We are reader supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Bose 301 vs 201 (2021): Which Bookshelf Speaker Is Better For You?

Bose 301 and Bose 201 bookshelf speakers have been around for quite a while. It’s a testament to their quality that both are still highly rated and popular even after decades of being on the market. If you’re looking for premium quality sound to improve your living room audio, choosing between the Bose 301 and the Bose 201 isn’t too difficult. Read on for our brief comparison of these two outstanding speakers.

Bose 301 vs 201 Comparison Chart

ModelBose 301-VBose 201

EnclosureBass ReflexBass Reflex
Weight14.3 lbs per speaker12.7 lbs per speaker
Tweeters2.5″ Stereo Targeting, 2.5″ rear-firing2.5″ Stereo Targeting
WooferLong-excursion (8″)High-excursion (6.5″)
Impedance4-8 ohms4-8 ohms
Recommended Power10-150 watts10-120 watts

Design and Features

Bose 301 has rear-firing tweeters and bigger woofers than Bose 201.

Bose 301 vs 201 Design Features
Bose 301 speakers (left) are larger than the Bose 201 pair (right).

It’s hard to tell these two speakers apart if you don’t consider their sizes. The Bose 301 speakers are noticeably larger than Bose 201, and much of it is because of the bigger woofers. Bose 301 uses 8″ long-excursion woofers while Bose 201 has 6.5″ high-excursion ones, which has a considerable effect on overall sound quality.

Aside from that, Bose 301 has rear-firing 2.5″ tweeters that fires sound out towards the side and back of the speaker. Properly placed with some room behind it, Bose 301 speakers can generate more balanced sounds that produce a spacious and natural effect. Both Stereo Targeting tweeters on the 301 and 201 are angled just so to create rich stereo sound throughout the room.

Sound Quality

Bose 301 delivers more powerful audio than Bose 201.

Bose 301 vs 201 Sound Quality
Bigger woofers on the Bose 301 speakers create deeper tones.

While both are designed to adorn shelves or entertainment centers with crisp audio, it’s clear that the Bose 301 and Bose 201 have sound output differences. With a larger woofer and more tweeters, the 301 speakers are capable of producing louder audio for bigger rooms. While not as powerful, you can expect the same clean tones from the 201 pair, though its easier to discover its limits on lower frequencies.

Bose’s Direct/Reflecting speaker technology is utilized in its full potential in both models. Rather than simply concentrating stereo sound into a single spot in the room where everything sounds perfect, this innovative tech combines direct output with sound reflecting off walls and flat surfaces to create spacious audio quality. It’s not true surround by any means, but it will definitely fill up the room with crisp, smooth sound.

In effect, you can enjoy concert performances as if you were right there in the stadium, and movies as if you were in an actual cinema. You can connect either speakers to the rest of your home entertainment setup too, and they work just as great if employed as main or secondary speakers.


Choose between the Bose 301 and Bose 201 depending on room size.

Actually, yes it’s really as simple as that. The Bose 301 is clearly intended for larger areas, such as living rooms and home theaters, with its more powerful audio output and additional rear-firing tweeters. You’ll get better sound quality and louder levels with the Bose 301 in this case, especially if you’re relying on them to be the main performers for your 4K TV or music system.

Otherwise, you’ll find the Bose 201 to be more than sufficient to fill up smaller rooms. You get the same excellent quality and even save quite a few bucks to boot. They might also be more cost-effective if you’re looking to wire up a full surround system and are looking for reliable surround components to complete your setup.

Last update on 2022-08-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

RELATED  JBL PartyBox 100 vs JBL PartyBox 300 (2021): Choosing Party Speakers
Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.