Whether you are a musician, educator or public speaker, you should get one of the best powered speakers. This device is a great investment and you’ll find several different types of these speakers available online these days. But it’s important that you get to know what each of their features is before you decide what to buy.
Also known as active speakers or self-powered speakers, powered speakers are loudspeakers that come with built-in amplifiers. Remember bigger is not always better when it comes to your powered speakers, and neither is louder.
So, how do you choose the right powered speakers to buy? In this article, we’ll talk about the different types of powered speakers and we’ll share our recommendations as well. This should serve as your guide to choosing the best powered speakers on the market.
Powered Speakers vs. Unpowered Speakers
There are two main types of speaker systems that you’ll come across – powered and unpowered. As mentioned, powered speakers are those types of speakers that have built-in amplifiers and won’t require a separate amplifier in order to play some audio.
It’s easy to use this speaker. Simply plug it into the nearest outlet and then connect to the source of music, and it will start playing the audio. Due to its ease of use, the speaker is especially useful for those who do not want to go through the many complications of setting up an entire sound system just to be able to play music.
Powered speakers can be used by just about anyone, especially musicians, educators, or public speakers. Even those who are collecting vinyl records and using modern turntables can benefit from the rich audio that the speakers can provide.
However, powered speakers are usually more expensive compared to unpowered speakers. But you need to remember that you may have to purchase separate accessories for the unpowered speaker, such as the amplifier or receiver, speaker wire, cabinet, etc.
So, if you think about it, you’ll actually end up spending more money for the unpowered version, not to mention that it will take up more space due to the separate accessories and equipment.
PLAN - PRICE
START UP - $ 29
Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
BUSINESS - $ 49
Micca PB42X Powered Bookshelf Speakers
ADVANCED - $ 99
Kanto YU4 Powered Speakers with Bluetooth and Phono Preamp
ADVANCED - $ 99
1byone Powered Wireless Classic Bookshelf Speaker
ADVANCED - $ 99
Pyle HiFi Desktop Bookshelf Speakers
Things to Look for When Shopping for the Best Powered Speakers
Now that you have an idea of what a powered speaker is and the different types of powered speakers, including its many benefits, check out this buying guide to help you with your decision.
We’re going to share some of the most important factors to consider when buying a reliable powered speaker and address some of the common questions that buyers often have when it comes to this device.
Frequency Response Rate
Frequency Response Rate refers to the range of sounds that the speaker can produce with the help of the drivers. Low-end range refers to the bass frequencies while higher-end refers to the high and treble notes.
The wider the frequency response rate of the device, the better the quality of sound that it can produce. Usually, speakers with a wider range are more expensive. Nevertheless, they are worth it because they are able to provide you with the best sound quality experience.
Powered speakers are called this way because they come with power and their power level is an important factor to consider when shopping for this speaker.
Powered speakers work with peak outage as well as a continuous RMS wattage. They use electricity to convert audio signals to louder sounds, which is made possible by providing power to the speaker drivers. Basically, the more power that the speaker has, the clearer and louder the audio that the speaker can produce.
If you’ll settle with the low wattage speaker, the sound can get distorted if you turn the speakers up to the point that listening to the audio will become unbearable. When it comes to power, the most important thing to consider is the RMS. But consider the peak as well in order to determine the overall experience that the speaker can provide.
Equalizer and Mixer
Some of the speakers are equipped with equalizer and mixer and there are those that don’t have any of these. Depending on what you need, you can go for a speaker that comes with these features or one with basic controls.
If you’re a singer or a DJ and you need a reliable speaker for your gigs, the best powered DJ speakers are those that come with a built-in equalizer and mixer. But if you need the speaker for personal use only, you don’t really need to pay more to get a speaker that comes with these extra features.
Think of how big and heavy you want your speakers to be. If you’re going to place it on top of a bookshelf, then a heavy and bulky speaker may not work for you. The best powered bookshelf speakers are those that are lightweight and compact.
