If you, like so many of us, spend most of your waking hours at your desk, then you deserve to own some of the best computer speakers your budget will allow. These portable audio receivers combat the tinny sound often found in some of the best laptops, combining full, balanced sonics with handy features like Bluetooth and headphone outputs. The right one for you will depend on your budget, design taste, and, ideally, how much space you have on your desk.
The market plays host to numerous models of different styles, which work great for any setup or computing device (e.g. desktop, laptop, smartphone) you have in mind. Key players worth mentioning that have cemented their legacy as top computer speaker manufacturers include Edifier, Creative, and Audioengine just to name a few. You’ll even find gems here from consumer electronics staples like Bose, Harman Kardon, and gaming accessory giant, Razer.
Check out our top picks for the best computer speakers, based on hours of testing and research. Need something for private listening? Then make sure to also look at our roundup of the best noise-cancelling headphones, which includes everything from over-ear luxury cans to truly wireless buds.
What are the best computer speakers?
The Q Acoustics 3020i currently sits at No. 1 on our best computer speakers list. Improvements in design and audio quality (e.g., extended bass response) showcase the overall detailing and effort that was put into these speakers. They’ are tiny but powerful stand-mounted monitors made to satisfy audiophiles who want strong sound in a refined package.
In second place on our best computer speakers list is the Audioengine HD3. These Bluetooth bookshelf speakers match the precise sound found on most wired computer speakers. Bass is tight and the midrange is emphasized for vocals to shine. Connectivity is spot-on too, so you won’t ever have to worry about dropout when streaming music. It’s also one of the better-looking models out there with a retro-inspired design that’s donned in a wooden veneer and mesh magnetic grille.
For bargain hunters, there is the Creative Pebble V3, which packs loud sound into a compact design that is perfect for small desks and most media formats (music, video games, movies). If money is no object, then the KEF LSX is an amazing sound system that doubles as computer speakers and delivers top-notch audio performance and tons of features. The Edifier R1280DB is another relatively affordable option with numerous connection options that balances smooth-sounding mids and highs superbly.
The best computer speakers you can buy today
Our top pick for the best computer speakers is the Q Acoustics 3020i for its impeccable sound reproduction and gorgeous design. The frequency spectrum is well represented, with bass leading the sonic brigade; kick snares and drums sound thunderous. You’ll enjoy amazing separation as well, pinpointing instruments, while also picking up on the subtle nuances in orchestral recordings. Build quality is another hallmark of the 3020i, from the curved unibody frame to the multiple sexy finishes (Graphite Grey, English Walnut, Carbon Black or Arctic White) the speakers come in.
These aren’t speakers you’ll want to keep tucked in deep cabinets, as they look more exquisite sitting next to an Apple Mac Pro or Microsoft Surface Studio. You can even place them on stands, should you want to get more creative with speaker placement and enjoy stereo sound at ear level.
Audioengine’s reputation for building premium speakers with accurate sound is flawless. The HD3 is proof of this, producing stellar audio that makes music and movies sound pristine. Wired speakers are known for offering the better audio experience, but these Bluetooth-only speakers exceed expectations. Mids are articulate and highs are compelling, giving vocals plenty of clarity and detail. Wireless range is stable as well with little to no dropout occurring. What’s more surprising is how well sound carries over to the headphone jack, as listening with over-ear cans maintains the HD3’s rich performance. Having a built-in DAC and amp also increases the HD3’s value.
Our only complaint is that Audioengine took it easy on the low end. You’ll still get to some nice oomph out of the drivers when listening to bass-dominating tracks, but don’t expect to blow a hole through your college dorm roof.
Our favorite tiny computer speakers have been upgraded with louder sound, more input options, and a new mode that doubles the audio intensity. The latter works great for music, movies, video games, and podcasts. Those with distinctive hearing may also notice how well the Pebble V3’s clear dialog audio processing performs when compared to what comes out of your MacBook’s built-in speakers; dialogue-heavy scenes in movies and games sound amazing. We do advise not to blast the speakers at max volume, as it can produce some crackling and minor distortion when jamming out to tunes.
Wireless playback is superb with Bluetooth 5.0 providing steady connectivity across all devices (e.g. laptops, desktops, smartphones). Then you have the super-compact design, which is perfect for small work environments or to pack with you on the road. For $40, it’s a no-brainer that you can also pass onto someone else once you’re ready to look at bigger, more powerful options.
