Best Computer Speakers Under $100
Sound is such a critical part of any human experience. The way a beat can make our hair stand on ends, a melody can make our hearts swell, or a screech can make us shirk in fear, sound can tug at your emotions in a dozen ways, but when you’re on a budget a lot of us can feel a need to skimp on the peripherals like speakers. I’m here to tell you today that you don’t need to break the bank to achieve quality sound on your computer.
Speaker technology has come a long way over the years, and while the essence of the product has remained the same, first-time buyers may have a lot of questions still. What does a product mean when it’s talking about the bass? Do I want it to be strong or subtle? Are synced RBG lights a necessity and worth the extra cash? How much do I need Bluetooth connectivity for my desktop speakers?
Understanding all these factors and how effective a device is going to be at fulfilling your needs can be a bit daunting, especially as it can be challenging to test speakers properly in-store. This is where we come in. Below we’re going to take you through a set of affordable but high-quality speakers and show you just what we love about them so you can figure out which one best suits your needs.
Best Computer Speakers Under $100
The speakers come in at an incredibly affordable $29.99 RRP and their compact design means you won’t be shy of desk space once you get these set up. Their improved Creative IFP design means that you won’t even have to sacrifice any sound quality for price or size.
The subwoofer boasts an impressive and dynamic bass and the sound drivers will be sure to fill your room with sound. The simplicity defined control pod also allows for easy control of the device including power, volume, bass level, headphone jack, and auxiliary jack, at your fingertips.
The Bluetooth connection is controlled from the simple and sleekly designed Control Pod, and you have the option of 3.5mm, RCA connections, or a headphone jack for when you want the neighbors to have a quiet night in, free of the 80 Watts of powered sound and strong bass that these speakers support.
How We Choose
Speakers are a particularly tricky element of a computer for a person to test properly before use. Trying them in a store when there’s all other manner of noise blasting around you just doesn’t give you the sense of how they perform in a quiet environment or a smaller office space. It’s also incredibly easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choice on the market these days if you’re not a tech-savvy individual with an awareness of what brands are hot and which are not, you can get lost.
Here at WePC, we take care of all of that for you. As we go through hours of research and testing to find the best audio quality, the strongest bass, the best UI, and the best experience for you so we can make sure our recommendations are backed with real-world experience, allowing you to buy your new speakers with confidence.
How We Test
The testing period is a vital component of our recommendations. It’s how we know that what we’re offering you is the cream of the crop in what you’re after. Speakers are especially nuanced due to the subtleties in their design, and so most products will go through our rigorous testing. To be able to tell if a set of speakers are truly The Best, we have to consider how they deal with an incredible range of sound. How clear is audio at its loudest or quietest? How well do they deal with sudden changes in volume? How strong is the bluetooth connection? Can it pick up the subtleties of in-game audio, or give the soundtrack of your favorite move the quality it deserves? Products are pushed to their limits so we can tell you where they falter and where they soar.
With our testing having put these products through the proverbial crucible, you’ll know that whatever you buy is worth the cash.
Things To Consider
Speakers come range in quality, and so they also come in a variety of prices. You can spend as little as $10, or near $1000 depending on your level of investment ability and what you want from your speakers.
The advantage with speakers and other audio equipment over other computer tech, is we've been making speakers for a very long time, as far back as 1876. With this near 150 year run-up to creating today's equipment, it's incredibly easy to find quality on a budget where you might struggle with more recent technological creations like a graphics card.
As this article shows you, for less than $100, you can easily find some high-end speakers that won't break the bank. Unless you're aiming for the best audio experience money can buy, there's no need to spend hundreds of dollars on sound equipment. For anyone starting out in their audio journey, $50-$80 will more than suffice in quality.
The value of a good bass very much depends on you as a person and what you plan to use these speakers for. Bass covers the lower frequencies on audio, the drum and bass in a band usually fall into this end of the spectrum, and it's often used for very dramatic beats in soundtracks or audio.
Good bass quality means that these lower frequencies will remain distinct and undistorted, which, in an era where both game companies and movie studios still love that Inception "BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA," is very handy. Bass quality is tied, often, to your speaker's Subwoofer, this is the larger box that comes with the two satellite speakers. Without a Subwoofer, conventional home speakers are usually incapable of reaching the depth of bass some audio may require, resulting in an "incomplete sound."
Brands You Can Trust
One of the safest options when searching for speakers can be finding a brand you recognize and then hoping that that brand’s reach and strength comes from the quality of their products. Bose and Taotronics have made a big name for themselves in Bluetooth audio. They offer a strong selection of Bluetooth speakers and headphones that are compact and easily transportable but still boast a strong sound. Their speakers, however, lack the tech to really give a strong user experience at a PC when watching films or playing games. Their strength is in their mobility.
For brands that will give you a truly excellent experience in audio, you want to turn to companies like Logitech, JBL, Sony, or Creative. These brands have a strong legacy in creating long-lasting, quality audio equipment that is worth the cost.
Best Computer Speakers Under $100
Deciding on the best Computer Speakers was a road that ultimately only had one clear destination at the end, a long road with many options that looked enticing, but nevertheless, the choice was simple in the end.
