Best budget computer speakers
Audio upgrades that won’t break your budget.
Your laptop’s built-in speakers aren’t doing any favors for the gigs and gigs of music and movies on your hard drive. Even the best ones can leave your audio sounding thin and lifeless. External speakers—along with a good set of headphones—are a must for getting the best fidelity from your media files.
A trip online or to your favorite electronics store will reveal a head-spinning variety of options in this category, with some systems costing as much or more than you paid for your laptop. You don’t need to take out a personal loan to upgrade your audio, though. Quality speakers can be found even with a budget of around $50. And while there is a certain degree of “you get what you pay for” at this price level, you’ll be rewarded with satisfying sound if you’re willing to make a few compromises.
We’ve given you a head start by testing some of the most commonly available budget models. All cost around $50, sometimes significantly less. We set up each in a typical environment—on a desk in a home office— and played a variety of audio tracks to push their sound capabilities. So check out our buying advice here to help you choose the right model for your needs.