Our top picks at a glance
- PreSonus Eris E3.5
- Edifier R1280T
- Mackie Studio Monitor CR3
- Edifier R1010BT Studio Monitor
- Behringer 1C-BK Studio Monitor Speakers
- Alesis M1 Active 330
- Samson MediaOne M30 Powered Studio Monitors
- Alesis M1 Active 320
- Behringer MS16 Monitor System
- Samson MediaOne BT3 Active Studio Monitors
Who says cheaper studio monitors don’t make the cut? Sure, the pricier options might have a better build, higher quality materials, and most of them may even come with irresistible additional features. But that does not mean that inexpensive ones can’t get the job done.
If you prioritize function over fancy features, then there is absolutely no reason why you should pay hundreds on a studio monitor. Thanks to easier and cheaper costs of production, more and more people can now purchase a studio monitor whether its for home video entertainment use or for other types of multimedia.
So if you are on a tight budget but badly need to have a good studio monitor that still gets the job done, you may want to have a look-see at our list below.
The best studio monitors under $100 in 2021
Whether you’re looking for a pair of studio monitors to watch movies with or to produce music with on a professional scale, the PreSonus Eris E3.5 is one of the top choices you have under $100.
Not only does it come with a sleek and compact design that saves you more space, but it also has a list of winning features that get the job done.
The Eris 3.5 is the entry-level model in the PreSonus Eris Series, but that does not mean that it is lesser than the others. Like those above it, the Eris 3.5 has a super convenient front panel design with the stereo aux input, headphone jack, volume, power on and off all strategically placed for easy access.
And if you’re concerned about the sound quality, it has composite drivers that promise a more powerful bass response with an overall accurate sound.
In my opinion, the reason why this sits at the top of our list is because of its acoustic tuning capabilities. The PreSonus Eris 3.5 is the only one that has it within the $100 price range. The acoustic tuning features enable users to get crystal clear sound quality in any room with a cross over frequency of 2.8 kHz.
- The only $100 studio monitor that has acoustic tuning capabilities
- Beautiful and compact
- Comes with a smart and easy front panel interface
- Offers loud and accurate sound quality at a super inexpensive price
- Build quality and durability of materials needs improvement
If you’re looking for something that looks a bit different from your usual studio monitor design, then you will love the stylish Edifier R1280T. It has a beautiful wooden body in a retro design that is compatible with any home interiors.
It also comes in a perfect size that does not take up too much space or clash with the overall look of your home.
But make no mistake, the Edifier R1280T isn’t just about great looks. These powered bookshelf speakers are super versatile, featuring a 4-inch bass driver and a calibrated, flared bass port – a perfect combo for providing robust, rich bass notes.
The R1280T also allows users to connect to multiple audio devices using its dual RCA inputs. The active speaker has two inputs that are perfect for RCA to RCA or RCA to AUX connections. Users can connect these speakers to a PC, laptop, tablet, or phone.
Users can also personalize their listening experience with the bass, treble, and volume details on the active bookshelf speaker. The active speaker also has a built-in control on the side. Users can make micro treble and base adjustments from -6 to +6 dB.
And if that isn’t enough control for you, this studio monitor also comes with a compact remote control. If you’re anything like me, you’d appreciate the fact that you don’t need to get up and walk to your speaker every time you want to adjust something.
- Sports a beautiful retro design and unique wooden body
- Produces impressive sound quality and powerful bass response
- Has dual RCA inputs
- Allowing users to connect multiple devices
- Comes with a handy remote control
- Adjust speaker settings even at a distance
- Quality of wires and cables can be better
Mackie studio monitors are widely popular to different types of consumers. Its higher-end models are well-trusted and loved by audiophiles and professionals. It’s a good thing that such a high-quality studio monitor is now attainable at a budget-friendly price.
Although the CR3 may have a cheaper price tag, it still has the same consistent sound quality as the other models in the Mackie catalog.
