In our lives, that are increasingly virtual, we are constantly hooked to our computers. Though we are tied down by virtual freedom, we do not have to sacrifice good audio. The best computer speakers try to bring you world class audio from a tiny corner on the desk. They try to make the audio experience as elaborate as it can get without surround sound. PC speakers are also supposed to be versatile in the audio they play, because they could be used for games, movies, music et al.. Most of us don’t prefer blowing all of our money for this wired, non-portable peripheral. So like bloodhounds, we set out on the trail of the best computer speakers under $100. And we found 10 that make themselves worth every penny you pay for them.
- 1 How do computer speakers work?
- 2 Which is the best computer speaker under 100 dollars ?
- 3 Top 10 Best Computer Speakers Under 100 in 2018 – Chart
- 4 Creative GigaWorks T20 Series II 2.0 Multimedia Speaker System with BasXPort Technology
- 5 Bose Companion 2 Series III Multimedia Speakers
- 6 Logitech Speaker System Z523 with Subwoofer
- 7 JBL Pebbles Plug and Play Stereo Computer Speakers
- 8 Altec Lansing VS2621 2.1 Channel Speaker System
- 9 Mackie CR Series 3″ Creative Reference Multimedia Monitors
- 10 Cyber Acoustics 30 Watt Powered Speakers with Subwoofer for PC CA 3602
- 11 Logitech Z313 Speaker System
- 12 Creative Inspire T12 2.0 Wired Multimedia Speaker System with Bass Flex Technology
- 13 Satechi® Dual Sonic Speaker 2.0 Channel Computer Speakers
How do computer speakers work?
Computer speakers are connected to the speaker port on your PC or laptop. They receive external power, either from a wall socket or from the PC itself via a USB. When sound signals are fired off, they are conveyed to the speaker through the connected port. The active speakers have an amplifier powering the speaker circuit. The power from the wall plug allows the amplifier to boost the sound signal. This signal is then played through the speaker.
This process is fairly simple. Understanding it helps you figure out how to repair your wired speakers. Sometimes you might not get audio out of them. And you might be confused whether it’s a computer issue or a speaker issue. Plug in your headphones to the PC and check if the music still plays. If that eliminates the PC from the line of fire, check the speaker wires.
Which is the best computer speaker under 100 dollars ?
If you are on a budget and need computer speakers, you picked the right mentors. We plunged ourselves into the shadowy world of unacceptable marketing and affordable speakers to find the true gems. They were selected based on:
Audio: As with any speaker, audio takes the first test. $100 is a reasonable price range and we should be able to get the quality that this price demands. We mostly picked those speakers that gave us excellent audio value for the price. We looked for the usual markers of good sonic output like balance, deep bass, clear mids, sparkling treble etc.. We selected some systems with subwoofers too for the avid gamers.
Value-on-money:When you have a small budget, you look for maximum return on investment.We racked features, audio, connectivity etc. against the price to see how well a PC speaker fared.
Features: Any perk that can make the use of these computer speakers more convenient was given points. Having a control pod, bass and treble volume, power indicating LED lights etc. make these speakers that much more user-friendly.
Ease of setup: Let’s face it. Everybody needs to listen to music, watch movies or play games. But not everyone is tech-savvy. A speaker set with minimum installation steps was given precedence over a complicated one for the best computer speakers under 100 list.
Top 10 Best Computer Speakers Under 100 in 2018 – Chart
|1. Creative GigaWorks T20 Series II 2.0 Multimedia Speaker System with BasXPort Technology||BasXPort technology||$$||4.3|
|2. Bose Companion 2 Series III Multimedia Speakers||TrueSpace® stereo digital signal||$$||4.3|
|3. Logitech Speaker System Z523 with Subwoofer||360-degree sound||$$||4.2|
|4. JBL Pebbles Plug and Play Stereo Computer Speakers||2.0 audio system||$$$||4.1|
|5. Altec Lansing VS2621 2.1 Channel Speaker System||Audio Alignment technology||$$||4.1|
|6. Mackie CR Series 3″ Creative Reference Multimedia Monitors||Ultra-wide frequency range||$$||4.1|
|7. Cyber Acoustics 30 Watt Powered Speakers with Subwoofer for PC CA 3602||Shielded satellite speakers||$$||4.1|
|8. Logitech Z313 Speaker System||Compact subwoofer||$$||4.1|
|9. Creative Inspire T12 2.0 Wired Multimedia Speaker System with Bass Flex Technology||Concealed microphone||$$||4.0|
|10. Satechi® Dual Sonic Speaker 2.0 Channel Computer Speakers||Acoustic Air Spring technology||$$||4.0|
Creative GigaWorks T20 Series II 2.0 is a handsome computer speaker for under 100 bucks. This PC speaker has curves in all the right places. Its audio quality is balanced and has sails smooth across the frequency range. The architecture is specially designed for the convenience of the users. It is not just an upgrade on the integrated-PC speakers, it blows them out of the water. Without a subwoofer, it takes only limited space on the desk. We let its creativity channel to the top spot on the best computer speakers under 100 list.
