5 Best Active Book­shelf Speak­ers Under $500

Namrata Gogoi

Wouldn't you like bookshelf speakers that you can directly plug into your music system or computer? The active bookshelf speakers pack a built-in amplifier to drive them directly. That's why their setup is easy and convenient.

Best Active Bookshelf Speakers Under 500

A 2.1 speaker setup delivers more clear audio (and a wider soundstage) than the single-unit Bluetooth speaker. Besides that, you can easily pair these active bookshelf speakers to a high-end turntable to enjoy your vintage vinyl records in all their glory.

Bookshelf speakers have evolved and are no longer limited to wired speakers. There are a fairly good number of speakers which allow you to stream music over Bluetooth. And if you ask us, that's an added advantage, right?

In our post today, we have listed some of the best active bookshelf speakers that you can get around the $500 price range or lower.

Let's have a look. But first,

1. Kanto YU6 Powered Speakers

Kanto YU6 Powered Speakers

The Kanto YU6 powered speakers are a pair of desk-friendly speakers that check off many boxes. For one, these support aptX Bluetooth codec. This feature makes it great to stream hi-resolution music. Secondly, you can easily connect them to wired devices like turntables. It features a Kevlar woofer and the wooden finish to pull off a stylish and modern look.

This look makes it apt for your living room or study. The clever combination of kevlar and the wooden look will help it blend seamlessly with most home decor.

More importantly, the Kanto YU6 bookshelf speakers justify their price tag from the performance point of view. They deliver balanced and pleasant audio with a subtle bass. The vocals are clear, and you will enjoy the minute details in your favorite songs.

One of the main advantages of this active bookshelf speaker is that the tweeters are less directional when compared to the competition. Naturally, this design makes it easier to change the position of the speakers without any significant changes to the speaker's audio output.

The Kanto YU6 bookshelf speaker delivers impressive performance for the price. Plus, the Bluetooth supporting makes it versatile since it gives you ample connectivity options.

2. Klipsch R-51PM Powered Speaker

Klipsch R-51PM Powered Speaker

The Klipsch R-51PM powered speaker proves to be a good buy if you want a rich and dynamic sound at a comparatively lower price. The highlight of these speakers is that it sports a ton of input ports, thereby giving you the flexibility of connecting to the device of your choice. Apart from the standard 3.5 mm audio jack, it comes with a USB port, line input for turntables, and optical port to connect it directly to your TV.

At the same time, it walks the fine line between big speakers and compact ones. It measures around 13-inches in height. And while it may not be small enough to fit into most average-sized bookshelves, you can keep them on stands or wall mounts.

As noted above, the Klipsch R-51PM delivers dynamic audio and a wider soundstage. And despite their size, these speakers manage to deliver a rich and pronounced bass. And the Dynamic Bass EQ preset is the cherry on top, especially if you like listening to bass-heavy tracks.

The makers bundle a nifty remote with the speakers and it plays a major role in upping your overall experience with the speakers. All the input sources are neatly laid out. So, once you have all the input cables in place, you can press a button to switch to a different source. Cool, I'd say.

However, it has a few limitations. Unlike the one above, these speakers do not support Bluetooth audio codecs like aptX, aptX HD, or Sony's LDAC.

3. Edifier R1280Ts Powered Bookshelf Speakers

Edifier R1280Ts Powered Bookshelf Speakers

If you are looking for true bookshelf-style speakers, it's time you said hello to the Edifier R1280Ts speakers. These speakers measure a mere 10-inches in height and are small enough to fit well into actual bookshelves. The small size makes it apt for many applications. However, note that the small size and the small wattage limit its ability to function as a full entertainment unit. That said, it does its duty well to double as speakers for your TV, PC, or your turntable.

Performance-wise, these speakers deliver a powerful bass response. And the good news is that the bass and treble can be tweaked by the onboard knobs. Even when they are tuned to the max, the speakers manage to hold their ground and don't distort. And it helps the case since the Edifier R1280Ts costs a lot less than their counterparts above.

To add to it, they boast a chic look. The faux wood panels on the sides and the grey panel at the front gives these speakers a cool look.

If you are looking to save some money without compromising the audio quality, the Edifier R1280Ts speakers are the ones for you.

4. Presonus Eris E3.5-3.5 Active Speakers

Presonus Eris E3.5-3.5 Active Speakers

Another pair of affordable active bookshelf speakers is the PreSonus Eris 3.5. And it's not just the price that distinguishes them from the rest of the speakers. The PreSonus Eris 3.5. is a pair of versatile speakers and can be easily used in the place of the default TV output or your PC's speakers. Furthermore, they deliver an impressive audio quality, and several users have backed this claim as part of their reviews.

Considering the price, the PreSonus Eris 3.5 speakers have a fairly robust build. The good part is that they are small and compact. You can mount them on actual bookshelves.

Interestingly, they also pack dedicated acoustic tuning knobs at the back for a more customized listening experience. And if you are someone who likes to fiddle with their music, this feature is a great add-on.

Lastly, the audio delivery is on point with clear and crisp vocals.

5. Audioengine A5+ Wireless bookshelf Speakers

Audioengine A5+ Wireless

At the end of the day, if you want the best bookshelf speaker, Audioengine's A5+ Wireless manages to stand out starkly. It costs a little more, but the odds are that you'll be satisfied with your purchase. These active bookshelf speakers encompass plenty of features. As suggestive of their name, these are wireless speakers and come with plenty of input options. More importantly, they support high-res Bluetooth codec like aptX and AAC, thereby paving the way for you to stream high-res music.

As noted earlier, they have a ton of input options which makes it easy to use the A5+ Wireless both for streaming music from your phone or your other wired audio equipment.

They are a bit bigger than their counterparts above, and the speakers have threaded screw mounts at the base should you want to mount the speakers.

Performance-wise, they deliver one of the best audio experiences. The audio is full and sounds natural.

Let There Be Music

Over the last few years, portable Bluetooth speakers have led the way for listening to music without worrying about wires. Sure, they are apt for a day out on the beach or when you are out for a trek. But on the days when you want to turn on your home stereo system, these active bookshelf speakers prove to be a great addition. The wired ones do away with the need to recharge the battery time and again, while at the same time delivering great music.

Plus, the fact that you needn't invest in an amplifier separately is the cherry on top. More space to keep other electronics, don't you agree?


The above article may contain affiliate links which help support Guiding Tech. However, it does not affect our editorial integrity. The content remains unbiased and authentic.

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Namrata loves writing about products and gadgets. She has been working for Guiding Tech since 2017 and has around three years of experience writing features, how-tos, buying guides, and explainers. Previously she worked as an IT Analyst at TCS, but she found her calling elsewhere.