Whether you’re looking to add a speaker or two to a family room for improved sound or you’re planning a media room or a home theater, floor standing speakers likely top your wish list. In floor speakers’ tall, narrow boxes, there’s ample space for multiple internal speakers (or drivers) to produce quality sound. Though smaller bookcase-style speakers can create rich audio, it’s tough to beat the deep bass and high volume quality floor speakers can produce.
The best floor standing speakers for a given room or situation will depend on the sound the user wants to achieve. In some cases, a single speaker may be sufficient. In other situations, a pair of speakers—or even a more extensive set—may be required to create three-dimensional surround sound. Ahead, learn the basics of what to look for when shopping for floor standing speakers, and find out why the following are recommended options for most sound connoisseurs.
- BEST OVERALL: Definitive Technology BP-9040 Tower Speaker Subwoofer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Polk Audio T50 Home Theater Floor Standing Speaker
- BEST HIGH-END: Definitive Technology BP9060 High-performance Bundle
- BEST FOR HOME THEATERS: Klipsch 5.1 RP-250 Reference Premiere Speaker Package
- BEST FOR SMALL SPACES: ABRAMTEK E600 Speaker with Super Bass Subwoofer
- BEST DESIGN: Q Acoustics 3050i Floorstanding Speaker Pair
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Floor Standing Speakers
Don’t let a wide selection of speakers or an abundance of technical terms complicate the speaker-shopping experience. Instead, begin the search by looking for speakers from well-known manufacturers such as Q Acoustics, Polk Audio, Definitive Technology, and Klipsch. Then, consider the products or speaker features that will help achieve the desired sound. To newbies, terms like “woofer” and “tweeter” may sound more like what you’d hear at a visit to the zoo than terms that are bandied about on a speaker-shopping expedition. Understanding these and a handful of other simple terms, however, will help you choose the best floor standing speakers for your situation.
In general, the larger the speaker, the louder the sound it can produce—but this rule applies to the size of the actual speaker within the speaker cabinet, not the size of the cabinet itself. A large cabinet with a small speaker inside will not produce as much volume as a smaller cabinet with a larger interior speaker.
A speaker’s cabinet size does matter—it factors into the speaker’s placement in a room. Floor standing speakers range in height from 2 to 4 feet, sometimes taller, and are typically 8 to 22 inches wide and deep.
Home Theater vs. Hi-Fi
An easy way to determine the best floor speakers for your situation is to first figure out what they’ll be used for. Whether used in conjunction with a home entertainment center or in a dedicated media room, quality speakers will improve sound quality and enhance the listener’s experience.
- Home Theater: A home theater setup usually centers around a large flat-screen or projection television for media streaming, complemented by installed surround-sound audio. Users achieve the optimal surround-sound experience by positioning multiple speakers around the room to surround the viewer/listener with sound. A quality television and multiple carefully positioned speakers create an authentic theater experience. if space and budget allow, the user may even opt to install reclining theater chairs to complete the experience.
- Hi-Fi: Short for “high fidelity” in audiophile lingo, hi-fi means the purest, most precise audio sound available. Hi-fi speakers are popular additions to home stereos for listening to music. Hi-fi speakers allow listeners to hear sounds and instruments reproduced as faithfully as possible to the original source, with minimal distortion.
Two-Way vs. Three-Way
One of the first things newbie speaker shoppers may notice is that speakers are marketed as either “two-way” or “three-way,” and these concepts are simple to understand.
- Two-way: A two-way speaker features a tweeter for producing high-pitched sounds and a woofer to produce low-pitched sounds so the listener clearly hears both the high and the low notes.
- Three-way: Along with a tweeter and a woofer, a three-way speaker has a midrange component that produces sounds in between the highest and the lowest notes. Because human voices fall within this midrange, three-way speakers offer optimal sound quality for home-theater setups that will stream movie and television audio.
Volume and Sensitivity
Outfitting a media room with high-quality speakers is an investment in years of enjoyment, so it pays to consider all aspects.
- Volume: At its base level, sound is vibration—the more robust the vibration, the louder the sound. A speaker’s volume determines the maximum amount of sound it can deliver.