So, think about the space where you plan on mounting the speakers so you will have an idea about the size and weight of the speaker that you will need.
If you’re a public speaker and you need a loudspeaker to help make your voice louder for everyone to hear, then you should choose a speaker that comes with microphone input. However, make sure that the microphone input is not only limited to certain brands of a microphone.
If you’re a singer and the microphone that the speaker comes with is only for speeches, then the speaker will be useless. Therefore, before you purchase a speaker, find out if it’s compatible with the microphone that you plan on using.
Remember that the more parts and components your speaker has, the higher the chances of it encountering issues. Most of the modern designed powered speakers are of excellent build quality so reliability is not really an issue for these devices. Nevertheless, regardless of how solid the overall body of your speaker is, careful handling is important in order to keep it in excellent condition.
As mentioned, powered speakers have amplifier fitted into it, which adds to the bulk and weight. This is why they are usually heavier compared to passive speakers. If you need something portable that you can easily carry from one place to another, it’s important that you think of the weight and portability of the device.
Think of the handle as well, especially for those who need to visit different venues for gigs. It should have a handle that will allow you to easily carry the device around.
10 Best Powered Speakers for the Money
Now that you have everything you need to know about the best powered speakers, take a look below at our list of the top-rated powered speakers in the market. These speakers have been getting lots of praises and positive reviews online, so you might want to check them out.
1 – Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
For musicians who are looking for the best powered speakers for live band, it’s important that you choose something that’s compact and portable, something that you can carry everywhere for your gigs.
When it comes to this, the Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers is what we would recommend. With a size of 174 mm x 289 mm x 252 mm, this speaker can be easily carried. The compact size also means that you can place it on a desktop.
Another great thing about this speaker is that it looks really great, which is what most musicians would really want for their speaker. The overall finish and styling are of good quality. It has curved side panels that are glossy and are compatible with a textured finish that’s right on the front.
Furthermore, the speaker’s angled-back design makes it look even more elegant. Like most of the powered speakers, the inputs, controls, and amplifier of the Edifier R2000DB are located at the back and there’s a cable that connects with other speakers.
Comes with a Bluetooth connection
Includes a 3.5 mm headphone
Covered with a 2-year warranty
No universal remote support
2 – Micca PB42X Powered Bookshelf Speakers
For those who are looking for the best powered speakers under 200, the Micca PB42X Powered Bookshelf Speakers is highly recommended. With its compact design, you can easily bring this device with you anywhere you go. This speaker is a great all-around speaker solution and will not take up a lot of space in your room, which means that it’s ideal for those who live in small apartments.
These affordable powered speakers feature a powerful 4-inch driver that’s made of high-quality carbon fiber that’s guaranteed to be durable. Capable of producing the richest bass sound possible, the speaker is certainly a great device to buy for those who need a reliable speaker whether for professional or personal use.
The Micca PB42X Powered Bookshelf Speakers boast an incredible frequency response of 60Hz to 20kHz, which is exactly what you need in order to enjoy an optimal audio experience.
These powered speakers are equipped with wired connection ports, which is what you would expect from any bookshelf speaker. It’s also possible to plug the speaker to any device that has an AUX connection.
There’s no longer a need to spend more money on this speaker since everything that you would need in a speaker is already built into it. It comes with two 15W amplifiers that are built into the device plus an 18-Decibel crossover for the speakers to produce excellent quality of signal transfer from the start.
Built-in Class-D amplifier
Features a high-performance silk dome tweeter
Highly optimized crossover
Made from balanced woven carbon fiber material
Might require the use of a subwoofer to get the best audiophile sound
3 – Kanto YU4 Powered Speakers with Bluetooth and Phono Preamp
The Kanto YU4’s Powered Speakers are like a crossover between the desktop and bookshelf speaker and provides a 140W power using its built-in amplifier. Featuring tweeters on each side of the speaker, along with 4-inch Kevlar drivers, these speakers are capable of producing a distortion-free and crystal-clear sound quality.
