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Best floorstanding speakers 2021

Best floorstanding speakers Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best floorstanding speakers you can buy in 2021.

Whether you want to spend a few hundred dollars of a few thousand, the best floorstanding speakers can level up your hi-fi system and deliver awesome, room-filling sound. 

But bigger isn't always better. It's true that floorstanders have cabinets larger than bookshelf speakers, and so tend to create greater scale, authority and bass. But a good pair of bookshelf speakers can trump a bad pair of floorstanders, so you'll need to choose wisely.

And that's where we come in. We've listed our favorite 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 for a premium system?

We're here to help. Read on for our round-up of the best floorstanding speakers we've tested in recent months. You'll even find some of the best prices from around the web, so you can make the most of your budget...

Best floorstanding speakers 2021

(Image credit: Wharfedale)

1. Wharfedale Diamond 12.3

Refined, entertaining and affordable floorstanders.

SPECIFICATIONS

Speaker terminals: 2.5 | Mid/bass driver: 13cm | Tweeter: 2.5cm | Sensitivity: 89dB/W/m | Dimensions: 98 x 18 x 32cm (H x W x D)

Reasons to Buy

Superbly balanced presentation
Expressive and revealing midrange
Pleasing build and finish

Reasons to Avoid

Nothing at this price

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

Best floorstanding speakers 2021: budget to premium

(Image credit: Wharfedale)

2. Wharfedale Evo 4.4

Wharfedale shows it can mix with the very best floorstanders around $2000.

SPECIFICATIONS

Sensitivity: 90 dB/w/m | Driver: 3-way bass reflex, AMT tweeter, Kevlar bass drivers | Impedance: 4ohms | Max power handling: 200W | Speaker terminals: single | Dimensions: 105.9 x 25.7 x 35.6cm (hwd)

Reasons to Buy

Natural, easy-going presentation
Exciting and rhythmic
Fine build and finish

Reasons to Avoid

Need a large room to shine

Wharfedale's Evo 4.4 are packed with technology. The Air Motion Transformer tweeter is normally reserved for much more expensive speakers, while you also get the firm's dome midrange and twin Kevlar bass drivers, another killer feature for the money.

As you'd expect, these imposing speakers produce a large-scale sound with plenty of weight. But they also deliver transparency and subtlety, helping to ensure a natural, easy-going presentation – a quality that is all too rare at this price.

There’s a real feeling that these speakers are digging deep into the recording and presenting that information in an honest, clear way. They track notes well, clearly defining leading and trailing edges without sounding overly etched. 

Rivals might sound more forward, and perhaps a touch more enthusiastic, but over time we found the Evo 4.4’s easy-going presentation to be wonderfully natural and convincing. At the money, these are some of the best floorstanding speakers you can buy right now.

Read the full Wharfedale Evo 4.4 review

Best floorstanding speakers 2021: budget to premium

(Image credit: Dali)

3. Dali Oberon 5

Award-winning floorstanders, right up there with the cream of the crop.

SPECIFICATIONS

Sensitivity: 88 dB/w/wm | Impedance: 6ohms | Biwire: No | Max power handling: 150W | Dimensions: 83 x 16 x 28cm (HxWxD)

Reasons to Buy

Entertaining and informative
Expressive dynamics
Unfussy nature

Reasons to Avoid

Tough competition

For much of the last decade our default choice for the best floorstander costing under $1000 would have been the Q Acoustics 3050i (see below). But that's no longer the case, due to the arrival of the spectacular Dali Oberon 5, which are an even better buy than their illustrious rivals.

They might be a touch smaller than the 3050i but the Dalis manage to sound notably larger and more entertaining. Give them a few days to settle in and they'll perform brilliantly and treat your ears to a responsive, musical sound that is, above all, fun. Their dynamic subtlety, rhythmic precision and sheer transparency help make the most of the subtlest changes in tracks, thus creating a more intimate listening experience.

They're remarkably 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. If you're after a pair of hugely entertaining, nicely-designed speakers at an attractive price, the Oberon 5 should be top of your list.

