Best floorstanding speakers Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best floorstanding speakers you can buy in 2021.
A good quality pair of floorstanders can instantly supercharge your hi-fi system and deliver room-filling sound. With larger cabinets than bookshelf speakers, floorstanders tend to create greater scale, authority and bass. That said, having a bigger cabinet doesn't always mean better sound. You'll still need to choose wisely and make sure you pick the best floorstanding speakers for your budget. Whether you've got hundreds or thousands to spend, we're sure there's a pair of speakers for you.
We've got great options if you're looking for your first pair. Perhaps you're building a hi-fi system from scratch, or going up in size from a bookshelf pair to a bigger model. Or, if you simply want to splash the cash on a serious high-end pair, we're here to help.
Read on for our round-up of the best floorstanding speakers we've tested in recent months.
Here's a list of the best speaker deals we've found
Fyne Audio might be a young brand but it was created by a group of industry veterans with more than 200 years of experience under their belts. Clearly, they're doing something right: the F302s were crowned at the 2019 What Hi-Fi? Awards. Praise doesn't come much higher.
It's their performance that sets the F302s apart from the crowd. Bass is taut yet doesn’t obstruct the F302s’ keen sense of rhythm, delivering a hugely engaging listen. It’s a more mature performance than we were expecting, even having heard what Fyne is capable of further up the food chain. You really do get a lot of speaker for the money.
If there is one caveat, it is that some care needs to be taken with system matching. While the balance is far from skewed, there is a little brightness in the treble that should be tempered by pairing with a suitable amplifier and music source. But that's about the only downside we could find.
Quite simply, the F302s offer outstanding value and are the best floorstanders we've heard at the money in recent times.
Read the full review: Fyne Audio F302
Wharfedale's Evo 4.4s are packed with so much technology that we had to double-check their price. The Air Motion Transformer tweeter is normally reserved for much more expensive speakers, but they're found in this relatively affordable model. That's not the only killer piece of audio tech they feature: the dome midrange and twin Kevlar bass drivers also set these floorstanders apart from the crowd.
It won’t come as a surprise that these relatively big speakers produce a large-scale sound with plenty of authority. That's what you'd expect from speakers this size. But they also deliver transparency and subtlety, helping to ensure a natural, easy-going presentation. Which you might not have expected.
There’s a real feeling that these speakers are digging deep into the recording and presenting that information in an honest way. They track the complete envelope of a note well, clearly defining leading and trailing edges without sounding overly etched.
Rivals might sound more forward, and perhaps more exciting because of that, but over a longer listen the Evo 4.4’s easier-going presentation is more natural and convincing. It’s the kind of sound that appeals over the long term rather than during a short audition at a dealer. Like all the best speakers, they're in it for the long haul.
Read the full review: Wharfedale Evo 4.4
For much of the last decade our default choice for the best florstander costing less than a grand was a Q Acoustics 3050i (see below). But no more. In the Oberon 5, Dali has delivered a brilliant alternative, one that is an even better buy.
They might be a touch smaller than the 3050is but these speakers manage to sound notably larger and more entertaining. Given a few days to settle in, they provide a real treat for the ears: they’re responsive, musical but, most of all, fun. They have the dynamic subtlety, rhythmic precision and sheer transparency to make the most of subtle changes in tracks and pull the listener into the musical experience.
They're detailed, too, revealing low level instrumental strands with ease, but also managing to arrange that information in a composed and organised way. Plus, the dimensions mean they will look right at home in most rooms, never dominating visually. Terrific performers at a tantalising price. What's not to like?
Read the full review: Dali Oberon 5
The imposing F303s – standing almost a metre tall – sit above the Award-winning F302s in the Fyne range. That extra mid/bass driver and a larger cabinet are the differences between this model and their smaller siblings' standard two-way design.
There’s serious scale to be had from these hefty cabinets, not to mention plenty of bass, thanks to that extra driver. For powerful dynamics, these speakers are hard to beat for the money. That said, you will need a fair amount of space for them, including some space between them and a wall to avoid a boomy sound.
But they can do delicate too, and feel very at home handling subtle rhythms. They display texture and warmth too, with plenty of insight.
Overall, they're exciting, upbeat and fun, which makes them easy to love. Admittedly you might get a little more insight from the Dalis mentioned above, but for scale and excitement, these Fynes really are masters of their trade.
Read the full review: Fyne Audio F303
While not perfect, ProAc's immensely-solid towers turn in one of the most musically cohesive performances we've heard at this price. They render instrumental texture superbly and stereo imaging is lovely. While they are relatively slim in stature there’s no denying their ability to deliver bass lines with conviction.
They have insight and attack in spades, while the midrange performance is impressive: voices come through loud and clear, and there's a high degree of transparency on show. Voices never muddy into the instrumental backdrop, making for a coherent, distinct performance.
Agility, power, weight, these speakers have them all and then some.
