Best Powered Speakers To Buy In 2021: Hi-Fi, Bookshelf and Desktop Picks

Whether you are an audio aficionado, a music producer, or a gamer, you can’t deny the fact that music and sound are a huge part of our lives these days. You can have all the greatest equipment in the world, but if you’re lacking in the audio department than you are definitely missing out.

However, there are a lot of audio enthusiasts out there that will tell you that everyone needs a high-end setup to really get a taste of great audio. While that can be true at times, a lot of people don’t have the time or money to set all of that up. Plus, if you’re going that route, you’ll need a powerful amplifier, a decent DAC, and a good bit of knowledge.

That doesn’t mean powered speakers aren’t any good. Powered speakers don’t require any outside power supplied by an amplifier, they are just as good on their own. They are also called active speakers or bookshelf speakers, and yes they can be really good. Sometimes if you consider the value, the can even be better than passive speakers for the average folk.

With all that said, we’ll be looking at some of the best powered speakers for the average folk, but we’ll also include a few options for the professionals and DJs out there. Let’s get started.

1. Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitors

Best Overall

Pros

  • Amazing noise reduction
  • Superb balanced audio
  • Fills up a room with ease
  • Affordable considering the quality

Cons

  • Not the widest range for professionals

712 Reviews

Power Handling: 70 Watts | Configuration: 5-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter | Input: XLR, TRS, Line-in

Yamaha has a legendary reputation when it comes to making studio monitors. Their most popular studio monitor was the Yamaha NS10 for a long time. It’s been used in studios and recording booths for decades now. That’s quite a legacy to have and is definitely envious of their competitors.

Well, we’re happy to report that the Yamaha HS5 takes a step in the right direction, and brings all of the things about a high-end studio monitor, and brings it to a wider demographic. The HS5 has a 5-inch woofer and a 1-inch tweeter, which work in complete harmony to give a balanced, neutral, and reference-grade sound output. The woofer cone has the legendary white color to it, which is a symbol of excellence at this point.

The HS5 looks even better than they sound, and we mean that in a good way. The outer casing feels premium and is quite smoothened out. The white color looks even better and with the right setup, it can really look enticing. The logo under the woofer lights up in white, which is a nice touch.

The sound quality is phenomenal. It works well in both regular rooms and studios. It has that quality that really fills the air with a lot of sounds at once. The sound might be a bit flat to some people, but that is intentional. If you are someone who enjoys high-quality music as it came straight out of the studio look no further.

For some, they might be a bit pricey, but considering the quality and the target audience, they are actually a great value. Keep in mind that you can buy just one speaker unit separately if you want.

2. Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Speakers

Great Value

Pros

  • Unique tasteful design
  • Exceptional value
  • Fluid and dynamic sound

Cons

  • Big and Heavy

5,300 Reviews

Power Handling: 66 Watts | Configuration: 4-inch woofer and 3/4-inch tweeter | Input: Line-in, Bluetooth

If you’re under the perception that wireless audio is always bad, buckle up because we just might change your mind. The Edifier R1700BT are a phenomenal pair of desktop speakers that slipped under my radar. After seeing a lot of great reviews, I decided to see what all the fuss was about.

The design is what stands out the most. Aesthetically, they look amazing in terms of fit and finish. The finish isn’t real wood, but hardly anyone would notice that as they feel premium despite that. They have quite the weight to them, and they are quite big. So make sure you have some space to fit them

After you set them up, the sound will leave you very surprised. The high-end sounds bright, there is virtually no distortion, and the bass packs a solid punch. They are definitely not studio monitors and they are not intended for that audience either.

For people who enjoy hip-hop, pop, jazz, and overall music which has a lot of instruments, these are extremely enjoyable to listen to. The Bluetooth support is also exceptional, and wireless quality is almost indistinguishable from wired. Unless of course, you used an amplifier, but that would defeat the purpose of this list.

