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Best Sonos Alternatives – Top 5 Picks of 2021 Review

As recently as 2017, Sonos emerged onto the audio speaker market and created quite a stir. Large and small speakers could be connected wirelessly. Soundbars and woofers could join the party as well.

You could link up to 32 different components into a system. In different rooms, you can connect them to whatever existing sound system and the speakers you have. You could even have a different song playing in each room. Is it all that good?

In many ways, yes, it is. It is flexible and versatile, but there is a downside. It is not cheap, and it would be out of the price range of many. So, what are the best Sonos alternatives? Let’s take a look and see.

Best Sonos Alternatives

Top 5 Best Sonos Alternatives for All Budgets in 2021 Reviews

  1. Audio Pro Addon C3 Portable High Fidelity WiFi Bluetooth Multi-Room Speakers – Best Value for the Money Sonos Alternative
  2. Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen) Smart Home Hub – Best Affordable Sonos Alternative
  3. Denon HEOS 5 Wireless Speaker System – Best Premium Sonos Alternative
  4. Bluesound Pulse Flex 2i Portable Wireless Multi-Room Smart Speaker – Best Compact Sonos Alternative
  5. Bluesound Pulse Mini 2i Wireless Multi-Room Smart Speaker – Most Versatile Sonos Alternative

1 Audio Pro Addon C3 Portable High Fidelity WiFi Bluetooth Multi-Room Speakers – Best Value for the Money Sonos Alternative

Let’s start with this interesting offering from Audio Pro. We are living in an advanced technological society, and this speaker certainly has the robotic features to remind us.

The Build

Being a Scandinavian company, you would expect Audio Pro to build quality equipment. You won’t be disappointed. It is solid and sturdy and feels substantial, weighing in at six and a half pounds. At 11.42 by 8.66 by 8.86, it is a comfortable size to fit most rooms and spaces.

But it can also be taken down to the beach for the day. Or maybe used it at a BBQ in the garden. The carrying strap will help if you want to do that.

The Sound

Very surprising is what you might call it. Considering its size, it gives you bass with real depth added to the crispy highs. But the mids haven’t been ignored, and it generates a very good all-around sound. The Class D amp puts out a healthy 25 watts that sounds an awful lot louder. As a result, it is one of the best sounding Sonos alternatives you can buy.

The designers said they wanted to make a speaker that didn’t have “silly gadgets or outrageous decor.” They just wanted a great sound. I think they have achieved that.

A Good Spec

Bluetooth, WiFi, and Ethernet, as well as RCA connections, give a variety of online streaming services. Optical connections are included, although it hasn’t got Voice Control. However, it still works using Alexa. Just enough there to keep you amused.

It isn’t a speaker you would hook up to a home cinema system. Instead, it is going to do its best as a music center in a room or linked to others in a chain.

The battery is rechargeable, and you should get about fifteen hours of use from a single full charge. A good offering to start with at a very attractive price point.

Audio Pro Addon C3 Portable High Fidelity WiFi Bluetooth Multi-Room Speakers
Our rating:4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Pros

  • Plain and simple design that is sturdy yet can be carried.
  • Great sound at a great price.

Cons

  • No Voice Control.

2 Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen) Smart Home Hub – Best Affordable Sonos Alternative

Are you looking for a system that is going to fill your house with sound, but you are on a budget? If so, then this is going to interest you. This is a single speaker that can be built into a multi-room sound system.

The Echo range of speakers from Amazon is known for being a great entry-level system. But, these 2nd generation speakers with added features make it even better. Making it one of the best budget Sonos alternatives on the market. Let’s see what is in store.

The Build

At just under six inches high and four inches wide, it isn’t going to take up too much room. Additionally, at one and a half pounds, it is easy to move where you need it. If you want one of the best lightweight Sonos alternatives, this deserves a closer look.

The design is simplistic and not overelaborate. The fabric cloth covering and plastic top with controls are understated, which is pleasing to the eye.

The Sound

No complaints in this department. Crisp highs and a solid low-end, the sound is probably better than you might expect from a speaker of this size. 

The adjustable EQ is a big plus point. Furthermore, when two speakers are paired up, it is impressive. The sound is delivered by a 3-inch woofer and a 0.8-inch tweeter.