- Sensitivity: Related to the amount of sound a speaker can produce is its sensitivity, which is measured in decibels. In a small media room, multiple speakers with a sensitivity of about 80 decibels may provide more volume than most users need. If the room is large or if the speaker is outdoors, higher sensitivity might make sense. Large high-end speakers usually have sensitivity levels of about 95 decibels or more.
The drivers within a speaker act as the engines for producing sound. The terms “driver” and “speaker” are interchangeable when talking about the internal speakers inside a speaker’s cabinet. Woofers, tweeters, and midrange speakers are all internal drivers. The more drivers a speaker has, the more dynamic its audio range.
Bi-Amping and Bi-Wiring
Bi-wiring and bi-amping are not features inside speakers. Rather, they are methods of connecting speakers in an audio system, though not all speakers are suitable for bi-wiring or bi-amping. If the back side of a speaker has only one positive (red) connection and one negative (black) connection, the speaker is not suitable for by-wiring or bi-amping. If the unit has two of each connection, the speakers can be wired in the following ways.
- Bi-wiring: To bi-wire a speaker, the user runs two cables from the back of a single negative connection on an amplifier to both negative connections on the speaker’s back. Likewise, two cables are run from a single positive connection on the amplifier to the speaker’s two positive connections. Many audio enthusiasts believe bi-wiring improves the quality of middle-range sound. If the speaker is suitable for bi-wiring, instructions should be included in the owner’s manual.
- Bi-amping: To bi-amp, the speaker must also meet the criteria for bi-wiring (have two positive and two negative connections). Rather than wiring the positive and negative cables to a single amplifier, however, when bi-amping, a second amplifier is used. In this case, each amplifier is wired to one positive and one negative connection on the speaker. This gives the speaker a maximum amount of amplification and volume.
Cabinets and Vibration
A speaker cabinet is not immune to vibration. If a speaker is playing at a loud volume at a high level of vibration, it’s actually possible for the cabinet to move across a hard floor. Users can always turn the volume down, but if they know in advance that the speaker will regularly be cranked to a high volume, it makes sense to look for speakers with vibration-reducing features. These may include special cabinet bracing or vinyl, or rubber elements in the speaker to absorb vibration.
Our Top Picks
To qualify as a top pick, a floor standing speaker—excluding mini or compact models—should contain at least two internal speakers, a woofer, and a tweeter. It should also produce clear audio sound. While the best floor standing speakers have a lot to do with the type of audio setup a user desires, the following are all tops in their respective classes. Any one of them would be an asset to a home media setup.
Those in search of the ultimate music experience need look no further than Definitive Technology’s BP-9040 Tower Speaker, which is designed to please even the most discriminating ear. The floor standing speaker features sound output on all four sides, including two bass drivers and a tweeter on the front, two more bass drivers—one on each side—and an additional subwoofer on one side, plus another bass driver and a tweeter on the back side for directing crystal-clear audio in a 360-degree angle.
Users can pair the tower speaker with additional Definitive Technology speakers (sold separately) to create a home-theater setup, or use it by itself for listening to all-encompassing, quality music in a high-performance tonal range. The speaker measures 39 inches tall, 11 inches wide, and 13 inches deep, and it comes with adjustable carpet spikes to help secure the speaker to the floor to reduce vibration when used at high volumes. Dolby Atmos/DTS:X compatible.
There’s no need to spend a fortune on floor standing speakers The Polk Audio T50 Speaker’s high-resolution audio and deep bass driver delivers an auditory experience that gets feet tapping. The T50 tower measures 36.5 inches tall, 9.25 inches deep, and just 8.75 inches wide, which makes it a good choice for rooms in which space is limited.
With two bass speakers, a midrange woofer, and a tweeter designed to produce clear audio even at high volumes, the T50 is priced lower than competing models in the same range. The T50 comes in a sleek black cabinet, and it can be used as a single floor speaker or paired with additional speakers (sold separately) to create a home theater effect. The T50 is an excellent first speaker for those just starting to build their media room, and it’s available at an attractive price point.
Audio purists who seek the ultimate listening experience should check out this high-performance speaker bundle from Definitive Technology. The set comes with a pair of floor standing tower speakers and a center channel speaker that enhances and balances the audio that comes from the towers.
