Headsets are great for gaming, but sometimes you want more sound from your desktop experience if you’re listening to music or looking for immersive. Desktop speakers are a great way to fulfill your audiophilia without the discomfort of wearing headsets for several hours.
Computer speakers are have gotten better in the past decade, and you no longer have to rely on tinny, raspy speakers if you want to fill your room with sound.
Best Desktop Speakers Reviewed
In 2018, there are more options for desktop speakers than you’d think. The competition has grown rapidly in the last five years as more connectivity options and better audio technology has been created.
We’ve shortlisted the 7 best computer speakers you can buy right now based on their performance, build, and sound. To help you with your purchase, there’s also a buyer’s guide after the reviews enlisting the important factors you need to consider.
Our Top Pick
The Best Desktop Speakers
The Audioengine A2+ take inspiration from the bigger and heavier A5+ to deliver powerful walls of sound on your desktop. These speakers offer a perfect mix of fantastic sound and great connectivity, providing arguably the best experience out of all desktop speakers.
Audioengine makes some of the most incredible desktop and bookshelf speakers out there, and we believe the A2+ are the best because of their balanced sound and great connectivity options.
Best Budget Option
Edifier Exclaim e10
The Edifier Exclaim e10 are stylish, elegant desktop speakers that come at a great price. They offer a balanced sound that doesn’t emphasize too much on bass. You get crystal clear audio that works in all scenarios.
It’s not hard to say that the Edifier Exclaim e10 are the best desktop speakers you can buy at the $100 mark.
Pure sound and build quality is the name of the game with the Audioengine A2 plus.
These are our top pick for computer speakers because of their balanced pricing and incredible sound quality. The Audioengine A2+ take inspiration from the bigger, heavier A5+ in performance, but come in a more desktop friendly size instead of the bookshelf form factor of their bigger brothers.
The sound quality of the Audioengine A2 plus is full, crisp, and clear. They can’t deliver the kind of bass you’d expect from a set of speakers with a separate subwoofer and larger cones, but they are ideal considering their size as computer speakers.
You have the option to bypass the analog signal by using an in-built digital-to-audio converter for Hi-Fi, uncompressed audio. There is also support for playing audio from your PC’s USB port. The DAC built into the Audioengine A2+ is perfect for its size and offers the right amount of controls.
If you want to buy a separate subwoofer for these speakers, you’ll also get an RCA output to do so. Because of the great sound, competitive pricing, and all-round incredible build, there aren’t any better options than the Audioengine A2+ for your desktop.
- Fantastic sound
- Built in digital-to-audio converter
- High quality audio through USB
- Incredible build quality
- No subwoofer
Audioengine A2+ are our favorite computer speakers, but they still demand a high price. If you’re unwilling to spend so much, the Logitech Z623 are a great budget alternative. These are, in our opinion, the best desktop speakers you can buy for less than $150.
Logitech Z623’s powerful subwoofer that comes with these speakers is boomy and packs a real punch. The amount of air moved by the subwoofer can easily be controlled to suit your preferences. The natural mids and highs are balanced perfectly as they are, allowing you to dial in enough bass through the subwoofer to suit your needs.
With one RCA connection and two 3.5mm jacks, you have the ability to listen to up to three devices. There aren’t as many connections in these Logitech speakers as there are in our top pick, but given the big price difference this is expected.
Two alternate models of the Z623 Logitech computer speakers exist: one with a Bluetooth adapter and one with an optical input. You don’t get all inputs in any single model though.
- Great sound for the price
- Powerful subwoofer
- Great value
- Lack connectivity options
You should get your money back if owning the Harman Kardon Soundsticks III doesn’t make heads turn. Design wise, these are perhaps the most incredible speakers for computer out there.
The unique glass look is both retro and futuristic. It pays homage to the old-school amplification tubes of old times yet maintains sleek, futuristic minimalism that works well any décor or computer. There’s a white light that radiates from the subwoofer while it’s on, illuminating the see-through structure for more jazzy visuals.
But the Harman Kardon Soundsticks aren’t just all looks. The sound from these speakers are just as good as the eye candy they provide. Mids and highs are clear and balanced thanks to the satellite speakers, and the adjustable subwoofer mixes in powerful lows to give the sound fullness and breadth.
All this comes with Bluetooth connectivity, offering great functionality. These computer speakers doesn’t have a headphone jack though, and even though we love the LED lights, they can’t be turned off.