The only difference is, the CR3 covers just the basic. It has premium grade components that promise optimized sonic performance. It also has an ultra-wide frequency range (80 Hz – 20 kHz).
And like all the other Mackie studio monitors, this one has the speaker placement switch so that users can choose which side has the volume knob.
And it also has a convenient front panel that features a volume knob with a lit power ring that indicates on/off/volume control and power.
- Impressive sound quality
- Loud and clear for a budget studio monitor
- Features a user-friendly and convenient front panel
- Comes with speaker placement switch for personalization
- Made of premium grade components for guaranteed quality
- Slight hissing sound can be heard when nothing is playing
If like me, you enjoy streaming your music wirelessly from your smartphone or tablet devices, you will also love the Edifier R1010BT.
This studio monitor is Bluetooth 4.0 enabled, allowing users to pair up their phones, tablets, computers for a hassle-free experience.
But that’s not all the R1010BT can offer. This Edifier studio monitor boasts its natural sound reproduction capabilities – who says you can’t get close to accurate with a cheaper set of speakers?
This model also has two AUX input. Users can connect up to 2 devices that have a 3.5 mm headphone output or an RCA output using the AUX. And if that isn’t enough reason for you to choose this studio monitor, maybe its unique wooden finish might convince you.
After all, your studio monitor shouldn’t just sound great – it should also fit your personal style.
- Compact and simple
- Comes with a unique wooden finish in black
- Bluetooth enabled for hassle-free wireless streaming and has 2 AUX input
- Natural sound reproduction capabilities
- Close to accurate for a $100 studio monitor
- Not all Bluetooth versions are supported especially newer versions
Behringer is a household name when it comes to speakers so it is not a surprise to find one on this list. In my opinion, the 1C-BK is one of the best options under $100 from Behringer. First, it has a super attractive and modern design.
Paired with a great quality build and premium components, the 1C-BK is an automatic winner.
These multi-purpose 2-way studio monitors are so versatile they can be used for multimedia, home recording studios, audio-video productions and as surround-sound systems. Either way, you get an impressive sound quality that is hard to beat under $100.
Its high power handling capability produces full-range output with low distortion. It has an ultra-wide frequency and a phase-optimized and high-precision crossover for absolute phase linearity.
- Made by a popular well-trusted brand
- Has high-quality components and build
- Produces full-range output with super low distortion
- Sports a clean and ultra-modern design
- Comes in just the right size
- Quality of materials can be better and more consistent
- Plastic parts on the body makes the sound thinner
If you’re having a hard time choosing a studio monitor and if you’re just looking for something straightforward and simple, then the Alesis M1 Active 330 will save you from your dilemma.
Curious about its components? The M1 Active 330 has a 3-inch aluminum low-frequency driver that produces a richer, tighter bass. It also has a 1-inch silk dome tweeter for smoother, clearer highs and elliptical tweeter waveguide for optimized dispersion and stereo imaging.
For me, however, the reason why this is one of my favorite options on the list is because of its Bass Boost Switch. A lot of the higher-end models have problems with bass response, who knew that a $100 studio monitor can cleverly address that issue with a simple switch?
With this switch, users can minimize room acoustics and also energize listening experience all at the same time.
- Features a no-frills simplistic design with a body that does not hog workstation space
- Produces a loud
- Rich and room-filling sound with a lot of depth
- Comes with a Bass Boost Switch for eliminating room acoustics
- Durability and quality control issues have been reported
The Samson name brand is another audiophile favorite. It may have a humble price tag and an overly simple-looking design but don’t let that fool you. The MediaOne M30 is an audio wonder that makes a perfect companion for all your desktop and multimedia application.
These compact, full-range speakers are also perfect for listening to music, watching videos, gaming and even for producing tracks.
The M30 has an internal amplifier and is made of premium grade components which result in bigger, louder sounds. It has a 20W channel output (10 for each), 3-inch polypropylene woofers with butyl surround, and 3/4-inch silk dome tweeters.
