Speaker How To

What To Look For In a Speaker – 6 Things to Consider Before Buying!

So you’ve managed to stash some money away, or maybe you got that big promotion or bonus you’ve been waiting for, or perhaps you’ve just been saving up for a while and finally want to pull the trigger. Regardless of the reason, you’re in the market for a new speaker. However, you’re not sure what to look for in a speaker.

You want to get a good one, and you don’t want to spend more money than needed for your current situation. You probably searched the internet, you’ve asked around, and you’ve likely been bombarded with a bunch of questions, comments and suggestions that you have no clue how to decipher.

Don’t worry, I will make figuring out what to look for in a speaker super easy for you!

Below (in no particular order) you will find the 6 things you should consider when purchasing the best speaker for your budget.

Location, Location, Location

First things first, where did you want to put it!?

This will make an enormous difference, as there are many factors in location that may alter the sound or use of your speaker.

Furniture

The surfaces in your home can alter the use of your speaker. For example, hard and flat surfaces reflect the sound, where soft surfaces may absorb the internet sound. If you’re placing a speaker in your living room, where we can assume there arewhat to look for in a speaker more absorbent fixtures, stand in the middle of the room and clap. How loud your clap is compared to say, the kitchen, will tell you how affected your speaker will be by the furnishings.

The quieter the clap, the bigger the speakers you will need to carry the sound. The louder the clap, the further you know the sound will carry in that room.

Room Size/Space

This one is pretty self-explanatory. The bigger the room, the bigger the speaker you’ll need. However, do you even have room for the speaker? Does it need to be wall mounted?

You’ll need to think about this one, as not all speakers can mount when there’s no counter or shelf space. A general rule of thumb is that speakers usually like to be 3 to 4 feet away from the listener for best sound quality and usability.

Portability

Last but not least, location will be determined by how often you want to move the speaker. Is this a speaker that will sit in one spot for the better part of its life? Or, do you want a speaker you can take to the beach, or out into the garden with you while enjoying some sunshine?

Not all speakers are the greatest when it comes to functionality in this category. It will definitely be a question you’ll need to answer before you purchase.

How Many Watts To Give!

I hope you caught the joke in that title .. you know.. “How many craps to give” hahaha

In this case, we are speaking about Watts, which is the power of the speaker. Ideally, the more watts, the louder your speaker will be at the end of the day.

what to look for in a speaker

Comfortable home speakers are between 20 and 30 watts. If you’re hosting a lavish party, and this will be the main purpose of your speaker, then you’ll want to consider 50 to 100 watts.

The more watts, the bigger the speaker. If you’re considering buying a bigger speaker with less than 20 watts, I would be careful. It may be the cheapest speaker for its size on the market, but there’s a reason for that. The bigger the speaker and the fewer watts it has, it could lead to poor sound quality.

Decibels Mean Everything

Decibels and watts play an important part together, and the two metrics can be used together to determine a suitable speaker. They aren’t the same thing, but they play a significant role in each others lives. The term decibels can also be referred to as the “sensitivity” of the speaker.

The higher the decibel rating on a speaker, the louder the speaker can go if it’s given the right amount of watts. You’ll want to aim for a decibel rating of 88 or higher. Although you may find it more pricey, you’ll enjoy the quality of the speaker at higher volumes.

This can get confusing, but I’ll keep it as simple as possible. You don’t always want a higher watt speaker if the sensitivity of a speaker can’t control the amount of sound coming from it (88+). A low decibel rating with a higher watt rating could distort the sound, and same goes for the reverse. If the decibel rating is high, but the watt isn’t strong enough to push sound out to match, you could be wasting money and getting poor sound quality.

How Does It Feel?

This seems silly, but goes hand in hand with what I spoke about higher up this page.

When you go to the grocery store to pick out a watermelon, you knock on the melon to determine how much moisture is in the melon. If the sound is deep and hollow, you know the melon is ripe and suitable for the eat. If it sounds dense, it may not be ripe yet to eat.

The same can be compared with a speaker. Your speaker should feel weighty upon lifting it. You don’t want, especially the bigger speakers, to have it be easy to lift up and toss around. This will create a hollow and echo sound in your music when played.

Budgetwhat to look for in a speaker

I left this as last because you’re either looking for a budget friendly speaker, or a top quality speaker.

Many of what I mentioned above is important when investing substantial amounts of money into a speaker. Most inexpensive speakers will all have the same metrics and quality about them.

Whereas, expensive speakers will vary in what they do well, and what the manufacturer has chosen not to focus on during development.

Obviously, budget is important, but trust that if you follow my above advice, you’ll always spend your money wisely!

Need More Help?

Still not sure what to look for in a speaker? No worries!

Leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to reach out to you to help you find the best speaker for your listening pleasure!

6 Comments

  • Dan

    Hi, some really useful tips here re Bluetooth speakers, I recently bought a small one made by Anker which considering the size was very loud and the quality was pretty good for £25! I think the tech has come a long way in recent years so when I am looking to upgrade I will be sure to message you for some pointers. 

    • Brooke

      Mornin’ Dan 🙂

      Is it the Anker mini? I did an article on the best bluetooth speakers for under 50 dollars and I know that was one of the higher quality ones for its price. Amazon had it as their number one mini bluetooth speaker!

      Thanks for the comment, have a great weekend!

      Talk soon,

      -B

  • J W RIDDELL

    Thank you, Brooke. Location is key thank you for this; I have a portable speaker. 

    After reading your article on how sound travels differently in different settings and reflecting off of surfaces such as walls or carpets, it got me thinking about where to place my speakers based on what room they are going into so that the sound quality will be optimal for those who enjoy listening through them while still being able to hear their surroundings during other times when no music is playing. 

    The budget was obviously important since high-quality equipment can get expensive quickly, but luckily, there are some great deals out there if one knows where to look! 

    My brother in Australia wants to get some new speakers for his house and needs a system to hear him from all four corners. I’ll forward this article immediately because he’s been bugging me about it!

    • Brooke

      Hey JW 🙂

      Its crazy how something so simple can be affected by so many things! I appreciate your comment and am glad you found some new stuff to learn from it!

      Let me know if you or your brother have anuy more questions regarding which speaker you pick.

      Talk soon

      -B

  • Ann

    Thank you for explaining how decibels works in a speaker. I get it that it refers to its “sensitivity”.If we’re going to spend some money in a good speaker, it’s important to know all these points. Thank you very much for explaining them in an easy way for us that are non-techies.

    • Brooke

      Hey Ann,

      Thanks for reading my article! TBH I learn new things daily. Although I hope to guide customers through the purchasing process, I also want to capitalize on the learning potential there. It’s about the passion. 

      If I can share some of that potential with others, then my job is done.

      Talk soon!

      -B

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