3. Audioengine A2+ Powered Desktop Speakers

Compact Yet Powerful

Pros

  • Incredibly small and compact
  • Powerful sound for such a low profile
  • Superb Bluetooth support

Cons

  • Overpriced

1,782 Reviews

Power Handling: 60 Watts | Configuration: 2.75-inch woofer and 3/4-inch tweeter | Input: Line-in, Bluetooth, Optical

Audioengine is extremely popular among audiophiles and critics. Recently, they have updated all of their great speakers to be wireless, and we couldn’t be happier. This means that their wildly successful Audioengine A2+ were also updated to the wireless standard.

If you’re new to the audio world, you might not be familiar with these speakers. They have been around for a long time, almost a decade or more. However, Audioengine makes slight changes and tweaks every now and then to keep its legacy alive. They are extremely small speakers with a low profile. In fact, you could stuff one of them in a bag and take them to a party, for example.

The sound quality is astonishing for a pair of speakers this size. It has no right to be as good as it sounds for the size. Audio is well balanced, the midrange is excellent, and the bass is good too (although it could use more of a kick). The highs are a bit too sharp for my taste, but that’s subjective. These are perfect for regular day to day desktop use.

Emphasizing on the previous line, I really meant it when I said “day to day” use. This means watching a movie, listening to your playlist, etc. If you are the type of person who sits there and needs to listen to every single detail in your music, these aren’t for you. That is ultimately due to the size.

So while the Audioengine A2+ sound exceptional, they just might be overpriced for some folk. However, if it fits your niche, it won’t disappoint you.

4. Klipsch R-15PM Powered Monitor

For Audiophiles

Pros

  • Classic Klipsch design
  • Phenomenal when paired with a turntable
  • Bluetooth support

Cons

  • Not for everyone

484 Reviews

Power Handling: 50 Watts | Configuration: 5.25-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter | Input: Line-in, Bluetooth, Optical, USB, Phono

Take a quick look at these speakers and it won’t take you long to figure out these are a classic pair of monitors. They are a newer update to Klipsch’s already amazing lineup of audiophile speakers. The design speaks for itself. Its copper plating on the woofer looks phenomenal, and they look delightful with the right set up.

These speakers are huge, so keep that in mind if you intend to buy them. One of the amazing things that jumped out to me was the support for a variety of devices. It has every input you’ll ever need to connect your devices. The phono input stands out, as that will allow you to hook it up with a turntable and listen to vinyl records.

If you do own a turntable and are somewhat of an experienced audiophile, you should buy these no question. However, let me speak for the general audience for a moment. These speakers will sound quite “flat” to a lot of people. For those who are used to a warm midrange, bright highs, and a punchy bass, you might be initially disappointed.

Of course, the sound is entirely subjective and you can’t really blame Klipsch for catering to their specific audience. For those who like their music to sound like exactly how it was produced, these are a good buy. For everyone else, this will take a bit of getting used before you fully enjoy the experience.

5. Mackie CR5BT Multimedia Monitors

Eye-Catching Design

Pros

  • Classic retro design
  • Phenomenal when paired with a turntable
  • Bluetooth support

Cons

  • Not for everyone

290 Reviews

Power Handling: 50 Watts | Configuration: 5-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter | Input: Line-in, Bluetooth, RCA

The Mackie CR5BT multimedia monitors have distinguished look them. That’s solely because of the green accents/trim along with the woofer and tweeter. These feel like they could fit surprisingly well in a gaming setup where a lot of Razer products reside. The vinyl finish on the outside is nice and solid and feels good to the touch.

The best part about these speakers is that you can set it up any way you want. They have Bluetooth support, the usual analog input, and even RCA. These are studio monitors, but they have a bright profile so even the average person can enjoy them to their fullest. Sound quality is lovely and crystal clear, and a joy to listen to when they are working properly.

Speaking of which, you can’t always be rest assured that they are going to work properly. The electronics inside are a bit messy, and the audio can distort or cut out at times. Some people have had this issue, while others haven’t faced anything of the sort.

There does seem to be a quality control issue here. However, if you play the gambling game and if you get a good pair, these are solid speakers for anything from gaming to music production.

Hassam Nasir
As a Senior Editor, I run, operate, and implement a substantial amount of work at Appuals.com. I supervise a team of enthusiastic geeks and also create content strategies. Whenever I am not at my work desk you'll find me tinkering around PC hardware and retro gadgets.