Best On-Wall Speakers
My perfect home theater may or may not look anything like what you envision as your perfect home theater. Do you dream of speakers the height of a pro basketball player all around your room? Do you envision a completely clean look that couldn’t be identified as a home theater until the screen drops from the ceiling? Maybe a “themed” theater is what you want that resembles the deck of the Enterprise? Regardless, there are speakers out there for you. If you are going for a “cleaner” look but don’t have the option to install in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, your best bet is on-wall speakers. That’s why we’ve put together our list of our favorite and, in our opinion, best on-wall speakers.
Most Versatile On-Wall Speaker for the Budget-Conscious: Polk OWM3
If you are on a budget, a great option for on-wall speakers is the Polk OWM3. These speakers have a four-way keyhole mount as well as a threaded insert to be used with standard wall/ceiling mounts. They also have a removable stand that can be used for shelf placement. These speakers will work well in surround or Atmos duty. The OWM3 speakers are currently priced around $150 a pair but often go on sale for around $100. We wouldn’t recommend them for front or center positions as they don’t have a ton of bass and will struggle being placed farther away.
Best All-Around On-Wall: Elac Debut 2.0 OW4.2
The Elac Debut 2.0 OW4.2 on-wall speaker isn’t much to look at. It’s a larger, thin, square box that mounts cleanly to your wall. It is 7-7/8 x 12-7/8 x 4-3/4 inches and has two downward-firing ports for additional bass. The Debut sports a 4″ driver and 1″ tweeter and claims response down to 70Hz. It presents a 6ohm load to your receiver which shouldn’t be a problem in most rooms. This is a speaker that you can use for nearly any position in your theater. If you are sitting very far away from your front speakers, (more than 10 feet), you’ll probably want to upgrade to other speakers in their line as these will have a hard time keeping up. But for surround duty, these are a great choice. They come with a cleat-style wall mount kit. They retail for just under $290 a pair but are often on sale.
Best Traditional Satellite Speakers: SVS Prime Satellite
When we think of satellite speakers, we often think of small cubes on our walls. Well, if you want any sort of bass, a small cube isn’t going to do it. SVS has done the best they could with the Prime Satellite speaker. This speaker is small (though not diminutive at 4.9 x 6 x 8.8 inches) and rear ported. There is a keyhole mount on the back for wall mounting though we often recommend people just install a simple, small shelf for these. It has a 1″ tweeter and a 4.5″ woofer. Claiming a response down to 69Hz, these have plenty of bass for surround duty. If you are sitting close, you could use these for your front three as well. With a list price almost identical to the Elac speakers, this is really a matter of preference of style. Do you want fat boxes that don’t protrude too much off the wall (Elac) or a smaller enclosure with a more traditional aesthetic (SVS)? Either way, you can’t go wrong at these prices.
Thinnest On-Wall Speakers: KEF T101
If space is at a premium, the KEF T101 is a great option. These extremely flat on-wall speakers come in white or black. At less than an inch and a half thick, you won’t find a thinner speaker out there. But that doesn’t mean it is small. At 13.0 x 5.5 x 1.4 inches, it takes up a bit of wall real estate. Functionally, the T101 has similar drivers as our other two offerings (1″ tweeter and 4″ driver), though its response is rated only down to 80Hz. We would recommend these for surround duty and believe they will be crossed over into your sub at 100Hz. They sure are thin! But you will be paying for it as they run about $600 a pair. They have included wall mounts to work with their two-sided keyhole connection on the back of the speaker. This means you can place them either vertically or horizontally.
Best High-End On-Wall Speakers: Dali Oberon
When you are shopping for on-walls, you are normally trying to match them with your front speakers. If you really want the fit and finish of a higher-end speaker with the sound quality to boot, Dali is a great choice. Their Oberon on-wall has a slightly larger woofer (5.25″) which gives them a bit more bass. They resemble the Elac speakers in many ways except their lines are cleaner, they have more finish options, and are slightly larger at 15.15 x 9.5 x 4.75 inches. The four-way keyhole mount on the back of the Oberons gives them many mounting options like the Polks. They have two ports on the back designed to take advantage of boundary reinforcement to extend the bass response. At $750 a pair, they aren’t cheap. But they definitely justify that price with design and aesthetics. We know you can find many other speakers out there for more money, but the Dali is a great option for those that need to shop online.
Got a favorite on-wall speaker? Let us know in the comments below and we may include them in a future article!