Design and Features
The Creative GigaWorks T20 Series II PC speakers are a set of two music-makers. These are elegantly designed products featuring a mid-range driver and a tweeter each. They face forward at an angle so that they can fire the audio to your ear level. They have a detachable grille frame with a cloth grille. We preferred the look with the grille off. The midrange driver has a yellow face that pairs well with the greyish sheen of the speakers.
The right speaker holds three knobs: bass volume, main volume and treble volume. The bass and treble volume knobs allow you to adjust bass and treble levels in the frequency response respectively. The front side of this speaker also holds the headphone jack and a 3.5mm auxiliary port. The back side has an RCA connection port. A number of useful cables like 3.5mm male-male, 3.5mm-Dual RCA etc. are included in the pack. The power cord connects to the back of the right speaker.
There’s a blue light around the Power button of this computer speaker. It is not painful to the eye in dark but it gives an indication of the power status. The construction is solid and will stand by you for a long time. They are very lightweight, so if you use them with your laptop, you will have no trouble carrying them around.
Creative GigaWorks T20 Series II desktop speaker has a port on the top, which it calls the BasXPort. This mimics the subwoofer operation and adds oomph to the low and mid ranges. The audio response is a bomb, given its price and size. Even with 28W they can create quite the ruckus. We were impressed at how rich and substantial the audio was. The bass underscoring the vocals is strong but not over-emphasized. It can handle complicated tracks well. Its rhythm keeps up with the thick mix of instruments and gives the vocals space to be heard. So you can watch Arnold Schwarzenegger movies without missing any dialogues.
Highs were as beautifully done as the bass. The treble has plenty of details to sound clear and measured. There’s no sibilance or distortion at the flat setting of the equalizer knobs. The audio response is not going to knock you off your feet like a 2.1 system. But this is as good as the best 2.0 computer speakers under 100 bucks get.
- Warm, balanced sound
- Punchy bass and sparkling treble
- Attractive design
- Detachable speaker grille
- Short wires
Bose instantly brings sterling audio standards to mind. If you are looking for economical audio options, Bose’s considerable sound engineering experience and customer service make the investment worth your while. Bose Companion 2 Series III computer speakers make amends of their predecessor’s shortcomings and make a huge leap over the sound system of your PCs. These are one of the best speaker set under $100 that does not include a subwoofer and is space-effective. It strolls companionably on to a spot on the best computer speakers under 100 list.
Design and Features
Bose Companion 2 Series III computer speakers are a set of 7.5 –inch tall speakers. They sit 3.1 inches broad and 5.9 inches deep. They connect to the PC via a 4-feet wire and to each other via a 6-feet wire. These cords are semi-hardwired, so you have to be careful while using them. The power-cord is removable in case you are not using US standard inputs.
The right speaker of the Companion 2 Series III set has a volume knob and a headphone jack in the front. The backside holds two 3.5 ports, one for the PC connection and the other as an input port for portable playback devices. The speakers are upward-firing as the grille-face sits slightly angled to the vertical line.
The color and branding on these speakers are minimalistic. They are bookshelf speakers and light to carry around. They come in simple black tones that match most PCs. Installation is as easy as plug and play. You can even connect them to your TV. But beware, they are near-field PC speakers, so they’ll sound better if you are sitting close to them. They don’t come with a remote controls either. So you have to walk up to them to change the volume when they are connected to TV.
