Any computer won’t be complete without a set of the best desktop speakers. The best desktop speakers are able to provide excellent sound quality without being too loud or too distorted. High-quality speakers should not only sound great, but they should be free of any audio anomalies caused by software conflict or hardware issues as well. To that end, we spent a week testing some of the most recommended speakers on the market and ranked them according to our highest standards.
Out of the 20 desktop speakers we tried out, only six made it to our list. We chose the Logitech Z130 Stereo Speakers as our top pick because of their high-quality audio output and ease of use. To find out more about this pair of speakers and five of our other favorites, read on!
Top 6 Best Desktop Speakers Compared
#1 Logitech Z130 Compact Laptop Speakers – Best Compact Speakers
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WHY WE LIKE IT: The Logitech Z130 speakers offer the same quality as some other high-end speakers, but in a lighter and more compact platform. With a small footprint of 5.9 inches and a weight of only 1.3lbs, these speakers are excellent for small desks or cramped workspaces.
The Logitech Z130 Compact Speakers follow the company’s trend of producing reliable and budget-friendly electronics. These speakers boast a respectable 5W nominal output that makes for some good quality audio, but their real selling point is their size.
The Z130 measures 8.9 (L) x 5.9 (W) x 5 (H) inches, making it the smallest among the Logitech speakers on this list. The quality of its audio output is great considering their size, , and it’s decently loud for such a small pair of speakers. It has a fixed aux cable like many other speakers in its brand, but it’s sturdy enough to not worry about. Your computer deserves the best speakers.
#2 Logitech Z200 Multimedia Speakers – Honorable Mention
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WHY WE LIKE IT: The Logitech Z200 speakers offer 2 x 2.5” drivers that produce high-quality stereo sound with adjustable bass levels, the ability to connect to two devices at once, and a headphone jack for private listening.
The Z200 speakers feature adjustable bass levels that can be manipulated via a tone dial in one of the speakers, and it can belt out up to a maximum of 10 watts, which is twice the audio level of other speakers on our list. The Z200 speakers have a 3.5mm input port, as well as an auxiliary line to allow for two simultaneous device connections.
The speakers are covered by a 2-year hardware warranty that should extend their lifetime in case they break down. Also read about computer accessories for more gear.
#3 Bose Companion 2 Series III Multimedia Speakers – Best Computer Speakers
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Bose 2 Series III Multimedia Speakers offer amazing audio quality with clear sounds. Unlike other speakers on our list, the Bose 2 Series III is actually battery powered, which eliminates the need for a power cord.
The Bose 2 Series III Multimedia Speakers are excellent for listening to music, watching movies, or playing video games because of its sharp audio quality. These speakers produce powerful sounds without feeling oppressive to your ears. You’ll definitely feel the difference when you compare these speakers to other brands.
Despite the overall high-quality audio, the bass from these speakers is slight muddy when compared to others. The lows tend to sound a little distorted when compared to the highs and mids that the speakers can produce, but it’s hardly noticeable. These speakers are great for the best desktop computers.
#4 Creative Labs Pebble 2.0 USB Speakers – Best USB-Powered Speakers
WHY WE LIKE IT: These elegantly designed speakers can be powered directly through your computer thanks to its USB connector. And thanks to a set of far-field drivers and passive radiators that are tilted upwards by 45 degrees, these desktop speakers are designed to produce optimal audio.
The Pebble 2.0 speakers are an excellent choice if you’re looking for compact speakers. These USB-powered speakers can draw power directly from your computer, eliminating the need for an auxiliary power cable. These speakers have a far-field driver and passive radiator technology that helps it deliver crystal clear audio and deep bass at a nominal output of 8W, which can be boosted up to a peak power of 16W.
The only downside of these speakers is that their audio quality starts to suffer when the volume is cranked up too high. Expect the sounds to become distorted at very high volumes, but otherwise, the Pebble 2.0 speakers are a steal. Read more about the best computer speakers and compare.
#5 AmazonBasics USB Speakers – Best Budget
WHY WE LIKE IT: These USB-powered speakers from AmazonBasics offer excellent quality in a small package. Much like the Pebble 2.0, they can be plugged directly to your computer’s USB port for power, eliminating the need for a longer power cable, which we like if your headphones jack isn’t easily accessible.
