The best PC speakers for any budget

The best budget speakers, mid-range systems and earth-shaking surround sounds

The best PC speakers for any budget

by William Lobley |

PC speakers are a favourite computer accessory of ours because they tread the elusive line between being essential and exciting.

Whether you like a little background music while you work or you want to shake the walls while gaming, you're going to need some quality PC speakers. There are many different options on the market, all claiming to deliver incredible sound. Logic dictates that they can’t all be right, so to cut through to the options that matter, we’ve rounded up the best PC speakers.

Thankfully, there’s an impressive selection available. So no matter your need, desire, or budget, there’s going to be something here that fits the bill.

Related: The best floor standing speakers I Best hi-fi speakers

The advantages of PC speakers

Apple Macbook with Logitech Z333 Speakers

You need speakers to get the most out of a computer, be it a laptop, tablet, or desktop PC. Audio cues for alerts and notifications are important, helping you to stay on top of emails and chats, as much as OS and security updates.

In addition to this useful service, speakers offer a real boost to anything involving audio. Voices of video calls are given greater presence and clarity, music is enlivened with richer tones and thicker bass, and the drama of video content is provided with the weight and grandeur it deserves.

The best PC speakers shortlist:

Listening in private? Read up about the best headphones

A quick note on inbuilt speakers…

Laptops, tablets and some monitors come with inbuilt speakers – so why would you need some more? Well, these speakers are okay for notifications and quick video chat, but anyone spending more than a few minutes working or streaming will quickly realise that they won’t do.

In-built speakers are often very quiet and produce only a thin, scratchy and tinny sound. External speakers are bigger in both size and power. To simplify the science behind this difference, larger speakers means a wider frequency range is available – thus much louder and better quality audio.

Part of a laptop or tablet’s appeal is that they are all-in-one devices and don’t take up too much space. Thankfully, there are low-fuss and compact high-performance speakers that won’t diminish this convenience, such as the Creative Pebble V2 or Logitech Z120 Laptop Speakers.

A little something extra for PC gamers

PC gamers will already know the importance of a strong audio setup. After splashing out on one of the best gaming rigs and gaming monitors, it makes sense to take good care of the sound, too. The list below includes some surround sound options that are sure to appeal. Elsewhere, we’ve also rounded up the best gaming headsets and the best gaming speakers under £100, offering a curated selection of affordable speakers tailored specifically to gaming needs.

The best PC speakers in detail:

Logitech Z200 Computer PC Speakers

Editor's pick
Logitech Z200 Computer PC Speakers
Amazon

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The Z200s are a phenomenon. These mains powered speakers deliver high quality, powerfully thick and defined sound that is perfect for budget gamers and media lovers with a desk workstation. Their price point is spot on, beating any competition in the surrounding price brackets. Improved connectivity is available if you opt for the Z207, which comes with Bluetooth (and a higher price tag).

Best for: everyday versatility

Pros Cons
• Affordable • So-so distinction between mids and bass
• Good sound profile
• Plenty of volume
Specifications
Connections: 3.5mm aux
Powered: Mains
Speakers: 10W

Razer 2.0 Nommo Gaming Speakers

Recommended
Razer 2.0 Nommo Gaming Speakers
Amazon

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Razer has torn apart our traditional concept of what a speaker should be. The look is pure gamer, but it also works to deliver more than just a quirky vibe to your desk. The speakers push out a highly tuned, dynamic and accurate audio, helping to immerse you in the game whilst providing accurate depth and directional perception. For two simple speakers, the spatial experience is exceptional. The Nommo are, without a doubt, some of the best gaming speakers for under £100.

Best for: gamers on a budget

Pros Cons
• Great sound • Lacking bass
• Good audio space
• Small desk footprint
Specifications
Connections: 3.5mm aux
Powered: Mains
Speakers: 3-inch drivers

Creative Pebble V2 Speakers

Recommended
Creative Pebble V2 Speakers
Amazon

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Creative's minimalistic 2.0 speakers offer a decent sound with a more than acceptable clarity. The angled drivers are about more than just style, they're positioned to project audio at, rather than past, the listener. The Pebble is powered via USB and offers a boosted audio feature when plugged into a 10W USB-C or USB-A port, which doubles the sound output from 8W to 16W. These speakers are impressive for their size and price, if you them but fancy a little more kick to your sound, then pick up the Pebble V2 with Down-Firing Subwoofer.

