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Best Sonos speakers
Sonos speakers are some of the best around if you’re into home audio. You can get a single speaker just for your room or multiple speakers to arrange an entire 5.1 surround sound system in your living room. Even though the Sonos lineup isn’t all too vast, it’s still hard to parse apart one model from the next. In this article, we break down the differences between the best Sonos speakers in order to help you find the best one for your home.
- This list was updated on October 12, 2023, to refresh our Top Picks and Notable Mentions.
- We have acquired the Sonos Move 2 and are currently in the process of testing and reviewing the Bluetooth speaker. Once the review is complete, we will update this article accordingly. In the meantime, the original Sonos Move has seen a significant price drop.
Want something that sounds good anywhere in the house? Get the Sonos Move
The Sonos Move does exactly as its name suggests: it allows you to move around with it. You can take this IP56-rated Bluetooth smart speaker anywhere, so long as you don’t mind a little lifting. When you use the Move speaker in your home, you can connect it to all of your other Sonos speakers over your Wi-Fi network.
Sonos claims that you’ll get 10 hours of constant playback, but our testing falls short of this; we recorded 6 hours and 24 minutes of playtime over Bluetooth. While this can’t compare to some of our favorite JBL Bluetooth speakers, it’s more than enough to host a backyard barbeque.
It has Amazon Alexa built-in if that’s something that you want. So you can skip between songs or change the volume with just your voice. You can also set up Google Assistant voice access or mute the microphones completely. If you want to learn more about the Sonos Move, check out our video review here.
The Sonos Five brings the bass
The Sonos Five is a hefty addition to any audio setup, especially if you’re already living in the Sonos ecosystem. It shines in its range of connectivity options, offering Wi-Fi and Ethernet over the more common Bluetooth, which will please those who find Bluetooth’s limitations irksome. While the speaker does have an auxiliary port, it’s optimized for music streaming rather than real-time audio like TV or gaming.
Setting up the speaker is a breeze with the Sonos app, but be prepared for the app to be your main control hub. Unlike some other smart speakers, the Sonos Five doesn’t come with a built-in microphone. Its physical buttons offer basic control, but anything more intricate will require diving into the app. You’ll even need the app to switch to the line-in port, as the speaker won’t automatically detect and switch to an auxiliary input.
Audio performance is where the Sonos Five truly excels. Expect robust bass and balanced tones thanks to its three tweeters and three mid-woofers. For the Apple enthusiasts among you, the speaker also supports Trueplay for fine-tuned sound optimization, though you’ll need an iOS device to use this feature.
Is the Sonos Five for you? If you’re already invested in the Sonos world or put a premium on non-Bluetooth connectivity, it’s a solid choice. It’s designed to be a long-lasting fixture in your home, so if you’re after a speaker that blends high-quality audio with dependable performance, the Sonos Five has got you covered.
The Sonos Roam is the best for portability
When it comes to portable speakers, the Sonos Roam takes the crown. Its unassuming design belies the robust sound quality it delivers. Thanks to automatic TruePlay technology, the Roam adjusts its audio output according to its surroundings, offering a dynamic sound profile that fills any space. But don’t let the modest size fool you; this speaker packs a punch.
What sets the Roam apart is its diversity of connectivity options. Whether it’s Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or AirPlay 2, this versatile device seamlessly switches between them, making it incredibly user-friendly. Add wireless charging to the mix, and you’ve got a speaker that delivers freedom alongside its superior sound. Its durable, waterproof exterior with an impressive IP67 rating also means the Roam is adventure-ready at a moment’s notice.
But the real kicker is how effortlessly the Roam integrates into the existing Sonos ecosystem. If you already own a Sonos soundbar or other Sonos speakers, you can easily loop the Roam into your multi-room audio setup. The Sonos app makes managing this entire system a breeze. In essence, the Sonos Roam isn’t just a portable speaker; it’s an all-in-one sonic experience that stands head and shoulders above the competition. If you’re in the market for a portable speaker that offers a blend of convenience and superior audio, the Sonos Roam is the clear choice.
