Speakers have come a long way since Alexander Graham Bell invented the very first basic design and then Ernst Siemens improved on it the following year. For the first ‘real’ speaker, as we know now them, we have to wait for the amplifier to be developed in 1912.
Most speakers are ‘dynamic’ or moving coil. They operate on the same principles as the dynamic microphone but in reverse.
Speakers are now with us at every level of performance and price. And in this review, we are going to take a look at the Best Sonos speakers. But before we do, who are Sonos?
Sonos are relative newcomers to the audio world, having been founded in California in 2002. They manufacture what they call consumer electronics, but they are best known for their smart speakers. The range of speakers is quite small compared to most of the opposition, but they possess some very good features and innovative designs.
So, let’s have a closer look at what they have on offer and find the perfect Sonos speaker for you…
Top 6 Best Sonos Speakers On The Market Reviews
1 Sonos Beam – Smart TV Sound Bar – Best Sonos Sound Bar
Next up, and with a slightly different design, this is an alternative to the Sonos Playbar, we have just looked at. It is still very compact, measuring 25.60 by 2.70 by 3.90 inches and only weighing six and a half pounds. That makes it even smaller and much lighter than the Playbar.
The big difference with this soundbar is that whilst the Playbar was only an optical connection, this has HDMI. That is going to suit a lot of people. And so will the price point as this unit is quite a bit cheaper. It also comes with Alexa built-in as well as Apple Airplay2, Apple Siri, and Google assistant.
It has adequate controls built on top of the unit. There are Play and pause and volume up and down as well as track selection. There is also a microphone mute. An LED indicates the status of the soundbar. On the rear, there is an HDMI connection and also an Ethernet port and a pairing button.
The Beam can be controlled via the app or by using your voice commands. This is going to be a good system not only for movies and TV but also for streaming music.
So far, we have to say we are more impressed with this speaker than with the Playbar. But there is a potential deal-breaker in that it does not have Bluetooth capability. It works with wifi only.
Some will not be bothered as a wifi connection at home is stable, but others might prefer Bluetooth. In our opinion, a wifi connection is better, especially if you are building networked systems as the connections are quicker and often more stable.
Wifi certainly allows a better range from its base station. It might affect some people’s thinking, but no Bluetooth would not be a deal-breaker for us.
Home theatre system…
Connections are easier than with optical systems and certainly quicker. The sound is very good and offers an expansive performance. Though as with the Playbar, the high frequencies are a bit over-cooked at times. It would perform at its best as part of a home cinema system but does very well as a stand-alone.
Good sound, good connections, competitive price, and some excellent features make this a contender for one of the Best Sonos speakers you can buy.
- Good compact design and styling with easy controls.
- Delivers a good sound with excellent features at a cost-effective price.
- High Frequencies too sharp at higher volumes.
2 Sonos One SL
Next, we have a very interesting speaker from Sonos, which is an extension of the Sonos One speaker, which is a popular unit.
When you see a similar name with an added appendage, in this case, SL, you expect it to have more features. However, this speaker has less. They have not included the mic with this, so there is no voice control. The SL stands for speechless, as some might be.
It is a similar build. The internals are the same, and the sound is almost identical. There must be a reason why they would, in the eyes of some, downgrade it by omitting a mic. And there is.
The controls are almost identical to the One with touch-sensitive buttons on top. The sound is adjusted through the online Sonos app using the Trueplay option. It involves you placing your speaker where you want them. Then, walking around the room with your iPad, as the app and the system combine information to choose the best sound setup for the environment. All very clever.
For Star Wars fans, it gets better. Because as you wave the iPad around, you get sounds like a Light Sabre produced in the movies. Don’t know if that is intentional?
So why did Sonos make this speaker?
If you are setting up a system and you buy two Sonos One speakers, you will end up with two Alexa powered speakers. Overkill? Of course. You buy a Sonos One and the SL. A cheaper option, only one Alexa, and combined, they make a great setup. You only one need one speaker to talk to. Makes sense, really.
But this speaker hasn’t been designed to necessarily work as a team with another. As a stand-alone system, it is very good. It is a compact speaker measuring 4.69 by 4.69 by 6.36 inches and weighs just over four pounds.
