How to Shop for Speaker Stands - A Buying Guide (2022)

Just like with any component inyour AV system, deciding what speaker stands to purchase should be carefullyresearched. The weight rating, construction materials, top plate construction, base andfeat, height, and cable management capabilities should all be considered. Ignoringthese aspects may affect more than just aesthetics – often the primary concernwhen shopping for stands – it could result in a busted speaker or otherequipment when the speaker tumbles off the stand or the stand falls over. Readon to learn what we feel are the top six considerations when shopping forspeaker stands.

Weight Rating

The most basic consideration when shopping for speakerstands is the weight rating. Are the stands rated to handle the weight of yourspeakers? If not, that means the stands will likely be unstable when yourspeakers are placed on top. However, just because a manufacturer rates a pairof stands for the weight of your speakers, that doesn’t mean they will be asstable as you want. If you have kids orpets, you need to think about more than just weight rating. Otherfactors, such as the weight and height of the stand, and the size of the bottomplate, will give you a more complete picture of the stand’s stability.

Top Plate

Top plates tend to vary in three ways. First, they may haverubber feet or speaker studs that your speakers set on. Rubber feet are mostcommon and what the vast majority of people should use. The rubber provides asolid grip on the speakers and protects them from any damage. Speaker studs, onthe other hand, can damage the bottom of your speakers and don’t grip as well;however, they do look cool and some people believe they will improve soundquality by reducing vibrations – that claim is questionable. Personally, we'd rather not risk scratching a cabinet finish for alleged better vibration isolation of metal spikes over rubber feet. If you're that concerned about reducing vibrations, either buy a stand that has solid posts or fill the hallow one with sand to make it more inert.

Sanus SF26 Top Plate with brass studs installed

Second, the top plate may have a hole through the middlethat can be used to bolt the speaker to the stand. I’ve never seen a bookshelfspeaker with a threaded insert at the bottom for such a purpose, but one could beadded without too much difficulty if you’re an avid DIYer. Alternatively, asmall wood screw into the bottom of a speaker wouldn’t cause any real damage aslong as the hole is pre-drilled (I supposed here is where I should include adisclaimer that we don’t recommend drilling holes through your speakers... We don't recommend drilling holes in your speakers).Finally, the size of the top plate will dramatically affect the stability ofthe speaker on the stand. Before purchasing stands, check the size of the topplate and compare it to the size of your speakers to ensure there’s goodcoverage.

(Video) Beginners Guide - Choosing The Right Speaker Stands

Construction material

Speakerstands are generally made of two materials, wood or steel. Both have their ownmerits. Wood stands tend to be less expensive as long as they use MDF with somesort of wrap; however, these stands don’t hold up well over time as the wrap is often times easily damaged. Solid wood stands are more durable, but are also much moreexpensive and hard to come by.

If money isn’t a concern, StatusAcoustics makes $3k custom granite and steel stands to go with their $12kVoce Fina bookshelf speakers.

It’sprobably fair to say that most stands on the market are constructed of steel.Usually steel stands utilize a hollow main support, which means they can befilled with sand. Fillingspeaker stands with sand, or some other material, is a common practice toimprove stability and even sound quality. Additionally, steel stands tend tohold up better than wood because, well, they’re steel.

Cable management

Speaker wire can either be hidden or exposed; those are yourtwo options. Both wooden and steel stands can offer hidden cable channels, butyou need to pay careful attention to what size of cable can fit through thechannels. This is especially important with small steel stands, like the Sanus HF1. We’ve encountered stands where the largest gauge wire we could get through thechannel was 18 gauge – that’s pretty small.

Height

It’s important that the tweeters on the front left/right andcenter speakers in your system are at ear level. Thus, the height of yourspeaker stands is dependent on the design of your speakers and the height ofyour seating. Some speaker stands offer height adjustments, but that’s rarelyfound in anything but the lightest weight stands. 26 inches is a pretty standard speaker stand height for people with medium to large speakers and non-tiered seating though you may need slightly taller ones if your speakers are really small.

(Video) How Much to Fill Up HiFi Speaker Stands - Filling in the Gaps Guide Advice

Base & Feet

Obviously, the wider and heavier the base, the more stablethe stands will be. The base on the Sanus SF26 Speaker Stands is 11”x14”, andthey were quite stable during my review of the nearly 30lb Polk Audio LSiM703s. I’m notsure how heavy the base is, but the entire stand weighs about 16lbs. You will be hard pressed to find stands with a base much larger than 11"x14".

