What is the Best Home Stereo System to Buy This 2021?

44 HT Systems Tested
700+ Hours of Research
4.5k+ Reviews Examined
Unbiased Reviews

The best stereo systems can have Bluetooth speakers, so just when you thought your wireless speakers could do the trick, think again. A full stereo system complete with FM radio and CD and cassette players has its perks, but is the entire system worth the money? To help you make a worthy purchase, our audio team has reviewed the following.

Premium Pick
Sony
SHAKEX10
Editor's Choice
KEiiD Stereo
Shelf System
Budget Option
Boytone
BT-626F

Reviews of the Top Home Stereo Systems

1.

KEiiD Stereo Shelf System

The KEiiD Stereo Shelf System comes with two bookshelf speakers that can provide enveloping stereo sound. It comes with all the features one would look for in stereo systems, including a CD player, USB/SD MP3 player, Bluetooth receiver along with an FM radio. 

The amplifier is also built into the home stereo system and the speakers come with onboard EQ settings so you can listen to your tunes with optimal sound quality. Don’t worry about the bass, because each speaker comes with a bass unit and a silk dome tweeter to balance out the sounds. 

Placement options are greatly increased with the Bluetooth connection.

Pros

Cons

2.

Sony SHAKEX10

The Sony SHAKEX10 is a party system that looks good and provides excellent sound quality. The Bluetooth is amazingly enhanced and provides faster and stabler connections.

It works with smartphone apps and the stereo speakers have LED lights that really create a fun atmosphere. The Sound Pressure Horn within the SHAKEX10 will deliver bass you can feel, which you can take full advantage of with the guitar input.

Aside from these impressive features, the stereo system also includes a karaoke feature, DJ effects, two USB ports, a built-in CD player, and an FM tuner.

Pros

Cons

3.

Boytone BT-626F

While we’re on the trend of party stereo systems, our sound engineers came across the Boytone BT-626F, a home stereo system that looks cool and delivers equally impressive sound quality. The system features the most ubiquitous connections, Bluetooth, AUX and USB to make sure that the Boytone BT-626F can accommodate your needs.

The home audio system is made up of a built-in amplifier and 2 stereo speakers with a subwoofer, to bring superior sound quality for an immersive experience. You can control everything via the wireless remote control included and the digital LED display is easy to read. 

Pros

Cons

4.

KEiiD Bluetooth Stereo System

If you like the look of our media team’s first choice but want a smaller and more portable device, look no further than the KEiiD Bluetooth Stereo System. It’s a small and very convenient system. You can place it on your desktop or in your car if necessary to bring room-filling sound to your car. It’s tiny, but it can still be considered an all-in-one system with a CD player for your favorite music, speakers for highs and lows embedded within, and 5 optional EQs.

The Bluetooth home stereo system also works with other media devices wirelessly or it can connect via USB, SD card, AUX, and more. 

Pros

Cons

5.

Sharp XL-BH250

The SHARP executive speaker system is one of the best home stereo systems for high-quality sound. The music system has AM and FM tuners with a total of 40 presets. There is, of course, Bluetooth streaming along with a remote control for easy setup. 

Although it is a home stereo system that can manage in a large room, the Sharp XL-BH250 comes with headphone jacks if you want to listen to rich bass and high sound quality in private. There is also Bluetooth for wireless streaming and the NFC touchpoint system pairs with other wireless gadgets super quickly.

Pros

Cons

6.

Innovative Technology Victrola

The Innovative Technology Victrola home stereo system is a blend of vintage style with modern capabilities. It has Bluetooth, which supports connections up to a distance of 33 feet, and the stereo speakers have adjustable bass, treble, and balance, a feature audio systems have to improve the sound quality.

To give a nod to vintage home stereo systems, there are 2 retro VU meters. The squarish brushed silver design of the home stereo system is luxurious yet gives you throwback vibes at the same time. The remote control is fully labeled and can adjust all functions from the palm of your hand.

Pros

Cons

7.

Rockville HTS56

The Rockville HTS56 is a full home theater system that brings stereo quality sound. To be one of the best stereo systems, the unit needs to pack a punch, and the HTS56 does so with a subwoofer, speakers, and a center channel speaker.