Bose Companion 2 Series III desktop speakers sound like the integrated computer speakers graduated 4 times over. These have the full-bodied sound that we expect with sub-woofer on. They don’t sound as good as 3-piece 2.1 speaker system. But the lower registers have more punch over the Series III. This mid bass bump adds definition to the overall sonic response. The highs are much more refined and toned. Bass and treble are perfectly balanced with each other.
The midrange is clear and crisp. It seems a little less enthused over the pumped up bass. But mids are not muddied as such. We preferred these speakers more for rock, EDM, Techno, pop etc..There’s minimal distortion at the very top volumes only.
- Full, smooth sound with punchy bass
- Clear treble
- Has headphone jack and two 3.5mm ports at the back
- Midrange needs more emphasis
Logitech Z523 computer speaker system is a 3-piece set that is the absolute best in its price range for enhancing PC audio.At the same price as Bose Companion 2 and Series III, these include the majestic bass that only a sub can bring. For folks who are looking to save space on their work desk, Bose or creative T20 are the better options. But if you can make place for the sub, Logitech Z523 pumps out outstanding music at the price.We bass-loaded it all the way into our best computer speakers under 100 list.
Design and Features
The subwoofer of the Logitech Z523 PC speaker system is a squat box measuring 10” x 9” x 8.75” in dimensions. It is lightweight and easy to hide away under the desk. The satellite speakers have an arched back and stand 7.7 inches tall each. Sub holds all the cable connections at the back including PC connections, and port for speaker. The right hand satellite speaker has the headphone jack and a 3.5mm line-in jack,off to one side. The port help you connect to DVD player, gaming consoles etc. as well.Its front holds the volume knob and bass level knob. The volume also doubles as power button. The front side of the speakers has a glossy finish. This is a fingerprint-magnet.
The satellite speakers of this desktop system have both front and rear-mounted drivers. So there are speaker grilles on both sides. Logitech claims that this creates 360⁰ audio. But we found that it fires audio only in the front and back. If we sit to the side of the speaker, it doesn’t have the same audio response.The sub has a 4” subwoofer and a 6.5” passive radiator on the side.The subwoofer is down-firing and creates an impact on the desk.
Logitech Z523 computer speakers have a 40W RMS audio output. That’s a lot of power for a sub-$100 audio equipment. It thumps loud enough to reach about 10 people in a mid-sized room. The bass response is exceptionally strong. You will find it to be flat a little before the 12 o’clock position in bass volume knob. This knob is especially useful when you want to feel the explosions and staccato gunfire of your PC games.
Midrange and treble are decent. They do not have the details of an expensive system and Logitech has focused more on bass here. The treble sounds brighter than normal. They took this feedback and tried to tone it down in the Z623, which turned out to have blunted highs. Except for the mishap with highs, Z523 PC speakers offer laudable sound for the money.
- Has subwoofer with passive radiator
- Strong bass performance
- Classy design
- Treble is a bit bright
JBL Pebbles computer speakers take a detour from the classic speaker looks. They look like tires, deflated at the bottom to sit flat on a desk. If you think they are all about looks, they will surprise you. They keep the prices down by limiting the on-board functionality and investing more on the audio. Conveniently for some, they use a USB port or a 3.5mm jack to connect to playback devices. JBL Pebbles rolled right into our best computer speakers under 100 list, tire and all that.
Design and Features
JBL Pebbles PC speakers are stars with their elegance shining through their architecture. Their outer skirt is covered in speaker grille along a semi-circle. The hub is done in all metal with a colored rim. The volume and power controls are on the hub. A power indicating light is also situated here. There is a 3.5mm aux jack and USB input to play music and for power. They are around 8 inches in diameter and 3 inches thick. On the whole, they weigh approximately 1.2 pounds. They have a cable management area. You can route the power cord around a groove at the base of the right speaker. The cord connecting the two speakers is wrapped on a groove at the base of left speaker. The trade-off is that the cord is short, around 0.8m.
The white/orange combination of this computer speaker is especially alluring. Half its body is in orange while the rest is in white. The construction feels solid. We don’t think it will break on us anytime soon. It is a very portable design. It ships with a 3.5mm aux cable too. Both speakers are ported at the back, which tries to make up for the lack of a subwoofer. The set up process is an easy plug and play procedure.
