Are Bookshelf Speakers Better Than Floorstanding Speakers?

No home entertainment system can be complete without a pair of speakers. Generally, you have two types of loudspeakers to choose from: floorstanding and bookshelf. When you understand the similarities and differences between these two variants, you’ll be able to select the best pair for your environment.

If you’ve already decided on floorstanding speakers, here’s a compilation of the best floor standing speakers under 1000 that should amp up your home theater experience. If you haven’t yet, join us as we take a closer look at bookshelf and floorstanding speakers making waves on the market these days.

What Are Floorstanding Speakers?

Floorstanding speakers are speakers that are either positioned on the floor or connected to an outrigger stand. Also called tower speakers, they usually stand 36 inches or taller and can be as wide as seven inches. Depending on the model, depth can range from anywhere around nine to 24 inches.

Floorstanding speakers also come in two-way, three-way, four-way options, and more, depending on your preference. This term is used to indicate the number of drivers handling the various audio frequencies.

While a speaker with more drivers isn’t necessarily better than one with fewer drivers, driver numbers are an indication of additional components that can handle smaller frequency ranges. That being said, a four-way speaker might provide better and more accurate performance than a two-way speaker.

Choosing the Best Floorstanding Speakers

A company’s top-of-the-line speaker will almost always be of the floorstanding variety. That’s because size is a huge factor in determining a speaker’s ability to produce deep bass tones. The larger size also means better efficiency, which measures how much amplifying power is needed for the speaker to attain a certain level of sound pressure.

Decibels (dB) is the unit of measurement for efficiency. When this figure is high, less power is needed to drive the speaker. It also means your speakers can deliver more contrasting dynamics in music. A large speaker gives more room for the designer to provide efficiency, making you feel the music as if a band was actually playing in front of you.

With a large, floorstanding speaker, you can come much closer to replicating a live concert experience. That’s because it gives you the sense that a live performance is happening in front of you. When positioned correctly, these types of speakers can deliver three-dimensional sounds. So, even without vision to aid in your experience, you can tell exactly where the instruments are playing. This usually makes for an incredible audio experience.

Floorstanding speakers have also made their mark in the realm of home theater. Aesthetically, they can be positioned on either side of your flat screen television, allowing sounds to come at you from all sides.

As much of an advantage size can be where speakers are concerned, they can also be a drawback. For instance, floorstanding speakers can’t be carried around everywhere. Where you set a pair up initially is where it’ll usually stay until you decide to rearrange the furniture or move to another home.

What Are Bookshelf Speakers?

Now onto the bookshelf speakers. These speaker types usually come on the smaller side of the size scale. Still, they are larger than most portable speakers and typically have two drivers for treble and bass. When it comes to these speakers, don’t expect too much efficiency.

At its full potential, a high-quality bookshelf speaker can match a premier floorstanding speaker sonically. Granted, you will have to position the bookshelf speaker as you would a floorstanding speaker—in the room’s center—to get the same effect. Even then, they will be unable to compete with a tower for bass, but some models should be able to come close when paired with a subwoofer.

Are They Worth It?

A good-quality bookshelf speaker paired with a subwoofer could be the closest one can get to a Grade-A tower speaker. And whatever gap that’s left between these two speakers by then might be filled with the bookshelf option’s portability. There’s no doubt they can be a great pair of speakers for people who are fond of bringing their sound accessories with them.

From a decoration standpoint, bookshelf speakers are also more space-friendly. Even when placed on top of a stand, giving them a similar footprint to the floorstanding variety, bookshelf speakers will still appear as if they’re taking up less space.

Bookshelf speakers can be just as good for home theater situations as floorstanding speakers. These speaker types can even be built into cabinets so that you have more free space around you.

Floorstanding Speakers vs. Bookshelf Speakers: Conclusion

The only real way to determine which speaker type is better is to consider which one can better meet your needs. Floorstanding speakers edge out their bookshelf counterparts in terms of overall audio experience. However, it’s the bookshelf variety that holds the top spot in terms of versatility, which can be just as important to a user. Sonically, it doesn’t fall too far behind the much-larger tower speakers, either.