Many people that install audio systems inside their home would consider it as the most essential part of their house. Those who are audio enthusiasts would spend hours rearranging their audio systems to ensure the best positions for the best sound.

There are differences between bookshelf speakers and normal speakers. For those who are not involved in this space and have an interest in making additions to their own audio system, the first step is understanding bookshelf speakers. We’ve compiled a comprehensive guide that will walk you through everything you need to know to make your first purchase.

Buying Guide

Navigating your way to your first bookshelf speaker purchase shouldn’t be complicated or expensive. According to CNet, one of the myths about audio equipment is that you have to be rich to afford yourself a quality sound system. That’s not true.

Understanding a few technical items and carefully planning your purchase is all you need to help you find the bookshelf speaker you want. Below are a couple of items you should consider when you’re looking to buy a bookshelf speaker.

Planning Your Budget And Needs

As part of being an informed consumer, the first step towards your purchase is determining your budget and needs. Below are a set of helpful questions you should ask:

  1. What is the maximum I’m willing to spend?
  2. What are my current needs?
  3. Should I shoot for something more low quality at a better price or something of better quality at a higher price?
  4. Will this speaker compliment my current audio system setup?
  5. Do I foresee replacing this in the future??

These sets of questions are important because it’ll give you a solid idea of where you stand in terms of your budget and needs. For someone with a low budget and low expectations, something lower quality wouldn’t be so bad. Of course, for those that have higher budgets, the sky is the limit. For those who don't want to spend too much you may want to consider some of the best budget bookshelf speakers here.

Future-proofing your audio system is also something important to consider. If you’re looking to maximize the value of your purchase and don’t foresee yourself switching between speakers, then going a little over your budget for something higher quality is also acceptable.

Understanding The Jargon

Electronics have a whole variety of technical jargon that can be foreign to non-users. Here are a list of technical jargon that you should be aware of:

  • Watts: This is a unit of power that bookshelf speakers use. The general rule of thumb is: The higher the number, the greater output that you can expect. This is important when you’re looking to supplement your bookshelf speaker with an amplifier
  • Drivers: Bookshelf speakers generally have 2 drivers: Woofers and tweeters. Woofers help create bass while Tweeters create high-frequency sounds. Think of these going hand in hand with each other to create the best sound.
  • Hertz: If you’re looking for heavy bass, look for a low number of hertz.

Positioning Is Important

The tricky thing with bookshelf speakers is that the general population usually has a misconception about them. Bookshelf speakers are pretty literal---they are meant to be placed on bookshelves, or on elevated surfaces. Therefore, depending on where your bookshelf is, positioning is very important for the best sound.

The most common way that bookshelf speakers are positioned are at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions. You’re supposed to angle them towards your preferred listening positions---which means in front of you. For tweeters, position them at the same level of your ear for the best sound experience.

Consider Some Extra Furniture

Because bookshelf speakers are meant to be on elevated surfaces, additional furniture may be necessary. It doesn’t have to be large or expensive pieces of furniture, but because bookshelf speakers are designed to be on elevated surfaces, this gives you many options to be creative. Find something that’s affordable and compliments your room.

Top Bookshelf Speakers under $1000 

Editor Rating:


We consider the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless to be one of the best bookshelf speakers under 1000. Its sleek, sexy, and modern design is what drew our eyes to this beauty.

Our first experience with the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless was that it was very easy to set up. You can download the Control Application to your computer or your phone, and then simply follow the instructions on the app.

Drilling down to the sound: Crispy, clean, and obeys your every command. At a mid-range position, the sound becomes cleaner and more detailed. This was a wonderful addition to our single speaker system, and we’re confident that it’d be a great companion to multi speaker systems as well.

Although the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless has been wonderful to us, it is notable to mention that it did come with a few frustrations. Our main complaint with this bookshelf speaker is that its AirPlay connectivity was disappointing. Even when it was in sleep mode, it would sometimes disconnect itself from our network for unknown reasons.

Our rating for the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless is a 4 stars out of 5. It is by far one of the best bookshelf speakers we’ve added to our sound system. Its crispy and clean sound combined with the reasonable price tag made our purchase well worth it.

Things We Liked

  • Rich and warm sound
  • Outstanding bass
  • Beautiful craftsmanship
  • Worth the price

Things We Didn't Like

  • Does not automatically turn off
  • Not reliable on AirPlay speaker

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The next bookshelf speaker on our agenda is the Klipsch RP-260F. The Klipsch RP-260F was another speaker that made it to our top 5 list as one of the best bookshelf speakers under 1000 dollars.

