Best floorstanding speakers 2024: all models tested by experienced reviewers

Best floorstanding speakers: quick menu

Whether you're looking to spend a few hundred dollars or even a few thousand, the best floorstanding speakers will take your hi-fi system to the next level by delivering awesome, room-filling sound with authority, breadth and scale. If you pick the right ones, of course.

Floorstanders tend to deliver greater sonic scope, with beefier bass notes and more dynamic highs than bookshelf speakers, mainly thanks to their large cabinets and (often) more substantial drive units. You still need to choose wisely and make sure you pick the best floorstanding speakers for your budget and room size, though, as a bigger speaker doesn't automatically make for a better one.

We're here to help in that regard, as we've tested hundreds of pairs over the years and have listed our choice options below. Perhaps you're building a hi-fi system from scratch, or going up in size from a bookshelf pair to a bigger model? Or maybe you just want to splash out on a pair of pricey speakers to give a premium system something awesome to work with?

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. You can find out more about our testing process or scroll down for the speakers we currently recommend below.

The quick list

You can see a quick breakdown of all the floorstanders on this list with a summary of what they’re best at and why we think they’re worth your money below. If you need more detail, just click the photo of a product to go to the in-depth entry.

Written by
Harry McKerrell headshot
Written by
Harry McKerrell

I'm a staff writer who has listened to and reviewed dozens of products during my time at What Hi-Fi?, which includes floorstanding speakers. I've had plenty of time in our dedicated test rooms with the latest heavyweight kit and speakers, and have first-hand experience with every pair of speakers on this list. When testing floorstanding speakers, I'm looking for good build quality, how easy they are to partner with amplifiers and sources at their price level, and how enjoyable, articulate, powerful and dynamic they sound – with the level of refinement, resolution and precision only going up further as you climb up the price range. From high-end towers to the best bargain speakers, these best floorstanders picks are the best options at their respective prices today.

The best floorstanding speakers overall

What Hi-Fi? Awards winner. A superbly insightful and entertaining performance from these new floorstanders.

Specifications

Drive units: 1" soft dome tweeter, 2x 4.9" mid/bass
Ported: Yes (rear)
Bi-wire: No
Impedance: 6 ohms
Sensitivity: 91.5dB
Dimensions: 38.2" x 7.1" x 11"
Weight: 39.7lb
Finishes: x3 (black, white, oak, rosewood)

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent clarity and detail resolution
+
Expressive, bold dynamics
+
Fine build and finish

Reasons to avoid

-
Needs care in system matching
-
Not as forgiving as previous Q Acoustics models

If you twisted our arm and told us to pick the floorstanding speakers that we felt were providing the best value for money right now, the Q Acoustics 5040 would be very hard to beat. The British brand's 5000 series sits in between the more budget 3000 series and the pricier Concept range, with the 5040 acting as the smaller of the two floorstanders in the range.

As is the case across the 5000 series, the 5040 use the brand's Continuous Curved Cone design for its mid/bass drivers, combining the rigidity advantages of standard conical cones with high-frequency break-up characteristics associated with a more flared design.

The results are a triumph. Match them with slightly more refined partnering electronics and the 5040 will sound magnificently precise and clear, with agility and grip to give that full sense of fun and life. We're keen on how these towers sound composed, controlled and measured when needed, with a sense of organisation that doesn’t drop when the music becomes demanding. Tonally, they're a tad lean, but not so far as to become problematic or wearisome.

The more expensive Wharfedale Evo 4.4 are certainly a sophisticated alternative, yet Q Acoustics 5040 are so even-handed and balanced that they let your songs shine without ever getting in the way. Partnered them with care and they'll deliver a performance that feels class-leading at this level.

Read our full Q Acoustics 5040 review

The best budget floorstanding speakers

Some of the best budget floorstanders we’ve heard in a good while.

Specifications

Drive units: 1" tweeter, 3x 5.1" mid/bass
Ported: Yes (rear)
Bi-wire: No
Impedance: 6 ohms
Sensitivity: 86dB
Dimensions (hwd): 40" x 7" x 9.2"
Weight: 68.8lb
Finishes: 2 (black, walnut)

Reasons to buy

+
Loads of detail
+
Weighty, precise bass
+
Snappy timing and dynamics

Reasons to avoid

-
Rivals offer more playful presentation

If you're working with a more restricted budget, the Elac Debut 2.0 F5.2 remain a great option that don't take too many sonic shortcuts. The F5.2 are excellent performers for the money, offering a sophisticated and mature sound that belies their modest price and rather straightforward looks.

