Whether you’re using a desktop computer or regularly utilizing a notebook computer in the same room of your home or office, there are countless applications where hearing the highest-quality audio is advantageous – whether it’s during a video call, playing an immersive game, or when streaming TV shows, movies, music, podcasts or audiobooks, for example.
Sure, you can use wired or wireless headphones or wireless earbuds, but if you want to fill the room with high-quality sound, connecting speakers (and maybe even a subwoofer) to your computer is the way to go. As you’re about to discover, there are plenty of wired and wireless speaker options for both PCs and Macs, but prices vary greatly based on the technology built into the speakers and their manufacturer’s brand name.
Keep in mind, you’ll typically pay a premium for computer speakers from a company like Bose or Bang & Olufsen, but true audiophiles typically agree that it’s worth the added investment. Also, thanks to the Bluetooth technology built into the latest speakers and computers, a wireless option gives you the most flexibility when it comes to optimal speaker placemat. From budget computer speakers to high-end options that’ll make your ears very happy, let’s look at a dozen of your best options.
Best Computer Speaker Overall
Razer Nommo Pro
If you’re a gamer who wants the best of everything as part of your battle station, the Razer Nommo Pro speaker system (comprised of two desktop speakers and a subwoofer) will be a welcome addition when it comes to experiencing (not just hearing) all audio that comes from your computer, games or otherwise.
While these speakers aren’t cheap, they do offer THX Certified Premium Audio, Dolby virtual surround sound and a powerful subwoofer that’ll make your desk shake from the low-end sounds. You can easily connect this system to any Windows PC or Mac via a wired USB connection, a wireless Bluetooth 4.2 connection, an optical cable, or a 3.5mm audio jack. Get ready for an immersive sound experience you’ll both hear and feel.
Best Budget Computer Speakers
Edifier USA 2.1 Speaker System (M3200)
Priced less than $100 for the complete system, the Edifier USA 2.1 Speaker System comes with two wired speakers and a subwoofer that together offer a good listening experience at a very budget-friendly price. While the cone-shaped speakers will fit nicely on most desks, the wood-enclosed and magnetically shielded subwoofer is a bit cumbersome (16.06” x 8.46” x 11.52”).
The system supports surround sound, but all the components connect with cables. Originally released in 2011, there’s no cutting-edge technology built into these speakers, but again, it’s the low price that makes this system attractive.
Best Looking Speakers with a Subwoofer
Harman Kardon SoundSticks 4
Harman Kardon has combined two, primarily transparent satellite SoundSticks with a matching dome-shaped subwoofer to create an unusual and futuristic-looking wireless speaker system that generates impressively clear sound.
This system is not specially designed for use with a computer, but for streaming or playing audio from your computer, smartphone or tablet, it’ll nicely fill a room with vibrant sound. Serious gamers, however, should seek out a speaker system that provides a more immersive surround sound experience. Priced less than $300, this is a superior speaker system for the money.
Most Affordable Computer Speakers with a Subwoofer
Creative Pebble Plus 2.1 USB-Powered Desktop Speakers
Available in black or white—with or without a subwoofer—this USB-powered desktop speaker system requires cables, but no additional power cable that plugs into a traditional outlet. The 45-degree elevated two-inch drivers offer up to eight watts RMS output, while the four-inch down-firing subwoofer (which measures 8 x 5.9 x 7.7 inches) offers decent power and depth that’s been dramatically improved over previously released models from Creative. With the subwoofer, the system has an MSRP under $55.
To experience the true audio power of this system, if you’re using a computer with an older USB port, an optional 5V 2A USB adapter that connects to a wall socket is required. If you’re looking for a wireless Bluetooth version of this speaker system, check out the Creative Pebble V3 (MSRP $39.99 without the subwoofer).
Best PC Speaker For Gaming
Logitech G560 PC Gaming Speaker System
For anyone seeking superior-quality audio from a computer speaker system priced below $200, this setup from Logitech is a great option, especially for gamers. The two speakers support wireless (Bluetooth connectivity) while the subwoofer is wired.
Logitech’s G560 speakers offer surround sound combined with a LightSync RGB lighting system that’s built into the speakers to add visual ambiance. The lights can generate 16.8 million colors synced with your favorite games, so you’ll see, hear and feel the sound that’s generated—especially when playing compatible games.
As for the audio, expect 240 watts of power to generate loud, but clear 3D positional audio from your Windows PC. The DTS:X audio feature is not currently supported by Macs. This speaker system is designed to work seamlessly with the Logitech G RGB mouse and keyboard to deliver truly advanced gaming performance.
Best Wireless Desktop Speakers with a Subwoofer
Logitech Z625 Powerful THX Certified 2.1 Speaker System
While this THX Certified 2.1 speaker system will work nicely with your favorite games, it’s designed more to provide a quality listening experience for all types of audio – including music, podcasts, or audio from TV shows or movies, for example. What’s nice about this system is that an analog (wired), analog/optical, or analog/optical with a wireless Bluetooth adapter configuration is available. However, even with the Bluetooth adapter for the speakers, the whole system is still priced less than $175.
