Best floorstanding speakers Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best floorstanding speakers you can buy in 2023.
Whether you want to spend a few hundred dollars or 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 deliver 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 make sure you pick the best floorstanding speakers for your budget and room size.
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. 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'll even find some of the best prices from around the web, so you can make the most of your 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 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
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
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. Along with the Triangle Borea BR08 (above), the arrival of the spectacular Dali Oberon 5 offers 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. The speakers' 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
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 it has made many a fine product in that time. But in terms of value for money, the Debut B5.2 are one of the company's finest.
Read the full Elac Debut 2.0 F5.2 review
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
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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