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 and room size. 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. Every pair of floorstanding speakers recommended below has been thoroughly tested by What Hi-Fi?'s expert reviewers in our dedicated listening rooms, so you can trust our buying advice.
Perhaps you're building a hi-fi system from scratch, or sizing up from a bookshelf pair to a bigger model. Or, if you simply want to splash the cash on serious high-end speakers, we're here to help. It's worth noting that floorstanders tend to be pricier than their smaller standmount counterparts (the bigger size means more materials used and higher prices), but you'll find plenty of the best-performing options below starting from around £450 onwards.
Read on for our round-up of the best floorstanders for every budget.
Wharfedale's Diamond range is a great bet as a solid budget standmounter, but the firm is yet to make a really outstanding affordable floorstander. Until now.
Because the Diamond 12.3 sound even more impressive than the renowned 12.1. And considering the 12.1 are five star speakers, that's quite some praise.
At 98cm tall, the 12.3 aren't massive speakers, but they benefit from having space to breathe. They benefit from a bit of inward angling too, but thanks to their wide sound dispersion you don't have to worry about being millimetre perfect.
Sonically, they're smooth, even-handed and wonderfully refined for the money. Feed them a poor signal and they are skilled at revealing the shortcomings without shouting about them. They’ll round off rough edges and downplay unwanted aggression without sounding like they’re smothering the life out of the music. Great if you want to partner your turntable with a floorstander without breaking the bank.
Read the full Wharfedale Diamond 12.3 review
As you can see from this list, there's no shortage of talented floorstanding speakers on the market, and the Award-winning 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 Triangle Borea BR08 review
Wharfedale's Evo 4.4 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 Wharfedale Evo 4.4 review
For much of the last decade our default choice for the best floorstander costing less than a grand was the Q Acoustics 3050i (see below). But no more. Along with the Triangle Borea BR08 (above), Dali has delivered a brilliant and better alternative in the Oberon 5.
They might be a touch smaller than the 3050i 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 Dali Oberon 5 review
The Elac Debut 2.0 F5.2 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 F5.2 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 Elac Debut 2.0 F5.2 review
Choosing the right pair of speakers comes with compromises: do you go for something that's highly analytical or one that puts engaging musicality as its highest priority? If you're after the latter, then the Sonus Faber Lumina V could be for you.
The Lumina V are three-way speakers with a downward firing port. Aesthetics have always been a key part of the Sonus Faber DNA, and that remains the case here. The mixture of real wood veneer (or gloss black) with the faux-leather material looks elegant and distinctive.
The Lumina V do need some care with partnering equipment (they need an amplifier with grunt, such as the Rega Aethos or Naim SuperNait 3) and with their positioning in the room to sound their best (give them space to breathe).
It's a bit of a slow burn, but the Lumina V shine with good quality sources. Their midrange is a true highlight. It is as articulate and expressive as we’ve heard at this premium price (£2499 / $2999 / AU$5295). They may not have the most expansive or spacious stereo imaging we’ve heard for the money, but large-scale dynamics are rendered with verve and composure.
There's finesse and authority when needed, but these speakers are more concerned with trying to integrate all elements of a song into a cohesive and musical whole rather than trying to dazzle us with their abilities.
They have a richer, full-bodied tone that's still packed with detail – but it's their natural sonic grace and easy-going balance that wins us over. A charming pair of speakers in every way.
Read the full Sonus Faber Lumina V review
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 ProAc Response DT8 review
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 A7 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 Award-winning A7 should make their way to the top of your list.
Read the full Spendor A7 review
The F302i is the successor to the Award-winning F302, a fantastic speaker in its own right. However, not content with its performance, Fyne Audio has attempted to improve it with the F302i. The main difference is that the newer model sports a titanium dome tweeter instead of a polyester one, but there have also been tweaks to the tweeter housing and crossover.
The F302i is still a two-way rear-ported design and the speakers are still nicely built for the money (we tested them at £500 / $745 / AU$1195). They're flexible when it comes to equipment and positioning as long as you don't stuff them into a corner or put them right up against the wall. Toe the speakers in a bit and you get a focused and stable stereo image.
Sonically, the F302i deliver a taut musical performance, that's direct and entertaining. The tweeter sounds smoother and more refined than the old model and there's a pleasing amount of nicely integrated bass. There's also plenty of detail to enjoy. If you're looking for affordable floorstanders that sound great, we highly suggest you give them a listen.
Read the full Fyne Audio F302i review
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 3050i have been bested by Dali's outstanding Oberon 5 and the Triangle BR08, 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 Q Acoustics 3050i review
Fyne Audio’s standard F501 floorstanders are terrific performers, but these "Special Production" (SP) 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 Fyne Audio F501SP review
How we test floorstanding speakers
We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London, Reading and Bath, where our team of experienced, in-house reviewers test the majority of hi-fi and AV kit that passes through our door – including floorstanding speakers.
What Hi-Fi? is all about comparative testing, so we listen to every pair of floorstanding speakers we review against the current leader in its field to gauge how it compares to the best-in-class competition. We keep What Hi-Fi? Award winners in our stockrooms so we can always pit new products against ones we know and love. And we do our best to review as many new models in as many markets as possible to ensure our contextual knowledge is the best it can be.
We are always impartial in our testing and ensure we hear every pair of floorstanding speakers at its optimum, with sources we know and like. We test them in their best use case with different partnering source kit, whether that's with a record player, a music streamer or even CD player, and we play plenty of different types of music through them. Naturally, we give them plenty of listening time (and time to run in), too.
All review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than an individual reviewer, to eliminate any personal preference and to make sure we are being as thorough as possible. There is no input from PR companies or our sales team when it comes to the verdict, with What Hi-Fi? proud of having delivered honest, unbiased reviews for decades.
You can read more about how we test and review products on What Hi-Fi? here.
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