Get ready to hear true quality with the best speakers made specifically for those of us who don’t have bottomless pockets. Find out more now!
When it comes to assembling a hi-fi system, the speakers are probably the most crucial and most challenging part to pick. It is the speakers that enable the rest of the system to stand out and also have the most significant effect on the overall character of the system.
Luckily, now is a great time to shop for speakers, as modern technology and materials have permitted sound designers to produce more with less. As a result, speakers costing under $1000 have never been better, and when they are paired with quality, budget-friendly amplifiers from dependable hi-fi brands like NAD and Cambridge Audio, you can construct great hi-fi systems without exceeding your financial limit.
At this price point, we will mainly focus on bookshelf speakers since they give the most value for your money, but we also have a floorstanding option.
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Here’s our shortlist of the Best Budget Hi-fi Speakers (2022)
- Mighty Mites: KLH Albany II 2-Way Bookshelf Speakers ($349)
- Nice Bang For The Buck: ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 Bookshelf Speakers ($329)
- Immaculate Bass Response: PSB Alpha P5 Bookshelf Speakers ($449)
- Absolute Best Speaker Under $500: Triangle Borea BR03 Hi-Fi Bookshelf Speakers ($499)
- Best Passive Speaker Under $1000: Klipsch Reference Premiere RP-600M II Bookshelf Speaker ($749)
- Best Powered Speakers Under $1000: Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless Music System ($599)
- If You Can Spend A Bit More: Wharfedale EVO 4.2 Bookshelf Loudspeakers ($1199)
- Our Floorstanding Pick For Around $1000 A Pair: Dali Oberon 5 Floorstanding Speaker ($1299/pr.)
Mighty Mites: KLH Albany II 2-Way Bookshelf Speakers ($349)
- Enclosure Type: Bass-reflex
- Power handling: 200 watts
- Frequency response: 35Hz-23KHz +/- 3dB
- Sensitivity: 92dB
- Impedance: 8 ohms
- 5.25” Woven Kevlar mid/bass driver
- 1” Anodized Aluminum tweeter with a linear response faceplate
What we love about them: Beautiful Design, Remarkable Soundstage and Imaging, Great Clarity and Detail For The Price
What to think about: Can lack bass extension
Generally, the attractive and space-efficient KLH Albany II is capable of delivering an incredibly potent audio experience, particularly considering its size. However, like many speakers its size, the rhythmic energy and involvement can be restricted by a lack of deep bass, particularly in bigger spaces. To take care of this, you will likely need to obtain a subwoofer.
For: Audiophiles who are short on space but want big sound.
Nice Bang For The Buck: ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 Bookshelf Speakers ($329)
- Enclosure Type : Bass Reflex
- Frequency Response: 46Hz – 35000Hz
- Nominal Impedance: 6 Ohms
- Sensitivity: 86db @2.83v/1m
- Max Power Handling: 120 Watts
- 5-1/4″ woven aramid fiber bass driver and 1″ soft-dome tweeter
What we love about them: Smooth treble and midrange; nice punchy bass; plays nice with any genre of music; easy to listen to
What to think about: Not the most detailed; can be boomy with the wrong amp; a little power-hungry
If you’re seeking an affordable hi-fi speaker that can do it all, the ELAC Debut 2.0, created by renowned loudspeaker designer Andrew Jones, is a great option.
It provides sweet treble and mid-range tones and a strong bass that works well with any type of music. It is easy to listen to and can be matched with a wide range of integrated amps. If you want to experience soundstage, imaging, and laid-back perspective with a limited budget, this is an ideal speaker to try.
On the other hand, it is not as precise as some of the other speakers here (including the one above). If you link it with an amplifier with too much warmth, the bass can become boomy.
