Thu. May 19th, 2022
Best PC Speakers for 2022

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a laptop loyalist or a desktop devotee, because either way you compute, you can beef up your device’s sound system with a new set of PC speakers. Most people already know you can’t get that stereo-rich sound from either machine, alone. So, if you enjoy listening to music, gaming or watching movies, you’re going to need the best PC speakers for your needs and budget, or you won’t get the full sound experience you deserve. 

If you’re looking to bypass your laptop speaker and take your audio experience to the next level, you should consider investing in some external speakers. I’m not talking about a major stereo system — even a small or portable desktop speaker can pick up the slack. Even budget or small speakers can boost sound quality enough that you’ll be shocked by the poor quality of your laptop speaker.

You can also pair your PC with a Bluetooth speaker to augment the sound, but this list highlights the best in powered external speakers. That means they’ll need to be plugged in to power their built-in amplifiers.

Some of the desktop speakers on this list have simple analog connectivity, but most offer some form of digital connection — that means you can plug them right into a computer with a USB cable. Others have Bluetooth connectivity, which lets you easily pair them with all your Bluetooth devices, including tablets and smartphones. As you might expect, better connectivity options add some cost to the speakers, but a few moderately priced speakers have excellent connectivity options too, in addition to more-than-decent sound quality with a surprisingly deep bass. Some of these computer speakers can even be positioned for surround sound.

Note that CNET hasn’t fully reviewed many of the items on this list, but I’ve listened to all the selected models. If you’re on the hunt for great sound from quality speakers, keep reading — the right speaker for your computer is sure to be here. Also, we’ll update this list of the best computer speakers periodically as new laptop and desktop computer speaker options hit the market.

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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 wired mode with an auxiliary 3.5mm cable or connect it to your computer via USB. But the majority of people will connect their devices to it via Bluetooth.

It comes with a hockey puck-sized controller (it’s 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 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 80W of power but power ratings don’t mean all that much). 

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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 that they’re nice looking. 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.

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Audioengine

If you can’t afford Audioengine’s $500 A5 Plus Wireless (see below) — or don’t like its somewhat large footprint — the A2 Plus is a good alternative, albeit one that produces less bass and just isn’t as loud or full sounding. Still, it sounds really good for a mini bookshelf-size speaker and has a glossy piano finish that gives it a premium look.

I reviewed an earlier version of the A2 Plus back in 2013. It now has Bluetooth connectivity with support for AptX streaming (for AptX-compatible devices), but it still uses a standard 3.5mm-to-3.5mm audio cable that you plug into your device’s headphone jack or auxiliary output. 

For $269, it delivers excellent sound in a compact, attractively minimalist design, which is why it appears to be so popular at the moment. Some sites have it back-ordered or not available in certain color options (I personally like the white). 

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