JBL Pebble desktop speakers defy their size with their power. They were so loud that we jumped a mile when we turned them on. They can play loud enough to fill a mid-sized room. These have 50mm speakers that chug out big bass. It’s not as clear as a big speaker. There will be some boominess which needs to be EQ’d out. Bass has a mid-low bump that makes Pebbles a real star with EDM, Techno, Hip hop, Pop etc. There is no distortion at high volumes.
As expected, the mids and highs have decent quality. They were able to handle moderate amount of details well. If you turn on a complicated track, then they will lose some of their footing in the rhythm area.
- Stylish, unconventional design
- Big bass
- Loud volume
- USB-powered and USB input
- Wires are short
- No wall adapter included
Altec Lansing VS2621 computer speakers are one of those sub-$100 sets which get a second look from the audiophiles too. Most music-purists would be surprised to find such fine-tuned audio at this price. But Altec delivers. And it does so with a fancy body. The VS2621 is a chic looking 2-piece set of 28W RMS power. Except the power buttons, the other controls are easy to use. At 93dB it gets plenty loud for a mid-sized or large room. It checked many of the right boxes to get into our best computer speakers under 100 list.
Design and Features
Altec Lansing VS2621 PC speakers are a contemporary-looking set. They won’t look out of place in a modern interior décor. They make use of metal frames on which the satellite speakers are mounted for forward-firing at an angle. The satellite speakers are 5.2 inches tall, 4.7 inches broad and 5.1 inches deep. The subwoofer consumes moderate amount of space at just 10.3 x 8.8 x 4.9 inches in 3 directions. The sub is side-firing. The power button is at the back of the subwoofer. These are powered by USB unlike most 2.1 speaker sets. So you will always have a power cord lying around to power them up.
Other controls are on the right hand speaker. The front side has a volume and a bass knob. There’s also a 3.5mm auxiliary jack in the front. The interconnections between the 3 pieces of this desktop speaker are semi-hardwired. If the cables get damaged, the speakers go down with them.
There are no extra perks with these computer speakers. We would have liked to see a control pod but at their price, we can let that pass. Setting up is fairly easy. You can plug the media player in through the aux input. There are no settings required on the PC as such.
Altec Lansing VS26321 desktop speakers make use of a full-range driver in each satellite speaker and 4-inch subwoofer. Together, they have a power handling capability of 28W. So VS2621 gets as loud as 93dB when cranked up. This speaker has an open, airy sound set in a wide soundstage. The bass is very punchy. It extends deep into the sub-bass region, showing oomph throughout the lower frequencies. Even with the bass power, it does not muddy the mids. It lodges a victory against the CA-3602 in terms of the bass. CA-3602 has a leaner bass. So it sounds boomy compared to the VS2621.
The midrange and highs are refined and crisp. They play without distortion until the last point on the volume wheel.
- Lightweight and USB powered
- Balanced, natural sound
- Refined audio with punchy bass
- Modern styling
- No headphone jack
What can beat a 2.1 speaker system under $100 budget? That would be a pair of reference monitors. If you use your computer speakers to listen to an enviable music collection, then Mackie CR3 PC speakers could be your ultimate toy. They have a balanced audio that help you listen to music the way it was meant to be: without artificial boosts. They come with all studio-grade wires and accessories for making small-time music. Their tonal balance catapulted them all the way to the best computer speakers under 100 list.
Design and Features
Mackie CR3 PC speakers have a sporty design with green light rims to accentuate the sensitive areas. These are two bookshelf speakers that measure 8.5 inches in height, 6 inches in width and 6.5 inches in depth. The front side of both speakers holds the speaker grilles for a midrange driver and a tweeter each. Both are rimmed by a green circle of light. Very Lord of The Rings. The right speaker also has a volume knob circled by the green light. This volume knob can be turned completely to power down the speakers. The master power button is at the back.
The midrange woofers in both the speakers are ported for smooth bass extension. The rest of the frequencies are handled by 0.75 inch tweeters. The right speaker also holds the headphone jack and 3.5mm auxiliary input at the bottom right corner.
This PC speaker ships with an RCA cable, a 1/8” to RCA converter and a pair of isolation pads. These pads separate your speakers from the mounting surfaces. This way the effects if any vibration on the desk will be eliminated and the audio will come through unadulterated.