For: Audiophiles who want a fun-sounding affordable speaker
Immaculate Bass Response: PSB Alpha P5 Bookshelf Speakers ($499)
- Enclosure Type: Bass Reflex
- Frequency Response: 55-21,000Hz
- Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms
- Sensitivity: 89dB
- Rec. Power Handling: 90 Watts
- ¾” Black anodized aluminum dome tweeter with front waveguide
- 5. 25″ textured polypropylene woofer with rubber surround
What we love about them: Refined Sound for The Price; Sounds Good With Many Genres; Excellent Off-Axis Performance; Deep Taut Bass
What to think about: It doesn’t have the widest soundstage
Prior to the Triangle Borea BR03 becoming more budget-friendly, the PSB Alpha P5 was our favorite loudspeaker that cost less than $500. The vibrant highs combined with engrossing middle tones and powerful bass draw you in, creating a very easy listening experience that you can enjoy for a long time with no exhaustion. Furthermore, they sound excellent with virtually every genre.
Compared with the other available speakers at this price point, I think they provide the same liveliness and excitement as the ELAC Debut 2.0 speakers, along with the remarkable midrange detail and clarity of the Q Acoustics 3020i. They are a combination of both worlds. Near perfect. I still strongly recommend them as a speaker for under $500.
For: Audiophiles who want deep bass from a small package
Absolute Best Speaker Under $500: Triangle Borea BR03 Hi-Fi Bookshelf Speakers ($379)
- Enclosure Type : Bass Reflex
- Frequency Response: 46 Hz – 22 KHz (+/- 3 dB)
- Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms (down to 2 Ohms)
- Sensitivity: 90 dB/W/m
- Maximum Output Power: 100 Watts
What we love about them: Detailed, Yet Warm & Balanced Sound; Great Build Quality; Beautiful Design; Easily driven by low-power amps
What to think about: Doesn’t have the deepest bass in relation to its size; Doesn’t have the widest soundstage
We found these speakers to be of great value when we recognized them as the Product of the Year at their original price point of $549. However, you can now discover them for significantly less than that, making them an unbeatable bargain. It can be difficult to come across a speaker under $500 that can both thump to more energetic music and bring out the subtleties of audiophile recordings.
The $379 Triangle Borea BR03 is a two-way bookshelf speaker with a 22mm (1 inch) silk dome tweeter and a 16cm (6 inch) midbass/woofer which can do all of the above. This fairly large speaker has good punch and range, but, at the same time, it contains a lot of the midrange and image clarity offered by smaller monitor speakers.
Moreover, they have a satiny smooth treble which permits them to provide fine detail without being tiring to the ear. The only drawback is that they don’t quite have the lower bass extension you would anticipate from a big-format standmount speaker. That could lead some to say they are too laid-back.
The Borea BR03 comes in several cabinet-style finishes, such as White, Black, and Walnut. They are easy to power and are a great selection for someone who is buying their first pair of speakers. Additionally, they offer an excellent option for those looking to upgrade from an older pair of speakers without a big expenditure.
For: Audiophiles who want a proper hi-fi speaker that won’t break the bank
Best Passive Speaker Under $1000: Klipsch Reference Premiere RP-600M II Bookshelf Speaker ($749)
- 1″ horn-loaded LTS (Linear Travel Suspension) titanium diaphragm tweeter
- 6-1/2″ Cerametallic™ cone woofer
- frequency response: 44-25,000 Hz (± 3dB)
- power handling: up to 100 watts RMS/400 watts peak
- sensitivity: 94 dB
- impedance: 8 ohms
- bass-reflex design with rear-firing Tractrix port
What we love about them: Exceptional Soundstage And Imaging, Lively & Detailed Sound That Plays Well With All Genres, Great Build Quality
What to think about: Sound is a little edgy up top
When the first version of the Klipsch Reference Premiere RP-600M came out, it was commended for its sonic capabilities and mellow nature. It has earned its place on many “Best of” lists and still continues to make many audiophiles contented.
Subsequently, the Klipsch Reference Premiere RP-600M II, released early last year, adds several improvements to the original version, including more clarity, greater detail, and a more definite low end. Though we did realize the higher frequencies were more intense than before, so extra caution needs to be taken when selecting the applicable equipment.
