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Best desktop computer speakers 2020

Best desktop computer speakers Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best desktop computer speakers you can buy in 2020.

If you want music to sound good in your office or in a spare room, a pair of neat desktop speakers to flank your computer or sit on your shelf could well be the answer. They'll blast out your Spotify playlists, YouTube videos and Zoom calls much more capably than your laptop's built-in speakers and won't take up much room in the process.

Some can connect over Bluetooth too so you needn't worry about unsightly cables trailing all over your desk space. Others you'll need to connect to a source via more traditional (i.e wired) means.

Below we've rounded up the best desktop computer speakers money can buy, from cheap and cheerful pairs to pricier options. There is a mix of active and wireless stereo pairs, all of which deliver solid (and in some cases outstanding) sound quality.

Best desktop computer speakers 2020

1. Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2

The Mk2s are great desktop computer speakers for the money.

SPECIFICATIONS

Streaming: Bluetooth aptX | Digital input: Optical | Analogue input: 3.5mm | USB input: No

Reasons to Buy

Stunningly musical sound
Subtle dynamics
Stylish, compact design

Reasons to Avoid

No USB input

Gorgeous looks, streamlined design and features, sound quality that’s been improved in every way – the Ruark MR1 Mk2s are multi-What Hi-Fi?-Award winners and deservedly top this list.

You can connect over Bluetooth, optical or 3.5mm - easily and qucikly - and hi-res audio is supported all the way up to 24-bit/192kHz. The step up in performance from the original MR1 model is impressive, making the Mk2s even more appealing than before. 

Quite simply, these are superb speakers of their type.

Read the full review: Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2

Best desktop computer speakers 2020

(Image credit: KEF)

2. KEF LSX

A splendid, rhythmic all-in-one desktop hi-fi system.

SPECIFICATIONS

Driver: 11.5cm Uni-Q mid/bass with integrated 19mm aluminium dome tweeter | Features: Bluetooth 4.2 with aptX codec, Hi-res audio support | Dimensions: 24 x 15.5 x 18 cm (H x W x D)

Reasons to Buy

Class-leading insight
Extensive connectivity
Neat, colourful design

Reasons to Avoid

Some app snags

Despite their dinky proportions, these active bookshelf speakers wowed us with their accomplished, expressive and full-bodied sound. There’s much more to them than just sonic supremacy, though, as they double as a wireless all-in-one system capable of handling hi-res files up to 24-bit/192KHz. 

They might look like they've been zapped with a shrink ray when compared to the LS50 Wireless speakers, their older sibling, but they're no less impressive and ideal for a desktop or computer-based system. Blessed with Uni-Q drivers, 200W Class-D amplification and a choice of stylish colours that would put Farrow & Ball to shame, these come top of KEF's class.

Read the full review: KEF LSX

Best desktop computer speakers 2020

3. KEF Egg

KEF has hatched a real success with these excellent desktop computer speakers.

SPECIFICATIONS

Power: 50W | Bluetooth: Yes | Inputs: 3.5mm/digital optical, USB | Finishes: 1

Reasons to Buy

Great sonic integration
Balanced, detailed, controlled sound
Compact egg-shaped design

Reasons to Avoid

Hybrid input not particularly neat

KEF has cracked it with these unique egg-shaped speakers. They're compact and stylish – just right to sandwich a computer monitor – and belt out a sound that's insightful, balanced and, frequency wise, seamlessly integrated. Connect to your PC or alternative music source via their optical/3.5mm input.

Only bettered by the Ruarks in number one spot for their size and price, these former Award winners are still a great buy.

Read the full review: KEF Egg

Best desktop computer speakers 2020

4. Steljes Audio NS3

Versatile, affordable and an affable listen, these are solid desktop computer speakers.

SPECIFICATIONS

Power: 45W x 2 | Streaming: Bluetooth | USB charging: Yes | Colours: 7

Reasons to Buy

Sleek design
Good connectivity
Powerful bass

Reasons to Avoid

Could be more cohesive
Need a bit more detail

For a desktop solution, the NS3 speakers certainly play their part well. They’re capable enough to work as your everyday speakers, and will look suitably stylish while doing it.

If you’re looking for an entry-level way to get your workplace audio sounding better, these speakers are worth considering.

Read the full review: Steljes Audio NS3

Best desktop computer speakers 2020

5. Acoustic Energy AE1 Active

High-end performance without the need for a stack of high-end electronics.

SPECIFICATIONS

Power: 50W x 2 | Inputs: RCA, balanced XLR | Finishes: 3

Reasons to Buy

Clear, balanced and detailed
Rhythmically exciting 
Flexible with placement

Reasons to Avoid

Nothing of note

It’s difficult to think of an amplifier/passive speakers combo that could better these Acoustic Energy active speakers at the price.

These 2018 What Hi-Fi? Award winners do everything with a flourish. You'd need to invest in a more expensive pair of components to offer a marked improvement on these Acoustic Energy active speakers - and you owe it to yourself to track down a pair to discover that for yourself.

Read the full review: Acoustic Energy AE1 Active

Best desktop computer speakers 2020

6. Dynaudio Xeo 10

Pricey desktop computer speakers, but well worth the money.

SPECIFICATIONS

Power: 130W | Inputs: RCA, 3.5mm, optical digital | Bluetooth: Yes | Finishes: 2

Reasons to Buy

Clear, detailed and agile sound
Large-scaled and spacious delivery
Versatility, excellent features

Reasons to Avoid

Don’t physically feel like premium speakers

When you bear in mind the Xeo 10s are successors to the 2017 Award-winning Xeo 2s, their success is hardly surprising. They may be expensive – perhaps even pricier than your computer – but those who're serious about sound quality won't be disappointed. 

They're hugely entertaining and insightful, and for small speakers (each about the size of a thick hardback book) they sure belt out a large and spacious soundstage.

Their both wireless and wired connectivity options seal their five-star fate, too.

Read the full review: Dynaudio Xeo 10

Best desktop computer speakers 2020

7. Dynaudio Excite X14a

Clear, precise and exciting active speakers that can really sing.

SPECIFICATIONS

Power: 50W x2 | Inputs: RCA, balanced XLR | Finishes: 3

Reasons to Buy

Tight, agile bass
Insightful vocals
Compact and neatly finished

Reasons to Avoid

Need more attack

The Excite family wear rosewood and walnut veneers or satin white or satin black finishes, and the X14as are almost dead ringers for their passive X14 relatives. Which means they look the business.

Sonically the Dynaudio X14a active speakers could do with more outright attack and energy, but there’s no doubting they do a lot of things very well. If you’re looking for clean, precise and transparent active speakers, give these a whirl.

Read the full review: Dynaudio Excite X14a

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