Creative A250 2.1 Multimedia Speaker System
The Creative A250 (2.1) Speaker System with Down-firing Ported Subwoofer is a small and mighty piece of kit. The Satellite speakers promise not to steal all your desk space yet they, and the subwoofer still come together to deliver a powerful experience at a price that won’t break the bank. The design of the A250 offers a twist on the classic speaker design, in a welcome aesthetic shift from the norm without being an overt statement that might put some off were they too bold in their design.
For the price of these speakers, you’d be hard-pressed to find better sound quality either. The A250 promises loud and detailed audio with an enhanced mid-bass and amazingly accurate sonic imaging, and it delivers.
The speakers are not without their issues, unfortunately. They completely lack any Bluetooth connectivity meaning they’re incredibly static in their application. They are attached to your PC, and that is all they will be for. In addition to this, they also lack any headphone jack being available, meaning that a shift from speaker to headphones will require you to unplug the entire device from your PC and plug in your headphones, which can get messy for some more complex PC designs.
While they boast that the integrated volume and power controls as a selling point, I would actually count it against the product. By linking volume and the power in the same switch, Creative has made it impossible for you to find that golden volume level and just leave it as is, instead you will have to find that sweet spot every time you turn the speakers on.
Logitech Multimedia Speaker System Z533
The Logitech Z533 speaker system with Subwoofer features the widest range of connectivity of all the devices on this list. With three possible connection points for devices, you can happily connect these speakers up to your PC, Laptop, and TV all at once if you desire, creating a simple and affordable home entertainment system.
The control all comes from one simple wired remote that allows you easily command of the volume and power to the device, meaning you don’t have to reach around the back of your computer or speakers, hunting for the off switch.
The device only uses 60w RMS (120 peak) of power and features an energy-saving mode, combined with its upfront price; you’ll be able to save money at every turn.
The Z533 also has a wonderfully sleek and simple design. The black and gold coloring gives it a touch of luxury in an understated way, leading to a very refined and distinguished look.
Sadly, for all its connection options, the Z533 lacks any Bluetooth capability, meaning it lacks the range of use that other devices have.
While convenient, the wired controller also causes an issue with its short cable that is wired directly to the subwoofer. This will limit the placement of your speakers considerably, should you wish to keep the remote accessible.
The power-saving mode, while commendable from Logitech in an effort to save energy, also seems to have a very low threshold. It is triggered when the speakers no longer detect any audio input and so shut down. However, it will do this even when there is audio playing if the audio is quiet enough. It would appear the sensor is external rather than reading audio input from the computer, which is an odd design choice.
Logitech Z337 Bold Sound Bluetooth Wireless 2.1 Speaker System
The Logitech Z337 Speaker System combines the excellent quality sound and performance from the Logitech Z533, with the Bluetooth capabilities and more compact design of the Creative A250. The Z337’s Bluetooth has a reliable 15-meter connection range, meaning you can be sure your music will keep playing as long as you’re in the room.
The Z337 also doesn’t sacrifice wired connectivity in favor of Bluetooth, as it still has a 3.5mm input, an RCA input, and a headphone jack.
The headphone jack is easily accessible via the control pod, allowing for quick changes between your speakers and headphones during online gameplay or late at night.
The Z337 features 80 Watts Peak/40 Watts RMS power, which is less than the Z533, but still more than enough to drive the sound through a room, with the max volume being perhaps louder than one needs to go.
The main detraction for this speaker system is the same problem that haunted the Z533, despite Logitech having the Bluetooth option on this device, they still insisted on a wired controller which, again, limits your placement options with the subwoofer if you want easy access to volume, power, Bluetooth control, and the headphone jack.
Ultimately, all these products had their merits. Be it price, size, freedom of choice, or pure aesthetics, they all had strengths. If the deep dive was a bit much to handle, take a look below for a quick summary of each and why we would recommend them as an option.
- Looking for cheap, portable, and space-saving speakers? The Creative A250 is the choice for you. No other item on this list can beat the value for money from this product.
- Still feeling old fashioned, wanting your powerful speakers with the reliability of a wired connection? Then look no further than the Logitech Z533. This powerful system will meet all your requirements, as long as that requirement isn’t wireless connections.
- Finally, there’s the Logitech Z337. A wonderful combination of ease of use, connection options, and audio quality from all others. At a very affordable price for its quality, the Logitech Z337 is my number 1 pick from the bunch.
With all the research that went into this list, there were some products that caught my eye that I simply didn’t have the time to give the attention I wanted and include them on the list. They’re listed below so you can have a look and decide if any of them beat the ones above for you.
Now we come to the end of things; I hope this article was as informative to read as I found it to research and write, and shows just how much surprising detail can go into a speaker while making it clear that it’s not as daunting as it can seem. Even if it does still feel scary, at least now you have a comprehensive set of options to choose from.
If you found this article useful or have any comments or questions, please drop a comment in the section below. Maybe you have an idea for another product that I missed, opinions on the specifics listed, or an issue that wasn’t covered in the article. Even better, head on over to our Community hub where you can chat with all kinds of like-minded folk and continue the discussion.