Gaming, music, YouTube. Get top-notch sound quality for less than a C-note!
If you're not a headphones person, you're either dealing with terrible laptop speakers or built-in ones (for you all-in-one folks), and are in need of some great external speakers. You also don't want to spend a fortune on a Harmon Kardon 5.1 surround system. Fair enough.
We've rounded up some of the best computer speakers for under $100 to keep your room rockin' and your pockets full.
- JBL Pebbles Plug and Play
- Edifier U.S.A. 2.1 Speaker System (M3200)
- Genius SW-G2.1 1250 2.1 Speaker System
- GOgroove BassPULSE
- Bose Companion 2 Series III
- Logitech Speaker System Z313
JBL Pebbles Plug and Play
One of the first names in speakers, JBL offers a compact and high-quality solution to your external audio woes. The Pebbles are a stereo pair that offer BIG sound without taking up a ton of space.
They have an AUX-in port for any device with a 3.5-millimeter jack, and can connect to your computer via USB as well. You don't have to worry about these buzzing when your computer is off — a common problem with desktop speakers — since they have a smart USB function that recognizes when the computer is off, even if power to the USB ports remains on.
The Pebbles shine with any type of music, even very tonally complex stuff, like classical music and jazz. For only around $70, these may just be the best speakers in our roundup.
Edifier U.S.A. 2.1 Speaker System (M3200)
Wanna add some boom to your room? Then you should probably go with a speaker system that comes with a subwoofer. Edifier's 2.1 channel system comes with a wood-enclosed subwoofer with a 5.5 inch driver. That's bass you can feel.
The high-end and mid range are taken care of by a couple of gorgeous, hourglass-shaped satellite speakers, which you control from a separate rotary master volume controller, which also turns the system on and off – no need to awkwardly reach down anywhere to flip the switch.
If you want immersive, rich sound and a sexy-looking system, for around $85, then check out Edifier.
Genius SW-G2.1 1250 2.1 Speaker System
Genius jumps in with another excellent 2.1 channel system that offers total clarity at any volume. You've got a 5.25-inch bass driver in a fairly compact subwoofer, two 3-inch drivers in each satellite speaker, and a total output power of 38 watts. What does that mean? It means you've got great low-end and enough juice in the system to likely fill your whole home with sound.
Each satellite speaker only has one driver, meaning the high and mid ranges are coming out of the same driver, which on other speakers often causes distortion at high volumes. Genius' speakers are surprisingly clear all the way around, though you may find some tin in the high-end when you're really blasting it.
For roughly $50, you really can't go wrong.
These are the coolest-looking speakers in our round-up, but they're not all flash and guile – these babies can hum.
With a name like "BassPULSE," you shouldn't expect anything less than deep, warm, rich bass tones, and GOgroove doesn't disappoint. Despite how thin the satellite speakers are, they still produce decent high end and mid range tones and are better than you'd expect from most thin plastic speakers.
These speakers sound good, for their price. Let's just get that out of the way because you're really buying these because of how friggin' cool they are.
Blue, green, or red, you get to choose and then set these Transformers-looking suckers up and watch 'em dance (when the bass is turned up past 80%, that is). If you're in the market for a sleek and futuristic-looking set of speakers that look even better in the dark, then go GOgroove.
Bose Companion 2 Series III
I may have spoken a bit too soon when I said that the JBL Pebbles were the best speakers in our roundup. If you're want the ultimate in sound quality, then you want Bose.
I know what you're thinking: "Bose speakers are insanely expensive." Normally, you'd be right, but these ones are only $99. You can have (to borrow from every Bose ad ever) room-filling, immersive sound for under $100.
These speakers don't come with a subwoofer but still offer powerful bass, mixed perfectly with the mid-range and high end. They're not much to look at (at all), but they are Bose by name and Bose by reputation.
Logitech Speaker System Z313
What's an accessory roundup without a Logitech product? Lacking, that's what. The Z313 system comes with a powered subwoofer and two satellite speakers to deliver 25 watts of total power. That's enough to fill your room and then some.
While the full range sounds excellent at normal volumes, the highest of the high-end does fall a bit flat and can get pretty tinny at very high volumes. (Pro-tip: just turn up the treble in the equalizer on your computer. It'll do in a pinch.)
The Z313 comes with a handy control pod that lets you control volume and your headphones, so there's no need to reach under your desk to mess with anything, as is the case with some other 2.1 systems.
This is another rather unobtrusive set that'll fit nicely on even smaller computer desks, but isn't much to look at.
Something to consider when buying speakers
In the case of most consumer goods, you're paying way too much for whatever you're getting and you often get much more for much less, depending on the product.
With speakers, you really do pay for what you get. If you're spending under $100, don't expect anything absolutely ground-breakingly spectacular, but don't expect totally crap either.
What are your favorites?
Are you using an unreal speaker system that cost you less than $100? Sound off in the comments below and tell us why you think it's the best!