Their look might be a bit more divisive (the unusual design and use of logos won't be to everyone's taste), but we really like these speakers. They deliver such an entertaining sound that we can’t help but recommend them. Take a bit of care with system-matching and they will impress.
Read the full review: ProAc Response DT8
As you can see from this list, there's no shortage of talented floorstanding speakers on the market, and the Triangle Borea BR08 is another excellent pair that offers something special.
The cabinets look a little basic but look closer and you'll see that they're solid, well-made and neatly finished. The plinths simply bolt on to the bottom for extra stability, although we'd prefer the supplied spikes to be a little sharper to get through thick carpets.
A three-way design, the BR08 use two fibreglass-coned bass units aided by a front-firing reflex port, plus a 25mm silk dome tweeter. Their relatively high sensitivity means you should get good volume levels from even low-powered amps although their nominal 8ohm impedance dips to a 3ohm minimum, so you’ll still need to check for compatibility.
Give the speakers plenty of room to breathe (a good 40/50cm in all directions), angle them in towards the listener and you'll hear the Triangles at their best. We'd shy away from bright-sounding electronics, but find suitable partners and you'll be blown away by their entertaining sound. They display a sense of vigour and dynamic strength that many rivals fail to match. Definitely worth an audition.
Read the full review: Triangle Borea BR08
The Elac Debut 2.0 F5.2s are brilliant performers for the money. Mature and sophisticated, they're robustly built and unfussy when it comes to positioning. The main drivers use Aramid fibre for greater stiffness, resulting in a transparent sound with plenty of detail and dynamic expression.
It’s not a criticism when we say that some rivals offer a fuller presentation – in fact, some rivals can offer more in most regards. But the F5.2s aren’t about offering more; they’re about offering the music as it is fed to them, as transparently as possible.
Detail and textural insight is their forte. They're able to take note of an instrument's body as well as any idiosyncrasies in the way it's played, which makes for a compelling listen.
Elac has been in the speaker business since the 1980s and has made many fine products in that time. It’s fair to say that these new Debut B5.2 speakers should be considered one of the company’s finest efforts. For this sort of money, they're exceptional value.
Read the full review: Elac Debut 2.0 F5.2
Spendor's superb floorstanders sound great, look great and are compact enough to fit into most homes. Refined yet entertaining, the top-of-the-line A7s continue the firm's knack for combining stunning clarity and subtlety with hugely enjoyable dynamics and rhythm.
There's a stunning level of detail on show. Each instrumental strand and vocal quirk is laid bare – musicians watch out, there really is nowhere to hide. The sound is clean and organised, while still packing plenty of punch to keep things entertaining.
Vocals are a particular highlight. They also time with pinpoint accuracy and are immensely transparent, without ever sounding too clinical. They're still full of expressive melodies and undulating dynamics that will keep your head nodding.
They're hardly what you would call 'cheap' but if you're in the market for a pair of top-notch floorstanders, the elegant A7s should make their way to the top of your list. A worthy What Hi-Fi? Awards 2020 winner.
Read the full review: Spendor A7
If your love for bass and big sound is greater than your budget for new speakers, these could be just what you're looking for.
Q Acoustics dominated the 'best sub-grand floorstander' category for over a decade. And while the 3050is have been bested by Dali's outstanding Oberon 5s, these 2018 What Hi-Fi Award-winners still have plenty to offer.
They're not short of energy or scale, tempered by plenty of musicality, warmth and control.
In fact, you may only need to hear these speakers for a few minutes before wondering which finish will best suit your room. Supremely talented.
Read the full review: Q Acoustics 3050i
B&W's 600 Series floorstanders pack in a lot of B&W engineering, including the company's silver Continuum cone material and a high-tech FST driver, both of which are used for the midrange unit. Build quality is a touch lacking for the money, but the B&Ws make up for it with a breathtakingly expansive sound.
There aren't many speakers at this price point that handle vocals so superbly and extract as much detail. They're not the most relaxing listen and do require an amp with plenty of poke, but partner them correctly and you'll be richly rewarded.
Read the full review: B&W 603
Fyne Audio already has a few entries on this list, but if you're familiar with the brand you won't be surprised. It’s a bold move to launch a loudspeaker into the sort of competition the F501s face – but then it’s equally obvious that Fyne Audio made the right decision. In fact, the F501s picked up a What Hi-Fi Award in 2018, the firm's first year.
Design is seamless, build-quality is solid and timing is sweet. The transparency of their sound is utterly convincing and while a degree of system-matching is necessary, keep that in mind you'll be in for plenty of sonic thrills.
Read the full review: Fyne Audio F501
The Spendor D7.2s deliver a sound that is taut, agile and about as responsive as speakers come at this level. They manage to sound wonderfully composed even at the highest levels, and there's loads of finesse to enjoy. And no matter how complex the music gets, the stability never wavers. They do need a bit of looking after in terms of partnering equipment, but once they spread their wings they take flight in a way that is simply majestic.
