Best computer speakers Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best computer speakers you can buy in 2021.
If you want music to sound good in your home office or a spare room, a pair of neat desktop stereo speakers to flank your computer or sit on your shelf could well be the answer.
The best computer speakers will blast out your Spotify playlists, YouTube videos and Zoom calls much more capably than your laptop's built-in speakers – and they won't take up too much room in the process.
Some of these computer speakers can connect over Bluetooth 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.
But all of the products below deliver good enough all-round performance for a place on our list of the best computer speakers on the market.
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
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
Klipsch describes The Fives as a ‘powered speaker system’. They can be used as a hi-fi system – either standalone or with a source plugged in – as desktop speakers, or indeed as a true stereo alternative to a soundbar thanks to the inclusion of an HDMI ARC connection. Thanks to RCA, 3.5mm aux, digital optical and USB inputs, plus wireless Bluetooth 5.0, they will connect to pretty much anything.
Yes, they're relatively expensive but sonically they offer good detail, plenty of punch and decent stereo imaging. A step up on a computer, soundbar of wireless speaker for sure. And much more convenient than a complete separates system.
Read the full review: Klipsch The Fives
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.
You can use the NS3’s optical input to connect a television or plug your analogue music sources into the 3.5mm socket - there’s even a stereo RCA connection for other hi-fi kit. There’s also a USB input for charging. For wireless connectivity, there's Bluetooth.
They may not be the most transparent offerings out there, but they're neat and well-appointed wireless speakers with solid bass. 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
While the more insightful KEF LSX would be our first choice at this price, it’s still difficult to think of an amplifier/passive speakers combo that could better these Acoustic Energy active speakers for the same money.
These 2018 What Hi-Fi? Award winners do everything with a flourish. They're relatively basic in terms of set-up and function – connect them to your source via either their RCA or balanced XLR inputs and you’re ready to go. There’s no Bluetooth, but you can always affordably attach a separate module (such as the iFi Zen Blue) post-purchase.
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
When you bear in mind the Xeo 10s are successors to the 2017 Award-winning Xeo 2, 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 (Bluetooth) and wired (line-level, optical and 3.5mm) connectivity options seal their five-star fate, too.
Read the full review: Dynaudio Xeo 10
Want a high-end pair of serious speakers fit for any desktop? These expensive Dynaudio speakers could be just the ticket.
The Excite family wear rosewood and walnut veneers or satin white or satin black finishes, and the X14a speakers look the business.
Two 50-watt amplifiers have been crammed into each compact box, one driving the soft dome tweeter and the other the company’s favoured magnesium silicate polymer mid/bass driver.
As active speakers take care of the amplification stage, they only need pairing with a source with a volume control – an integrated CD player, an Apple iPod, a TV – or a pre-amp/DAC connected to a source. Either one will simply plug into the speakers’ RCA and XLR inputs, so there’s no need for speaker cables either. Both boxes need plugging into the wall so remember to consider the location of power sockets in your home.
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