Skip to main content

Best budget hi-fi speakers 2019

Best budget hi-fi speakers Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best budget hi-fi speakers you can buy in 2019.

We've trawled through our reviews – new and old – to present the best budget pairs of speakers you can buy, which won't break the bank - including standmounts, floorstanders and desktop speakers. 

Our list spans several brands from KEF to Mission, Monitor Audio to Tannoy and beyond - which just goes to show how many excellent budget hi-fi speakers are out there. 

A tight budget may rule out flagship technologies and expensive materials (and the sonic performance that goes with them, of course), but it's surprising how good sound quality can be at this level. In fact, we're often shocked by the arrival of new speakers that manage to squeeze out even more performance for the money.

So whether you're building a hi-fi system based on separates or simply need a pair  to accompany a micro system, you're sure to find something suitable on this list. Dig right in...

Best budget hi-fi speakers 2019

1. Elac Debut B5.2

Brilliant budget speakers for the money.

SPECIFICATIONS

Impedance: 6ohms | Sensitivity: 86dB/w/m | Speaker terminals: Single | Dimensions: 34 x 18 x 23cm (HxWxD) | Tweeter: 2.5cm cloth dome | Mid/bass: 5.25cm aramid fibre

Reasons to Buy
Cohesive, insightful sound
Unfussy about placement
Solid build
Reasons to Avoid
Nothing at this price

There's no shortage of talented budget speakers on the market, so it takes something really special to top our list. Needless to say, these Elacs sound sensational for the money.

At 34cm tall, they're a relatively compact single-wired design and use a 5.25cm aramid fibre mid/bass driver partnered with a 2.5cm cloth dome tweeter. The only downside is you've only got one vinyl finish (black ash) to choose from.

The Elacs are unfussy about placement but we'd definitely partner them with quality entry-level separates - this will allow their rhythmic talents to shine through. They're dynamic and expressive performers capable of dealing with any genre you throw their way. Buy with confidence.

Read the full review: Elac Debut B5.2

Best budget hi-fi speakers 2019

2. Dali Spektor 2

These great-value Dalis offer unrivalled entertainment for the money.

SPECIFICATIONS

Impedance: 6ohms | Sensitivity: 85dB/w/m | Speaker terminals: Single | Dimensions: 29 x 17 x 24cm (HxWxD) | Tweeter: 25mm soft dome | Woofer: 13cm wood fibre

Reasons to Buy
Agile and expressive sound
Good detail resolution
Unfussy nature
Reasons to Avoid
Nothing of note

These 2018 Award-winners are excellent speakers, combining Dali's traditional strengths (agility, articulation and good insight) with a generous dose of entertainment. 

They deserve top spot on this list for offering a level of fun even their most talented rivals struggle to match. For £199 they're virtually impossible to fault.

Read the full review: Dali Spektor 2

Best budget hi-fi speakers 2019

3. Monitor Audio Bronze 2

These are fantastic speakers and offer terrific sound-per-pound value.

SPECIFICATIONS

Speaker terminals: Single | Mid/bass driver: 16.5cm C-CAM | Tweeter: 25mm C-CAM | Sensitivity: 90dB/W/m | Dimensions: 35 x 18.5 x 25.5cm (HxWxD) | Sensitivity: 90 dB/w/m

Reasons to Buy
Rich, warm sound
Clear, precise treble
Sweeping dynamics
Reasons to Avoid
Need a little space to breathe

Previous generations of Bronze 2s were class leaders. As it turns out, these versions are too. For their size, these standmounts dig deep in the bass; they’re tonally balanced and impressively detailed too. 

Add fine build and Monitor Audio’s usual high standard of finish and you can't go wrong. Another 2018 Award winner, these are a fine buy indeed.

Read the full review: Monitor Audio Bronze 2

Best budget hi-fi speakers 2019

4. B&W 607

A marvellously entertaining pair of budget standmount speakers.

SPECIFICATIONS

Speaker terminals: Bi-wirable | Mid/bass driver: 13cm Continuum | Tweeter: 25mm Aluminium | Sensitivity: 84dB/W/m | Dimensions: 30 x 16.5 x 23cm (HxWxD)

Reasons to Buy
Dynamic and punchy
Well detailed, with fine balance
Versatile with positioning
Reasons to Avoid
Nothing at this price

The 600 Series to which these speakers belong is the most affordable range in B&W’s vast catalogue and, standing just 30cm tall, the 607s are the smallest and most affordable stereo pair in the line-up.

For a pair of standmounters at this price, you’d do well to beat the B&W 607s. Energetic, insightful and riotously entertaining, they're a truly stunning pair of budget hi-fi speakers.

Read the full review: B&W 607

Best budget hi-fi speakers 2019

5. Fyne Audio F302

A fabulous pair of entertaining and affordable floorstanders.

SPECIFICATIONS

Sensitivity: 90dB/w/m | Impedance: 8ohms | Max power handling: 120W | Mid/bass driver: 15cm multi-fibre | Tweeter: 25mm polyester dome | Dimensions: 93 x 19 x 27cm (HXWXD)

Reasons to Buy
Full-bodied, entertaining sound
Fantastic timing and dynamic range
Plenty of low-end presence
Reasons to Avoid
Need some care in system-matching

It’s rare to find such capable floorstanders under £500 - their blend of awesome dynamics and accurate timing makes them a pleasure to listen to. They also manage to produce a surprising amount of quality bass given their size. If you needed any more encouragement, the Fynes also won a What Hi-Fi? Award in 2018.

