Are you experiencing your favorite games the way you were meant to? It’s a valid question to ask, because while many serious gamers spend a lot of time agonizing over their computer’s internal specs and trying to squeeze every bit of processing power and graphical fidelity possible, audio performance is something that’s often overlooked. And the increasingly sophisticated sound engineering in AAA games can play a massive part in how much a game immerses you in its world.
Fortunately, you have HotRate by your side. We’ve found 10 of the best gaming speakers in 2020 and created brief but thorough reviews that can help you round out your perfect gaming experience. And the guide that follows can help you get a better grasp on the important specs.
- 10 Best Gaming Speakers
- 1. Logitech Multimedia Speakers Z200
- 2. Razer Nommo Chroma
- 3. Creative Pebble 2.0 USB-Powered Desktop Speakers
- 4. Bose Companion 2 Series III Multimedia Speakers
- 5. Logitech 3.5mm Jack Compact Laptop Speakers
- 6. AmazonBasics USB-Powered Computer Speakers
- 7. Altec Lansing BXR1220 Desktop Speaker
- 8. JBL Pebbles 2.0 Speaker
- 9. Harman Kardon SoundSticks II Multimedia Speaker
- 10. Creative A250 2.1 Multimedia Speaker
- Best Gaming Speakers Buyer’s Guide
10 Best Gaming Speakers
1. Logitech Multimedia Speakers Z200
If you're just looking for an affordable pair of speakers that can boost your audio performance a bit, you'll find the Z200 model to be one of the best sets of gaming speakers. These speakers retail for less than $20, and they sport a highly compact design that makes them an appropriate choice for a gaming laptop or even your phone. Add in the fact that they connect to your device with a simple 3.5 mm aux port, and you're left with one of the most versatile gaming speakers around.
Each of these speakers is individually powered, but they also come with a bass extension that can be easily controlled from the appropriate knob on the speaker. And while these speakers themselves may be pretty small, they manage to pack in some pretty respectable 2.5" drivers into their compact frames.
2. Razer Nommo Chroma
Razer is one of the most confident and respected manufacturers of accessories tailored to the needs of gamers, and while they may cost significantly more than their Logitech counterpart, they still have a lot in common. The small size of these gaming speakers makes them one of the top choices for gaming on the go, and they include dedicated controls for adjusting the bass performance.
But this 2.0 set of speakers for computer take everything Logitech does best and improves on them significantly. Three inch drivers provide some powerful sound performance, but just because it's louder doesn't mean that you have to worry about sacrificing texture. The broad frequency response range ensures that all the detail and nuance baked into the soundtrack can be heard, making these speakers as appropriate for watching movies as they are for pinpointing enemy footsteps in your favorite first person shooter.
3. Creative Pebble 2.0 USB-Powered Desktop Speakers
Creative Pebble has developed some of the best looking compact gaming speakers on the market today. Available in both black and white, the half circle design is a far cry from the traditional tower design that most PC speakers offer, and with one of the best prices around, you won't have to empty your bank account to get a good looking pair of speakers.
But the unique design of these gaming speakers serve a practical purpose as well. The angled and elevated positioning of the drivers provides a more naturalistic and powerful soundscape, while the combination of far field drivers and passive radiators creates a killer sense of balance that can compete with the best PC speakers in this price range. The controls are always in reach and simple to use, so you can adjust the sound performance of these gaming speakers with little to no difficulty.
4. Bose Companion 2 Series III Multimedia Speakers
The Bose Companion 2 Series III certainly aren't the best looking speakers around. The black on black tower design makes these speakers hard to distinguish from any number of other speakers on the market today, but there's a respectable amount of power hidden within the boxy frame of these gaming speakers. The clarity on these Bose speakers is probably the biggest selling point - offering vivid and crystal clear performance regardless of the format you're working in and regardless of the volume you have these speakers set to.
But also worthy of note is the inclusion of Bose's TrueSpace stereo technology. These aren't speakers that can replicate surround sound on their own, but they do offer some of the best sense of spatial awareness for a $100 pair of gaming speakers. Whether you're trying to watch a movie or track the positioning of gunfire on a map, you'll get it with these speakers.
5. Logitech 3.5mm Jack Compact Laptop Speakers
The second set of Logitech gaming speakers on our list are compact in design and one of the better options around if you're working with limited desk space or looking for some speakers you can take with you when you travel. They're also some of the most compatible speakers around with their 3.5mm jack, so you can hook them up to practically any gaming device in your home or on the go.
