Get more out of your computer audio setup with the best computer speakers under $100 available on the market right now.
Our Top Picks
Best for most people: Logitech Z623
“While the price might be a tad higher – depending on the sale season – the Z623 remains the epitome of affordable but quality computer audio”
Most value for money: Creative Labs GigaWorks T20 Series II
“A mid-range price tag and fantastic audio quality makes the GigaWorks a great value for money pick”
Best premium bookshelf speakers: BOSE Companion 2 Series III
“They need a powered amp to sound good but when they do turn on, they sound impeccable“
Best budget pick: Logitech S120 2.0
“While fidelity goes for a toss, the ultra affordability of the S120 makes it a winner in our books”
Most portable: Creative Pebble 2.0
“This thing is adorably tiny! And the sound isn’t half bad either.”
Computer speakers get the short end of the stick as far as computing hardware goes.
Seriously – how many build videos have you seen where they’ll talk for hours about the specific cable ties they used but never even mention the speakers to go along with the setup?
The truth is that a good pair of computer speakers can make a world of difference to your computing experience.
Music sounds better, YouTube videos are crisper, and gaming feels way more real when the sound is freed from the tyranny of headphones. Throw in a good subwoofer and the low rumble in games – missing from most headphones and built-in speakers – becomes clear.
While headphones have their place, I always encourage people to invest in a good set of computer speakers.
Before we do a deep dive into the best computer speakers under $100, let me first clarify by what I mean by “computer speakers”.
The first and foremost requirement for any speakers to be “computer speakers” is that they should plug directly into a computer. This means you should be able to take an audio lead from the speakers and plug it straight into your computer’s built-in audio-out port. If you need a dedicated soundcard or audio interface, or an amp, to use them, they’re not really “computer” speakers.
Thus, two things characterize computer speakers:
- They are powered, i.e. you don’t need an external amplifier to power them
- They use standard computer I/O ports, instead of using ports like optical, RCA, etc.
Most speakers listed in this review share these two characteristics. For good measure, I’ve also shared non-computer speakers, such as studio monitors and unpowered bookshelf speakers, for the enthusiasts among you.
Keep in mind that I haven’t considered Bluetooth speakers. While you can certainly use them as computer speakers, a lot of older laptops and most desktops lack Bluetooth support. Which makes Bluetooth speakers less than ideal for use as computer speakers.
With that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the best computer speakers under $100 you can buy right now.[toc]
The 7 Best Computer Speakers Under $100
Here are seven of my favorite speakers you can buy for under $100 right now:
The Logitech Z623 is our best 2.1 system. The excellent speaker comes from one of the most popular brands on the market. Logitech is known for making budget electronics that still manage to deliver impeccable performance. It is hands down one of the best computer speakers for the money as it offers impressive performance and good value for money.
The design is one of the things that makes it nice. It comes with three components – a pair of satellite speakers and a powerful subwoofer. The speakers are 7.8 x 5.6 x 5.4″. Therefore, they are very portable and can sit on your desk without taking up plenty of space.
The design of the speakers includes rubber feet to improve stability and reduce any vibration or shaking while playing music. The controls are on the right satellite speaker while the left speaker has just the driver. The controls include power, bass, and volume.
The subwoofer, on the other hand, is in an 11.9 x 11.1 x 10.4″ casing, while its exact size is around 7″. Nevertheless, it delivers some of the most powerful audio performances we have come across at this price level.
Performance is good across all levels. While Logitech is renowned for mice and keyboards, these speakers are a reminder that they are also excellent at other devices. The sound performance here is outstanding and produces clean notes and a road midrange. If you have a house party, the Logitech Z623 is loud enough to get the party going. One of the best features of these speakers is the magnetically shielded drivers behind the grills. These dissipate heat and focus the acoustic energy, thus making the performance more efficient.
The subwoofer is the best at this price range. It provides clear, powerful bass that will rattle your windows at the highest volumes. It is ideal for watching movies, listening to music, and all the things you’d use a subwoofer for. Due to the 200W RMS power, the subwoofer gives you the best sound with little or no distortion.
The audio quality is great and will serve you well if you are looking for a gaming speaker. You enjoy optimal listening as these speakers are omnidirectional.
What I don’t like
Well, if there is a downside of the Logitech Z623, it is that the extension cable is rather short. However, it is still okay if you are using it mainly as a computer speaker.
