10 Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500 For Home Theater & Music Lovers

10 Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500 For Home Theater & Music Lovers
Edited By Jones

Speakers are almost a necessity in today’s life of luxury. It is true to some extent that speakers that aren't portable are slowly going out of fashion, but there will always be a big part of the consumer market that relies on good audio quality.

It is a well-known fact that portability comes at the expense of sound quality, so the true audiophiles will always stick to bold, reliable speakers. In this industry, low price speakers have always had a higher market.

Mainly because most customers prefer a lower cost over sound quality and the fact that even the low price speakers have excellent sound quality, true audiophiles, however, aim for quality more than cost.

Now if a speaker attains a reliable audio quality while boasting a low price tag, it sells big in the market. Today we’ll look at 10 such Bookshelf speakers.

These speakers maintain high-quality standards, and they all cost under $500. They satisfy both budget and audiophilic customers.

In a Hurry? The Test Winner Product.

Edifier S1000DB
Why is it better?
  • aptX Bluetooth 4.0
  • Digital Sound Processing
  • Optical / Coaxial & AUX inputs
Ratting
90%
Sound Quality
96%
Material Quality
96%
Bluetooth Connectivity
94%
Crystal Clear
100%

Top 10 Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500 in 2019

Rank
Image
Name
Product Name
Ratting/Shops
Ratting
Shops
#1
Edifier S1000DB

Solid in design, good in bass, an overall solid competitor in the market.

#2
Klipsch R-15M

A design marvel with a solid bass, warranty and durability.

#3
ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2

Super bass and a bold design.

#4
Paradigm Monitor SE Atom

Certainly not what it looks like, this is a very audiophile safe speaker.

#5
Q Acoustics 3020i

Minimalistic, cute, and super loud, these speakers over perform according to their price, if anything.

#6
ELAC Uni-Fi UB5

Bold, bass, loud, this speaker has everything one would want from a bookshelf speaker.

#7
Definitive Technology SM45

These are fantastic speakers and offer terrific sound-per-pound value.

#8
Wharfedale Crystal CR 4.3

Everything other speakers have with the added benefit of a cheap price tag.

#9
Kanto YU6

An old fashioned take on modern speakers and they’re wireless.

#10
Klipsch RP-150M

Another beauty by Klipsch that is full of bass, clarity, and a natural sound signature.

1. Edifier S1000DB

Edifier S1000DB
Ratting
90 %
Sound quality
96 %
Material quality
96 %
Bluetooth
94 %
Easy to use
90 %
Pros
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Solid bass
  • Good at low frequencies
  • Attractive yet simple design

Cons
  • Heavier than other options
  • The remote is a bit underpowered

The Edifier S1000DB Audiophile Active Bookshelf Speakers is a superior product as far as gaming setups for PCs and consoles are concerned.

Even to enjoy a fantastic movie experience with outstanding sounds, these speakers are a perfect choice! Visually, the speaker is a beauty.

A wooden MDF casing which houses the speaker has detachable grills that reveal the subwoofers to give a tech-savvy touch to the set.

It also has excellent features such as 4.0 Bluetooth which allows for wireless streaming of high-quality sound. The Bluetooth chipset provides flexibility in streaming, and it ensures quality enhancement.

You can also have your speaker connect too many sources, thanks to it’s optical/coaxial and AUX inputs. Another beautiful feature of this speaker is the Digital Sound Processing (DSP) technology, which offers a massive 120 watts RMS quality sound. It also has a 5.5-inch subwoofer.

Edifier S1000DB also features a remote control for volume control and switching input sources quickly and at your fingertips. Furthermore, device functions with an advanced aptX audio codec which maintains your audio quality even after it allows for it to be compressed.

So if you are looking for the perfect speakers for gaming, movies, consoles, and PCs, this is it. It comes with a two-year warranty.

2. Klipsch R-15M

Klipsch R-15m review
Ratting
96 %
Sound quality
92 %
Material quality
90 %
Accuracy
94 %
For small spaces
100 %
Pros
  • Great bass
  • Smooth sound
  • Wide frequency range
  • A sturdy design
  • Warranty
  • Great build quality

Cons
  • No connectivity options
  • Clarity issues
  • Lack of inherent amplification

The Klipsch R15M is an excellent model, which proves itself as a source of a quality sound. The standard Black and Copper look it flaunts one all audiophiles prefer.