The Fives speaker system looks like something you would find in your great-grandfather’s study, but the only thing retro about these speakers is the design. Despite no subwoofer, these monitors blast powerful, balanced sound to create an immersive listening experience when enjoying music, movies, sports, and video games. The details in craftsmanship are remarkable as exhibited by the aluminum dials sitting atop the right channel to allow for seamless switching between the numerous connections. There is even an output to connect to turntables; we recommend checking out our best USB turntables roundup to find some worthy pairings.
All that firepower does come at the cost of size. As you can see by the dimensions, The Fives isn’t exactly a pair of computer speakers that rest steadily on any tiny desk, so you’ll definitely want to clear out some space before these arrive on your doorstep.
An award winner in multiple categories, the KEF LSX is included on our best computer speakers list for numerous reasons. For one, just look at how gorgeous and well-constructed it is, highlighted by the color-matched fabric on each side and the high-gloss finish. Unique details like the Uni-Q driver array, which consists of a 19mm aluminum dome tweeter sitting in the center of a 10cm bass cone, are complementary to the LSX’s appearance as well. Sound is rich with an impactful low end that favors bass-heavy genres, though you can customize this in the EQ settings via Control app. Being able to stream music wirelessly through Bluetooth and AirPlay 2, while also supporting Spotify Connect and Tidal, adds to its value.
It does seem impractical that you need two apps – the aforementioned Control and Stream – to personalize sound and play music from streaming platforms. In addition, Stream tends to experience serious lag when playing Tidal tracks.
Edifier knows all about making some of the best computer speakers, and the R1280DB is a fine addition to the brand’s long line of heritage receivers. Their penchant for build quality is certainly on display, with the speakers featuring a wood grain finish, vinyl wrap, and magnetic shields for protection from surrounding items. They’ll feel right at home on any bookshelf, while also blending nicely on any entertainment center. More enticing than the design is the sound quality, which is ideal for multiple media formats (e.g. music, movies, and games), thanks to its superb mids and highs. Bluetooth connection is another bonus, letting you pair the speakers with multiple computing devices.
You’ll just want to be mindful of listening at high volumes since that can create distortion. The low end won’t blow you away either, so bass lovers looking to shake their game room with explosions may want to look at other models on this list.
The small-but-mighty A2+ is considered one of the best computer speakers for those who appreciate detailed audio and can afford to pay for it, if they can find it. That’s right, at nearly seven years old, the A2+ remains a hot commodity among PC owners who want top of the line sound. You’ll hear crisp treble and balanced midrange and bass — no subwoofer needed, though there’s a subwoofer output if you want to add one. Best of all, the A2+ fills the room with sound, and they can get really loud. You can connect in a variety of ways, including RCA stereo, 3.5 mm minijack and USB (you can also get a version with Bluetooth for $50 more).
The solidly built units come in satin black, glossy white or glossy red to match your aesthetics. You’re going to want to find the right volume level and stick with it because Audioengine made the inconvenient decision to place the volume control on the back, which becomes annoying to access every time.
Another popular, well-received pair of Klipsch computer speakers, the R-41PM presents fantastic sound and connectivity in a sleek package. Powerful bass, clean mids, and resonant highs demonstrate the unit’s great frequency range. An included sub-out line makes it seamless to add a subwoofer, should you want to boost low frequencies, which isn’t necessary for small settings, but is available nonetheless. The numerous inputs let you connect these babies to everything from your desktop to television, even to a turntable. There’s also the option to go wireless and pair the speakers with your mobile device. Craftsmanship is excellent too, made up of exposed fasteners, low profile magnetic grilles, and a scratch-resistant, textured wood grain vinyl finish for a polished appearance.
Sadly, Bluetooth isn’t executed well and doesn’t allow you to automatically re-pair the R-41PM with recently connected devices. Don’t blast these speakers too loudly either, because it can lead to harsh sound.
Yamaha is a legacy brand that often comes correct with their audio products, so it comes as no surprise to see a model like the HS5 make our best computer speakers list. Despite its understated design, the speaker is striking, especially in white. Several controls were installed to manage the tone, volume, frequency, and other sonic characteristics. Speaking of sound, listeners will get remarkable clarity and imaging, resulting in an immersive listening experience when indulging in live music performances and movies.
Bass is not the model’s strongest suit, but the tuning options allow you to tweak sound response based on your acoustic environment. Why Yamaha decided not to package the speaker with any cables is dumbfounding, especially since the HS5 is geared towards professional setups.
