Best KEF speakers Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best KEF speakers you can buy in 2023.
KEF is one of the finest purveyors of British hi-fi, with an illustrious heritage that stretches back more than 50 years. It's had a few ups and downs in that time, but hasn't lost its talent for engineering classy, superb-sounding speakers, as you'll see from the below.
We've been reviewing KEF speakers since our earliest days of publication, so we know what's good and what's not. All of the below have been through our usual rigorous testing process and come out as highly acclaimed, earning either four or the full five stars. So you can be sure they'll do you proud.
They're all great, then. But which is best for you? Let's find out.
How to choose the best KEF speakers for you
Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Most of KEF's speakers feature the firm's innovative Uni-Q driver. Rather than having a separately mounted tweeter and midrange driver, the tweeter is set into the centre of the mid. A simple idea – but it's what sets the company apart from the pack.
More importantly, KEF has kept pace with the times and diversified into wireless speakers, including Bluetooth desktop speakers and wireless all-in-one streaming systems such as the magnificent LSX (below).
With more choice than ever, you might be wondering where to start. The good news is that we've done the legwork and rounded up the very best that KEF has to offer.
The LS50 Wireless launched in 2016 as an active speaker system take on KEF’s legendary passive LS50 speakers. It's a pair of wireless stereo speakers packed with built-in amplification and streaming smarts, and their impressive execution of this appealing concept earned them a five-star review and a What Hi-Fi? Award.
Now the sequel has landed, and it's even better than the original (and it's picked up a 2022 What Hi-Fi? Award of its own). How? There's no need to connect the two speakers with a cable, as with the original, and they have a new and improved app for slicker control.
The speakers use the same Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT) technology as the LS50 Meta (below) to reduce unwanted sound. And it works. Treble is cleaner than ever, with a touch of extra refinement, while greater separation makes the sound less congested.
This is a sequel that's a real improvement on its predecessor.
Read the full KEF LS50 Wireless II review
The 2021 What Hi-Fi? Award-winning KEF LS50 Meta don’t look any different from the LS50, and in many ways they aren’t. The company considered revising that beautifully made enclosure but concluded that little could be improved.
The one area ripe for improvement was the LS50’s Uni-Q driver array, where the tweeter sits in the throat of the mid/bass unit. This has been thoroughly reworked, taking in all the refinements that KEF has developed over the past eight years and adding something new in the form of Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT) – KEF’s way of coping with the sound that comes off the back of the 25mm aluminium tweeter dome.
It doesn’t take long to realise that the LS50 have improved significantly. While the basic sonic character is instantly familiar, the LS50 Meta have gained a level of clarity and finesse the originals only hinted at. Some of the best KEF speakers you can buy right now.
Read the full KEF LS50 Meta review
For KEF's 60th anniversary the British company pulled out all the stops – it launched one of its most challenging products to date, the LS60 Wireless, a floorstanding sibling to its fantastic LS50 Wireless II all-in-one hi-fi system.
They're considerably slimmer than the LS50 Wireless II, and house a new generation of KEF's Uni-Q driver – the smallest it's ever produced, in fact. There's also a tweeter gap damper and a new Z-Flex surround to aid dispersion and reduce distortion.
It all adds up to a phenomenal sonic package – producing possibly the finest audio we’ve heard from such a product so far. The LS60 Wireless kick out an immersive and focused stereo image with plenty of width and height, but that never sounds stretched. You'll struggle to believe such a weighty sound is coming from such slim speakers.
Add to that it's considerable feature set, and you've got some of the best wireless speakers ever made.
Read the full KEF LS60 Wireless review
The original LSX (below) launched in 2018, so a sequel was about due. And the LSX II were worth the wait – in fact, they're 2022 What Hi-Fi? Award winners.
Aesthetically, not much has changed. The speakers look identical to their predecessors, and feature the same 11th Generation Uni-Q driver, too. But there are some big changes afoot.
Namely, more connection options. The first is HDMI ARC and the second is a USB-C connection for connecting to a TV and laptop respectively. Like other KEF wireless speakers, they also have an Ethernet port for connecting the speakers directly to your router, or a switch and a second port which you use to connect the supplied (Ethernet) cable between the speakers. This is required if you want native playback of 24-bit/96kHz digital music files (anything higher than this is downsampled to 24-bit/96kHz).