Available for less than $20, this set of Logitech speakers are incredibly easy to operate. All you have to do is plug and play without having to worry about device drivers. The volume control knob is conveniently located on the front along with a second 3.5mm cord that you can use to connect a pair of headphones. And for about $20 more, you can get a converter that will let these gaming speakers work with Bluetooth.
6. AmazonBasics USB-Powered Computer Speakers
These AmazonBasics aren't as basic as you may be led to believe, and they offer some of the best value you'll find on any compact gaming speakers anywhere. The USB connectivity allows you to get high-quality sound without being held back by an underperforming sound card, and all you have to do is plug them in and go without the need for any dedicated driver software.
And while these aren't the loudest or clearest sounding speakers available in 2020, they do make use of some innovative design features that you wouldn't expect from speakers at this price. That includes aesthetic flourishes like the black metal finish and blue LED lighting but also practical additions like the inclusion of a bottom radiator to provide you with more creative and meaningful bass sounds.
7. Altec Lansing BXR1220 Desktop Speaker
Altec Lansing's BTR1220 speakers may be small, but their innovative and proprietary audio alignment system allows them to achieve some of the best sound performance for their price. Audio alignment allows you to get balanced sound engineering in any gaming experience, and that makes them one of the top options you'll find if you want to integrate these gaming speakers into a larger sound system while still offering a pretty weighty experience even when they're by themselves.
All of the components are shielded as well, so these gaming speakers will provide great performance without interference regardless of their positioning or the nature of your gaming system. And you won't have to worry about extra cords either. The single USB cable allows you to feed these gaming speakers off of your computer's power, so there's no need to track down an outlet to get the most out of them.
8. JBL Pebbles 2.0 Speaker
The JBL Pebbles may share a similar name and a rounded design with the Creative Pebble gaming speakers, but it manages to maintain an identity all its own. These are some of the best looking gaming speakers around - sporting a highly modernist design that blends together chrome with simple white, but the best part of these gaming speakers are how easy they are to use. Between the USB and 3.5mm inputs, you can hook these speakers up to practically anything in your home.
These speakers cost significantly more than the Creative Pebble gaming speakers, but they also offer some of the best performance in their class. If you want a similarly stylish look in a compact frame, but you're also looking to boost your sound performance, you can count on the Pebbles speakers to fulfill that particular need.
9. Harman Kardon SoundSticks II Multimedia Speaker
Harmon Kardon is one of the best speaker manufacturers in operation today, and while their SoundSticks II model may be highly expensive when compared to the other gaming speakers on our list, it's actually a tremendous value for its price. Looking like something out of a mad scientist's laboratory, it's a set of speakers that are sure to stand apart from the competition, but it really distinguishes itself from the rest of the pack with the presence of a dedicated subwoofer.
That means that it offers unparalleled bass performance despite its relatively small size. And while the small wattage may raise some eyebrows, the crispness of the audio fidelity here is a true marvel. These speakers aren't really an appropriate choice for your laptop, but if you're looking for a dedicated and powerful sound system for your home PC, you won't find much better than this.
10. Creative A250 2.1 Multimedia Speaker
We round out our guide to the best gaming speakers with an incredibly affordable counterpoint to the SoundSticks II. While the A250 speaker system isn't going to sound nearly as good as the aforementioned SoundSticks, it comes in at a tenth of the price and somehow manages to pack in a subwoofer for that price. If bass is important to you, you can count on these speakers to really accentuate the gunfire in your favorite shooters or the action scenes in your favorite movies.
These certainly aren't well suited to travel, but they'll make a great centerpiece for a budget sound system. The image focusing plate built in provides great imaging that will only grow more valuable as you expand your speaker collection, while the dual slot enclosure creates a better sense of balance across the speakers and the subwoofer.
Best Gaming Speakers Buyer’s Guide
Shopping for the best gaming speakers isn’t all that different from shopping for any computer speakers. While you should check out each individual review to help you better understand what each model of PC speaker offers, finding the best means understanding the most important specs. We’ll highlight most important qualities to look for in gaming speakers and also review some of the most commonly asked questions our readers have about shopping for the best gaming speakers.
Key Specs and Features
Wattage is one of the simplest specs to track when buying a speaker. The watts of power that a speaker can output relates directly to how loud the speaker can go. Naturally, higher watts of power results in higher potential decibel levels. How much wattage will matter to you is going to depend entirely on your needs. Most of these listed models are designed for relatively smaller spaces like a single room, but if you want to get creative and add on to your home theater system, you may want to turn your attention to satellite speakers like the Altec Lansing or Bose Companion 2 which offer much higher wattage levels.