Among its features is the dual high output 5.25-inch woofers. Also, it features a rear-firing port that matches well with the drivers and cabinet.

This highly versatile and compact Bookshelf Speaker performs excellently all-round, be it from the left, right or center. It is what I will call small but mighty.

It measures 12.5 inches height wise by 7 inches in width and 8.11-inches in depth. Although small in size; it delivers big sounds. It is a potent device.

One of its fantastic features is the 90×90 Tractrix Horn technology. It offers a more excellent extension and impressive high-end response, powerful dynamics, and enhanced imaging.

With this feature, you can be sure to get the most natural and clean sound as you may yearn. Another feature it possesses is the Linear Travel Suspension (LTS) tweeter.

What the LTS tweeter assures is a minimized level of distortion, and to ensure that you get perfect performance. You can listen to this speaker for hours or all day and not get tired of doing so.

Furthermore, it features a 5.25-inch copper-spun Injection Molded Graphite (IMG) woofer which also prevents distortion and cone breakup as much as possible, as it provides a unique low-frequency response.

The LTS and the exceptionally light IMG work together to ensure your speaker is highly efficient.

3. ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Speakers

Bookshelf Speakers by Andrew Jones
Ratting
94 %
Sound quality
92 %
Material quality
92 %
Home Theater
90 %
For small spaces
88 %
Pros
  • Magnetic grill
  • Smooth sound
  • Sound is clear and natural

Cons
  • Flat sound, lacks bass
  • No connectivity options
  • Simple design

Having built audio products for ninety-two years, ELAC knows a few things about loudspeaker technology.

Started in Europe and Asia, the German brand is mainly established in that region. Much to its distraught, it never stabilized its operations in North America until.

At the entry-level, manufacturers often design using off-the-shelf drivers, and you get what you pay for. The Debut 2.0 B6.2 may not be a very catchy sounding model name, but it makes up for it in its design and specifications.

To be more specific, you get excellent performance from the in-house designed 6.5-inch Aramid fiber woofer and 1-inch cloth dome tweeter.

So much performance that they almost beg you to spend considerably more on the amplifier that drives them.

The front-port means that users can place them up against a wall as a last resort, but you probably don’t want to do that.

They may not be as balanced sounding as their more expensive brethren in the Uni-Fi line, but the Debut 2.0 B6.2 disappear in the room on solid stands and let you dig deeper into your music collection at a price point that should be considerably higher.

4. Paradigm Monitor SE Atom

Paradigm Monitor SE Atom Bookshelf Loudspeaker
Ratting
100 %
Sound quality
90 %
Material quality
92 %
Home Theater
90 %
For small spaces
95 %
Pros
  • High bass
  • Natural sound
  • A decent two channel overall response
  • Weighs only 12 pounds

Cons
  • Treble overshadows the bass
  • Sound sensitivity is a bit overlooked
  • The design is rather plain compared to its competitors

Paradigm designs and manufactures its award-winning loudspeakers in a state-of-the-art facility on the outskirts of Toronto, and one of the many advantages of making its drivers and parts in-house is the trickle-down effect from speakers with five-figure price tags.

At first glance, the diminutive Monitor SE Atom is unlikely to blow anyone away with their boxy and somewhat austere appearance.

The gloss white finish is the way to go unless you find yourself drawn to the matte black, which looks like a lot of other speakers.

Where the rubber meets the road with these loudspeakers is when you remove the grille covers and discover that Paradigm is spoiling you with a scaled-down version of their X-Pal perforated phase-aligned tweeter and a robust 5.5-inch mid-bass driver that belongs on loudspeakers that are double the price.

Although a relatively benign load, the Monitor SE Atom take a significant step forward if you reward them with power.

Tubes or warm sounding solid-state is the way to go with these neutral sounding speakers that commit so few sonic errors that one forgets how little they cost.

5. Q Acoustics 3020i

Q Acoustics 3020i Bookshelf Speaker
Ratting
96 %
Sound quality
92 %
Material quality
88 %
Home Theater
90 %
Bass
95 %
Pros
  • Great depth
  • Deep bass
  • User friendly
  • Sound is clear and natural
  • Low distortion

Cons
  • Underpowered
  • Built for small rooms
  • No audio amplification

Probably the cutest speakers in this list, the Q Acoustics 3020i is a model that catches the eye of everyone in every setting it is placed in.

Specs-wise, if you love your music providing ultimate depth, then this device is all you need.

