Bose 161 Review — Are These Bookshelf Speakers Worth Your Money?

Bose 161 Review

Bose 161 bookshelf speakers look different than most because they are smaller and not-so-bulky. However, you might be hesitant to take the plunge because the innovative product deviates from what is normal. 

To make sure these speakers are worth the investment, our experts put together a detailed Bose 161 review. Find out about its features and more as you read on.

What We Like

What We Don't Like


The amazing thing about the Bose 161 is not only can they function alone as bookshelf speakers, they can also be converted into rear speakers like Sonos Play 5 and 3 to accompany your Bose home theater system to create surround sound.

They are versatile with a small profile and can be placed on the bookshelf, entertainment unit or any other flat surface. To keep them out of your way, the Bose 161 can also be mounted on the wall with its custom mounting brackets.

You can take your pick of either black or white to suit your interiors. Both the speakers in this pair are magnetically shielded. This means that the housing on the Bose 161 protects the internal hardware from the TV signals and can be placed in close proximity. 

Bose 161 Features

Audio Quality

During our Bose 161 review, our experts have found that these bookshelf speakers are quite impressive despite their small and compact profile. The speakers is considered as one of the high-rated bookshelf speakers under 1000 producing outstanding sound. The Bose 161 speakers have a combined power output of 100W, which means 50W each, and with the ability to perform just as well as larger speakers.

100W of power is quite a bit for rear speakers or even standalone bookshelf options. The drivers in the Bose 161 speakers are full-range, giving the full spectrum of sound firing from all directions to surround viewers.

Bose 161 Performance

The Bose 161 speaker pair has impressive bass reflex to emulate the deep bass tones you crave. The impedance is 8 ohm unlike the Elac B6 and B5  with 6 ohms impedance, which is what our experts say is higher on the scale, with 4-8 being the most common.

The Bose 161 speakers feature Bose’s patented [1]  Direct/Reflecting technology, which will allow the sound to be projected around the room, so there isn’t just one particular “sweet spot”. No matter where you angle your new bookshelf speakers, you can enjoy enhanced sound anywhere in the room.

Two women jumping and dancing on bed

Each speaker only weighs about 4 pounds, which makes them quite lightweight and easily portable. They can be used to improve the sound from your default TV speakers in any room. Or it can even produce powerful sound when you connect it to your car audio system


Unlike the midrange drivers and woofers of Elac Uni-Fi UB52, the drivers of Bose 161 are full-range and are positioned inside the speakers in such a way to produce a wide soundstage. Inside is an articulated array speaker, which can give you as close to a home cinematic experience as possible. 

Connections on the Bose 161

The Bose 161 speakers are not self-powered unlike other high-performing bookshelf speakers below 500. This means they need to be connected to a power source with a speaker cord. Analog connections should work fine to connect the Bose speakers and integrate them into your system.

Setup and Placement

The setup of the Bose 161 speakers is as simple as setting up other high-quality speakers like Sonos Play 1 or 3. Due to their ability to reverberate and reflect sound with the direct/reflecting technology, you won’t need to test out the best spot for placement.

They can also be placed close to the TV thanks to the magnetically shielded housing and be wall mounted as well. The only aspect our experts will advise you to keep in mind is the speakers need to be powered. So if you decide to place it further from a source of power, then it’s wise to purchase a longer cord.

The Bose 161 speakers feature a plug-and-play setup that won’t be too hard to follow. You can refer to the user manual if you run into any issues.

Bose 161 Price

The Bose 161 bookshelf speakers are known to perform just as well as larger speaker options and are versatile enough to be both bookshelf speakers or satellite speakers to your existing system. 

For all this and the extra proprietary Bose technology with each speaker, you would expect a high price tag. Luckily, the Bose 161 speakers come at an affordable price, which is on the lower end of the three-figure range. Other bookshelf speakers with lower price tag are the KEF Q100 and Elac B6, both are regarded as best budget speakers as well.  

Bose 161 Review Conclusion

During our audio team’s Bose 161 review, we found that these elegantly designed speakers are excellent space-savers that provide impressive sound despite their smaller profile.

They are easy to set up with a connection through a single wire and can be used as standalone speakers or incorporated into your existing setup for enhanced surround sound.

Due to the impressive Bose technology, you won’t need to specifically aim your speakers to your listening spot and test for the best position. Anywhere you choose to place them, the Bose 161 speakers will bring you realistic sound.

Looking for a center channel speaker that can work well with Bose 161 speakers? Here are the best center channel speakers under 500 that can improve the sound quality of your home theater. 

Are you looking for the perfect speakers for your computer? Check out our list of the best soundbars to improve your gaming and viewing experience from your PC


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.