A high-efficiency speaker will sound better and give you more power at a lower wattage than one with a lower sensitivity, letting you get the most out of your system despite its limitations. It can be tricky to figure out what to look for when it comes to high-efficiency speakers, but the 4 that follow on this list are all great places to start. They’re likely the best high efficiency speakers on the market.
The Reference Premier series from Klipsch is the most recent iteration of their popular Reference design, and they aim to improve upon the already powerful listening experience of previous models. These speakers can fill your listening room with full, three-dimensional sound regardless of what you’re using for an amp or receiver, fulfilling Klipsch’s aim to give listeners a truly immersive listening experience.
Its sensitivity of 98dB makes it one of the most efficient speakers on the market, but that’s certainly not its only selling point. The titanium tweeter uses an innovative Linear Travel Suspension system to reduce distortion and bring out every detail in the high end. The spun copper cerametallic woofer is both rigid and lightweight, meaning you get good response and clarity in the low end. All of this comes in a sleek, elegant cabinet that will fit easily in even relatively small spaces.
Klipsch RF-82 II Reference Series
If you’re more in the market for a floor-standing speaker than a bookshelf speaker, consider the RF-82 from Klipsch’s original Reference series. It’s designed to fill even large rooms with rich and realistic sound, whether you’re listening to your favorite album or watching the latest summer blockbuster. Like the speaker above, it uses a titanium horn-loaded speaker with a Linear Travel Suspension system. The dual woofers are what differentiate it from smaller options, giving you more low end power without any distortion or muddiness.
This is the fifth generation of the Reference series speaker’s design, and with each successive generation Klipsch has improved upon an already innovative concept. This model uses a new crossover system and re-engineered drivers, along with a more rounded cabinet that gives it a slimmer profile, making it easier to find a place for the speaker in your home. No ifs and buts, these are best high efficiency speakers you can buy.
Fluance SX6-BK Two-way bookshelf loudspeakers
If your budget doesn’t have room to spend hundreds of dollars on your listening room right now, you can still get a high-efficiency speaker with a great tone and response with the FX6 from Fluance, which retails for just over a hundred bucks.
Fluance is one of the most trusted names in home audio technology, and this speaker lives up to their good name despite its modest price point. It’s a compact bookshelf speaker that will fit easily in most desk or entertainment center set-ups. And the sound is great too, of course. At 92dB sensitivity, it’s slightly less efficient than the other options on this list, but will still fill a small or medium room with sound on relatively little power. If you’re on a budget, these are among the best high efficiency speaker kits for the money.
Polk Audio Signature S15
A lot of people are looking for a high-efficiency speaker because they have limited space for new equipment in their listening space. If this is the case for you, a more compact bookshelf speaker like the Polk S15 could be your answer.
The speaker uses a mica-reinforced polypropylene woofer for a cone that’s both light and stiff, meaning great response with low distortion. The high frequencies are handled by a terylene tweeter that brings an exceptional clarity to your highs, especially when you’re listening to vocals. It also has a front-firing tuned port for a smoother blend in the low frequency, giving you impressive bass response for a high efficiency bookshelf speaker.
Why Use High-Efficiency Speakers?
I said in the introduction a high-efficiency speaker doesn’t inherently sound better, and that’s true. There are plenty of low-efficiency speakers that sound exquisite when powered correctly. It’s the power part that’s the key, though. The more efficient the speaker, the more output it can get per watt. In practical terms, this means the high-efficiency speaker will give you a better sound at higher volumes when run off the same amp.
If you like listening to your music cranked and sheer output is one of your primary goals, a high-efficiency speaker is going to ultimately give you the most sound. This makes them great speakers for home theater systems as well as for music listening, since you won’t need much power to give low movie effects an immersive rumble but still have the high-end clarity for crisp dialogue.
Remember, though, that while upgrading your speakers will get a better sound out of your receiver and amplifier than you had before, your equipment is often only as strong as its weakest link. If you’re looking toward high-efficiency speakers as the first upgrade in an otherwise basic system, you might find you’re better served by spitting your budget and investing in the Polk (see full specs) or Fluance (see full specs) models from the list above along with a new amplifier to power them. You may need to take this step anyway when you upgrade to high-efficiency speakers, as most of them have an impedance of 8 ohms—something not all entry-level amps are rated to handle.
In the debate between high- and low-efficiency speakers, there’s no clear winner in terms of sound quality. Where the best high efficiency speakers excel is in getting the most out of your existing system and maximizing both your output and sound quality. Because of that, they’re an excellent and economic choice for listening rooms of all sizes, filling a large space with the same enveloping, realistic sound it brings to more intimate environments. Good luck!