In it is a bass cone with a larger diameter which ensures the production of an in-depth and more powerful sound.

Your Q Acoustics Bookshelf Speakers will work well for larger rooms. With it, you can enjoy rock, dance or full orchestral music.

To top that off the speaker is exceptionally user-friendly. The speaker has a treble Unit of size 25mm and a subwoofer of size 125mm.

When you buy the Q Acoustics 3020 Bookshelf Speaker, you will enjoy low distortion and wide dispersion from your device.

These are some of the vital functions you seek in a Bookshelf Speaker. However, there’s more to benefit.

Its drive unit is large enough to rock you to your core, and the cone material it is made of is an Aramid Fiber/Paper.

What this larger drive stands to offer is a significant bass response and superior level of three dimensional sound.

6. ELAC Uni-Fi UB5

Bookshelf Speaker
Ratting
90 %
Sound quality
94 %
Material quality
88 %
Home Theater
90 %
Bass
95 %
Pros
  • Solid bass
  • Dynamic black and silver design
  • Wide frequency range
  • Best overall
  • Sound is clear and natural yet high in bass
  • Has its own amplification

Cons
  • Priciest in this range
  • No connectivity options

Probably the most expensive speakers In this list, the ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 are worth every penny.
Concentric drivers offer an ideal set-up from a time-domain perspective, the tweeter and woofer diaphragm are combined within a single voice-coil allowing the sound to reach your ears from a single point source making music sound more cohesive.

Concentric drivers are complicated to get right and are usually found on more expensive loudspeakers. The creator, Andrew Jones, took a chance combining the concentric driver with a separate 5.25-inch aluminum cone woofer in such a small cabinet but the coherency of the sound is unmistakable.

The UB5 have a smoother presentation than their less expensive siblings and also benefit from higher quality sources and amplification upstream.

Like all high-performance speakers, the UB5 requires power to get up and go, but the reward is a sense of effortlessness with all genres of music and a level of transparency rarely achieved with loudspeakers this affordable.

7. Definitive Technology SM45

Definitive Technology SM45
Ratting
92 %
Sound quality
90 %
Material quality
89 %
Home Theater
95 %
Bass
90 %
Pros
  • Good overall
  • Wide frequency range
  • Good at high frequencies
  • Sound is clear and natural

Cons
Installation discs do not work

  • Limited low-frequency response
  • Bass is average
  • Not fit to be labelled monitors

It´s not every day we get to review a pair of studio monitors, and if the name is anything to go by, that is precisely what we´re dealing with here.

But, the fact that the Definitive Technology SM45 uses a passive design that makes them more suitable for use in a more traditional hi-fi system.
They are small enough for a variety of situations and will look very nice on both shelves or stands.

Despite being small, the fact that they are as deep as they are tall provides more volume inside the internally braced cabinet and should improve bass performance. The cabinet is made of MDF and finished in a black vinyl wood veneer.

The upper frequencies are handled by a heat-treated 1-inch Pure Aluminum tweeter, and the lower frequencies are handled by a 5.25-inch second generation BDSS (Balanced Double Surround System) midrange driver with a Linear Response Waveguide that soothes off-axis frequency response and disperses sound over a wider area.

8. Wharfedale Crystal CR 4.3

Wharfedale - Crystal CR 4.3
Ratting
100 %
Sound quality
90 %
Material quality
89 %
Home Theater
95 %
Bass
90 %
Pros
  • Passive bookshelf speakers
  • Wide frequency range
  • Sound is clear and natural yet high in bass
  • Cheap, in this list

Cons
  • Bass is lacking

The Wharfedale Crystal CR 4.3 tweeter has been re-tuned from an older model, while their 10cm mid/bass driver uses Wharfedale’s latest woven Kevlar cones.

The black-finished are solidly made and nicely finished for a speaker of their price. They sit halfway between traditional, agricultural hi-fi design and more modern speaker elegance.

The latter enhanced by removing the grilles. To create a controlled, precise bass response, the D310’s downward-firing port has been modified.
Rather than fire down into a gap between the cabinet base and a built-in plinth, here it is fired straight onto the surface of your stands or shelf between the D310’s four feet.

Their low-end performance and overall balance too is best when the speakers are placed near a rear wall. When backed up against the wall.

The Wharfedale’s maintain a decent balance and stereo image, which is fortunate for those who are restricted on space.

