If you, like so many of us, spend most of your waking hours at your desk, you deserve a good set of computer speakers to combat the tinny sound often found in even some of the best laptops. The best computer speakers combine full, balanced sound with handy features like Bluetooth and headphone outputs. The right one for you will depend on your budget, design taste and how much space you have on your desk.
Here are our picks for the best computer speakers you can buy now, based on hours of testing and research. Need something for private listening? Be sure to check out our roundup of the best noise-cancelling headphones.
The CR4BTs combine great sound with useful features at a good price — a rare combo. With several input options — including RCA stereo, Bluetooth, TRS (a type of cable often used in pro audio) and 3.5 mm — it can play audio from a wide variety of sources. You can even select which speaker you put on the left and the right with a toggle switch. A headphone output on the front makes it convenient to switch to private listening. But it's the sound quality that makes these worth owning: balanced overall with excellent detail, and just enough bass even without a subwoofer. The 8.8 x 7.3 x 6.1-inch units might be a little too big for your desk, though, and depending on your tastes, the bright green rings around the drivers could be too much. Size: 8.8 x 7.3 x 6.1 inches | Drivers: 4-inch woofer, 0.75-inch tweeter | Inputs: RCA, bluetooth, 3.5 mm auxiliary, TRS Credit: Mackie
The small-but-mighty A2+ are for those who appreciate detailed audio and can afford to pay for it. You'll hear crisp treble and balanced midrange and bass — no subwoofer needed, though there's a subwoofer output if you want to add one. Best of all, the A2+ fills the room with sound, and they can get really loud. You can connect in a variety of ways, including RCA stereo, 3.5 mm minijack and USB (you can also get a version with Bluetooth for $50 more). The solidly built units come in satin black, glossy white or glossy red to match your aesthetics. Unfortunately, the unit lacks a headphone output — its one downside. Size: 6 x 5.25 x 4 inches | Drivers: 2.75-inch woofer, 0.75-inch tweeter | Inputs: RCA, USB, 3.5 mm auxiliary Credit: Audioengine
Bose Companion 2 Series III
Bose isn't known for value, but these compact desktop speakers are a bargain when you look at cost versus performance. With big bass and full vocals, the Companion 2 Series III sound great and are worth the premium over the plethora of slightly less expensive models that you'll find. They are also extremely simple to use, with a single volume knob and just one 3.5 mm input. The headphone jack on the front makes it easy to switch to private listening. They don't have a flashy look, which could be a positive or a negative depending on your tastes. Size: 7.5 x 5.9 x 3.1 inches | Drivers: N/A | Inputs: 3.5 mm Credit: Bose
If you subscribe to the low-end theory, the Z625 is for you. With a massive 11.9 x 11.1 x 10.4-inch subwoofer and 400 watts of power, this 2.1-channel system is as bass-forward a system as you'll hear. The 7.7 x 4.9 x 4.6-inch satellites balance out the sound nicely and create a wide, room-filling listening experience. You can adjust the bass level if it's too much for you. The system also features an optical digital audio input — not something you'll find on many desktop speakers. The system's potential downside is the size of that sub — you may not have any room left under your desk for your feet. Size: 7.7 x 4.9 x 4.6-inch satellites, 11.9 x 11.1 x 10.4-inch subwoofer | Drivers: N/A | Inputs: 2 x 3.5 mm, optical digital audio, RCA Credit: Logitech
Harman Kardon Soundsticks III
From the jellyfish-like 10.8 x 9.2-inch subwoofer to the transparent 10 x 2-inch satellites with four drivers each, few systems garner reactions like the SoundSticks. But the SoundSticks are about much more than looks: they deliver full vocals and rich bass. You change the volume through touch-sensitive controls on the right satellite and adjust the bass level on the sub. The system lacks a headphone output and Bluetooth, though, but if style is your thing, you won't find a similar-looking system anywhere. Size: 10 x 2-inch satellites, 10.8 x 9.2-inch subwoofer |Drivers: Eight 2-inch tweeters, one 6-inch woofer | Inputs: 3.5 mm Credit: Harman
Creative GigaWorks T20 Series II
You don't have to spend a ton to get good sound. The Creative GigaWorks T20 Series II are built much better than most computer speakers under $100, and the 9 x 5.6 x 3.5-inch satellites deliver balanced treble and bass. You can adjust the bass and treble levels on the right satellite, and it also features a headphone out and 3.5 mm input on the front of the right speaker. The system doesn't produce the best vocals, however, and it lacks Bluetooth — if those things matter, you'll want to spend more. Size: 9 x 5.6 x 3.5 inches | Drivers: N/A | Inputs: Two 3.5 mm Credit: Creative