Best for: anyone wanting to save money and space

Pros Cons
• Cheap • Not for large spaces
• Portable • High volume distortion
• Well-built
Specifications
Connections: 3.5mm aux
Powered: Mains
Speakers: 2-inch driver, 8W standard, 16W boosted

Logitech Z333 2.1 Multimedia Speaker System

Recommended
Logitech Z333 2.1 Multimedia Speaker System
Amazon

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How does Logitech do it? The brand is continuously releasing excellent audio solutions at a price that we cannot ignore. With the Z333, Logitech has managed to deliver a 2.1 system loaded with thick, punchy subwoofer and rich satellites - for under £90.

Related: The best surround sound system

Ideal for enlivening music, gaming or film on a budget, this simple package is a compelling option for all. You control the volume via a control pad, and the power of the subwoofer can set via a rear-mounted dial.

Best for: anyone wanting clear, strong bass

Pros Cons
• Excellent build • Bass can be OTT when cranked
• Fun sound profile
• Reasonable cost
Specifications
Connections: 3.5mm aux, RCA
Powered: Mains
Speakers: 80W

PreSonus Eris E3.5 Active Studio Monitors

Recommended
PreSonus Eris E3.5 Active Studio Monitors
Amazon

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These monitors sound huge. As a home studio setup is the focus of the design, PreSonus has packed some mighty and clean 3.5 drivers to deliver a bouncy bass response. Accuracy is key with the audio, so what you hear will be what the original sound designer wanted you to. They are tuned to negate room acoustics, meaning that they'll kick a decent noise out in a room of any size.

Related: The best ceiling speakers

Best for: anyone with a home studio setup

Pros Cons
• Clean sound • Low-end bass can be thin
• Accurate
• Great style
Specifications
Connections: 3.5mm aux, RCA, ¼ TRS
Powered: Mains
Speakers: 3.5-inch bass driver, 1-inch tweeter, 25W

Logitech G560 RGB PC Gaming Speakers

Recommended
Logitech G560 RGB PC Gaming Speakers

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argos

These RGB-loaded gaming speakers from Logitech are sure to make a lot of gamers grin because they look fantastic. But it's not all style with the G560. Logitech's audio pedigree is here in full force too, with the DTS:X virtual surround sound proving to be rich, detailed, and very, very loud. The sub-woofer plays a large part in achieving this, adding a tremendous rumble and atmosphere to any gaming session.

Best for: gamers who like RGB

Pros Cons
• Low-fuss • RGB isn’t for everyone
• Well-built
• Great audio
Specifications
Connections: 3.5mm aux, USB, Bluetooth
Powered: Mains
Speakers: 250W

Razer Leviathan

Recommended
Razer Leviathan Surround Soundbar
Amazon

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Razer's Leviathan soundbar sits underneath your monitor to deliver an onslaught of Dolby virtual surround sound. The audio feels expansive and accurate, and the additional sub-woofers helps to deliver some thunderous bass. Connectivity is great too, with both 3.5mm Aux-in and wireless options being available. As a compact gaming solution, the Leviathan remains an audio beast of near-mythical proportions.

Best for: an immersive viewing and gaming experience

Pros Cons
• Compact 5.1 • Takes up desk space
• Cable channel
• Powerful sound
Specifications
Connections: 3.5mm aux, Bluetooth, optical
Powered: Mains
Speakers: 30W soundbar, 30W subwoofer

Logitech Z120 Laptop Speakers

Recommended
Logitech Z120 Laptop Speakers
Amazon

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If you don't have a dedicated workspace and need to be mobile with your sound, these Logitech speakers have you covered. They've got a great little sound that'll please anyone, while they won't break any sound records, the bass, highs and middles are all present and represented in decent quality. They're powered by a USB connection, audio input is via the standard headphone jack, there's an easy volume control on the front, and a cable tidy system to reduce clutter when in use and being stored.

Best for: laptops on the move

Pros Cons
• Good for speech • Weak on music at volume
• Low-fuss
• Portable
Specifications
Connections: 3.5mm aux
Powered: USB
Speakers: 1.2W

Creative Stage 2.1 Soundbar

Recommended
Creative Stage 2.1 Soundbar
Amazon

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This offering from Creative is a fantastic space-saving option, with an under-monitor soundbar keeping things simple on the desk, and slim sub tucking neatly underneath. Not only is the styling sleek, but the audio is rich and powerful. The large sub-woofer keeps the lows in check while the soundbar delivers a captivating front-facing sound. As the soundbar incorporates two speakers, it results in a clutter-free, low fuss design with fewer cables than other solutions.

