The 6 Best 2024 Bookshelf Speakers Under $500 - Stepping Up A Level

The $500 segment of the market is one of the most exciting brackets you can find. This is where some of the best bookshelf speakers can be found, period. Going with a set that belongs to this category is usually the going to give you the absolute best bang for your buck. This is why we have selected and arranged some of the best bookshelf speakers for you to check out. These models have proven their worth numerous times by now, which has earned them quite a reputation. With that said, let’s get started with an overview of our picks.

What are the Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500 in 2024?


Best Overall + Best Powered



The Audioengine A5+ Wireless speakers are a fantastic powered, all-in-one solution for those who want to downsize from a hi-fi setup without giving up sound quality. Sporting a futuristic aesthetic and aramid fiber woofers typically found in higher-priced speakers, these offer incredible value for money, especially for the year’s best turntables. The A5+ pluses fill any room with crisp, powerful sound and have a soundstage that holds its own even against studio monitors.

With a built-in 150w amp and high-fidelity aptX-HD Bluetooth connectivity, it checks all of the boxes for convenience without sacrifice. The bass is enough to satisfy most users, but as with most bookshelf speakers, adding a subwoofer will add undeniable impact. These are arguably not only the best powered stereo pair at this price point, but also best of the year, and we highly recommend them for both consumer and pro applications.  

Colors: Black or White

Bundles: Audioengine A5+ Speakers + Audioengine S8 Subwoofer

Options: Bluetooth Wireless or Wired

Frequently bought with the A5+


Best Desktop + Best for Turntables



The Kanto YU6 powered speakers are this category’s little giants. With 200-Watt peak power and an impressive array of inputs, including a built-in phono preamp for turntables, these bookshelf speakers will truly satisfy your craving for powerful, full-impact sound.

Not only are they great for medium-sized rooms and desktop usage, but they also excel for both casual listening and utility like mastering tasks. Their fun and lively sound make them perfect for a new generation of audiophiles who don’t want the hassle of dealing with receivers, amps, or excessive wiring. Though their long-term reliability has been a factor for a small number of customers, the YU6 should be one of the first choices for those seeking a versatile, powerful listening experience.

Colors: WhiteMatte BlackGloss Red, and Walnut 

Frequently bought with the YU6



Don’t let the PSB Alpha P5’s modest appearance fool you. These cabs pack a punch with their fantastic bass and overall tone, striking just the right balance between warmth and brightness. The build quality is great for the price, and while they might not appear impressive to some discerning audiophiles on paper, in-person listening tells a different story.

The highs are clean and transparent, with good space between instruments, and the midrange is also clean with proper timbre and tone accuracy. They simply produce great, easy to drive music. With the excellent sound quality and well-rounded aesthetic, it’s no wonder the PSB Alpha P5 won Stereophile’s product of the year a few years back. If you’re shopping for a great set of passive speakers, look no further.

Colors: Black Ash and Walnut

Frequently bought with the Alpha P5



The Edifier R2850DB wireless active bookshelf speakers set themselves apart with their impressive wireless capabilities and built-in Class-D amplifier. These speakers truly deliver crisp, accurate sound, filling large rooms with ease. The bass is surprisingly good, even if not full range on paper, and the well-engineered cabinet adds resonance, punch, and depth.

The 100Hz crossover seems like a perfect choice, and the highs remain clean without being harsh. While placement is key for optimal listening, these speakers are best suited for movies and music, where as the Edifier S1000MKII below excels in computer usage.

Available exclusively in Black



The Q Acoustics 3020i bookshelf speakers offer a distinct, laid-back sound that suites really any genre. These have a solid feel to them, and the driver is designed specifically for this cabinet. Although the looks may not be for everyone, the 3020i speakers offer superior build and sound quality compared to many options at and above this price point.

Speaking of sound quality, the 3020i cabs provide unwavering clarity with a bass presence that leans neutral. To most listeners, they create a centered image rather than a large holographic soundstage, and their even-keeled midrange presentation is very good. They do require a little bit of volume to come alive but not enough to negate the value they provide.

Colors: Carbon BlackArctic WhiteEnglish Walnut, and Graphite Gray



When ELAC initially introduced the Uni-Fi series years ago, their objective was to produce a speaker that emulated the performance of a substantially more expensive model. With the UB52, this aspiration continues to thrive. The newly developed concentric driver adds more depth to the soundstage, while the single piece woofer improves stiffness for better accuracy and bass dynamics.

In terms of real-world listening, they deliver on these promises. A sophisticated 3-way crossover ensures a seamless blend of frequencies, making these speakers a great choice for anyone who listens to a variety of genres.The balance and dimension of the sound is a step-above, creating a listening experience that feels immersive and lifelike. It’s no mystery why these loudspeakers are so popular. ELAC could charge more and they would still be a steal.

*Note of caution: Pricing will fluctuate over time but remain a great value at any price.

Available exclusively in Black

What Can You Expect From $500 Bookshelf Speakers in 2024?

The jump in performance between the $200 set of speakers and $300 one is nothing in comparison to going from a $300 to a $500 set. This is where most brands will start using their good hardware, cutting costs mostly on cabinet designs. Seeing how CnC and other technologies have greatly simplified the manufacturing process of speaker cabs, we have run into a pretty interesting phenomenon. A good portion of bookshelf speakers found in the $500 price range can easily go head to head with models that are twice or even three times as expensive. In other words, high quality audio has become ever more attainable.

In general, most of the speakers that will cost you around $500 will meet the needs of audiophiles. The only thing you need to pay attention to are the subtle but unique natures different models have. This being such a competitive segment of the market, most brands are compelled to deliver well rounded speakers. On the other hand, some brands such as ELAC, like to venture into more exotic designs. At this point, you are probably wondering why would anyone go and get a $1000 set of speakers, if $500 models are so great? The answer here is power. Going up the price scale will definitely bring some improvements in terms of performance, but the biggest difference you will see is raw output. Expensive loudspeakers generally tend to be optimized for larger rooms. That ability to saturate additional space costs money.

Even so, unless you have very specific requirements in terms of spatial performance, a $500 bookshelf speaker will give you a great bang for your dollar. In a way, this explains why speakers in this price range are among the most popular ones on the market. Another good thing about this particular category of speakers is the fact that almost all of them come with decent crossovers. That alone does a lot for overall performance. Because of everything we have said so far, dodging all of the more affordable speakers and jumping straight into a $500 set is an idea we can stand behind any day.

Final Thoughts

The $500 segment of the bookshelf speaker market is pretty exciting. Considering the type of performance you can find here, these speakers are often considered to be the optimal sweet spot for a variety of applications include wireless turntables. Models we’ve listed above perfectly explain that claim. Each one of the speakers from our list can go toe to toe with models that are twice as expensive. No matter what your favorite genre of music is, our picks will allow you to enjoy your favorite songs the way they are meant to be heard. At the end of the day, $500 speakers can easily catch you by surprise.