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Best banana plugs and how to install and use them for your Speakers, HiFi and Home Theatre

MAKE LIFE CLICK
Best Banana Plugs
2020

Banana Plugs for speakers are a revelation. If you’ve spent most of your life trying to manipulate wiring to fit into stereo and speaker poles then you know it can be a real effort. It’s fine if you fit the cables and have no intention to ever change them but if you, like us, often move house or rearrange your music listening rooms, you’ll never look back.

“Mediabridge
Editor’s Pick
These Mediabridge Banana Plugs are easy to work with having a good grip surface. The 24K gold plating ensures great sound transference. The self crimping fitting style is easy to work with and gives confidence that the wire won’t slip or come loose. A perfect speaker wire solution for any application. As far as affordable banana plugs for speakers go, these are a winner.

Mediabridge makes a solid choice of connectors with tried and test banana plugs which come in pack quantities that make sense, giving you enough to complete a front end assembly for your HiFi receiver and front left and right speakers.

“ALTDETAILS”
Contender
The speed and low profile / short length of these Sewell Banana Plugs makes them a great choice for home HiFi enthusiasts. They make it so easy and fast to fit, lock and plug in. This makes them a contender for top spot for the typical home audio lover.

The Strike have a locking system which makes it easy to get your cables connected into your speaker wire. No tools needed for the fitting but you will still need to prepare your speaker wire correctly which may also mean you don’t want too much stripped exposed cable. While some might not feel confident in the screw-type connection it’s a great and simple choice.

Austere V Series Banana Plugs - Pure Gold Shield
Premium Option
Austere banana plugs are the perfect choice for audiophiles or those who really want to put the best adaptors into their speakers and HiFi amps. With matching hi-end speaker wire these come very well presented. They come in a pair so you’ll need two packs if you want them in your amp and speakers.

For audiophiles, we’ve included the Austere banana connectors as they stand out for their pure gold shielding. While most on this list fall into the under $20 category the Austere sit far above with pricing for a pair more than doubling that. As banana plugs go, they sit in our premium range.


It would be very ‘typical audiophile’ for us to bang on about how crucial these connectors are to your finished audio listening experience. Personally, I think unless you’re spending in excess of $5K on speakers then the options in this list of banana plugs for speakers will be more than sufficient. Mediabridge banana plugs are very popular but there are plenty of other brands and even plenty within their own brand list.

Gold-plated is renown for assisting frictionless audio transference, which these all come with. The quality of the gold plating might vary but I think you can overthink that too. Disagree? Show me the science and I’ll change my view.


Why use Banana Plugs for speakers?

There are a load of reasons for using banana plugs for your speakers.

  1. The first, in our opinion, is just the convenience. It’s so easy when you want to assemble, move or clean around your speaker pole terminals to be able to pop the plug out.
  2. Multiple amplifiers and different speakers. If you have more than one HiFi stereo unit or more than one set of speakers you might choose to unplug and move the cables each time. You could use an Amp switcher which makes it easier but you might be keen to avoid another connection point between the stereo and your speakers.
  3. Reduced wear and tear – on both your cables, speakers and your amps. The less you have to touch all of these elements the better. The more human oil you get on your cables the more likely they are to degrade, especially in humid conditions.
  4. The fourth reason to use banana plugs on your speakers is to guarantee a solid, uninterrupted connection. There is no doubt that having the naked wires pushed into the slot and the screw cap on the speaker terminal works but there is always the feeling that you might not have screwed it down tight enough.
  5. Stray wires – The other issue is if you have a stray wire it could reach across and touch another terminal – this is especially true on the back of the stereo amplifier where the terminals are very close to each other.
  6. Aesthetics. It just looks so much nicer having clean wiring terminals. And if you’ve ever hung out on the Reddit stereo forums you’ll know how seriously audiophiles take their tidy wiring.
  7. Color coded to ensure you plug your speakers are in-phase. Everyone has their way of marking red/black, left/right speakers but banana plugs just make it that bit easier.
  8. Reducing oxidation. One of the biggest killers of a good audio conductor is oxidation. It’s hard to avoid it but a good banana plug with speaker wire with a good seal helps reduce the effects of it oxidizing.

It’s also important to mention here our post on the best flat speaker wire for those of you needing the cables and wanting a slim line installation.

Are there different types of Banana Plugs?

Yes, and No. There are different ways of securing the speaker wire which you will see on each Banana Plug in the list. There are also basic types of banana plugs which tend to fall into these categories:

  • Straight – typical and most popular. Like the Monoprice 109436
  • 90 degree angled (right-angled) – a 90 degree angle for those needing to put speakers back against walls etc. Like the Monoprice right angled banana plugs
  • Short base – for those that don’t want a long base you can get a shorter base like the Sewell Direct SW-29863, which are still 4mm plugs. It’s not a different type of plug, just less length is given on the short end.

There are speaker plugs that others consider when looking at these. Those kinds of plugs include a spade type and a PIN type. Pin type plugs suit spring-loaded speaker terminal inputs but is less common on decent HiFi gear. Spade type plugs don’t give you the confidence that Banana Plugs give you.

