How To Choose Floorstanding Speakers

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Steve Scott

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A nice set of speakers is always a good way to enhance your listening experience. Especially if you add a lot more power and robustness with those speakers.

And there’s no better way to do that, and shake up the foundations of your house than by getting a pair of floorstanding speakers. They can both raise your sound to the next level, while blending beautifully in your space.

Take a look at our guide, and find out what are some traits of a good pair of floorstanding speakers.

See related: Best computer speakers


Floorstanding and Bookshelf Speakers – The Differences

Okay, so the names imply the apparent differences, right? Floorstanding speakers are meant to be placed on the floor or some type of stand on the floor level. 

Bookshelf speakers are called that because their size typically fits an ordinary bookshelf, although you can find larger models. And that’s it? Not quite. 

There are still some not so evident differences. Want to learn more about the best bookshelf speakers? Check out our guide.

Floorstanding speakers

Floorstanding speakers are usually more than three feet tall and seven inches or wider. While we don’t want to generalize, a company’s top speakers will usually be a floorstanding model. 

In most cases, a big size speaker will yield a much deeper bass reproduction. Also, larger size means that the speakers will be more efficient, or how much amp power will it take to get the speakers to a specific sound pressure level. 

The more efficient the speakers are, the more contrast they’ll provide. And larger speakers will allow the manufacturers to make a more efficient speaker.

So, it’s no surprise that the speakers used for live performances and concerts are so big. And with floorstanding speakers, you get the most similar experience to a live act. 

If you position them correctly in your room, they’ll provide you with an outstanding 3D sound experience.They also work exceptionally well in home theater conditions, by nicely complementing your big screen TV or a projector. 

Another great way you could use them is to place an Atmos upward-firing speaker on them. Those speakers will shoot the upper sound effects and bounce them off the ceiling. By doing that, you’ll get that full surround sound feel of sound coming from everywhere around you.

However, they do come with a set of drawbacks. Since they are so large, you won’t be able to fit them into every space. You’ll have to think hard to find a place for them where they won’t be in the way and disrupt the overall feel of the room. 

Design-wise they were not such a joy to behold. Luckily, more and more manufacturers started to pay attention to this, so it’s easier to incorporate them with your style.

Bookshelf speakers

As the name suggests, the size of these speakers is such that they will fit almost any regular bookshelf, although not always. In contrast to the floorstanding speakers, they are not so high-efficient.

However, if you set them up correctly, you can get some pretty decent results. Although the name implies different, bookshelf speakers tend to give you the best results when placed on a dedicated speaker stand somewhere in the room.

They lack that bass power that floorstanding speakers offer. That being said, in combination with a quality subwoofer you can get some pretty deep and convincing bass sound

The great thing about bookshelf speakers is that they give you flexibility, meaning you’ll have a much wider choice of speaker placement. So, if you’re taking interior décor into the equation, bookshelf speakers really do take up much less space.

Speaker Size

Floorstanding speakers, by their nature, are not meant to be small and unnoticeable. They’re meant to produce a big sound, and for that they usually need a big body, too.

So, if you plan on carrying your speakers around with you, then floorstanding ones might not be for you. 

And the manufacturers have played around with the size of the models, which means you can find some smaller ones, or even gigantic, 10-feet tall ones. 

It all boils down to what’s the size of your room. So, if you have a space that is up to 250 to 300 square feet, you can get by with smaller speakers. Anything larger than that, then, by all means, go big.

However, know that with most of the speakers on the market you’re bound to get at least a decent sound. So, if your budget doesn’t allow you to get a large model, then get a smaller one. 

You’ll be satisfied with it also.

Floorstanding Speaker Placement

Generally, you won’t have to pay that much attention to speaker placement, or at least not as much as with a subwoofer. However, there are some standard rules to follow for a better output. 


The number one mistake new owners make is that they put them in the corners of the room, right against the walls. By doing that, you drastically decrease the bass energy, making all the details go to waste.

The best place for floorstanding speakers is usually at the sides of your TV set. For the best performance, they should be at least six to eight inches removed from the wall. If you don’t have enough room space, that might pose a problem. 

But as with every tech gadget, experimenting is the key. Play around with your speakers until you find that sweet spot.

What Are Drivers?

Drivers are the driving force that produces sound, and that combines all the elements that convert the audio into an output you can hear. They are so powerful, so the manufacturers look to incorporate as much as possible. 

Although they can work well individually, the more drivers a speaker has, the better the sound will be. 

So, as a rule of thumb, three drivers or more packed in a speaker will give you a satisfying result. Anything less and we can bet you won’t be so happy. 

There are three types of drivers – tweeters (high-end), mid-range and woofers (bass).

What is Wattage?

Wattage is an important factor when deciding to get new speakers. It is basically an amount of power that you can get or drive through each of your speakers. 

There are two kinds of wattage: peak and continuous. Peak wattage refers to the amount of power you can push through the speakers at maximum capacity. 

This one shouldn’t bother you that much since you probably won’t be driving your speakers to the max that often. Unless you want to go to war with the neighbors.

Continuous wattage is based on the average volume, meaning it’s the power pushed through at standard volume levels. With that in mind, you should be aware of both, since you also want to know what the maximum, or the absolute peak of your speakers is.

What is Sensitivity?

Sensitivity, in this case, is a fancy word for loudness. Or in other words, how loud can the speakers go when you push a specific amount of power through them. 

Although sensitivity is rather tricky to determine, it is an indicator of how much sound you can get from a speaker. As a rule of thumb, the bigger space where you’ll use them, the higher the sensitivity should be.

Passive and Powered Floorstanding Speakers

Simply put, passive speakers come without an amp built-in. This means that they require an exterior amp, where you can plug in your speakers. 


Powered speakers are also called active, and they have an amplifier built-in. In most cases, home theater system speakers are passive.

In conclusion

In the end, it’s not about whether you should get floorstanding speakers, but rather which model you should get. They’re that good in elevating your audio to a whole new level. 

My name is Steve Scott. Father of 2 and owner of Outdoor Movie HQ. I’ve been involved in the A/V industry for most of my life and built this blog to help people better understand projector technology. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

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