The OmiMount Gemini 2 stands feature interchangable base inserts

Stands usually come with two options for feet, rubber padsor spikes. Rubber pads should be use on solid floors, while spikes should beused on carpet. The spikes punch through the carpet and pad to secure speakerdirectly to the subfloor underneath. If you are particularly concernedabout stability, try to find stands that work with 3rd party outriggers,such as those from Soundocity.

Conclusion

Think about these six topics before buying new speaker stands, and you should be able to avoid buyers remorse, or worse yet, damaged speakers. Spending a little extra money now on a pair of stands can not only ensure you maximize the performance of your speakers, but also their stability to minimize risk of accidental damage. It's also worth mentioning a really nice stand can spruce up the looks of your speakers too. Do you have any other suggestions? Share them by commenting in the Audioholics Forums.

Alexandre posts on July 15, 2015 13:58

Nice write up, thanks Cliff.

I've bought (and sold) speaker stands twice over the years and both times have found it difficult to find short (~24") stands that I found pleasing to the eye. My speakers are now sitting on top of rubber feet on a piece of furniture, quite low to the ground but the couch is really low to it works out to ear level.

The last set of stands I bought were B&W STAV24 which worked out great for me: super simple design, heavy steel construction and they can be filled even though I never found the need for it.

(Video) Top 5 Best Speaker Stands in 2022 - Buying Guide

One thing that's always bothered me with bookshelf speakers on stands is that it always seems like they're way too easy to tip over. I have not tried rubber feet which might alleviate most of the problem but I have found stick tack to be a miracle worker: put a little tiny ball of sticky tack near each corner of the top plate, position the speakers and press lightly, the weight of the speakers will do the rest and they will be very firmly attached to the stand. Sticky tack also does not leave marks on the speakers (or at least it hasn't yet).

Cheers!
Alex.

gene posts on July 13, 2015 16:41

Weight rating, construction materials, top plate construction, base and feat, height, and cable management capabilities should all be considered when shopping for speaker stands. Ignoring these aspects may affect more than just aesthetics, it could result in compromised performance or worse a busted speaker and other equipment if a speaker tumbles off the stand.

(Video) What Are Speaker Stands? | Stereo Guide

Read on to learn why the six topics listed above should be considered when buying speaker stands.

Read: Speaker Stand Shopping Guide

(Video) How to set up a speaker stand. Safety, tips and alternative method to set the speaker on the tripod.

FAQs

What are the characteristics of a good speaker stand? ›

A good speaker stand will have its entire construction geared towards important features. For example, a good stand will have spikes for solid floors or rubber for wooden floors. The base plate will manage vibrations and would cut down on the chances of the speaker falling.

What is the best height for speaker stands? ›

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.

Do good speaker stands make a difference? ›

Much more than simply a bit of furniture to raise your speakers to the correct height, stands play an incredibly significant role on the overall sound quality, providing your speakers of choice with the perfect environment to operate. The difference in sound clarity and accuracy can truly be night and day.

How do you measure speaker stand height? ›

Once the speakers' reference point (or your preferred height) is in line with your ear, measure from the base of the speaker cabinet to the floor. This is the exact height you need for your speaker stand.

Are wooden speaker stands any good? ›

Not only do they help project the sound properly into your space, but wood speaker stands are sturdy and offer a traditional and classic way to compliment a living space.

Should speakers be fixed to stands? ›

You could just plonk your speaker onto the top of your chosen stand, of course, but it's best to have the speaker fixed to the stand in some way, because otherwise it can slide around.

What are 5 characteristics of a good speaker? ›

In order to be an effective speaker, these are the five qualities that are a must.
  • Confidence. Confidence is huge when it comes to public speaking. ...
  • Passion. ...
  • Ability to be succinct. ...
  • Ability to tell a story. ...
  • Audience awareness.
13 Feb 2016

What is the best material for speaker stands? ›

Filling speaker stands with sand, or some other material, is a common practice to improve stability and even sound quality. Additionally, steel stands tend to hold up better than wood because, well, they're steel.

What is a good speaker? ›

A good speaker touches you, a good speaker makes you listen, a good speaker can make you act. A good speaker is connected, connected to themselves and connected to those they talk to. All of these qualities come together so the speaker sounds and looks like they know what they're talking about.

What is the speaker's stand meaning? ›

Speaker stands are stands on which loudspeakers are placed with the aim of improving the quality of sound from the speaker.

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