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Article updated on May 28, 2024 at 8:00 AM PDT

Best PC Speakers for 2024

Looking for a pair of speakers for your desktop or laptop? Here are our picks for the top Windows and Mac speakers at various prices.

Our Experts

Written by 
David Carnoy
Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Kobo e-books and audiobooks.
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What to Consider

Budget

Size

Subwoofer or no subwoofer?

Connectivity

Surround sound?

Return policy

Our Picks

$90 at Amazon
Image of Creative Labs Pebble X
Best PC speakers under $100
Creative Labs Pebble X
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$150 at Walmart
edifier-r1280db-speakers.jpg
Best PC speakers around $150
Edifier R1280DB powered Bluetooth bookshelf speakers
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$35 at Amazon
creative-pebble-v3-blue-background.png
Best cheap USB-C PC speakers with Bluetooth
Creative Pebble V3
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$130 at Amazon
Image of SteelSeries Arena 3
Best affordable gaming PC speakers
SteelSeries Arena 3
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$115 at Amazon
logitech-z407
Wireless Logitech around $100
Logitech Z407
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$199 at Amazon
audioengine-one
Top PC speakers under $200
Audioengine A1
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$269 at Amazon
audioengine-a2-white.png
Best PC speaker sound for under $300
Audioengine A2 Plus
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$250 at Walmart
fliuance-ai41-powered-speaker
Value powered bookshelf PC speakers
Fluance Ai41
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$499 at Walmart
audioengine-a5-plus-wireless
Best PC speakers under $500
Audioengine A5 Plus Wireless
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$300 at Harman Kardon
A laptop is flanked by Harman Kardon Soundsticks 4 speakers for PC.
Best PC speaker design
Harman Kardon SoundSticks 4
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$250 at Walmart
The Razer Leviathan V2 is a gaming soundbar that's fits under your PC monitor
Best gamer-friendly PC soundbar
Razer Leviathan V2 game soundbar with subwoofer
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What are the best PC speakers overall?

Whether you have a full-blown gaming PC, a desktop computer or a laptop, you'll need to use headphones or buy a pair of external PC speakers to get decent sound. Yes, the internal speakers on laptops have improved over the years, but they just can't compete with bona fide PC speakers, even those that cost less than $50.

While it's tough to declare one set of PC speakers as the "best overall," the new Creative Pebble X speakers are currently at the top of our list because they deliver a lot of noise for just $90. The Pebble X also come in a version with a subwoofer called the Pebble X Plus ($130) if you're looking for even better bass performance.

CNET hasn't fully reviewed many of the computer speakers on this list, but I have listened to all the selected models, and included speakers in a variety of styles and prices that deliver great sound on any budget. (I've tested dozens of PC speakers over the last 10 years.) I'll update this list of the best computer speakers as new laptop and desktop speaker options hit the market.

The best PC speakers for 2024

$90 at Amazon

Best PC speakers under $100

Creative Labs Pebble X

Creative Labs' Pebble speakers have long been a top budget pick for PC speakers. The entry-level model is on its third generation, aka V3 (see below), and costs $35, while earlier versions can be had for even less. They aren't the greatest-sounding PC speakers, but people like them because their sound is bigger than their price. 

Creative went more upscale introducing the new-for-2024 Pebble X USB-C speakers ($90), which also come in a version called the Pebble X Plus with a mini subwoofer for $130. Larger than previous Pebble speakers yet still compact enough to fit in a backpack, the audio quality is unexpectedly good and may just be the best PC speakers that cost less than $100.

$150 at Walmart

Best PC speakers around $150

Edifier R1280DB powered Bluetooth bookshelf speakers

Edifier makes a ton of PC speakers, and they're generally very good. We like the R1280DB Bluetooth Bookshelf speaker because it has all the features you want, including an optical input and Bluetooth capabilities in a fairly compact package that delivers very good sound for a decent price.

$35 at Amazon

Best cheap USB-C PC speakers with Bluetooth

Creative Pebble V3

Creative's Pebble speakers have been around for a while and the V3 version includes a USB-C plug (a USB-A adapter is included) that powers the speaker, as well as Bluetooth connectivity. They're available for $35, while the earlier V2 version (also with USB-C but no Bluetooth) can be had for around $25. With a higher peak power rating, note that this V3 model does play louder and sounds a little better than the V2. The step-up Pebble Pro speakers offer slightly better sound (improved bass response), RGB lighting and Bluetooth 5.3 instead of Bluetooth 5.0.

These speakers don't deliver huge sound and they're light on the bass, but they're surprisingly decent for their low price and are a good plug-and-play solution for laptop owners with USB-C ports.

A version with a subwoofer that delivers more bass is available for only $40. The Pebble Pro speakers may be your better bet if you're on the fence about getting a subwoofer.