The Mackie CR3 desktop speakers pack 50W of power into a home studio setup. Most of you who have started dabbling in music-production will appreciate the nominal price and grand capability of these speakers. They have rich sound. A good amount of detailing adds body to the sonic response. Bass corresponds to a flat audio response. Listeners who are used to boosted bass may find the bass lacking. But audio purists will agree with the bass levels at this price. The midrange and highs show all the nuances that speakers like Logitech Z313 lack.
The stereo-imaging of these speakers is amazing. Instrument separation is clearly discernible from the pair of speakers. The audio is open and airy. But they do not sound hollow at any point.
- Balanced, natural sound
- Reference-quality audio
- Volume button powers off the speaker
- Muted light power indicators
- Bass needs more power in the deep frequencies
Cyber Acoustics CA 3602 PC speaker is an affordable 3-piece set. It makes itself worth every dime you pay, in terms of simple architecture and audio. To have a subwoofer chug out decent bass at this price is a great deal, if you can make place for it under the table. Its 30W RMS power gives you loud volume. It comes with a standout control pod that makes a lot of functions and connections easy. CA 3602 pranced its way bass-fully into the best computer speakers under 100 list.
Design and Features
Cyber Acoustics CA-3602 PC speakers are a good-looking set regardless of their price. They combine matte black, glossy black and silver finish for their high-end look. The sub stands around 11 inches tall. CA claims that the subwoofer cabinet is made of wood for better acoustics.It is ported with a passive radiator and has a 5.25-inch side-firing driver. It is matte black. The satellite speakers have two 2-inch drivers each for the higher frequencies. They are angled upward to aim towards the ear-level of the user. They are much more fancy-looking with glossy blacks and silver stands.
The control pod is connected to the subwoofer via a cable. It is shaped like a pancake but it’s thicker. This has the power button, a headphone jack, a 3.5mm aux jack and the bass volume wheel on the side. Having the ports on the pod makes it easy to pair with a number of devices. The top face of the pod is a volume wheel. This computer speaker is also shipped with a device rack where you can put your phone or iPod to connect them to the speaker. It can be used independently of the speaker as well.
CA 3602 desktop speakers come at a minimal price for a 3-piece set. Keeping that in mind, we delved into the sound specifics. The 18W sub pumps out a good amount of bass. The overall power of 30W makes for loud volume levels for the entire room.
It’s punchy at moderate volume and bass levels. For a casual listener, who uses PC speakers mostly for gaming, these have plenty of oomph. The lower bass frequencies are not entirely present. So if the purists listen carefully, they can discern this problem. The midrange and highs are clear and articulate. They are free of sibilance all the way up to the high volumes.
- Attractive set
- Comes with subwoofer and control pod
- Decent audio response
- Low bass frequencies are not as clear
Casual listeners, who look for rock-bottom prices and brand reliability, will like the Logitech Z313 computer speaker. Even at its measly price, this is a 2.1 speaker set with a control pod. Logitech has kept the looks simple and elegant. The audio is pleasant all across the frequency spectrum. But it is not refined. This affordable music-machine offer enough value for its price to be on the best computer speakers under 100 list.
Design and Features
Logitech Z313 PC speakers have matte black architecture with tasteful trims of metal. They are compact and save space on your computer desk. The lightweight cabinet of the subwoofer holds a 4-inch down-firing driver. The bass port in the front contributes to a smoother bass. The portable satellite speakers have a driver and a bass port each. Due to their arched backbone they direct the sound forward at an angle. The metal rim of the driver adds to their aesthetic value.
All the operations of the Z313 computer speakers are done by the control pod. It connects to the speaker via a 6-foot cable. This has the power button, volume wheel, a headphone and line-in jack. Moving the playback-device connection to the control pod makes it easy to route that wire. But even with a subwoofer there are is no bass-level knob.
The cord connections on these computer speakers are semi- hardwired. The build quality is solid and the wires look like they could take some stress. Still, detachable cables are an asset, even with affordable speakers. Setting them up is easy. You just have to make the connection between the sub, satellite speaker and the control pod. The branding on the speaker is limited. Except for the wire nest, they look good in a simple setting.
Logitech specializes in creating budget-oriented computer peripherals. The audio response of the Z313 desktop speakers is balanced and warm. They have the clarity to satisfy a casual listener. The details that make Altec Lansing VS2621 a better listen are missing from Z313. But Logitech hints that it has potential to craft good audio with these speakers. It is a subtle indication of what lies in wait if you spend some more and get a Z623.
