Bookshelf speakers are a step up from small portable speakers, but they can still come at a very affordable price tag. The big question is, can you find quality speakers that can last? To help you in your search and to save money, our experts have reviewed the best bookshelf speakers under 200.
Reviews of the Best Bookshelf Speakers Under 200
1. Klipsch R-14M 4-Inch Reference Bookshelf Speakers
The Klipsch R-14M 4-Inch Bookshelf Speakers are a high end option if you have limited space. The two-way speaker features a linear travel horn-loaded 1-inch tweeter and a copper spun woofer. Together, the drivers come together to create a well-balanced soundstage, which is important when choosing the best bookshelf speakers under 200.
Of course, like Fluance Signature Series and most Klipsch speakers, this speaker comes with the proprietary Tractrix Technology, which is optimal for minimizing distortion with a greater extension for crisp, clean and realistic sound.
The build quality of the R-14M is excellent with rear-firing ports and 5-way binding post to make sure the low end tones are as accurate as possible.
2. Polk Audio T15 100 Watt Home Theater Bookshelf Speakers
The Polk Audio T15 100 Watt Home Theater Bookshelf Speakers can bring you a cinematic listening experience thanks to the embedded Dolby and DTS  surround audio technology. They have 100 watts RMS and a 5.25 inch driver that can produce the low frequency bass range with superior clarity.
Other than high quality audio, the Polk T15 speaker system are well-built with versatility in mind. They can be wall-mounted, placed on a flat surface like your entertainment unit or floor, or even be converted to standing audio system with the right stand.
You can create a full home system by adding other components from Polk such as a subwoofer or tower speakers.
3. Edifier R1700BT Bookshelf Speakers
For real studio quality sound picky audiophiles crave, the R1700BT gives you control over the tones of your bookshelf speaker. The control panel is located right on the main speaker and gives you the ability to adjust the treble and bass.
The volume control is also right at your fingertips and Bluetooth pairing is easily accessible on the same control panel. One of the best things about the R1700BT is the Bluetooth connection. Not only can you stream your favorite content from media devices, but it also allows a clean setup without unsightly wires.
For ease and convenience, the R1700BT Bookshelf Speakers comes with all you need including all the cables plus a remote control.
4. Yamaha NS-6490 3-way Bookshelf Speakers
The Yamaha NS-6490 edges out three other bookshelf speaker models due to its 3-way design. Our team has found that 3-way speaker systems usually come at a higher price, but the NS-6490 is a steal. It features dedicated drivers for high, mid-range and low end bass tones.
Due to the design, the Yamaha NS-6490 3-way Bookshelf Speakers can bring the most realistic and precise audio soundstage to immerse you in the experience. The magnetically shielded bookshelf speaker can be placed anywhere the cables allow.
The wide frequency range, silk dome tweeter, cone mid-range tweeter and fiber cone woofer create the cinematic experience you’re looking for.
5. Edifier R1280DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
Think of the Edifier R1280DB Bookshelf Speakers as a high performance and improved version of the Edifier R1280T. The Edifier R1280T is more affordable, but the R1280DB has the new and improved inputs along with studio quality sound.
Much like the previous Edifier speaker option on our list, the R1280DB features a control panel that allows you to adjust the EQ to your preference as well. The inputs are clearly labeled on the main speaker and the remote takes care of all the other adjustments.
Our experts thoroughly appreciate the addition of wireless Bluetooth connectivity for easy setup and the speaker systems come in two wood finishes to match your interiors.
6. Polk Audio TSI100 Bookshelf Speakers
Polk, like the Fluance Signature Series and Klipsch are known for amazing sound equipment. Your speaker will experience an awesome upgrade with the TSI100. To bring you the best audio, these bookshelf speakers have bi-laminate woofer and 1-inch silk polymer tweeter.
The Polk Audio TSI100 bookshelf speakers feature a high end look and come in a pair to balance your home setup. Under the removable grille is Polk’s proprietary Dynamic Balance technology, which will significantly decrease any distortion at different power levels.
The setup won’t take more than a few minutes with everything you need coming with the sound systems.
7. BIC America DV62si Bookshelf Speakers
The BIC America DV62si Bookshelf Speakers round out our experts’ list of best bookshelf speakers under 200. They have a poly graphite woofer and soft dome tweeter for precision. These 2-way speaker systems have a beautiful black laminate finish with a removable grill for unhindered sound.
The frequency response is extended to encompass more bass and treble, and the overall 90dB sensitivity will bring reverberating and powerful sound. When paired with an amplifier that features 10-150 watts per channel, the echoing sound will be hard to surpass.
BIC America also features a comprehensive warranty for these set of speakers just in case components fail over time.
Bookshelf Speakers Under 200 Buyer’s Guide
Other than the very attractive price, what else should you look for when buying the best bookshelf speakers under 200? To know which of the options on our list is best for you, our team has broken down the individual features to look for to help narrow down your search.
Design and Material
The design and material of the bookshelf loudspeakers will affect how long they last and their performance. There are two types of bookshelf speakers, but our experts will elaborate on that in more detail in a bit. The first consideration is an easy one which is the size.
How big can your sound systems get? Many people think the bigger the better, and while they may be right for the most part, because size can contribute to louder sound, what’s more important is the components. Take a look at your living room setup and where you intend to place your sound system.
When you have a general idea of where they will go, you can decide on the size. We have options that are suitable for larger rooms and more compact options like the Klipsch speakers that look good in a smaller setup.