The LSX II turn in a confident musical performance, with a real sense of refinement. They retain a nice sense of rhythm, with bags of warmth. KEF's winning formula just got that little bit better.
Read the full KEF LSX II review
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 siblings), but they're no less impressive. Blessed with Uni-Q drivers, 200W Class-D amplification and a choice of stylish colours that would put Farrow & Ball to shame, these are some of the best KEF speakers around.
Read the full KEF LSX review
Looking for some of the best KEF speakers that are a) standmounters and b) affordable? You're in the right place. Redesigned to reduce distortion and improve performance, the updated Q350 now offer a winning combination of sleek, sophisticated looks and stunning presence.
The sturdy, beautifully-crafted cabinets come in a choice of black or white satin finishes, accented with black or silver Uni-Q drivers. What the the Q350 lack in punch, they more than make up for in clarity, depth and composure. If they're within your budget, these are a no-brainer.
Read the full KEF Q350 review
The R3 won our stamp of approval back in 2018 thanks to their exceptional level of detail and insight. You’ll find them sonically balanced and extremely capable. In fact, we think they deliver a big chunk of the performance of the pricier R1 – but at a fraction of the cost.
They're brilliant all-rounders and pair well with almost any system; give them a decent feed and you’ll discover that they put most similarly-priced competitors to shame. Well-engineered, outstanding value for money and darn stylish to boot. Superb.
Read the full KEF R3 review
This impressive all-in-one streaming music system is a bigger, more powerful take on the KEF LSX. Sound quality is nothing short of masterful, delivering effortless clarity and plenty of maturity – especially when it comes to tricky dynamic shifts.
They might be built for the digital age, but they retain KEF's hi-fi pedigree, with a good array of analogue inputs. Like most wireless active speakers, these aren't truly ‘wireless’: both the master and subservient speaker need to be plugged into the mains, with a cable run between the two. But that's a small price to pay for this level of performance in a sleek, stylish package.
Read the full KEF LS50 Wireless review
The KEF R5 are impeccably built with a sleek design and a bunch of innovative features – a lot of work has evidently gone into making them what they are. You get two bass drivers top and tailing the Uni-Q midrange, both paired with a tuned reflex port, so you can imagine the kind of heft these floorstanders can deliver.
But it isn't just power the R5 have on their side. There's brilliant detail on offer and stereo imaging is superb, while those drivers all integrate wonderfully for an even and controlled presentation.
Read the full KEF R5 review
Ready to blow the budget? The Reference 1 deliver a thrilling, beautifully-layered sound that will lift and enhance almost any track. Bass is a particular highlight: refined yet punchy, it underscores KEF’s talent for balancing firepower with precision.
Some high-end speakers tend to suit a certain genre of music, but that’s not the case with the Reference 1. They're stellar all-rounders, aren’t too demanding when it comes to positioning, and are constructed to KEF’s exacting standards. If you have a healthy bank balance, they’re worth every penny.
Read the full KEF Reference 1 review
These quirky miniature marvels are KEF's unique spin on desktop speakers. They work equally well either wireless or wired, so they're a real master of all trades. And since they're kitted out with a built-in 50W amplifier, they have the necessary oomph to upgrade the sound of your laptop or TV.
When it comes to sound dispersion, the Eggs are no yolk, projecting a surprisingly lively and immersive soundstage. Assuming that their retro, "1960s sci-fi film prop" looks don't scramble your brain, the Eggs are a cracking buy.
Read the full KEF Egg review
How we test speakers
Here at What Hi-Fi? we review hundreds of products every year, including no small amount of speakers of all shapes, sizes and types. So how do we come to our review verdicts? And why can you trust them?
The What Hi-Fi? team has more than 100 years experience of reviewing, testing and writing about consumer electronics. We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London and Bath, where our team of expert reviewers do all our in-house testing. This gives us complete control over the testing process, ensuring consistency. We always ensure we spend plenty of time with the speakers, trying them with different electronics, in different positions and with different music.
All products are tested in comparison with rival products in the same category, and all review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than a single reviewer, helping to ensure consistency and avoid individual subjectivity.
From all of our reviews, we choose the top products to feature in our Best Buys, such as this one. That's why if you take the plunge and buy one of the products recommended above, or on any of our other Best Buy pages, you can rest assured you're getting a What Hi-Fi?-approved product.