Razer is a brand that has become synonymous with PC gaming, as best exhibited by their award-winning gaming laptops. It didn’t take long for them to release a line of gaming computer speakers, and if you want top-tier performance, then the Nommo Pro might be the gaming set-up for you. These speakers boast a loud, wide soundstage that delivers an immersive listening experience perfect for gaming; you’ll be more aware of sneak attacks during Call of Duty: Warzone multiplayer matches and hear players voices clearly over heavy gunfire. The Razer Synapse app makes it easy to personalize the speakers, be it the EQ or RGB lightning pattern. Also, the dial control makes volume adjustment and switching between audio sources a breeze.
The subwoofer does help the speakers produce pleasant rumble, though it can also make bass too punchy when blasting sound at high volume. Also, the high price tag doesn’t make the Nommo Pro financially accessible to all PC gamers.
Our favorite sustainable audio brand has made their way into the computer speaker market, offering up an attractive set of sound blasters composed of solid bamboo and HoM’s trademark REWIND Fabric made from recycled materials. You can expect crisp, detailed audio to come out of this dual-speaker system, along with 20 hours of playtime from the right speaker, which can be used wirelessly around the house or on the go. The Get Together Duo even has RCA outputs and an aux input for wired playback; we recommend pairing it with some of the market’s best noise-cancelling headphones or USB turntables.
Bass heads who want deep, boomy sound might want to look elsewhere, as this speaker system places heavy emphasis on midrange. It would have also been great if HoM added lossless Bluetooth codecs and AAC support, but neither of these omissions is a dealbreaker.
Monoprice isn’t a prestige legacy audio brand, but it is a respectable company that sells quality audio products, from headphones to speakers. The DT-3BT is essentially a wireless version of their popular computer speakers. That means you can expect some of the same performance perks as the standard model, including crisp midrange and highs, and serviceable inputs to expand your audio setup. Bluetooth inclusion now opens the door to stream music wirelessly, and the results are surprisingly good. These are also durable speakers that will last a long time and sit comfortably on most bookshelves.
Don’t expect a premium, fancy design, nor the greatest bass response for the price. Instead, appreciate the acceptable performance these budget speakers deliver.
How to choose the best computer speakers for you
You’ll want to prioritize audio performance, connection type, extra features, and pricing when seeking out the best computer speakers.
Ask yourself what suits your setup best: wired or wireless. The former is known for guaranteeing better sound, yet requires dealing with more cables and ports, which can be overbearing for small setups. If you’re not looking to be tethered to your machine, then know that there are plenty of wireless models available that come with stereo or surround sound technology. Speaking of sound, also look for computer speakers that deliver clean vocals, deep bass, and rich treble, and with volume levels that aren’t too loud or distort sound.
Something else to keep in mind is codecs. SBC (Sub Band Codec) is the most common and is a great option for streaming music on popular services like Spotify. You can look into newer and more advanced codecs like AAC (Advanced Audio Coding), Qualcomm aptX, and Sony LDAC as well; each one processes information quickly and delivers superior audio output.
In terms of features, the most common tend to be bass and treble controls, allowing you to personalize sound to your liking. Multiple inputs are important too, especially if you’re looking to connect the speakers to other devices like smartphones or tablets. Make sure the speakers have an auxiliary input jack, USB slots, and extra ports for more versatility.
Top-tier performance usually comes at a premium, but not all of the best computer speakers carry a steep MSRP. Yes, the more expensive models will likely have more powerful sound and components underneath the hood, along with a more upscale appearance. That’s not to say you won’t get some great performance out of a less expensive pair. Look at reviews – both expert and consumer – then figure out what models offer everything you want for the most reasonable price.
How we test the best computer speakers
Similar to how we test all audio products, our reviewers evaluate several factors, including audio, battery life, design, and value. We also compare each model to similar ones in terms of features, pricing, and setup.
Computer speakers are tested over the course of a week for 2 hours at a time. During this process, we analyze Bluetooth performance, ease of use, and, most importantly, sound quality. Reviewers listen to numerous predetermined tracks across a variety of music genres: classical, EDM, hip-hop, jazz, rock, and R&B. Movies, podcasts, and video games are taken into serious consideration too. Overall, we evaluate clarity, fullness, and volume.
With more streaming services offering high-resolution audio, we advise reading this audio codec FAQ to learn more about FLAC files, MP3s and, everything in between. The streaming service you choose could enhance sound quality.
After testing is completed, we rate each model based on our five-point system (1 = worst, 5 = best). Any product that is exemplary is awarded a Laptop Magazine Editor’s Choice badge.