The materials of the components under the grille such as a one-inch silk dome tweeter and a fiber cone woofer can affect the sound quality. The cabinet, such as one constructed with polymer veneer will outlast ones of a lower quality material. Make sure the design you choose is well-made and sturdy.
If you have an ageing speakers giving poor sound quality, here are some ways to refoam and restore speakers to improve audio performance. Read next!
Aside from the materials used for the drivers, the components and embedded technology will make all the difference in audio quality. That’s not to say searching for a silk dome tweeter or glass fiber cone instead of paper cones is any less important.
The first step to ensuring amazing sound is to look at the outfitted technology. Whenever you see a pair of speakers that have Dolby, DTS or both, then that’s the option to go with. Dolby and DTS are industry-leading audio giants whose sound technology is often seen in cinematic content. With these, sound systems like Pioneer SP-BS22-LR can produce quality music and video.
The next item to look for would be proprietary technology from the brand itself. For example, our experts are big fans of the Tractrix Technology found in Klipsch speakers. They do wonders to help with realistic audio relays and distortion-free sound. Of course, that’s only one of the features you can find in different brands.
The next feature, which we can see in the Edifier bookshelf speakers is the adjustable EQ. Everyone has a different ear when it comes to desired bass, mids and treble levels, so having the option to fine tune the speaker to your liking.
If you are a fan of heavy bass, our experts would always suggest adding a subwoofer to your bookshelf speakers. This is because subwoofers supplement the performance of woofers and if you are a bass snob, you will rarely be satisfied with the default woofers in bookshelf speakers.
If you are searching for compact, two-way speakers that deliver exceptional bass and sound performance, you can check out our list of best Rockville Speakers here, as well.
The enclosure has a lot to do with the design and construction. Look for ones created with high quality materials and preferably have a vented ported design for more low-end bass. For instance, JBL Arena B15, JBL LSR308 and Yamaha have low resonance enclosure making the sound quality for each device accurate and better. Further, the finish of the enclosure can really elevate the setup of your home audio system. You can find bookshelf speakers under 200 with wood laminate, high gloss and even matte finishes.
You will often find wood-grained patterns or just a simple solid color. Other than being well-build quality and sturdy, our team also suggests looking for one with a pleasing aesthetic. Your listening experience will not be as enjoyable if you do not like looking at your bookshelf speakers.
Active and Passive Bookshelf Speakers
As mentioned in the design section, our team will now go into further detail about the two categories of bookshelf speakers. Bookshelf speakers, or any speakers, are divided into two sections: active/powered and passive.
In short, the difference between an active speaker, powered bookshelf speakers and a passive one is the presence of an amplifier. Powered bookshelf speakers have a built-in amplifier while passive speakers require an external one.
Which is better? It really depends. A passive speaker allows for more customization because you have to build your system part by part. You can pair different brands together and hopefully create an even more efficient system. However, it does require more research and know-how to ensure the power output is compatible.
As for active or powered bookshelf speakers, they have their own amp built-in, which means you have less to worry about. However, when it comes to future upgrades and mixing and matching components, you have much less freedom to do so. Not only that, but active speaker systems are also heavier because of the extra amp.
The best for you depends on what you ultimately want for your home theater and what you see down the line for upgrades and customization.
The connection is linked to the setup and installation. Speakers often feature analog connections like RCA and 3.5mm cables. Not many bookshelf speakers come with wireless connectivity at the under 200 price range, but our team has located more than one of these options on our list.
Bluetooth connection is great to have for versatility. Not only will it afford you with more flexible placement options, but it’s a cleaner setup as well. Since Bluetooth is such a ubiquitous presence in media devices, having Bluetooth for your bookshelf speakers will also let you stream content from more sources.
If you use wired cable connections, you can only place the sound systems as far as the cable length will let you. In most cases, this is a much more limited range compared to Bluetooth, but our experts advise you to keep the wireless connection within a 33-foot range.
Setup and Installation
As we just mentioned, the setup and installation can be much easier with Bluetooth, but if you opt for cable installation, it still shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes. Make sure that all the parts you need are included such as the power cable for the power port, coaxial and/or optical inputs and remote.
Price and Warranty
We are mainly focusing on products under 200 today, so we won’t go too deep into the price range. Many consumers don’t expect much from a speaker priced within this range, but you can still get a great deal with a very good top quality product.
Factors that will affect the price include the power handling among all the others we have mentioned above. The power rating of speakers is split into peak and RMS power.
The peak power, like how it sounds, is the wattage at which the speaker can operate at max for a short period. This figure is often twice as high as the RMS power, which is the rating that is much more realistic, and the one you should go by for long-term playing.
The warranty is also an important feature to look for, although it doesn’t directly impact the performance. A brand that provides a comprehensive warranty speaks volumes for how reliable their product is. A product without a warranty will most likely be unreliable.
Look for products that have at least a 1-year parts warranty and if you can find one with a customer satisfaction guarantee as well, then that’s the one to choose.
Our Top Pick For a Bookshelf Speaker Under 200: Klipsch R-14M
Our team’s top choice for best bookshelf speaker under 200 is the Klipsch R-14M. Not only does it just make it above the 100 mark, making it one of the most affordable options on our list, but it still features the proprietary Klipsch Tractrix Horn Technology. For bass lovers, you can add Klipsch subs to the setup to bring forth the heavy bass you crave.
Behind the grille are copper spun woofers and horn-loaded tweeters that will come together to bring the best sound. To sum it all up, the brushed black polymer veneer cabinet housing will blend well with the decor in any room.