offer great sound quality in a small size, as long as you don't need to transport them constantly. Read Full Review

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                                                  Logitech Z130 2.0 Speaker System
                                                   

                                                  PC Speakers Buyer’s Guide

                                                  There are a wide range of computer speakers on the market that include everything from simple two-satellite options to 5.1 surround sound systems. Navigating such a flood of options can be difficult, but information makes the process easier. Different manufacturers utilize a variety of materials and technologies when designing speakers, and also control the warranties on their models. When it comes to audio quality, the number and configuration of speakers is important, but so is the maximum wattage. Consider all of these options along with your overall computer build, which often determines how you need to connect the speakers to your system and the best controls for ease of use.

                                                  Wattage and Decibels

                                                  In any type of speaker, the wattage indicates how loud the speaker can get and still offer high-quality sound without damaging the speakers themselves. This wattage value can be a bit misleading, however, because what’s really important is the decibel levels that can be achieved at a given wattage. High quality speakers, for example, can already reach excellent volumes at just one watt, so high wattage levels are not necessary to get loud, clear sound from such speakers. Unless you plan on using your computer to really fill a large area with sound, this is less important than it might immediately seem, as most PC speakers offer enough wattage and decibels for an office or home setup.

                                                  Connectivity

                                                  Wired or wireless are your two options when it comes to PC speaker connectivity. Consider how your computer is setup in terms of whether a six-foot or ten-foot cord will work for your system, or if you need wireless speakers. With that in mind, each connectivity option has its own features to consider.

                                                  Wired Connectivity
                                                  If you're considering speakers with wired connectivity, then there are a few specific things to look at. You should look at the length of the cord/cable connecting the speakers to your computer; you want speakers with at least a six-foot cable, but ten feet or longer is usually ideal.

                                                  You should also look at how the wire connects to a computer, which will typically be either through a USB port or 3.5mm audio connection. Many motherboards have 3.5mm audio connections, but not all, so consider what connection you have available and choose speakers which can work with it.

                                                  Wireless Connectivity
                                                  Most wireless speakers connect to a computer through a Bluetooth signal. This means you need to have a computer with Bluetooth connectivity enabled or purchase and install an expansion card with a Bluetooth signal. Some speakers have a wireless dongle that you connect to your computer and then the speakers receive a signal through it, but these are somewhat rare.

                                                  The biggest perk of wireless Bluetooth PC speakers is that they’re often compatible with other Bluetooth devices, but audio quality is sometimes less than what you get with a wired option.

                                                  Number of Speakers and Configuration

                                                  Speaker configuration is indicated via a number written as X.Y. X indicates the number of satellite speakers, which provide the treble and mid-range sound, while Y tells you if there is a subwoofer for dedicated bass.

                                                  2.0 sound is the most basic setup usually available and just gives you a pair of satellite speakers for left and right channel, without a subwoofer. 2.1 means you get two satellites and a subwoofer. The most elaborate setup you are likely to find for PC speakers is 5.1, which gives you five satellites that you can arrange in a surround setup, with left, right, rear-left, rear-right, and back locations, along with a dedicated subwoofer.

                                                  While 5.1 sound is terrific, not every computer setup or office is right for it, so consider how you have your computer arranged and how many speakers really make sense.

                                                  Audio Controls

                                                  While most every set of PC speakers has some type of basic volume control, there are also a lot of options that you can find on other systems. At the very least, you should look at how the volume controls are set up on the speakers, since some of them are easier to use than others.

                                                  For a 2.1 or 5.1 system, you want to look for separate bass controls and balance, so that you can easily control the audio volume and quality. Some PC speaker systems even have remote controls or apps which let you use your phone as a remote, so you can easily adjust and control the computers volume and sound from across the room.

                                                  Manufacturer

                                                  Although there are a decent number of PC speaker manufacturers out there, only a handful of them are well known for building quality systems that sound great and work well. Companies like Logitech and Corsair are known for making a number of computer peripherals and produce excellent PC speakers which sound great. There are also manufacturers like Klipsch and Harman Kardon, known for making great speakers and they’ve branched into manufacturing high quality PC models. Creative Labs, maker of the Sound Blaster series of sound cards, and Cyber Acoustics also produce excellent PC speakers worth looking into.

                                                  Reliability and Warranty

                                                  Good design, six speakers, and mobile phone controls are all meaningless if your speakers stop working after a month of use. You want to choose a system that’s built to last and continue working for years to come so look for companies that have good reputations like the ones mentioned above.

                                                  The warranties provided by companies are also important, since defects are possible even in the best products. Aone-year warranty is the bare minimum that you should accept, though at least a two-year warranty is definitely preferable, and some high-end models are covered for five years of performance.

                                                   

                                                  Leave a Question or Comment
                                                  5 comments
                                                  • tigercub31211m tigercub31211m

                                                  Are the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1ch 3 really that good? (I need to replace what I have and found them new at Best Buys for $129) - Thanks, Frank

                                                  Posted on 8/3/2011 7:27 pm | Reply

                                                  The Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 are some of the best performing speakers, but it's becoming harder and harder to find them. But I agree with the comments here -- if you don't mind buying used and can find a good deal on them, they are definitely a top choice.

                                                  Posted on 1/16/2009 4:43 pm | Reply
                                                  • tigercub31211m tigercub31211m

                                                  Are the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1ch 3 realy that good? Best Buys has the set new at $129...

                                                  Posted on 8/3/2011 7:29 pm. In reply to Jeff_B | Reply
                                                  • Dan Hugo Dan Hugo

                                                  I second that motion on Klipsch 2.1 speakers. I have two sets of these speakers and they are excellent. If you're looking for great all-around performance and don't mind hunting for sales on them, you'll get more than one what you pay for.

                                                  Posted on 11/20/2008 5:42 pm | Reply
                                                  • Gee Deezy Gee Deezy

                                                  If you don't mind old-fashioned 2.1, Klipsch makes the speakers with the purest sound on the market - bar none.Their 2.1 speaker set is usually around $200, but I pick up the occasional set on Ebay for $50 or so.Like it or not, you can't beat the sound quality. Logitech's products, while well priced, are "tinny" in comparison.

                                                  Posted on 9/1/2008 2:45 am | Reply