Best Bookshelf Speakers – 8 Top Choices for Black Friday 2023

best bookshelf speakers

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Black Friday, despite its somewhat ominous sounding name, is one of my favorite days of the year, because I can take advantage of the huge discounts and finally get myself all of the toys and gadgets I’ve been wanting all year long.

Uhm, I mean, of course, because I can spend the day online finding and purchasing the best presents for my friends, family and loved ones – like, for example, the best bookshelf speakers! (Not all about me, after all…)

But if you don’t want to spend the whole day online – whether you’re buying gifts for yourself or for others – I’ve put together this guide to the best bookshelf speakers to get on Black Friday.

And if you’re really, really in a hurry, here’s the quick list of all my picks:

What Are the Best Bookshelf Speakers to But on Black Friday?

The idea of this buyer’s guide to the best Black Friday deals for bookshelf speakers is to save you time and effort, help you easily find the best speakers and the best deals, get clicking and get on with your day.

As such, I’m not going to spend a lot of time talking about what’s best and why, as I would rather get right to the picks. I will make a couple of important points before we proceed, though:

  • The best bookshelf speakers to buy on Black Friday are simply the best bookshelf speakers overall. I am confident that my choices will be substantially – even irresistibly – discounted on Black Friday, but they are all speakers that are amazing values and great choices even at their full retail price – great deals and great gifts any day of the year.
  • The best bookshelf speakers can be cheap or expensive, but they all should have a few basic qualities, like:
    • deep, strong bass that adds great excitement but doesn’t overwhelm everything else
    • big, immersive soundstage and precise imaging
    • clear, sweet and detailed highs and smooth, realistic wide open mids
    • a beautiful and musical sound signature overall
    • great dynamic range and musical energy
    • excellent material and build quality and long term reliability

and a lot more…

Sounds like we’re talking about expensive, high end audiophile speakers, but in fact my choices for best bookshelf speakers start at under a hundred dollars a pair. And yeah, they go up to the stratosphere, but even the most affordable of our picks are pretty special speakers, and the perfect way to really take advantage of those legendary Black Friday deals!

I will organize this list of best Black Friday choices from least to most expensive, with both wired and wireless options, but before we get into all of that I’m going to start with my very top choice, and one of my favorite speakers of all times – the KEF LSX II – my pick for the best bookshelf speakers overall.

So let’s get going, before all the best deals are gone!

The Best Black Friday Bookshelf Speakers

The Best Bookshelf Speakers Overall – My Top Pick!

KEF LSX II Wireless HiFi Speaker System (Carbon Black)

I am actually a bit surprised by my choice for best Black Friday speaker choice overall, not because they’re KEF – in fact I love the company and pretty much everything they make – but because they are wireless active speakers, and I almost always prefer traditional wired speakers.

But not this time. The KEF LSX II Bluetooth wireless active speakers are not only one of the finest pairs of bookshelf speakers on the planet, they also have equally superb amplification – and not just that, but an absolutely ideal interaction between the amps and the drivers, crossovers and cabinets. Much of this is so carefully designed and engineered by the geniuses at KEF, but not all of it – here we approach that realm of magical interaction, of true synergy that moves certain combinations of gear to a new level of realism, or beauty, or expressive power, or in this case all of the above.

Make no mistake – these fairly expensive speakers are pure audiophile, residing at the very top of the hi-fi pyramid and easily outperforming speaker/amp combinations that cost many thousands of dollars more. The LSX II are fast, effortless and exceptionally neutral, and open up a stunningly vivid space where the music can totally speak for itself. At the same time, for all their best-of-class audiophile purity, they have a warmth and musicality – not to mention at times frighteningly powerful bass – that will work with absolutely any kind of music, and which can make even average recordings sound great.

But with the best recordings – analog or digital – and with even the tiniest bit of care in setting them up, the KEF LSX II are pure magic, and not just my favorite wireless active speakers, but the best bookshelf speakers available today.

The Best Super-Cheap Bookshelf Speakers – Wired

Micca MB42X Advanced Bookshelf Speakers

I should probably say right up front that I’ve not chosen these remarkable little Micca MB42X speakers because they are, well, crowd pleasers. In fact, they don’t really have the kind of big bass boost, emphasized detail in the highs or artificially enhanced  sense of space and imaging that so many people want.

Instead, the Micca are simple, honest speakers, with basic speaker drivers of much higher quality than you might expect at this price level and a sweet, open sound that is more neutral than pretty much anything in their range. They do have a nice, tastefully done bass boost and a warm and pleasing sound, and the bass does go surprisingly deep, but for the bassheads, rock, rap, hip hop and EDM lovers I might instead recommend the excellent and exciting Dayton Audio B652, which have fantastic dynamic energy, detailed, open and sweet sounding high frequencies and awesome – almost too awesome – bass.

But for overall sonic excellence, with a beautifully transparent and effortless quality we normally associate with much more expensive speakers – and a build quality and fit and finish that also seem way beyond the price – the Micca MB42X are the best sub-100 dollar speakers you can find. They’re already a huge bargain, and come Black Friday they might end up being almost ridiculously cheap!

