Bookshelf speaker models are becoming more popular than other speaker types for their compact design and impeccable sound quality. Plus, these speakers are available for a wide range of price points from around $100 to over $1000.
Personally, I consider bookshelf speakers below $400 to be a happy medium, providing good audio and advanced functions.
After thorough research, I have compiled a list of the best bookshelf speakers under $400 pushing out the incredible sound. Take a closer look and choose the one that suits your audio setup.
Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $400
- Best Overall: Sony SSCS5 3-Way 3-Driver
- Remote Control: Edifier 4004988 S1000MKII Bookshelf Speaker
- Woofer: Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones Bookshelf Speakers
- Solidly Built: Polk Signature Elite ES20 Bookshelf Speaker
- Compact: ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Bookshelf Speakers
- Modern: Audioengine HD3 Wireless Speaker
1. Sony SSCS5 3-Way 3-Driver
Having a 3-way speaker with woofer, tweeter, and super tweeter for just $175.99, That’s a steal.
While I would not recommend these speakers to party animals, the sound quality is decent with a well-defined midrange. I am a big fan of Sony speakers because of their sleek designs, good audio performance, and reasonable prices.
3-Way Speaker – As mentioned earlier, it features a woofer, midrange driver, and a tweeter, hence, aspiring users can expect an expansive soundstage. The 0.98″ tweeter delivers authentic and high-precision sound.
In addition, the 5.12″ MRC woofer is responsible for delivering tight bass. The 0.75″ super tweeter reproduces high-frequency sounds accurately.
Sound Quality – These speakers may not be the best in class when it comes to generating louder sound output for parties and large gatherings. Given their price point, I believe it is hardly surprising.
However, they deliver sufficiently clear and loud sound for home theater setup. The bass is pretty powerful, however, the sound may distort at higher volumes.
Design – These Sony speakers are designed with a sturdy, ported enclosure for rich acoustics. The smart black finish adds to the visual appeal.
Before it arrived, I was concerned if it could fit in the tiny cabinet in my room, surprisingly, it did. It is compact and gives extreme installation flexibility.
- Delivers high-resolution audio for home theater and music setup
- 3-driver speaker system
- Lightweight and compact
- Lows are a little lacking
2. Edifier 4004988 S1000MKII Bookshelf Speaker
I would advise potential buyers to check Edifier bookshelf speakers as the brand got some of the best ones. I have used many Edifier speakers and each time the brand exceeded my expectations.
I have heard many of my friends singing praises for the S1000MKII, so I decided to test it. While there is not much wrong with the speaker, these are quite bulky and not fit for outdoor use.
Sound Quality – It covers a wider frequency response from 45 Hz to 40 kHz. Moreover, it features a 1″ advanced titanium dome tweeter and 5.5″ aluminum alloy midrange bass for an overall superior sound performance.
I will place them ahead of many high-end speakers because of their superior sound quality.
It produces clearer mids and highs and defined bass. Importantly, it has an integrated Class D amplifier which eliminates the need for an external amplifier. I have been using them for the home theater and I regret not investing in them sooner.
Remote Control – This is one of my favorite things about this speaker. With the wireless remote control, I no longer have to leave the couch to change the volume or settings.
Input Options – Potential buyers would be happy to learn about the wide connectivity it offers.
It can be connected to TVs, mobile phones, PCs/laptops, game consoles, tablets, DVD players, and other devices due to the availability of coaxial, line-in, and optical inputs.
- Beautiful design with wooden side panels
- Built-in class D amp
- Multiple input options
- Remote control
- Bluetooth v5.0
- No bass and treble controls on the remote
3. Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones Bookshelf Speakers
I did not have any second thoughts about buying this speaker when I found out that it was designed by Andrew Jones. Since it is designed by the legendary speaker designer, you can expect some good news in relation to audio performance.
The speakers lack visual appeal, however, they make it up for it by generating a well-balanced sound.