The speakers come with several inputs – 2 optical TOSLINK ports, 3.5 mm AUX jack, RCA port, as well as an integrated Bluetooth. Furthermore, the speakers come with a sub-out port that allows for the easy hookup of the subwoofer. It also has a USB port that makes it possible for you to charge your tablet or mobile phone as the speakers play the music.
You get to choose from 8 different colors with these speakers. They are capable of producing a brilliant sound quality, which is on par with other more expensive speaker systems on the market. If you’re in search of the best powered speakers under 500, the YU4 is highly recommended.
Comes with remote control
Handcrafted MDF cabinets
Signal detection feature
4 – 1byone Powered Wireless Classic Bookshelf Speaker
When it comes to the best powered PA speakers, the 1byone Powered Wireless Classic Bookshelf Speaker is one of those speakers that we want to recommend. We believe this speaker can satisfy the needs of any audiophile out there.
1byone is a brand known for producing the best speakers and are well-known for their waterproof Bluetooth speaker, which is the first of its kind. This bookshelf speaker is very portable and can be taken during camping trips and beach outing.
The 1byone Powered Wireless Classic Bookshelf Speaker is made up of two decent speakers with 4-inch drivers as well as a tweeter. It has a stylish design of modern metal finish and an all-black grid that’s on the front. On both sides of the speakers, you’ll find a classy wooden pattern that makes the speaker stand out even more.
The speaker’s control box is located on the outside of it. It consists of a square cut shape, which is why it’s not too bulky since it doesn’t have the rounded knobs that are commonly found on the front side of most speakers. One thing you’ll notice about this device is that its angle is slightly tilted upwards.
Thus, you will find a difference in the direction of the sound once you start listening to it. Just on top of the headphone jack, you’ll find a treble, volume, and bass control. The overall components are easily accessible and it’s clear that the company puts focus on the needs of the users when producing this speaker.
Automatic power off
Comes with 2 AUX input
Includes a compact remote control
Produces excellent sound quality
The remote control is as basic as it gets
Advantages of Powered Speakers
There are plenty of advantages that come with using powered speakers. If you’re not yet convinced why you should invest in this device, then here’s what you should know:
Compared to unpowered speakers, powered speakers are more space-efficient, which is why they appeal most to those with limited spaces in their house. The amplifier of this speaker is enclosed in a cabinet, which is why it won’t take up a lot of space. Even though the floor-standing option will still occupy some space, it’s space-saving because it won’t require additional accessories, such as woofers, amplifiers, etc.
The dual cables that will be used to connect to the speakers are usually short and are made from less copper. Some models are equipped with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, which replaces the audio signal cable.
When it comes to efficiency, powered speakers are definitely a better choice. They are better versions of a loudspeaker since they provide convenience and ease of use. Furthermore, the best powered speakers are durable and could last for a very long time. Plus, they provide better dynamic range and sound quality.
Compared to other types of speakers, powered speakers are generally more cost-effective. You only need to pay for a single unit instead of buying separate components just to set up an audio system.
Desktop vs. Bookshelf vs. Mounting
Another great thing about powered speakers is that they come with a compact design and can be portable too. So, if you live in a small house, such as an apartment or dormitory, this device can work best for you.
You can place the device in a bookshelf, desktop, or mount it on a wall. When looking for the best powered bookshelf speakers, double-check the brackets and make sure that they will allow you to mount the device easily into the shelf.
5 – Pyle HiFi Desktop Bookshelf Speakers
Costing less than $100, the Pyle Powered Speakers are among the most affordable powered speakers on this list. But even though the product is cheap, it comes with 10-inch heavy-duty self-powered subwoofers, which makes it capable of producing ultimate bass quality.
This 300-watt speaker is capable of reproducing an entire studio audio spectrum. Furthermore, the sound that these powerful speakers produce doesn’t get drowned out even when used in large venues. The best thing about this speaker is that it’s suitable for any type of media.