The Best Super-Cheap Bookshelf Speakers – Wireless

Prosonic BT30 Active Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

I love everything about the Prosonic BT30 speakers – the way they look, the way they sound, the design and advanced connectivity options and the absurdly low price – they are, I should say, a tiny bit over a hundred dollars full retail, and while I wanted my “super-cheap” category to be below a hundred these are so much better than anything in that range – or, for that matter, than most Bluetooth speakers that are even a bit more.

They have solid, impactful bass that is strongly emphasized and should work beautifully with any kind of music, shimmering but sweet and low distortion high frequencies and superbly accurate, natural and immersive imaging. That is to say that the Prosonic BT30 are super exciting to listen to, fun, engaging and really impactful, but with very little false enhancement, and an overall presentation that lets the music come through naturally – great for audiophiles and great for everybody else!

With Bluetooth wireless as well as both analog and digital wired inputs, the Prosonic are very flexible – not only will they work for all kinds of music, and genuinely please and delight a wide range of people, they are good to go with virtually any and every setup: a stereo system, PC, phone, wired or wireless turntable, home theater – whatever you might have. A great value at their low retail price, and just imagine what Black Friday might bring!

The Best Affordable Bookshelf Speakers – Wired

ELAC Debut 2.0 Bookshelf Speakers, Black

Boy, this was a tough choice! I am considering any speakers under 500 dollars – non-discounted retail price, that is – in this category, and so I could have easily chosen such stellar products as the Klipsch RP-500M, the Polk Signature Elite ES20 or the similarly brilliant and less expensive Polk Signature Elite ES15.

In the end, though, I had to go with the phenomenal Elac Debut, which are honest, open and accurate beyond anything else I’ve heard at this level, and have the kind of effortless low distortion sound audiophiles crave, but at the same time have incredible dynamic energy and enough real deep bass to make any and all kinds of music sound fantastic.

A fun, engaging and enormously likable speaker that is at the same time an actual reference monitor – at full retail price an unbelievable value, and at any kind of discount absolutely irresistible!

The Best Affordable Bookshelf Speakers – Wireless

Fluance Ai61 Powered Bluetooth Wireless Bookshelf Speakers

This was also a bit of a tough choice, especially given the excellence of the Edifier S200 Pro wireless speakers, which are truly awesome in pretty much every way, and which I happily and enthusiastically recommend.

But to me the Ai61 by Fluance – one of my favorite companies, and quickly establishing a solid reputation as offering beautiful sounding products at very low prices – is the clear winner. Clear, in fact, isa very good word, since the Fluance have a kind of clarity, a resolution of details and dynamic musical inflections, that many even substantially more expensive speakers don’t quite get. Added to this are nicely extended, fast and clean bass that is a bit boosted but never too much, and a warm, musical sound overall that is quite addictive.

With latest generation Bluetooth as well as both digital and analog wired connectivity, beautiful cabinets and superior build quality, the Ai61 are recommendable on all levels, but the sound – powerful and exciting yet highly refined, musical and disarmingly beautiful – makes them the best affordable wireless active bookshelf speakers I’ve ever found.

The Best Premium Bookshelf Speakers – Wired

KEF Q350 Bookshelf Speakers

I’ve already given Elac some love, and I have to say that in this premium range their Uni-Fi UB5 Slim Bookshelf Speakers are pretty amazing, with neutrality and openness I normally associate with speakers many times this price. In fact, if you are looking for the most accurate, honest audiophile bookshelf speaker system, I’m happy to admit that the Uni-Fl are possibly the very best choice under a thousand dollars.

This is especially surprising considering my actual choice for best premium bookshelf speakers, the KEF Q350, come from a company renowned for products offering the most accurate, honest sound imaginable. And to be sure the 350 are true audiophile-level speakers, which are probably in fact the equal of the Elac in resolution, imaging, dynamic energy, deep bass impact and speed and overall frequency response. The KEF are not, ultimately, as neutral, though – they do have a slightly warm, sweet sound that makes all kinds of music sound fantastic – exciting, engaging and musical.

The KEF are also easier to drive than the Elac, and even smaller amps work just fine. Similarly, for all of their high resolution and accuracy, the Q350 sound great with lower quality equipment and even less than optimal recordings – though with top-notch gear and high resolution music files they open up so beautifully.

Nearly ideal audiophile accuracy, stunning deep bass slam for their size, dynamic energy and excitement, and a warm and lovely musicality not found in any other company’s speakers all things considered, the KEF Q350 are the best bookshelf speakers I know under a grand, and if you can purchase them at a great Black Friday deal you shouldn’t hesitate.

The Best Premium Bookshelf Speakers – Wireless

Edifier S3000Pro Audiophile Active Speakers

In the last couple of years I have become a huge Edifier fan. In fact, at any of the price levels I’m covering in this Black Friday buyer’s guide I could have easily plugged in a pair of Edifier speakers instead of my actual choice.

But at this level, where we’re looking at the best wireless active speakers under a thousand dollars, there can be no question – the Edifier S3000 Pro are absolutely stunning, and the best choice and best speaker system by far.