Read the full review: Spendor D7.2
Fyne Audio’s standard F501 floorstanders are terrific performers, but these Special Production versions are a far more ambitious proposition, cramming in as much of Fyne Audio’s high-end technology as possible.
It makes a real difference. If you’re looking for excitement and energy we can’t think of an alternative that betters these at the price. The sense of drive and attack make it hard to sit still, while the bass has a surprising amount of weight and authority.
But they're not all about toe tapping. They have the dynamic reach to do classical music justice, beautifully rendering the sound of an orchestra in full flow. Position them well, partner them with the right kit, whack a record on and sit back and enjoy – you won't be disappointed.
Read the full review: Fyne Audio F501SP
Digital sound processing and analogue combine to great effect in these wireless floorstanders, and there are some nice design flourishes to show off (such as the ability to change volume by running your finger along the front edge of the top panel, like a fussy guest looking for dust).
Want to get the most out of them? In that case, you'll want Dali's Sound Hub, which is basically a wireless preamp that adds Tidal, Qobuz and Deezer music streaming, plus Bluetooth. Not cheap, certainly, but what price can you put on convenience? And it's a drop in the ocean compared to the overall cost of the speakers.
Rest assured, this set-up won't leave you disappointed – the sound is dripping with drive and energy, while the bass has plenty of precision, agility and texture. The imaging is also handled with aplomb, making for an expansive soundstage.
Read the full review: Dali Callisto 6 C
Mission had some great heritage when it comes to affordable speakers and these floorstanders get off to a fine start. They measure 90cm tall and are nicely made for the money. the feel solid too. They're a two-way design, with the two 13cm mid/bass units working in parallel. They're circled by a piece for trim with 'comb tooth' indents, designed to scatter reflections of the sound coming off the cone and its surround for a purer sound. The tweeter is a modern 25mm microfibre dome.
They need a decent amount of free space to keep bass under control, so we'd shy away if you've only got a small amount of space. The supplied bungs will do a job, but also hinder the speaker's fluidity. Otherwise, they produce a fast and responsive sound with a pleasing level of punch and a good level of detail, even if they do play it a little safe compared to the very best. A solid pair of floorstanders, nevertheless.
Read the full review: Mission LX-4 MKII
The Mission LX-3s’ recipe for success looks like a sure-fire winner: take the Award-winning LX-2 standmounter, add another mid/bass driver and make the cabinet bigger to bypass the need for a stand. The extra drive unit and bigger box pretty much guarantee more bass and higher volume levels, while the sensible price ensures they deliver splendid bang-for-buck.
They could do with a little more sonic sparkle, but if you're on a tight budget you'll find that these elegant and capable performers have a great deal to offer.
Read the full review: Mission LX-3
These are fun floorstanders that deliver a sound as enjoyable as anything we’ve heard at this price. Musical and dynamic, with the bonus of plenty of bass weight, they feature a slim, room-friendly profile.
The Fyne Audio F501s (above) deliver a bit more space and detail but if you're in the market for something of this size and price, these should be high up on your shortlist.
Read the full review: Acoustic Energy AE309
Revel isn't the best-known audio brand but it has all the ingredients for success; the products are well made, solidly engineered and, in our experience, tend to sound good.
The F35s are a hugely likeable and rhythmical pair of floorstanders that deliver a superb performance. It’s impressive how effortless they sound: they dispatch any genre you throw their way with minimal fuss, without compromising on excitement.
Are they the most refined floorstanders on the market? Probably not, but there aren’t many speakers at this price that make listening to music as enjoyable.
Read the full review: Revel Concerta2 F35
Diminutive in stature but not in sound, the knee-high Iota Alphas are made for people who crave great sound without a room-dominating footprint. Build quality is good and that angled baffle helps throw the sound upward, resulting in a surprisingly expansive and spacious presentation that wouldn’t be out of place in rivals twice the height.
They do have a few quirks and connection is limited to a single pair of high quality terminals so there's no option to biwire. Still, if you're after fuss-free floorstanders that don’t dominate your listening room there are few better alternatives.
Read the full review: Neat Iota Alpha
If you’re looking for premium compact floorstanders, the PMC Twenty5.23is could be the ideal towers for you. They’re superbly made, sonically capable and easy to accommodate even in small rooms.
Build quality is second to none, and the new tweeter borrows some tech from PMC's flagship Fenestra floorstanders.
Sound-wise, they're tough to fault. This is an agile and precise presentation, one that is packed full of detail without sounding over-etched or forward. We also like their expressive nature and the way they can hold our attention even at lower volumes. This is something to take note of if you listen late at night or are worried about disturbing your neighbours.
Of course, they're great cranked up loud, too. There’s a good amount of punch and more bass weight than the small cabinet and mid/bass driver might lead you to expect. Just about the only downside is the price – there are real quality rivals that cost a lot less than these.
Read the full review: PMC Twenty5.23i