A good set of speakers is paramount for any home. Your home is truly your castle, and it’s meant to be lived in and enjoyed. Who wants to depend on those weak, built-in speakers on your TV or the cheap stereo unit you picked up at Wal-Mart for $39.99, just because it was $39.99? You deserve better, and best yet, a great set of speakers in 2020 is not going to break the bank.

Modern speakers come in all kinds of variations, and we’re going to answer some common questions in this post about how to choose your next speaker set, and then move on to some excellent options. But first up, let’s talk watts.

How Many Watts is a Good Speaker?

How many watts is a good speaker?

This is the million-dollar question, and the million-dollar answer is: it depends. One watt is one Joule of energy per second. Don’t worry, we’re not going to go down a science class rabbit hole. But it’s helpful to know what a watt is before establishing how many your speaker needs. The other item that needs mentioning is the speaker’s decibel, and this is expressed as dB.

So, let’s say your speaker measures 90dB. In terms of the sound and the impact on your ears, if you were standing a couple hundred feet away from a passing train, the sound of the train’s whistle would be in the 90dB range. What is occurring with your speaker is one watt sent into your speaker results in 90dB of sound. So if one watt equates to 90dB, two must be 180dB, right? 

Wrong. The scales are not linear, and it will take roughly twice the power to result in just another 3dB of power. This means to achieve the power of something in the neighborhood of a rock concert (115dB and higher), you’ll need a minimum of 100 watts.

Now, remember the million-dollar question and the million-dollar answer? The watts for a good speaker are entirely dependent on the type of music you listen to. If you’re into loud rock music and want to mimic an AC/DC concert, 200 watts and up is the route to take. If, however, you’re more of a John Coltrane type, relaxing on the couch with your pup and a beer, 50 watts is plenty.   

If you’re concerned about safety issues surrounding speaker decibel levels, click here for more information.

How Do I Choose Speakers for My House?

How do I choose speakers for my house?

Speakers come in all shapes and sizes. Before becoming enamored with a specific style or power in terms of watts, the first question to answer is, “What will I use them for?” If you’re a more passive listener or the type that enjoys background noise, then bookshelf or even in-wall speakers are an excellent choice.

If you’re the type who arrives at work telling all your co-workers how amazing it was to watch the Star Wars trilogy on full blast with bass levels that are harmful to young children, then floor-standing speakers are right in your wheelhouse.

Next is surveying the type of space you’re working with. Most folks begin with outfitting the den or living room with a speaker set. If it’s a closed room, overly large speakers will take up space and load it with bass, and the resulting sound will end up messy and muddy. If you’re into big sound with big bass, the ideal spot is a room that’s more open and airy as opposed to something tight and cramped.

A lot of folks also opt for bookshelf speakers, and these are great options. The only concern with bookshelf speakers is too much bass will end up rattling the shelf. These speakers are best for more ambient sound and not meant to be feature players in the main event.

Lastly, hard surfaces are not buddies with good sound. Smooth, large surfaces tend to reflect sound off of them, changing the end result for your ears. The best way to know if you have a room with smooth, large surfaces is to stand in the center of the room and clap loudly. If you hear a lot of echo, you should consider setting up your speaker system in another room.

The Best Speakers for Home

It’s now time to strap in and take out a pen and paper. We’re going to run through ten exceptional home speaker choices. The hard part will be narrowing down your ultimate choice!

Klipsch R-52C

Klipsch home speaker system.

Klipsch has made a name for itself in the speaker world. They’re high quality, competitively priced, and rarely falter. We can’t think of three characteristics we’d want more in a home speaker. This R-52C is a center channel speaker, arguably the most critical speaker to begin rounding out your surround sound system. All of the speaker’s “dialogue” gets routed through the center channel speaker, so if you don’t get this right, then the rest of your set-up will be irrelevant.

Featuring spun copper IMG woofers, the R-52C woofer cones are rigid but exceptionally light, and when combined with the Tractrix Horn-Loaded LTS tweeter, online reviewers go wild. The Tractrix Horn technology is a selling point with the R-52C. It aims to reduce artificial reverb and deliver the best clarity and detail from whatever gets routed through your system – music, movies, sports, etc.

