In today’s world of computing, even while many consumers choose to use tablets and smartphones as their primary devices, laptops remain immensely popular both in corporate settings and in family homes. Whether they are using the Windows or Mac operating system, laptops run on powerful hardware that decades ago couldn’t be found in the highest level of supercomputers.
For many people, laptops are used to accomplish basic tasks such as word processing, internet browsing, and music listening. That last one has a hardware factor of its own. Most modern laptops are outfitted with both a headphone port and a set of stereo speakers built into the keyboard casing or the side of the display screen. However, these built-in speakers typically offer poor sound quality and few configuration options.
Investing in a set of external speakers for your laptop is a wise decision for anyone who cares about audio quality or is planning to do a lot of music editing from their machine. As you start to search for such products on popular retail sites, you’ll find an overwhelming list of results. In this article, we’ll cover some of the most popular options and help you find the best laptop speakers for you.
EHU Rated: 4.2 stars
- The AmazonBasics speakers are easy to set up, requiring only an AC power outlet and any device with a 3.5mm headphone jack.
- This model actually comes with a headphone jack of its own on the front panel, allowing you to switch to private listening at any time.
- Turning on the speakers and adjusting the volume can be done with one finger using the control knob on the front.
- The speakers are heavier than similar models and could be less flexible to transport with your laptop.
- Below the volume knob is a bright blue light that is illuminated whenever the speakers are on and can be distracting.
- Some owners have reported issues with high-pitched buzzing noises occurring when the speakers are turned up to a high volume.
- No support for wireless functionality.
- AC power cord is 52 inches long, audio cable is 55 inches long, and the two speakers are connected by a 46-inch audio cable.
- Audio frequency is 68 Hz – 20 KHz and the speakers have 4.6 watts of total RMS power.
- Comes with a one-year limited warranty to cover accidental damage and product malfunctions.
EHU Rated: 4.5 stars
- Thin, compact design from Logitech makes these speakers easy to fit on a crowded desk where you use your laptop.
- No software is required with these speakers, as set-up only requires the power cord and headphone cable to be connected.
- One of the speakers is outfitted with a simple knob control that can be used to turn on the device on or off and adjust the volume level.
- Despite the sleek design, this speaker set weighs two pounds and may be clumsy to pack to use during travel.
- Given the low price point, audio quality has been reported as mediocre by some customers.
- When the speakers are turned on, an orange LED light will appear and could be distracting.
- 50Hz-20KHz bandwidth with 2.3 watt output power.
- Compatible with any audio device that works with a headphone jack, including phones or tablets.
- Comes with a three-year limited warranty to cover damage and maintenance.
EHU Rated: 4.4 stars
- Square shape of the ARVICKA speakers makes it easy to fit on any desk or pack up for travel with total weight only 0.67 pounds.
- Does not require a separate electrical adapter as the speakers are powered through the included USB cable.
- No setup time required as these speakers are compatible with any computer or device that has a headphone jack.
- Includes the option to illuminate the power light or have it turned off by default.
- Some consumers have reported buzzing issues after several weeks of regular use.
- The included auxiliary cable may experience performance issues leading to sub-par sound.
- No option to customize equalizer settings to improve audio quality.
- USB cable can be used with any basic power adapter if you prefer to plug it in to a wall outlet.
- USB cable is 43 inches and the audio cable is 59 inches.
- Comes with a two-year warranty with customer service available over the phone.
EHU Rated: 4.9 stars
- The Creative Pebble has a modern, orb-shaped design that sits at a 45-degree angle for optimal sound projection.
- Good for home or office with each speaker measuring at only 4.4 inches wide.
- Available in a black or white finish to match with your other equipment and furniture.
- Power is handled over a USB connection but a separate audio cable is still required when using computers, tablets, or phones.
- The speakers do not come with a carrying case and may be challenging to pack due to their delicate design.
- Some owners reported a crackling sound when they tried to play the speakers at maximum volume.
- Offers enhanced bass reproduction thanks to rear-facing passive radiators.
- Front panel features a simple control knob to turn power on and adjust volume.
- Can start using in seconds with any device that has a 3.5 mm audio jack.
EHU Rated: 4.9 stars
- These Bose speakers offer a high level of sound quality no matter what volume is being played.
- Two input ports are available, meaning you can connect both a laptop and a smartphone at the same time and play audio from either one.
- Works well with computer games and movies as sound will stretch across the room.