The drivers are housed in MDF speaker cabinets with plastic front panels to give the audio devices a futuristic look. There are LED lighting modes to set the mood and create an ambiance not all music system combos can.

There are mic inputs, RCA connections, and an FM antenna input to name a few. The Bluetooth system comes with a fully functional remote to control the multiple speakers.

Pros

Cons

8.

Sharp CD-BHS1050

The last home stereo system our experts will introduce is the Sharp CD-BHS1050. A home stereo system is an excellent combo that ensures the survival of the seemingly obsolete cassette and CD player. The CD-BHS1050 home audio system has 5 CD trays and a cassette tray.

FM and AM radio stations are available with 40 presets. For connections, the home stereo system includes a headphone output, audio line-in, and USB. There is also an included remote control to get your system all set up, or you can choose to use the control knob and panel with a digital display. 

Pros

Cons

Home Stereo Systems Buyer’s Guide

It’s not always effective to make a purchase blindly, which is why our media team has dedicated the next section to ensure you end up with the best home audio system money can buy. We looked at audio quality, connections, technology, and more.

Size and Aesthetics

Although the looks or aesthetics shouldn’t outweigh the great sound your home stereo system should produce, it does play a big role. A bigger influencer before you swipe your card is the size of the system. Yes, a larger set with bigger components and accessories will most likely give you thumping bass as opposed to a smaller system, but it may not fit into your home.

Our audio team has put forth single-unit devices or ones that are an entire system complete with multiple devices such as powered speakers and satellite speakers, a stereo receiver, an efficient digital amplifier, and a center channel. For consumers who do not have the space to spare, our team suggests going for the single-unit systems such as the KEiiD Bluetooth stereo system.

If you have the room and want to enjoy your music at high volumes, our experts suggest full systems. Sometimes, only a full home theater system can do the trick, and our team has also included an option for that – the Rockville HTS56.

To be perfectly honest, through years of experience, our experts found that not many people purchase a home stereo system thinking about portability. These audio systems tend to be more of a permanent fixture in the home, so don’t let the mobility of the stereo system dissuade you from making a purchase.

You can also consider the size of each of the individual units rather than the stereo system as a whole. For example, if the surround sound speakers are compact, then it would matter less if the stereo system consists of 5 or more parts. Sometimes it’s not about how many components there are in the unit or the size of the set as a whole if each unit is compact.

Since you’re considering the size and the design, why not also think about the appearance of your stereo system? Definitely look for sturdy materials such as MDF, but the rest of the aesthetics are brand specific. You can find LED lighting to set the mood for your favorite music.

A premium stereo system could include a brushed metal finish and different color options that match your interiors. Are you looking for a modern system or one with some retro components? Feel free to browse through some options to find one that is pleasing to the eye. 

Wired vs Wireless Stereo System

Speaking of portability and space, our experts say that the design of the best home stereo system will also impact the placement. Do you prefer a wired or wireless system? Some stereo systems are more old school and do not have Bluetooth [1] speakers. Instead, they have wired systems that come with traditional bookshelf speakers that need an RCA or AUX jack.

A cabled connection is more stable in general, since there is a direct connection from the source to speaker, you won’t have to worry about signal drops as you would with Bluetooth. You will be able to get pure quality sound regardless of where you are. 

The downside of a cabled connection is the range. You won’t be able to get the placement distance you would have compared to wireless connections. You are largely affected by the length of the cable. This also brings us to the negative aspect of Bluetooth if you go for the traditional profile that supports up to 33 feet.

Once you get closer to that range limit, the spottier the connection could be. Our experts suggest going for a system with Bluetooth 5.0, which can support 60 to even 100 feet! Of course, this could affect the price, but more on that later. You could opt for longer cables for your home stereo system, but it doesn’t change the fact that it isn’t the prettiest setup.

A wireless system also allows you to stream your favorite music on other media devices that support Bluetooth as well. This will eliminate the need for wires running on the ground which can not only be an eyesore, but a tripping hazard as well. 

Which one should you go for? It really depends on your needs and the layout of your space. When you’re browsing home audio systems, think about the placement. If you intend on gathering all the components together at the front of the room, then a wired connection isn’t a bad choice because you could strategically hide the cables behind the components and enjoy the more reliable connection.

If you prize portability and distance between each of the components, then a wireless system is better. For people used to controlling everything from a master device or are more comfortable playing content on all media devices, then our media experts suggest a wireless system. 