Controls

The basic controls are situated within easy reach on the top of the speaker. This includes a push-button Volume Up and a separate push-button for Volume Down. There is an Action button and mute for the mic. 

Around the outside top edge is a light ring. This is a feature that changes color depending on the activity the speaker is undertaking.

Voice control

Always an interesting and useful feature to have. Using Alexa, you can request music from Apple, Amazon, Pandora, Spotify, or Sirius XM. And if you have multiple speakers, play music in different rooms.

Voice control will also operate smart devices in your home via Zigbee, which is built-in. That can include adjusting the heating, turning on lights, and performing operations with devices that are connected. It will even lock the doors for you.

Keep In Touch

You can speak to all connected rooms using an Alexa-Linked intercom. This can include set announcements or just a call. Therefore, it’s one of the best Sonos speakers alternatives for a smart home you can find.

So much more, including privacy controls, but not enough space here. An excellent buy at the price. Certainly one of the Best Sonos Alternatives.

Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen) Smart Home Hub
Our rating:4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros

  • A compact unit that has some great connection features.
  • A great sound for music at a cost-effective price.

Cons

  • At this price point, nothing.

3 Denon HEOS 5 Wireless Speaker System – Best Premium Sonos Alternative 

To some, Denon is a name from the past. It wasn’t that long ago that they had a reputation for being one of the top brands, that was quite deserved. Yet, they are still here, having merged in 2002 with another upmarket name from the same era, Marantz.

They are better known for AV receivers; however, they also manufacture soundbars and wireless speakers. But, perhaps the most important thing is that they can all connect up through their HEOS platform.

The Design

Inside there are four dedicated Class-D amps. They drive a passive radiator, two specially-designed tweeters, and a mid-range woofer. As you can imagine, that is a configuration that produces a stunning sound.

It will give you a “room-filling” sound that is quite loud enough for a larger room or even two adjacent rooms. And when combined with HEOS speakers, it produces a formidable sound system. In other words, this is one of the most powerful Sonos alternatives on the market.

The Build

It has a nice aesthetic and measures 11.6 by 6.5 by 8.2 inches, and weighs six and a half pounds. The front is uncluttered by controls or imagery, just the HEOS logo. On one end, there is a rocker switch that controls the volume and a speaker mute button.

On the rear, there is a carrying handle that makes it easy to move around. And at the bottom of the unit are the connection options. There is the mains access plus a Bluetooth connection. Also, an Aux-In, USB, and networking ports.

Convenient and versatile

You have the choice of streaming music from your favorite sites or playing your playlists from your tablet or phone. The Alexa connection offers the usual options, including controlling playback with your voice.

A nicely designed speaker with a very good sound that is easy to set up and use. If it has a downside, it is that it is quite expensive as a Sonos alternative.

Denon HEOS 5 Wireless Speaker System
Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros

  • A smooth sound that has plenty of bottom-end.
  • Nice design with easy-to-use controls and connections.

Cons

  • Not the cheapest.

4 Bluesound Pulse Flex 2i Portable Wireless Multi-Room Smart Speaker – Best Compact Sonos Alternative 

Let’s move on to Bluesound, a new player in the market compared with some. They have built themselves a reputation for providing some real quality with their speakers. This is the Bluesound Pulse Flex 2i Portable Wireless speaker.

The Build

This has been designed to be compact, and therefore, is a very portable speaker. I will come back to its portability later. It measures just 4.92 by 3.9 by 7.2 inches and only weighs 2.7 pounds.

Whilst the front can look rather plain with just a mesh grille, turn it around, and it has an interesting design. The edges have an attractive sloping design forming a central area at the center of the back of the speaker. It is here that the connections are located.

Connections and Controls

There are two USB ports and a LAN port, an optical and analog in, and a headphone socket. Basic controls, including volume, are on the top. But they are not visible from the front.

The Sound

This is a speaker that sounds very good. The sound is driven by a bass driver and a high-performance tweeter. The custom-designed drivers provide plenty of bass without distorting the sound and offer a general all-around quality.

However, the downside is it is not very loud. If you are going to have a stand-alone speaker in your home, then it does need a little bit of power. If there is a negative to an otherwise excellent speaker, this is it.

Portability

Let’s return to the issue of its portability. It has been designed to be portable, and you could even take it out with you. But you will need a battery pack to do so. So, on its own, it is not a charge-it-up-and-go speaker. The battery pack is an optional extra and not cheap.

