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The best PC speakers, fully tested and reviewed

Testing out a Creative Sound Blaster Katana PC soundbar

If you want to fully enjoy your games, music or movies, we’ve tested the best PC speakers around so you don’t have to

Want an engaging, immersive audio experience at your desk? Then you need to add a pair of the best PC speakers to your desktop setup.

Also known as desktop speakers, PC speakers can give you much better sound quality than the built-in speakers found in monitors and laptops. They’re simple to set up too, with easy cabling and no need for external amplifiers.

Whether you’re looking for a cheap, compact audio solution or seeking an audiophile experience for your games, music and videos, we’ve tested dozens of the best computer speakers available – and below you’ll find our favourite options at a range of price points.

Top picks

Buying guide

Best PC speaker: At a glance

Best low-cost stereo speakersCreative Pebble V3 (~£30)Check price at Amazon
Best 2.1 speakers under £50Creative Pebble Plus (~£35)Check price at Amazon
Best large speakers for sound qualityRuark MR1 MKII (~£349)Check price at Amazon

How we test PC speakers

We test the audio quality of every set of PC speakers that make it onto this list, using a variety of sources across all connection types. In most cases that means both 3.5mm analogue and USB connections; if Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections are supported then we’ll also test how the speaker sounds when streaming wirelessly.

We listen to audio from video services such as Netflix and Prime Video, along with music playlists on Spotify and YouTube. If high-resolution or Dolby Atmos audio are supported, we ensure that the test material we’re using meets the relevant standards. We test at multiple volume levels to see how consistently the speaker performs across the audio frequency spectrum, and we make sure to push speakers to their limits, to expose any distortion that might occur at higher volumes.

Testing a pair of Sharp active PC speakers

We also explore how easy it is to get the speakers up and running, taking into account speaker size, shape and the position of its connection ports, and consider any extras such as remote controls or bundled software.

The best PC speakers to buy

1. Creative T60: The best PC speakers for home offices

Price when reviewed: £63 | Check price at Amazon

Great for… online meetings and everyday desktop audio
Not so great for… loud, thundering sound

Creative’s T60 desktop speakers are among the cheapest PC speakers that offer truly decent sound quality. They’re a big step up from most laptop speakers: listen to them with your eyes closed and you’d swear you were listening to a system costing three times as much, and with drivers considerably larger than the 2.75in full-range modules that nestle inside each unit.

As well as offering impressive quality, the T60 speakers have plenty of volume. We recorded peak sound levels of 91dB at a 1m distance, although some distortion does rear its ugly head when you crank the volume right up.

Not only do the speakers have 3.5mm and Bluetooth inputs, but the T60 also include a built-in DAC – very unusual for sub-£100 speakers. This means you can connect them to a USB sound source and take advantage of Creative’s SmartComms Kit software, which offers automatic noise cancellation and auto-mute when you connect your microphone or headset via the 3.5mm input jacks.

All in all, this is a superb set of desktop speakers for any purpose, and particularly well suited to a home office communications setup.

Key specsSpeaker configuration: 2.0; Driver size: 2 x 2.75in; Power output (RMS): 30W; Frequency response: 50-20,000Hz; Audio inputs: 3.5mm jack, USB (Type-C); Bluetooth: 5.0 (SBC); Outputs: Headphones; Remote control: No; Dimensions: 157 x 92 x 199mm (WDH, per speaker)

2. Edifier S351DB: The best PC speakers for all-round sound and features

Price when reviewed: £280 | Check price at Amazon

Great for… deep bass and warm, immersive sound
Not so great for… space-constricted environments

Edifier may not be the best-known manufacturer of audio equipment, but all of its speakers have impressed us – and that includes the S351DB system.

It’s a conventional 2.1 rig that comes with a monstrous subwoofer and a plethora of connectivity options, including stereo RCA connectors, Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX and both coaxial and optical digital. The sub uses a wired connection to its satellite speakers, which means there’s a certain amount of cable spaghetti, but the plus side is you only need one power socket for the whole system.

All three boxes are built from veneered MDF, but there are no mesh grilles, which makes them look more high-tech than hi-fi. Edifier even includes a remote control, although you can also control the power, volume, treble and bass using controls on the side of the master satellite speaker, which also has a small (and rather hard-to-read) LED source indicator under the main driver.

In our tests, we found that sound quality is excellent, with plenty of detail and massive bass if you turn the subwoofer all the way up. The S351DB is perhaps more at home with music and video sources than gaming, as the system is tuned for warmth and balance rather than staccato detail, but that subwoofer certainly gives gaming sound effects some serious impact.