Power and Volume

The power of your system will greatly influence the volume levels. Our team of engineers will also quickly mention the power source. If you have a battery-powered home stereo setup, then you will have to make sure the battery holds a charge well and charges quickly. Battery-powered systems are most likely wireless, so that’s something to consider.

If you have a wired music system, then you will need to make sure where you intend to set up your system is close to a power source.

The actual power levels of your music system is different from where it gets its power from. Similar to speakers, the power comes with 2 different ratings – the RMS power and the peak/max power output. There is a significant difference between the two, so it’s important to understand what each stands for.

The RMS and peak are measured in watts, and the higher the figure the more powerful and louder the system is. You have a total system rating, which is the combined power of all the components in your music system, and you also have the individual ratings for each part.

Regardless of which unit you’re looking at, the RMS and the peak power don’t change definitions. The RMS is the recommended peak at which you can play your speakers continuously without risking damage. The peak rating is only meant for short bursts, and it’s usually a lot higher than the RMS, we’re talking about double the amount sometimes.

Our audio engineers say the RMS is the key and most important rating for pure sound, but manufacturers often advertise the peak since it’s much higher and more impressive. 

Is a higher volume range always better? It really depends on what you want. If you have a smaller room, it won’t matter if you don’t have a 1000W RMS system. Think about the music quality you want and the size of your entertainment room. There are also volume-boosting technologies such as a feature to independently adjust bass on your subs, which brings us to the next section. 

Sound Quality and Technology

There are certain features and technologies to look for that will guarantee superior audio quality in your music system. Surround sound capabilities, EQ options, sound modes, acoustic calibration, and brand-specific technologies are all good to have.

Surround sound can be true, which requires a system with 5.1 channels at the very least, or you can have virtual surround sound, which is achieved through tech. Since a standard stereo system only has a center unit and 2 stereo speakers, it’s difficult to get true surround sound unless you opt for a full home theater system.

EQ controls are another crucial feature that can make all the difference in sound quality. EQs are internal settings that allow you to control the bass, balance, and treble levels among other things. This way, you can customize just how much bass or treble your system produces to suit your tastes.

You can also go for a music system with sound modes, which are preset profiles dedicated to enhance certain content. The most commonly seen audio modes are movie, music, game, news, and sports. In movie mode, you may experience improved dialogue and speech with emphasis on explosions. Music mode will focus on delivering all the notes in the music spectrum with clarity. 

The other sound modes are all geared to highlight specific features within their respective content. 

Acoustic calibration features will come in more advanced devices. These are capabilities within the system that can sense your setup and placement and automatically tune the audio to bring the most optimal experience.

Brand-specific technologies are proprietary enhancements researched and incorporated into the system by certain brands. Two of these technologies could have the same outcome, but how they reach the results will differ. Some might use elevated speaker designs to simulate surround sound while others use soundwave technology. 

To get the best home stereo system that will give you the sound quality you’re looking for, our experts suggest paying special attention to the technologies and sound improvements. 

Channels

To put it simply, the channels basically mean how many devices can connect or are already included with your system. There are some systems with only 2 speakers but the ability to connect to more devices with speaker wire inputs. 

Our team also made sure to include a full home theater system on the list that has 5.1 channels to produce high-quality audio other systems with 2 channels just cannot do.

The channels can be an indicator of how complex your system is.

If you want a home stereo system that is capable of a bunch of things, then you would need more channels. 

Compatibility

The compatibility is the summation of all of the above points plus ones we haven’t yet touched on such as connections. There are a few questions to make sure the system is made for you.

How does it connect to your audio source device? Does it have an in-built amplifier for those that have a largely powered system? Does it need wireless connectivity for your requirements?

The size of the system should also complement your space and not overwhelm the area. The onboard connections are a key indicator of compatibility, which our experts will get into in the next section.

Inputs and Outputs

The inputs and outputs will define what external devices the home stereo system can connect to. USB connection is a very handy one to have because it allows a simple hook up to computers and laptops.

HDMI is best if you’re looking to connect your home stereo system to your TV. It’s always recommended by our experts because it’s the easiest, fastest, and most reliable connection. A headphone port and auxiliary input jack are also useful to have. If you plan on integrating other connections, look at which connections you need before you make the purchase.