These speakers from AmazonBasics make for a good alternative for those who are looking for USB-powered speakers. These speakers have a nominal power output of 2.4W and a frequency range of 80 Hz-20 kHz, which is slightly above the usual 50 Hz minimum but is still within the standard range.
They weigh only 1.4lbs and have a very small 3.9- x 2.6-inch footprint, making them very easy to carry around. They’re fairly loud for their size, but the audio output starts to get distorted by the 75% mark and the bass is relatively weak despite the radiators on the bottom of each speaker. You can also check out the best wireless speakers. Our best bluetooth speakers list is also helpful.
#6 TaoTronics USB Powered Sound Bar – Best for Smartphones
WHY WE LIKE IT: This speaker has a rectangular block shape, meaning it will take up very minimal desk space and its USB-based power connector will give you fewer wires to worry about. We particularly like that you can connect to it via Bluetooth, making it a great fit for smartphones.
The TaoTronics TT-SK018 Sound Bar veers away from the look of traditional speakers in favor of a 16-inch long, bar-shaped design. Its shape, paired with its USB-based power connector, makes it great for cramped desks or workspaces without sacrificing too much in terms of audio quality. You can connect this speaker to your computer via 3.5mm jack, RCA cable, or Bluetooth, and it can belt up to 10W of power at the standard 50Hz-20kHz range.
Despite its looks, it actually has two speakers in it to make for an even sound distribution. However, this doesn’t keep it from having fairly weak bass. Its audio output is decent, but the weak bass really affects its overall quality when compared to the rest of our picks. If it is bigger audio that you are after for the home, read about the best floor standing speakers.
How We Decided
We wanted to make a list of desktop speakers for general purposes at home or in the office. We decided to keep the nominal volume output of our chosen speakers as close to 5W as possible so they aren’t too loud or too weak. For context, a 5W speaker produces about 96 decibels, which is about as loud as a power mower. We didn’t include anything that’s stronger since it would be too excessive for desktop speakers. Additionally, we kept the audio frequency of our top picks within the standard 50 Hz to 20 kHz range that is common among all desktop speakers to keep them well-balanced in terms of volume and quality. The best computers deserve the best speakers.
We also kept the connection type of each speaker in mind in terms of their power and audio inputs. All of the speakers on our list can be connected via 3.5mm jack, while some can also be connected via RCA cable or Bluetooth. Almost every modern computer (including handheld devices) is compatible with 3.5mm connectors, but on the off chance that your device doesn’t have a 3.5mm aux port, there are adapters that are readily available in most electronic stores.
Best Desktop Speakers Buying Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
- Power Output
The amount of power (measured in Watts or W) that a speaker has affects its volume. The higher the wattage, the louder the volume. Speakers have unique nominal and peak power output values; if a speaker outputs the maximum amount of power for long periods of time, then it may get damaged.
- Power Connection Type
Desktop speakers have traditionally been equipped with their own power adaptors that can be socketed directly into electrical outlets, but there are also USB-powered speakers that can be plugged into your computer instead. This can save you a lot of space in your bag for when you need to carry around a pair of speakers for work or recreational purposes.
- Audio Frequency Range
The frequency range of most desktop speakers is 50 Hz to 20 kHz. This affects the quality of bass and high-pitched sounds that speakers can emit.
- Connection Type
Most speakers are compatible with 3.5mm aux cords, but there are some that use the older RCA-type connectors. Be sure to check first if a set of speakers have a connection type that suits your needs, or you can also keep a connection adapter handy.
You should always consider the size of a set of speakers. Speaker footprint refers to the amount of desk space your speaker occupies; this is arguably the most important dimension to consider since it’s what actually occupies usable space.
Speakers typically have standard PnP (Plug and Play) drivers that make them compatible with all devices, but some require special drivers to enable some of their unique features. Be sure to check if the speakers you buy require any special drivers.
- What’s the difference between a USB speaker and a non-USB speaker?
The main difference lies in their power source. USB-powered speakers only need to connect to a computer’s USB port and a suitable audio port, while traditional speakers will need to connect to a wall socket or extension cord.
- My speakers aren’t compatible with my computer. What do I do?
In case your computer doesn’t support a 3.5mm jack or RCA cable, you should buy an adapter that can let you transform your speaker’s cable from 3.5mm to RCA or vice versa.
- Why are my computer sounds muted?
Make sure that your speakers are connected to the proper ports and that they are set to a proper volume. If the problem persists, make sure that your software volume is properly configured.
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