Whether for a small space, a well-equipped home office, or a weekend in the mountains, choosing the best speaker is a must.

  • Amazon Basics 16-Gauge Speaker Wire Cable, 100 Feet

    Electronics Amazon

    The Amazon Basics 16-Gauge Speaker Wire Cable is the perfect way to connect your audio speakers to an A/V receiver or amplifier. The white line on the one side of the wire indicates the polarity for a proper audio system set up. The cable comes in a convenient package that includes a hard plastic spool for easy dispensing.

  • Amazon Basics 16-Gauge Speaker Wire Cable, 50 Feet

    Electronics Amazon

    The Amazon Basics 16-Gauge Speaker Wire Cable is the perfect way to connect audio speakers to your A/V receiver or amplifier. This speaker wire cable comes in a hard plastic spool that makes dispensing convenient and easy. The one side of the wire is marked with a white line, making it quick and easy to distinguish the polarity and get your audio system set up properly.

  • InstallGear 16 Gauge 17ft Speaker Wire True Spec and Soft Touch Cable

    Electronics Amazon

    The InstallGear 16 Gauge 17ft Speaker Wire is made of high-quality materials for a reliable and durable product. The stranded design helps reduce crosstalk, while the color-coded jacket makes it easy to identify the proper polarities. The copper cladding adds additional durability and resistance to interference.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Speakers

When choosing a set of speakers for your home or office, there are many factors to consider. For instance, where will they be placed? Who is the intended audience? What type of audio and video content do you want to create? These questions and more can help you find the best speakers for your needs.

Purpose

Before deciding on a product, its important to know what you are looking for in terms of results. In the case of speakers, this might mean looking at how much sound output you need or if having multiple channels (for surround-sound setups) is essential.

For some users, simply upgrading from an inferior set of speakers to a better quality product might be enough to improve audio performance. However, for others, higher end products might offer a greater improvement. The latter group might benefit from a more substantial upgrade, such as moving from bookshelf speakers to a tower speaker system with subwoofer(s) (under 200 watts), or upgrading from a set of computer speakers to a pair of headphones.

Available Space

If you’d like to keep things compact, you’ll want to make sure the speakers you choose will fit within the available space. This might mean choosing bookshelf speakers over floor standing models, or vice versa.

The other consideration might be whether you have room for multiple sets of speakers. Having two or three speakers scattered throughout a room could create some overlap, which might affect placement.

Sound Output

How well a speaker performs depends largely on the power it produces. The lower the wattage, the less powerful the speaker, but also, generally, the less expensive.

Computer speakers tend to be among the most affordable high-performance options, and they dont usually require a lot of power. Headphones also fall into this category since they often use earbuds rather than full speakers.

Other popular choices for entry-level performance include powered speakers, which are designed to produce both great sound and sufficient wattage to drive larger loads, and outdoor speakers, which tend to be very budget friendly. As you move up the ladder, so to speak, there are fewer compromises, and the sound gets better and better.

Speaker Channels

While most people think about speakers as being either left- or right-handed, there actually are four main channel configurations: left/right/left/right (or L/R/L/R).

  • Left/right (or L/R) speakers are positioned next to each other and face forward or sideways, depending on the configuration. They typically sit on a table or stand when not in use.
  • Left/center/right (or LC/RC/LR) speakers are similar to the L/R setup, except that one speaker is centered between the other two.
  • Left/front/right (or LF/FR/RR) speakers are similar to the L/R setup, except that the front speaker is replaced by a center channel speaker.
  • Left/rear/right (or LF/RF/RR) speakers are similar to the left/front/right (or LF/FR/RR) setup, except that the rear speaker is replaced by a center channel speaker.

Subwoofer

A subwoofer isnt a new concept; these low-cost loudspeakers were popularized during the 1990s, and they still hold their own today. A subwoofer is any loudspeaker that produces sound at a lower volume than the other speakers in the system, and while they are often associated with heavy metal music, they can play anything with enough bass. The amount of bass a speaker can produce is measured in watts (e.g., a subwoofer under 200 watts).

Since they are designed to produce deep and loud bass tones, subwoofers are an important component of any home theater system. However, they can be difficult to hear when the overall volume is high, so they should be considered as part of a complete audio solution.

Volume and Bass Control

Volume control is crucial for enjoying music and movies, especially for those who listen at high volumes for long periods of time. Without proper volume management, the user might spend half the movie or show trying to figure out why the audio is so muddy.

Bass control is also important, though perhaps to a lesser extent than volume control. While a subwoofer wont be able to compete with pricier speakers when it comes to treble notes, punchy bass is a key element of a good movie experience.

Both of these elements are adjustable via a volume knob, which might be located on the front or back of the speaker depending on the model. There may also be a bass knob, which controls the frequency response of the speaker.

Connectivity

One of the biggest perks of having a smart TV is the ability to stream audio from just about anywhere. With this in mind, many premium TV brands now offer built-in speakers that can stream audio from devices plugged into the same network as the TV. These speakers might even come with Bluetooth connectivity, allowing users to stream from a phone or laptop without needing to plug into an auxiliary device.

These TVs also might include USB ports, so users can charge their mobile devices while also streaming audio. Finally, some premium TV brands offer WiDi connectivity, which allows users to mirror what they see on the screen using their compatible WiDi-enabled camera.