If you’re a human being living on planet earth, you’ve probably had the underwhelming experience of listening to built-in computer speakers. We’re talking about those little dots on your laptop keyboard that release a confusingly harsh, hollow sound. Did you know they were speakers? Hard to believe, huh? There was a time, maybe twenty years ago, when manufacturers tried to include a decent set of speakers with their products. These days, they pretty much assume everyone is going to be adding on their own choice of speaker. And that’s all well and good for true audiophiles or Daddy Warbucks swimming in cash, but most of us would prefer not to spend even more money just to make our movies sound like they’re supposed to anyway.
That’s where we come in. We’ve done the research and compiled the top 10 speakers you can buy for your computer without going over $50. And all the speakers on our list are built to last, making the (small) investment even more worth it. The difference a $50 speaker can make just might blow your mind. Read on to see what we mean.
1. Cyber Acoustics Powered Computer Speakers
Best for Awesome All-around Speakers
No, you really don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars for great sound. You can do so much better than your computer’s tinny speaker! These speakers are tuned acoustically to deliver a warm, clear sound with the perfect amount of bass. This setup comes with a side-firing sub, two satellite speakers, and a super convenient control pod with input / output jacks and volume / power controls. It looks great and has a sleek, sturdy construction. The sub is large enough for awesome bass but still small enough to fit comfortably on a desk—and its wood housing makes for excellent, deep tones. Experience gaming, movies, and music on a whole new level, and with a pretty price tag to boot!
2. Logitech Z323 Speaker System
Best for Movies with Explosions
If you’ve ever owned a Logitech speaker, you’ll know that these babies last FOREVER. And with 30 watts of power, this system is both powerful and rugged. We love the rich, full sound and sturdy build of these speakers. Rubber feet and heavy housing keep these speakers from toppling over, so you can rest easy. And even though they are small, they can reach surprisingly loud volumes—without distortion or shaking. Their crisp sound is perfect for making out dialogue in a movie, and the subwoofer will make you really feel those explosions. So we’ll see your Independence Day and raise you one Transformers. Ka-boom.
3. GOgroove BassPULSE Computer Speakers
Best for that Sweet Setup
Not even a little embarrassed by how much we’re geeking out over these speakers. They look like something the Power Rangers would have used back in the day. And they come in red, blue, OR green. (Where’s the love for the pink Power Ranger, guys?) But all kidding aside, these are a seriously great buy. They look pretty sexy on the desk, and the LED light even pulses with music. The sub is equipped with an equalizer for customizing the level of bass, if you’re picky about that kind of thing. And they produce a really impressive, clear sound. This is certainly one of the best speakers we’ve found if you’re looking for just the right finishing touch on your awesome setup.
4. Satechi Dual Sonic Speakers
Best for Simplicity
So, you want great sound, but you don’t want to spend a lot, go through a long setup, or have the speakers take over your desk. These little guys are perfect. Unobtrusive and simple, they deliver punchy sound from deep lows to clear highs, and they plug right into your computer’s USB slot. A silver or black finish makes these speakers complement any laptop or desktop, and they’re small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. And while they are pretty compact (only 2 ½ inches tall and 4 inches wide), they feel solid in the hand and are impressively durable. We also like the LED lights that glow around the bottom edge. Kind of like those cars with the neon underglow…. Except a little bit cheaper. And classier.
5. Genius 3-Way Wood Speakers
Best for Authentic Sound
Love the wood housing. Love the integrated woofer AND tweeter. Love the adjustable tones. Love the easy controls. Love the impressive volume, especially for the size and price. And we love the design of these speakers. They look legit, and more importantly, they sound legit. The 3-way design gives this system a high range of frequencies, which translates to more accurate and immersive sound. So they’re perfect for hosting dance parties in the basement or smashing Bokoblins in Hyrule. You know, whatever you’re in the mood for.
6. Logitech Z313
Best for Value
These speakers will never fail you. They’re sturdy, heavy, easy to set up, and of course they sound fabulous. We like the sleek and classic look, and we love how easy this system is to turn on / off or adjust volume with the included control pod. The speakers are engineered to avoid getting knocked over, which goes a long way in keeping them sounding fresh and full. The cords are also long enough to set this speaker system up the way you want—whether you want all your sound in front or you’re going for more of a surround-sound feel, Logitech has you covered. And at only $34, you get much more than you pay for with these convenient, lasting, and great-sounding speakers.
7. Arion Legacy AR504LR-BK 2.1 Speaker System
Best for the Hard of Hearing
Introducing a true speaker SYSTEM. This solid wood speaker system is big, and it packs an impressive 70 watts of power with four woofers, a sub, two tweeters, and a remote! These speakers are large and in charge, and adjustable tones and volume make for a customizable experience to fit your room, setup, and preferences. The sound from these bad boys easily fills a room with no shaking or distortion, and the remote makes them oh-so-convenient. But rush to buy these before the price jumps back up—they’re on sale and not likely to stay that way forever! P.S. We love that Arion includes a one-year warranty and boasts great customer service.
8. Altec Lansing BXR1221
Best for Looking Dang Awesome
They’re cute, okay? They look like giant earbuds. Or maybe camera lenses. But they’re also great-sounding speakers that cost less than appetizers at the Cheesecake Factory and will get you a heck of a lot more enjoyment. So skip the avocado eggrolls and nab a pair of speakers that will amaze you with the quality (and quantity) of sound for the price! These little wonders deliver an impressive range of frequencies, all the way from rich, deep lows to clear, crisp highs. Even though they’re small, these speakers aren’t tinny at all—refreshing when you’re ready to replace that appalling excuse for a speaker that HP decided to throw in as an after-thought…. But we digress. These are certainly the best sounding $13 speakers we’ve seen, and we’ve seen an awful lot of speakers. We likey (and we think you will, too!).
9. Creative Inspire T10 2.0 Speaker System
Best for Quality and Endurance
At just a touch over $50, we had to include this top-quality speaker system on our list because of the outstanding durability and reliability it offers. Sturdy construction and intelligent design gives these speakers a sleek look and a rich, crisp sound that’s hard to beat. We love the unique integrated BasXPort, which delivers a subwoofer sound without the cumbersome size of a traditional sub. We also like the adjustable level controls, for a perfectly balanced sound to suit your own personal preferences. With both an AUX-in jack and a headphone jack, it’s easy to connect and listen to music, movies, games, or whatever. They’re powerful, they’re appealing, and they’re built to go the distance.
10. Dell USB SoundBar
Best for Subtlety
One of our favorite things about this SoundBar is that it integrates seamlessly with any computer setup. It’s one thing if you want speakers that make a statement, but if you just want high-quality sound without a gadget that calls attention to itself, Dell’s wired USB SoundBar is your best bet. It looks unassuming but sleek, subtle but elegant. It adds a nice touch (and really great sound) without cluttering up your desk with unnecessary objects and cords. We like the clean, clear sound and easy USB connection it offers. And if you’re a Dell devotee, it’s actually built to specifically attach to Dell monitors, to be as natural as a hippie at Woodstock (okay, maybe not that natural). A great bet to replace those tinny built-in speakers without shelling out an entire paycheck.