The floor standing speakers each have two midrange drivers, a tweeter, a large bass driver, and an integrated subwoofer to produce high-quality sound in all audio ranges. Each tower measures 44.5 inches tall, 11 inches wide, and 13 inches deep. The center channel measures 5.95 inches high, 20.75 inches wide, and 12 inches deep; it comes with an internal tweeter, two midrange drivers, and a subwoofer. The speaker cabinets are designed to reduce vibration, and together, the set provides a surround-sound listening experience and high-quality tonal balance.
This speaker package from Klipsch, a leading name in quality sound technology, is all that’s necessary to create home theater surround sound for watching movies or listening to audio. The two floor standing tower speakers each come with dual woofers and a high-frequency tweeter. The cabinets measure 36.1 inches high, 14.82 inches deep, and just 7.87 inches wide, making the pair suitable for positioning in narrow spaces, such as between cabinets or alongside bookcases.
The tower speakers are complemented by a center channel that measures 5.75 inches high, 26 inches wide, and 13.75 inches deep and features a woofer. Completing the home theater set are two Klipsch RP-240 surround speakers (10 inches high, 10.9 inches wide, and 7.9 inches deep) and a single Klipsch R-112SW subwoofer (15.375 inches wide, 17.375 inches tall, 7.9 inches deep). Combined, the multi-speaker package can produce up to 97 decibels for high-level volume while maintaining clarity.
Get the big sound of a floor standing speaker, even if space in the home is at a premium. The cylindrical ABRAMTEK Speaker measures 23.6 inches high and is just 5.3 inches in diameter, which is easy to squeeze between furniture pieces or move around the home. Though small in stature, the speaker features Super Bass technology and produces crystal-clear, 360-degree audio with reduced vibration and distortion.
In addition to quality sound, this ABRAMTEK speaker has Bluetooth technology that syncs with other Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as a smartphone, to stream music from up to 66 feet away. The thundering bass produced by the subwoofer, and the fact that it can run for about 4.5 hours on its lithium-ion battery before needing a recharge, makes this floor standing speaker a good option for those who do a lot of outdoor entertaining.
The advanced auditory range of the Q Acoustics Floor Standing Speakers produces superior sound for an all-encompassing sonic experience. Each speaker stands 40.2 inches high, is 12.2 inches wide, and is 15.47 inches deep. Twin drivers—a midrange woofer and a tweeter—are located at the top of each cabinet and project sound at an optimal level in the room rather than at floor level.
The speaker’s deep cabinet utilizes point-to-point bracing techniques to stabilize vibrations from the woofer and create high-quality, low-resonance sound, even at high volumes. For best results, position the speakers along opposite sidewalls near the rear of the room or along the rear wall, and enjoy the bass’s deep rhythm along with clear audio sound.
FAQ About Floor Standing Speakers
Whether creating a home theater or adding a single speaker to a media room, floor standing speakers are top choices due to their quality and tonal range. If this is the first time shopping for floor standing speakers, some questions are to be expected.
Q. What should I look for in a floor standing speaker?
When it comes to speakers, buyers get what they pay for. Consider speakers made by known manufacturers, such as Definitive Technology and Klipsch, and then go with a speaker that has two drivers, a woofer and a tweeter, at the very minimum. Additional drivers are even better.
Q. Are bigger speakers louder?
Yes, but this applies to the size of the internal speaker (or driver) itself, not the size of the speaker cabinet. “Big speaker” can be a misleading term, if a small speaker is housed in a large cabinet.
Q. How many watts is a good speaker?
A speaker with 50 to 80 watts is usually sufficient, but some of the higher-end models go up to 110 watts or more.
Q. Can you put floor standing speakers on stands?
Floor speakers are meant for placement on the floor. Raising them a few inches on a short stand is probably OK, but avoid elevating them more than a foot or so, or the higher speaker level could cause sound distortion.
Q. Do floor-standing speakers need a subwoofer?
It all depends on the desired sound quality. Some floor speakers have integrated subwoofers, and others don’t. A subwoofer will reproduce very low-level sounds, lower than those typically generated by a traditional woofer. For the fullest range of deep audio sound, a subwoofer will help.