It can be connected easily to the speaker and all kinds of band equipment. Thus, you are free to use this speaker with any of your devices, including your iPhone, iPod, etc. In addition, you’ll be able to charge the device while connected to the speakers.
The Pyle Desktop Speakers allow you to easily play MP3 music through a USB port and you’ll be able to connect several active powered speakers through an XLR cable. It’s also possible to attach it from one monitor line to the other loudspeaker line. This feature allows you to play mono amp or stereo music.
Can be used indoor
Equipped with Hi-Fi sound reproduction feature
Rear panel control
6 – Yamaha DBR10 700-Watt Powered Speaker
For those who are in need of the best powered speakers under 300, the Yamaha DBR10 700-W Speaker is worth checking out. Looking at the device, you’ll think that it’s just any other typical speaker out there. But when you get to know it more, you’ll realize that this speaker is truly powerful.
It utilizes 700W Class–D amplification and it’s capable of delivering a maximum SPL of 129dB. For this device, Yamaha used its own bass driver, which consists of a 2-inch voice coil as well as a 10-inch coil. The bass driver is located below the compression driver and both the woofer and tweeter are enclosed with a steel grill.
The coverage angle of the horn is stated as a 90-deg horizontal and 60-deg vertical. Furthermore, the entire body of the speaker’s cabinet is molded and comes with a handle, which makes it easier to carry around. There’s also a 35-mm pole that’s mounted right at the base.
According to Yamaha, their DBR series come with an amplifier, transducer, and DSP technologies that the company has further developed, which is like an upgraded version of the DXR and DSR range of speakers.
If you need something bigger, you can opt for the 15-inch or 12-inch models. The frequency response of DBR10 is 55Hz to 20kHz and if you need the best powered speakers for keyboards, this is what we would recommend.
700 W Clean Digital Power, 129 dB SPL
Bi-Amped, 10-inch powered speaker
Covered under a 7-year warranty
Yamaha is one of the best powered speaker brands but it is pricey
7 – Klipsch R-41PM Powered Bookshelf Speaker
This next product on our list is a truly powerful powered speaker. The R-41PM Powered Bookshelf Speaker is a compact designed device produced by Klipsch, a brand known for its acoustics, which often comes with an integrated power system and Bluetooth technology.
The speakers are specially designed for any virtual source and devices that don’t come with an A/V receiver. Although the speakers are only less than 10-inches tall, they are still capable of delivering groundbreaking acoustics and excellent sound quality.
Furthermore, these speakers won’t occupy plenty of space in your house, which is why it appeals the most to those who live in apartments and condominiums. Equipped with phono pre-amp, Bluetooth technology, analog RCA, USB sloths, this speaker is one of the best powered speakers for a turntable.
But aside from using them on a turntable, these speakers can also work with a computer, television, and other devices. And because human ears perceive frequency in a different way, these speakers have been designed to match the human’s ability to listen to low-frequency sounds.
3.5mm analog mini-jack
Equipped with Bluetooth wireless technology
Produces wonderful sound
Not the cheapest of the reviewed powered speakers
8 – Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers
The Edifier R1280T is, without a doubt, one of the best audio speakers for home use. It comes with excellent features that make it possible to produce the best sound quality. This studio-quality speaker truly packs a punch, but you’d be surprised to know that this device is very affordable and is recommended for those who are on a budget.
The excellent sound quality that these speakers can produce is made possible with the help of the 13 mm dome tweeter that’s professionally crafted. Furthermore, this device is equipped with a four-inch driver that’s right in the middle. Although these speakers are slightly smaller compared to most powered speakers, it cannot be denied that the tweeters and drivers are truly one of a kind.
When you read the reviews written by customers who have tried using these speakers, you’ll find that most of them are very satisfied with the way they work. Indeed, these speakers produce excellent sound quality. You can go as loud as you want to and enjoy your favorite music.
