Tried and tested: The best speakers for listening to music in your home in 2024

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the music with the best speakers for music in your home. Tried, tested, and reviewed by What's The Best's audio experts.

Best Speakers Home Music

by Kyle Purves |
Updated on

There are plenty of fantastic speakers with unique features out there, from those with smart assistants to those designed for travel. If all you want is a simple speaker to have around the house for listening to your music, you've got a gigantic pool to choose from.

Since you're not opting for an outdoor speaker, you get the extra benefits of good acoustics, so sound quality is more of a priority than volume. Of course, a nice volume range never hurts, either. You'll mostly want desk or floor-standing speakers with a few exceptions.

The best speakers for home music at a glance:

Best bookshelf speaker: KEF Q350 bookshelf speakers - View on Amazon

Best minimalist speaker: Audio Pro Addon C10 MKII - View on Amazon

Best Marshall speaker: Marshall Stanmore III - View on Argos

An audiophile can explore plenty of detail. You may want to factor in the frequency range or specifically look for a passive or active speaker. Don't worry if these terms seem unfamiliar: we'll discuss them in more detail in the FAQ section.

We've looked at many speakers here at What's The Best, so we're familiar with plenty of great designs. As such, we've gathered some of our favourites to recommend. We've summarised our thoughts on them and included their pros, cons, and ever-important specs.

The best speakers for home music:

All prices are correct at the time of writing. Prices, stock and deals are subject to change without notice.

Best bookshelf speaker

KEF Q350 bookshelf speakersChris Duffill/WTB
Price: $799.99
Alternative retailers
Best Buy$799.99View offer

When we were testing the speakers, we found that the initial use of the Q350s might reveal a somewhat unrefined sound profile, with a noticeable harshness in the upper mids and highs. This, however, is not uncommon for high-quality speakers and can be attributed to the materials used in the cones. A break-in period is essential for these speakers to reach their full potential. Once that break-in period had passed – roughly 50 hours – our review found that the sound was full-bodied and had an admirable separation between the frequencies.

The KEF Q350 bookshelf speakers are notable for their size and weight, indicating a build quality that's both impressive and durable. Available in finishes like walnut, black, or white, they offer aesthetic flexibility to match different room decors. The standout feature is the Uni-Q driver, a testament to KEF's engineering prowess, which sounds brilliant and is visually striking enough to forgo the need for traditional fabric grills.

Pros

  • Satisfying, well-balanced bass
  • Brilliant, crisp audio quality
  • Solid and robust build

Cons

  • Needs a fair bit of time to break in

Best minimalist speaker

Audio Pro Addon C10 MKIIWilliam Austin-Lobley/WTB
Price: $400.00

During our review of the C10 MKII, we found that power was in no short supply, and its consistent performance across its vast volume range underscores the speaker's superior engineering. When we checked in with the reviewer, William Austin-Lobley, they reflected on their time with the speaker:

"I loved how the bass performance is powerful and taut, free from any fluff, giving it a tight kick that works really well across genres. I also found plenty of joy in how the balanced mids and highs complemented the impressive bass, creating an open, spacious audio experience that reveals the true dynamics of a track."

Further to the sound, the Audio Pro C10 MKII stands out with its sleek design, perfectly balancing minimalism and aesthetic appeal, making it a versatile fit for modern and traditional interiors. This speaker distinguishes itself with robust wireless connectivity options, supporting Bluetooth 4.2 and three major multiroom Wi-Fi technologies: Audio Pro's own system, AirPlay 2, and Google Home. This array of connections positions the C10 MKII as a top contender for those seeking a versatile, multi-room audio solution.

Pros

  • Clean, powerful audio
  • Stunning design
  • Multiroom support

Cons

  • No smart assistant or wired internet connection

Best Marshall speaker

We've tested a lot of Marshall speakers, and we're confident that any you go for will deliver quality. But for the best all-rounder, we have to pick the Stanmore III. According to resident audio expert Chris Duffill, what makes the Stanmore III a true gem is that: "Marshall has enhanced the Stanmore III soundstage over the previous model by angling the tweeters outward, and introduced Dynamic Loudness to maintain tonal balance at higher volumes. Despite my initial scepticism about such software adjustments, I was impressed by the noticeable soundstage and acoustic performance improvements."

In terms of functionality, the Stanmore III opts for simplicity over complexity. It offers basic options to adjust the sound based on its physical placement, such as against a wall or on the edge of a furniture piece. These adjustments are minimal but contribute to a tailored listening experience.