- Higher price point than entry-level laptop speakers.
- Some consumers complained about a lack of bass coming from the speakers.
- No support for wireless playback or USB power charging.
- Both speaker inputs use the standard 3.5 mm headphone jack, so they are compatible with all types of computers and devices.
- Volume control is located on the front of the right speaker and has an indent to make it easy to use in the dark.
- Two speakers combined offer 22 watts total.
EHU Rated: 4.7 stars
- Compact ball-shaped design from Rokono makes it easy to transport wherever you use your laptop.
- Battery charges with a USB cable and can support over 10 hours of continuous playback.
- Comes with a travel bag that is waterproof and will help keep your speaker dry.
- Audio cable is shorter than most speakers and may require an extension cord depending on where you use your laptop.
- Some owners complained about poor volume and an inability to get consistent sound quality.
- Using the speaker requires unlocking the device each time you want to connect it to a new device.
- Weighs only 3 ounces.
- Can be paired with multiple speakers for a louder sound.
- Includes a 40mm audio driver to support bass resonance.
EHU Rated: 4.5 stars
- This Z50 is a single-speaker setup that boasts serious levels of sound
- Offers an extra audio input port so that you can connect multiple laptops or devices at the same time.
- Available in three stylish colors: gray, blue, or pink.
- The speaker does not have its own volume controls and will rely on whatever device you use with it.
- Many consumers reported hearing a consistent humming sound whenever the speaker was plugged into an electrical outlet.
- No USB cable option, so users have to manage separate cords for audio and power connections.
- Includes a 2.25-inch driver that produces 5 watts of power.
- Entire speaker weights just over half a pound.
- Supports plug-and-play functionality with both Mac and Windows laptops, plus any other music-playing device you use.
EHU Rated: 4.8 stars
- These are heavy-duty bookshelf speakers from Klipsch that offer superior sound quality without needing a separate audio receiver.
- Includes Bluetooth support to stream audio from your laptop via a wireless connection.
- Option to use a USB input cable eliminates the need for you to manage auxiliary cords.
- High price tag despite the speakers having a small footprint and measuring at less than 10 inches tall.
- The dynamic base equalizer feature is turned on automatically and may deliver a muddy sound.
- Some owners expressed frustration with the user manual that does not cover all important features.
- Has a built-in all-digital amplifier and aluminum tweeters.
- Magnetic grille on the front of each speaker can be removed if desired.
- Supports compatibility with older turntables as well as modern devices.
Computer owners have a lot to think about when searching for the best laptop speakers. The easiest way to narrow down the list is to set your price range. The cheapest laptop speakers can be found for around $10, while the majority of mid-level options are around $20. For those who desire a professional level of sound quality, expect to invest over $100 for speakers. If you do choose one of the high-end options, make sure to consider a high-tech home security system to protect them.
Modern speakers designed for laptops typically require very little set-up time and involve no software at all. This is a good thing because it lowers the technical risk and reduces the chance your laptop could be hit by a cyber-attack. But remember that speakers with Bluetooth support operate on a wireless frequency that can be accessed by outsiders, meaning they are not the most private option available.
Q: How do I choose a good laptop speaker?
A: The majority of speakers offer similar functionality, so as you research options and read through reviews, it’s important to keep a couple of points in mind. If you don’t want cables tangled on your desk, then look for speakers with Bluetooth wireless support. Also, consider the size, weight, and footprint of the speakers when planning out how your workspace will be organized.
Q: Does USB sound better than aux?
A: Yes, typically a digital USB connection will offer a superior sound quality than a normal 3.5 mm auxiliary cable that is used with basic headphones. With a USB connection, the digital audio does not have to be converted to an analog signal. However, auxiliary cables are supported by more types of devices and computers.
Q: Why isn’t my laptop audio working?
A: First, unplug any audio devices you have connected to your laptop, including speakers and headphones. Then reboot your computer and test the audio signal again. If you don’t hear anything coming from the built-in speakers, then there is likely a software issue on your laptop. Open your audio settings on either the Windows or Mac OS X operating system and check the output options. There you can select which port or device should be used for playback.
Q: Is USB better than 3.5 mm?
A: Yes, when using a 3.5 mm audio cable with a computer, tablet, or smartphone all of the data has to be converted from a digital connection to an analog one. This means the sound quality will suffer slightly. You may not notice it when using headphones, but with more powerful speakers the difference will be obvious. Speakers that support USB connections will maintain a pure digital connection.