Best PC Speakers
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.
Logitech Z313 2.1-Channel Speaker System
Cyber Acoustics Platinum CA-3602 3-Piece Speaker System
Gear Head Powered 2.1 Studio Pro Speakers (SP3750ACB)
Logitech Multimedia Speakers Z200 with Stereo Sound
Creative A250 2.1 Multimedia Speaker System
Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2500 2.1 Speaker System
Harman Kardon SoundSticks III 2.1 Speaker System
Creative T4W 2.1 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker System
Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 Speaker System
Logitech Z623 2.1 Speaker System
Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System
Cyber Acoustics P560 Powered Speaker System
Logitech Surround Sound Speakers Z506
Creative Inspire T6300 5.1 Surround Speakers
Creative Labs Creative A550 5.1 Gaming Speakers System
X-Mini II Capsule Speaker
Arctic Sound S113 BT Portable Bluetooth Speaker
House of Marley EM-JA007-BK Chant Mini Bluetooth Portable Speaker
JBL Jembe 2.0 Multimedia Speakers
Logitech Z130 2.0 Speaker System
Harman Kardon SoundSticks Wireless Bluetooth Enabled 2.1 Speaker System
Creative ZiiSound D5x Modular Wireless Speaker System with Bluetooth Transmitter
Infinity One Premium Wireless Portable Speaker
Creative T30 Wireless Bluetooth Speakers
Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 Wireless Computer Speakers
While your preferences on some of these points may vary, this is an excellent setup for just about anyone. 2.1 sound means you'll get much better bass quality to accompany the high and mid-tones created by the other two speakers. But it also means you'll need to have room for the fairly large subwoofer that comes with this set. You can't have it closed up in a cabinet or similar space, so this is an issue that is important to consider when making your choice. This model has peak power of 50 watts for excellent volume and sound quality, along with a control pod you can use to adjust volume and tone so the speakers themselves can be placed where they can achieve optimal audio quality. The only real issue with the pod is it doesn't have a control for the bass level, but it does have a headphone jack and Logitech covers this model with a two-year warranty.
In terms of raw sound quality and volume, this system is probably going to give you the best performance possible at this price range. This is a solid setup which has two great satellite speakers and a dedicated subwoofer for tremendous bass performance and sound. Peak power on this model is 62 watts which is about the highest you can find in this price range and gives you great volume and sound. There's a control pod you can use to adjust volume and turn the system on and off, but it's wired with a 6-foot cable which somewhat limits where you can place it. The control pod includes controls for bass, a headphone jack, and an audio-in connection for a media player or other device, which makes this a great overall choice. The only real problem with this setup is it's a bit expensive and actually costs slightly more than $50, but you can usually find it for less on sale from a number of different retailers.
There's certainly a lot to like about this setup, even if it's not quite as powerful as some speakers out there. The two satellite speakers are nice and small, which makes them easy to set up in a wide range of locations. The subwoofer is a little bit on the large side, but not any bigger than subwoofers included with other 2.1 setups. This system has peak power of 32 watts, which is not bad, but definitely lower than the Cyber Accoustics CA-3602. You get a wired control pod with this one, which gives you control over volume and bass as well as a port for headphones. One of the best features of this budget speaker setup is that it includes a lifetime warranty from Gear Head. Most other companies offer a one or two-year warranty on speakers, so this is an excellent level of support.
This is a really nice, simple two speaker setup that you should consider if a 2.1 system is more speaker than you want or need. You get two solid satellite speakers with this one that sound good and offers 10 watts of peak power. While that may seem low, keep in mind that without a dedicated subwoofer you don't need nearly as much power as other speaker setups require to still get great volume and sound quality. This one has volume controls on the front face of one of the satellites along with a bass adjustment control on the side that lets you change the tone of your speaker sound. You get a two-year warranty on this one and it is a great, simple option if you do not want 2.1 sound.
If you want to stay a bit low of the $50 price point, then give this system a good look. You still get excellent 2.1 sound with a pair of satellite speakers and a subwoofer. The satellites are nice and small, so you can position them in a wide range of locations, though you'll need a good spot for the subwoofer just like any other 2.1 setup. However, this is a down-firing subwoofer so it might not be a good choice if you're on the second floor of a house or apartment. One thing to keep in mind with this system is it doesn't include any type of control pod, meaning you'll need to be able to reach the volume knob on the satellite by hand to control your sound output. If you're looking to save a little extra money and still get great 2.1 audio, then give this model a look.