Best for: anyone wanting a speaker with a sleek aesthetic

Pros Cons
• Great sound • Soundbar takes up desk space
• Low price
• Thin subwoofer
Specifications
Connections: 3.5mm aux, Bluetooth, optical, HDMI ARC, USB
Powered: Mains
Speakers: 160W

Bose Companion 50 Multimedia Speaker System

Recommended
Bose Companion 50 Multimedia Speaker System

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bose

The Bose Companion 50 is a highly accomplished and versatile system, bringing acoustically impressive and natural-sounding audio to your office. Bose tag the speakers "More sound. Less clutter. Easy set-up."

Related: The best wireless earbuds for fuss-free listening

All three of these statements are present and correct, with the Companion 50 system being a brilliant option for those who don't want to save space without compromising sound performance. While the two desktop speakers look like microphones that a 1970's snooker commentator might use, but the sound they produce is right up to date. Coupled with the power of the Acoustimass module, the soundstage of the multimedia system is excellent, with great depth, delicious bass and rich mid and high clarity. It comes with a control pod for easy volume control and headphone connection.

Best for: audio versatility

Pros Cons
• Excellent audio • Expensive
• Plenty of volume
• Space-age looks
Specifications
Connections: 3.5mm aux
Powered: Mains
Speakers: Information not available

Creative T100 2.0 Compact Hi-Fi Speakers

Recommended
Creative T100 2.0 Compact Hi-Fi Speakers
Amazon

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amazon

The word that springs to mind when using the Creative T100 desktop speakers are: practicality. The speakers have a small footprint, reducing their impact on the available desk space. The performance across bass, mids, and trebles is respectable, and the volume is ample for day-to-day use. The onboard controls are a nice touch, and the NFC/Bluetooth connections inject a little more versatility.

Best for: practicality and a compact set-up

Pros Cons
• Reliable • Not all the exciting
• Compact
• Pleasant audio
Specifications
Connections: 3.5mm aux, optical, USB, Bluetooth
Powered: Mains
Speakers: 2.75-inch driver 80W

Logitech Z906 5.1 Dolby THX Stereo Speakers

Recommended
Logitech Z906 5.1 Dolby THX Stereo Speakers

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These 1000W speakers are the business, turning your desk from a workstation into a battle station worthy of all your entertainment needs. The speakers are tuned to meet THX and Dolby certification, meaning that cinema-quality sound is guaranteed. The five satellite speakers can be placed around the room to facilitate a true surround sound experience, while the 165w subwoofer sits and delivers some quality punchy bottom end - you won't just hear your audio; you'll feel it too. The receiver box can also handle up to six inputs, allowing you to hook up your TV, Blu-ray player, or stereo. These speakers are ideal for all entertainment types, be it gaming, music, or film.

Best for: a cinematic, immersive experience

Pros Cons
• High-fidelity sound • Expensive for PC
• Tonnes of volume • Takes up a lot of space
• Wireless remote
Specifications
Connections: 3.5mm aux, RCA, six-channel direct, digital coaxial, optical
Powered: Mains
Speakers: 1000W

Speakers are all well and good, but if you're in a public space or working late into the night, what do you do then? You simply pop on a pair of the best wireless headphones. If you're particularly keen to focus on and silence the outside world, you could even opt for the best noise-cancelling headphones.

Buyer's Guide: Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best budget PC speakers?

If you’re looking to spend under £30, but want a mains powered speaker, we’d recommend the Logitech Z200. They’re affordable and offer a good solid sound profile with plenty of volume.

If you want something on the go with a laptop, then the Creative Pebble V2 Speakers are a fine choice, with a minimalistic styling and decent audio performance.

Related: The best budget monitors | The best budget keyboards

What are the loudest PC speakers?

The loudest speakers on our list are, without a doubt, the Logitech Z609. With seven satellites, a hefty sub and 1000w to play with, it’s hard to argue against its volume and quality.

If you’re looking for a low-key setup, the Razer Leviathan packs a punch without taking up too much desk space.

Related: The best monitor

What to look for when buying PC speakers

Before you click ‘Confirm’ on your new PC speakers, there are several things that are worth considering. The first thing is pretty clear: cost. That, naturally, is up to you, and we’ve made sure our selection offers the best in every price bracket.