At first glance, you’ll notice that the Klipsch RP-260F is crafted more for positioning them on the ground rather than on an elevated surface. While at first we were skeptical that this would cause an imbalance in sound with our current audio system, we were far from the truth. The Klipsch RP-260F sat nicely next to our TV.

The Klipsch RP-260F sound incredible on low, mid, and high frequencies. We believe that for the price we paid compared to the quality we received, the Klipsch RP-260F could definitely go higher. The bass was decent but it was more than enough for us.

From the first year we owned the Klipsch RP-260F, the only downfall was certainly the bass. While for the most part we can do fine without extra bass, there were a few times where we wished that the Klipsch RP-260F could kick it up a notch. Despite failing to meet our bass expectations, the Klipsch RP-260F performs very well with everything else.

The Klipsch RP-260F deserves a 4.5 out of 5 star rating. We highly recommend this if you’re a basic user not looking to do anything fancy with your audio system.

Things We Liked

  • Beautiful sound
  • Pairs very well with any audio system
  • Remarkable craftsmanship
  • Great bang for your buck

Things We Didn't Like

  • Bass not as deep
  • Slightly heavy

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To say that the NHT Classic is amazing is an understatement. We were more than impressed when we decided to switch out one of our older tower speakers.

One of the features that stood out about the NHT Classic is that it’s very versatile. It has a 4-way design that gives the user flexibility in the level of frequency output. It’s great if you’re looking to use this for low, mid, or high frequency sounds.

We had a few guests over and they couldn’t stop marveling at how sleek and well-crafted the NHT Classic was. We don’t blame them because their looks are what drew us to the purchase in the first place. Although we’re typically skeptical of electronics that look too nice, mainly because we’re worried about the quality, the NHT Classic did not disappoint.

The sound made us feel like we were in front of a live stage. Whenever we played movies, it made us feel like we were in an iMax theater. Nonetheless, I can definitely say that the NHT Classic did not disappoint.

The one thing worth mentioning is that these things are incredibly heavy. We had a difficult time moving it around so this is something to keep in mind because they look heavier than they are.

For a higher end speaker, we give the NHT Classic a 5 out of 5. Although weight was the most obvious issue, everything else exceeded our expectations.

Things We Liked

  • Crowd-pleaser
  • Classy
  • Stellar audio quality
  • Perfect mid-range sound

Things We Didn't Like

  • Slightly heavy at around 74 pounds
  • A little pricier than most

Editor Rating:


We were in the market for a bookshelf speaker under 1000 to add to our audio system and the Energy CB-20 caught our eye. We’ve owned the Energy CB-20 for a little over 2 years and it has been one of the more phenomenal bookshelf speaker we’ve owned in the last several years.

We replace and move our speakers pretty often. Because of our room layout, it can be difficult to find the necessary space to properly position our speakers. What drew our attention to the Energy CB-20 was its form factor.

It was small, compact, affordable, and lightweight enough for us to either place on the ground, our bookshelf, or even mount it on the wall. The Energy CB-20 was our savior as far as space goes. Not to mention, they paid incredibly well with our other speakers and amps.

The best thing we like about the Energy CB-20 is that it’s great for delivering us those clean highs we like very much and the bass is beautifully deep. For one of the more budget speakers we’ve added over the years, the Energy CB-20 definitely packs a punch.

The only disappoint we think should be brought up is that the Energy CB-20 is not a high-end speaker replacement. Like many of us out there, we’re always trying to buy a steak at the price of a hamburger. You pay for what you get and overall, the Energy CB-20 does the job.

We give the Energy CB-20 a 4.5 out of 5 stars. It’s a great bookshelf speaker for any home theater and gets the job done.

Things We Liked

  • High quality bass
  • Great warranty
  • Very affordable
  • Does not require much power

Things We Didn't Like

  • Discontinued product
  • Decent compared to higher-end speakers

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The Pioneer SP-PK52FS Speaker Package was what we started off with first when we got into the audio system world. We went for this package in particular because of the many positive bookshelf speaker reviews we’ve read. It is all inclusive and comes with the following: 1x Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones Bookshelf Loudspeakers, 1x Pioneer SW-8MK2 Subwoofer, 2x Pioneer SP-FS52 Floor Standing Loudspeaker, and 1x SP-C22 Andrew Jones Center Channel Speaker.

We want to make it clear that the Pioneer SP-PK52FS Speaker Package is great for anyone that doesn’t want to go through the hassle of having to set up their own custom audio system. Because we were new, this is what we defaulted to because at the time, we were not very informed. However, because we are more experienced now, our go-to is definitely selecting individual speakers and adding them whenever we can.

