Table of Contents
As well as offering pristine audio playback, the best wireless speakers have lots of modern features packed in, including smart assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. Many of the best home speakers also boast built-in support for a range of your favorite streaming services, as well as slick designs that will look the part in any home.
Some of these wireless speakers double up as Bluetooth speakers as well. These portable speakers allow you to easily cast music from your phone or another Bluetooth device – though some home wireless speakers rely on a Wi-Fi network.
Home speakers can be pricey, but with Black Friday and Cyber Monday on the way, we’re expecting many of the models in this guide to be discounted heavily. We’ll be keeping a keen eye out for Sonos Black Friday deals in particular, but you can expect to see some Bose Black Friday deals as well.
Whatever you need a new wireless speaker for, the amount of choice out there means making the right decision can be a challenge. That’s why we’ve selected and ranked the best speakers for 2021 based on price and performance to make your decision a little easier.
Our top picks
If you’re in the market for a cleanly designed, exceptional-sounding connected speaker, you’ll find none better than the Sonos One. Offering the best of both Sonos’ multi-room speaker platform and both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant’s smart home prowess, the Sonos One is the pinnacle of connectivity.
Want to hear your favorite song from Spotify? All you need to do is ask! Want every speaker in the upstairs to play the same song? Group them together via the Sonos app and you’ll have a house party in minutes.
While there are more powerful (and more expensive) speakers listed down below, for the vast majority of folks, the Sonos One is the best wireless speaker of 2021.
Sonos was one of the first companies to get into the wireless speaker business, and as a result, has one of the most seamlessly integrated speaker systems on the market.
Unlike solutions that rely on Bluetooth or Google Cast, Sonos’ speakers are controlled directly from its own app, which has built-in integration for a number of streaming services, including Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, Deezer, TuneIn, and a whole range of smaller services.
Since Play:5 comes with multi-room support, you can also add additional speakers such as the Sonos Play:3 and Sonos Play:1 to build up a complete surround sound system, but if you want to keep it simple, then you should find the Play:5 to offer more than enough volume.
The Pure Evoke C-F6 isn’t a flashy wireless speaker – its modest (but refined) looks let it slip unassumingly into any decor, although it doesn’t boast the premium multi-room options of pricier competitors on this list.
But that’s also not really the point of the Evoke C-F6 – it’s positioning itself to be the one-room, one-shop stop for all your audio playback needs. There’s a dazzling array of audio source options on offer here, with the biggest draws being Spotify Connect, DAB, Internet radio, Bluetooth and old faithful CD playback.
With a solid app letting you control the speaker from across a room, and the Evoke C-F6 offering a warm and natural soundstage from its stereo speakers, it’ll take pride of place on whichever bedside table or living room shelf you decide to pop it on.
The Sonos Roam is our pick for the best Bluetooth speaker on the planet, with a powerful sound, rugged design, excellent connectivity features, and smart home control. A bass-heavy audio performance makes it ideal for use outdoors, while a clever Automatic Switching feature means it’s easily used indoors, too – though audiophiles may dislike the overwhelming low frequencies and rhythmic handling.
Following in the footsteps of the Sonos Move, the Sonos Roam comes with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, which means it can work as a portable speaker as well as part of your wider multi-room Sonos system – and with Google Assistant and Alexa onboard, it doubles up a smart speaker too.
In spite of its (relatively) low price, you’re getting a lot for your money here. Its slick design means the Sonos Roam won’t look out of place in your home, while a rugged, waterproof, and dustproof build and a decent battery life make it ideal for listening to music outdoors.
There’s a growing market for portable smart speakers, and the Bose Portable Home Speaker is a great example, offering the smarts of Google Assistant and Alexa alongside Bluetooth connectivity.
The Bose Portable Home Speaker isn’t the brand’s first outdoor-friendly speaker, and it shows: gorgeous minimalist design that meets weather-ready robustness, with a light build and handle that lends itself to listening on the go.
You might not have heard of it before, but Naim audio is a company that produces some of the most stylish connected speakers in the business, and we think the Mu-So Qb is the best they’ve put out yet.
It comes will a full suite of connectivity options including aptX Bluetooth, Spotify Connect and AirPlay, which means all of your music should be supported at its maximum resolution, no matter what device you’re using.
But even if you don’t have your phone in hand, this wireless speaker is still controllable using its sleek touch-screen which allows you to access internet radio stations, for example.
It’s got a premium price, but if you pluck for the Qb then you won’t be disappointed.
Sonos has a new surround sound solution and it’s contained entirely in a single soundbar it calls Arc.
The Sonos Arc draws on Dolby’s latest TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus sound codecs to deliver the best quality lossless audio found on cutting-edge Blu-ray disks and some of the leading streaming services. It then enhances the 3D soundscape using Dolby Atmos object tracks to bounce certain sounds off the walls around you so they feel like they’re coming at you from all angles.
While all this might sound complicated, the Sonos Arc setup couldn’t be simpler, involving just a couple of steps on the smartphone app. The minimalist cable connections and all-in-one system construction add to this no-fuss feeling and streamlined aesthetic – making it the best soundbar you can buy in 2021 that doubles up as a fantastic wireless speaker for your TV.
When it comes to stuffing a small apartment with Google Assistant devices, is too much of a good thing bad? As the Google Home Max proved to us, the answer is no.
Although absolutely massive, the Home Max makes for a surprisingly versatile addition to a space of any size, thanks to its balanced, awesome sound delivery and Smart Sound function that helps it adjust to any environment you set it in.
