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Best Speakers of 2023

Whether you're looking for a Bluetooth speaker, a soundbar or loudspeakers for your home theater, these are the best products for the money.

Updated on May 21, 2023

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Written by  Ty Pendlebury
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
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Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He majored in Cinema Studies when studying at RMIT. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
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$249 at Best Buy
sonos-era-100-2
Best sounding smart speaker
Sonos Era 100
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$350 at Amazon
A pair of black ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 bookshelf speakers
Best bookshelf speakers for the money
Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2
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$600 at Amazon
fluance-xl8f-1
Best tower speakers for the money
Fluance XL8F
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$50 at Amazon
tribit-stormbox-micro-2
Best budget Bluetooth speaker
Tribit Stormbox Micro
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$130 at Roku
014-roku-streambar-2020
Best budget soundbar
Roku Streambar
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$340 at Amazon
klipsch-speakers-03
Best surround sound speakers
Klipsch Reference Cinema System 5.1.4 With Dolby Atmos
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$150 at Walmart
edifier-r1280db-2-3.png
Best computer speakers
Edifier R1280DB
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$300 at Walmart
04-yamaha-yas-209
Best smart soundbar
Yamaha YAS-209
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$798 at Amazon
Best high-end soundbar
Vizio Elevate
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Whether you're interested in background music for your next BBQ or looking to upgrade a stereo system, there's a speaker set ready for you. Speakers tend to be designed with a specific purpose in mind. For example, do you want speakers for your television, computer speakers or a set for a specific room? Perhaps you need portable Bluetooth speakers to take on a trip? Not all speakers are created equal.

I've highlighted the best wired and wireless speakers I've tested costing between $50 and $1,000. While most of the included systems are powered speakers, you'll also find passive bookshelf speakers, such as the Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2, which just need to be paired with a great AV receiver

From smart speakers to outdoor speakers to immersive home theater systems, every model I've chosen boasts great sound quality and is the best speaker in its particular category. I'll update this list periodically as we review new products, so you can take your audio setup to the next level.

Read more: Best Soundbar for 2023

sonos-era-100-2
$2 at Best Buy

Best sounding smart speaker

Sonos Era 100

With great sound, a compact size and the Alexa voice assistant built-in, the Sonos Era 100 packs a lot of punch, making it the best smart speaker for the money.

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A pair of black ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 bookshelf speakers
$4 at Amazon

Best bookshelf speakers for the money

Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2

Elac has been belting out classic, affordable designs ever since its, er, debut in 2015. The Debut 2.0 exemplifies the brand's appeal to both the budget-conscious and audiophiles. It offers a lively, insightful sound and attractive looks for around $400.

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$6 at Amazon

Best tower speakers for the money

Fluance XL8F

fluance-xl8f-1
Pros
  • Big, generously proportioned speakers
  • Excellent sound quality perfect for long binge sessions
  • Nothing holds a candle to it for the money
Cons
  • Could be smoother, especially with its lower register
  • Dustcaps didn't quite line up

Want the biggest sound? You'll need big speakers. The fit and finish of the large Fluance XL8 towers is unmatched by other speakers at its price. The sound of the XL8F is open and thrilling, but never shrill, and when fed a movie soundtrack these speakers simply zing. They're no slouch with music either. If you truly want the maximum speaker for your money, the huge Fluance XL8F has no equal.

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$1 at Amazon

Best budget Bluetooth speaker

Tribit Stormbox Micro

tribit-stormbox-micro-2
Pros
  • Very compact (pocket-friendly)
  • More bass and volume than most speakers this small
  • Waterproof and dustproof (IP67)
  • Integrated strap
  • Can be linked to another StormBox Micro for stereo mode
  • USB-C charging
  • 8 hours of battery life
Cons
  • Not as durable as Bose SoundLink Micro
  • Distorts slightly at higher volumes with certain tracks

Budget Bluetooth speakers are seemingly a dime a dozen, but among the countless options there do lie some gems. The $50 Tribit Stormbox Micro is a compact, portable speaker that offers both waterproofing and excellent bass for its size.

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$1 at Roku

Best budget soundbar

Roku Streambar

8.2 /10

CNET Score

014-roku-streambar-2020
Features 7 Value 9 Design 8 Ecosystem 10 Performance 7
Pros
  • Compact, easy to set up and affordable
  • Excellent dialogue reproduction
  • Tried and true Roku experience
Cons
  • Lacks bass in movies and music

The $130 Roku Streambar is a hybrid soundbar-4K video streamer and the most welcome surprise is that it's able to perform both tasks well. Pair it with a bedroom TV and the optional Onn Wireless Sub for a killer home theater setup.

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klipsch-speakers-03
$3 at Amazon

Best surround sound speakers

Klipsch Reference Cinema System 5.1.4 With Dolby Atmos

If there was ever a bargain in home theater it was this -- for around the same price as the Elac speakers above you can get a full Dolby Atmos setup. With a sub! Sound quality is excellent and the Klipsch kit includes all of the cables you need in the box.

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edifier-r1280db-2-3.png
$2 at Walmart

Best computer speakers

Edifier R1280DB

The Edifier R1280DB offers almost everything you could want in a PC speaker -- excellent sound, a range of connections including Bluetooth and a compact footprint -- and all for a reasonable $150. It doesn't offer USB, though, so connect the headphone/line out of your PC to it instead.

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$3 at Walmart

Best smart soundbar

Yamaha YAS-209

04-yamaha-yas-209
Pros
  • The Yamaha YAS-209 offers excellent sound in a compact size. Amazon Alexa is useful and the mics work well in loud environments. The soundbar's implementation of DTS Virtual:X offers a rich surround effect. The subwoofer is more articulate and offers more headroom than the competing Polk soundbar.
Cons
  • There's no onscreen display and the LEDs on the top are too small to see from your chair.

The Yamaha YAS-209 is one of the most fully featured soundbars the company has ever offered -- especially at the price. With Alexa, HDMI connectivity and a wireless subwoofer, this soundbar doesn't want for anything. The sound quality is great too.

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$8 at Amazon

Best high-end soundbar

Vizio Elevate

Pros
  • Motorized speakers work well.
  • Excellent sound for movies and music.
  • Plenty of connections
  • Includes rears and wireless sub.
Cons
  • Not as easy to use as Sonos Arc
  • No Apple AirPlay support
  • Somewhat short surround cables

The Vizio Elevate may have one big gimmick at the core of it, that revolving height speaker, but it also offers sound quality to back up the gee-whizzery. This is a 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos soundbar, with a hefty subwoofer, and its performance is equally thrilling in both movies and music. Add in a bunch of streaming features and you have the best surround system under a grand.

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