Sonos is the biggest name in multi-room audio. Sure, the likes of Amazon's Echo range and Apple's HomePod have added some much needed mainstream competition, but Sonos is still the name that regular folk associate with sorting a multi-room speaker setup for their homes.
It's super simple to get a Sonos system up and running in your house, although if you're starting from scratch, it can be daunting deciding which are the best Sonos speakers to invest in.
Make sure you check out our Sonos missing manual for an in-depth walkthrough of the system in its entirety, but if you're just looking for a rundown of the latest, best Sonos speakers then read on.
The best Sonos speakers
In total, there are eight different Sonos speakers capable of audio output, though one of these is a sub and a few are TV-specialists. Confused? You needn't be β here's the lowdown on each and every one of them.
Sonos One SL
The Sonos One replaces the Play:1, but it's essentially a Sonos One without the smart assistants. In fact, it's barely distinguishably by its slightly smarter twin, with only the lack of microphones the giveaway here.
Who is this for? Anyone who wants the cheapest "in" to the Sonos ecosystem but also doesn't care or want Alexa or the Google Assistant. Maybe you don't like the idea of putting microphones in your home. Maybe you just don't care about that stuff.
The One SL is a bookshelf speaker that's ideal for bedrooms, offices, kitchens and the like. It's a powerful little speaker on its own but it also works brilliantly in a larger room, paired up to form a duo of stereo speakers.
More than Sonos' mic drop, the SL offer plenty of audio bang for its buck, with two Class-D digital amplifiers, a tweeter for clear high-frequency response and a mid-woofer for mid-range vocal frequencies. It's also cheaper than the One by $20.
Sonos has finally built a Bluetooth speaker, bringing its expertly-tuned sound to the great outdoors. And it sure as hell wants you to know about it .β the Sonos Move is loud.
It's also a speaker of two parts. Indoors, it connects to your Wi-Fi like any other Sonos speaker and behaves just like a Sonos One: there's Alexa and Google Assistant built in, AirPlay 2 support, and easily slips into your multi-room system. But hit that Bluetooth button on the back and you're free to roam, with up to 10 hours of battery life to play with (so long as you're playing at a "moderate volume").
The Move also has Automatic Trueplay, which will automatically optimize its sound for the space around it β but only when it's on Wi-Fi.
The flagship Play:5 is a highly-evolved version of Sonos' first ever speaker. It boasts six Class-D digital amplifiers, six dedicated speaker drivers, three tweeters and three mid-woofers.
The Play:5 has a line-in on the back for CD players, turntables and the like, and also offers up a pair of Ethernet ports so it can act as a handy switch or extender for your wired devices. It can sit in either portrait or landscape too, and comes in a choice of black or white.
Compared to the One and One SL, the Play:5 offers a much fuller sound, with an improved mid-range especially β something that feels rather hollowed out on the other two.
The Sonos One is the "other" entry-level speaker into the Sonos ecosystem. It's not actually the cheapest β the SL is β but it is the cheapest if you want Google Assistant/Alexa integration.
You can also control your non-Alexa Sonos speakers through your Echo devices, but the One has the smart assistants built in, i.e. you can use it to control your lights, locks and the like, as well as asking for Alexa or the GA's help with various digital tasks. It's also an AirPlay 2 speaker, so it can be grouped up with HomePods and other AirPlay 2-enabled speakers.
In March 2019, Sonos refreshed the One with the Gen 2 model: differences include a faster processor and more memory β and the addition of Bluetooth Low Energy, making it easier to set up the speaker initially.
Like the Play models, it's white or black as standard β but there are also HAY Sonos One Limited Edition versions (of gen-1 Ones), which add a splash of color for $30 extra.
The newest and most compact member of the Sonos gang, the Sonos Beam can, of course, be used as a regular Sonos speaker but really it's designed to beef-up your TV's audio β it connects via HDMI ARC. It's also Sonos' second speaker to pack in Alexa.
It boasts a single tweeter in the middle and three passive radiators, as well as four full-range woofers. Thereβs also a five-mic array for voice control, which makes it easy for Alexa or the Google Assistant to hear you from a distance over whatever is being played through the speaker. AirPlay 2 is also on board.
Buy now: Ikea | From $99
Ok, so technically this is the cheapest way into the Sonos ecosystem, but that's because it's not actually built by Sonos. Rather, Ikea's Symfonisk speakers put Sonos sound tech inside Ikea-built furniture. Right now there's a table lamp and a bookshelf speaker, but there's promise of more to come.
Both speakers share the same guts: two class-D amplifiers, one tweeter and one mid-woofer (though the size of these obviously varies between the two). In terms of quality though, they're a little less impressive than the Sonos One β but still sound great.
Sonos' aging soundbar is a heavier hitter than the Beam and can be wall mounted, or can sit below the TV on a unit. It's easy enough to set your TV remote to control the volume and the sound stage created by a solitary speaker for movies and TV shows is awesome.
Like the Beam, it can also be used as a speaker for non TV audio, and it boasts nine amplified speaker drivers: six mid-range and three tweeters.
The Playbase is Sonos' soundbase β designed to sit under your TV. On paper, it trumps the Playbar with an extra digital amplifier, but Sonos has tuned them to sound as similar to each other as possible, so your choice comes down to what works best with your TV setup.
Both the Playbar and the Playbase connect to your TV through a digital optical cable, and as well as playing back your TV's audio in stereo or Dolby Digital, they can also play music from the same sources as a regular Sonos speaker, in addition to being part of a multi-room speaker setup.
The Playbar, Playbase and Beam all add brilliant sound improvements to your home cinema setup solo, but can also be teamed up with other Sonos' speakers as part of a surround sound setup β and that's where the Sub comes in.
However, Sonos' subwoofer isn't just for a TV surround setup; it's also brilliant for adding bass to your music and, again, you can just throw it into a group as per a regular speaker.
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How to add your Apple HomePod smart speaker to your Sonos system
How to use old Sonos speakers for AirPlay 2 multi-room music
How to control Sonos with Google Assistant
How to associate Sonos and Echo speakers and create groups
How to use Sonos and Alexa: Everything you need to know