Secondly, size. A larger size speaker tends to mean more volume and higher quality audio, however, it also means that the speakers will take up more space. If you’re working on a small desk, there’s no point in opting for a 7.1 surround sound option that’s going to take over your workspace. So, consider the speaker's footprint.

Thirdly, power. As in, how are the speakers powered? If you’re looking for an option that can be transported with ease or won’t take up any more valuable mains sockets, then a USB-powered speaker is going to be for you. Those who have the plugs, space and forgiving neighbours will be able to opt for a mains powered product.

2.1, 5.1 and 7.1 speakers explained

2.1, 5.1 and 7.1 speakers diagram
©What's The Best

Everyone should be pretty familiar with the idea of stereo audio - this is when you get audio that plays out of a left and a right channel playing from a left and a right speaker. The effect of stereo is to put the listener in the centre of the action and give greater clarity to the audio. This stereo audio is also called a two-channel stereo or 2.0.

2.1 speakers - When a subwoofer is added to stereo audio to take care of the bass frequencies, a 2.0 speaker becomes 2.1. For most people listening to music, gaming or watching films on their PC, this setup will be the easiest to arrange while still providing a great audio experience.

5.1 speakers - Some PC speakers add even more channels to create a surround sound system. A 5.1 speaker system has five speakers and one subwoofer, with each speaker taking on a specific responsibility. Typically, the Centre speaker projects vocals and dialogue while the Left Front and Right Front speakers handle the main bulk of the audio. Then there are two more speakers, Left Rear and Right Rear, which add to the atmosphere by projecting ambient sounds, sound effects and far-panned audio. It’s ideal for immersing the listener in movies, games and music.

7.1 speakers - A 7.1 speaker system add two more speakers into the mix, taking the audio played by the rear two speakers of a 5.1 speaker system and splitting it up even more. This arrangement creates an even more accurate sense of direction and immersion.

Are USB speakers better?

There are two types of USB speakers: those that are USB powered, rather than via a mains plug, and those that use the USB connection to transfer the audio data, replacing the traditional 3.5mm headphone-style auxiliary connection.

USB powered speakers are a popular choice for those looking for a low-fuss setup. The power passes through a PC or laptop’s USB port, so there’s no need to find an extra mains socket. However, the power from a USB port isn’t that high, so if you’re looking to pump up the volume, you’re going to find USB-powered options pretty limited when compared to their much more substantial, mains powered brethren.

Related: The best wireless speakers

USB connections that replace 3.5mm headphone jacks are interesting. A USB connection bypasses the computer’s soundcard and relies on what’s in the speaker system to process its information. It also provides a clean digital signal, whereas the 3.5mm is analogue, and therefore is more prone to interference. However, the average user isn’t really going to find any problem with 3.5mm units, as contemporary ports and connections tend to be high quality and well insulated.

What matters is the sound. Both USB and 3.5mm are capable of producing excellent sound quality. It doesn’t matter whether which one you go for, so long as it sounds good and works for you.

What to read next: The best microphone for streaming

What is bass, midrange and treble?

Digital Audio

Bass, midrange and treble are sometimes referred to as lows, mids and highs. These terms refer to the different sound frequencies found in audio.

Bass, low or lo, is the boomier sections of sound, the frequencies that people can most often 'feel' - bass drums are an example of low frequencies. Without bass, audio sounds very empty and 'tinny'. Too much bass and music can sound rumbly, overpowering and woolly.

Midrange, middle or mid, is all the stuff that happens in the middle - guitars, vocals and speech. Balancing this with bass really brings audio to life. If you struggle to hear vocals in music or conversation in podcasts, boosting the midrange can bring these out for you without having to play with volume.

Treble, highs, or hi, is the highest frequencies. These are important for picking out details in audio, but if they are too high they can annoy and be painful to listeners – overpowering treble gives audio the dreaded tinny sound

What’s Dolby Atmos, DTS and DTS:X?

They're technologies from competing companies that reach the same goal. An object-based sound system that offers the impression of being in the centre of the action. Sound is given the impression of coming from all around, including above. It’s ground-breaking and extremely immersive.

What's THX certified?

What's THX certified?

If an audio system is THX certified it means that it has undergone vigorous and thorough testing to guarantee an extremely high level of performance that matches those expected of cinemas. The audio you hear will be the audio that the sound engineers intended.

William Lobley is a Senior Content Writer and reviewer for WhatsTheBest, specialising in technology, gaming, and outdoors. He also writes for Empire Online.

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