Sound Quality – Ever since I found out that the speaker was designed by Andrew Jones, I was really looking forward to testing it.
As expected, the sound was super smooth with outstanding mids, treble, and bass.
To be honest, I was not expecting a detailed and well-balanced sound from such reasonably priced speakers.
It is equipped with a 1″ soft dome tweeter and 4″ structured surface woofer to cover wider frequency response and ensure bass accuracy.
Crossover – This compact bookshelf speaker high-quality 6-component crossover to break audio signals into low, mid, and high-range frequencies.
This crossover ensures detailed and superior sound across all frequencies.
Design – The speaker is thoughtfully designed to improve the audio quality. While it may not look more modern and futuristic, the curved design boosts performance by reducing standing sound waves inside the cabinet.
- High-efficiency tweeter and structured surface woofer for louder sound and deeper bass
- 6-component crossover
- Designed by Andrew Jones
- Not backed by an extended warranty
4. Polk Signature Elite ES20 Bookshelf Speaker
Barely under $400, this Polk bookshelf speaker is surely worth a try. I am a fan of Polk speakers as they rarely disappoint.
Even with this bookshelf speaker, they have lived up to its reputation. As I saw everyone hyping this speaker on YouTube and other platforms, I decided to test it out. I have to say it got the looks as well as the performance that most buyers seek.
Sound Quality – I am certain that buyers who have an overly critical ear will appreciate the clarity and soundstage it delivers.
It is equipped with a 1″ Terylene Tweeter and a 6.5″ Woofer for crystal clear, life-like audio.
Moreover, the phase-optimized precision crossover not only boosts sound performance but also ensures a wider spot.
Bass Production – Before I tested it out, I was concerned about the bass-generating capabilities of the speaker.
Despite not having a subwoofer, the speaker delivers a pretty impressive bass performance.
Unlike traditional speakers, the Polk’s exclusive Power Port technology generates a 3dB louder bass with minimized distortions.
Design – Other speaker brands should follow Polk when it comes to making speaker cabinets from common materials.
The silver-bronzed speaker is designed with curved corners and detachable grills. IMO, it is better to remove the grills as they interfere with the speaker’s sound quality.
- Solidly built
- Comes with a hassle-free, five-year warranty
- Detailed sound and powerful bass
- Extreme installation flexibility
- Lows sound a little muddy
5. ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC Debut 2.0 speakers offer incredible bang for the price. While it is not quite exciting to look at, it definitely packs a punch.
I believe the brand should look at Polk speakers for cabinet design inspiration. Looks are not usually as important to audiophiles, as long as the sound is good, we’re all happy.
Sound Quality – It features a 1″ soft-dome tweeter and aramid fiber woofer for producing smoother sound and clean bass. The mids and highs are incredibly well-defined and the bass is powerful without being too boomy.
A high sensitivity rating (86dB) and 120 watts of input power allow a louder sound output.
Frequency Response – The newly developed tweeter extends the frequency response to 35 kHz. On the whole, it has a frequency range of 45 Hz to 35 kHz and a crossover frequency of 2200 Hz.
Design – While the speaker looks average, the woofer with lesser-used woven aramid fiber adds punch to the bass.
Front-firing ports eliminate the problem of placing speakers too close to the wall. Additionally, internal bracing reduces vibrations and distortions.
- Compact design
- Incredible audio performance
- Offers value for money
- Average cabinet design
6. Audioengine HD3 Wireless Speaker
This bookshelf speaker is lightweight, compact, and has all the amazing features that audiophiles like me seek.
It not only looks good but performs equally well. One of the main selling points is that it does not require you to invest in an external amplifier.
Sound Quality – It has a room-filling sound thanks to 2.75″ aramid fiber woofers and 3/4″ silk dome tweeters.
When it arrived, I doubted the performance of the drivers since the speaker had a smaller size. To my surprise, drivers performed reasonably well.