The Sonos Arc is a premium soundbar with Dolby Atmos
If you want the most immersive home theater experience that money can buy (from Sonos), you need the Sonos Arc. The Arc shares features with the Sonos speaker lineup, like smart assistant voice access, AirPlay 2 support, and more.
This large soundbar houses 11 drivers for loud, engaging audio reproduction, and its low-profile design allows it to blend in with the rest of your furniture. Avid movie watchers will enjoy the Speech Enhancement feature, which is a separate sound profile that’s specifically tuned to prioritize dialogue clarity during scenes when actors speak quietly or when loud action occurs in the background.
As with all other Sonos speakers, you can easily connect the Sonos Arc to other first-party peripherals like the Sonos Sub and Sonos One speakers. The Arc is made for TVs larger than 49 inches, while the Beam is for TVs smaller than 49 inches. They’re very similar soundbars, though the Beam lacks Dolby Atmos support.
Why is the Sonos One (Gen 2) the best Sonos speaker?
The Sonos One (Gen 2) is the best Sonos speaker for most people because it’s a good size and offers powerful smart features for an affordable price (relative to Sonos’ other offerings, that is). Right out of the box, you get support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant along with Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube Music integration. Aside from the initial setup process, you don’t need your smartphone to enable these streaming services and can use your voice to enable playback through them.
While you don’t get an official IP rating, the mainly metal speaker is humidity-resistant. With a design like this, you can keep the Sonos One (Gen 2) in the bathroom and don’t have to worry about shower steam damaging its internals. You may need to dry your hands off before interacting with the touch panel, but again, you can bypass this altogether with a simple “Hey Google” or “Hey Alexa.”
The Sonos One (Gen 2) has a very pleasant sound akin to the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo (4th Gen). Bass notes are loud enough, though there’s very little sub-bass present, and this is common with all standalone speakers. To compensate a bit, you get Sonos Trueplay here, which measures the acoustics of the room and adjusts the speaker’s frequency response accordingly.
For around $200, you’re getting a feature-packed speaker with the Sonos One (Gen 2).
Don’t want Alexa or Google in your home? Get the Sonos One SL
If you don’t want to spend too much money on your first Sonos product and don’t care about (or don’t want) voice assistant integration, then you should pick up the Sonos One SL. It’s just like the Sonos One — minus the microphones.
You can buy two of these speakers for the price of a Sonos Move, but you sacrifice portability and Bluetooth connectivity. The One SL requires an outlet and a Wi-Fi signal at all times. Still, it’s hard to beat for the price.
The best Sonos speakers: Notable mentions
- Sonos Playbase ($242 at Amazon): While it’s expensive, the Playbase is one of the more convenient ways to up your home audio game without getting a surround sound system.
- Sonos Beam (Gen 2) ($529 at Amazon): If you want to get better sound for your TV in a medium-sized room, this is a great option.
- Sonos Sub (Gen 3)($798 at Amazon): If you’re looking to boost the low end of your music, this wireless subwoofer will create rich bass without unwanted booming and rumbling.
- Sonos Sub Mini ($578 at Amazon): For those who still want some added bass response but want to save a bit of cash and space in their home, the Sonos Sub Mini is an excellent alternative to the Sonos Sub (Gen 3).
What you should know about Sonos speakers and accessories
While Sonos’ speaker lineup is sparse compared to Sonos’s competitors, there are plenty of reasons to buy them. We like Sonos speakers because they’re very easy to connect for multi-room playback and sport a host of smart features. Let’s learn a bit more about what you should know before buying.
What is the Sonos ecosystem?
Sonos is synonymous with home audio because it has refined its ecosystem over the years. Similar to Apple, all of Sonos’ products work together seamlessly, and you get complete control over everything via the free app. Whether you want to play different songs on different speakers, play a podcast throughout the house, or just watch a movie, Sonos has you covered.
Sonos is fastidious about updating its products, keeping them updated for years. You can rest easy knowing that if you buy some Sonos speakers today, they’ll work with your future Sonos products down the line.
What is the Sonos mesh network?
The best part about Sonos is also one of the more frustrating parts: you can control all of your Sonos speakers through the Sonos app. During the setup process, Sonos products create their own mesh network exclusively for Sonos and this piggybacks off your wireless router. This is how you can seamlessly stream music to multiple devices at once.