While this is certainly an expensive sound system, it's also incredibly powerful. Over 200 watts of power course through this system and provide incredible volume and sound quality for high and mid ranges as well as in terms of bass. With a 2.1 setup, the dedicated bass should make its presence known, and this system definitely accomplishes that task with ease. Good sound quality makes this a great choice, but the functionality of this setup is what sets it apart as the best of the best.
A control pod lets you adjust volume, bass, and other aspects of the sound quality without needing to reach the speakers. There's a small display screen that lets you see just where your sound levels are at and it even has pre-programmed settings you can use while watching movies or when you need to bring the bass down late at night. The speakers are made from durable materials which include metal speaker covers, a rubber surround on the subwoofer, plus the two-year warranty Corsair offers on these speakers is as good as it gets.
The sound quality for these speakers is definitely top notch and can compete with any other 2.1 computer speakers on the market. They might not be as powerful as the Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2500, but you'll still be able to appreciate deep, rich sounds even at high volume levels. On top of that, these speakers have one of the sleekest and most interesting designs of any computer speakers on the market. White LEDs within their clear frames enhance this look further and they definitely accentuate just about any computer setup.
While there’s no control pod with this system, it includes controls which are touch-sensitive for easy adjustments that don’t impact their sleek design. Most people place their subwoofer under their desk, both to keep it out of the way and to enhance the audio from it, which means the wonderful aesthetics of the subwoofer design are essentially wasted if it’s placed somewhere unseen. Harman Kardon only covers these speakers with a one-year warranty, but they also offer a wireless Bluetooth model of these speakers at a much higher price.
There are a lot of great features to be found with this speaker system, but it is really ideal if you want wireless Bluetooth functionality. Sound quality is great with this model, which offers big, rich sound through the two satellites and the subwoofer. What really set this model apart from other 2.1 speakers are the great secondary features that Creative packed into this system.
These speakers also feature Bluetooth connectivity with near field communications support (NFC), so you can simply touch another NFC device to the control pod and it will automatically sync up with the speakers. This control pod also includes input control and volume adjustments, and there is also a wireless infrared remote control that lets you adjust speaker volume and choose audio input. If you need Bluetooth 2.1 speakers, then this is a great choice, but otherwise it might not really be worth investing in extra connectivity you might not be able to utilize. The subwoofer has a solid metal case but it only has a one-year warranty.
In terms of their audio quality, these speakers are certainly fantastic. THX certification indicates you'll get tremendous sound quality and clarity and the bass in these speakers can definitely shake a room. You'll get both clear mid and high ranges as well as solid bass that you can adjust quickly and easily. The volume controls on this speaker set connect to the underside of one of the speaker satellites.
You can detach the controls if you want to move or replace them. The satellites include metal stands that are well-built and the metal case on the subwoofer is durable. These speakers are exclusive to Best Buy or ordering through the Klipsch website which is frustratingly limited; however, they’re covered by a one-year warranty on electronics and three-year warranty on other parts. If you're interested in a wireless setup, there's also a wireless version available from Klipsch.
These are some of the most affordable, high-quality 2.1 computer speakers around. While they’re certainly not a "budget" model, you can find them for quite a bit less than some of other speakers out there. However, even at a lower price these are solid speakers which are quite powerful and offer tremendous sound. They might not look as nice as the Soundsticks from Harman Kardon, but they perform their job admirably due to 120 watts of peak power and a powerful subwoofer.
The control pod gives you easy controls for volume and bass, plus it includes a 3.5mm input jack. If you want to save a little money while still getting terrific sound and great controls, then give this one a good look. Logitech supports it with a one-year warranty and it is made from solid materials including cloth covering to protect your speakers.
While this is one of the most expensive options on the market for 5.1 computer speakers, the power and audio quality of this system is hard to argue with. They are 500 watt RMS speakers with peak power of 1000 watts, which means you get a ton of volume out of them, and the subwoofer provides plenty of bass for music and movies. With THX-certified 5.1 surround sound, you'll be able to hear all the action and enemies around you while gaming, which is especially advantageous when playing against other people online.
You can connect up to six different devices to these speakers simultaneously and switch between them using the control center which includes volume and other controls, making this a perfect computer and multimedia setup. There's even a remote control you can use to adjust the volume and other settings wirelessly. These include solid materials including metal mesh covers, and Logitech covers this model with a two-year warranty.
This is one of the most expensive 5.1 computer speakers you are going to find on the market, but it also offers tremendous performance and functionality. Peak power on this one is over 1,000 watts, with 530 watts RMS power, so it can put out incredible volume and sound quality while you are gaming or watching movies through your computer. The desktop control on this model is great and includes a mute switch, input source selection, master and bass volume controls, and more. You also get a wireless remote control with this model so you can easily adjust volume and other simple features. This model has multiple inputs, including optical and Bluetooth connectivity. These THX-certified speakers are well made and look great, but it would be nice if there was more metal and less plastic in them, although they’re supported by a one-year warranty.
