The best Hi-Fi speakers 2018

Don't skimp out on the most important part of your Hi-Fi

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A traditional Hi-Fi system is made up of a few different components, but none of them are more important than the speakers, which are responsible for creating the actual sound of your music. If you can splurge anywhere, then let it be here. 

Trust us, you want the best speakers you can afford. 

Before we get into the specifics of which speakers we recommend, it's first worth summarising what a complete Hi-Fi setup looks like. 

At a minimum a setup needs three components; a source (such as a record player, CD player, or a streaming device), an amplifier, and a pair of speakers. You connect the speakers to the amplifier using speaker cable, and the amplifier to the source using 'interconnects'. 

It's become increasingly common these days to combine two or even three of these components to simplify the Hi-Fi experience. Some companies offer amplifiers with CD-players built in for example, while others offer so-called 'active' speakers that are able to handle their own amplification duties when connected to the right source. 

This guide to the best speakers is going to mainly focus on what are called 'passive' speakers. These are speakers that need to be paired with an amplifier to work, but on the plus side you won't have to power them separately. 

When browsing speakers online, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the numbers their manufacturers like to throw around. The truth is that unless you're going to set them up alongside the main stage at Glastonbury then the only number you'll really have to pay attention to is their impedance (measured in Ohms, or Ω). 

You want to make sure that the impedance of your speakers is higher than that of your amplifier. This will ensure that your speakers aren't overloaded and blow out. Don't worry, we've outlined the impedance of each of our picks below so that you know what to pair them with. 

Other than that you should be sure to check out whether the speakers you're looking at are floorstanding or bookshelf speakers. The former are a lot bigger and are designed to sit on the floor, whereas the latter are small enough to be place on a bookshelf, or else mounted on a stand. 

So without further ado, here are our picks for the best Hi-Fi speakers available today. 

1. Monitor Audio Bronze 2

A great sounding set of speakers with a classic look

Specifications
Frequency response: 42Hz - 30kHz
Impedance: 8 Ohm
RMS Output Power: 100W
Size: 185 x 255 x 350 mm (HxWxD)
Form-factor: Bookshelf
Reasons to buy
+Has a weighty, refined sound+Great classic looks
Reasons to avoid
-Work best on dedicated stands

Technically Monitor Audio'z Bronze speaker is supposed to be the company's entry-level lineup, but you'd be forgiven for thinking that it sounds anything but. 

Instead, being the youngest sibling ends up working wonders for the Bronze 2. It benefits from all the hand-me-down knowledge of the more expensive Silver and Gold speakers, but it's available at a fraction of the cost. 

They're a great looking pair of speakers, and they sound even better. You'll need to avoid tucking them away on a bookshelf unless you want their soundstage's width to suffer, but given the clearance their quality will blow you away. 

2. Tannoy Eclipse 3

A beefy pair of floorstanding speakers

Specifications
Frequency response: 38Hz - 32kHz
Impedance: 8 Ohm
PMPO Output Power: 240W
Size: 959 x 269.6 x 287 mm (HxWxD)
Form-factor: Floorstanding
Reasons to buy
+Detailed and expressive+Sturdy and well built
Reasons to avoid
-Bulky 

If you've got the space, then a pair of floorstanding speakers can let you kill two birds with one stone. Firstly is the fact that you won't have to find anything to place them on, meaning you don't have to spend any money on speaker stands. 

But secondly is the fact that a floorstanding speakers have a lot more space to work with, which potentially means dedicating far more space to the internal drivers that create the sounds that you end up hearing. 

The Tannoy Eclipse 3 are our top choice when it comes to floorstanding speakers. They're lovely and detailed, and there's plenty of kick there when the music gets going. 

Like the Bronze 2 speakers above you'll need to be careful with where you place them as reviewers have noted that locating them in a corner can cause their sound to boom a little, but with a little thought these speakers will be the perfect compliment to your Hi-Fi setup. 

3. Roth Oli RA1

A budget delight

Specifications
Frequency response: 80Hz - 20kHz
Impedance: 6 Ohm
RMS Output Power: 50W
Size: 231 x 151 x 153 mm (HxWxD)
Form-factor: Bookshelf
Reasons to buy
+Small and compact+Decent sound
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn't do so well at high volumes

If your budget is a little tighter, then nowadays it's possible to get a pair of speakers for outrageously cheap prices. 

The Roth Oli RA1 are a great budget pick, and we wouldn't advice going much cheaper than these. 

They're a relatively small pair of speakers, but that doesn't mean they can't put together a nice refined sound that balances heft with detail. 

Push these speakers a little harder and at higher volumes their budget status will begin to reveal itself, but for quieter home listening you shouldn't have any issues at all. 

4. Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2

A pair of versatile active speakers

Specifications
Frequency response: 55Hz - 20kHz
Impedance: N/A
RMS Output Power: 20W
Size: 170 x 130 x 135 mm (HxWxD)
Form-factor: Bookshelf
Reasons to buy
+Range of different inputs+Can be used as desktop speakers
Reasons to avoid
-Require power

The Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2 are a little different from the other speakers on this list. 

They're what are known as 'active' speakers, which mean that they get their power separately from the amplifier, and hence amplify their own sound. 

What this means is that they're a lot more versatile than the other speakers on this list, although that means they won't work quite as well in a traditional Hi-Fi setup. 

Around the back you've got an optical audio input in addition to a standard 3.5mm Aux input, and you can also connect a source wirelessly over Bluetooth if you're rather not bother with wires at all. 

There's also a subwoofer out port if you'd like to give the speakers more heft at a later point. 

5. B&W 805 D3

Fantastically sounding (and fantastically expensive) premium speakers

Specifications
Frequency response: 42Hz - 28kHz
Impedance: 8 Ohm
RMS Output Power: 120W
Size: 424 x 238 x 345 mm (HxWxD)
Form-factor: Bookshelf
Reasons to buy
+Range of different inputs+Can be used as desktop speakers
Reasons to avoid
-Require power

Anyone who's spent any time at all around serious Hi-Fi nerds will know that it's perfectly possible to spend tens of thousands of pounds on speakers without even scratching the surface of the premium audiophile market. 

We think the B&W 805 D3 occupy something of a sweet spot. Yes, they're pricey, but they sound absolutely brilliant in a way that most people will appreciate. 

You can spend literally hundreds of times more on a pair of speakers, but diminishing returns set in very quickly, and all but the most refined of ears aren't going to hear much of a difference at all. 

If you've got the money, then the 805s are a fantastic buy. We'll leave you to justify the expense to your other half though.