Connection – A user has the luxury to connect the speaker to the audio source via a wireless or wired connection.
Input options include Bluetooth 5.0, 3.5mm stereo mini-jack, stereo RCA, and USB. Output ports include 3.5mm headphone out and RCA variable line-out.
Design – The looks are definitely above par with sleek and modern design. Unlike conventional speakers, it does not come with a standard box design but with an impeccable finish and solid build quality.
- Modern and sleek design
- Superior sound
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Supports multiple devices
- A bit low bass
How to Pick Right Bookshelf Speakers Under 400$?
Buying a quality bookshelf speaker significantly increases the value of a home audio system, however, it is tricky to find the right one.
There are a wide array of bookshelf speakers available designed to serve different purposes.
Before you finalize one, it is important to have a clear understanding of how you plan to use the bookshelf speakers.
Additionally, factor in the following considerations to buy a high-quality bookshelf speaker
Since you are looking for bookshelf speakers under $400, the options are endless. Many bookshelf speakers within the aforesaid price range have superior sound quality and advanced features.
If you are lucky, you may find some high-end speakers on sale and available for under $400.
Do not rush, do a little research, and wait a bit if you have to before finding the right speaker for the money you are willing to spend. Do not just buy the first speaker you see on top of the search results.
Most important of all, sound quality can not be ignored. Ask any audiophile and their first consideration would be sound quality and rightfully so.
Nowadays, most bookshelf speakers have exceptional audio quality, however, it is important to understand their limitations.
Given their size and a limited number of drivers, it would be foolish to expect them to pump out deeper bass and louder sound like the floor standers.
With that said, some expensive, high-end bookshelf speakers can produce insanely-good sound and bass. Alternatively, add a subwoofer to bookshelf speakers to produce thumping bass.
There is a huge misconception that huge bookshelf speakers would produce better sound. However, they do equal more volume.
Large bookshelf speakers are heavy, unsightly, and difficult to install. Smaller, lightweight bookshelf speakers allow more flexibility when it comes to positioning and installation.
Choose a size depending on the bookshelf, stand, or cabinet you intend to place on. Some models are designed to be mounted on the wall to save ample space for other gadgets.
There are a number of technical aspects that an audiophile needs to consider when buying a bookshelf. Here are some specs you need to know about before making the final purchase
Knowing the maximum wattage number is important to match the right amplifier. Also, if you prefer listening to audio at higher volumes, do not forget to check the wattage.
Hertz is also an important consideration to determine the frequency range. Usually, bookshelf speakers cover 50 Hz to 20,000 Hz, also, some have a wider frequency response.
The lower number indicates the bass-generating capacity of the speaker. If the first number is lower, more or less 20 Hz, it means the speaker can produce thumping bass.
The higher number indicates the speaker’s ability to generate high tunes. Adding a subwoofer will help speakers to boost lows.
Choose a bookshelf speaker with a sensitivity rating of 87dB to 95 dB. The sensitivity rating represents the loudness of the speaker. Bookshelf speakers with 95dB to over 100dB can produce louder output.
Due to their small size, bookshelf speakers have one woofer and a tweeter. Tweeters produce higher frequencies while woofers generate powerful bass. Some speakers have more drivers for well-defined midrange.
Wired or Wireless
Nearly all audiophiles prefer bookshelf speakers with Bluetooth connectivity. It is convenient and eliminates the need for unsightly wires. Usually, these speakers can be connected to the audio source via a wired and wireless connection.
Lastly, there are plenty of other options besides the aforementioned ones for different purposes, requirements, and budgets. However, I can assure you that this list contains some reliable bookshelf speaker models with superior sound quality and robust construction.
Cian has 7 years of experience in the musical instruments industry. His press and research articles are published in many well-known journals. Cian is part of our product testing team so he knows the criteria for the best products. Here at sound keen cian covers how to set up instruments and selection criteria for new products.