With a desktop speaker system, you can remake your workspace into an entertainment center. Just connect your computer, phone or other audio source and enjoy better sound quality while you work (or play).
Desktop speakers come in many shapes, sizes and configurations – two speakers, 2.1 units with a subwoofer and even 5.1 systems for surround sound – and range in price from $10 to over $200. Some of the best computer speakers even make a solid alternative to soundbars or Bluetooth speakers for those with more compact entertainment setups.
We rated these systems based on sound quality, features and cost in order to help you find the best computer speakers available right now.
The best overall computer speakers
The Companion 2 Series III hits the sweet spot for computer speakers. The 7.5 x 5.9 x 3.1-inch satellites don't take up much space on your desk, but they create a big, full sound. The price won't break the bank, and it's worth the premium over cheaper units. It produces more bass than speakers twice the size, and with robust vocals and pleasing treble, it delivers very good sound overall.
The simple and elegant design features a single volume knob on the right speaker, along with a headphone jack so you don't have to disconnect the speakers to listen privately. These speakers don't give you any way to adjust the bass or treble, but with the well-balanced sound, you likely won't miss that feature.
Rich sound in a bold design
If you've got an affinity for detailed audio, pick the A2+ for your desk. These compact 6 x 5.3 x 4 speakers deliver crisp treble, a wide sound field, and balanced bass and midrange without a subwoofer. Plus they crank, thanks to 15 watts of power per speaker (and they sound best when you turn them up). The simple and elegant design looks good on your desk too. You'll pay for the quality, but the reward is excellent overall sound.
Big on bass
Bass lovers, this system is for you. The Z625 features a monster 11.9 x 11.1 x 10.4-inch subwoofer that produces a deep, rich low end. The 7.7 x 4.9 x 4.6-inch satellites create a very wide and full sound. You can connect via 3.5mm, RCA or optical inputs, the latter being a rarity for computer speakers. The right satellite features controls for volume and bass, if you want more (unlikely) or less boom from the system.
Space-age looks with slick sound
More than 15 years after the original SoundSticks hit the market, the design remains as space age as ever; no other desktop speakers can match the design aesthetic of these clear speakers. The sound quality is as solid as ever, too; the 10.8 x 9.2-inch, dome-shaped subwoofer delivers rich bass, and the 10 x 2-inch satellites, each with four 2-inch drivers, produce full vocals. Despite the futuristic design, the system is very simple. You can adjust the volume via touch-sensitive buttons on the right speaker and the bass level through a knob on the back of the sub. You pay a premium for style, but you also get excellent overall sound.
The best speakers for gaming
If gaming is your main thing, you may appreciate these speakers, which make the experience more immersive. The G560 produces robust sound, whether you're playing a game or listening to music, and the subwoofer really adds to the experience. If you like to play loud, this system is a great fit for you. It also features a sophisticated lighting system comprising four distinct zones with bright, colorful LEDs, which are fun but can be distracting. The included software is integral; you use it to configure the lights, activate surround sound and even create profiles for specific games.
Home theater sound for your PC
For those whose computers double as their home theaters, the Z606 brings surround sound into the mix. The system includes five 7.0 x 4.3 x 3.4-inch satellites and a 11.7 x 11.0 x 7.6-inch subwoofer to create an encompassing audio experience. The bass-heavy sound is a good match if you like low end, and you can adjust the level of each speaker to tweak the sound to your liking.
The satellites produce a full sound, with resonant vocals. This system is also very loud, cranking out 70 watts. In addition to an RCA input, you can connect wirelessly via Bluetooth. Unfortunately, the Z606 lacks the optical input you'd need to connect a game system or Blu-ray player for true Dolby 5.1 audio; instead, you'll need a player that supports six-channel direct output.
Good sound for a reasonable price
The T20s are solidly built and deliver good overall sound for the money. Tall and narrow, the 9 x 5.6 x 3.5-inch satellites produce a balanced mix of treble and bass, and you can adjust those levels. However, the speakers lack resonant vocals, keeping the T20s from providing an excellent audio experience. The system features two 3.5mm inputs and ships with an RCA-to-3.5mm adapter to connect stereo sources. With 14 watts of power per channel, the T20s also get louder than many speakers in their price range.
Affordable audio that blends with your bookshelf
If you've got the space on your desk, these two-way speakers deliver solid sound for a reasonable price. The 8.9 x 7.8 x 5.5-inch speakers house a 4-inch woofer and a 0.5-inch tweeter, which together produce full, resonant bass and vocals; the treble lacks crispness, but that doesn't detract much from the overall good audio quality. The right speaker includes two RCA inputs; you can use the included wires to connect one input to your computer's headphone jack and the other to an additional source, such as a turntable (or turntable preamp). You can also adjust the bass level using a dial on the back of the right speaker.
Big sound on a budget
You don't have to spend a lot to improve on the audio that your computer's internal speakers put out. For a little over $20, this 2.1 system generates a big sound without taking up much space. The satellites are 7 x 3 x 3 inches, and the subwoofer is just 8 x 7 x 6 inches. The system features bright treble, though the midrange and bass sound muffled. The CA 3090 includes a control pod, separate from the speakers, which lets you adjust the volume, connect headphones and add an additional audio source — handy if you want to put the speakers out of easy reach.
Just the basics
If you're looking for a no-frills desktop speaker system, the S120 may fit the bill. These 6.2 x 2.7 x 2.5-inch speakers don't cost much, but they don't do much either. Simple to set up — just plug into the wall and then into your computer's headphone output — they produce a bigger sound than most internal speakers on a laptop or desktop, but that's about the only advantage. The S120s lack bass and resonance overall.