When you play music through the mobile app, it directs your speakers where to play from; this differs from a direct Bluetooth connection. The Sonos app then pulls content from the internet all on its own (after you connect your relevant music streaming service accounts to it). As long as you’re connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Sonos system, you can control your speakers.
Voice assistants, streaming services, and Sonos
Sonos is banking on the success of smart home technology. Unlike the Apple Homepod mini, which only has Siri, Sonos is compatible with every voice assistant and every streaming service.
While this is definitely a boon for those with multiple platforms, you cannot make cross-platform playlists, so just be aware that you’ll likely be sticking to one app or another during your listening sessions. However, if your music library is local, you can use Plex, Plexamp, or Roon to stream your tunes to the Sonos speakers in your house.
Do Sonos products support Dolby Atmos?
This one is for the home theater nerds out there because, unfortunately, most Sonos speakers do not support Dolby Atmos, save for the Sonos Arc and Beam. Most Sonos products do, however, support Dolby Digital 5.1, which you can take advantage of if you have a classic 5.1 surround sound system.
Unlike the classic 5.1 system, Dolby Atmos is an object-based audio format, meaning that sounds can be packaged into “bubbles” of 3D audio that provide a sense of height and even more directionality to your movies or games.
Speakers that support Dolby Atmos, like the Sennheiser Ambeo, can bounce sound off of the ceiling to create a more immersive sound experience. And while it’s hard to explain without breaking out my “marketer language-to-English” dictionary, trust us when we say that the effect is actually really cool, and it’s kind of a bummer that only the Arc and Beam support it.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound system, on the other hand, uses regular surround sound and projects different sounds through different channels (speakers).
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Frequently asked questions about Sonos speakers
What if you already have a home speaker and are just discovering Sonos? Rather than having to throw your gear away and start from scratch, you can just get the Sonos Port or the Sonos Amp, but what’s the difference between these two products?
The Sonos Port isn’t a speaker; it’s more like an adapter that allows you to connect your existing speakers to the Sonos network and stream music over Wi-Fi. It’s designed to work with powered peripherals like an amplifier (Sonos Amp) or a receiver. If you have an older wired system with a non-Sonos amp, you can connect the amp to the Port and stream over Wi-Fi directly through your favorite music streaming services like Spotify, Qobuz, and Amazon Music HD.
The Sonos Amp is its own amplifier and can power passive speakers, which is great for anyone with really high-end gear. If you plan to install in-ceiling or in-wall speakers, you’re going to need an amplifier, and that’s where the Sonos Amp really shines. This is great for multi-room playback across your non-Sonos audio system.
To set up a surround sound system with Sonos, you’ll want a soundbar, so either the Arc or Beam, a subwoofer, and rear surround speakers. Sonos offers quite a few surround sound sets that you can buy for easy compatibility, and you can connect multiple speakers together through the Sonos app.
Yes, you can create Alexa groups with both Sonos speakers and Echo speakers. This is often done by the rooms in your house. For example, if you have an Amazon Echo and a Sonos One speaker in the kitchen, these two speakers will function as the kitchen group. When you issue a command to the group, it will be executed by both speakers.
In a world of Sonos alternatives, Bose is definitely a close competitor. Both companies have smart home lineups, soundbars, and home theater speakers, but Sonos’ speaker options pretty much end there. Bose, on the other hand, also has a collection of portable Bluetooth speakers. As for the value of each brand’s smart home speakers, soundbars, and home theater speakers, it depends a bit on which specific product you’re looking at. Overall, both Bose and Sony opt for a consumer-friendly sound signature that is pleasing to most average listeners. Whether or not you’re a tech whiz, Sonos speakers are typically easier to set up and the experience with the Bose app is usually more frustrating.
Sonos Trueplay is a technology included in all Sonos speakers except for the Sonos Port and Sonos Connect and is partially supported in the Sonos Amp and Sonos Amp: Connect. It tunes itself to whatever room your speakers are configured in so that it can utilize the furniture and walls of the room to create a soundscape.