This is basically the "budget" model of 5.1 speakers from Logitech, so keep that in mind as you look at them. The speakers are good, though with 75 watts RMS of power they’re certainly not nearly as powerful as the ones available in the Logitech Z906 setup; however, at 1/4 the price, that's to be expected.
There are multiple inputs on the subwoofer, so you can connect multiple devices to these speakers, but they don’t have a control center to easily switch between them. You also have to adjust volume directly on one of the satellites, so potentially restricts how you set them up; a simple control pod would be a great addition. The speakers are made from solid, quality materials and include metal mesh driver covers, giving you a solid overall system covered by a two-year warranty.
You get a very nice combination of sound quality and control with this setup from Creative, even if it's not as powerful as more expensive models on the market. The sound from these speakers is still quite nice and they have a sleek, small design that lets you easily set up the satellites in various locations around your computer area. You get 7 watts RMS per satellite speaker and 22 watts RMS to the subwoofer which is decent but falls far short of more expensive models.
This one comes with a wired control unit that lets you easily adjust volume and turn your speakers on and off. However, it doesn't have any kind of input for audio or a headphone plug on the controls, which would have been nice. Still, for the price, you get a great 5.1 experience that you can easily control. There are solid components here, though more metal would be better, and they are covered by a one-year warranty.
While the price on this setup cannot be beat, as it is one of the least expensive sets of 5.1 speakers you are likely to find, you have to make some sacrifices to save that money. The primary loss here is in terms of power as this set has 5 watts RMS of power per satellite and 12 watts RMS to the subwoofer. Compare that to something like the Logitech Z906 speaker system with 500 watts RMS of power and you can quickly see that this one simply cannot begin to match up.
With that in mind, however, these speakers still sound good and offer up acceptable volume levels for the price. There’s a wired control with these speakers which lets you adjust volume and turn them on and off without reaching for one of the satellites. You do not get as many input options on these speakers as other models offer, but considering the price for this setup that’s not a major issue. The one-year warranty on these speakers is pretty short and though they are well-built, the drivers aren’t covered by metal mesh or other protective materials so you have to be careful with them.
One of the first things to be sure of before picking up this nice little speaker is to ensure it's compatible with your laptop as a 3.5mm audio connection is needed. While most laptops have that port, you should be sure yours does before getting this model. With that in mind, this is just a terrific overall option for use with a laptop and other devices. It takes only a couple hours to charge the battery in this model, with the charge capable of lasting you for over a dozen hours of playback.
The collapsible design of this speaker makes it very easy to carry around with you since it is just over two and a half inches tall, while still delivering some solid sound thanks to two and a half watts of power. It won't work miracles, however, so the small size does limit volume on playback; however, you can actually connect multiple UNO Capsules together to increase the volume and get better sound. The ceramic drivers in this unit are very nice, and unusual in such a small speaker, and X-Mini covers this model with a one-year warranty.
There's a lot to like about this laptop speaker, as long as ultimate portability isn't your major goal. You get two drivers or speakers within this model with three watts of power to each one, so your volume and sound quality are going to be better than smaller, single-driver models. That can be a noticeable difference, so keep that in mind if you want the best sound quality possible.
One of this speaker’s best features is its Bluetooth connectivity, which makes it a great match for a lot of laptops, tablets, and smart phones. It can also use a 3.5mm audio jack, however, if your laptop doesn't have Bluetooth. The solid case of this speaker is surrounded by a rubber bumper that looks good, keeps it stable on any surface, and helps protect it from damage.
This pick is a little bit larger than some other laptop options out there at almost seven inches long, but just over three inches tall. If you want something ultra-portable that you can fit in your pocket, then this one might not be a great option for you, but it is easy to pack up. Arctic provides a two year warranty on this speaker.
While it might not be as small as some speakers out there, the design is still a very portable option overall. There are a few different Chant models offered by House of Marley, and this one is the smallest at about five and a half inches tall, making it a great choice for setup with a laptop. Sound levels from this are pretty good, thanks to a three watt driver, and it comes with a rechargeable battery, though you only get about six hours of play from a single charge.
House of Marley uses recycled plastic and sustainably-harvested wood to make this speaker, and it ships in recycled packaging, making this the most eco-friendly option on our list. It works with either a Bluetooth connection or 3.5mm audio connection, which makes it a great choice for just about any laptop out there. House of Marley covers this speaker with a two year warranty.
