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Bose® 161™ speaker system


103 Reviews | 17 questions - 58 answers

Item # 018161B

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Our take on the Bose® 161™ speaker system

If you didn't know it was from Bose, you might not expect much from this elegant but unassuming little speaker. But each speaker in the 161™ system packs several patented Bose technologies into its slender cabinet to ensure spacious, ear-pleasing results. The Articulated Array® speaker design houses two angled, full-range 2-1/2" drivers engineered to generate more air movement from a small enclosure than conventional drivers. And Bose's Stereo Everywhere® speaker performance delivers great stereo sound throughout the room, not just in a small "sweet spot" like standard speakers.

If you didn't know it was from Bose, you might not expect much from this elegant but unassuming little speaker. But each speaker in the 161™ system packs several patented Bose technologies into its slender cabinet to ensure spacious, ear-pleasing results. The Articulated Array® speaker design houses two angled, full-range 2-1/2" drivers engineered to generate more air movement from a small enclosure than conventional drivers. And Bose's Stereo Everywhere® speaker performance delivers great stereo sound throughout the room, not just in a small "sweet spot" like standard speakers.

Bose's 161™ system performs as a great set of stereo speakers in smaller rooms — or use the speakers as surrounds in a complete Bose home theater system, with the voice-matched Bose 301® system for the front channels, and the VCS-10® center speaker.

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Product Highlights:

  • Two full-range 2-1/2" drivers per speaker
  • recommended power 10-100 watts with receivers rated from 4 to 8 ohms
  • includes mounting brackets
  • ABS enclosure
  • 10-3/4"W x 4-1/4"H x 5"D
  • warranty: 5 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • 1 Black left surround speaker
  • 1 Black right surround speaker
  • 2 Black brackets (each bracket is composed of a part A and part B)
  • Two 1" machine screws
  • Four 5/8" machine screws
  • 6 Self-adhesive rubber feet
  • Owner's Guide
  • Bose Product Registration & Warranty Information (not for US and Canada)
  • Bose Product Registration and Warranty Information (for US and Canada)
  • "Our Commitment To You" letter

Very nice additions to a surround sound system. Pros: clarity, size, appearance.. Competent as primary speakers in a small room. I have a pair placed in a sunroom that is constructed of glass and aluminum. Anything larger is overwhelmed by hard, reflective surfaces. A great buy.

Garry, Syracuse, NY


Bose® 161™ speaker system Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(103 Reviews)
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Hands-on research

Product Research

Driver Technology
Mounting Options

Driver Technology

Articulated Array Speaker Design: By precisely positioning the drivers inside the speaker cabinet, an Articulated Array speaker design can provide a large, consistent sound field. This allows for a more cinema-like experience.

Stereo Everywhere Speaker Performance: Because many conventional speakers radiate sound directly into the room, you hear balanced stereo sound only in one small "sweet spot." Using patented Bose Direct/Reflecting speaker technology, the Direct/Reflecting speakers deliver a natural balance of reflected and direct sound. You hear balanced stereo sound almost anywhere in the room.

Mounting Options

Mounting: Using the supplied brackets, the Bose 161 speakers can be mounted vertically or horizontally on the wall. Using the supplied self-adhesive rubber feet, the speakers can be placed on any flat surface.

Note: For Stereo Everywhere speaker performance, horizontal mounting is required.