9. Kanto YU6

Kanto YU6
Ratting
82 %
Sound quality
86 %
Material quality
90 %
Home Theater
95 %
Remote Control
90 %
Pros
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Great wooden design
  • Sound is clear and natural

Cons
  • Only fit for small rooms
  • The sound isn’t that great for its price
  • Bass is lacking

A good pair of wireless bookshelf speakers is a beautiful thing if done well. There are plenty of models out there that fail dismally, but fortunately, the Kanto YU6 is not one of them.

The speakers aren’t as powerful as other models, but they still rock. They are charming, easy-to-use, highly affordable in their market category, and deliver excellent sound.

It feels crisp and precise, and although it perhaps doesn’t have the low-end weight we would like, it still manages to impress.

The speakers use 5.25- inch Woofers and 1-inch Tweeters, embedded into the cute wooden case. The wooden case provides a very modern yet old school look, which goes well with the vibe that Kanto has tried to achieve with this model.

You get a wide range of features, including optical inputs, a phono input for a turntable, and an excellent subwoofer output.

The most excellent selling point in this speaker, however, is its wireless connectivity. In today’s consumer market, wireless connectivity pushes any speaker the extra mile, and this is precisely why the YU6 is excellent when it comes to portability.

10. Klipsch RP-150M

Klipsch RP-150M
Ratting
94 %
Sound quality
96 %
Material quality
100 %
Home Theater
90 %
Volume Control
92 %
Pros
  • Black and copper design
  • Removable grills
  • Sound is clear and natural
  • Great bass

Cons
  • No connectivity options
  • Midrange response is too loud

Klipsch is one of the oldest speaker manufacturers. The company has been around since 1946 and takes pride in its hands-on approach to speaker make.

The attention to detail and meticulous engineering is reflected in the Klipsch RP-150M. These speakers are a good combination of traditional style and modern design.

They come in walnut finish, as well as 3 other finishes: cherry, ebony, piano black. Each speaker is a 2-way design with a linear titanium tweeter and a ceramic cone woofer.

As is the company’s signature, the tweeter is horn-loaded to give the RP-150M its unique Klipsch sound. The sound coming from the tweeters is detailed, clear, and pleasant to the ears.

Overall, the sound is pristine from top to bottom. The RP-150Ms are primarily designed for home use. They work great in media rooms and home theaters.

The grill is magnetic so you can easily remove it to reveal the beautiful copper cone. And you should make sure to properly place them in the room to get the best sound.

Buyers guide

While none of these speakers are flawless, they all accomplish what they set out to do through resourceful engineering. With some care and a little bit of homework, a very nice audio setup can be had for an extremely modest sum. After carefully judging all the bookshelf speakers in the price range selected by us, it can be fairly said that our research can help you in deciding on what to invest your funds in. All the reviewed speakers are great in their sense and are all worth the splurge, but let’s arrange them into categories.

Price

If you want to go easy on your wallets, and still have classy audio, then the Wharfedale speakers are just what you are looking for. Priced at a mere $180, these speakers give professional-level sound quality and are excellent entry-level speakers for beginning audiophiles. They are, without a doubt, the best budget bookshelf speakers in this list.

Bass

If you want Bass, then you have a lot of options, Klipsch and Elac speakers have the punchiest bass and excellent performance; otherwise, these speakers are a significant investment both quality-wise and budget-wise.

Design

If you prefer to design more than audio quality, then the sets by Kanto, Q acoustics and Edifier become your primary attraction, with up to date, bold designs, this list provides you with a comprehensive design range to choose from.

Overall good Purchase

The Edifier S1000DB gets a special mention due to its impressive overall performance, the solid bass and the prevalence in design and blend between modern and classic, this speaker is a must buy, but even with all its specs, it is still not the best overall speaker in the current pool we have.

The best speaker in this list

If the overall best speaker is to be chosen from this list, we would recommend the ELAC Uni-Fi UB5. It is the most complete speaker in this whole range. Along with the international warranty and the tremendous post-sale service, the basic specs give it the edge it needs over the other speakers.

The frequency response is a big pro for the product because it gives a well-balanced range of sound. Along with the music, the bass and treble modification feature only add to its value. The robust design, combined with all these factors make this the best bookshelf speaker under $500.

Jones

Editor on Electro Guide. I am responsible for maintaining, designing, or managing posts on Electro Guide. I am work very strictly on the content of a website, while another is in charge of the operation.

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