Screw-in vs Self-crimping Banana Plugs

A few companies have innovated on the typical screw-in banana plugs. As you’ll see in our example video below we have demonstrated using the Nakamichi banana plugs which are a two screw configuration.

These work great but other companies have also come out with self-tapping or self crimping banana plugs which don’t require tools to fit. You slide the speaker cable through, fan out the wires and then screw the base on. This provides a self-securing plug and works well.

Self crimping banana plugs
Self-crimping plug – The wire goes up through the base, the wire is splayed and then the top is screwed on. (Mediabridge plug example)

Either work fine – you just need to ensure there is good contact between the wire and the plug.

As we say, check out the video below as we install a 2-screw type plug and the issues we have with assembly. The self-assembly units are much easier.

Banana Plugs for Speakers Compared

NameGold PlatedConnection type
1. Monoprice 109436 Banana Plugs for Speakers YesSelf crimping
2. Mediabridge Banana Plugs (12 Pair)Yes (24k)Self crimping
3. Sewell Direct SW-29863 Deadbolt YesSelf crimping
4. Monoprice 5PRJX74047 Gold Plated Speaker Banana Plugs YesOpen Back Screw Type
5. Strike Banana Plugs - Sewell Direct YesStrike plug with V-Lock Technology
6. Austere V Series Banana Plugs - Pure Gold ShieldYesTwist Lock Design
We’ve only covered Banana Plugs that are Gold Plated

Photo examples of Banana Plugs

I’m not sure if I just wasn’t willing to give a hard push on the Q Acoustic 3020 binding posts but they still stick out a bit. Doesn’t impact sound but right-angled banana plugs might have suited better.

How to use Banana Plugs Video

Now the units we’ve listed here are all self crimping but we’ve included this video of the installation of a 2-pin screw-type banana plug – these are Nakamichi branded plugs which are also quite popular.


Best Banana Plugs for Speakers List

#1 Best Seller

“Monoprice

There are enough plugs in the 5 pair set for a 5.1 centre and surround addition to your existing home theatre set up, assuming your Subwoofer is using an LFE cable. It might be the perfect set of 5 that makes this such a best-seller but there are a few other reasons including Monoprice being a reliable brand and the sizzling price that puts these speaker wire partners in the affordable category.

These are a 24K gold plated brass banana connectors and the color coding is a black or red ring on the base.

The Monoprice 109436 Banana Plugs are a screw-type banana plug but there are no teeth on the inside. So you insert the cable in the end and then splay the wires over the inside and screw it back on.

In terms of speaker wire gauge, these can take up to 12 or 18 gauge (AWP). A great way to ensure you don’t risk shorts across terminals. 16 gauge is probably as common for these as other speaker wire gauges.

These are self crimping plugs. We’ve mentioned how those work above. You push the wire through the back of the plug, push the wires back and screw the top on to create a tight seal. This makes it easier than fussing with tools. You’ll see in the video below I really struggled with the twin screws type.

Pros

  • 24K Gold plated
  • Self crimping/tapping screw on top
  • 5 pairs when you don’t need any more
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • 5 might be an odd number if you are doing a full install

If we only said one thing about this model it would be…

Sells a lot of units as not everyone needs more than 5 pairs. 24K gold and cheap = #winning

Check out the latest reviews


Solid Unit – Good Build

“Mediabridge

Our second pick share similarities with the others in the Top 3 – 24K gold plated plug with the ability to handle 8-18 AWG (American Wire Gauge) speaker wire.

Being gold the selling point is anti-corrosion. As someone who lives near saltwater that is very appealing. These are a quick fit if your speaker wire is ready to go and is stripped.

The thing we like about the Mediabridge banana plugs is the really really obvious color coding on the base unit. There are times when reaching behind the TV/Stereo cabinet or floor standing speakers when the light is dim, the physical position is uncomfortable and you just want to know what bloody plug you are holding in your hand! The large red and blue for polarity/correct phasing on these is attractive to us.

As long as you assemble this correctly you’ll never get the phasing of your speakers wrong.

Strong build and easy to manage base which, when you are moving your units around (which will happen), can be a real plus. Slightly more expensive than the Sewell but still 5 star rated.

Mediabridge self-crimping plug unscrewed on display
Teeth to grip and a wide, solid base to screw over the top. Nothing weak in this unit.

Pros

  • Solid, quality feeling plug
  • Nice bright and obvious color bands on bases for correct phasing.
  • No need to spend more for anything fancier, IMO.
  • 24K Gold plated

Cons

  • A few dollars more than some competitors.
  • Wide base.
  • Some might not like the bright red on base plugs.

If we only said one thing about these plugs it would be…

The mediabridge banana connectors have a strong base and good feel. Like the large color on the bases.

Check out more reviews

Best overall rated plugs

“Sewell

The Sewell Banana plugs have a nice grip to the base which makes it easier to manage when tapping in the threads from the speaker wire. You can buy them in 2, 5, 6 and 12 pair bundles but the 12 is the most popular.