Remote and Other Inclusions

A remote control sounds like a given, but not all units come with one. Our team mostly included units that did because the convenience is unmatched. Yes, home stereo systems will come with an onboard control panel, but not everyone wants to get up and adjust the system when they need to turn up to volume or activate other functions.

There are also different tiers for remotes. There are ones that are exceedingly simple and are basically just a handheld version of the control panel. There will be the standard on/off button, Bluetooth pairing if applicable, and volume controls. If you have a simple system without many functions, then the remote won’t be as feature-packed.

Make sure you look for a unit that can support various playback modes, such as cassette and Bluetooth.

Our experts do suggest looking for a fully-functional remote if you have an advanced system. One with backlit buttons that are clearly labeled allows you to adjust everything without having to get up from your seat.

Other features that are standard in home stereo systems are players for CDs, cassettes, and FM and AM radio stations with presets. The Sony system our media team included on the list also has DJ effects, LED lighting, guitar jack, karaoke, and mics built in.

Keep in mind that more features and more complex systems equal a higher price, but even then the system is worth it if it does what you need.

Price and Warranty

Other than the features, another influencer for the price includes the material and the accessories. It’s possible that your system comes as is without any of the necessary cables, mounts, or extra features. Although there are systems that claim it comes for free, most of these items are already worked into the price.

Our experts suggest looking at a few systems to determine what your budget can get you. If you notice that the units within your budget range don’t perform as you would wish, then it’s an indicator to increase the price range.

The warranty is also something else to remember. The best systems will definitely have warranties, but the length of the coverage period will vary. Our media team strongly advises consumers to avoid products that do not have a warranty. 1 year is standard, but there are ones that offer more than that.

A return period and satisfaction guarantee are extra bonuses that will speak volumes about the quality of the product. 

Setup and Placement of a Home Stereo System

The setup and placement of the home stereo system will hinge on your space. In general, our experts suggest placing it at the front of the room if you pair it to your TV. Keep it as close to your audio source as possible for the best and stablest connection.

Where you place each individual speaker will be different when you look at the size and how many are included. For a 5.1 channel system, it’s best to evenly spread out each channel so your ears can distinguish different audio layers and you can simulate the best surround sound experience. 

Satellite speakers are used closer to your listening spot, while left and right speakers function best at the front of the room closest to your media source. The sub can be placed in a variety of locations, so don’t hesitate to play around with the positioning to find the best spot.

If you have a compact single unit, like the KEiiD Bluetooth stereo system, then there really is no option but to place the entire unit close to the audio source, close to you. The options with stereo speakers will also go at the front of the room with a speaker flanking each side.

Depending on the proprietary technology that your home stereo systems can come with, the brand may specify how to set it up to get the best calibration. So, make sure you give the user manual a quick scan just in case there are already instructions for the best placement. 

FAQ

How much does a good home stereo system cost?

A good home stereo system for an audiophile could cost closer to 1000, while one for the casual listener can range from 2 to 3 hundred. There are also extremely budget systems for under 100. For a picky listener, then the perfect system for you may cost closer to 1000.  

What is the best small home stereo system?

There are small stereo systems for the home that have a small profile with separate components, but there are also all-in-one units. The KEiiD Bluetooth Stereo System is the best one for its size plus it still features all the capabilities larger units have.

What are the other things you need for a home stereo system?

Standard features are CD and cassette players plus an FM and/or AM radio. You may need an amplifier if you go for a passive system, but there are ones with it built in. You can also consider connecting more channels for a more encompassing experience.

Our Top Pick For a Home Stereo System:
KEiiD Stereo Shelf System

The top pick for the best home stereo system is the KEiiD Stereo Shelf System. It comes with a pair of stereo speakers, Bluetooth capabilities with a built-in mic, many playback formats, and a CD player to name a few features. The remote makes it easy to set up the system and the sleek wooden finish will add a touch of classiness to the room. 

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Writer

Willie Greer
Willie Greer
Willie Greer is the founder of The Product Analyst. A cinephile, he has made it a personal quest to achieve the awesomest home theater possible. He now shares what he has learned through the years on the site, and has enlisted the help of tech-savvy colleagues in providing more insight about today’s most sought-after gadgets.