The maximum power output of this system is 400 watts, which is certainly adequate for an average sized room. When not plugged into your computer, you can use this same speaker system with your console-based gaming system and TV, or stream audio content from your mobile device.
Best Premium Brand Wireless Speaker
Bang & Olufsen Beosound 1
At first glance, this single speaker somewhat resembles a brass colored traffic cone that measures 6 x 13 x 6 inches, however, the technology built into this wireless speaker offers 360 degrees of rich, room-filling sound, regardless of where in the room it’s positioned. The Beosound 1 is designed to play music from a computer or mobile device, but also any Bluetooth, Google Cast, Apple AirPlay 2 or DLNA-compatible source.
When it’s not being used with your computer, you can easily take this nine-pound speaker with you into another room. It does not include a built-in digital assistant, so it’s not a “smart speaker,” but it does generate the superior audio quality you’d expect from a premium-priced Bang & Olufsen speaker.
Best Value Soundbar Speaker
Dell Pro Stereo Soundbar
Traditional sound bars are typically used with TVs to enhance the audio quality generated from their typically small and not-so-powerful built-in speakers. There’s no rule, however, that says you can’t link a soundbar to your computer to enhance the sound quality when you’re playing games, engaged in video (or audio) calls, watching movies or listening to music.
If you’re on a budget but want a soundbar listening experience from your computer, the Dell Pro Stereo Soundbar (priced less than $70) offers a low-cost option that’s certified for use with Microsoft Skype for Business. It has a built-in dual microphone array with echo cancellation for when you’re participating in video or Internet-based audio calls.
Ultimately, what you’ll experience is powerful and clear sound emanating from the 5-watt RMS front-firing speakers that offer a frequency response range of 90Hz to 20kHz (allowing for deep bass). The soundbar measures 17.44 x 2.38 x 1.38 inches and weighs 0.97 pounds. It connects to your computer using a standard USB cable.
Best Premium Bluetooth (Wireless) Soundbar
Bose Smart Soundbar 900
For audiophiles looking to connect a premium quality soundbar to their computer wirelessly, the brand new Bose Smart Soundbar 900 allows you to pair via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2 or cables. This is considered the best-performing soundbar from Bose, and it now features Dolby Atmos. It offers immersive sound combined with deep bass, so whatever audio your computer is generating (music, gaming sound effects, or audio from a movie, for example), it’s going to sound amazing.
This latest soundbar can also be easily paired with Bose’s wireless rear speakers and subwoofer to create a surround sound experience in any room. The Smart Soundbar 900 measures 41.14 x 2.29 x 4.21 inches. It works with the Bose Music mobile app, comes with a universal remote, and has a custom eight-mic array built-in. Pre-orders are now being taken. It ships on September 24 and is a step up from the Bose Soundbar 700 (which is currently available).
Best Portable Computer Speakers
Bose Companion 20 Multimedia Speaker System
Designed specifically for use with a computer, the Bose Companion 20 multimedia speaker system is comprised of two stand-alone wireless (Bluetooth-compatible) speakers that can be placed on a bookshelf or desk. Using Bose’s proprietary TrueSpace technology, these speakers reproduce wide and natural sound that will nicely fill any average-sized room. The built-in active electronic equalization nicely balances low, mid and high frequencies to create a robust sound from the smaller-sized speakers.
Each speaker measures 4.72 x 3.54 x 8.66 and weighs just 2.5 pounds. The speakers come with a wired control pod that includes a headphone jack and auxiliary input, and also allows you to adjust volume or mute the speakers.
Best Portable Laptop Speaker
Bose SoundLink Micro Portable Bluetooth Speaker
As its name suggests, the Bose SoundLink Micro is a small, battery-powered, Bluetooth wireless speaker that can stream audio from your computer, smartphone,or tablet. It offers a rugged water-resistant design, so it can be taken outdoors, and it’s extremely portable, so it’s a nice option for supplementing the speakers built into your laptop computer or mobile device. Two of these devices can be paired together to offer true stereo or “party mode” playback.
The rechargeable battery can be recharged via the speaker’s Micro-USB port, which you can expect the battery to last about six hours per charge. With Amazon Alexa built-in, this speaker can serve as a smart speaker when it’s connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi. It measures 3.87 x 3.87 x 1.37 inches and weighs 0.64 pounds.
Best Mac Speaker
Apple HomePod Mini
Designed to work independently when a Wi-Fi network is available, Apple’s HomePod Mini can easily stream music or any type of audio wirelessly from your Mac computer or Apple mobile device using AirPlay. Don’t be fooled by the small, ball-shaped design. The HomePod Mini is chock full of power and generates 360-degree room-filling sound from a device that’s just 3.3 inches tall.
Wirelessly pair two HomePod Minis together to generate a more immersive stereo sound listening experience from your Mac (or an Apple mobile device). With Siri built-in, HomePod Mini can service as a smart speaker, so it can be used to issue verbal commands for controlling other smart equipment in your home. For example, you can use it to answer an incoming call on your iPhone. It’s MSRP is just $99 per speaker, and it comes in space grey or white.