The 5 Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $100: 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

By djadmin | speakers

top bookshelf speakers

We often spend so much time looking for our big pieces of equipment that we forget about the smaller pieces that can make a huge difference – and when it comes to our home systems specifically, this is so incredibly true for bookshelf speakers.


Bookshelf speakers are absolutely essential to a quality home sound set up. Aptly named due to their small size and the fact that they can be placed in almost any small space found within any home (like a bookshelf maybe?), these speakers provide an excellent sound that can surround you entirely.

As an added bonus these types’ speakers, while small in stature, do have the capacity to take the sound of your home set to the next level – particularly if you choose the right set for your personal situation. They can fit well into any environment, often look fantastic, and increase the quality of you sound tenfold.

Although it is important to note that unfortunately there are a host of speakers within these budget ranges that are not worth a cent, and finding good quality bookshelf speakers for under 100 dollars can be at times a bit of a challenge.

Which is where we come in.

I have done all the hard work for you, finding some quality bookshelf speakers for an excellent price. With this in mind, I have taken into consideration the sound quality, durability, construction quality, and aesthetic appeal, of a number of different speakers to provide you a comprehensive list of the top 5 bookshelf speakers available on the market today.

Product Summary

Two energy audio speakers

Edifer R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers

These Edifer book shelf speakers are an absolutely excellent option. While they do come in right at the top of our 100 dollar price range, they are worth every cent. Providing excellent sound quality and built with some amazing visual appeal, these speakers would be a welcome addition to any lounge room.

Micca MB42X Bookshelf Speakers

The Micca MB42C Bookshelf speakers are one of the most aesthetically appealing options on this entire list. They have been designed using sleek carbon fibre construction that both looks fantastic, and will last you an extremely long time. This has been combined with some fantastic sound quality to produce a great option for the audiophile and casual listener alike.

Edifer R980T Active Bookshelf Speakers

These speakers are often considered the younger sibling of the R1280T speakers mentioned above – but don’t let that deter you. These speakers offer an excellent option at an even lower price point. While they don’t offer the same level of visual appeal as their pricier counterpart, their sound quality is extremely similar – a great option for those looking to save a few bucks.

Mackie CR3 Bookshelf Speakers

These Mackie CR3 speakers are absolutely perfect for small spaces – not that you would want to hide them away. Using a sleek matte black design with lime green highlights, you want these on display. These 3 inch speakers produce a surprisingly potent sound, and look fantastic to boot. They are a seriously good option for those short on space.

Polk Audio T15 Bookshelf Speakers

Polk are a brand that are becoming known to produce some quality audio equipment at an extremely affordable price, and their range of bookshelf speakers are no different. While not the most visually appealing option on the list, they have very good construction quality and offer a crystal clear sound – while coming in at a very affordable price.

Comparison Table

Reviews Of The Top 5 Bookshelf Speakers

1. Edifer R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers

Edifer R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers

Edifer have demonstrated time and time again a great capacity to produce gorgeous pieces of equipment at excellent price points – without sacrificing a hint of sound quality.

And bot have they done it again. The R1280T have opted for a classic design, using a combination of high quality hard plastic and natural wood surrounds, they look do look brilliant. With this has come a nice clear, neutral sound, which is both very balanced and quite smooth – making them absolutely perfect for easy listening.

Due to their size, they would be perfect for a small space such as a bookcase, but due to both their appearance and quality sound they would also look right at home out in the open in versatile media/computer set up.

It is worth mentioning that while the speakers themselves are very good, the cables include are quite cheap and don’t positively influence the sound quality – and considering that a nice set of gold plated cables will set you back a mere 5 bucks AND cause an improvement in sound quality, they should really be included in the box.

What we liked

  • Look Great
  • Sound Excellent
  • Durable

What we didn’t like

  • Cheap accessories
  • Higher end of the price range

2. Micca MB42X Bookshelf Speakers

Micca MB42X Bookshelf Speakers

The Micca MB42X are one of the most popular bookshelf speakers on the market at the moment, and at first look you can see why. While their design is not unique by any means, it is crisp and sleek, using carbon fibre construction to produce a nice looking pair of speakers. With this, their construction is solid, and the matte black finish they have opted for ensures that these speakers will slip into any space unnoticed.

This is also largely due to their physical size, in which they are noticeably smaller than a large number of their competitors.

In conjunction with this contraction quality, this small speaker also produces an extremely nice sound. Extremely clear tones makes it absolutely perfect for your lounge room set up, in which it truly optimises both movie dialog and soundtracks.