Ready to buy? Click here.

Sony SSCS5 3-Way 3-Driver Bookshelf Speaker System

Sony home bookshelf speaker system.

You can’t go wrong with Sony. No, seriously, you can’t go wrong with Sony. The Japanese powerhouse has been churning out exceptional electronics for over 50 years and remains at the top of their game. Bookshelf speakers are fantastic for any bedroom, living room, den or playroom. This pair features a smart, black finish that will blend in seamlessly with most interiors.

On the inside, these speakers sport mica reinforced cellular cones. Sounds intriguing, right? You bet as these keep the woofers rigid, so they hold their shape while the bass thumps without compromising the audio experience.

The best part about this pair, however, is they’re affordable and will invariably last. These aren’t the type of speakers you’ll be swapping out every three years.    

To learn more, click here.

Acoustic Audio by Goldwood CS-IC83

Ceiling speakers by Goldwood.

We went from bookshelf to ceiling, and didn’t miss a beat! There are audiophiles, and then there are audiophiles who take the surround sound experience to new heights (literally). Imagine for a second that you could transform your den into one giant speaker. By this we mean surround sound, all around, and these speakers from Goldwood are ceiling units that can be interspersed throughout your ceiling, adding a rich layer of sound that is genuinely “surround, from the top down.”

Each set comes with five acoustic speakers, cut-out templates, removable grills, and an essential item – an instruction manual. A side note; your amp should not be churning out more than 350 watts per channel in terms of compatibility with your stereo system.

To see pricing, click here.

Yamaha NS-6490 3-Way Bookshelf Speakers

Home bookshelf speakers by Yamaha.

Another in a series of exceptional bookshelf speakers, this pair from Yamaha ranks highly from a host of satisfied customers online. Yamaha designed their NS-6490 speakers with home and professional entertainment fans in mind. With up to 140 watts of power and an 8″ high-output woofer, these speakers deliver tight and clear sound without compromising much as the volume turns up.

One reviewer marveled that as a fan of music from the 1960s to the 1990s, it didn’t matter what he threw on, because these speakers could handle the bass from 90s hip-hop as well as the guitar pitches of Led Zepplin and Aerosmith. It’s nice to count on a system that can adapt to varied tastes.  

To read reviews, click here.

Polk Audio Monitor 60 Series II

Home floorstanding speaker by Polk Audio.

Are you in the market for a speaker taller than your 3-year-old? Then you’ve arrived!

Floorstanding speakers are great on several levels. First, the audio power is otherworldly. But the other plus floorstanding speakers bring to your den is they look fantastic. You know someone has put some serious thought into their entertainment system when you see a couple of these bad boys interspersed throughout.  

The 60 Series II is slim and stylish and feature a 1″ dome tweeter coupled with not two, but three 5.25″ drivers. The highs are high and the bass is deep with Polk. The respected manufacturer also throws in their patented Dynamic Balance technology with this series. This is patented construction, ensuring the overall design and speaker geometry is working in unison for exceptional sound.

Like it? Click here to buy now.

Edifier S350DB Bookshelf Speaker and Subwoofer

Home bookshelf speaker system and subwoofer by Edifier.

We’re headed back to the bookshelf, but throwing in a subwoofer this time. You might not have heard of Edifier, but this company has been quietly plugging away for years now, poised to take on the big fish like JBL, Logitech, Bose, and others. In fact, one online reviewer felt the same, actually comparing this 2 in 1 set to some of the great JBL and Bose sets. For the S350DB to even fall into this conversation should say enough about this speaker/subwoofer combo.

This set-up comes with two bookshelf speakers, a giant subwoofer, and a cool wireless remote where you can switch between Bluetooth, coaxial, optical, and auxiliary inputs at an impressive range. The 8-inch subwoofer is more than enough bass for most homes, and there is even a side panel on the woofer that enhances the bass (as if you’ll need it). If you’re into entertaining or just hanging with the kids on Xbox, this is a good set-up.

To learn more, click here.

Dayton Audio T652

Home standing speakers by Dayton Audio.