This package is not ideal for someone who already knows what they’re doing. Keep in mind that it’s very difficult to switch out the speakers in the Pioneer SP-PK52FS Speaker Package simply because our mentality at the time was that we already paid for the speaker package. Despite that, it is a great starting point for beginners in audio systems.

We recommend a 4 stars out of 5 for the Pioneer SP-PK52FS Speaker Package. It does a great job for its purpose and its price.

Things We Liked

  • Great for beginners
  • Amazing price for what you get
  • Crisp quality sound when used all-together
  • Beautiful surround sound experience

Things We Didn't Like

  • Not ideal for experienced consumers
  • Not very attractive

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We came across the Cerwin Vega Pro CVA-28 when we were looking for a replacement high-performance full range speaker. We heard many positive things about the Cerwin Vega Pro CVA-28 and decided to give it a try.

We place a lot of emphasis in the aesthetics and looks of our speakers, sometimes more than the quality. For many of our guests, the sound is relatively the same so the next best thing to look out for is its looks. The Cerwin Vega Pro CVA-28 did not fit that profile very well as a high-end speaker.

However, the sound does make up for its looks. It certainly plays like a high-performance speaker and delivers that higher-end experience. We knew that when we adjusted the speakers properly, it gave hell to the other speakers we’ve across in the recent years.

We’ve owned these speakers for over 5 years and it’s still functioning like we had just bought it yesterday. We recommended these to our friends and family and we’ve been happy to say that all our experiences are very similar. For its price and rough looks, it certainly took us by surprise.

From what we’ve experienced so far, the Cerwin Vega Pro CVA-28 delivers a rating of 4.5 out of 5. If you can overlook its looks, this will make any audiophile happy.

Things We Liked

  • Affordable price
  • Exceptional sound quality
  • Robust and long lasting
  • Small and compact

Things We Didn't Like

  • Slightly heavier than others
  • Looks aren't appealing

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Of all the bookshelf speakers we’ve owned over the years, the SVS Ultra were one of our least favorite pairs. However, after spending a lot of time with them, our opinions changed over time.

Let us start off by saying that the SVS Ultra has extreme performance, and the quality is certainly unparalleled for its product level. However, compared to our other speakers, it just didn’t meet our expectations.

However, over time, we certainly learned to appreciate the SVS Ultra more and more. When our other speakers ran into issues of their own, the SVS Ultra definitely was a beautiful substitute. Think of the SVS Ultra as someone you can depend on in your worse moments.

Although it’s been an up and down relationship with the SVS Ultra, we do want to compliment them and say that they are incredibly sexy. Dark, sleek, modern, perfect with any audio system or room setup, the SVS Ultra had no problems in this department. Mount them, elevate them, it doesn’t matter, because the SVS Ultra strikes an impression wherever you place them.

We started off with a very discouraging comment about the SVS Ultra, but it certainly deserves a 4.5 stars out of 5. When you’re looking for something long-term, reliability is important and the SVS Ultra was there for us when we needed it the most.

Things We Liked

  • Robust and reliable
  • Long-lasting
  • Compact and sexy
  • Incredible sound quality

Things We Didn't Like

  • Not comparable to other high-end speakers
  • Price can be discouraging

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Last but not least is the KEF X300A Wireless in our top 8 list. We’ve had a mixed experience with the KEF X300A Wireless but figured that it’s worth mentioning if it helped someone else out.

We’ll point out one of the best features about the KEF X300A---it’s wireless. By far, the KEF X300A is perhaps our most aesthetically pleasing bookshelf speakers. It comes in 2 colors, either black or white, and the white ones we owned added a flare to our home theater system that we didn’t get from anything else.

The sound is lean, mean, and thunderous. Whenever we played our movies, we could definitely hear the sound from across the house. While it’s not a bad thing, it certainly surprised us when we were first using it.

So what’s bad about the KEF X300A? Even though that it’s great that it’s wireless, sometimes wired is better. We’ve run into numerous concerns with static and distortion when we were using the KEF X300A. Furthermore, we’ve also had connectivity issues so it disconnects randomly.

Out of all the bookshelf speakers we’ve reviewed, the KEF X300A comes in with the worse rating at 3.5 out of 5 for us. It’s a great speaker by far but the connectivity and static issues certainly swayed us for the worse.

Things We Liked

  • Wireless capability
  • Sexy design
  • Lightweight
  • Pairs well with other speakers

Things We Didn't Like

  • Connectivity issues
  • Distortion and static problems

About the Author Michele Zangrandi

Hi guys, If you share the same excitement for literally ANY new music device out there, then I would be honoured to call you brothers!

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