There’s a lot to love about the Harman Kardon Soundsticks III. With more controls, they would’ve easily topped our list as the best desktop speakers available right now.
- Jaw dropping design
- Excellent sound quality
- Lots of bass power thanks to the subwoofer
- Good price point
- Lacks connectivity options
If this were a beauty contest, the Edifier 25 Lune Eclipse and the Harman Kardon Soundsticks III would be battling it out for the top spot. The beautiful design of the Edifier 25 Luna Eclipse desktop speakers will entice you before their incredible sound quality does.
There’s a meticulous attention to detail with these speakers. The ooze quality from a visual and presentational perspective with their glossy paint finish, innovative modern design, and premium material use.
Once turned on, these speakers might blow your hat away. They look elegant and sleek, but they pack an enormous punch – an emanating loud bass response that is beyond what you’d expect given their shape. Yet despite the bass-heavy curve, the sound never gets muddy.
The mids are articulate and the highs have a crystal brightness throughout the volume sweep, and nothing ever sounds harsh. In short, despite leaning more towards the bass end, the speakers still manage to strike a great audio balance.
All this comes with a great set of connectivity features as well. You have Bluetooth as well as a USB port for charging. Additionally, you come with cables for all their outputs. The remote is what you control it with, and though it’s a bit limited, it still does the job.
- Beautiful design
- Excellent sound quality
- Surprising amount of bass
- Great connectivity
- Fingerprint magnets
- May be a bit too bass-heavy for some
No one said you have to pay a premium price to own a great set of computer speakers. Edifier’s aptly named Exclaim (because they look like exclamation marks, get it?) are perhaps the best desktop speakers you can get around the $100 mark.
A casual gaze at the speakers won’t tell you much about their performance. Sure, they look elegant and modern with their pleasing, tall speakers and a wonderful almost-spherical subwoofer base, but the looks don’t tell the full story.
What you won’t expect from these desktop speakers is the high quality audio. They deliver clear, vocal mids that never get honky. The highs are crystalline and bright without ever feeling like they’ll puncture your drums.
Expectedly, the lows won’t match those of the Luna or any other set with bigger subwoofers, but they still kick hard and are ideal for those who prefer a more balanced sound. The speakers only begin to struggle when you play bass-heavy songs on them.
The major selling point of these speakers is the price point. At this price, you shouldn’t expect Bluetooth or USB connectivity. The speakers also have rudimentary controls. Yet their performance is the best among desktop speakers costing around $100.
- Elegant design
- Balanced sound
- Great value
- Struggle with bass-heavy audio
- Lack connectivity features
Withstanding the test of time, the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 desktop speakers have been around since the year 2000. Yet you’ll be hard-pressed to find a top computer speakers list without these bad boys listed among them.
There’s a simple reason for that: they’re just really good. The ProMedia 2.1 speakers are THX-certified, and this isn’t just a branding tag for show-off purposes. They deliver an incredible home theater quality sound at a great price.
This makes them not only great desktop speakers but also incredible for watching movies, gaming, and more. Their versatility is their best selling point, and that’s why many still go for these speakers even in 2018.
The lows are thunderous yet clear, with the mids and highs having the right amount of presence to never make any sound coming from these speakers muddy. The speakers have a frequency range from 31Hz to 20kHz which is a bit narrower than what you’d expect, but the intensity of the bass and the overall balance is excellent, resulting in great sound reproduction.
These speakers are a bit old so you shouldn’t expect state-of-the-art connectivity options. Their major selling point is their reliability and sound quality that can rival home theater systems, and for that it’s hard not to include them in this list.
Razer’s Nommo speakers are better known among hardcore gamers because of their crazy bass, psychedelic razer chroma lighting, and an insane price tag.
The Leviathan strips the bling and gives more basic and, in our opinion, convenient offering than the Nommo. It claims to be a sound bar, but there’s more to this discreetly designed set of desktop speakers than the main bar.
Using multiple drives and Dolby’s Pro Logic II technology, the Leviathan can provide 5.1 stereo sound in a regular desktop speakers configuration. Of course, a lot of this is simulated and can never replace true 5.1, but the inconvenience of setting up a 5.1 system with your computer is eliminated with the Leviathan.
Movies and games benefit most from this simulated surround sound, becoming more immersive. Music sounds larger, as if it’s occupying the entire room. The sound quality of the Leviathan gaming speakers remains fantastic for games and movies.