Recommended Power: 10-100 watts with receivers rated from 4 to 8 ohms

Weight: each speaker weighs 4 pounds

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Staff Reviews

Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs

What are the Labs?
Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

I am adding ceiling speakers for my Dolby Atmos system. I have a pair of these for my surround speakers and they work great for the money. [ L  Oct 24, 2018 ]
Because I loved the first pair I bought from you [ lance  Oct 18, 2018 ]
believe it will compliment my system [ John  Aug 28, 2018 ]
Because Bose has never let me down. They last forever and the sound is incredably clear. [ jennie  Jun 08, 2018 ]
Already have set. [ Danny  May 28, 2018 ]
I have two other pairs of these in my home theater connected to my Marantz SR7011 receiver and they sound great at all volumes. This last pair will complete my home theater making it 9 speakers for Dolby Atmos sound. [ Sabrina  May 27, 2018 ]
Finish and have everything matches [ Cory  Apr 27, 2018 ]
Good product [ Sander  Apr 18, 2018 ]
Size & Quality [ Andrew  Dec 01, 2017 ]
Previous experience with Bose products [ FERNANDO  Nov 26, 2017 ]
Did some reading on the speakers I bought, and we all know Bose are number one!!! [ santos  Nov 15, 2017 ]
Small speakers with good quality for our simple stereo system [ jamie  Oct 03, 2017 ]
Good sound for the size and the price was OK [ Daniel  Aug 28, 2017 ]
Company reputation, value [ DAVID  Aug 10, 2017 ]
I like Bose [ Ardell  Apr 29, 2017 ]
Always enjoy hearing audio from Bose products. It is a rich, deep sound that enhances any system. [ Tony  Feb 07, 2017 ]
because of its room filling surround envelope for my component stereo system [ kenneth  Feb 05, 2017 ]
size and sound [ PAUL  Nov 23, 2016 ]
Crutchfield has an outstanding reputation in all respects [ James B.  Oct 23, 2016 ]
The Bose 161 compliment my Bose 301 Series V's. I have 2 pairs of 301's (fronts and surrounds) . I use the 161's (also 2 pairs) as rear and height speakers. They are accompanied by a Bose VCS-10 center channel speaker. all of them together make for a great 9.2 set up (2 JBL PB10 powered subwoofers). [ Gerald  Aug 01, 2016 ]
Good reviews and they seem like they will fulfill a need, hopefully. [ Booker  Jun 02, 2016 ]
price [ THOMAS  May 16, 2016 ]
Good quality [ MOHAMAD  Mar 19, 2016 ]
excellent quality and sound [ Ricky  Mar 05, 2016 ]
Great reviews and great sound for the value. Two small speakers are all the big room needs. [ Ryan  Mar 05, 2016 ]
I love the way Bose speakers sound [ Janice D.  Dec 19, 2015 ]
These speakers were the smallest I could find and have good sound quality. [ Sarah  Aug 24, 2018 ]
great reviews, size and available in white [ Geoffrey  Jul 18, 2018 ]
it fit the application of where I plan on using them plus they have a great reputation [ Anthony  Mar 06, 2018 ]
I have used these speakers before and while the reviews say they are not good as primary speakers, they are wonderful surround speakers. [ Stew  Jan 29, 2018 ]
Already own Bose speakers and have been extremely happy with them for decades. [ Thomas  Jan 29, 2018 ]
purchased two of the 161 speakers for my home theater as replacements-worked so well I am replacing the two rear speakers also [ Scott  Jan 10, 2018 ]
These are replacement speakers for a home theater. They were highly rated and the cost was reasonable. Bose is a top brand and I can't wait to try them! [ Scott  Jan 02, 2018 ]
price and need [ Derek  Oct 01, 2017 ]
I am very familiar with Bose products and find them to be of high quality. [ Kent  Sep 02, 2017 ]
Good experience with Bose products. [ Alex  Aug 15, 2017 ]
I had narrowed my choices to 2 different pairs of speakers during my online research. Crutchfield's website has a great comparison format. While researching I connected with their online chat. Jenny, the tech specialist for Crutchfield, helped me make an informed choice to purchase the Bose 161 speakers based on my current set up. [ Carol  Aug 04, 2017 ]
I have Bose 51's by the fire pit and 151's on my patio. Using these for new surround sound. Have a nice sub woofer to match. Perfect. [ William  Jul 28, 2017 ]
Great for surround sound in a small studio. [ Daniel  Jul 13, 2017 ]
Quality, size, appearance [ Thomas  Jun 27, 2017 ]
Looking for small speakers that would not be seen but had good sound quality [ Michael  Jun 16, 2017 ]
Color, Price [ Eric Jason  Apr 28, 2017 ]
Owned original direct reflecting speakers for over 20 years. Trust BOSE. [ EDWARD  Feb 26, 2017 ]
My experience with JL subwoofers in the past have been very good. I needed a small sub for a bookshelf system I have, and felt confident that this sub would do the job. Mind you I have not received it yet, but I feel confident it should fit my need. [ charles  Nov 13, 2016 ]
I like the look of the speakers and Bose usually produces quality products and speakers [ Michael  Sep 28, 2016 ]
quality of sound, style [ Carlos  Aug 26, 2016 ]
Bose [ Keith  Jun 15, 2016 ]
Return Policy [ Randy  Apr 21, 2016 ]
I like Bose and only one that is decnt priced it is for my screened in porch don't need anything loud or bassy as it is a home audio system [ Donna  Apr 13, 2016 ]
It looked different [ George  Dec 13, 2015 ]