There is a lot to like about these speakers from JBL, but you need to be sure it will work with where you plan on using your laptop. The two speakers give you excellent 2.0 sound, which means it has two satellites but no subwoofer. This setup can play loudly and offers great audio quality thanks to 6 watts of power to each satellite. With that tremendous sound, however, you also end up with two larger speakers than some other models on the market.
You certainly cannot just put these speakers in your pocket and go, but they’re still easy to transport since they are less than six inches tall. You also need a power cord and outlet to run these speakers, so you cannot use them while sitting outside under a tree or on a road trip. As long as you plan on using your laptop near an outlet and do not need optimal portability, then these are a great option. Some owners of these speakers have complained about them turning off during use, but as long as you keep your laptop master volume up, this should not be an issue. The metal grills on these speakers help protect the sound drivers and you get a one-year warranty on them.
The primary flaw with these speakers is that they aren't the most portable laptop speakers out there. If you have a laptop that you tend to use in one particular space and you're not looking for speakers that you can easily move around and use anywhere thanks to battery power, then these are a very good choice. Their sound quality is quite nice, thanks to five watts of total power. While they’re larger than many other models out there, they are only about five and a half inches tall and weigh less than a pound.
Simple volume controls are located on the front of them as well as a connection for headphones. These speakers do require a wall outlet for power, and they also require a 3.5mm connection, with no wireless option, so keep that in mind. The two-year warranty by Logitech is great and the metal grills on the front of them help protect the sound drivers within.
You get some incredibly powerful speakers with this setup at a price that's actually pretty reasonable, though definitely not cheap. Even though these speakers are pretty small, they are quite loud and offer excellent overall sound quality at every level. This pick also offers Bluetooth connectivity that lets these the speakers pair well with a computer, laptop, tablet, and even smart phones for easy media playback. If you need it, you can also use 3.5mm audio connections to set this up, with a wireless option for all of your devices. The 2.1 audio is excellent and the subwoofer gives you great bass for a tremendous overall experience thanks to 65 watts of maximum power. Keep in mind these speakers are tethered to a power cord so it's not a completely wireless setup. Harman Kardon covers this system with a one-year electronics warranty and five-year loudspeaker warranty.
Sound quality for this setup is great, but it's the customization that really sets it apart. The single speaker design is not quite optimal, as it lacks the extra freedom that two speakers gives you when setting up your environment. But the lack of a wire between two speakers does make this one a bit easier to get working in just about any space. This speaker plugs into a wall outlet so you don't have to worry about batteries but the tradeoff is the unit isn't completely wireless. Perhaps the best feature of this model is that you can easily upgrade it with additional speakers later on. You can buy more D5x or DSx units from Creative to improve sound quality over time and there's even a dedicated subwoofer that you can purchase and set up with them to build up to a 3.1 system. This makes these speakers a great choice if you're looking to invest over time in your sound system, rather than making a larger purchase all at once. The one-year warranty on this speaker is decent but certainly not outstanding.
One thing to keep in mind is that this system requires more wires than you might want from a "wireless" setup. The speakers don't have to connect to your computer, but they do have to connect to a power supply and plug into a wall outlet. This is a self-contained system with just two speakers, so there aren't any easy options for adding a subwoofer like you get from the Creative ZiiSound D5x system. What you do get with these speakers is easy setup due to near field communication (NFC) functionality and Bluetooth connectivity. This means you can pair these speakers with a laptop or computer through traditional methods, and use NFC to pair them with a device like a tablet or phone. Just touch the device to these speakers, as long as it also has NFC functionality, and it will pair with them without any additional work on your part. This system is covered by a one-year warranty which is not terrible but also not exceptional.
Since it includes two speakers and a subwoofer, this wireless speaker system offers some of the best sound quality you're going to find on the market. You'll get full stereo sound and a much deeper bass from this system than a lot of other wireless computer speakers and it's even THX-certified. All of that comes at a fairly steep price, however, and it's not completely wireless. While no cords connect it to your computer, you will need to run cables between each of the three speakers and plug it into a wall outlet. The subwoofer is also a bit large so you'll probably need some dedicated space available for this entire setup. This is a great option if you do not already have Bluetooth connectivity, as it comes with a USB dongle that wirelessly connects to the speakers. The biggest problem with this system is that Klipsch only offers this model directly from their website, so you have to order it through them or buy it second-hand either used or with a fairly large markup, which also negates the one-year warranty on electronics and three-year warranty on other components.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.