Google’s biggest wireless speaker is more elegant than it has any right to be, what with clever touches like the moveable resting pad and orientation-friendly touch functions. It’s also appreciated that its looks stand out if you choose to notice it, but blend into the scene during everyday use.
Available in a range of chic colors, the LS50 Wireless II build upon the success of LS50 Wireless, which impressed with their detailed sound and connectivity options, to create what could be the best stereo speakers you can buy today at this price.
With support for Hi-Res Audio, an expansive soundstage, and excellent detail and dexterity, audio quality is nothing short of fantastic. Add to this a vastly improved app, the ability to adjust the EQ settings, and blissfully easy setup, and you have yourself a pair of stereo speakers that can really do no wrong in our eyes.
Of its trio of wireless multi-room speakers, the Marshall Stanmore is the middle child. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the unloved sibling.
While the larger Woburn is just a little too big for most rooms, and the smaller Acton has a number of connectivity issues, the Stanmore strikes a nice balance between the two with a sound that’s big and punchy, without straying too far into ‘overkill’ territory (although mark our words, it will if you want it to).
It doesn’t have the most refined sound out of the speakers on this list, but the Marshall Stanmore is intelligently designed and simple to use. If you’re looking for something to take on the road, check out our Marshall Tufton review – it packs the vintage Marshall look and rocking sound into a portable design.
The Amazon Echo Studio is an impressive offering – a smart-speaker and Dolby Atmos immersive sound home cinema unit, all in one tidy package. Some of its experiments with upmixing stereo sources can sound a bit confused, but it’s otherwise a very powerful, feature-rich smart speaker – especially considering the price.
It’s a good option for anyone who’s low on space and can’t stretch to an up firing soundbar or multi-speaker setup, while Alexa smarts mean that it can act as the center of your smart home, as well as your music player.
If you’re upgrading from the simple speakers built into your TV, or a lowly stereo soundbar, it’s a fantastic and simple upgrade to make to your home cinema system. You’ll get a cracking, resonant bass response, excellent volume and far more depth than a comparably-priced soundbar can offer.
As ever with virtualized surround sound, it’s not as impactful as having discrete physical speaker channels above and behind you, hooked up to an AV receiver. But that’s a huge expense, and not practical for all living room arrangements, making the powerful Echo Studio an impressive value option.
[Update: We’ve just reviewed the Amazon Echo Show 10, which comes with a rotating screen and can double up as a home security camera.]
For anyone looking to enter the Apple smart ecosystem, or who has an Apple Music subscription, this is the wireless speaker to go for. It’s far cheaper than some might expect, packing mighty sounds and an elegant design for under $100 / £100 / AU$150.
However, if you don’t have an Apple Music subscription, you’re rather limited when it comes to music streaming. You can’t ask the HomePod mini to play anything through Spotify – that can only be enabled through AirPlay, and requires using your phone rather than the simpler method of asking Siri to play tunes with your voice.
If you’re wondering about the original Apple HomePod, you can still buy it, but it has been discontinued. Stock is still available to buy, but it’s likely to sell out fairly soon.
A resurrected Braun Audio’s new flagship one-box hi-fi offers impressively bassy yet detailed audio, plus excellent build quality to complement its smart speaker status. The need to use Google Home for setup and Google Assistant-only compatibility might annoy some, but Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast streaming is easily capable of challenging Sonos on sound quality.
That’s a good thing, because the LE01 smart speaker comes with only Bluetooth 4.2; there’s no sign of aptX hi-res audio streaming. Nor does this dual-band Wi-Fi speaker allow streaming directly from Tidal Connect or Spotify Connect, and it doesn’t operate as an access-all-areas UPnP speaker either.
The Devialet Phantom I is a continuation of the French audio brand’s iconic range of wireless speakers, which come with powerful side-firing bass reflex ports that pulse in time to your music. The sound is nothing short of outstanding, and a good range of connectivity options and an easy-to-use app make the Phantom I easy to recommend – if you have a lot of money to spare, that is.
Oh, and don’t forget the 22-carat rose gold-plated sides – which may go some way to explain the speaker’s $3,200 / £2,790 / AU$5,490 price. And that’s the price for just one speaker, by the way. If you want to pair two for stereo sound, it will cost you double.
Still, the sound is undeniably good. This speaker packs a real punch, presenting a powerful, immersive sound, thumping bass, smooth mids and detailed trebles.
How to choose the best wireless speaker for you
When it comes to picking a new home speaker, the sound is probably the most important factor. If you’re looking for room-filling sound, check out models that feature 360-degree grilles and disperse audio at all angles; the Amazon Echo Studio or the Sonos One are good places to start.
If it’s true audio-fidelity you’re after, opt for trusted brands like Sonos, Bowers & Wilkins, and KEF – speakers from these companies are always likely to sound brilliant.
If smart home connectivity is your main concern, then check out Amazon Echo and Google Home / Nest speakers; you’ll need to work out which voice assistant’s ecosystem suits you, Alexa or Google Assistant.
What are the best wireless speaker brands to look out for?
Need a smart speaker? Check out models in the Google Nest and Amazon Echo ranges (and if you’re a Siri user, Apple). Bear in mind though, you’re not stuck with these brands if you need a voice assistant, as many third-party speakers come with Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility.
If it’s pure audio fidelity you’re after, brands like KEF, Naim, and Devialet are worth looking into.
And, for portability, check out the likes of JBL, Ultimate Ears, Bose, and Urbanista.