Audio Essentials: Banana Plugs

On the most recent episode of The Committed Podcast, we discussed decluttering. The context was my recent move to a new house, and my desire to make my office more minimalist. I talked a lot about cables, because that’s what gets in the way most. And I mentioned banana plugs, which I have used for several years, and how they save time.

Banana plugs

The point of banana plugs is simple. You connect speaker wires to them, then you plug the banana plugs into the connectors on your speakers or receivers. Instead of having to re-thread speaker cables every time you disconnect them, you simply unplug and replug the banana plugs. (You may need to remove little rubber plugs on the backs of the connectors first; use a small screwdriver to pop them out.)

Banana plugs also let you disconnect speakers easily behind a receiver, in areas where you may not have a lot of space. Often, in a living room, there’s not enough room to crawl behind your home entertainment center, and using banana plugs makes it a lot easier to connect and disconnect speakers there.

Now you probably don’t change your speaker cables often, and don’t move house that often. So this may seem like a useless investment. But when you do change cables, or move speakers and need longer or shorter cables, you quickly realize that adding banana plugs makes things a lot easier next time. They’re not that expensive: the ones I bought cost $19 / £15 for 12 pairs. (, Amazon UK) You need one pair for each end of a device; so you use one pair on your left speaker, and another on its cable termination at your receiver. You need another two pairs for the other speaker. So 12 pairs lets you set up three pairs of speakers, which is more than what most people own.

Banana plugs are one of these things that you may never have heard of, then suddenly realize their necessity. If you move, and if you change audio equipment, you need banana plugs.