In-Wall vs Bookshelf Speakers:Which is Better for You?

Today, we look at in-wall vs bookshelf speakers, what makes each of them stand out and which is better for your home theater system. Well, speakers come in various types suitable for different applications.

in-wall vs bookshelf speakers

So, it is not surprising that you are interested in a comparison of in wall vs bookshelf speakers. Whether you are upgrading or simply setting up your new home theater system, the price might be a factor you are looking at too. I am sure you want to get good value for your money.  If you are wondering if one or the other ( In-wall vs Bookshelf speakers) is better and will give you more value for the price.

In-wall speakers are powerful, have the flexibility of been placed on any wall, but in-wall speakers that will deliver the same or similar quality of sound as bookshelf speakers will be 2 to 3 times more expensive. Bookshelf speakers are attractive, have better sound quality, have more flexible placement, and are budget-friendly but can bulkier and not suitable for large areas. 

If you have been trying to decide between the two, it is important you know what makes them stand out from each other, the benefits they provide, how best they are used, and also, take into account other factors like space, the aesthetics of the two and other needs.

Bookshelf Speakers

Bookshelf speakers as the name already suggest, are meant to rest on the bookshelf or some form of an elevated surface but not anywhere on the floor. They are designed to deliver high-quality sound in small to medium rooms.

Bookshelf speakers are also known as bookshelf loudspeakers can be used as a stand-alone addition to your living room, or as a part of your larger home theater system. If you are interested in upgrading your home audio system, then there are some really great bookshelf speakers that you can incorporate into your home theater system.

bookshelf speakers


Bookshelf speakers produce better sound quality, are budget-friendly, have a larger sound outage, and flexible placement. They make a great addition to all sorts of home theater systems.

Sound Quality

Bookshelf loudspeakers are designed to have enclosures that limit the rear reflection of sound that meet up with the front and cause sound-cancellation. These enclosures also keep the drivers cool while they are operating. There are even some more advanced designs that are engineered into the speaker and in fact, are actually part of the sound production itself.

The sound quality produced when if compared to in-wall speakers are better.

Placement Flexibility

Bookshelf speakers are great for any place as long as they are placed on an elevated surface. They can be placed in front, at the back, or even on the side of the room. High or low profile. As long as they are designed to meet the requirement of the space.

You can also even use them outdoors for other activities. They are a perfect addition to a small to medium space.

You can even convert your bookshelf speakers into in-wall speakers provided they will fit into the wall space. But, you should however note that the sound quality will reduce compared to if they were placed on the open space.


With less than $200, you can get some pretty decent sounding bookshelves for your home theater system that will deliver quality sound throughout the room. You don’t necessarily need to spend thousands of dollars on good bookshelf speakers.


Bookshelf speakers come in different sizes, colors, and designs. The most common shape you will get is the rectangular type. Some can be really visually appealing and will fit well into your existing room decor.

You can have them placed on the bookshelf, the cupboard, the tv stand, or other elevated surfaces. Even though by their design you don’t need to hide them away, however, you can easily cover them up and they won’t be noticeable.


Even though there are many advantages to using bookshelf speakers, there are also some downsides that you should be aware of. Such as bulkiness and not suitable for larger rooms or space.


Bookshelf loudspeakers can be bulky in size. Although you can put them on the cupboard or bookshelf to hide them away, they are not that easily hidden.

Not Ideal for Larger Spaces

These kinds of speakers are not very suitable for larger spaces as they are designed to cover mid-range and can also connect to larger systems.

Related Reads:

Subwoofers vs Speakers: What’s the difference?. 

In-Wall Speakers

In-wall speakers are mostly rectangular in shape and as the name suggests, you often place them inside your wall. In-wall speakers can also serve as right and left channel speakers, as additional front and rear speakers, or as continuous sound throughout multiple rooms.

In-wall speakers are small or similar size compared to bookshelf speakers. The most common size you get around is about 8 inches. These types of speakers are horizontal-firing, this allows the sound to travel across the room.

in-wall speakers, in wall speakers vs bookshelf speakers


There are some pros of having in-wall speakers as part of your home audio system. Such as they are attractive, out of sight, have placement flexibility, and saves a lot of floor space.

Larger Sound Stage

In large space, these speakers can serve a major purpose of providing sound throughout the space and help bridge the gap between rooms. You can place in-wall speakers throughout the living room, the kitchen, dining area for the same sound to reach there. Which can be entertaining.

Out of Sight

A great way to hide speakers is in the wall or ceiling. So if you want to have your some of your audio systems out of sight, then in-wall speakers are a good option. Speakers are there to be listened to and not to be looked at.

Saves Floor Space

Generally, cables are not appealing to the eyes and can also be a safety hazard. the wiring of in-wall speakers is mostly hidden from view and they can even be painted to match the wall color to mask them.

We are in the days of limited space, speakers on the floor could take away valuable space. Unlike in-wall speakers that are mounted in the wall and thereby freeing your floor space. They can make a great choice for small or crowded spaces and for those who don’t actually want to look at speakers.

Placement Flexibility

You can have in-wall speakers on any wall in the room. Whether it is on the front wall, back, or side walls, placed high or low. They are able to provide sound throughout the house by been placed on walls throughout the house.

For outdoors, there are few options to choose from. If you intend to have them on outside walls, then look out for in walls that are rated for outdoor use also.


While these speakers may have some pros, they certainly have some downsides too. In-wall speakers can be compared to bookshelf speakers can be poorer in sound quality, are not suitable for apartments or rented properties unless you seek permission from the landlord. They can be expensive if you want high-quality sound.

Poorer Sound Quality

If you compare the sound quality of bookshelf speakers on the shelf to the same speakers inside the walls, the sound quality will be reduced. Generally speaking, in-walls don’t sound as good or image as well as bookshelf speakers. The sound quality issue is because of the lack of substantial cabinet.

Not Suitable for Apartments or Rented Properties with Shared Walls

Because in rented space where you might be sharing walls or have walls very closed to the neighbor’s, having in-walls can cause noise issues for the neighbors. Also, installing in-walls require to cut the wall open somehow, which might go against the tenancy agreement because it might be termed as causing damage to property.

If you really need to install in-walls, It is recommended you seek approval from the property owner before you land yourself into some trouble. The sound leaking into neighbors’ rooms may be another issue to look at.

Are They Interchangeable?

In many cases, you can use in-wall speakers and bookshelf speakers interchangeably provided the bookshelf speakers will fit in the wall.  The installation will be different as well as the sound quality. Bookshelf speakers on the bookshelf will sound better than the same speakers installed on the walls.

The sound quality of in-wall speakers is compromised due to the reflection effects of the walls right next to the drivers.

Final thoughts on In-Wall vs Bookshelf Speakers

Making the choice for you between in-wall and bookshelf speakers will depend on your need and your budget. As you have already seen above, they both have pros and cons. They serve different purposes as well.

If you want to change the game of your home theater system at a lower cost for better sound quality, you might gravitate towards bookshelf speakers as they deliver better sound at budget price, are flexible but are ideal for small to medium spaces if unless they are connected with larger systems.

On the other hand, if you don’t want to cover large areas with the sound, have more flexible placement, have your speakers out of sight, and more, then you would want to invest more bucks for high-quality in-walls that will take away attention from them but deliver quality sound. But in-wall speakers are not ideal for rented properties like apartments or condos you don’t actually own. You might not want to cause damage to someone’s property.


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