Bookshelf Speaker vs Floor Standing: Which is Best for You?


Bookshelf Speaker vs. Floor Standing, Should you get a bookshelf speaker or a floor-standing speaker? Sound quality isn’t the only thing you must consider when picking a speaker or sound system these days. Does it complement your furniture or fit well with your room décor? How easy is it to connect, and what connectors will you need?

These are questions you should be asking yourself. Some types of speakers are more flexible than others. Thus, they may lend themselves to various types of setups. The following guide will compare bookshelf speakers to floor-standing speakers. 

Table of Contents

Bookshelf Speaker vs. Floor Standing: What are Bookshelf Speakers?

Bookshelf speaker next to books

Title: Bookshelf speaker next to books

Bookshelf vs. Floor standing speakers – the first thing we must do is define what these two types of speakers are. Bookshelf/monitor speakers/loudspeakers are compact speakers suitable for shelving. While companies often advertise them on/for bookshelves, their names are a bit of a misnomer. You can place them on tables, TV stands, cabinets, or larger speakers/subwoofers. As such, they are extremely flexible.

However, the placement of your bookshelf speakers will ultimately influence their specifications. Thus, it would be best if you shop accordingly. For instance, if you’re planning to place your speakers in a somewhat enclosed space, you must ensure they have a front-facing reflex port.

This allows it to direct all its bass energy forward. While bookshelf speakers tend to come in pairs, you can get Bluetooth single speaker systems. Albeit, most bookshelf speakers sport a two-way design. They have a tweeter and a midrange/midbass driver.

Thus, they’re not common in full-range configurations. Hence, you may elect to augment them with a subwoofer so your,r system can produce a better bass response.

However, many regard this as one of their benefits. Bass may only sound good in certain parts of your room. Thus, it may be better to keep these two elements separate. This will allow you to dictate where the treble from your bookshelf speakers comes from and where the bass from your subwoofers comes from. In most cases, floor-standing speakers can’t afford you this flexibility.

Advantages of Bookshelf Speakers

 Wooden bookshelf speakers

Title: Wooden bookshelf speakers

  • Because they are smaller, they can easily fit into confined spaces.
  • They are more flexible than their floor-standing counterparts, allowing you to change your setup immediately.
  • Again, their size makes them more suited to smaller and medium-sized rooms.
  • They tend to be cheaper than floor-standing speakers.
  • Bookshelf loudspeakers pair better with home theatre systems. You can place a row of three identical speakers in front of your TV or projector. This allows you to mimic the setup of some movie theatres. Additionally, their flexibility and size allow you to use the same speaker for all (or most) of the channels of your home theatre. Essentially, this allows you to encourage coherence in your home which is important for 360-degree sound fields

Disadvantages of Bookshelf Speakers

Bookshelf Speakers Near a Phone and Remote

Title: Bookshelf Speakers Near a Phone and Remote

  • Bookshelf speakers can be cheaper. However, they may force you to purchase a stand in many cases, especially if you have no place to elevate or rest them. Placing them on the Floor would not be ideal. The midrange and tweeter must be at least at ear level when seated. If you don’t have a stand, platform, or table to place them on, you must factor in the cost when shopping for your bookshelf loudspeakers. 
  • They are small. Their biggest advantage can be a disadvantage too. Their size makes them unideal for large rooms or spaces. If you purchase bookshelf speakers for a large room, you must augment their capabilities (especially bass) using subwoofers.   

Bookshelf Speaker vs. Floor Standing: What are Floor Standing Speakers

Title: White floor-standing speakers

Title: White floor-standing speakers

As the name implies, floor-standing/tower loudspeakers come with integrated platforms. They commonly come in a three-way configuration where the design separates each driver equally across the standing loudspeaker’s facade.

Advantages of Floor-Standing Speakers

Title: Floor-Standing Tower Speaker Isolated. Audio Equipment

Title: Floor-Standing Tower Speaker Isolated. Audio Equipment

  • They provide an all-in-one solution. Thus, they do not require you to purchase an additional stand. 
  • Most floor-standing speakers are full-ranged. They contain a tweeter, a midrange driver, and a bass driver. In some instances, they may have two bass drivers. Hence, you may not need an additional offboard subwoofer to achieve full-range sound. This makes things simpler. Additionally, you may save space and money eventually. 
  • They are ideal for first-time buyers and audiophiles. Again, their simplicity and all-in-one make them the perfect choice for neophytes. You don’t have to worry about pairing them with the right subwoofer or midrange.
  • In some instances, depending on the size and type of speaker, your amplifier and receiver may distribute power to the tower speakers more efficiently. Thus, allowing the speaker to work more optimally. It may work more efficiently than a bookshelf speaker to produce the same sonic frequencies. Ultimately, floor-standing speakers have the potential to be more energy efficient than bookshelf speakers.
  • While making bookshelf speakers sound as impressive as floor-standing speakers are possible, they often require augmentation. Again, you’ll need to be mindful of how you place the speakers. Furthermore, they’ll require help from a subwoofer or two. Floor-standing speakers typically don’t suffer from the same deficits.
  • Floor-standing speakers deliver better sound performance than bookshelf speakers because of their size. 

Disadvantages of Floor-Standing Speakers

Title: Glossy Tower Speakers

Title: Glossy Tower Speakers

  • They are not as flexible as bookshelf speakers.
  • They are more expensive (up front) than bookshelf speakers.

Bookshelf Speaker vs. Floor Standing: Conclusion

The speaker you choose depends on you, your requirements, and your capabilities. Floor-standing/tower speakers are better for larger rooms. At the same time, bookshelf speakers offer more customizability and flexibility.

Furthermore, they’re less expensive upfront. However, you may prefer floor-standing speakers because they are time-saving and can be easier to set up. Regardless, you’ll need good audio cabling, whichever loudspeaker type you choose.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you with quality cabling and harnessing.