Speaker stands are critically important in the performance and safety of your precious home audio system. It’s therefore important to carefully research the best products before you purchase a set of speaker stands.
In this buying guide, we show you how to choose speaker stands and discuss the most important things to look for when shopping for the best models.
Why Do You Need Speaker Stands?
Do you actually need speaker stands in the first place? Well, it's quite tempting to just place your speakers on the top shelf of your bookcase or just simply park the speakers on an unused compartment of your TV stand and save money in the process.
However, keep in mind that the little money you're saving may affect the audio output of your speakers. Speaker stands elevate your speakers from ground level and enhance your overall listening experience in the process.
"Many professionals recommend that the speakers be placed at an ear level if you wish to get a clear sound even hear the highest pitches. Having your speakers at the right level also protects your ear from damage."
PrimeSound.org, experts in the world of musical instruments.
Speaker stands more than just enhance the sound output of your speakers. They help to secure your speakers on a firm elevated platform, especially in a home with active children and pets. That’s why it’s important to choose speaker stands that not only prevent your speakers from tumbling off the stand but can also stay firmly on the ground without the risk of falling over.
So how do you know which speaker stands are right for you? Here are some of the most important questions you need to consider when shopping for the best speaker stands.
What is the Best Speaker Stand Weight Rating?
Weight rating is a key factor to consider when looking for a reliable set of speaker stands. The stand should be rated to comfortably carry the weight of your speakers. If this is not the case, the stand will most likely tip all over or generally be unstable when you place your speakers on its top plate. It is recommended to go for a speaker stand with a rating that exceeds the weight of your speakers for better stability.
There are different sizes and ratings of speaker stands. Small ones with flat tops are designed to hold speakers for around 20 pounds, which is actually more than a typical bookshelf stand can handle. However, keep in mind that just because the stand can support a 20lb speaker doesn’t mean that it cannot tip over if it doesn't have good base support.
If you have children or pets in the house, think beyond weight rating and consider other important factors such as the height and weight of the stand as well as the size of its bottom plate to get an accurate assessment of the stability of the stand.
What is the Ideal Speaker Stand Height for My Home?
In terms of height, the best speaker stand should have its tweeter (listening axix) or its smallest speaker at ear level, which is roughly 37" above the floor - you'll need a 24-26"-high stand to raise the speaker to this level. If your living room has low-level bean bags, look for stands that are lower in height than the ones designed for rooms with full-sized couches and barstools.
To determine the exact recommended height:
- measure from the center of the listenig axis to the bottom of the speaker cabinet
- subtract the measurement from the ear height when seated
- the number you get is your speaker stand height
It is also recommended to go for height-adjustable speaker stands just in case you plan to change your living room seating arrangements in the near future.
Most speaker stands come with a height of 28 inches but your choice will generally depend on the size of your living room and the amount of space available. Remember, stands that take up more space on your floor are usually more stable than those with smaller bases.
What is the Best Speaker Stand Top Plate?
The best speaker stand top plate should ideally be made of rubber. Most people prefer rubber because it provides a solid grip on your speakers and better protection from any damage. Some stunts come with studs that don't provide a reliable grip and can easily damage the base of your speakers.
However, studs look great and are believed to provide better sound quality by reducing vibrations. A good top plate should also come with a hole in the middle that makes it easier to mount your speaker.
What is the Best Speaker Stand Construction Material?
Most speaker stands are made of wood or steel. Each type of material has its own benefits. Wood is less expensive and is often wrapped with MDF.
However, it is not as durable as steel. Steel is also more durable and stable than wood.
A majority of speaker stands today are made of steel with a hollow design that can be filled with sand for better support and sound quality. Nevertheless, how much sand you add makes a difference, too:
"In principle, you should add as much weight as possible. However, you can add too much and change the centre of gravity -- making it more prone to falling over. We usually recommend 2/3 full, which is the industry rule of thumb."
Otto Jørgensen, Product Manager at Dynaudio, the leading producer of hand-crafted high-end loudspeakers.
Does the Speaker Stand Come with Cable Management Features?
Speaker cables or wires can either be exposed or hidden. For better cable management, choose a speaker stand that maintains your cables well organized and hidden from view. Check the kind of cable channels the stand has and if the channels can accommodate your cables.
For instance, in some speaker stands, the largest gauge wire you can fit in their channels is 18 gauge, which is quite small. Choose speaker stand cable management channels that are wide enough to accommodate thick cables.
Does the Speaker Stand Have a Strong Base and Feet?
A speaker stand with a heavier and wider base is definitely more stable than one with a small lighter base. Depending on the amount of floor space you have, we recommend going for a speaker stand with a base of around 11 by 14 inches.
In terms of speaker stand feet, spikes or rubber pads tend to be more stable. Rubber pads are perfect for solid floors while spikes perform better on carpets.
"If you already have a speaker stand with spikes and your floor is made of wood, then you should consider putting some form of isolation platform between the speaker and the stand, to prevent the cabinet vibrations reaching the stand and, through it, the floor."
Souns on Sound
Some of the most important things to consider when shopping for the best speaker stands include construction materials, weight rating, the stand's base and feet, its top plate construction, cable management features, and height among other things.
You should also consider the overall aesthetics of the stand to ensure that you have a presentable set of stands that match the unique style of your home audio system.