Looking for the best bookshelf speakers under $100? Bookshelf speakers are step up from your conventional computer speakers. These speakers deliver better audio quality and flexible volume.
Depending on the size of the room, these speakers could deliver dynamic room-filling sound. As long as you have reasonable expectations, you can find the perfect set of bookshelf speakers that work with your budget. Here are the best bookshelf speakers under $100:
Best Bookshelf Speakers under $100
Polk Audio T15
- Produces theatre-quality sound
- Good frequency response
- Versatile features and design
- With wall mount option
- Poor lows and highs
- Degraded vocals at high volumes
- Limited volume
The Polk Audio T15 features amalgamated woofer and polymer amalgamated tweeter. The T15 also comes with transducers for optimal versatility. It can be set on a bookshelf or mounted on the wall.
As far as the connectivity goes, the T15 offers standard inputs. The speakers are compatible with any home theater receivers or stereos. When it comes to audio performance, the T15 delivers balanced and clean sound quality.
Polk’s exclusive dynamic balance feature delivers a cinematic wide response with minimal distortion. The magnetically protected enclosures help reduce distortion further. This feature improves the overall audio quality. However, the lows and highs tend to suffer at high volumes. The vocals aren’t as clear at higher volumes too. Still, for budget-friendly, entry-level bookshelf speakers, the T15 offers the best value for the price.
Overall, the T15 is a great set of bookshelf speakers for the budget-conscious. The audio quality isn’t perfect but at this price point, the T15 is clearly one of the best bookshelf speakers on the market.
Micca MB42X Bookshelf Speakers
- Great audio performance
- Rich, thunderous bass
- Powerful picture projection
- Sensitivity to speaker positioning
- Flimsy-looking components
Next on our list of the best bookshelf speakers under $100 is the Micca MB42X. The MB42X is a set of passive speakers that delivers decent to great audio quality. It’s the kind of speaker that requires an amplifier or stereo receiver. The MB42X features a sleek, understated polymer casing in matte black. It comes with a woven carbon fiber woofer and silk dome tweeter. The MB42X also features an optimized 12dB crossover with Zobel network. As far as design goes, the MB42X is as stylish as it can get.
The MB42X also offers a balanced output with good color that betrays its surprisingly affordable price tag. The bass response is quite impressive and so is the frequency response. The MB42X is a great choice for audiophiles who crave thunderous bass. Distortion is minimal.
The MB42X impresses with its powerful picture projection, it’s easy to mistake the speakers for a larger set! The vocal reproduction is excellent. It’s accurate and balanced, not too warm nor too cold. The trebles, on the other hand, are recessed while there is a noticeable depression in the mid-range bass.
We’re nit-picking at this point because there’s hardly anything to complain about the MB42X but the flimsy-looking plastic components and the sensitivity of the MB42X to speaker positioning are the only cons we observed. To make the most out of the MB42X, it has to be set just right. Otherwise, the audio quality suffers. As for the quality of the polymer casing, it’s quite a common caveat among speakers at this price range. But make no mistake, the plastic components do not affect the audio quality of the MB42X.
For a set of speakers under a hundred bucks, the MB42X is one of those rare products that put value and performance on top of its many features. It’s not surprising that the MB42X is one of the most highly rated budget bookshelf speakers right now.
Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers
- Versatile design
- Durable construction
- Good color of sound across the range
- Excellence bass response
- Flimsy components
The R1280T has the design that may not elicit excitement but we love its timeless, versatile aesthetic. The speaker case is made with wood veneer paneling on the sides, finished up with a beautiful matte finish and metallic accents. The grilles are made from gray cloth with subtle branding at the bottom. Each speaker comes with a 4-inch woofer, a 13 mm silk dome tweeter and a port for optimum air circulation. The ports and connectivity options are set on the right speaker. Although the R1280T is made of plastic, the quality is superb.
As for features, the controls are set on the right side panel of the right speaker. The control panel allows you to set the volume, bass, and treble. Unfortunately, the volume control has no visual marker so adjusting it at a glance can be a bit of a bother.
As far as performance goes, the R1280T delivers a versatile sound spectrum. The trebles are clear and defined. The mids are rich and full. Bass response is one of R1280T’s most defining features, even at the neutral setting. The fact that you can adjust the bass allows you to add more punch to your tracks. The bass is deep and powerful but never off sounding.
The only glaring con we’ve observed is the set of accessories that came with the speakers. While the speakers themselves are made from high-quality materials, the accessories feel flimsy. Some users even complained of receiving defective accessories. We didn’t come across the same issue but this is something worth noting if you’re checking out the R1280T.
Overall, the R1280T impresses with its simple design, good color of sound, and powerful bass. It’s a great set of speakers because of the balanced features and power.
Mackie CR Multimedia Monitors
- Impressive soundstage
- Studio quality design and performance
- Versatile features
- Clear, powerful audio
- Top of the speakers heat up
Rounding up our list of the best bookshelf speakers under $100 is the Mackie CR3. This is a set of futuristic-looking speakers with its sleek, matte finish and neon green accents. The CR3 promises to deliver studio-quality sound performance at budget-friendly prices. This speaker set is best for users who are considering getting into the music production game!
The features are simple and straightforward; you can hook the CR3 up to your mobile device and sound system with relative ease. It’s one user-friendly set of speakers that won’t confuse newbies.
The CR3 stereo spread sound staging is impressive. It’s easy to mistake the CR3 for a larger set of speakers, it fills up a room with thunderous tracks with relative ease. The audio is clear, powerful, and balanced. You do not even have to be an expert to notice the excellent audio. The mids and bass are just as impressive, the tracks are pumped up without sounding unnatural or flat. We love how the CR3 resists vibrations and the distortion is kept at a bare minimum.
As far as sound performance goes, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better set of speakers than the CR3. Our only gripe is that the top of the speakers tends to heat up quickly. Also, the design may not please everyone because of the contrasting accent colors.
Tips and Buying Guide: Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $100
What to Expect From $100 Loudspeakers?
When it comes to searching for the best bookshelf speakers under $100, you must have reasonable expectations. The choices are endless when it comes to budget bookshelf speakers. The audio quality may not satisfy the discriminating tastes of audiophiles but at this price point, you get exactly what you pay for.
That being said, budget-friendly speakers, particularly the ones on our list, make a terrific upgrade compared to average active sets. When shopping around, we highly recommend checking out reviews and testing out the product in person. This way, there won’t be any nasty surprises once the speakers are hooked to your sound system.
So what can you expect from a set of budget speakers? Expect bare bone features, simple designs, and zero to some accessories. It’s not impossible to find a set of well-built speakers. In fact, most brands put money into the overall design and quality of the speakers. The performance of affordable speakers will depend on the brand. However, those with larger drivers offer better audio. Some speakers do come with extra features, such as the Micca MB42X.
Passive vs Active Speakers
Active speakers, also known as powered speakers, come with built-in amplifiers. These speakers are equipped with crossover components. These components are able to split the frequency band of the audio signal into low, high, or mid-range. Active speakers are best used for home entertainment systems and home theater systems.
On the other hand, passive speakers do not come with a built-in amplifier. You have to connect the speakers to your amplifier via a standard speaker wire. Most speakers, including the ones we’ve featured on this list, are passive speakers. The speaker level signal does not require further amplification to drive the speakers sufficiently. These speakers are best for small setups such as an upgrade to regular computer speakers.