However, add in some bass-heavy music and you may begin to faint. The bass is at times overwhelming as the subwoofer is too powerful and uncontrolled. This can drown the high end even in movies and games during action-packed scenes.
The connectivity options available with the Razer Leviathan are great though. You get Bluetooth connectivity that is extremely convenient, and more analog methods like a 3.5mm jack and optical are also available. We do wish it had USB connectivity too though.
- Discreet and small
- Great surround sound simulation
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Overwhelming bass
Like with any other audio equipment you buy, the sound quality should be the biggest factor when you’re searching for desktop speakers.
The sound quality doesn’t have to replicate your ultra-high end headphones or home theater – it just has to be balanced so everything is clear. The audio quality of the speakers is generally graded based on how they respond to and replicate different frequencies.
Most low quality speakers are too raspy and thin, unable to move enough air to give the big booming bass everyone covets. Others are so bass-obsessed that it becomes outright muddy.
You want speakers that cover the audible frequency range of sound in a way that is balanced. Almost all desktop speakers will prioritize when frequency range (Highs, mids, and lows) over the other, but you want to make sure none of them stands out.
Too many highs will make the audio sound brittle, raspy, and hurt your years. Heavy mid emphasis will make the sound honky. Too much bass will make it muddy, with the details indiscernible. Try to go for speakers that have a balanced sound.
Desktop speakers that come with an adjustable subwoofer are great because they let you dial in the right amount of bass to balance the sound out. Even if the speaker set of your choice doesn’t have a subwoofer, it might have enough power to be bass-heavy, so make sure you read the reviews and, if possible, hear it for yourself.
Connectivity is important if you’ll use your desktop speakers for multiple devices. All desktop speakers come with the basic 3.5mm jack that every computer supports. However, if you’ll connect your smartphone or other devices regularly to your speakers, you’ll want one that supports Bluetooth connectivity.
A rarer connectivity option offered but some brands is USB connectivity. This allows a cleaner, higher quality digital signal from to be sent to the speaker. Many other brands use USB ports for charging purposes rather than an input method.
Speakers are about function more than aesthetics, but it never hurts to have one that looks stunning and matches your décor. Desktop speaker brands have upped their game when it comes to aesthetics now, and you can get some stunning speakers that not only look great but also have fantastic sound. There’s a reason we’ve listed the likes of the Edifier Luna 25 and Harman Kardon Soundsticks III.
Why aren’t there any 5.1 desktop speakers on this list?
There’s a simple reason: 5.1 surround sound speakers aren’t preferred for desktops. This is because setting them up with a computer is an absolute chore.
Almost no laptop has the required jacks for surround sound audio. Desktop computers with good motherboards do support 5.1 (and even 7.1) speakers, but even so setting up such speakers is an arduous task. You will need to run elaborate wires and put speakers in each corner of the room to get the true surround sound system.
Most desktop users aren’t looking for such a complicated and elaborate setup. 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound speakers are best as home theater systems instead of as desktop speakers.
Can I use bookshelf speakers as computer speakers?
If you have bookshelf speakers that happen to be already sitting on your desktop, then sure, why not. Otherwise, they’re simply too big and too bulky to use as desktop speakers. All desktop speakers have built-in amplifiers in them which reduces the space they take. They are also smaller and designed specifically for computers.
Bookshelf speakers are designed for ear candy and listening to music. They have a separate amplification system with elaborate controls. While they can be substitutes, they’re often very expensive and don’t offer the same connectivity options as dedicated desktop speakers.
What’s the difference between 2.0 and 2.1?
2.0 refers to the left and right channels. Often, 2.0 speakers are also simply termed as stereo speakers. 2.1 speakers refer to speakers with a subwoofer. The subwoofer itself only covers a limited range, mainly the bass frequencies, offloading those frequencies away from the smaller two (left and right) drivers.
Can I use desktop speakers for music production?
While no one would stop you from use desktop speakers to listen to the tracks you create, it is generally a poor way to go one about doing so. The music in desktop and regular speakers is “colored” – the bass, mids, and/or highs are all adjusted to give a pleasing sound.
This sound is not always the accurate representation of what you’re producing. For this reason, music producers and audio engineers use active or passive monitor speakers. Monitor speakers have a flat EQ that is specifically designed to replicate the exact sound that you are trying to produce.