Don’t want a chat?
This speaker has everything going for it. And for those who don’t need to have a conversation with a speaker cabinet, it is one of the Best Sonos speakers on the market.
- Good build quality and features.
- Excellent performance level on its own or with the Sonus One.
- No Bluetooth.
3 Sonos One (Gen 2)
So here is the Sonos One. The compact little speaker with voice control built-in. This is a small speaker when compared to others that can produce a similar quality of sound at a decent volume. It doesn’t take up much space measuring 4.72 by 4.72 by 6.34 inches and weighing four pounds. But it certainly packs a punch.
You can have a little chat with Alexa and get music, news, and access to your favorites, music, and streaming services are at your fingertips. It is absolutely hopeless at making the tea, so that is something Sonos have got to work on. What it does mean, of course, is that control of this speaker is hands-free if you want it to be.
Comprehensive and functional…
The Sonos S2 app that operates the system takes a little bit of understanding, but it is very comprehensive and functional. The app can access many sources of music and can even access your music library on your computer.
It uses its own wifi that many people think is superior to Bluetooth. They can easily be switched off if you choose not to use the voice controls. At higher volumes of music, the voice control assistants can still hear any commands. This courtesy of small microphones placed at the top of the unit.
Alone or part of a system…
This speaker can act as a stand-alone speaker or as part of a wider system. It will operate as one of a pair of stereo speakers or as part of a home cinema system. And it is small enough to allow you to place it where it will not be intrusive.
As with other Sonos speakers, it can be tuned in sound wise using your iPad to get the best sound balance for your room.
Twin drivers deliver a powerful sound that is nicely balanced across the frequencies. Touch-sensitive controls are placed on the top for easy use. A well-designed speaker that can either be stand-alone or part of a system. The price point is set at a reasonable level.
- Well made with good features.
- Good communications and delivers a well-rounded sound.
- If you create playlists, they are only available on Sonos equipment and cannot be used elsewhere.
4 Sonos Five – Most Versatile Sonos Speaker
With this speaker, Sonos has extended the operational functions somewhat. And, this speaker gives you the opportunity to use external non-Sonos equipment. This is because it features a 3.5mm line-in connection that allows you to connect your other equipment, including turntables, CD players, etc.
It has three separate woofers plus three tweeters that are enclosed within the cabinet. They push out a very powerful and expansive sound. The low frequencies are prominent without overshadowing the mids.
Of the three tweeters, two are angled outwards, and the third has a central direction. The design of the speaker ensures the sound is circulated in a prominent arc. Therefore as a stand-alone speaker, this ensures a wide soundstage.
The speaker itself is no lightweight measuring 14.33 by 5.91 by 7.87 inches and weighing 19 pounds. Therefore, you need to be a little more careful with its placement.t needs careful locating.
Optimize the sound…
It once again uses the Trueplay system, which is located within the app. This allows you to optimize the sound of the speaker in conjunction with the acoustics of your room. It is compatible with the latest Sonos S2 app.
The technology of these speakers extends to how they are placed. If you have them horizontally, the speaker will separate the right channel from the left to give you a balanced stereo performance. Stand two speakers vertically, and they will automatically adjust to the different position and give you a wider soundstage.
Seems a little expensive?
The Sonus Five will operate either as a stand-alone system or as part of a home cinema or music system. Because of the design and the simple addition of a 3.5mm socket, we must consider this as the best Sonos speaker for Hifi systems. The only downside is that it is quite expensive for a single speaker.
- Good sound and solid construction.
- Excellent features and connections.
- Quite bulky and heavy.
- Fairly expensive for what it is.
5 Sonos Arc – Best Sounding Sonos Speaker
Another soundbar from Sonos, this one slightly more traditional in its design but also with quite a hefty price tag. It is a new design that includes some new features and upgrades of some existing ones.
It has Dolby Atmos to give you the best sound possible to enjoy your TV and movies. Tuneplay, of course, is accessible and will allow you to tune the acoustics to exactly fit your room. It can be accessed from the Sonos S2 app and does more than operate with your TV; you can stream music from either Apple AirPlay2 or your favorite streaming sites.