17 questions already asked

No, they need speaker wire ran to them from an amplifier. They are not Bluetooth. [ Kyle  Apr 23, 2018 ]
No they need to be wired [ DONALD T  Apr 21, 2018 ]
I don't know. [ Donald  Apr 18, 2018 ]
Bose speakers will work if you run them through a receiver with a bluetooth adapter [ Matthew  Apr 18, 2018 ]
I have not tried to hook these up to my iPhone, but I would guess that it won't work. These speakers are made to be powered by a home theater system and I don't think the iPhone would have the power to drive them. I'm using these speakers on the back wall of my home theater system with a soundbar on the front wall and a remote subwoofer. [ Robert  Apr 18, 2018 ]
They are not Bluetooth. They require hard wiring. I have them hooked up to a traditional stereo receiver. So the answer to your question is No. PS-I love therm. [ EDWARD  Apr 18, 2018 ]
Sorry,I have no idea. I run mine hardwired to an amplifier and switcher. [ Anthony  Apr 13, 2018 ]
no these need to be connected to an amplifier receiver. [ Brian  Apr 13, 2018 ]
I have no idea. [ GRIFFITH  Feb 25, 2018 ]
No idea what "atmos" means in plain English [ Anthony  Feb 22, 2018 ]
These are not wireless. You use standard speaker wire to plug them into an amplifier. [ Robert  Nov 22, 2017 ]
These speakers are NOT wireless. They DO need an amplifier. They do NOT require power (plug in to the wall). They connect to the speaker output connections of an amplifier. [ Phillip  Nov 22, 2017 ]
No, they need to be wired to an amplifier [ Anthony  Nov 21, 2017 ]
These are not rated for outside use - get speakers specifically for outdoors or marine speakers. [ Thomas  Aug 01, 2017 ]
There are NOT any adapters or plug-type connectors in the box. Page 5 of the owner's manual (available on the Crutchfield website) shows a picture of the connections. [ Phillip  Mar 15, 2017 ]
We vused banana plugs to put wire in back of speaker. [ Dennis  Mar 13, 2017 ]
There were no connectors included. They are standard speaker wire connectors (red & black) [ Edward  Mar 13, 2017 ]
yes , i did [ MIKE D  Jun 20, 2016 ]
They work great with my Sony receiver 7.2. Mine are mounted mid wall. [ JAMES  Jun 20, 2016 ]
Hi, I have mine mounted vertically along side my tv and it works just great! [ LESLEY  Jun 19, 2016 ]
I Guess it is possible. Don't know how good they would sound though being used as center channel speakers [ MICHAEL  Dec 27, 2015 ]
I am using a set as back speakers and another set as top speakers in a Dolby Atmos setup, so I guess you could one as a center speaker. [ LINDSAY  Dec 27, 2015 ]
Documentation states 10-100 when driven with 4-8 ohms [ MICHAEL  Sep 21, 2015 ]
As rear surrounds they work perfectly. I have a set of Bose 201 Series IIIs that I use as front channel speakers. [ Vincent  Apr 09, 2014 ]
I used the Bose 161 as rear speakers for the surround sound, I'm not sure these speaker are suitable for front speakers. Dan E [ D  Apr 04, 2014 ]
I use them as my rear surrounds and they sound great, when I first bought them I had them hooked up to the front speaker terminals and I thought they sounded awesome that way also. [ JESSE  Apr 03, 2014 ]
No they hook up to a receiver. Most TV's don't have speaker inputs directly on them. [ Vincent  Apr 09, 2014 ]
These are to be attached to any speaker output. Preferably mid to highs. Mine are connected to the mid-rear of a 7.1 system. they have to be powered. Thanx, and have a nice day, Danniel [ DANIEL M  Mar 04, 2014 ]
No [ JESSE  Feb 25, 2014 ]
I hooked mine up to my receiver as a set of rear speakers. [ ERIC M  Feb 24, 2014 ]
Most, if not all people don't even have speaker terminals on their TV. Standard hook-up for these speakers would be to a stereo receiver or A/V receiver via the speaker terminals on the back of those components. [ ROBERT  Feb 24, 2014 ]
Hi, with a decent gauge speaker wire, AWG 16, 50 feet is not unreasonable. Just make sure you use the same length for both speakers, even if one is closer to the receiver than the other. This way your receiver seems the same load. [ charles  Jun 10, 2018 ]
My speaker wires run about 25 feet through the wall to these speakers. They sound ok, but I hope to replace them with something better when I win the lottery. [ William  Jun 10, 2018 ]