Best Mid-Range Speakers: Creative Labs GigaWorks T20 Series II
While 2.1 speakers are the most common option for PC audio rigs, being popular doesn’t make it the best option. True, 2.1 speakers can give you excellent sound performance. But because of the poor cross over and subwoofer, you will have a scattered sound performance. That is why a set of 2.0 speakers will be a better option. And the Creative Labs GigaWorks T20 Series II are some of the best options in this category. These are arguably the best speakers from the company and will deliver some incredible performance considering the budget price.
Right out of the box, it is clear that these mean business. The design is very sleek and will stand out on your desk. The pair of speakers come with a low/mid-range driver each and a high range tweeter. Due to this design, they are slightly taller than you might be used to. Nevertheless, we found the metallic grey plastic appearance quite appealing.
The front of the right speaker has the bass, volume, treble controls. It also has ports like the headphone jack and the AUX. You can connect this speaker to a PC or other device. The package contains an adapter as well for you to connect the speakers to your gaming console or some other compatible device.
The BasXPort is a porthole that enhances the mid-range tones, which is one reason why we regard the Creative Labs GigaWorks T20 Series II as the best mid-range computer speakers on the market.
Sound performance is one of the best on this roundup. The sound is pretty clear, and there isn’t any distortion or muddy sound. You get a beautiful sound with impeccable mid-range, defined bass lines, and a warm sound that feels great. During our testing, we played different types of music with the speakers, and we are glad to say that performance was generally unbeatable. Aside from playing music, gaming with these speakers is also cool and gets the job done.
What I don’t like
There isn’t much to dislike about these speakers. While the Creative Labs GigaWorks T20 Series II sounds impressive at high volumes, it isn’t as great at normal or moderate levels. The bass is subdued.
Best Budget: Logitech S120 2.0
The third product on this roundup is the Logitech S120 2.0 model. While it has been around for some time now, it still delivers some nice performances and has features that make it the best budget option you can find.
It sports a 2.0 stereo system that gives every sound a nice, warm punch. It sounds pretty clear and crisp, and you would certainly be pleasantly surprised by the sound quality it gives. The design is nice and compact, which allows you to fit it almost anywhere in your home or studio.
With a nice frequency range of 50Hz–20KHz, these give excellent response bandwidth, especially when price and size are considered. Additionally, the 2.3Watts power is sufficient for your needs and will certainly prove to be an upgrade over your systems’ normal sound.
There are several useful inputs like the headphone jack.
Overall, these speakers give a rich, immersive sound that is way better than what you’d expect from them.
What I don’t like
There is very little bass from these speakers, which isn’t a big surprise when you consider the small size and budget range.
Best Bookshelf Speakers (Powered): Edifier R1280T
If you want an upgrade on your laptop and desktop speakers, then you will likely fall in love with the Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers. This product comes in a conventional bookshelf design and has plenty of power packed into the wooden body. It is affordable and represents a means of upgrading your computer audio without breaking the bank. The design here is a major selling point of the Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers. If you are a retro-style lover or a minimalist, chances are high that you would fall in love with the design. The speakers have a neutral appearance that makes them look premium and powerful.
This unit has a pair of 4″ primary woofers and a dedicated tweeter inside the pair. The speakers share 42Watts RMS. Connections are pretty straightforward with two active RCA audio jacks.
The right speaker has the knobs for volume, treble, and bass control. There aren’t a lot of connections or wires, unlike the Bose we reviewed above. It looks vintage and dated with a single concession to modernity being the included remote. Therefore, the setup is pretty easy. One of the things I loved about these speakers is that the active inputs mean that you don’t have to switch them with a monitor or have a complicated cable setup.
The audio power is excellent if you are looking at small applications. It comes with an excellent midrange, and the highs are very clear as well. Therefore, you would have an enjoyable time listening to music or playing games on the speaker. One problem many people have with budget speakers is the sound quality. Well, that isn’t a problem with these speakers. The bass performance is notably impressive, and the speakers do an excellent job. Sub-bass notes also sound great.
What I don’t like
While there is a lot to like about these speakers, they come with some drawbacks. One of the issues we have is that the power cable is fixed. Additionally, although the sound performance is generally great, we observed some distortion on low bass.
Most Portable Speakers: Creative Pebble 2.0
The Creative Pebble 2.0 is, according to the manufacturer, inspired by Japanese pebbles. Well, we want to believe so as these are the smallest options on this roundup. The Creative Pebble 2.0 offers a powerful, teeny solution to desktop audio. It has 16 Watts of power and is USB-powered.