$130 at Amazon

Best affordable gaming PC speakers

SteelSeries Arena 3

SteelSeries' line of Arena PC gaming speakers is available in three models, starting with the entry-level Arena 3, which retails for around $124. The speakers may not have premium build quality, but I liked their design and compact size (although not too compact), and I thought they sounded good for a stereo 2.0 system with single drivers. The step-up Arena 7 adds tweeters and a separate sub as well as a lighting element for $120 more, while the line-topping Arena 9 is a full surround system for $550.

The Arena 3 speakers connect to your PC with an analog 3.5mm cable but also feature Bluetooth connectivity for connecting your smartphone or tablet wirelessly. You can tilt the speakers to your liking and easily adjust the volume with a knob on the right speaker. There's also a companion app for Windows PCs to tweak the sound. 

While there's enough bass to provide decent punch to games, movies and music, don't expect the bass to go that deep or have a ton of kick to it. If you're looking for a better deal in terms of price and specs, you'll want to go with the Arena 7. 

$115 at Amazon

Wireless Logitech around $100

Logitech Z407

The Logitech Z407 is a compact system with a small subwoofer that doesn't exactly have a premium feel (it's an all-plastic affair and the satellite speakers are quite light), but it's attractive and has some nice features. For starters, it's simple to set up. You can use it in wired mode with an auxiliary 3.5mm cable or connect it to your computer via USB. The majority of people will connect their devices to it via Bluetooth.

It comes with a hockey puck-sized controller (powered by two AAA batteries) that doubles as a Bluetooth transceiver between any Bluetooth-enabled audio device and the speaker system. You can skip tracks forward and back by tapping on the top of the puck and turning the dial to control the volume. It's also worth noting that the speakers can be stood up vertically or horizontally. It's a nifty design. 

The sound is good at close range but the bass isn't exactly tight (you can only expect so much for the price). This would work fine as an audio system in a small room, but just doesn't have the juice to sound good in a larger room (it's touted as having 80 watts of power but power ratings don't mean all that much). 

$199 at Amazon

Top PC speakers under $200

Audioengine A1

The most recent addition to the Audioengine family, the A1 speakers sound good for their compact size, particularly in terms of their clarity. Like the more expensive A2 Plus (see below), they're a little bass shy, but if you're using these at close range (as one tends to do if you're looking at a computer screen), the bass will seem ample. You can connect a subwoofer to them, but that would substantially raise the price for the package. In a small room, they could work as your main speaker system, but they just don't have enough power for a larger room.

The nice thing about them is they look quite slick. They're also simple to set up and wireless, so you can connect your computer -- or another device -- via Bluetooth. You just have to hit the pair button on the back to engage pairing mode. A set of speaker wires connects the two speakers (the left speaker has the amplifier and all the connectivity options). You can also use the auxiliary-in port to connect your computer with an included cable.

$269 at Amazon

Best PC speaker sound for under $300

Audioengine A2 Plus

The Audioengine A2 Plus is very similar to the new A1 but offers slightly more refined styling and slightly better connectivity options (it adds USB connectivity), although it lacks a subwoofer output. Like the A1 it has a Bluetooth option with support for aptX streaming (for aptX-compatible devices).

For $269, it delivers excellent sound in a compact, attractively minimalist design. It's a good option for people who can't afford the larger Audioengine A5 (see below), which does sound significantly better but takes up more space.

$250 at Walmart

Value powered bookshelf PC speakers

Fluance Ai41

Canadian speaker company Fluance is known for delivering speakers with a lot of power for their price, and its attractively designed Ai41-powered bookshelf speakers do just that for $250. While they don't weigh as much or have quite the build quality of Audioengine speakers, they do offer strong sound and good connectivity options, including optical digital input and Bluetooth options. I tried the white and bamboo versions but the speakers are also available in black.

They're about the same size as Audioengine's A5 Plus speakers (see below) but cost half the price. I can't say they sound quite as good as the A5 Plus speakers, but they do sound clear and well-balanced and have just enough bass to make you think they aren't bass-shy (there is a subwoofer connection if you want to add a sub). You can get a little more bass by placing them near a wall. 

A remote is included for not only raising and lowering volume but also tweaking the treble and bass settings. These will fill a small room with sound. Note that if you want a wired connection to your computer via the headphone port, you'll need an RCA to 3.5mm cable (less than $10 on Amazon) as it's not included. 

The Ai41 has 5-inch drivers while the step-up Ai61 has 6.5-inch drivers. The Ai61 does offer a bit more bass and power for $50 more. The Ai41 is already fairly large for a set of computer speakers. They could also be connected to your TV via an optical connection. 

$499 at Walmart

Best PC speakers under $500

Audioengine A5 Plus Wireless

Audioengine's powered A5 speakers have been around for several years and have received some technology upgrades over time. The wired-only version is $399, but if you want to add a Bluetooth option, the price goes up to $499. You can connect to your PC either with a cable or via Bluetooth, but having Bluetooth is nice if you want these speakers to double as standard bookshelf speakers.

