Sonos LifestyleSource: iMore

Best Wireless Speakers iMore 2020

A wireless speaker, whether on its own or as part of your home music setup, is a wonderful way to play your music loudly and proudly. You can play music from a mobile device, a set-top box like an Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV, or using the speaker's own internal system. Many wireless speakers now respond to voice commands using digital assistants, such as Alexa, which powers the voice commands in our top pick, the Sonos One.

Best Overall: Sonos One Gen 2

Sonos One Lifestyle TwoSource: iMore

The Sonos One is the best all-around wireless speaker for most people. It has excellent sound quality for its price, and pairs seamlessly with other speakers in the Sonos ecosystem to play music all around your home without expensive wireless installations.

And thanks to the introduction of AirPlay 2 support on Sonos One, these multi-room, multi-speaker capabilities are no longer restricted to other Sonos products. With AirPlay 2, your Sonos One can share music playback with other AirPlay 2 speakers from different manufacturers.

Voice control is becoming increasingly popular, and the Sonos One features support for Amazon's Alexa assistant, as well and Google Assistant. And thanks to recent updates for Alexa, you can now play Apple Music natively using Alexa on your Sonos One if you're a subscriber.

Pros:

  • Great sound
  • AirPlay 2
  • Sonos ecosystem
  • Alexa and Google Assistant support

Cons:

  • Price might still be too high for some
  • Not portable

Best Overall

Sonos One Gen 2

The current king of wireless speakers.

The Sonos One has great sound, supports Alexa and Google Assistant, and integrates with Spotify, Apple Music, and other services.

Best For Apple Fans: Apple HomePod

Apple HomePodSource: iMore

If you're looking for an excellent speaker to use with Apple Music and you don't mind paying a bit more, the HomePod is a solid choice. It's really for the person who's already invested in Apple's ecosystem, but if that's you, you might have just found your next great speaker.

The sound of the HomePod is beautiful and full. It fills a room, which might shock you, given how small it is. If you have two, connecting the two in a stereo pair is amazingly simple. Two HomePods paired, connected via AirPlay to an Apple TV, make an excellent basic sound system for your Home theater. The Apple Music integration is, as you'd expect, top-notch, and all you have to do is call out to Siri to start playing something.

If you don't like using Siri, you can always control your HomePod directly from your iPhone. Speaking of your iPhone, HomePod also integrates with Messages, Calendar, and Reminders on your iPhone, allowing you to access the contents of those apps with just your voice. It also lets you make phone calls, which you can do using Siri, which is built-in to the HomePod.

HomePod supports AirPlay 2, and thus connects with other AirPlay 2 speakers from different manufacturers, including the Sonos One and Libratone Zipp.

Pros:

  • Excellent, full sound
  • Stereo pairing is simple
  • Integration with Apple apps

Cons:

  • Very Apple-focused
  • Pricey

Best For Apple Fans

Apple HomePod

A great speaker for Apple die-hards.

The HomePod sounds good, has native support for Apple Music and is a solid choice for Apple fans.

Best Small Smart Speaker: Libratone Zipp Mini 2

Libratone Zipp Mini 2 LifestyleSource: Libratone

The Libratone Zipp Mini 2 is a portable smart speaker with precision acoustic stereo drivers that deliver full 360-degree sound that fills a room. Available in five bold colors, the Zipp Mini 2 is worth a look if you want to save a few dollars without sacrificing sound quality.

Smart technology is a big part of the Zipp Mini 2. Amazon Alexa is baked-in, and the wireless Zipp Mini 2 can control your smart lights, door locks, thermostats, read a Kindle book to you, and more. With support for up to 10 Zipp devices, this is a reliable speaker that supports streaming, delivers excellent sound, and works seamlessly with SiriusXM, Amazon Music, Spotify, Audible, and other services.

The one drawback: setting up this speaker takes a bit of patience. Out of the box, you'll need to perform a software update. Pairing with streaming services takes a bit more time than it should, too. If you're comfortable with that, the Zipp Mini 2 delivers on sound and value and is lightweight enough to take anywhere.

Pros:

  • Great sound
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Bluetooth
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Speaker setup is tedious

Best Small Smart Speaker

Libratone Zipp Mini 2

A great small, portable speaker.

