Best Wireless Speakers in 2019

Best Wireless Speakers iMore 2019

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

Sonos One

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

The current king of wireless speakers.

The Sonos One features big, full sound, support for Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as native integration with Spotify, Apple Music, and other services.

Best For Apple Fans: Apple HomePod

Apple HomePod

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 great, features native support for Apple Music, and is a good choice for Apple fans. Spotify subscribers should look elsewhere, however.

Best Value: Libratone Zipp Mini

Libratone Zipp Mini

The Libratone Zipp Mini is a wireless speaker with support for both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, giving you multiple options for audio playback. This round speaker gives off 360-degree sound and can fill a room fairly well despite its small size. The colorful cloth cover is replaceable and comes off with a quick unzipping towards the bottom of the speaker.

You get a lot for the price of the Zipp Mini. Not only does it sound great, but it also supports AirPlay 2 for multi-room playback with supported devices, as well as Bluetooth, if you don't have an Apple device for playback. It integrates services like Tidal and Spotify, allowing you to start playing them with just a tap.

The Libratone Zipp Mini is also portable. Unplug it, and you've got a wireless speaker with about 10 hours of battery life. Its portability and support for AirPlay 2 make it an excellent outdoor speaker for parties, letting you beam your chosen music both in and out of your home with ease.

Pros:

  • Great sound
  • AirPlay 2
  • Bluetooth
  • Portable

Cons:

  • No built-in voice control

Best Value

Libratone Zipp Mini

A great small, portable speaker.

Libratone's Zipp Mini is a nice option if you're looking to save money but still want features like AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth, as well as high-quality audio.

Best Portable: Libratone Zipp 2

Libratone Zipp 2

The Libratone Zipp 2 features everything good about the Zipp Mini, just more of it. It has excellent 360-degree sound, but with a fuller, richer soundscape. It's still portable, but features a 12-hour battery life, up from the previous generation's 10 hours. And it supports both Bluetooth and AirPlay 2 for wireless music streaming at home or on the go.

One of the big changes with the latest generation of Zipp speakers is built-in support for Amazon's Alexa digital assistant. This gives you the ability to play music using voice commands and generally improves the overall usability of the speaker.

Like the Zipp Mini, the Zipp 2 offers multi-room music support, both through Libratone's proprietary system, which lets you connect up to 10 Zipp speakers and through AirPlay 2. Bluetooth is also a great option, especially if you want to take the Zipp 2 with you somewhere, such as on a picnic or just for playing music out in your back yard.

Pros:

  • Big, full sound
  • Built-in Alexa support
  • AirPlay 2
  • Bluetooth

Cons:

  • A little pricey

Best Portable

Libratone Zipp 2

Portable music powerhouse.

The Zipp 2 features a 12-hour battery life, making it a great speaker for both outdoor excursions, as well as Alexa support for robust voice commands.

Best Soundbar: Sonos Beam

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. 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.

If the Sonos Beam is the only speaker you have in your living room, you'd be well-served by it, thanks to its wonderful sound and full control over your TV.

Best Premium: Sonos Play:5 (Second Generation)

Sonos Play:5

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
  • ConTKTKTK

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, especially in its price range.

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 wonderful 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.

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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