As you might expect, they have significantly more bass than Audioengine's smaller A2 Plus, and they resemble traditional monitor speakers. With a built-in 150-watt amp, they deliver clean, dynamic sound with lots of volume and will rock a medium-sized room without a problem.

$300 at Harman Kardon

Best PC speaker design

Harman Kardon SoundSticks 4

Harman Kardon's SoundSticks have been around for 20 years and have always been a favorite of Mac users because they were marketed from the get-go to owners of the early iMacs.

The SoundSticks 4 offers some design changes over earlier iterations, particularly to the subwoofer, which has a cleaner, sleeker look without the plastic funnel inside. The SoundSticks 4 are rated for 140 watts of power -- the SoundSticks 3 were rated for 40 watts. Also, Bluetooth connectivity now comes standard (with the SoundSticks 3, there was a step-up model you had to buy to get Bluetooth). The speaker comes in two color options, one with white trim and one with black.

The system is a little more compact than you'd think seeing some of the pictures, and it does deliver strong sound with bass that will rattle a table at higher volumes if you leave the sub on your desk (the sub is slightly smaller at 5.25 inches compared to 6 inches for the SoundSticks 3). From what I remember of the SoundSticks 3, this new model does sound fuller.

The only fault I found with it was the lack of a wired digital connection. Like the previous version, there's an analog cable that you plug into the headphone jack or auxiliary output on your computer or another device. As a result, I tended to just use Bluetooth, which gives you more flexibility with the placement of the sub (the power cord is a little short). You do have to connect the elegant mini tower satellite speakers to the sub with cables that are color-labeled for easy hookup, so the sub has to stay pretty close to the satellites.

It's also worth noting that you don't have to be a Mac user to buy these speakers. They're compatible with any audio device that has Bluetooth or a 3.5mm audio-out port. 

$250 at Walmart

Best gamer-friendly PC soundbar

Razer Leviathan V2 game soundbar with subwoofer

Razer's second generation of its Leviathan gaming soundbar, aptly named the Leviathan V2, gets prettier and pricier, at $250 as opposed to $200. While it gains Bluetooth wireless support, it loses some other useful connections; say bye-bye to analog and optical, for example. Still, it's a compact and solid alternative to headphones or a beefier surround setup that might be overkill or require too much space.

You can get the soundbar by itself for $100, but the version with the subwoofer sounds significantly better.

Factors to consider when buying PC speakers

Budget

Before anything else, you'll want to figure out how much you're willing to spend on new PC speakers. Value-priced speakers can deliver acceptable sound, but if you want more premium sound with stronger bass and better clarity, you'll need to spend $200 or more.

Size

Bigger speakers tend to sound better, but not everybody has room for larger speakers, particularly if you plan to place your speakers on either side of a monitor or even your laptop.

Subwoofer or no subwoofer?

PC speakers that come with a subwoofer tend to deliver more bass, but you have to have a place to put the subwoofer.

Connectivity

Some of the desktop speakers on this list have analog connectivity, and many offer a digital connection so you can plug them right into a computer with a USB cable. Some speakers offer Bluetooth connectivity, which lets you easily pair them with all your devices, including tablets and smartphones. As you might expect, more robust connectivity options tend to add to the cost, but you can find some moderately priced PC speakers that offer good connectivity features.

Surround sound?

Most of the speakers on this list consist of two separate powered speakers joined together by a speaker cable, with a subwoofer sometimes thrown into the mix. They deliver true stereo sound, but you can also buy PC speakers with multiple speakers for a surround-sound setup. We've focused primarily on stereo PC speaker setups.

Return policy

It's a good idea to buy your speakers at a retailer that has a good return policy, in case they don't live up to your expectations.

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How we test PC speakers

We test PC speakers based on four key criteria, comparing similarly styled and priced models. These criteria are design, sound quality, features and value.

  • Design: We assess the design and build quality of the speakers.
  • Sound quality: We evaluate sound quality by listening to a set playlist of music tracks. We also watch some movies and play some games.
  • Features: Some speakers offer extra connectivity options like Bluetooth or an optical port for a digital connection.
  • Value: We determine value after evaluating the strength of the speakers against all these criteria and what the speakers are able to deliver compared to other models in their price class.
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PC Speakers FAQ

Are larger PC speakers better?

In general, larger speakers do sound better. The big issue with smaller speakers is they tend to lack bass. One option is to buy smaller satellite speakers but also get a subwoofer. That will get you a fuller sound.

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Are PC speakers portable?

All the PC speakers on this list have to be plugged in. You can find speakers like Creative's Pebble V3 speakers that are powered by a USB connection so you don't need a separate power adapter. That's your best bet for a more mobile system.

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Why shouldn't I just use a Bluetooth speaker instead of true PC speakers?

You can. No one is stopping you. If you want true stereo sound, a pair of speakers is the way to go.

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