Read the full Dali Oberon 5 review

Best floorstanding speakers 2021

(Image credit: Future)

4. Elac Debut 2.0 F5.2

Some of the finest budget floorstanders we’ve ever heard.

SPECIFICATIONS

Sensitivity: 86 dB/w/m | Impedance: 6ohms | Max power handling: 140W | Mid/bass driver: 13cm | Tweeter: 25mm | Dimensions: 102 x 18 x 23cm (HxWxD)

Reasons to Buy

Loads of detail
Weighty, precise bass
Snappy timing and dynamics

Reasons to Avoid

Rivals offer more playful presentation

If you're a tight budget, the Elac Debut 2.0 F5.2 are a great option. They really are brilliant performers for the money, offering a mature and sophisticated sound that belies their low price.

Build quality is solid enough and they're 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, which makes for a compelling listen.

Elac has been in the speaker business since the 1980s, and its made many a fine product in that time. But in terms of value for money, the Debut B5.2 are one of its finest.

Read the full Elac Debut 2.0 F5.2 review

Best floorstanding speakers 2021

(Image credit: Q Acoustics)

5. Q Acoustics 3050i

Accomplished floorstanding speakers with plenty of punch.

SPECIFICATIONS

Sensitivity: 91 dB/w/m | Impedance: 6ohms | Max power handling: 100W | Mid/bass driver: 2 x 16.5cm | Tweeter: 22mm | Dimensions: 102 x 31 x 31cm (HxWxD)

Reasons to Buy

Musical performers
Large-scale presentation
Flexible about positioning

Reasons to Avoid

Nothing of note at this price

Q Acoustics has made some of the best floorstanding speakers we've heard over the last decade, but the 3050i offer an exceptional combination of energy and scale, tempered by plenty of musicality, warmth and control. 

If your love for bass and a big sound is greater than your budget, these could be the speakers you've been searching for. When fed some techno, the 3050i's woofer produced a taut and punchy and punctual sound that's hard to beat at this price. 

Build is solid and cabinet rigidity has been improved over the firm's older 3010i and 3020i speakers. You also get a few other technical improvements including HPE (Helmholtz Pressure Equalizer) technology, which aims to reduce cabinet resonance.

Despite being What Hi-Fi Award-winners way back in 2018, these talented towers still have plenty to offer.

Read the full Q Acoustics 3050i review

Best floorstanding speakers 2021

(Image credit: Wharfedale)

6. Wharfedale Elysian 4

Proof that Wharfedale can design great high-end speakers too.

SPECIFICATIONS

Tweeter: 27 x 90mm | Mid/bass driver: 15cm; 22cm | Impedance: 8ohm compatible | Sensitivity: 92dB/w/m | Dimensions: 119 x 40 x 43cm (HxWxD)

Reasons to Buy

Huge sonic scale
Impressive bass reach and agility
Excellent build and finish

Reasons to Avoid

Floor spikes can’t be adjusted
Need a larger room to shine

Wharfedale may have won plaudits for its Diamond range of speakers, but it has plenty to offer at the higher-end, too. Like the Elysian 4.

These speakers are big, and unusually broad by current standards. But they're beautiful to behold, with a wonderfully deep and luxurious gloss that's unmatched at this price. The enclosure sits on widely spaced floor spikes, giving the Elysian 4 a solid and stable stance on a level surface, though oddly they can’t be adjusted and locked into position – something to note if you have uneven hard floors.

These floorstanders deliver a combination of scale, authority and dynamic punch that most (invariably smaller) price rivals can’t match. Large-scale crescendos are dispatched with confidence, the Elysians punching out sound with real venom. They can play at high volume levels without stress too, but also have the less common attribute of still sounding interesting at whisper levels. This is something to take note of if you listen late at night and don’t want to disturb the neighbours.

So if you're starting a party, or just want to enjoy your vinyl on the quiet, the Elysian 4 are a great option for those with slightly deeper pockets.

Read the full Wharfedale Elysian 4 review

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, New York and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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  • 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