Ok, so they're not stunning to look at, but the build quality is solid enough and they're certainly not fussy regarding positioning in a given room. That's a big plus point, especially if you're after a pair of affordable, simple-to-use speakers that will get the job done no matter where you place them. 

The speakers' main drivers use Aramid fibre for enhanced stiffness, resulting in a transparent sound with bags of detail and dynamic expression. Some rivals will offer a beefier, fuller sonic presentation, but that's understandable in this case. The F5.2 aren’t about delivering more; instead, they’re about offering the music as it comes with as much openness and transparency as possible, something they do with startling clarity and spirit given the price.

In terms of value for money, the Debut B5.2 are one of Elac's best efforts. If you're on a budget and need a simple, neutral-sounding pair of floorstanders, the F5.2 are very hard to beat.

Read our full Elac Debut 2.0 F5.2 review

The best mid-price floorstanding speakers

What Hi-Fi? Awards winner. Refined, entertaining and affordable floorstanders.

Specifications

Drive units: 1" tweeter, 2x 5.1" mid/bass
Ported: Yes (rear)
Bi-wire: Yes
Impedance: 8 ohms
Sensitivity: 89dB
Dimensions (hwd): 38.4" x 7.1" x 13.7"
Weight: 43.2lb
Finishes: 3 (light oak, black oak, walnut pearl)

Reasons to buy

+
Superbly balanced presentation
+
Expressive and revealing midrange
+
Pleasing build and finish

Reasons to avoid

-
Perform best if given a little room to breathe

For customers just looking to get their first hi-fi setup assembled, the Wharfedale Diamond 12.3 are our outstanding affordable floorstander picks right now, so much so that we've lavished them with multiple Awards trophies over the past few years.

The Diamond 12.3 are sonically even more impressive than the revered 12.1, and considering the fact that the latter are five-star performers, that's not an easy task. Competition at this price comes from the impressive Elac Debut 2.0 F5.2 and five-star Fyne Audio F302i, yet we still feel that it's the Wharfedales that offer supremely good value. 

They aren't massive speakers - just 98cm tall - but they benefit from having space to truly breathe - give them a bit of inward angling and you'll be fine, even if their wide sound dispersion means you don't have to fret about being millimetre perfect.

Sonically, they're classic Wharfedale: smooth, even-handed and refined. Feed them a crummy signal and they're skilled at revealing the shortcomings without exaggerating them, rounding off rough edges and downplaying unwanted aggression without sounding like they’re smothering the music itself.

Read our full Wharfedale Diamond 12.3 review

Top Tip
Ketan Bharadia
Top Tip
Ketan Bharadia

It may seem like a small detail, but make sure that whenever you can, you’re using the provided spikes to anchor your new speaker in place. They should be adjusted so that the speaker doesn’t rock, thus giving your precious floorstanders really solid contact with the surface. Putting in spikes keeps the speaker cabinet as still as possible and allows any movement of the drive units to translate into pushing air rather than moving the cabinet itself. 

The best premium floorstanding speakers

Superb performers capable of thrilling results.

Specifications

Drive units: 1" tweeter, 6.3" midrange, 2x 6.3" bass
Ported: Yes (front)
Bi-wire: No
Impedance: 8 ohms
Sensitivity: 92dB
Dimensions (hwd): 40.2" x 8.1" x 12.4"
Weight: 19.6lb
Finishes: 4 (black, white, light oak, walnut)

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent dynamics and punch
+
Impressive rhythmic drive
+
Terrific punch and agility

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires care in partnering
-
Needs a larger room to shine

As this list shows, there's no shortage of talented floorstanding speakers on the market, with the Triangle Borea BR08 providing another excellent example of a pair that gives you just a little bit of that special something.

The cabinets may look a little basic but look a tad closer and you'll appreciate that they're solid, well-made and unquestionably neatly finished. The provided plinths bolt onto the bottom for a bit of extra stability, although we'd prefer the spikes to be a little sharper to penetrate through thicker carpets.

A three-way design, the BR08 employ two fibreglass-coned bass drivers aided by a front-firing reflex port, plus a 25mm silk dome tweeter. Their high sensitivity means you should be able to get good volume levels from even low-powered amps, although their nominal 8-ohm impedance dips to a 3-ohm minimum, so make sure you check for proper compatibility.

Afford the speakers plenty of room to breathe (a good 40/50cm in all directions), angle them towards the listener and you'll hear the Triangles at their very best. We'd avoid bright-sounding electronics, but find suitable partners and you'll be treated to a showcase of their entertaining sound, with vigour and dynamic strength that many rivals simply fail to match.

Worth an audition, certainly, although we'd also urge you to seek out the Dali Oberon 5 as another entertaining alternative at a similar price.

