The best computer speaker
If you have a complex speaker system connected to your TV or audio system, you know the importance of it: few things can make an intense scene in a movie come to life better than great audio. As we watch more video and listen to more music on computers, audio quality is important here, too. However, most of us don't plan on setting up a complex audio speaker system with the computer.
Fortunately, there are plenty of high-quality computer speakers that allow you to enjoy streaming audio and video on the computer.
Computer speakers can't quite match the pristine audio quality you receive with a full speaker system, but they're closer than they've ever been. Our top pick is Audioengine Wireless Desktop Speakers. The set is pricey but it delivers amazing audio quality, especially for music.
Considerations when choosing computer speakers
Computer speakers are smaller than speakers in a system made for a home theater. The computer speakers are made to fit on a desktop or table, so you don't want them to occupy a lot of space.
Wired or wireless options
Some computer speakers operate over a Bluetooth connection. Others require a wired connection. By comparison, the majority of home theater speakers use wired connections, but some have wireless capability.
Unlike portable Bluetooth speakers that you carry with you to the pool or the beach, computer speakers are meant to stay in one place. They typically need to be plugged into an AC outlet.
The computer speaker has an amplifier built into it. Because computers and tablets can't boost an audio signal, this amplifier in the speaker is important. With speakers used in a home theater stereo system, the source of the audio amplifies the signal.
Input options: Computer speakers need to have multiple ports so you can plug in external devices such as MP3 players. Bluetooth input is important, too, so you can wirelessly connect a smartphone to the speakers to play streaming music.
Headphone output: If you're using your computer speakers where other people are, a headphone jack is a necessity. Using headphones allows you to keep the sound to yourself without disturbing others.
Subwoofer: Some computer speaker sets ship with a separate subwoofer. This is helpful for generating the best sound quality from computer speakers. Subwoofers create outstanding bass. However, a subwoofer is a large box, so the majority of computer users place it on the floor near the computer case.
Computer speaker prices
The least expensive computer speakers cost $30 to $75. These are made for simple audio, where high-end music quality isn't necessary. For music, you can find a good computer speaker set that includes a subwoofer for $75 to $150. The priciest computer speakers cost $150 to $300. They deliver the power to fill a room with sound and amazing music quality.
Q. Do wired computer speakers deliver better audio quality than wireless speakers?
A. The two technologies both can deliver excellent audio quality. Occasionally, a Bluetooth connection may drop out, making a wired connection more reliable. Wired computer speakers work better for complex audio streams as well.
Q. Do computer speakers actually deliver improved audio quality after running for dozens of hours?
A. Yes. After about 80 hours of use, the computer speaker begins delivering the maximum level of audio quality. The woofer material fully stretches after roughly this amount of time, providing better audio. Some listeners cannot distinguish this subtle difference in quality.
Computer speakers we recommend
Best of the best: Audioengine HD3 60W Wireless Powered Desktop Speakers
Our take: Those who truly love music appreciate the excellent sound quality found with these computer speakers.
What we like: Uses a Bluetooth connection that doesn't drop out frequently like others. Audio stream sounds clear and strong.
What we dislike: You have to pay a higher price for the quality these speakers deliver.
Best bang for your buck: Logitech Speaker System Z323 with Subwoofer
Our take: Great price for a computer speaker system, but it only offers a wired connection.
What we like: Subwoofer in this set is especially impressive. Speaker set has a headphone jack, which is handy.
What we dislike: Your ability to position the speakers around the room is limited by wires.
Our take: Considering you're receiving the quality found in the Bose brand name, the price is surprisingly low.
What we like: Speaker quality is excellent, delivering distortion-free audio. Setup takes very little time.
What we dislike: Your only connection option is a wired connection; there's no Wi-Fi or Bluetooth support.
Kyle Schurman is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.