Some folks are “bass freaks.” They can’t get enough of it and naturally gravitate to music like dance/electronic, reggae, and hip-hop. If you’re in this category, the Dayton Audio T652 floorstanding speaker packs a massive, bass-centric punch. Dayton designed this pair using the same winning formula as the classic Dayton B652 speaker. For you non-speaker heads out there, the B652 gets tossed around as a one-of-a-kind design in speaker circles; jot this down if you want to impress some audiophiles at an upcoming BBQ.

The T652 also has dual woofers, which is abnormal for something as compact and competitively priced as this unit. The 5/8″ polycarbonate dome tweeter comes correct with ferrofluid cooling, and the unit itself is quite slim, so it won’t take up any unnecessary floor space either.   

Ready to buy? Click here.

A20 Bluetooth Speakers

Bluetooth and light-emitting speakers for home.

The funniest part about this A20 speaker is online comments were most enthused by the fact it also had a FM radio built in! In the days where music is completely on-demand, and you never have to wait for a station to play your favorite song, people still love their city’s local FM stations. Incredible stuff, but what’s even more incredible is the sound quality that comes from the A20. Featuring two full-tone speakers and dual power diaphragms, the A20 has the latest Bluetooth 5.0 chip and works seamlessly with smartphones, tablets, etc.

On the effects side, this speaker also emits lighting and can turn up a failing cocktail party to epic proportions rapidly. The speaker itself has EQ sound effects, and the warranty is up to one-year. Not overly heavy or bulky, this is an excellent choice for indoors and outdoors as well. 

To see pricing, click here.

Polk Audio RC80i 2-way Premium Speakers

Wall-mounted home speakers by Polk Audio.

We’ve reviewed ceiling speakers, floorstanding models, and the classic bookshelf speakers. But we’ve now arrived at something totally off the wall; wall-mounted speakers!

Perusing the host of positive comments online, one customer mentioned that he is an audiophile and had reasonable expectations of the audio quality a wall-mounted speaker could bring. In short, soft jazz at a medium level in a spa. He was blown away, however, with this pair from Polk. While they took a couple days to “warm up,” cranking these bad boys was no issue, and next thing you know, you’ve got Steely Dan, Coldplay, Bruno Mars, or Rihanna pouring out of your bedroom wall!

These speakers from Polk are rust-resistant, moisture resistant, and are safe to use in kitchens, bathrooms, or even outdoor areas. The RC80i also features a tweeter-level switch, allowing the user to tailor the highs and adjust accordingly when necessary. Imagine pairing these up with some ceiling speakers … epic!

Love it? Click here to buy now.

Polk Audio Signature Series S35 Center Channel Speaker

Home speaker sound bar by Polk Audio.

Yet another “spot-on center banger” from Polk. These guys and gals are some of the best in the game, and the S35 center channel speaker is a versatile speaker that can adapt with the best of them. Aesthetics matter and Polk’s iconic, rounded edges are visually attractive, so featuring this center speaker as a “centerpiece” in your living room looks fantastic.

The recommended amplifier power for the S35 is 20 to 150 watts per channel and weighing in at 14 pounds, while large, it’s not overly cumbersome. Movie nights will never be the same with this center speaker, and you can thank Polk’s patented power port technology. This delivers some killer bass that all horror fans will relish!

To learn more, click here.

To Sum it Up 

We’ve reviewed ten exceptional choices, guaranteed to take your entertainment offering to new heights. But first, we discussed watts and how many a good speaker has. At the end of the day, the decision in terms of watts depends on your listening habits. If you’re a death metal guy or gal, looking to crank it up Sunday-to-Sunday non-stop, then high-wattage is an order. But if you’re hanging with some Kenny G and the weekend paper, don’t waste your money on speakers with extreme watts.

We also reviewed some items to consider as to where you’ll place these speakers in your home and the surrounding environment. Placement is everything, so do take care to survey the room well while avoiding overly smooth and hard surfaces, especially if you’re seeking big bass. The sound will get muddy and ruin the experience.  

We hope you ended the post with two or three speaker choices to investigate further. This is the jumping-off point, and next up is pulling the trigger on a set and blasting off!  

Looking to take your home theater setup to the next level? Check out our article on Surround Systems for Home Theaters.