Read our full Triangle Borea BR08 review

Best high-end floorstanding speakers

Wharfedale shows it can mix with the best premium speakers.

Specifications

Drive units: 1.2x2.4" AMT tweeter, 2" midrange, 2x 6.5" bass
Ported: Yes (downward)
Bi-wire: Yes
Sensitivity: 89dB
Impedance: 4 ohms
Dimensions (hwd): 41.7" x 9.8" x 13.8"
Weight: 56.4lb
Finishes: 3 (black, walnut, white oak)

Reasons to buy

+
Natural, easy-going presentation
+
Excitement and rhythmic drive
+
Fine build and finish

Reasons to avoid

-
Need a large room to shine
-
Not a budget option

Wharfedale's premium Evo 4.4 floorstanding speakers still pack in some of the most up-to-date tech you'll find in a pair of towers at this level, and if you'd heard them, you'd hear how that pays dividends. The speakers' Air Motion Transformer tweeter usually comes packed into more costly models, and you also get the brand's impressive midrange and dual Kevlar bass drivers.

That all pays sonic dividends when the time for listening arrives. The grand, somewhat imposing speakers fire out a large-scale sound with weight and depth, but they also offer subtlety and transparency which helps to ensure a natural, easy-going presentation. 

As a matter of fact, the opposite is true. There’s a sense that these floorstanders are attempting to dig deep into each recording to present the information they discover in a clear, honest way. The speakers track notes well, defining leading and trailing edges clearly without sounding staid or overly etched in the process.

Rival speakers may sound more forward and enthusiastic, but we found that over time the Evo 4.4’s easy-going presentation style was more natural and convincing, not to mention pleasurable, to listen to. 

For this sort of money, these are possibly the best floorstanding speakers you can buy. If you can afford to fork out a little extra, we'd urge you to seek out PMC's Award-winning Prodigy 5 as an alternative, as they're easily some of our favourite speakers of recent times. Award-winners, too, don't you know.  

Read our full Wharfedale Evo 4.4 review

Also consider

Q Acoustics 5050: If you're lucky enough to have a large listening space and the right partnering equipment (not to mention around a thousand dollars to spend), the 5050 are a five-star alternative to the excellent models listed above. They're insightful, clear and dynamically involving, with a fine sense of rhythmic drive and impressive bass reproduction.

Sonus Faber Lumina V: The classy Lumina V, retailing at roughly £2499 / $2999 / AU$5295, might be the alternatives you've been looking for, blending classy aesthetics with a stylish, easy-going sonic character. They're especially good with vocals, while that vital lower-end is aided by some powerful, full-bodied sonic reproduction.

Dali Oberon 5: Despite having been around for a few years, the Oberon 5 are still going and, more importantly, they're still superb. A former pair of What Hi-Fi? Award winners, the Dalis thrilled us with their entertaining, informative character and expressive, involving dynamics. 

Bowers & Wilkins 606 S3: Some might find the 606s' four-star review off-putting, but the Bowers towers will do a fantastic job for anyone who wants weight, volume and solidity from their chosen speakers. Yes, they're beatable for dynamic contrast and a sense of levity, but their weighty, full presentation means they'll suit listeners with larger rooms.

How to choose the best floorstanding speakers for you

First things first, decide on a budget. Your components should be evenly matched, both tonally and in terms of price, so consider this before breaking the bank on a new pair of floorstanding speakers that the rest of your kit can't do justice to. 

You also need to make sure your floorstanding speakers fit your room. The majority of speakers require a little space to sound their best, so ensure you don't buy ones that are too big for your room. Large floorstanders mean higher volumes, but you again need space to ensure there's room for them to live and breathe.

There's also the choice between passive and active speakers. Most floorstanding speakers are passive - they have no amplification inside, so require a separate amplifier to work. Active speakers with amplification are becoming increasingly popular and can connect to your source directly without the need for an amp, though they do require a connection to mains power. Check out our pick of the best active speakers if you want to find out more.

For a more detailed explanation of everything you should consider, head over to our complete guide to choosing the right speakers.

How we test floorstanding speakers

We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London and Reading 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 at its price range. We keep What Hi-Fi? Award winners in our stockrooms so we can always compare new products against ones we know and love. We also 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 endeavour to hear every pair of floorstanding speakers at its optimum, with the relevant sources and amplifiers for each price point. 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 a 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) and try them in various positions in the room to find the sweet spot.

All of our review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than an individual reviewer, thus ensuring that personal preferences are eliminated and we're 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 and unbiased reviews for decades.

You can read more about how we test and review products on What Hi-Fi? here.

FAQ

Floorstanders vs standmounts: which speaker type should I buy?