This approach is emblematic of Marshall's overall brand philosophy, which emphasizes straightforward, effective solutions. This blend of rugged, attractive design and user-friendly functionality makes the Stanmore III a notable addition to Marshall's speakers, appealing to those who appreciate both aesthetic and audio quality.

Pros

  • Powerful and impactful bass
  • Well-suited for plenty of genres
  • Loud enough for large rooms

Cons

  • Quite hefty

Best dual speaker setup

Ruark Audio MR1 MKII SpeakersRyan Houghton/WTB

The Ruark MR1 MK2 are the best small speakers we have reviewed. They are ideal for those seeking a compact bookshelf speaker that can deliver high-quality audio without the clutter of traditional hi-fi systems.

Designed with simplicity and elegance, these speakers are a testament to Ruark's commitment to precision in sound quality. The 75mm woofers deliver an impressively deep and detailed audio experience, surprising for a setup that lacks a dedicated subwoofer.

A nice added bonus? The MR1 MK2's exceptional sound quality makes these speakers versatile for music enthusiasts and excellent companions for TV setups.

Our reviewer Ryan Houghton said this about the speakers: "I gave this a good testing across music genres – French death metal band Gojira to Nina Simone's live recordings – and with my TV too. They are excellent across the board and small, so they don't get in the way. I still use them to this day, so that should give you an idea of how much I like them."

Pros

  • Truly excellent hi-fi sound
  • Beautifully designed and manufactured
  • Brilliant connectivity and functionality, giving wonderful versatility

Cons

  • Lacking any sound EQ customisation
  • Bluetooth pairing can take a beat to connect

Best Anker speaker

Anker Soundcore Motion x600Kyle Purves/WTB

Rrp: $199.99

Price: $149.99
Alternative retailers
Walmart$299.00View offer

The Motion X600 speaker impressed us in tests with its considerable speaker output area, enhanced by a mesh design that notably improves the surround sound experience. This design choice, coupled with an upward-facing driver near the controls, ensures that sound is projected from multiple directions.

Even without activating special features, the 50W power and five drivers produce an excellent level of sound quality. However, the Motion X600's true potential is unlocked when both bass boost and surround sound modes are activated. This combination creates an auditory experience that surpasses most other speakers in its price range.

Kyle Purves, the original reviewer, still uses the Motion x600 on a daily basis: "This has taken me away from my headphones, and I am totally hooked on the sound."

Pros

  • Brilliant for bass-heavy sound
  • Lasting battery life
  • Reliable waterproofing and easy to carry

Cons

  • Size and shape make it awkward to pack
  • Does not come with a charger

Best portable speaker for home

Marshall MiddletonWilliam Austin-Lobley/WTB

Rrp: $299.99

Price: $249.99
Alternative retailers
Best Buy$249.99View offer
Bloomingdale's$249.99View offer

The Marshall Middleton excels across a variety of music genres, including rock, dance, electronic, and bass-heavy tracks. Its battery can last over 20 hours of playtime, making it highly portable in any home environment, from the office to the kitchen. A rubber handle enhances its portability, allowing for easy movement around the house. The controls are also responsive and intuitive.

Reviewer William Austin-Lobley still holds the Middleton as the portable speaker to beat: "For my money, there's nothing else I would consider. I've got a Marshall Acton II, which is non-portable and, by that definition, should be better than the Middleton, but there's something so powerful about the bass response. It's rich and loud and full of energy. I carry it around with me as I move around the house. It's perfect, and I stand by my five-star review."

Equipped with a USB-C port, the Middleton offers rapid charging capabilities. Just 20 minutes of charging can power two hours of playback, with a full charge completed in approximately 4.5 hours. This ensures that you'll never be without it for long.

Pros

  • Excellent, expansive sound
  • Robust build and battery life
  • Timeless design

Cons

  • Too heavy to be super portable

Best wireless speaker

Audio Pro Drumfire II Wireless SpeakerChris Duffill/WTB

As a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled speaker, the Audio Pro Drumfire II stands out for its straightforward setup process, offering users fast and reliable connectivity options. It caters particularly well to those with a penchant for deep bass – our reviewer compared it with standing next to Barry White's vocal chords.

Here's Chris Duffill on his experience: "Call me traditional, but I prefer classic speaker designs, so the looks aren't for me. That said, I can't deny that quality audio is found here. Bass is in no short supply, and if you want to throw a party, this is the only speaker you'll need."