If you're looking to save a few bucks on a truly portable device with superb sound, this is the speaker you want.

Best Waterproof: JBL FLIP 5

Bjl Flip5 LifestyleSource: JBL

JBL's latest FLIP is a waterproof, portable speaker that comes in 12 colors and patterns. The battery life on the FLIP 5 rings in at a solid 12 hours, which is more than enough juice to power through your backyard BBQ or a day at the beach. And with an IPX7 waterproof rating, you can feel secure playing tunes poolside without worry.

You can pair multiple FLIP 5 speakers to give your party a sound boost. On its own, though, the premium JBL sound quality of this speaker is superb. You'll get a 3.5mm stereo jack on this unit, a cord to recharge the battery, and prominent, easy to identify buttons to power on/off and crank up the volume.

The JBL FLIP 5 is a tiny speaker with a big sound. Our only disappointment is that there are no smart features included. You won't find Google Voice, Alexa, or streaming capability here. If you need a small speaker that you can tuck in a bag that will survive rain, pool parties, or backyard fun, this is the one to get.

Pros:

  • 12-hour battery life
  • Big sound, small size
  • Prominent buttons
  • Bluetooth

Cons:

  • No smart features

Best Waterproof

JBL FLIP 5

A waterproof powerhouse.

The JBL FLIP 5 is waterproof, small in size and big on sound.

Best Soundbar: Sonos Beam

Sonos BeamSource: Sonos

The Sonos Beam is a simple-to-use soundbar that integrates perfectly into the Sonos ecosystem. It pairs well with a couple of Sonos Ones for a wireless surround sound system or works perfectly on its own to provide much better sound than your TV's speakers ever could alone.

When you're not using the Beam for TV and movie watching, it also serves as a wonderful addition to your wireless music setup. Being a Sonos speaker, the Beam features full multi-room support through the Sonos system, just like a Sonos One or Play:5. It also features AirPlay 2 integration, letting you connect it to your Apple devices wirelessly. It pairs great with two HomePods set up in a stereo pair, for instance.

The Sonos Beam is part of the newer generation of Sonos products, and thus, Alexa support comes standard. This way, you can not only control music playback with your voice, but you can also control your TV that way. You can turn your TV's volume up and down, and you can turn your set on and off with simple Alexa voice commands.

Pros:

  • Great sound
  • Control your TV with Alexa
  • Google Assistant support
  • Sonos ecosystem
  • AirPlay 2

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Alexa keyword is too sensitive

Best Soundbar

Sonos Beam

A great living room speaker.

Sonos Beam has terrific sound and full control over your TV. Perfect for any living room.

Best Premium: Sonos Play:5 (Second Generation)

Sonos Play:5Source: Sonos

The Sonos Play:5 is the company's flagship speaker, and it shows in both the price and the sound quality. The Play:5 is a wonderful speaker, but you're going to pay for it. If you're already in the Sonos ecosystem, or you're just looking for the absolute best speaker to get started within that system, the Play:5 is what you should get.

Like the Sonos One and the Beam soundbar, the Play:5, of course, features full support for Sonos multi-room music playback. It also features AirPlay 2 integration, so while it might lack built-in voice controls, you can use Siri on your iPhone or iPad to send music to your Sonos.

The real standout of the Play:5 is, of course, the sound. Big, full, and expressive, it's difficult to find better sound in a more convenient, easy-to-use package, especially for the price.

Pros:

  • Big, expansive sound
  • Sonos ecosystem
  • AirPlay 2

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • No built-in voice control

Best Premium

Sonos Play:5 (Second Generation)

Powerful sound, powerful price.

It might be expensive, but it's hard to be the combination of simplicity and sound quality offered by the Sonos Play:5.

Bottom line

Wireless speaker systems are perfect for playing music throughout your home while avoiding expensive wiring setups. For some speakers, it also means that you can take them wherever you go, or play music from any device.

The Sonos One is the current king of the hill for wireless speakers, simply because it's the best option for most people. It delivers beautiful sound, integrates with a ton of services out of the box, features built-in Alexa support, and can be used with an AirPlay 2 system. And it does this all at a great price.

Get the Sonos One in black or white and experience music in a whole new way.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Joseph Keller is a senior writer at iMore. An Apple user for more than a decade and a half, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

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