Ah, the eternal question. Thankfully, we've put together a rather handy guide covering this very topic, so if you need the in-depth rundown, that would be the best place to find out.

If you want the abridged version, here are a few pointers. Floorstanders tend to take up much more space and are often (not always, mind) more expensive than their standmounter counterparts. Those standmounter (sometimes "bookshelf") models need to be placed on top of suitable speaker stands, though, a consideration you don't have to make with floorstanders.

Sonically, floorstanders tend to deliver a bit more oomph at the lower end and a bigger spread of sound, thanks to the larger cabinet volume. This means you tend to get more bass, more volume and more scale compared with smaller standmounteres, and they can also offer a truly cinematic experience when used in a home cinema set up.

Finally, think about partnering and your system's capacity to be upgraded when the time comes. If you’re considering a more powerful amp as your next purchase, you may need a more capable pair of speakers that can get up the levels in the long term. If your speakers are very demanding to drive, you’ll need a powerful amplifier to get the most out of them. 

Check out our how to choose the right speakers advice page for further info.

Should I put my floorstanders next to the wall?

Good question, and good job on asking in the first place. 

Most of the time, no, especially if your floorstander has a rear bass reflect port that needs to stay unblocked – so you'll want to give plenty of space from a back wall. Still, it's always best to consult the manufacturer's recommendations in the manual provided with the speakers, as many brands provide guides for how far away the speakers should be from the wall, angling positions, the ideal listening placement and even whether to plug up the rear port or not.

If in doubt, check out our guide regarding how to set up and position your speakers in 4 simple steps and you'll certainly be put somewhere on the right track. Generally, placing speakers too close to a wall gives you too much amorphous bass, while excessive distance will affect the sound the other way and, naturally, put the units too close to your listening position. 

Recent updates

  • May 2024: Added Also Consider section to give readers alternatives to the listed entries above.
  • March 2024: Added FAQ section to help with buying decisions and frequently asked questions.
  • November 2023What Hi-Fi? Award winners labelled after the 2023 Awards Best Buys and Product of the Year announcements.

MORE:

Our pick of the best speakers of every type and size

How to choose the right speakers for you 

Here are the best active speakers you can buy 

How to buy second-hand and vintage hi-fi speakers

Harry McKerrell
Staff writer

Harry McKerrell is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi?. During his time at the publication, he has written countless news stories alongside features, advice and reviews of products ranging from floorstanding speakers and music streamers to over-ear headphones, wireless earbuds and portable DACs. He has covered launches from hi-fi and consumer tech brands, and major industry events including IFA, High End Munich and, of course, the Bristol Hi-Fi Show. When not at work he can be found playing hockey, practising the piano or trying to pet strangers' dogs. 

With contributions from
  • Ivan
    Hello, are there any good active floorstanding speakers? For example
    Dynaudio Focus 60 XD? Thank you
    Reply
  • soswishy
    If you have the budget for those Dynaudio's, I'd definitely recommend you demo the ATC SCM40A.
    Reply
  • F8lee
    Is there a reason Magnepan isn't represented here? The 1.7i sounds outstanding, even without a subwoofer.
    Reply
  • Julian Stevens
    No PMC's?
    Reply
  • soswishy
    No Elac Vela FS 407s? No Sonus Faber Sonetto IIIs?
    Reply
  • mikes
    Goldenear speakers
    Reply
  • paulshwk
    For £699 are there any better floorstanders than the Q Acoustics concept 40? I know these are a few years old but WHF only tends to do comparisons of new products. I'm looking to buy floorstanders and the Q's are in budget. Based on reviews I've read there doesn't appear to be anything significantly better available for the money. Thoughts?
    Reply
  • psurquhart
    Yeah, I’m with Julian above - why no PMC’s - previous WhatHiFi favourites and excellent speaker makers fallen from grace ? Surely they should be on this list ? What have PMC done to you lot ? Explain please
    Reply
  • psurquhart
    paulshwk said:
    For £699 are there any better floorstanders than the Q Acoustics concept 40? I know these are a few years old but WHF only tends to do comparisons of new products. I'm looking to buy floorstanders and the Q's are in budget. Based on reviews I've read there doesn't appear to be anything significantly better available for the money. Thoughts?
    2nd Hand Market - PMC GB1’s - just a thought if you can buy 2nd hand ?
    Reply
  • londonguy
    anyone know if the fyne audio f501 would be a significant upgrade from the monitor audio bx5? Im using a naim atom and want a bit more oopmh in the bass as well as to tame the treble on some tracks which can sound a little harsh on occasion. I was looking at the f502 but think it may be over kill in my living room which is approximately 4m2
    Reply