The Best Sonos Speakers 2021: Reviewed, Compared, Sound Quality, Size - Rolling Stone
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Sonos Makes Some of the Best Speakers We’ve Ever Heard — These Are the Four to Get

Start with one, then add more to build up a full home audio system piece by piece

Sonos Move

Sonos

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Sonos was the first company to release a modern, wireless audio system you could build piece by piece.

Each speaker sounds great on its own, but you’ll have an even better experience if you get more. For instance, you can pair two Sonos speakers together for stereo sound, or create a surround sound system by connecting two speakers, a soundbar, and a subwoofer.

It’s these configuration options, plus the company’s commitment to great audio quality, that help set Sonos’ gear apart from the rest of the smart speaker market. Our guide is designed to help you figure out which Sonos speaker to get first, and how to build it up over time.

If you have older Sonos speakers, and want features like AirPlay 2 or Amazon Alexa support, now’s a great time to upgrade.

What Are the Best Sonos Speakers?

There are many factors to consider when choosing the best home Sonos speakers for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.

Portability: All of Sonos’ speakers are small enough to easily carry from room to room, but it’s started to release battery-powered speakers fairly recently.

Connectivity: You can connect to Sonos’ speakers in a number of ways, including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, or by using smart assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant. Sonos’ speakers can’t be controlled with Siri, but they do support AirPlay 2, Apple’s custom media streaming technology.

Trueplay: All of the Sonos speakers we’re recommending work with Trueplay, a custom technology that lets the speakers optimize their sound based on the room they’re in and where they’re placed. Instead of testing different speaker positions, you can let the speaker handle everything and hit play.

1. Sonos One

Sonos One SL

Amazon

The Sonos One is the company’s most versatile speaker, and exemplifies what makes Sonos great.

We’ve tested the speaker out for ourselves, and it sounds very good overall — especially for a speaker this size. We’ve also heard it as part of a stereo pair and used as back speakers for a surround sound along with the Sonos Beam sound bar. It does an excellent job in all three configurations, which makes it the perfect starting point for a wireless home audio system.

It’s not totally portable, but the Sonos One is only 10 inches tall, so it’s easy to take from one room to another without any issues. It’s light, too, so you won’t have to worry about it bringing down a floating shelf.

The Sonos One has a microphone, which allows you to control it using the Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant. If you don’t want to use those features, you can get the Sonos One SL, which has the same audio hardware, but no microphone. The SL model is also $20 cheaper.

Buy: Sonos One at $199.99

2. Sonos Beam

Sonos Beam

Courtesy Sonos

Sonos

The Sonos Beam is one of the best compact soundbars we’ve ever heard, and it’s the one to get if you want to build a home theater system bit by bit.

It’s less than 26 inches long, but the Beam does a great job of filling the room with sound when you’re playing music, watching TV shows or movies, and playing video games. We were especially impressed at its bass performance. If you have trouble hearing dialogue, you can use the vocal boost button on the Beam’s remote to make it easier.

Connect it to your TV’s HDMI ARC (audio return channel) port using the included HDMI cable, and the Beam will handle the rest. You can also hook it up to your TV’s optical audio output. As we mentioned earlier, you can augment the Sonos Beam with a pair of Sonos One (or Sonos One SL) speakers for more immersive sound.

If you want a big upgrade over the speakers in your TV, and would like the option to create a surround sound home theater system over time, this is the soundbar to get.

Buy: Sonos Beam at $399

3. Sonos Move

Sonos Move

Sonos

The Move is Sonos’ first totally wireless speaker, and it’s best suited for backyard gatherings.

At 6.6 pounds it’s heavier than most of the portable speakers we recommend, but it’s basically a portable version of the Sonos One, which means you should expect crystal clear sound. Because it’s portable, the Sonos Move supports streaming over Bluetooth, so you can easily pair it with your devices when you’re out of the house.

Sonos says the Move should last up to 11 hours on a single charge, which is great for a speaker this size. It comes with a charging base, so you don’t have to hunt around for a spare charger. The base is subtle, so it’ll look nice on a desk or shelf when the Move isn’t on top of it.

The Sonos Move has an IP56 rating, which means it’s designed to handle splashes of water (including rain), dust, and extreme temperatures. You shouldn’t submerge this speaker completely under water, but it can still handle the elements.

If you’re happy with the way your Sonos speakers sound, and want to have a similar experience everywhere you go, the Move is your best choice.

Buy: Sonos Move at $399

4. Sonos Sub

Sonos Sub

Sonos

If you’re putting together a home theater system using Sonos’ speakers, at some point you’re going to need to add the Sonos Sub.

The wireless subwoofer can connect to the other speakers in your Sonos System, and pump out an impressive amount of bass. The benefit of a subwoofer is that it allows the other speakers in your system to use their drivers (the part of a speaker responsible for creating sound) to play sounds in the midrange and treble frequency range more accurately. The result is that everything you listen to — from bass-heavy music to action movies with a lot of explosions — will sound a lot better.

Sonos designed its subwoofer to work well when it’s standing upright or laid flat on the ground. You can hide it beneath your couch if you don’t have a lot of room, but it looks nice enough that you don’t need to keep it out of sight. A subwoofer may seem like an optional home theater accessory, but it makes a bigger difference than you might think, especially when watching movies, which have a lot of constantly changing sounds.

When you pair the Sonos Sub with a Sonos Beam and pair of Sonos One speakers, you’ll have the ultimate wireless, surround sound home theater system.

Buy: Sonos Sub at $699

 

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