Key specsSpeaker configuration: 2.1; Driver size: 2 x 0.75in, 2 x 3.5in, 1 x 8in; Power output (RMS): 150W total; Frequency response: 40-20,000Hz; Audio inputs: Stereo RCA, optical, coaxial, USB (Type-C); Bluetooth: 4.0 (SBC, aptX); Outputs: None; Remote control: Yes; Dimensions: 156 x 127 x 217mm (WDH, per satellite); 312 x 265 x 289mm (WDH, subwoofer)

3. Creative Stage SE: Best budget PC soundbar

Price when reviewed: £55 | Check price at Amazon

Great for… a cheap, space-saving audio upgrade
Not so great for… multi-source setups that require lots of inputs

If all you want is a simple, compact soundbar to improve your PC audio, the Creative Stage SE is a top choice. It’s very affordable, but in our tests, we found the audio quality to be superior to other soundbars in this price bracket, with a robust bass response and decent vocal clarity combining to create a pretty immersive soundstage.

The bar’s compact design helps it fit seamlessly under most monitors, while intuitive controls, including a handy volume wheel, make it a user-friendly option to plug in and enjoy right away. The only connectivity you might miss is a 3.5mm jack connector – the Stage SE supports USB and Bluetooth only. But that’s easy to forgive when it gets so much right at such a great price.

Read our full Creative Stage SE review 

Key specsSpeaker configuration: Stereo soundbar; Driver size: Not stated; Power output (RMS): 48W total ; Frequency response: 55-20,000Hz; Audio inputs: USB (Type-C); Bluetooth: 5.3 (SBC); Outputs: Headphones; Remote control: Yes; Dimensions: 410 x 108 x 68mm (WDH)

4. Adam Audio T5V: The best-value active PC speakers

Price when reviewed: £145 (per speaker) | Check price at Amazon

Great for… a hi-fi audio experience on your desktop
Not so great for… those seeking visual style as well as sonic subtlety

Adam Audio is known for high-end studio monitors, but its T5V speakers prove that you can have your affordable cake and eat it. They’re not the lightest or most stylish speakers around, but they deliver superb sound for the price.

The bass is rich and, while the treble is restrained, it was very pleasant to listen to in our tests. These speakers go loud too, with enough volume to easily fill most medium-sized rooms. That’s partly due to a scooped-out waveguide that helps the sound reflected off ceilings and walls stay true to what’s directly coming out of the speaker; they even sounded great in our echoey living room.

The all-black design might not appeal to everyone, but there’s no denying the sheer quality you’re getting here at under £300 for a stereo pair. The Adam Audio T5V speakers go toe-to-toe with hi-fi systems that cost two or even three times more – a brilliant achievement.

Read our full Adam Audio T5V review 

Key specsSpeaker configuration: 2.0; Driver size: 2 x 4in, 2 x 5in; Power output (RMS): 70W total ; Frequency response: 45-25,000Hz; Audio inputs: Stereo RCA, XLR; Bluetooth: No; Outputs: None; Remote control: No; Dimensions: 298 x 179 x 297mm (WDH, per speaker)

5. Creative Pebble V3: The best compact PC speakers

Price when reviewed: £30 | Check price at Amazon

Great for… tiny desks and tight budgets
Not so great for… loud, bass-driven audio

Creative’s Pebble V3 speakers are the first in its affordable Pebble range to feature Bluetooth connectivity and are an excellent choice when cash and desk space are limited.

The USB-powered spherical satellites are compact enough to slot into just about any desktop setup, and in our tests we found audio quality to be very good for the price. Dialogue is communicated particularly well, although those wanting impactful bass reproduction will be better served by a 2.1 speaker setup like the Pebble Plus (see below).

Simple to use, space-efficient and packing up to 8W RMS of power, the Pebble V3 speakers are a superb compact, low-cost way of improving your laptop or desktop PC’s audio performance.

Read our full Creative Pebble V3 review 

Key specsSpeaker configuration: 2.0; Driver size: 2 x 2.25in; Power output (RMS): 8W total; Frequency response: 100-17,000Hz; Audio inputs: 3.5mm jack, USB-C; Bluetooth: 5.0 (SBC); Outputs: None; Remote control: No; Dimensions: 123 x 120 x 118mm (WDH, per speaker)

6. Ruark MR1 MKII: The most stylish PC speakers

Price when reviewed: £349 | Check price at Amazon

Great for… upmarket looks and top-notch sound
Not so great for… compact spaces

These distinctive speakers offer a classy aesthetic that will appeal to those with a sensibility for retro design. The sound is equally refined. In our tests, they delivered a fabulously wide soundstage with individual instruments expertly articulated, extremely clean mids and treble, and real depth to the bass. The MR1 pack a powerful punch too, so you’re unlikely to need to push them above 50% volume while seated at your desk watching a film or listening to a playlist.