Despite its impressive features and connectivity, one notable omission is the lack of a remote control. This means users might rely on their smartphones for operation, which could detract from the convenience for some.

Pros

  • Beautifully and solidly built
  • Solid Bluetooth connection and great integration with Spotify Connect, Tidal and more
  • Better bass than most subwoofers can handle and good adjustability via sub-controls and companion app

Cons

  • Some may find the Drumfire II design an acquired taste
  • No remote

Best desk speaker

Anker Soundcore Motion 300Kyle Purves/WTB

The Motion 300 is reliable for those seeking a speaker who performs well. It delivers a balanced audio experience across various music genres, making it versatile for everything from dance to soft jazz. While its sound may not be as punchy as other speakers, it particularly shines with string instruments.

Its slightly underwhelming bass response is offset by its convenience and portability, a trade-off you may not mind. The speaker's build prioritizes ease of use and mobility, making it an attractive option for users looking for an affordable desk speaker.

Kyle Purves, the resident Anker speaker expert and reviewer, notes the following: "This is a great small speaker for having to hand on your desk, and it's surprisingly adept at most genres. I will say, though, that if you want lots of bass, go for the Motion x600, which I have also tested and listed above."

Pros

  • Its lightweight build and small strap make it ideal for travel, plus brilliant waterproofing
  • Great audio power for the size
  • Long-lasting battery combined with impressive charging speed

Cons

  • Better options exist for bass
  • Spoken content like podcasts and videos are a little muddy

Best Bluetooth bookshelf speakers

SHARP CP-SS30 Bluetooth SpeakerJack Barrell/WTB

Combining the classic setup of bookshelf speakers with the modern convenience of Bluetooth is the Sharp CP-SS30. Our tech expert, Jack Barrell, took them for a spin and had a great time: "I listen to a lot of electronic and bassy music, so need speakers that can handle the low end. Through the CP-SS30 speakers, my music has pure electric energy and turns an ordinary front room into a warehouse rave with its purely instrumental chorus and thumping bass."

With five preset EQ settings, the SHARP CP-SS30 Bluetooth speaker is the ideal choice for those after a fuss-free option. It's straightforward to control, creating a convenient user experience that never becomes a hassle. The preset settings cover a broad range of styles and preferences, so it's nearly perfect enough right out of the box.

Pros

  • Crisp and rich sound delivery
  • Modern design with removable front grills
  • Fantastic value for money

Cons

  • EQ settings are rather limted
  • Short power cable

FAQs

What is frequency range?

A speaker's frequency range refers to the selection of sounds it can produce, or in other words, how varied its sound profile is. Most speakers are capable of around 40Hz to 20000Hz, and that's an excellent range. The lower the first number, the more deep and bassy sounds it can produce.

It's worth noting that some speakers boast a range that reaches up to 40000Hz. That may sound like a massive improvement, after all, it is double what we said most speakers go up to, but it's largely a gimmick. The reason most speakers cap up at around 20000Hz is that is roughly as high as the human ear can hear and distinguish, so unless you want sounds just for your dogs, it's not a crucial feature to have. However, it is worth noting that these speakers tend to manage the range around 20000Hz a little better, so it's not a useless feature and is still worth considering.

What are active and passive speakers?

Whether a speaker is considered active or passive depends on its amplifier situation. In brief, an active speaker has its own built-in amplifier, whereas a passive speaker requires an external one.

Active speakers are the obvious choice for a standalone setup, as you won't need to invest in an amplifier and find space for it as well. Most modern models are fairly powerful, so you're not missing out. However, active speakers tend to be a little more expensive than passive speakers.

On the other hand, passive speakers are ideal for those who already have a decent amplifier. While they do require more room, this should only be an issue if you're very limited in space. Passive speakers have a nice benefit in that they're easier to upgrade long-term. Since an active speaker's amplifier is built-in, it's not easily replaced, but a passive speaker can be improved by changing your amplifier.

Kyle Purvesis a Commercial Content Writer for What’s The Best, with an avid interest in all things gaming and tech.

They’re well-versed in reviewing a variety of tech products, with a soft spot for speakers and earphones. They’re also no stranger to hunting down the best savings, always wanting to get the best deal possible. Outside of work, they can often be found playing through an RPG, listening to Japanese noise rock, or trying to catch up with their ever-expanding list of shows and anime to watch. If possible, they try to play Dungeons and Dragons a couple of times a week, but getting six adults to be free at the same time is easier said than done.

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