Welcome to our list of the best bookshelf speakers under $300. Thanks to their compact size and versatility, bookshelf speakers are still the best-selling speaker type for home use. They can be used as tabletop speakers, as part of a home theater system or, of course, simply, as the name suggests, placed at either end of a bookshelf. With a budget of $300, you can usually get options from high-end consumer electronics manufacturers.
You may not get the flawless sonic performance or luxurious material construction that comes with four-digit audio setups, but you can be sure you’ll be surprised how good the sound quality can be for the price.
Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $300
In this buyer’s guide, we’ll go through what we think are the best bookshelf speakers under $300. We’ll also follow up on our recommendations with some additional advice, as there are some additional considerations to consider when buying your first pair of high-quality speakers.
1. ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2
The renowned German audio manufacturer ELAC has been bringing high-quality sound products to the market since 1926, and these affordable speakers are no exception. The 1-inch silk dome tweeter and the 6.5-inch aramid fiber cone woofer were specially designed by legendary loudspeaker engineer Andrew Jones. The result is a more vivid and clear sound compared to the original B6 speakers that shook the low-cost speaker market in 2015.
Compared to other speakers on the same budget, the ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 is capable of producing satisfyingly deep bass without the need for an external subwoofer. It has a large sound stage with a solid resolution at mid and high frequencies, ensuring that everything comes across clearly in a heavily layered mix of instruments and vocals. Overall, this is one of the best bookshelf speakers under $300.
2. Polk Audio Signature Series S20
Polk Audio is a widely recognized name in audiophile circles and has a selection of the best bookshelf speakers under 300 dollars. The RTi A3, the TSi 200, and our favorite, the S20. While the former is brighter and better suited for home theater applications, the S20 tops the list in terms of fidelity alongside the ELAC Debut 2.0. The S20’s 1-inch terylene tweeters and low-distortion 6.5-inch mica-reinforced polypropylene cones deliver crystal-clear tweeter response, dynamic midrange, and clear bass.
In terms of sound, a preference is important, with the ELAC loudspeakers having a more powerful bass, while the Polks deliver a more refined sound at higher frequencies. Polk has designed the cabinet well, which looks even better when the magnetic grilles are removed. Unlike the Debut 2.0 speakers with front porting, the S20 has rear porting, which means it is not quite as forgiving when it comes to placement. However, the exclusive Polk Power Port design means you don’t have to give it quite as much distance from the wall as a more typical rear port. Overall, this is one of the best bookshelf speakers under $300.
3. Wharfedale Diamond 220
Wharfedale’s Diamond 220 audio devices, launched in 2015, are not exactly new or exciting, but the award-winning speakers sound as good today as they did then. With the Diamond 200 Series, Wharfedale really focused on improving the cabinet design, which was often an Achilles’ heel in previous offerings. The new layered construction damps resonances better and prevents the cabinet from contributing too much to the sound.
Wharfedale’s sound engineers are second to none, and their fine bass tuning gives the Diamond 220’s the impression that they are physically much larger than they actually are. Dynamics are easily seen across all frequencies, and the stereo image is beautifully projected and layered. Overall, this is one of the best bookshelf speakers under $300.
4. Q Acoustics 3020i
In 2018, Q Acoustics launched the brand new 3000i Series, which significantly influenced the cabinet design of the original 3000 Series. They have a 25 percent larger volume and feature additional internal bracing that provides important support for the tweeter and midrange/woofer. The sound quality emanating from these speakers is warm and rich like its predecessor, but with a larger soundstage and a more convincing bass line. They don’t go quite as loud or deep as the larger ELAC Debut or Polk Audio S20, but it will be hard to find speakers with such a high level of refinement.
All this is made possible by the incredibly attractive cabinet design with curved corners like the Polk Audio S20. You’ll also be spoiled with a range of possible finishes, from Carbon Black to English Walnut. Overall, this is one of the best bookshelf speakers under 300 dollars.
5. Klipsch RB-61 II
Klipsch is an extremely popular U.S. consumer audio brand with an exciting and colorful signature sound that makes them ideal home theater speakers. The RB-61 reference series, first introduced in 2010, is nearly 10 years old. The sharp drop in price compared to the original RRP of $550 makes it an affordable alternative today. Klipsch takes a different approach to speaker design. Tractrix horn technology helps the speakers produce extremely high volume levels for their size and power consumption.
They have an open sound thanks to the titanium tweeter and ceramic woofer diaphragms that incorporate technology from the flagship palladium series. Some audiophiles find Klipsch too hard or too bright to listen to music. However, the RB-61 II delivers a more neutral sound than the smaller Klipsch speakers, such as the R-41M/R-51M. This makes them perfect for all listening needs. Overall, this is one of the best bookshelf speakers under $300.
6. Edifier R2000DB
Edifier is a Chinese audio manufacturer that dominates its domestic market and makes waves around the world. Here is another pair of decent active speakers, and it offers excellent value for money – something Chinese brands are really good at. There’s no shortage of features here. You get an optical input in addition to two optical auxiliary inputs, which means you can easily connect them to multiple audio sources and switch between them at the touch of a button.
There is also Bluetooth support (although aptX is not supported) and dials for bass and treble equalization. The R2000DB is a big step up from the R1700BT and delivers an impressive 120W RMS. This not only makes it louder but improves everything from bass extension to treble resolution. The frequency response from 55Hz to 20KHz on the datasheet is not the most impressive, but it sounded as if it could produce deeper bass than specified. Overall, this is one of the best bookshelf speakers under $300.
7. Audioengine P4
With the model P4, Audioengine has made a bold and successful journey into the world of passive loudspeakers. With a visual design that’s about as good as you’re likely to get at this price, and with drivers that deliver a solid listening experience across the board, you can do much worse than some of these. As with many bookshelf speakers, the P4s have difficulty in producing a bass response that matches the often fundamental sound of modern music. The basses are clear and well defined but lack the pure power that would allow them to deliver on the promise of bass for all fans. Nevertheless, this is an excellent choice for the best bookshelf speakers under $300.
8. Polk Audio RTI A1
Polk Audio’s RTI Series is known for several advanced solutions they have applied. RTI A1 is a more compact member of this family, but a powerful one. It incorporates all the good things we’ve seen in other RTI speakers, including tapered cabinets and advanced waveguides. As is often the case with bookshelf speakers that are smaller than what is available, the basic answer may leave some listeners wanting more. Although the RT1 A1 performs well because of its size, it may not be enough for people looking for the deep, heavy sound that is present in so much modern music. Despite this problem, this is a superior speaker that provides a great experience for the best bookshelf speakers under 300 dollars.