And of course, it also comes with stereo RCA inputs, 1/8-inch sub output, and 1/8-inch headphone output. And again, this is another studio monitor which has the Bass Boost switch feature – one of my favorite additions.
- Comes is a small compact size
- But can produce big and loud sounds
- Features the Bass Boost switch to enhance lows
- Has a rear panel RCA inputs allowing users to connect to mixers
- Computers and other mobile audio devices
- The sound quality lacks balance
- Bass is too overbearing resulting in a flat response
- Durability needs improvement
- Consistency on material quality can also be better
I like things to be easy and uncomplicated and so one of the reasons why I love the Alesis M1 Active 320 is the fact that it is a plug and play device. No need for driver installations for the monitors to work on your computer.
Just plug it in via USB and you’re already good to go. Once you’re plugged in, you’ll be surprised at how much power these speakers are actually hiding under its super simple design and body.
The components are pretty simple: 3-inch woofer, 1-inch tweeter, 16-bit 44.1 – 28 kHz recording and playback. For connectivity, it also features 1/8-inch (3.5mm) stereo, RCA, and 1/4-inch (6.3mm) inputs.
And for a super humble price, the M1 Active 320 can even produce fuller and richer acoustics with a frequency response of up to 20kHz. What more can you ask for from a studio monitor under $100?
- Simple and covers all the basics
- Sports a design that is neither too flashy or too bulky
- Offers superb sound quality for close-to-accurate music reproduction and bass emphasis
- Comes with a super convenient built-in audio interface
- Can connect to various devices
- Durability and quality consistency needs some work
Here’s another selection from the Behringer brand that I’m sure you will also love. If you are looking for a pair of speakers with reliable durability and quality, then the MS16 is for you. This compact stereo system works great for home studios, multimedia applications, vocal monitoring and more.
With its powerful 4-inch woofers and high-resolution tweeters, you get a consistent high-quality sound every time you are plugged in.
It comes with two 8W amplifiers and a separately adjustable 1/4″ TRS microphone input mixtable. For connectivity, you get stereo RCA inputs for keyboards, sound cards and more that can be used at the same time with a second stereo source such as a CD/MD player via the TRS stereo input.
- Made by a highly-acclaimed name brand with consistent and reliable quality
- Not too big and bulky but can still produce loud and clear sounds
- Lacks a punchy bass compared to other options on the list
They say that people tend to keep the very best for last, and that may be true for this studio monitor roundup. It’s difficult to choose among very promising options but we think that ending with the Samson MediaOne BT3 would be appropriate.
This 2-way active studio monitor sports a sleek all-black satin vinyl finish. It has rear-vented precision-tuned port enclosures, metal grills for solid woofer and tweeter protection.
The MediaOne BT3 also has 15W per channel RMS with 30W per channel Peak. Its system also has a passive crossover design for linear response from top to bottom.
- Designed for durability
- Sports a simple and modern design
- Produces clear and accurate sound
- Has durability issues
Why You Should Consider Buying A Studio Monitor Under $100
The price tag of an item has the power to influence a person’s shopping habits. For some people, a lower price leads to an automatic purchase. But for others, cheaper prices mean lower quality so they would most likely stay away from such products.
This is especially true for electronic gadgets and musical instruments where durability and quality is a top priority.
So why should you consider purchasing a $100 studio monitor? It all boils down to your needs and the intended purpose of the studio monitors you wish to buy. If you are looking for a simple option that could give you good quality sound for home entertainment use, most $100 studio monitors can already deliver.
And if you pick the right options from the same price range, some of these studio monitors can also be a tool for amateur music production. So before purchasing a studio monitor, it is important to first assess how you want to use them.
It wasn’t easy choosing the best 10 studio monitors under $100 but no matter how tough the competition is, there could only be one winner. For this roundup, we choose the PreSonusEris 3.5 as the best studio monitor under $100.
It’s made by a reliable brand and although it is at the bottom of the Eris series, it inherited the level of quality from the models above it. Plus it’s one of the only $100 models with acoustic tuning capabilities.