Although these speakers are primarily designed for use over Bluetooth, the right-hand speaker unit also has a 3.5mm jack and optical inputs, meaning the MR1 can gamely double up as TV speakers if you don’t own a soundbar. You can even use them as portable speakers if you’re willing to fork out an additional £69 for Ruark’s BackPack 3 battery unit.

Controlling the MR1 couldn’t be easier. The included remote lets you switch sources, adjust volume and pair the speakers with up to eight different devices. Simple to set up and use, easy on the eye and wonderfully musical, the Ruark MR1 Mk2 speakers make a superb addition to any desktop setup.

Key specsSpeaker configuration: 2.0; Driver size: 2 x 0.8in, 2 x 3in; Power output (RMS): Not stated; Frequency response: 55-22,000Hz; Audio inputs: 3.5mm jack, Toslink optical; Bluetooth: 5.0 (SBC, aptX); Outputs: Optional subwoofer; Remote control: No; Dimensions: 130 x 145 x 185mm (WDH, per speaker)

7. Creative Pebble Plus: The best cheap 2.1 PC speakers

Price when reviewed: £35 | Check price at Amazon

Great for… desk-friendly design with plenty of low-end weight
Not so great for… audio enthusiasts who like lots of inputs and controls

If you’re looking for something with a decent amount of oomph and don’t have much to spend, the Creative Pebble Plus is an excellent choice. Unlike the Creative Pebble V3, the Plus has a dedicated subwoofer, providing much deeper, richer bass than the 2.0 system.

Conveniently, the speakers don’t require an external power supply, as they run off your computer’s USB port, although there’s also an optional 3.5mm audio jack connector. The satellites fire upward at a 45-degree angle that’s ideal for desktop use, and we also found they produced accurate-sounding mids and a wide soundstage with enough volume to fill a modestly sized study or bedroom.

Key specsSpeaker configuration: 2.1; Driver size: 2 x 2in (subwoofer size not stated); Power output (RMS): 8W total; Frequency response: 50-20,000Hz; Audio inputs: 3.5mm jack; Bluetooth: No; Outputs: None; Remote control: No; Dimensions: 122 x 116 x 115mm (WDH, per speaker); 150 x 195 x 202mm (WDH, subwoofer)

8. Razer Leviathan V2: Best PC soundbar and subwoofer combination

Price when reviewed: £212 | Check price at Amazon

Great for… an eye-catching and highly configurable audio upgrade
Not so great for… non-gamers wanting to keep things small and simple

If you’re looking for a colourful, compact soundbar that’ll boost your PC audio, the Razer Leviathan V2 demands a serious look. The 500mm-wide bar slots neatly under a 25in monitor, and glows and pulses with colourful RGB lighting effects, customisable on the bar itself or via the Razer Synapse companion app. The subwoofer, meanwhile, can be tucked under your desk with minimal fuss.

The system can deliver 65W of sound, which is more than enough when you’re sitting close to it, and THX Spatial Audio adds a level of immersion to compatible content. We loved how much low-end energy the sub produced in testing, giving film and game soundtracks all the power you could want, while the bar handles mids and treble with confidence.

Connection options aren’t the most extensive, but a USB cable is provided, or you can use Bluetooth to connect wirelessly from your computer or phone. Speaking of phones, the Razer Audio mobile app allows you to switch between various EQ presets, or create your own sound profile using a ten-band graphic equaliser.

If you don’t want the subwoofer, Razer sells the Leviathan V2 X for £126. This is a standalone soundbar that’s even more compact than the V2 at just 400mm wide but offers the same customisations via the Razer Audio app and Razer Synapse software.

Read our full Razer Leviathan V2 review 

Key specsSpeaker configuration: Stereo soundbar with subwoofer; Driver size: 2 x 0.75in, 2 x 2x4in + 5.5in subwoofer; Power output (RMS): 65W total; Frequency response: 45-20,000Hz; Audio inputs: USB (Type-C); Bluetooth: 5.2 (SBC, AAC); Outputs: None; Remote control: No; Dimensions: 500 x 91 x 84mm (WDH, soundbar); 220 x 220 x 242mm (WDH, subwoofer)

9. Creative Sound Blaster Katana SE: Best compact soundbar for PC gaming

Price when reviewed: £300 | Check price at Creative

Best PC speakers - Creative Sound Blaster Katana SE

Great for… gamers seeking an eye-catching but versatile soundbar
Not so great for… roles that demand a powerful bass response

The Katana SE is a single-unit soundbar that uses two up-firing mid-bass drivers in place of a separate subwoofer. This means it can’t match the powerful low-end response of its stablemates the Katana V2 and V2X, but the big advantage is that you don’t have to find room for a chunky sub.