Some Good Features

Nevertheless, it has good features, including Bluetooth aptX and dual-band WiFi. There is an app for using playlists from your phone, tablet, or computer. And it will give you 24-bit/192kHz performance.

Working with Alexa or Siri, it can operate on voice commands. A nice speaker at a competitive price but with a couple of drawbacks.

Bluesound Pulse Flex 2i Portable Wireless Multi-Room Smart Speaker
Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros

  • Nice design with a nice sound.
  • Competitive price.

Cons

  • A battery pack is needed if you want to take it with you.

5 Bluesound Pulse Mini 2i Wireless Multi-Room Smart Speaker – Most Versatile Sonos Alternative

Let’s stay with Bluesound to complete this look at the Best Sonos alternatives. This is another member of the Pulse family. This speaker has many of the same features as the Flex 2i but with a little extra. I will come back to what is extra later.

Compact

The design of this speaker means it is not going to take up much space in your home. It will fit comfortably on any bookshelf or table. 

Whilst you might call it compact at 13.2 by 6.1 by 6.8 inches, it is not what you would call lightweight. Weighing just over eight pounds, you don’t want to drop it on your foot. Furthermore, the edges of the corners are rounded to give it a nice relaxed aesthetic.

The Design

Let’s talk about the “little extra” I mentioned earlier. This has an interesting design that gives the speaker two acoustic chambers. In each chamber, there is a bass driver and a high-performance tweeter.

Creating these dual chambers gives the speaker a sound that defies its size. It sounds like it could be a much bigger speaker. Deep, resonant bass is accompanied by a full range of sounds. And all free from any distortion.

Connections

As is standard with the Pulse series, there is dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth with aptX, and Voice-controlled operation courtesy of Alexa. The connections for LAN, two USB ports, and Optical and Analog In are all located out of the way on the rear.

The front design is plain, as is the norm with the Pulse range, with just a small logo. Some basic controls are placed on the top, but they’re not visible from the front.

Streaming

You can stream quality 24-bit sound from your tablet or phone using the Bluetooth aptX. Or you can ask Alexa to play from any of the top streaming sites.

There is an app that also helps you to control the music that is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, Kindle Fire, etc. Another good speaker from Bluesound, although if there is a downside, it is that it is quite expensive.

Bluesound Pulse Mini 2i Compact Wireless Multi-Room Smart Speaker
Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros

  • Nice design with easy-to-use connections and controls.
  • Very good sound.

Cons

  • Some might think it expensive for an alternative to Sonos.

Need Great Speakers for your Sound System?

We have you covered. So, check out our in-depth review of the Best Sonos Speakers, the Best Smart Speakers, the Best Wireless TV Speakers, the Best 7.1 Home Theater System, the Best High End Home Theater Speakers, the Best In-Wall Speakers, and the Best Ceiling Speakers For Dolby Atmos you can buy in 2021.

Also, take a look at our detailed reviews of the Best Floor Standing Speakers, the Best JBL Floor Standing Speakers, the Best Powered Speakers, the Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $200, the Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500, and the Best Speakers For Vinyl currently on the market.

What are the Best Sonos Alternatives?

There is no doubt that the future has arrived. It makes you wonder what on earth our speakers will do next. Sonos is a great system, of that there is no doubt, but it can be quite expensive. It was never intended to be a cost-effective option. However, there are some good options here for alternatives.

While I do like the Amazon Echo Plus, especially for those on a budget, if I had to buy one of these speakers, I would choose the…

Audio Pro Addon C3 

A great sound with an interesting design makes it a great Sonos alternative for your home audio.

Until next time, happy listening.

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About Jennifer Bell

Jennifer is a freelance writer from Montana. She holds a BA in Creative Writing and English, as well as an Associate of Applied Science in Computer Games and Simulation Design.

Her passions include guitar, bass, ukulele, and piano, as well as a range of classical instruments she has been playing since at school. She also enjoys reading fantasy and sci-fi novels, yoga, eating well, and spending time with her two cats, Rocky and Jasper.

Jennifer enjoys writing articles on all types of musical instruments and is always extending her understanding and appreciation of music. She also writes science fiction and fantasy short stories for various websites and hopes to get her first book published in the very near future.

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