The bass is better than we had expected of the price. The midranges stand out and have the bass underscore them rather than override them. The highs sound more muffled here. They lack the sparkle that creates the equal partnership between treble and bass. If you use these computer speakers mainly for gaming, they will match the capabilities you need.
- Graceful design
- Punchy bass
- Good midrange performance
- Comes with a control pod
- Highs are muted
Creative Inspire T12 2.0 computer speakers come as both wired and wireless speakers. They can easily wipe the floor with the integrated-PC speakers. At 9W RMS per channel, they get loud enough in a small to mid-sized room. The wired ones are bare-bone speakers. They look pretty on either side of your desktop computer. These are not audiophile-grade speakers. But to a casual listener, who like to watch movies, play games and music on her/his computer, these are great, hence their place in our best computer speakers under 100 list.
Design and Features
Creative Inspire T12 2.0 PC speakers are a pair of glossy watchmen that watch over your music tastes. They stand around 7 inches tall. They are angled back so that the audio reaches up to a sweet spot near your ears. The tweeter and the volume knob are done in contrasting metallic silver finish.The glossy finish on the front side invites a number of fingerprints every time you handle the speakers. Giving them a wipedown once in a while will keep them in great shape.
Each speaker has a woofer and a tweeter. The tweeter is in the front while the woofer at the back. This way the audio will reflect off the walls behind the speaker before getting to you. However, placing the tweeter and the woofer so close can also introduce interference between the two.
The right one of this computer speaker set has the volume knob. Underneath that, there is the headphone jack and a 3.5mm auxiliary input. The back side holds a connection to the other speaker and the power cord connection. It also has another aux port to plug in your playback devices.
Creative Inspire T12 2.0 desktop speakers offer amicable sound at reasonable price. They will not satisfy a purist but they sound really good. The audio is loud and balanced. We liked how effortlessly the audio flowed inside a room with reflective surfaces on the back of the speaker. The bass carries weight but it’s not hard-hitting. The vocals and guitars do not have to struggle around bass to get in a note edgeways. They are detailed to a point that most casual listeners will enjoy the sonic response.
They do distort at high volume( about 80%), which is why they were pegged down in the list. But they are still brilliant enough to be placed amongst the best computer speakers under $100.
- Sleek-looking set
- Simple setup
- Balanced loud audio
- Also available as wireless
- Distortion at high volume
Satechi Dual Sonic Speaker 2.0 computer speakers are a futuristic-looking breed.They look like robot tops with power LEDs gleaming mischievously. Available in silver and black colors, this speaker sounds okay for its size. It can pump out even sound without a lot of distortion. And it one-ups most computer speakers in terms of sound.This is a USB speaker which draws power from the same device it plays from. For doing something different, it deserves a place in our best computer speakers under 100 list.
Design and Features
Satechi Dual Sonic PC speakers have gleaming curved faces covered in speaker grille. They taper towards the top where they have metallic highlights. The bottom side has an LED strip and a stand. The LED strip indicates the power status of Satechi. These are not bright lights that can distract you at night. These are dim lights that glow softly in the night.
The connection system of the speakers is different from what we have seen till now. They connect to each other via a 2.5 feet cord. They connect to the playback source, i.e. your computer, through a cord that splits into a 3.5mm headphone jack and a USB jack. Both have to be connected to the PC together. One supplies power and the other plays audio. There’s an inline volume control on this cord. The disadvantage is that the two split jacks are only 6 inches apart. So the ports have to be close to each other to be connected. Or else you have to use a USB hub.
This computer speaker uses the most minimal ports and buttons to function with a PC. Whatever it costs, it invests in looks and audio.
Satechi Dual Sonic desktop speaker is powered by a 1.5W driver each. At 3W it’s not as powerful as most other speakers on the best computer speakers under $100 list. It works well as a near-field speaker when positioned on your desk. The audio has only decent amount of details and substance. It will not sound as rich as the Logitech Z623. Bass appears in full swing to support most songs. The mids and highs sound pleasant. The bass is clipped at the highest volumes making it sound tame. Moderate volumes see a well-rounded audio.
- Good-looking speakers
- Simple setup
- Decent audio
- Split cable for USB and 3.5mm jack doesn’t spread much