Important Specs Overview
Speaker type: passive, 2 way, ported
Continuous power handling: 45 W*
Peak power handling: 150 W
Impedance: 8 ohms
Sensitivity: 89 dB/W/m
Frequency response range: 60 – 24k Hz (+/- 3dB)
Unit weight: 8 lbs
Unit dimensions: 7 x 7 x 11 inches (width x depth x height)
Warranty: 5 years
*When nominal/RMS power isn’t specified by manufacturer, we use an approximation of ~30% of the specified peak/dynamic power for comparison purposes.
Review and Discussion
Polk built its brand-name on making HiFi level speakers affordable for residential consumers, and while they do have quite a few very high end loudspeakers, the budget price tier continues to be their priority. The T15s, though they’re nearly 10 years old, remain one of the most popular and best selling bookshelf speakers because they bring solid specs to the table at a very inexpensive price. Thanks to older generation speakers often getting discounted, the T15s might be some of the cheapest decent speakers available.
Polk doesn’t specify continuous power handling, for whatever reason, but we use 30% of peak power handling as an approximation, which we feel is fair for comparison purposes. ~45 W bookshelf speakers will serve well in a desktop or other such medium distance setting, but will probably fall short in a full sized home theater system. A response floor of 60 hz within a 3 dB variance is decent, but not stellar – but this is the typical concession that speakers will make in order to keep the price down, mainly because adding in a subwoofer is easy enough to do, and allows the speakers to really focus on the mids and highs. Polk makes some of our favorite budget subwoofers, in fact, which you can learn more about in our article here.
The two way design with a front firing port is fairly standard, as is the black mock-wood mdf cabinet. Pretty boilerplate look for budget-tier speakers. Polk offers a 5 year warranty on its passive speakers, which is pretty top of the line and outstanding specifically for the T15s given how cheap they are.
Our Overall Take, As Compared to the Competition
The T15s are really inexpensive, that’s their selling point. Probably the cheapest you can go with passive bookshelf speakers that are still decent. Largely thanks to them being discounted from the MSRP since they’re a bit older now. But worry not – speakers don’t depreciate like other consumer electronics do, and we actually generally recommend getting older products for this reason. The T15s might also get discontinued sooner than later, so if you’re looking for a really inexpensive pair of bookshelf speakers? Now seems as good a time as any to pull the trigger on these:
The only arguable downside is that powered speakers which wont need a receiver/amp might be a more desirable choice if your looking for something you can plug right into a computer for example, and there are a lot of such alternatives available for not all that much more money. Beyond that, you might consider spending a little more to get more power if you’re setting up a traditional home theater system – a lot of great options open up if you increase your budget by not all that much.
The Klipsch R-15Ms (reviewed here) are a similarly popular alternative and have considerably more power for not all that much more money.
See our current picks for the overall best budget bookshelf speakers