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Best computer speakers 2022: Upgrade your laptop audio and bring cinematic sound to your home office

·8-min read
Stop making do with laptop speakers, it’s time for an upgrade  (The Independent)
Stop making do with laptop speakers, it’s time for an upgrade (The Independent)

Laptop speakers are designed for occasional use, but the best PC speakers can take your computer’s tinny audio, weak volume and non-existent bass and turn it into a room-filling, cinematic soundscape that would bring Hans Zimmer to his knees.

Whether you’re searching for a pair of basic desktop speakers so you can hear your colleagues with crystal clarity during Zoom meetings, or you want a high-fidelity surround sound audio system for listening to music while you work, the range of computer speakers available is giant.

Connectivity is a good starting point to think about. Bluetooth is the standard in wireless audio, though some computer speakers can also connect via USB or the traditional 3.5mm audio capable. These wired connections are more reliable and less prone to interference.

Design can also be an important factor for anyone who’s found themselves spending more time in their home office than they ever thought they would. Drab, grey, plastic computer speakers are mostly a thing of the past, replaced by smart-looking bookshelf speakers in eye-catching styles and wooden cabinets.

Lastly, and most importantly, is sound quality. To achieve loud bass notes, speakers need physical space to reverberate. This is why laptop speakers sound “tinny” and distant, and is why some computer speakers in our list come with separate subwoofers for enhanced audio quality when playing games, watching movies and listening to music.

How we tested

We’ve been testing these computer speakers as part of our home office setup, connecting them to our laptops, PCs and monitors and paying attention to how they sound, how they look, and how easy they were to set up and control. These are nine of the best.

The best computer speakers in 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Audioengine A2+ wireless: £259,

  • Best budget computer speakers – Edifier R1010BT: £89.99,

  • Best wireless computer speakers – Ruark MR1 MkII bluetooth speaker: £349,

  • Best gaming speakers – Logitech G560: £209,

  • Best for Zoom – Creative pebble V3: £29.99,

  • Best computer soundbar speaker – Mackie CR stealthbar: £99,

  • Best with RGB lights – Razer nommo chrome: £149.99,

  • Best for big rooms – Mitchell Acoustics ustream one: £499,

  • Best cheap speakers with subwoofer – Trust tytan 2.1: £63,

Audioengine A2+ wireless

A stylish pair of bookshelf speakers with a classic design and shape, the Audioengine A2+ will look the part on any desk. They can even be propped up on optional desktop wedges to ensure they’re pointing directly toward your head as you work. More importantly, they sound sublime, especially for a modest stereo system without a subwoofer. The 2.75in woofers and 0.75 tweeters combined with 60W peak output and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity give impressive performance whether you’re listening to music or wading through a day of Zoom meetings.

Buy now £259.00,

Edifier R1010BT

An incredibly attractive pair of vintage cabinet speakers, the Edifier R1010BT would fit right into any Scandi-inspired work-from-home cubby. Available in black or brown wood grain finish, they’re designed to be seen as well as heard – and they sound as good as they look.

The 106mm bass driver and 13mm tweeter produce great all-round audio quality, with smooth sounding highs and detailed mids well-suited for music and entertainment. Bluetooth is the primary way to connect as the speakers lack a basic 3.5mm connector. Instead you’ve got dual stereo line-in, as well as on-board knobs for bass and volume.

Buy now £89.99,

Ruark MR1 MkII Bluetooth speaker

Founded in 1985, British-brand Ruark is known for producing statement hi-fi systems and DAB radios inspired by mid-century contemporary design. The handcrafted wooden cabinets and fabric covers of the second iteration MR1 Bluetooth speakers might look like they‘ve arrived from the 1960s, but they hide modern conveniences such as optical input for high-res audio and, you guessed it, Bluetooth connectivity.

We like the simplicity of the automatic standby feature, as well as how the speakers will automatically reconnect to the most recently used device when they’re turned on. It’s a small detail that means you can set these up with a computer, a laptop, or a Bluetooth turntable, and forget about having to fiddle around with connections and inputs every time you switch from home working to office working.