I have my in the basement. It's a room about 20'X12'. I really haven't used the speakers to watch a movie, so I wouldn't be a good person to ask about the quality. Hopefully the Crutchfield team could answer the question better than me. [ Jeff  Jun 10, 2018 ]
They are not wireless so any length you want to run the wires should be good. Within reason. Not more than a few hundred feet. [ Joseph  Jun 10, 2018 ]
Went two feet [ Tricia  Jun 10, 2018 ]
I have mine about fifty feet from the receiver on no. 18 wire if I remember correctly. they sound and work great in a little coffee shop. I think I have about 50w rms per channel, and I am running a similar pair on the patio. Niles I think. [ Kent  Jun 10, 2018 ]
They cannot work by themselves, but there are ways to make them work using other gear. I recommend contacting an advisor on 1-800-324-9695 for a personal recommendation. My Bio: [ Paul  Jan 09, 2017 ]  Staff
The brackets have a turning radius on them. So I belive they can be placed on the ceiling at an angle to tilt toward the listener. It will be a sublte tilt. [ LISA  Apr 08, 2015 ]
Probably not, given the mounting bracket and the shape of the speaker. [ EDWARD J  Apr 08, 2015 ]
Yes, the speakers come with a bracket that can be used for ceiling or wall mount. [ MICHAEL S  Apr 07, 2015 ]
David - I'm not sure, but I don't see why not. I mounted ours on a beam near the ceiling, and they sounded great. Not sure you'd be able to angle them correctly if you mounted them on a horizontal ceiling. Hope that helped. [ Gary  Apr 07, 2015 ]
Yes. the mounting brackets would allow for that [ ROBERT  Apr 07, 2015 ]
Yes. [ BRUCE J  Apr 07, 2015 ]
Yea I have them as a second channel in my kitchen, and they work very well, depending on the music source, it comes across well, you do lack some bass, but for a nice way to put quality sound that doesn't sound like a radio in a room, this will do the trick I think. [ MICHAEL  Dec 29, 2014 ]
Casey, We placed a set in our bedroom and on a a screened in porch and enjoy them a lot. We do have our house wired for speakers in every room and being retired rarely turn the volume up. My concern would be if the space you are trying to fill is very large they may not be enough, but then that depends on what you listen to. I do consider the sound quality good, but then it is Bose. [ KIT  Dec 29, 2014 ]
These speakers are probably the least expensive Bose. As such, they are OK. Not great, not bad, just OK. They are heavy in the middle. Not much base, and they lack detail on the high end. They worked fine for me but I am using them with a subwoofer. [ MICHAEL S  Dec 29, 2014 ]
I use them for surround sound. I think they would be fine [ DONALD T  Dec 29, 2014 ]
No, you must connect these to a receiver. [ Vincent  Apr 09, 2014 ]
They can but it will require a special wiring harness to plug into the external speaker port on your computer. The speakers are very good. [ DAVID P  Feb 26, 2014 ]
No, not directly. Computer speakers typically have an amplifier in them since the computer does not. This is why computer speakers must be plugged into a wall outlet (or sometimes they use batteries). You can, however, play music from your computer wirelessly through your home audio system using technology like NuForce Air DAC. I have recently installed this and find it great! [ STEPHEN  Feb 25, 2014 ]
that would not be ideal, these are designed for outdoor usage [ THE BIG  Feb 25, 2014 ]
I do not know - I hooked the pair I bought from Crutchfield to my surround sound system in my living room. I do know they give out a really nice and concise sound. Sorry I could not be further helpful [ PHILLIP  Feb 25, 2014 ]
These cannot be used directly with a laptop, as they require an amplifier to produce sound. You would need to purchase a suitable amplifier and a cable to connect to your laptop's headphone port in order to use these speakers. [ TIMOTHY J  Feb 25, 2014 ]
You could paint them, however, disassembly would be required. [ Vincent  Apr 09, 2014 ]
Judy, there is no reason you couldn't paint the speakers, the plastic body anyway, mine closely match the walls where I mounted them, thry blend pretty well, so no issue there, the screens would have to be masked [ MICHAEL  Jan 20, 2014 ]
I did not paint them and would be afraid to for many reasons, not the least of which would be changing the acoustical characteristics by plugging up holes. You should ask the manufacturer. [ STEPHEN  Jan 19, 2014 ]

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