The Best TV Speakers 2020: Top Speaker Systems For Home Theater Setup - Rolling Stone
Home RS Recommends Electronics

Speakers of the House: The Best Speakers to Upgrade Your TV Setup

An extra set of external speakers can make a huge difference, and fill the room with deep, full sound



Products featured are independently selected by our editorial team and we may earn a commission from purchases made from our links; the retailer may also receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.

If you’re only using your TV’s internal speakers, you’re not getting the full experience of what your favorite movies, games, and shows have to offer.

Adding just a few good quality external speakers into the mix can alter your audio exponentially, adding dimensions to your sound, and delivering highs and lows that let you hear the little details in everything. Even a modest set of two speakers can give off the feel of a full surround sound system when placed and leveled correctly.

But finding the best sound system requires some research first. Before you start building your home speaker setup, here’s some quick tips on things to look out for.

What Are the Best Speakers For Your TV?

The best TV speakers deliver big, bright sound to amplify what’s coming from your television set. Because they can be placed anywhere — next to your TV, on a shelf, mounted on a wall — they cast a wider soundstage than you would get just using your TV’s built-in speakers themselves.

What to Look For When Buying TV Speakers

Active vs. Passive: An active speaker system means it has its own power source, like most sound bars, while a passive system requires an external unit like a receiver to fuel it. If you’re starting with a clean slate, an active setup is the way to go. If you’ve already got a powered source of sound, or are looking to build a customized larger surround system piece by piece, passive will do just fine.

Drivers: A two-way speaker has two different types of drivers – a woofer and tweeter. The woofer bumps the low-frequency sounds, while the tweeter is designed to handle the highs. A three-way speaker, however, has the tweeter and woofer, and an added extra driver for the mid-range; it’s similar to a woofer but smaller. It’s not necessary for good sound, but it’s an extra bonus that divides up the frequencies more evenly.

Bass: Bass is crucial too. Even if you’re not looking to shake the room, having a system that kicks at least a little bass can make movies immensely more immersing. A floor subwoofer separates the bass frequencies from the higher-end frequencies of the speakers, and you’ll get a better bass response with it on the ground – one that really moves the air and makes it thump. Sound will vary depending on the architecture of the room you’re using it in, so play around with angling everything and notice where it echoes off of for the best results.

Controls: Some systems include a remote, which can make things easier when adjusting from afar. But even if it doesn’t have one, there’s most likely a control panel on the unit itself. It’s not all about how loud you can crank it either – spending some time adjusting the levels on all your sound equipment will let you find that perfect balance that bounces off the walls at just the right angles.

1. Samsung SWA-8500S 2.0 Speaker System

This set connects to your existing source, like a soundbar, to add even more dimensions to your home-audio experience. Hooking up the receiver is seamless, and the mid-range comes through crisp and clear, while the bass thumps and highs shimmer.

Made from a sleek metal mesh that won’t leave fingerprints, the speakers are compact, wall-mountable, and best of all, won’t take up too much space while giving you the feel of a theater.

It should be known, however, that while the main unit wirelessly connects to your source, the speakers themselves do require wires to work.

Samsung SWA-8500S 2.0 Speaker System Wall Mountable Black Model


Buy: Samsung SWA-8500S 2.0 Speaker System at

2. Polk Audio T15 Home Theater Bookshelf Speakers

The folks at Polk have been manufacturing high-end home audio products for nearly 50 years, and this system is no different. At only 10.7 inches high, these speakers kick out a thick bass and an overall balanced mix of highs and lows, thanks to its 0.75-inch tweeter, 5.25-inch driver and a front firing bass port (which can be often be tough to find).

These can easily be added to your existing setup as rear speakers too, and are wall-mountable to strategically place and fill the room with sound.

Whether watching  new movies or revisiting old records, this set brings out the best (and the bass) in whatever media you play.

Polk Audio T15 100 Watt Home Theater Bookshelf Speakers


Buy: Polk Audio T15 Home Theater Bookshelf… at $99.00

3. Edifier R1280DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

There’s a silver lining to this powered pair of Edifier speakers. Literally, right in the middle of the fabric front casing, adding to its already modern and classy wooden design.

These speakers can quickly connect to your phone, tablet, Mac or PC using Bluetooth, but if you prefer wires, you’re covered too. The set includes ports for auxiliary and RCA cables, and an indented spot with notched knobs on the side for bass, treble, and volume, as well as an LED light to indicate what connection is currently in use.

There’s also a remote that lets you adjust the volume and inputs from a distance, and a flippable power switch in back.

Most importantly, the sound is full and rich, thanks to its built-in four-inch woofer and 13mm silk dome tweeter.

Edifier R1280DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers


Buy: Edifier R1280DB Powered Bluetooth… at $129.99

4. Acoustic Audio AA5172 Home Theater 5.1 Bluetooth Speaker System

With 700 watts of total power, there’s a lot to unpack in this six-piece, Bluetooth-enabled home theater system.

The subwoofer unit is full of connectivity options, including RCA, USB, and an SD card slot. And with five wired speakers included, you can turn your room into a fully enveloping sound experience.

Controlling it from the couch is easy too, with the full function remote, or a convenient panel on the front of the sub unit as well. Playing around with the volumes, panning and positioning can bring out new nuances of your favorite songs that you may not have noticed before.

This is an attractive pick if you’re setting up a TV speaker system for the first time, or just want a starter set to play around with before you invest in one of the bigger names above.

Acoustic Audio AA5172 Home Theater 5.1 Bluetooth Speaker System with USB / SD, Gray


Buy: Acoustic Audio AA5172 Home Theater 5.1… at $99.20

In This Article: RS Recommends, speakers


Powered by
Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.