The only real knock I have on these speakers is that they don’t really have the capacity to be pushed hard – with this, at higher volumes the sound begins to break up, making them less suitable for heavy music in social situations.​

What we liked

  • Look Great
  • Clear sounds
  • Durable construction

What we didn’t like

  • Sound breaks up at higher volumes

3. Edifer R980T Active Bookshelf Speakers

Edifer R980T Active Bookshelf Speakers

The Edifer R980T are a great option for those on a strict budget. While the appearance of these speakers may not blow you away (particularly when compared to the R1280T's), they do provide you with excellent build quality. Using durable pieces and decent construction quality, these speakers will last you a very long time.

This has come with some seriously crisp audio – seriously, these speakers sound delicious. Something that actually surprised me is that despite the small size of the R980T's, they actually produce some really deep bass notes, making them perfect for the all purpose media set up.

IN saying that, similar to a number of speakers in this price range, they sound quality does reduce at higher volumes – mostly due to their size.

In saying that, these are an absolutely excellent option for those who want a simple set of speakers to boost the sound quality of their home set up – without blowing out their tight budget.

What we liked

  • Clear sounds with good bass notes
  • Durable construction

What we didn’t like

  • Sound quality declines at high volumes
  • Standard appearance

4. Mackie CR3 Bookshelf Speakers

Mackie CR3 Bookshelf Speakers

Mackie are a company that are truly in tune with the consumer – which is why they advertise the CR3's as 'multimedia monitors' as opposed to strictly bookshelf speakers - insinuating the fact that these are both multi purpose and suitable for any home setup or media device.

And they have definitely delivered on this suggestion.

Despite their small size, these speakers produce some rich and powerful notes (mostly due to some high quality internal construction), making them absolutely perfect for any home set up. Within this, this particular model has received constant praise for their ability to pick up the slightest sounds and most subtle of notes, making them a great improvement to any listening experience.

As an added bonus, due to their high quality components and excellent build quality, they are both very durable and look fantastic. A great option at an excellent price.

What we liked

  • Great sounds that will pick up the smallest of notes
  • Durable construction
  • Look great

What we didn’t like

  • May not suit those looking for a larger speaker

5. Polk Audio T15 Bookshelf Speakers

Polk Audio T15 Bookshelf Speakers

The first thing you notice about the Polk T15 Bookshelf Speakers is that they are pretty bland to look at. Opting for an almost generic black combination that we tend to see a lot these days. But this is where the 'blandness' stops.

The money that Polk freed up by opting for a simple design is put straight back into the hardware, designed using high quality internals rarely seen within the budget price range. This has resulted in absolutely excellent sound quality, in which they produce clear treble notes, and excellent bass.

These speakers also provide very decent construction quality, and as such will last you a very long time.

The T15's are everything you need in a good pair of speakers (assuming you don’t care what they look like...), offering great sound quality at an excellent price point. These are an excellent option for those looking to upgrade their home multimedia set up without breaking the bank.

What we liked

  • Excellent sound quality
  • High quality internal hardware
  • Very durable construction

What we didn’t like

  • They look pretty average

Value Section

Old Style Wooden Electronic Music Speakers Stacked Next To Each Other

Within the audio industry there are is an astonishing amount of manufacturers producing a ridiculous amount of product's – and while this can make it difficult to choose a pair of speakers, it also means that your options are nearly endless. So with this in mind, I do realise that five speakers outlined on this list (while each absolutely excellent options in their own right) may not be exactly what you are looking for.

Which is why in this section I will outline the three key tips I use when looking for a good pair of speakers within this price range, ensuring that you can find a quality option at an affordable price point.​

Don’t get sucked in by looks
I get it. I really do. You want a nice pair of speakers that lift the feel of your loungeroom. But, within this price range, if a speaker has invested a lot of money in its appearance, it is likely to cut costs elsewhere (although a couple of options on this list are a bit of an exception to this rule). This means reduced sound quality and lesser performance, which are two things that you don’t want to sacrifice.

Pick the speaker for your personal set up
Some speakers are better suited to listening to movie dialogue than heavy hip hop, and often the reverse is also true. With this in mind it is important that you take the time to find a pair of speakers that suit your personal needs. This will ensure that you get the best sound available for your personal situation.

Choose a speaker that feels weighty
While these speakers are meant to be small and unassuming, they should not feel cheap and flimsy – if they do this is a sure sign that their construction quality is poor, and as a result they won’t last you particularly long.

While choosing a set of speakers can at times be a bit of a challenge, if you follow these key tips it will make the process much easier. Although I would personally recommend choosing one of the excellent options on this list to save you both time and money!


Polk Audio T15 Bookshelf Speakers

Now, the moment you have all been waiting for!

While each of the speakers on this list do genuinely offer a decent option for your home set up, it is hard to look past the Polk audio T15 Bookshelf speakers. While I do admit that they leave a lot to be desired in the looks department, they offer sound quality and durability not often seen in this price range.

They sound absolutely fantastic and will last you a very long time. I can say with confidence that they are the best bookshelf speakers available on the market for under 100 dollars, hands down.

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