Even if we just consider technology, the S3000’s are in a league of their own, with not only gen 5 Bluetooth but full lossless AptX codecs, as well as super-high-tech silk diaphragm tweeters, superbly stiff and light aluminum cone woofers and nearly 300 watts total power (!).

Of course all of that means nothing if they don’t sound good, but don’t worry – the S3000 are easily the best sounding wireless speakers under a grand I’ve ever heard – absolutely effortless sound overall, with fast, tight transients and easy dynamic expressivity at any volume, unbelievably deep bass for their size that is very nicely boosted, yet remains balanced, fast and tight, and mids that are open, detailed and astonishingly realistic.

Yeah, I could go on and on about these wonderful speakers – the brilliant imaging and soundstage, the staggering volume they’re capable of, their beauty and musicality – but just know that these are amazing speakers, and if you can find an amazing deal on Black Friday they should immediately find their way into your cart, at which point they will even more quickly find their way into your heart.

The Best Audiophile Bookshelf Speakers – Wired

Focal Aria 906 Bookshelf Speakers

To be absolutely clear right from the beginning, the Focal Aria 906 are expensive speakers – not taking into account Black Friday discounts, they are a bit over two thousand dollars a pair. But to be equally clear, at this level, and with these speakers in particular, we begin to see something quite extraordinary – or begin to hear something quite extraordinary – the music. Not the speakers, just the music.

The Focal Aria are no compromise speakers. They are very flat in frequency response, with exceptionally deep bass for their size and extended, wide open mids and detailed and crystal clear highs. The Aria also have the lowest imaginable levels of distortion and the highest phase coherence possible, perfectly convey even the most subtle dynamic inflections, and have a sense of timing – the portrayal of music happening in time and space – only a handful of speakers in the world, at any price, can match.

This all comes together to make the Focal Aria 906 bookshelf speakers not just a truly superb set of bookshelf speakers, but among the most accurate, honest and transparent speakers – of any type and at any level – I’ve ever heard. And at the same time – since all we’re hearing is the music itself – with the right equipment and good recordings they can also be staggeringly beautiful.

Ultimately I can’t predict if these gorgeous high end speakers will be part of the Black Friday madness, but I will say unequivocally that even at their full retail price they are a steal, and one of the finest speakers at any price being made today.

The Best Audiophile Bookshelf Speakers – Wireless

AirPulse A300 Active Speaker System

I really wanted to choose the HiFi Swans M5A as my recommendation for best wireless audiophile bookshelf speaker to buy on Black Friday – they are an incredibly powerful and exciting speaker, with thrilling dynamic energy, awesome bass and a sound that would, I believe, appeal to the widest range of people – really a brilliant, top-tier system, and one of the finest wireless speakers of any type available today.

But in truth the M5A are maybe a little too exciting, with noticeably hyped bass, a bit of phase “correction” that makes everything sound very three-dimensional, and slightly over-dynamic amplification. The AirPulse A300, on the other hand, are exceptionally neutral, and while they may not appeal as much to most listeners – at least at first – they have that magical ability to get out of the way of the music, that audiophile-level transparency that in the long run is not only more accurate but much more exciting and beautiful than any supposed improvements engineered into lesser speakers.

AirPulse is not a household name, for sure, but their founder and chief designer, the legendary sound engineer Phil Jones, is well known in the audiophile community for building one of the finest and most expensive speakers in history – the original AirPulse loudspeaker, which sold for a mere 275,000 dollars.

If ever there was a no-compromise speaker, that was it, and while these affordable (at least in audiophile terms) active bookshelf speakers cannot be truly no-compromise, they definitely do not compromise the principles of honest and unaffected sound, and hold to the belief that there is nothing as beautiful or exciting as the music itself, and nothing any speaker manufacturer can do to improve that music.

With high resolution digital files or a good turntable, the AirPulse A300 sound incredible, with amazingly deep, fast and tight bass, clear and realistic mids with almost alarming presence, shimmering and nicely extended highs without even the tiniest hint of glare or harshness, amazing dynamic energy, holographic stereo imaging and an effortless musicality that puts them among the very best active speakers – of any size or at any price – made today

Conclusion: How Can You Find the Best Black Friday Deals?

As I’ve already alluded to, neither I nor anybody else can predict just what will be on sale come Black Friday – November 22nd, 2023, BTW. 

And honestly, despite the focus of this article on best Black Friday deals, that’s not really why I made the selections and recommendations I did.

Yes, sure, I do think that all of these outstanding bookshelf speakers are very likely to be nicely – or even drastically – discounted on the big day, but I have chosen each and every one of them because at full, undiscounted retail price they are amazing values already, and because they are clearly the best bookshelf speakers you can purchase in their respective price ranges.

If they happen to be available for 87 percent off, or even 8.7 percent off, all the better, but I want to close this article by saying as clearly as possible that any one of these pairs of speakers at full price will almost certainly be a better deal than the vast majority of other choices even if heavily discounted.

So, no  matter what happens when you click on my links on Black Friday, you can buy with confidence, knowing that, discount or not, you are getting the best possible bookshelf speakers for your money – but still, let’s keep our fingers crossed!