The design of these speakers is obviously what you’ll first notice. It is shaped like a rock, with a rounded design. There are plenty of size advantages to this design because it doesn’t take up plenty of space on your desk. The speaker also has a simple, matte black, plastic finish that will blend in with your desk. The finish looks sleek and is pretty easy to clean too.
The pair of speakers have a 2″ driver on the front and a passive subwoofer at the rear. With the 45-degree driver, the sound is blasted straight at you and generally makes it more pleasant to listen to. As with most of the models we have reviewed, most of the action and controls lie on the right speaker. It has the USB and AUX ports, volume control, gain switch, and power LED. Both speakers have rubber feet to reduce vibration when playing music.
Sound quality is impressive on the Creative Pebble 2.0. It is easy to assume disappointing sound due to the small size, but we were pleasantly surprised by what we got out of this model. While the speakers sound bright, it is aided by the passive subwoofers that give it the bass boost it needs.
What I don’t like
First, the USB only gives power to the speakers. They don’t have the flexibility to work for the power and audio via the USB.
Best Bookshelf Speakers (Unpowered): BOSE Companion 2 Series III
The Bose brand makes some of the best headphones on the market, with models that rival the best from any other company. The company’s BOSE Companion 2 Series III is an impressive model of computer speakers that deliver premium performance across board. It is one of the highest-rated options in the market and is truly a good speaker system.
The design of the BOSE Companion 2 Series III is simple, and since it was released some years ago is a tad dated. It has a relatively clean design, but unfortunately, there are plenty of wires that can make your desktop look a bit cluttered. The speakers themselves look great and are more expensive looking than the actual cost. The right speaker has all the ports from the computer connection port, power port, left speaker port, and AUX port. In general, the design is quite simple and nice, although some things could be better.
Performance, on the other hand, makes up for any issues with the design. While the BOSE Companion 2 Series III comes in a small, lightweight, and compact design, it has some serious power. Bose is renowned for the volume of its speakers, and this model is certainly no exception. It is pretty loud and will be satisfactory for your listening party or movies and gaming.
Loudness and audio quality are not the same, so how do these loudspeakers fare in the audio quality department? Well, it does surprisingly well. It gives a broad sound space that makes for enjoyable listening. The bass response is great, and when watching movies, you can hear dialogue quite clearly.
What I don’t like
There are a couple of issues with these speakers. First, there are just too many wires that will leave your desk cluttered. We also did not like that the AUX cable is somewhat short. Sound-wise, the bass response is alright but lacks tightness due to the lack of a dedicated subwoofer.
Best Studio Monitors: Mackie CR3
Lastly, we have studio monitors. For the uninitiated, studio monitors are designed to be used in a production environment to “monitor” sound. Thus, most monitors tend to be tuned flat, which means you get the most accurate sound possible.
The downside is that you can’t plug studio monitors directly into your computer. You need an audio interface that can handle their standard I/O option – RCA. This makes them inaccessible to most customers, but if you can spring for a cheap audio interface like the Focusrite Scarlett Solo, you will have a fantastic and accurate sound system.
Back to the Mackie CR3.
Finding good quality audio on the smaller side can be a challenge, but with the Mackie CR3, you have a nice, affordable solution to that challenge. The Mackie CR3 comes with features that promise to give you sweet, warm sound at a great price.
It comes in a compact, 3″ size that makes for an excellent addition to your small studio or an upgrade to your computer sound system. The build quality is great, although it isn’t as impressive as what you’d find on a more expensive model. It is rugged and will last. However, you should still use them responsibly and carefully; these are, after all, budget models. The design is punchy with the matte vinyl coating making it appear smart and premium. The green accents on the speakers are also a nice addition.
Sound quality is great on these speakers- especially the mids and the highs. They offer a flat sound which is certainly an upgrade over your computer speakers.
Inputs are one area that the Mackie CR3 excels. The front has a headphone and AUX input which makes it more flexible than many other models. You also get balanced and unbalanced connection options at the back of the speakers, with a left and right selection switch. Thus, you can select where you want the main speaker to be.
What I don’t like
The Mackie CR3 lacks in the bass department. Considering the size, this is not very surprising.
Over to You
A good speaker setup can instantly upgrade your computing experience. Choose from our list of the best computer speakers under $100 to get fantastic audio for cheap.
For more recommendations and advice, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.
Check our other recommendations
- If you need an audio interface for your speakers, choose from our top picks
- If you want headphones instead of speakers, see our favorite studio headphones here
- Want great sound for cheap? Check out our best earbuds under $50.