Unlike bookshelf speakers which need to rest on stands, a shelf or other such surface, or be mounted, tower speakers are designed to be optimally positioned when merely standing up straight from the floor. They accomplish this with cabinets that are many times taller and larger than a run of the mill bookshelf speaker. The larger cabinet in itself brings additional advantages, namely that the speaker can get louder and more performant because it can move more air and fit more woofers in the baffle. And of course they look cool too. For many, a home theater system is, among other things, a stylistic statement. Tower speakers are pieces of furniture in their own right that contribute to a room’s decor.
The drawback? Well, besides being much larger and heavier, they can get expensive, really expensive in some cases – many HiFi tower speakers easily crack the five figure barrier. And for a long time, decent budget-tier floorstanding loudspeakers that were affordable for the average homeowner didn’t really seem to exist. But that’s definitely changed in recent years – numerous brands have produced entire lineups of HiFi speakers that sound and look great while being modestly priced.
This article analyses our select choices for the best budget-tier floorstanding speakers, a fair benchmark for which we’ve set at less than $500 a pair.
Table of Contents Navigation
- How We Evaluate, Compare, and Pick The Best
- What Can You Reasonably Expect With a ~$500 Budget?
- A Preliminary Word About Prices
- Our Top Overall Choice: The Polk Monitor 70s
- Our Top Choice For Maximum Power: The Klipsch R-26F
- Our Top Choice For Coolest Design: The Polk Signature Series S55
- Our Top Choice For The Cheapest Option: The Polk T50s
- Relevant Links and Resources
How We Evaluate, Compare, and Pick The Best
We’ve reviewed, analysed, or otherwise looked at just about every viable choice on the market. We cut through sales pages and focus on industry specs that ultimately matter: power handling, response range, build design, materials, and warranty to name a few. Basically, the things which, if compared across the board, will pretty clearly indicate the best products at a given price range.
What Can You Reasonably Expect With a ~$500 Budget?
It wasn’t too long ago that most people would tell you to just avoid tower speakers all together if your price cap was $250 per. But, in recent years, many different tower speakers that sound great and aren’t all that expensive have come about. Where there was once perhaps no viable choices there are now many.
A Preliminary Word About Prices
Speakers prices can vary and by quite a lot – we’ve seen units get discounted by 50% or more of their original price. The best choice often ultimately depends on what the best deal is at the time, so, take our or any reviews with a grain of salt and don’t be afraid to shop.
And so, without further ado, here are our favorite picks:
Our Top Overall Choice: The Polk Monitor 70s
Polk made it’s name by pioneering HiFi speakers that were affordable for homeowners, and we think their longstanding flagship Monitor 70s best encapsulate that. Why? The sheer overall value you get with these is unmatched. Not only are the power specs excellent, but they’re one of the few budget-tier floorstanding speakers that have a 3 way ported design with built in subwoofers. Cheap speakers almost always need a separate subwoofer to come up to snuff, but with these it comes included. For maximum value and the simplicity of great standalone speakers, these are our top choice.
Our Top Choice For Maximum Power: The Klipsch R-26F
The most powerful option in the budget-tier is, unsurprisingly, produced by Klipsch. It’s amazing how loud these things can go given how affordable they are. Klipsch’s signature black and copper design also looks cool in it’s own right. The only downside is that these might benefit from a separate subwoofer. Or, if you’re willing to spring a little more, the larger 26 and 28s have a lower response floor and stronger bass.
Our Top Choice For Coolest Design: The Polk Signature Series S55
For a long while it was generally accepted that budget speakers had a pretty homogeneous, plain design across the board. But Polk, known quite well for it’s cool designs, released the signature series that features the above retro-future look that we think is really cool. They’re not quite as powerful as the Monitor or Reference speakers above, but the specs are still excellent for the price, and plenty for many’s needs.
Our Top Choice For The Cheapest Option: The Polk T50s
These are, by a significant margin, the cheapest tower speakers that we’ve seen that are still decent – we’ve seen them available for well under $200/pair, and that currently makes them a pretty clear choice for those who are content with “good enough” and want to spend as little as possible. Nothing wrong with that at all, especially for those who just don’t need a ton of power or volume.
Relevant Links and Resources
The best budget bookshelf speakers – for those interested in bookshelf speakers as an alternative.
The best budget subwoofers – a subwoofer is definitely still a worthwhile addition to tower speakers in many cases.