The Katana SE has other things going for it, too, in addition to its compact all-in-one design. We liked its clear and balanced audio and the fact that it can be customised extensively using the Creative app. The soundbar even makes a decent fist of virtual surround sound. Its attractive LED display can be personalised too, while wide-ranging connection options enable you to use the bar with your TV as well as your PC.

If you’re a PC gamer who prioritises practicality over low-end power, this is the option for you.

Read our full Creative Sound Blaster Katana SE review 

Key specsSpeaker configuration: Stereo soundbar; Driver size: 2 x 54mm, 2 x 4.3in; Power output (RMS): 90W total; Frequency response: 55-20,000Hz; Audio inputs: 3.5mm jack, Toslink optical, HDMI, USB (Type-C); Bluetooth: 5.0 (SBC); Outputs: Headphones, SXFI; Remote control: Yes; Dimensions: 650 x 109 x 78mm (WDH, per speaker)

Jump to our top PC speaker picks

How to choose the best PC speakers for you

How much do I need to spend?

You can buy a little set of stereo (also known as 2.0) speakers for your PC or Mac for as little as £10, and while they may be an improvement on the tinny sound that emanates from most laptops and tablets, they’re never going to let you sit back and wallow in your favourite tunes. So, even if you’re working to a tight budget, we’d generally advise that you budget to spend around £30 on a basic set of speakers that do offer a real upgrade.

It’s hard to quantify something as subjective as audio quality, but the physical build quality of a set of PC speakers can often be a good indication. Cheaper speakers that are housed in a lightweight plastic “cabinet” tend to vibrate as you start to pump up the volume, causing distortion that affects the sound quality. That’s not to say that plastic speakers are all automatically terrible, but it’s not until you spend around £100 that you get solid rattle-free build quality that does its bit to reduce distortion and improve clarity.

As you head towards and beyond the £200 mark, you’ll also start to come across PC speaker cabinets made out of wood, with MDF being a popular choice for many manufacturers and audio enthusiasts. You’ll also find that speakers may boast more potent amplification (measured in watts), which may provide higher volumes and clearer sound compared to lower-end models.

Above the £300 level, you’re getting into audiophile territory so it’s worth doing a bit of research of your own before buying. Since many speakers at this level are designed for proper hi-fi or music production, you may find that local music and hi-fi shops will allow you to compare multiple models before splashing out. When you’re spending this kind of money, it’s worth checking which speakers you prefer the sound of.

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What kind of connections should I look out for?

One other thing to remember is that most stereo PC speakers are not intended to be portable. They’ll spend most of their time sitting on a desk or shelf at home, so they’ll often use a 3.5mm audio cable to connect to your PC. Certain stereo speakers may offer Bluetooth as an extra feature – so you can use them wirelessly with a smartphone or tablet – but you’ll generally get better results with a wired connection.

Speakers with Bluetooth aptX technology avoid most of the sound-quality compromises that can mar the audio quality of lesser Bluetooth speakers. However, some high-end speakers also offer Wi-Fi connectivity, which uses your Wi-Fi network to deliver improved wireless sound quality. This often goes hand in hand with the option of linking multiple speakers together as part of a multiroom speaker system.

Some speakers may also include a USB interface. This can be handy for smaller speakers, as it allows them to draw their power supply from the USB, with no need for any additional power cables. Speakers with a USB input option may also provide a DAC (digital to analogue converter) that’s capable of handling high-res audio files.

READ NEXT: Best wireless speakers

Do I want 2.0 or 2.1 PC speakers?

For most people, the decision between 2.0 (stereo) and 2.1 (stereo plus subwoofer) systems will come down to space and neatness. The extra space and cabling required for 2.1 systems, which include two smaller satellite speakers alongside a separate subwoofer, may be enough to put some people off straight away. The benefit of a 2.1 system is that the smaller speakers can handle the less demanding upper frequencies, while the larger subwoofer deals with the rumble and thump of the bass regions.

If you’re looking for the loudest, most bombastic sound on a budget – say, for gaming – a 2.1 system is a good shout. Spend similar money on a good 2.0 system, however, and you’ll generally get a better quality of sound, with more clarity and detail, and tighter, less exaggerated bass. It’s also worth remembering that some 2.0 speakers include an output connector for a subwoofer, which will allow you to upgrade your speaker system with a standalone subwoofer in the future.

What manual controls should I look out for?

The most basic PC speaker systems have no controls of their own, and you just have to control the outputs once you’ve connected them to your computer. However, many systems come with manual controls that let you adjust variants such as volume, bass and treble levels to fine-tune audio output to your preference. You’re always better off opting for the models that have manual controls, but this is dependent on personal preference. If the speakers you’re considering include these controls, be sure they’re easily reachable: on the left or right speaker or satellite, or on a control pod or remote control, rather than on the back of a subwoofer that will reside under your desk, for instance.

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