Updated on December 9, 2020 by Lyric Fergusson
More and more, we are all spending an increasing amount of time at our computers: for work, school, and entertainment. Being able to listen to music, watch movies, and enjoy video games while at your desk makes the experience much more enjoyable. Computer speakers have come a long way in recent years, and though there are speakers available for almost any price point, you don’t have to spend a great deal to have great sound. You can now get very affordable computer speakers that provide high-quality sound and attractive aesthetics for under $50.
It can be easy to be overwhelmed with the different options and features when comparing computer speakers. There are different types of power, connectivity options, and designs, and dozens of models available for under $50. We’ve researched for you. Below is a list of our seven favorite computer speakers under $50:
Best computer speakers under $50
Why it’s great: With 60W of power, a robust subwoofer, Bluetooth connectivity, and control pod, this 2.1 system from Amazon brings it all to the table. The Bluetooth allows you to connect with your devices easily and without cords. The AC power provided gives the speakers louder volume and more rich bass than most speakers at this price point. The control pod features power, volume, and bass volume control, as well as an auxiliary jack for connecting additional or non-Bluetooth devices.
Keep in mind: Because the pod, power supply, and speakers are connected directly to the subwoofer, cable management can become an issue.
(Best for a party)
Why it’s great: This compact 2.1 system is a perfect setup for your next small party! It features a solid subwoofer, two angled speakers, and color-changing LED light rings to add to the fun. We love that these speakers from Cyber Acoustics can be connected to your phone, tablet, or other devices via Bluetooth. Although they connect to each other with a cord, we appreciate having one more option for playing music without having to connect directly to the speaker. They also include a 3.5mm cable and RCA inputs to connect to other home theater equipment like a DVD player.
Keep in mind: Bluetooth connection to the PC may have an audio lag, which is no good for movies or gaming.
Why it’s great: These inexpensive speakers provide great sound with a small desk footprint and for very little money. Using an AC jack (wall-outlet) for power means they get more power than USB speakers, and will be a bit louder. They feature a 3.5mm auxiliary jack which to connect your phone or mp3 player directly to them. While the are basic-looking and inexpensive, they are also some of the most popular and highest-reviewed small PC speakers on the market.
Keep in mind: Some customers did not find sound quality up to their standards.
Why it’s great: If you want to give your desk a modern look (maybe even futuristic), consider this pair of speakers from Sanyun, which take up very little desk space and glow above their built-in LED base. Their unique oval shape provides 360-degree sound, meaning they don’t have to point in any certain direction for good sound, and features a closed-cavity design for higher quality bass-end sound. They utilize USB connectivity but come with a separate power supply if you prefer. The shape and metal base of the speakers also reduces vibration sound and buzz. The 3.5mm cord allows you to connect to phones and other devices as well.
Keep in mind: The glowing LED light is always on when the speakers are on, which not everyone appreciates.
Why it’s great: Made by one of the leading brands of computer speakers, the Creative Pebble is a unique-looking set of spherical speakers that produce excellent sound to accompany their modern design. The speakers have a sunken middle and are designed with a 45-degree angle, which provides better sound projection. They are only 4.4 inches wide, which means you can tuck them away in a corner or display them right on your desk without losing much workspace. They have USB connection, 3.5mm jack, and a volume/power knob on the front.
Keep in mind: They do not offer Bluetooth connectivity.
Why it’s great: Featuring two speakers, a solid subwoofer, and an ultra-convenient control pod, the CA-3602 by Cyber Acoustics produces incredible, clear sound and sleek design for very little cost. With an AC supply providing 30W of power, these speakers can get loud and bass-driven. They are excellent for music, movies, and gaming. The little control pod includes a volume wheel on the top, with a power switch, auxiliary port, headphone jack, and separate bass volume on the sides.
Keep in mind: Because it provides a little more sound, this set takes up a little more desk space.
(Best for small workspaces)
Why it’s great: Looking for something different? This soundbar features a sleek, minimal design, which works great if you have a small desk. With built-in audio ports and a large easy-to-access volume knob, you can get it set up and working in just a minute. Best of all, it tucks right beneath your monitor for a low-profile look that provides great sound, and the tilted face projects the sound upwards to the user. It comes in four colors to best coordinate with your aesthetics.
Keep in mind: Some customers noticed feedback-type sounds when connecting headphones.
FAQs about computer speakers
1. What sound should I expect from speakers under $50?
While you won’t get audiophile-quality that you would expect from high-end speakers, you’ll be surprised how much sound can come from small, inexpensive speakers. Look for speakers designed specifically for computers, as they will provide better sound than trying to connect stereo speakers to your computer. Many feature designs and shapes were developed to enhance low-end and bass sound for better sound quality given their compact size.
2. What features should I look for in computer speakers?
That is up to each individual person – consider how you want to use your speakers, and what features are most important to you, including cords, sound quality and volume, size, and overall looks. Do you want solid power connections with cords or the convenience of Bluetooth? Will you use them for watching movies, gaming, or work meetings? Do you have much space on your desk to devote to speakers? Lastly – think about aesthetics. How do you want your space to look, and how prominent (or not) do you want the speakers in that space?
3. What does 2.0 and 2.1 mean?
2.0 is a basic two-speaker setup that you are probably used to seeing sitting on the desk with most PCs. A 2.1 system uses the two speakers for the higher frequencies incorporates a separate subwoofer for bass, like the Cyber Acoustics and Amazon Basics systems above. 2.1 systems will generally take up more space but provide better quality sound.
4. Why do some computer speakers buzz?
There are a few different reasons computer speakers buzz, and it can be frustrating to diagnose and fix the problem. Buzzing can be caused by radio frequencies from other devices interfering with the speakers, grounding issues with the electrical supply, cord damage, and other issues. If you hear a buzz, try moving your speakers around (or move other electrical devices placed near your speakers), or moving the cords around. You’ll also want to try connecting headphones to the same computer or device to make sure it’s not a problem with the computer’s sound card.
5. Should I look for AC powered or USB?
To provide power for the speakers, there are a few options. AC power plugs into a wall outlet. USB can plug into your computer or a wall charger. While USB generally means fewer cords on your desk, it does not provide the same amount of power as AC, and therefore speakers using USB tend to produce less bass and lower volume.
6. How loud are computer speakers?
Unless you are trying to host a house party, the answer is generally loud enough. The electricity supplied to your speaker and the speaker’s amperage will determine the wattage of the speaker, which will determine its volume. Most speakers will indicate their maximum wattage: the higher the wattage, the higher the decibels of sound (loudness) it produces. While the speakers on this list will not provide sounds like a concert hall or 5.1 home theater system, you’ll be surprised how loud they can go!
As you can see, there are many different qualities to look for in a computer speaker, and each person’s preference will be different. Once you’ve determined what you are looking for in a speaker and how you’ll use it, see which model above best matches your preferences. While there are many options for great quality speakers under $50, we feel confident that all the models included on this list would be a great choice.