Best wireless speakers iMore 2021
A wireless speaker is the only way to play your music loudly and proudly these days. You can stream music from a mobile device, a set-top box like an Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV, or by using the speaker's internal system. Many wireless speakers also respond to voice commands using digital assistants like Alexa. The best wireless speakers today is Sonos Move. The sound is top-notch, the price fair, and it's pairable with other Sonos speakers. Six models make it to the top of our list of the best wireless speakers this year. Let's check them out.
- Best overall: Sonos Move Battery-Powered Smart Speaker
- Best for Apple fans: Apple HomePod (Black)
- Best bass: Sony SRS-XB43 EXTRA BASS
- Best size: Marshall Emberton Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- Best soundbar: Sonos Beam - Smart TV Sound Bar
- Best portable: Bose SoundLink Revolve+
Best overall: Sonos Move
If portability and freedom are key, throw the Sonos Move in your shopping cart now. It's the best all-around wireless speaker for most people, and it made our list of the best smart speakers this year. The Sonos Move is a durable, battery-powered smart speaker that works with Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, your voice, and Wi-Fi. It also pairs with others speakers in the Sonos ecosystem.
The Sonos Move is a cinch to set up on your iPhone or iPad. And the sound? It's knock-your-socks-off impressive, capable of filling a room, your car, or back yard with booming bass and strong mid-tones. The battery life also deserves mention. It lasts 11 hours and recharges in a base or via USB-C.
Best of all, the Sonos Move is useable whenever and wherever you need it. With an IP56 rating, it stands up to humidity, rain, snow, salt spray, the sun, and dust. It's also shock-resistant and works with Alexa. Yep, it's spendy, but if you want the best wireless speaker available today, this is it.
- Superb sound
- AirPlay 2 support
- Sonos ecosystem
- Alexa support
Best for Apple fans: Apple HomePod
If you're looking for an excellent speaker to use with Apple Music, the HomePod is a solid choice. It's ideal for those already invested in Apple's ecosystem. If that's you, stop looking and grab the Apple HomePod now.
The sound is rich and bright. It fills a room, which might shock you, given how small it is. If you have two, or you've invested in the newer HomePod mini, connecting multiple speakers is no trouble at all. Two HomePods paired, connected via AirPlay to Apple TV, also 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 streaming from any device.
If you don't like using Siri, you can always control your HomePod directly from your iPhone. HomePod integrates with Messages, Calendar, and Reminders, giving you instant access to those apps with only your voice. It also lets you make phone calls using Siri.
HomePod supports AirPlay 2 and thus connects with other AirPlay 2 speakers from different manufacturers, including the Sonos Move.
- Excellent, full sound
- Stereo pairing is simple
- Integration with Apple apps
- Very Apple-focused
Best bass: Sony SRS-XB43 EXTRA BASS
If it's thumping bass you crave, you want the Sony SRS-XB43 EXTRA BASS wireless speaker. It pushes out solid bass and balanced sound, and streams over Bluetooth. A built-in EQ mixer gives you control over how much or how little bass this portable speaker delivers. It's shockingly loud on its own but can also be connected to up to 100 other Sony speakers using their free Party Connect app.
And if you want a light show to accentuate your tunes, Sony does that too. You can bounce multi-color strobe lights on the speaker's mid-section, display LED bars on the sides, or turn them off completely. You'll never run out of juice with the Sony. The battery lasts a full 24-hours and recharges over USB or USB-C.
We love the deep, punchy bass on the Sony, the dedicated tweeter, and its durability. It has an IP67 waterproof rating and also holds its own against dust, water, and drops. Our only complaint is that you must download a companion app to get the most out of this speaker. Without the app, you'll get an unbalanced sound experience that will leave you wanting more. If that's not an issue, you'll love the thundering bass and portability of the Sony.
- Huge bass
- Excellent build quality
- IP67 weather rating
- Sync up to 100 speakers
- 24-hour battery life
- Must download companion app to adjust settings
Best size: Marshall Emberton Portable Bluetooth Speaker
The tiny Marshall Emberton packs a punch! The multi-directional sound from this portable Bluetooth speaker outperforms many larger wireless speakers. The sound is big, the size small, and the price just right.
You'll get a full day of playtime from a single charge out of the Marshall Emberton, and 20 minutes of charging nets you another five hours of sound. Cool, right? The exterior is silicone with a solid metal grille, making it durable enough to go anywhere your adventures take you. And with an IPX7 waterproof rating, you don't have to worry about the weather either.
Controls are adjustable with a single knob. It looks old-school cool, has Bluetooth 5.0, 360 degrees of sound, and it's so lightweight that you can toss it in a backpack and go. The bass on the Marshall is good but could be bolder, or at least adjustable. Aside from that, this little speaker punches well above its price point and size.
- Battery lasts all day
- Big sound, small size
- Easy-to-use control knob
- Bass could be stronger
Best soundbar: Sonos Beam
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. You can not only control music playback with your voice, but you can also control your TV. You can turn your TV's volume up and down, and you can turn your set on and off with simple Alexa voice commands. Yes, it's expensive, but we think it's one of the best wireless speakers out today.
- Great sound
- Control your TV with Alexa
- Google Assistant support
- Sonos ecosystem
- AirPlay 2
Best portable: Bose SoundLink Revolve+
Bose is a leader in audio equipment. Whether you're looking for the best wireless speakers or earbuds to help you get a better night of sleep, Bose reigns supreme.
The SoundLink Revolve+ is a portable Bluetooth speaker that outputs tremendous sound. With 360 degrees of coverage, this grab-and-go speaker rocks. Literally. You'll 16 hours of playtime out of the battery, and it recharges completely in a few short hours. Pair a second SoundLink speaker from Bose, and you can really pump up the volume.
The SoundLink Revolve+ has a built-in mic with a wireless range of 30 feet. Make and take phone calls with it while outside by the pool or in your office. It's a great way to go hands-free. This speaker is water-resistant, carrying a rating of IPX4. The only bummer here is that this is not a smart speaker, so you won't' have access to Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa. Aside from that, this is a powerhouse portable speaker you can take anywhere.
- Big, expansive sound
- Built-in mic
- Not a smart speaker
Wireless speaker systems are perfect for playing music throughout your home or back yard while avoiding expensive, time-wasting wiring setups. For some speakers, it also means that you can take them wherever you go or play music from any device you own.
The Sonos Move 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, can be used with an AirPlay 2 system, and it stands up to the weather.
Get the Sonos Move and take big sound with you while you're on the move.
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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