Buy now £349.00,

Logitech G560 gaming speakers

Comprising two satellite speakers and a breadbin-sized subwoofer, the Logitech G560 gaming speaker set is here to make some noise. The 2.1 system puts on an eye-catching RGB lightshow too. The stereo speakers have backfill lights and internal accent lights that can be set to respond to whatever’s happening on-screen. Explosions in Call of Duty send pulsating red flashes up the wall, lush forest environments turn the speaker lights a cool shade of green, and Excel spreadsheets bathe your desk in clinical, white light.

Immersive lighting aside, the G560 sound great too, if a little on the bassy side. The subwoofer delivers room-thumping low-ends, while the satellites can manage impressively cinematic virtual surround sound even when spaced at desk-width.

Buy now £209.00,

Creative pebble V3

Need a very cheap pair of speakers that aren’t complete rubbish? Okay, so that’s hardly the most towering of recommendations, but our pick of the super-budget speakers is the Creative pebble V3, which manage to deftly walk the line between affordability and quality.

The plump, egg-shaped body of these stereo speakers gives them decent volume and a full sound for a USB-powered pair of speakers costing less than £30. While the lack of a sub means you’re not going to be hosting a DJ night in Marbella with them any time soon, they’ve got enough range to breath some life and warmth into your conference calls.

Buy now £29.99,

Mackie CR stealthbar

When desktop real estate is at a premium and you simply refuse to find somewhere else to put your calathea, you need a discreet soundbar that’s only slightly wider than a standard keyboard. The Mackie CR stealthbar is thin and compact enough to slip beneath your screen and offers crisp, clean-sounding audio with a decent bass response for its small size.

Connectivity is great, with options to connect using Bluetooth, USB-C or a standard 3.5mm cable. There’s also a conveniently positioned 3.5mm headphone jack at the end of the speaker, which makes it easy to switch over to a more private conversation or listen to your most embarrassing Spotify playlists in peace.

Buy now £99.00,

Razer nommo chroma

A speaker system designed to squeeze every last bit of detail out of gaming and entertainment audio, the Razer nommo chroma employs rear facing bass ports to produce outsized low-end performance for its size. Clear and bright directional audio helps deliver more accurate sound effects in games, which Razer suggests could improve your skills, but we can assure you it will only make your games sound a lot nicer.

Don’t overlook the Razer nommo chroma if you’re not a gamer. For the price, they’re also a pair of excellent all-round computer speakers that function just as well during video conferences as they do when chainsawing through demon hoards.

Buy now £149.99,

Mitchell Acoustics ustream one

A pair of true wireless Bluetooth speakers, the Mitchell Acoustics ustream one are designed to fit neatly onto a shelf or desktop in your living room or study with minimal fuss. The left and right speakers are compact and each get their own dedicated mains plug, meaning they can be placed as far apart as required and don’t need any trailing, fussy cables connecting them together.

Once positioned where you want them, the ustream one can be controlled via your phone, laptop or computer’s Bluetooth connection – ideal for working from home with a laptop you plan on moving around a lot. For a more permanent setup, the speakers also support optical and wired 3.5mm connections. More importantly, they sound excellent. Boisterous bass drivers and clear-sounding 38mm soft-dome tweeters do justice to your music collection and elevate the audio of your virtual meetings.

Buy now £499.00,

Trust Tytan 2.1 speaker set

The Trust Tytan 2.1 combines a pair of sleek 7in speakers with a medium-sized subwoofer to produce surprisingly decent stereo sound for the price. More discerning audiophiles will find better fidelity elsewhere in our list, but for general use the Tytan’s output is loud and clear enough for music, entertainment and gaming, especially for such an inexpensive set.

The basic model doesn’t feature wireless Bluetooth connections, so you’ll only be able to use it with devices that feature a standard 3.5mm jack. The cables you need are all in the box, along with the power cable required to power the subwoofer, so setup is painless.

Buy now £63.00,

The verdict: Computer speakers

For excellent all-round audio quality in a speaker that blends beautifully into any room, we recommend the Audioengine A2+ wireless, which not only look the part but offer the latest and most reliable Bluetooth 5.0 connection for impeccable clear sound.

For a gaming setup, the Logitech G560 achieves cinematic audio and beefy volume thanks to its dedicated subwoofer. And if you’re looking for something basic because your laptop speakers are broken or gummed up with crud, our pick of the budget speakers is the Creative pebble V3, which does everything you need and features a fuss-free wireless connection.

Ditch the desk and take top-quality audio with you everywhere you go with the best wireless headphones