That said, the construction quality is remarkable, and its capacity to reproduce sound efficiently makes it outshine other speakers in the same price range. Furthermore, its power and clarity make it suitable for any type of music. If you liked the first 600M, the new version should be tried; the unique formula has been taken to the next level.
For: For those who want a speaker with a lively, engaging, and authoritative sound
Best Powered Speakers Under $1000: Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless Music System ($599)
- 7/8″ decoupled tweeter
- 5″ mid/bass woofer
- bass-reflex (ported) cabinet with a rear-firing port
- proprietary Point-to-Point (P2P) cabinet bracing
- 65 watts x 2 Class D amplifier built into one speaker
- frequency response: 55-22,000 Hz
What we love about them: Great Build Quality, Warm, Natural, Detailed Sound, Ease Of Use
What to think about: No Phono Input, May Get Compressed On Heavy Bass Tracks
We’re astonished by the Q Acoustics M20 HD Powered Wireless Music System, a simple to use, solidly built, and surprisingly good-sounding hi-fi system. It is incredible that one can acquire such an exquisite system with an integrated USB DAC, top-notch Bluetooth, and Digital and Optical jacks for such an economical price. The only potential cons could be the lack of a phono input and an excessively forceful low-end.
In our opinion, these are not fundamental issues, and we would have difficulty proposing any other system to somebody with a budget of $600 for their hi-fi. We would certainly pick this system instead of a used one. Setting up a competent hi-fi system has never been so effortless!
For: those who want an easy-to-use, well-built, and remarkably good-sounding hi-fi system
If You Can Spend A Bit More: Wharfedale EVO 4.2 Bookshelf Loudspeakers ($1199)
- Enclosure Type: Bass Reflex
- Sensitivity (2.83V @ 1M): 90dB
- Recommended Amp Power: 25-120W
- Frequency Response (+/-3dB): 48Hz ~ 24kHz
- Nominal impedance: 8 ohms compatible
- Air Motion Transformer (AMT) tweeter
- 2″ soft-dome midrange
- 6-1/2″ woven Kevlar woofer
What we love about them: Beautiful Design, Nicely Braced Cabinet, Excellent Imaging and Separation;
What to think about: Soundstage Not The Widest, Somewhat Restrained Bottom End
If you are a person who is looking for detailed imaging and an immersive sound experience, then the Wharfedale EVO4.2, for about a thousand dollars, is the best choice. This big 3-way bookshelf speaker provides an amazing degree of realism and accuracy at an affordable price.
It should be noted, however, that this is not a speaker that will deliver a deep, subwoofer-like bass, but instead, a subtle thumping to emphasize the rhythm. Moreover, the soundstage might not be as broad as expected, but the remarkable depth more than compensates for it.
For: Audiophiles looking for an entrée into full-blown high-end audio
Our Floorstanding Pick For Around $1000 A Pair: DALI Oberon 5 Floor-Standing Speaker ($1299/pr.)
- 1-1/8″ ultra-light soft textile dome tweeter
- 2 x 5-1/4″ wood fiber cone woofers
- Enclosure Type: rear-ported bass reflex
- Frequency response: 39-26,000 Hz ±3dB
- Sensitivity: 88 dB
- Recommended power: 30-150 watts
- Nominal impedance: 6 ohms
What we love about them: Big, engaging sound from a very compact tower, remarkable soundstage, imaging, and depth, very good-looking, easy to place
What to think about: High-end can be a little edgy on-axis (not designed to be used on-axis)
I was really amazed by the DALI Oberon 5 Speakers; I have no clue how they achieved such a grand, melodic sound in such a small and tidy form. They provide all the classic audiophile features, like soundstage, isolating instruments, and imaging, but don’t overlook the fun factor. If you’re searching for a quality floorstander that is simple to set up, suitable for any room and provides first-rate sound, the DALIs fit the criteria.
For: Audiophiles who want immersive, almost full-range sound with no muss and no fuss
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