You’ll use more of these than you think if you connect your cables at the amp end and the speaker end; this doesn’t even begin to cover bi-wired speakers in a home theatre configuration.

These are also 24K gold plated with a heavy-duty brass base for extra endurance.

Sewell has always promoted the speed at which you can connect these suckers, although also consider you need to strip your speaker wire first so it’s ready to go. This is easier if you have a crimping/stripping tool. Once your wires are stripped though it is a super-fast process threading the cable through the base, folding back the wires and then screwing the base and tip together.

Sewell banana plugs also come with lifetime support.

Sewell banana plug unscrewed to show how it works.
The self crimping element is illustrated well with the teeth. This is where you push the wires back before screwing on the banana end.

Pros

  • 24K Gold-plated
  • Best rated units
  • Self crimping
  • 12 pairs – enough for a stereo front pair and centre speaker or adding centre and two surround speakers.
  • Quick fitting
  • Nice extra touch with the saw styled teeth to grab the wires.

Cons

  • Some older stereos have quite close input speaker poles (like our Denon DR-37 unit but not our Denon AVR-4500h unit). The wider base is a consideration there.

If we only said one thing about this unit it would be…

Easy and fast fit with one of the best rated plugs on the market.

Check out more reviews

Open Screw Type Plug

“Sewell

These Monoprice banana plugs have a different open back style screw in option. Having such a big back end they can also be used with spade type banana plugs and similar – not just naked speaker wire.

You want to ensure if you are using these you don’t let any stray wires crossover to other poles.

These are a brass base and can take 12 or 18 gauge speaker wire.

We quite like the simple colour coding on the back of the plug but that’s not really important in the big picture considering these will be hidden behind your HiFi stereo amp.

These are the perfect Banana Plugs for people who need to connect or daisy chain speaker wires together e.g. DJ’s or similar. You can interconnect multiple cables

Pros

  • 24k Gold plated banana plugs
  • Works with 12 to 18 gauge wire (AWG)
  • Versatile options for wiring with spade or pin banana plugs

Cons

  • Some might not like how ‘exposed’ the wires are even when secured in the banana plug screw section.

If we only said one thing about this unit it would be…

These give you options if you want to also connect spade plugs and not just open wires.

Check out more reviews on Amazon

Fast to wire up and a low profile

“Strike

Strike Banana plugs have a lower profile and are often very quick to install. At only 3.5cm long they make a perfect fit in tight back spaces behind your HiFi or Home Theatre amp.

The Patent-pending V-Lock technology is smart and super easy to use. You simply unscrew the back end of the Banana Plug and insert the wire. You then screw up the back piece and you’re done. Simple, easy and effective. If you’re not going to be swinging off the wires there is plenty of contact and grab in these strike banana plugs.

Pros

  • Patent-pending V-Lock technology
  • 24k Gold plated tip and cone
  • Can handle 10-18 AWG gauge speaker wire
  • Small and effective – only 3.5cm long
  • Super fast and easy to fit

Cons

  • May not hold as strong as a crimp or twin-screw banana plug might.

If we only said one thing about this unit it would be…

So fast and easy to fit it’s quite brilliant what Sewell Direct have done with their V-Lock technology.

Check out more reviews on Amazon

Premium Bananda Plugs for Audiophiles

“Austere

Austere Banana Plugs bring in the premium audiophile element for the hi-end HiFi audio fans.

For just 2 pairs of these beautiful looking banana adaptors, you are going to be parting with enough for a dinner out at Olive Garden including a tasty vino. So what’s so special about these?

They come with pure gold shielding which is designed to reduce or remove oxidation of the speaker cable wiring. This is the ultimate goal of any banana plug but not all do it well.

Everything about these screams premium with a really nice presentation box and the proprietary design. These also have very expensive 12 and 14 gauge speaker wire available on this listing if you’re interested in the full package.

Pros

  • Screw on secure latch design – just feed the speaker wire in a screw to tighten
  • Pure gold shielding
  • Great presentation…does that matter?

Cons

  • Price, although I expect a lot of people will prefer these because of the price.

If we only said one thing about this unit it would be…

Great design, nice screw locking fittings and pure gold shielding make these a very attractive offer for audiophiles.

Check out more reviews on Amazon

Conclusion

It might be said one banana plug is much like another, and that might be true but there are always subjective and objective reasons for choosing this type of HiFi accessory. It might be the look, type or simply the brand.

ALSO READ: What Gauge Speaker Wire do I need? Best Speaker Wire – 2020

If you’re looking for a few pairs at a good price then the Monoprice will be great for less than a lunch at Starbucks. The next two decisions might be based on price with the Sewell currently coming in cheaper than the Mediabridge.

If you have any questions, let me know below. Whatever you choose, banana plugs will definitely change your HiFi and Home Theatre experience.

If you can’t be bothered with wiring your own speaker wire with banana plugs you can just get them already made : Best Speaker Wire with Banana Plugs

Mediabridge Banana Plugs - Our Pick.

9.5

Quality

9.5/10

Ease of Use

9.5/10

Ease of Assembly

9.5/10

Sound Quality

9.5/10

This post was last updated on 2020-07-13 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.

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