The soundbar is nicely designed to fit the decor of most rooms. It will sit neatly beneath your TV, or it can also be wall-mounted if you wish. Alexa is built-in, so you can have the usual conversations if talking to the dog gets boring.
It is with the sound, though, that you get your money’s worth with the Sonos Arc. It has eleven high-performance drivers that bring you an amazing sound that seems to circulate around the room and even behind you.
Working on its own, it is a great audio experience. As part of a home cinema system, it will carry you away to wherever the movie will take you. But of course, that sound doesn’t just apply to the TV and movies. Your music will have a step up in quality as well.
Quality comes at a cost…
It is not a small, lightweight system measuring 44.88 by 4.53 by 3.43 inches and weighing a rather hefty twenty-four and a half pounds. If you are considering wall-mounting, it will need a careful approach to positioning. The price tag, as we said, is quite high so sit down before you take a look. The sound though, is something you cannot fail to be impressed with.
- Nice understated design that is easy on the eye and can be wall-mounted.
- Dolby Atmos built-in and eleven drivers delivering a great sound.
6 Sonos Playbase – Best Compact Sonos Speaker
For some, the problem with a soundbar is that they are often quite large and cumbersome. Mounting them on the wall is an option, of course, but most prefer to put them at floor level near the TV. However, this is not always possible.
Sonos have come up with a solution to this problem. How about a smaller type of soundbar that will fit under your TV? It isn’t the first of its kind, but it is certainly one of the most stylish.
Couldn’t be simpler to use…
Minimalist is the way to describe the design. And it is certainly the case for the controls. There is just one conventional button on the unit, for connecting it to a network or other Sonos Speakers. There is also a play/pause button that is touch-sensitive and two touch-sensitive panels that control the volume.
It has only one audio input, which is optical. And the included optical cable will take the sound from the TV and play it through the speaker.
Big sound from a small box…
Its compact size measures just 28.40 by 15.00 by 2.30 inches, and it weighs a fraction under nineteen pounds. The width of the system would lead you to think that it cannot produce a wide and effective sound stage. However, it is surprising how far the sound reaches. It may convince you that you have speakers on either side of the room.
The sound of this Sonos depends on it being able to bounce sound off the walls. In a smaller room where there may be a lot of furniture, this could affect the soundstage somewhat.
Rich and warm…
It has ten drivers that produce a very good sound across the frequencies. The bass, in particular, is rich and warm and not too oppressive, as can be the case with some speakers. However, the high frequencies can be quite sharp and shrill.
I can bu used with the Sonos Trueplay app that is comprehensive with its features. However, it only works well when using an iPhone as its controller. Unfortunately, the mic quality lets it down in Android phones. The shrill extended high-frequency sound is worse when using Trueplay, but you can still hear it, even when you have it turned off.
There are good connections to Siri and other assistants.
Not exactly affordable…
This appears to be quite an expensive starter option for a home cinema system. And also, take into consideration that this is an optical connection only. There is no HDMI on offer with this speaker.
- Nice compact minimalist design with some good features.
- Delivers a wide soundstage.
- The large amount of high-frequency sound information can make listening a little uncomfortable.
Looking for other superb speaker options?
If so, check out our reviews of the Best In Ceiling Speakers, the Best Powered Speakers, the Best Bookshelf Speakers under 200 Dollars, the Best Studio Monitor Speakers, and the Best Speaker Docks on the market.
What are the Best Sonos Speakers?
The Sonos journey…
We suspect that for some, this may be the first time you’ve heard of Sonos and their speakers. You should be quite impressed. They are different in many ways, not least in their designs, which are more than innovative. It almost feels as if they have ripped up the design book and started again. A refreshing way to design products.
They can be considered expensive, but you are getting some serious quality. For us, a simple speaker would be all we would choose. Possibly others may follow, but initially a single speaker. And as we do not really enjoy having conversations with speaker cabinets, we would choose the…
Nicely designed with a good sound and not too large, it is a very good speaker and the Best Sonos speaker currently available.