Wattage is measured in both RMS (root mean square) which refers to the average watts a speaker can put out over an extended period of time and the maximum wattage a speaker can output for a shorter period of time.
For the sake of providing the best budget level gaming models available, we’ve neglected to review Bluetooth and otherwise wireless gaming speakers in favor of spotlighting the best wired models. There are two options to consider here: USB models and 3.5mm aux models.
A 3.5mm aux port is what most people think of as a headphone jack. It appears in pretty much any device that supports music, and that means that it offers a level of compatibility with practically anything in your house. Whether you’re looking to play sounds through your phone, your gaming headsets, or anything else, a 3.5mm cord is up to the task.
USB connections are a little rarer, but they should be available in practically any gaming PC or gaming console. They tend to offer superior sound quality as well as adjust the cyber acoustics to match the device in question. In terms of raw power, they’re the absolute winner, and that’s why we recommend them as the top choice for gaming.
Keep in mind that some models also come with an additional headphone jack. This allows you to set up multiple devices to the same speakers at the same time. This can be incredibly useful if you find yourself switching between multiple gaming devices on a regular basis.
Bigger isn’t always better with speaker drivers, which are essentially the tubes that deliver sounds from your speakers. Instead, differently sized drivers have their own specialties when gaming. A larger driver will better deliver deep bass and a level of clarity with the mids, and a larger driver tends to be common with a subwoofer for that reason. By contrast, a smaller driver will deliver richer treble and decent mids at the expense of bass.
The size of the driver that’s right for you will depend on your listening experience, but the distinctions between the gaming models on our list aren’t really distinct enough to have a major impact on what you hear. Paying attention to sound quality and the materials that go into a speaker’s production is going to take you a lot farther than stressing out over driver size.
The frequency response range refers to the sound waves that a gaming speaker can project, with smaller frequencies representing bass and the highest frequencies representing the treble. While humans can only detect frequencies in a range of about 20 Hz to 20 KHz, the top models actually offer frequency responses that go beyond that range. If you want to know more about how frequency response works, check out our general guide to the best speakers of 2020, but you should be find understanding that a wider frequency response range creates ore layered and nuanced sound during your gaming experience even if it expands beyond what you can consciously hear.
Number of Speakers
Most of the models we’ve highlighted here are what’s known as a 2.0 gaming system. That means that they employ two speakers without a subwoofer. If you’re just looking for a basic gaming setup, these should be absolutely up to the task, but if you want to expand later on, keep in mind that most of these speakers can be integrated into a larger home theater system. Adding a subwoofer can enhance your bass significantly, while adding more speakers allows you to get creative and develop surround sounds systems. You can check out our guide to the best surround sound systems of 2020 if you’re curious about how you can get creative and improve your gaming audio experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Best PC Speakers?
This is almost always going to come down to a matter of preference when talking about gaming speakers, but if you’re looking for something catered specifically to the needs of gamers, we highly recommend the Razer Nommo Chroma from our review above. They combine high-quality performance and some innovative technology with a portable design perfect for laptops and the ability to customize your own RGB lighting.
Are Logitech Speakers Good?
Logitech actually doesn’t manufacture their own speakers, instead opting to refashion their gaming speakers from other companies, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Their designs are built off of some of the best brand names in the world, but the leverage Logitech has in manufacturing allows them to keep prices lower on gaming speakers than you otherwise might expect. As a result, they offer some of the best value on gaming speakers anywhere.
Which is the Best Speaker Brand?
There is no singular best speaker brand, and all of the manufacturers on our list produce speakers with confidence and experience, but you’d be hard pressed to find a review that doesn’t praise Bose. As one of the oldest and most well respected speaker manufacturers in the world, you can count on them to provide you with theater level sounds from every model they produce.
Who Makes Good Computer Speakers?
There are too many great manufacturers to count, and the fact of the matter is that any speaker is going to come with both advantages and disadvantages. You’re better off checking out the quality of each individual model rather than chasing a brand name, but each review we’ve presented will provide you with a quality and high power listening experience.
As you can see, improving the quality of your PC speakers doesn’t have to cost you much money at all, and all of the best gaming speakers we’ve listed can serve as a great start for a larger and more dedicated home stereo setup. We hope you find what you’re looking for, and be sure to check out our guide to the best gaming headsets of 2020 if you’re looking for a more social way to experience your favorite competitive and cooperative games.