Whether you have a desktop or a laptop, the speakers built into it are unlikely to give you great sound, but thanks to the best computer speakers under $50, you can upgrade the power, clarity, and depth of your audio setup without breaking the bank. These speakers will also be compact enough to fit on your desk, and some will have add-ons, like subwoofers or Bluetooth connectivity.
As with any speaker (budget-friendly or not), sound quality is going to be the biggest determinant — which is why reviewer feedback is so important. Since you can't hear the sound quality in person while shopping online, Amazon's ratings and reviews are lifesavers. (This is especially true if you're looking to make a great purchase without delving into confusing speaker terms, which are generally a little less important at lower price points anyway.) Typically, the most highly-rated budget computer speakers climbed their way to the top because they deliver audio that's full, crisp, and — if there's a subwoofer involved— booming with bass.
When shopping for the best cheap computer speakers, you'll also want to check power and sound compatibility before you make any purchases. Computer speakers usually have two different plugs: one that powers the speakers and one that connects them to your computer. When it comes to the former, you can choose a USB option that lets your computer power the speakers or an AC that plugs into any standard wall outlet. As far as sound, most speakers use a 3.5mm audio jack, which fits standard AUX-in ports, but higher-tech options may have Bluetooth-capabilities for wireless control.
1. The overall best computer speakers under $50
With more than 19,000 Amazon reviews and consistently high ratings, these affordable computer speakers are extremely compact and come with a relatively powerful subwoofer for improved bass and depth of sound, all for a surprisingly wallet-friendly price. (Side note: If you just want the mid-range side speakers without the subwoofer, you can spend even less.) Plus, this unique feature: a "high gain" mode that increases the power for bigger bass and more room-filling sound — but keep in mind that you'll have to invest in a 5-volt 2A power adapter to access this function.
The dial on the front makes it easy to pump up the volume, and thanks to the adapter-free USB hookup with a universal AUX cable, they work well with both desktops and laptops. Most importantly, reviewers have called them "compact," "crystal clear," and "an excellent value."
- System includes: 2 side speakers, a subwoofer, and cables
- Connectivity type: USB for power, 3.5mm AUX for sound, RCA for sound
One reviewer wrote: "I don’t usually write reviews but figured I’d do a solid here. For under $50, these are absolutely incredible. If someone showed these to me and said they were $175-200 speakers, I’d believe them. Although I’m not a true audiophile I do know my stuff pretty well and know good sound quality when I hear it. These are exquisite for the price. Super rich and completely fill the listening space all around you."
2. The best budget computer speakers
If you're looking to stick to a strict budget, these cheap computer speakers are definitely the way to go — and despite the low price, reviewers say they're "truly impressed with the sound quality." The compact size and slim profile mean they take up minimal space on your desk, but they're still powerful enough to significantly outperform your computer's built-in speakers. They also have a headphone jack for solo listening and a knob on the side for hassle-free volume adjustment. Keep in mind, though: There's no subwoofer, which means these are better for a mid-range sound and have a little less power in the bass department.
- System includes: 2 side speakers and cables
- Connectivity type: AC plug for power and 3.5mm input for sound
One reviewer wrote: "GREAT value for the price. I bought these primarily for an office setting to listen to webinars, news clips and some light youtube listening. They are clear, do not take up a lot of desk space, have ample cord length (both for the power cord and speaker wire) and are aesthetically pleasing."
3. The most affordable computer soundbar
Some people prefer the sleek look and space-savvy design of a soundbar, and if you're "some people", the Taotronics computer soundbar delivers. It has thousands of five-star reviews because it offers immersive sound, and the slim, compact footprint means you can place it right under your monitor, minimizing desktop clutter. LED accents upgrade the style factor, and you can control the volume with a simple knob on the side, all for under $50. And while there's no subwoofer included, you can use this option as a microphone, thanks to the additional plug-in.
- System includes: 1 soundbar and cables
- Connectivity type: USB for power and 3.5mm AUX for sound
One reviewer wrote: "It's inexpensive, but man does it sound great!! It's clean, light, powered by USB (which incidentally was also recognized as a sound device by my mac which is a secondary machine I'm using to power it), and it looks good too! I love that it puts out this much sound but doesn't take up hardly any space on my desk."
4. The best Bluetooth option
And finally, for optimal convenience at a great price, check out this pair of Bluetooth speakers with a range of up to 33 feet, so you can move from your desk to your couch without missing a beat. They're powered by USB and offer the option of 3.5mm connectivity, but you can also control them wirelessly via your smartphone or Bluetooth-enabled computer. It's easy to control the volume and switch between connectivity modes with the sleek, on-speaker controls, and the built-in dual subwoofers level up the bass. Plus, the speakers have optional color-changing LED lights for a futuristic-looking gaming or media setup.
- System includes: 2 side speakers and cables
- Connectivity type: USB for power and 3.5mm AUX or Bluetooth for sound
One reviewer wrote: "Beautiful speakers and very easy to install with bluetooth connecting the device automatically. Clear music and I’m happy I bought this product."