Best Sonos speakers 2020: from great sound to integrated AI
The best Sonos speakers mean eight steps to multi-room audio nirvana.
Sonos is the undisputed master of modern home audio. But how do you choose from the best Sonos speakers on the market?
The American brand pioneered the kind of seamless, stylish, multi-room speaker system that has gradually replaced the traditional hi-fi setup for many people.
UPDATE: Sonos has revealed a massive change to the way that it is offering radio stations, revamping its radio setup with its own original programming that include some big names in music. It has bagged the likes of Thom Yorke and David Byrne to create stations based on the music they like, as well as producing its own ad-free station. This will include guest artist radio hours from the likes of Angel Olsen, JPEGMAFIA, Phoebe Bridgers, Nancy Whang, Jamila Woods, Jarvis Cocker, Jeff Parker, Khruangbin, Soccer Mommy, Vagabon, Vegyn and Whitney. You can tune in now. All you have to do is update your Sonos app.
The brand has quietly-but-assuredly releasing a steady stream of brilliant speakers that meet a range of needs. When you buy a Sonos product you know it’s going to tick a number of important boxes: it’ll sound great, look great, be a doddle to set up, and work with any other Sonos gear you might already own.
The company has been in the business for a good 17 years now, and it can be tricky to keep up with all of its speaker products.
Here, then, is the entire Sonos speaker line-up, together with some additional Sonos-platform products that deserve to be treated as part of the group.
Which one is your favourite? Vote to push your choice up the list.
- Just interested in home cinema sound? Don't miss our test of the best soundbars.
Best Sonos speakers
1. Sonos One
The Sonos One represents the brand’s multi-room audio ideal. It’s compact and stylish, yet packs a deceptive aural punch. The One’s rounded-block shape is designed to slot in anywhere around the house, from a kitchen worktop to a living room shelf to a bedside table. You can pair two Sonos Ones together for stereo sound, or team those two with the Sonos Beam for a full surround sound set-up. Add in Alexa and Google Assistant integration, and you have a smart speaker in every sense of the word.
2. Sonos Beam
While the Sonos Beam lives in the company’s Home Cinema category, it’s such a superb and multi-functional all-round speaker that it deserves a place on this list. This is a compact soundbar ostensibly designed to bolster the sound of your TV while largely staying out of sight. But the sheer quality of its sound output - courtesy of four full-range woofers, three passive radiators, five Class-D digital amplifiers and one tweeter - together with its voice assistant compatibility - make it a natural with audio of any kind.
3. Sonos Play:5
The Sonos Play:5 is the big-hitter of the Sonos speaker family, and the centrepiece of any multi-room Sonos system. It’s the most powerful speaker in the range, with three custom-designed woofers delivering rich bass and a sealed architecture that eliminates reverb and echo. Sitting it lengthways will offer your stereo sound from a single speaker, but standing it up switches to mono. You can then pair it with a second unit for a formidable classic stereo set-up.
4. Symfonisk bookshelf speaker
The Symfonisk bookshelf speaker sees Sonos team up with Ikea to produce a compact speaker that can be positioned or mounted almost anywhere. You can even screw it to the wall and use it as a (very small) shelf. Perhaps the most appealing thing about the Symfonisk bookshelf speaker, however, is that it offers a bone fide Sonos experience for less than £100. It’ll hook up seamlessly to your other Sonos products, while pairing two together proves to be a highly affordable way to get a fully fledged stereo system up and running.
5. Sonos One SL
The Sonos One SL is essentially the same brilliant speaker as the Sonos One before it, with the same compact design and largely the same internal components. Rather than adding to the package it removes one important part. This is the Sonos One without a mic and any form of smart assistant integration. It’s for those who just want great multi-room audio, with none of the voice-activated gimmicks of the Amazon Echo generation. This also makes the One SL a tiny bit cheaper than the One.
It's worth noting that the Sonos One SL isn't out until 24 September, so this is one that's only been seen in its preview stage.
6. Symfonisk table lamp
As its distinctly Scandinavian name should tell you, the Symfonisk table lamp is the product of a collaboration between Sonos and furniture giant Ikea. And what an inspired team-up it proves to be. The Symfonisk is both a stylish table lamp and a high-quality Sonos speaker, providing the ideal 2-in–1 for homes or rooms where space is at a premium. These being Sonos devices, you can pair them up for stereo sound and integrate them with your existing Sonos speakers.
7. Sonos Sub
Pick up the Sonos Sub if you’re looking to add a little extra low-end rumble to your audio set-up. While it’s a hefty bit of kit at 16kg, the Sub is also surprisingly slim and can be oriented either upright or laying on its side. The Sub integrates seamlessly with any other Sonos speakers, whereupon its twin inward-facing speaker drivers add a whole new dimension to your music. Add it to a Beam and a pair of Ones, and you have yourself a high-quality wireless 5.1 surround sound system.
8. Sonos Move
The newest addition to the Sonos speaker family finally takes the premium speaker brand on the road. True to its name, the Sonos Move can be used pretty much anywhere, courtesy of a battery and IP56 water resistance. Not only that, the Sonos Move adds Bluetooth connectivity so you don’t need to be near a Wi-Fi hotspot to get the music pumping. Just stream straight from your smartphone. Like many other Sonos speakers, the Move also supports both Alexa and Google Assistant.
It's worth noting that the Sonos Move isn't out until 24 September, so this is one that's only been seen in its preview stage.