Read the full review: Fyne Audio F302

Best budget hi-fi speakers 2019

6. Mission QX-2

Fun, easy to listen to and, at this price, excellent value for money.

SPECIFICATIONS

Sensitivity: 88 dB/w/m | Impedance: 8ohms | Max power handling: 120W | Mid/bass driver: 15cm pulp/acrylic fibre | Tweeter: 38mm ring radiator | Speaker terminals: Single | Dimensions: 32 x 22 x 31cm (HxWxD)

Reasons to Buy
Energetic and insightful sound
Good rhythmic drive
Fine build and finish
Reasons to Avoid
Tough competition

The Mission QX-2s are terrific speakers. They sound at home across a wide range of music and have an infectiously energetic character that makes them a pleasure to listen to. If you’re in the market for budget standmounters around the £350 mark, you simply have to consider these. Another set of speakers thoroughly deserving of a 2018 Best Buy.

Read the full review: Mission QX-2

Best budget hi-fi speakers 2019

7. KEF Q350

Sophisticated, insightful speakers that belie their affordable price.

SPECIFICATIONS

Speaker terminals: Single | Driver: 16.5cm UniQ mid/bass with integrated 25mm aluminium dome tweeter | Sensitivity: 87dB/w/m | Impedance: 8ohms | Dimensions: 35.8 x 21 x 30cm (HxWxD)

Reasons to Buy
Stunning levels of clarity and detail
Huge scale of sound
Good timing
Reasons to Avoid
Lack some punch and drive
Not best at low volumes

If your budget can stretch as high as £500, these standmounts are no brainers, offering stunning sound and elegant looks at a competitive price that see them taking the trophy at the top of their class. 

Nearly every aspect of the speakers has been redesigned for Q350s to achieve a cleaner, more sophisticated look and sound. The result is an unquestionable triumph for KEF.

Read the full review: KEF Q350

Best budget hi-fi speakers 2019

8. Dali Oberon 1

High-quality small speakers with an unfussy nature.

SPECIFICATIONS

Sensitivity: 86dB/w/m | Impedance: 6ohms | Max power handling: 100W | Woofer: 13cm wood/fibre | Tweeter: 29mm soft dome | Dimensions: 27 x 16 x 23cm (HxWxD) | Speaker terminals: Single

Reasons to Buy
Bold and articulate sound
Excellent with voices
Fine build
Reasons to Avoid
Limited bass depth
Lack a little authority

About the size of a shoebox, these Dalis keep strictly to convention as far as design is concerned - they are a two way, rear ported design, just like all their closest rivals. 

But ordinary performers they are not, for the Dalis are quite exceptional. They're wonderfully articulate performers that marry a bold, forthright nature with the kind of refinement and insight that’s rare at this level. They're particularly stunning with vocals, although be aware speakers this small are never going to produce loads of bass.

Read the full review: Dali Oberon 1

Best budget hi-fi speakers 2019

9. Mission LX-2

One of the best-value budget speakers around.

SPECIFICATIONS

Sensitivity: 85dB/w/m | Impedance: 6ohms | Max power handling: 80W | Woofer: 13cm fibre composite | Tweeter: 25mm microfibre dome | Dimensions: 30 x 19 x 26cm (HxWxD) | Speaker terminals: Single

Reasons to Buy
Insightful sound
Strong dynamics and fine timing
Punchy delivery
Reasons to Avoid
Need care in partnering

The LX-2s were originally tested at £200, but now at the revised price of £160 they’re an even bigger bargain, delivering a huge slice of fun that few rivals can get close to. If you don't like the look of the Dali Spektor 2s, these are the next best alternatives at this modest price point.

They may not be one of the newest speakers in the list, but they remain a solid go-to recommendation for anyone on a tight budget.

Read the full review: Mission LX-2

Best budget hi-fi speakers 2019

10. Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2

Desktop speakers with a gorgeous design and superb performance.

SPECIFICATIONS

aptX Bluetooth: Yes | Inputs: Optical, line in | Output: Subwoofer | Dimensions: 17 × 13 × 13.5cm (HxWxD)

Reasons to Buy
Stunningly musical sound
Subtle dynamics
Stylish, compact design
Reasons to Avoid
No USB input

We loved the first Ruark Audio MR1 desktop speakers when they emerged in 2013, and as they entered mark two stage our love only grew stronger. Winners in the What Hi-Fi? Awards desktop speaker category, they are the closest any desktop wireless speaker has come to sounding like proper hi-fi.

Quite simply, these are superb speakers of their type.

Read the full review: Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2

Best budget hi-fi speakers 2019

11. Wharfedale D310

Clear-sounding, compact and detailed standmounters for less than £150.

SPECIFICATIONS

Sensitivity: 86dB/w/m | Impedance: 4ohms | Max power handling: 80W | Mid/bass: 10cm Kevlar | Tweeter: 2.5cm soft dome | Dimensions: 26.5 x 15.5cm x 22.8cm (HxWxD) | Speaker terminals: Single

Reasons to Buy
Clear, detailed sound
Impressive bass
Attractive design
Reasons to Avoid
Sound lacks energy
Lots of competition

At just £150, there's a lot to like about the Wharfedale D310s. They're packed full of engineering including downward-firing ports and woven Kevlar cones. The design is appealing too - with nicely rounded edges on the cabinets and a choice of black or white finishes.

If you're tight on space, the Wharfedales work perfectly well placed close to a wall, maintaining a good balance and stereo image. There's plenty of bass for the money and the way the D310s handle vocals is a particular highlight, displaying clarity and emotion in spades. They might sound too laid-back for some, but for the money there's little else to criticise.

Read the full review: Wharfedale D310