And just like with the other Edifier brand of speakers, these speakers are packed with features that can help improve your listening experience. Among its features is a handy remote control that allows you to adjust the volume of the speakers without the need to go near it. Furthermore, it has bass dials and adjustable treble, so you can have various options in customizing the sound quality that you want.
2 AUX inputs
Classic wood finish
Studio sound quality
Covered with a 2-year warranty
At 42 Watts RMS, it is not the loudest of the bunch
9 – Rockville RPG152K Dual 15″ Powered Speakers
The Rockville RPG152K Dual 15″ Powered Speakers are among the top-rated speakers online and that is for a good reason. These speakers are integrated with the D Class amplifier that’s truly very efficient. Furthermore, it has Bluetooth capabilities, allowing you to use it with any Bluetooth-enabled devices. They can also work with MP3 players.
Since the device is equipped with a wired microphone, we believe these are the best powered speakers for live band performances. Furthermore, it has a built-in FM radio where you can listen to your favorite music plus it features a simple BT and LCD screen connectivity pairing.
Just like with the other powered speakers on this list, the device comes with a remote control so you can adjust it remotely. Furthermore, the speakers are lightweight and compact and equipped with a handle, which means you’ll be able to easily carry the speakers from one place to another.
Nice to look at
It’s not the present generation of RPG 15
10 – Edifier R1700BT Bookshelf Speakers
The Edifier R1700BT is one of those speakers that we would recommend to those who need the best powered speakers under 200. These affordable speakers are very versatile and are capable of playing different types of devices that will be attached to them. You can plug it into your computer, TV, consoles, etc.
Equipped with a bass driver and 19-mm dome tweeter, the R17OOBT is capable of producing the best quality of sound. Both of these components work to produce deep lows and clear highs. Furthermore, it has a front-facing port of bass and it’s clear that these speakers give more emphasis on low frequencies, which gave the bass more power.
There are dials found on each side of the speakers, which give you full control over the audio, bass, and treble. It’s also possible to alter the music of the speaker from afar, thanks to its wireless remote. Equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, you’d be able to use this speaker in listening to music from your smartphone and other Bluetooth enabled devices.
2 x AUX input
High-quality MDF wood build
Excellent lower-priced powered speakers but the customer support need improvement
Should I get a wired or wireless powered speaker?
The answer to this question will mainly depend upon your personal preferences. If you’re going to set up the sound system by your TV, the wired version is more ideal for you because the speakers are going to remain around the TV set. However, if you need something that you can easily carry from one place to another, then the wireless version that comes with Bluetooth connectivity will suit you best.
Do I have to buy amplifiers?
There are certain speakers that need a separate amplifier to work, which you need to purchase separately. The speakers that we’ve featured in this guide come with built-in amplifiers in them so there’s no longer a need to purchase a separate amplifier.
Should I get a dedicated subwoofer?
For bass junkies, you might be thinking about getting a dedicated subwoofer for low-frequency sounds. But this will mainly depend upon your personal preferences. For everyday use, a powered speaker is capable of delivering the bass sounds that you require for a fantastic result.
But if you want to take your audio listening experience to the next level, you may want to consider getting a subwoofer.
PLAN - PRICE
START UP - $ 29
Yamaha DBR10 700-Watt Powered Speaker
BUSINESS - $ 49
Klipsch R-41PM Powered Bookshelf Speaker
ADVANCED - $ 99
Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers
ADVANCED - $ 99
Rockville RPG152K Dual 15" Powered Speakers
ADVANCED - $ 99
Edifier R1700BT Bookshelf Speakers
The best powered speakers are those that come with great features like Bluetooth connectivity, optical input, and remote control. All these features are in the Edifier R2000DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers, which is why this is the model that we would highly recommend out of all the powered speakers that we featured on this list.
With this device, you’ll be able to remotely switch input sources or control volume, thanks to its remote control. So, if you’re on the hunt for a decent pair of speakers that can give you the best value for your money, this is the product that you need.