Sonos is the biggest name in music streaming hardware, and the brand offers a robust range of speakers with a range of useful features. For starters, there's support for dozens of popular Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.including and Apple Music, plus many devices offer onboard voice commands via
With the release of theand the , the company also includes one of your most requested features: , which comes with amazing sound quality. When you add the budget-friendly range and , the number of Sonos-compatible speakers makes the multiroom system more attractive than ever.
Yet as the number of Sonos products keeps growing, it's also become trickier to decide which speaker system device or devices in the Sonos ecosystem to buy. With that in mind, we've put together a quick guide to Sonos to help you figure out which products are right for you and which offer the best performance for your money. We'll keep this list updated as the company releases new products.
Which Sonos is right for you?
The Ikea Symfonisk line is a result of a collaboration between the Scandinavian furniture giant and Sonos. It's fully compatible with other Sonos products, and the Bookshelf, Table Lamp and new Picture Frame can also be used for stereo sound or as a relatively inexpensive pair of rear surrounds ($200 for two Bookshelves versus $400 for two One SLs). If you want a Sonos speaker for the price of a Bluetooth speaker, this is the model to get.
Sure, the Sonos Roam is one of the pricier portable speakers you can buy, but it's also one of the best. It's weatherproof and solidly built, but Its secret weapon is its ability to switch between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when you're in range.
While the Sonos One SL is the cheapest indoor speaker in the line, for a little more you can upgrade to a model that's better value for money. The Sonos One (Gen 2) has excellent sonics and includes both Alexa and Google Assistant in one speaker (though you can only choose one at a time). Sonos Voice is also forthcoming on this and other smart speakers in the range.
Sonos has a new entry-level soundbar featuring the company's excellent multiroom music system onboard. A two-channel soundbar with Dolby Digital decoding, it's roughly two-thirds the size of the Sonos Beam but delivers a surprisingly wide soundstage through the use of proprietary waveguides.
While it doesn't support Dolby Atmos surround sound or have an HDMI port to connect to your TV (you connect it to your TV with an included optical cable), the sound quality for music and movies is impressive. You can pair it with a couple of other Sonos speakers, like the Sonos One, to create a surround sound system.
Now that the Sonos Play:3 has been discontinued, a pair of Sonos Ones is your next best bet. Setting up a stereo pair is easy with the Sonos app, and the system sounds better than equivalently priced speakers like the Google Home Max or Apple HomePod.
With the addition of Dolby Atmos, the Sonos Beam Gen 2 is the smart sound bar to get. You may be missing out on deep bass without a sub, but the speaker makes your movies sound huge with its virtual surround capabilities.
The Sonos Arc is the best soundbar the company has ever released. It has some great features, including an onboard voice assistant, HDMI eARC and Dolby Atmos playback. Unlike the Beam, the system doesn't need a subwoofer, and unless Sonos comes up with a cheaper Sub, this is the best money you can spend under a grand.
At the upper limit of what most people should pay for a Sonos soundbar surround sound system, this system will offer plenty of surround sound and musical thrills. You can buy the Sonos Beam Gen 2 ($449), Sonos Sub ($749) and a pair of One SLs as part of a set, or you can combine them with a pair of the Ikea Bookshelves ($198) separately. While the Sub on its own is pretty expensive it makes a great partner for the smaller Beam, while adding surrounds completes the effect. The system doesn't have true Atmos, and if you want that you can upgrade to the Arc or you could mount the bookshelf speakers high up on the walls behind you.
What is Sonos?
Sonos is one of the oldest multiroom audio systems on the market and also one of the most successful. Since the way we consume digital music has changed from playingto streaming services and beyond, the audio system has also adapted and grown.
Sonos began as a way to play iTunes playlists on your existing speakers and it's grown to support streaming music services on a range of tabletop speakers, amplifiers, sound bars and subwoofers. Controlling the system began with a desktop app and the , then it grew to mobile apps and voice assistants. Sonos now offers a range of speakers which include a choice of either Google Assistant, Alexa or onboard (One, Beam and Arc).
Here are some things about the product line that you need to know:
- Works without a hub over a standard Wi-Fi network (no Bluetooth except for the Roam)
- Supports over 100 streaming services
- Works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri
- Compatible with Apple AirPlay 2 and
- The new S2 system supports hi-res (i.e. Dolby TrueHD and Atmos) while only carry 16-bit/44.1kHz
- Stream your analog-connected music around the house (with Amp, Five or Port)
- Beam Gen 2 and Arc include
With the arrival of its S2 operating system, the company has replaced many of itswhile also introducing new ones. In 2020 alone, the company has announced the Sonos Arc soundbar, the new Sonos Five and an updated Sonos Sub. If you own older components, especially ones with "Zone" in the title, .
The current Sonos lineup is as follows:
- Sonos Roam: $179 -- Bluetooth and WiFi outdoor speaker
- Sonos One SL: $199 -- small tabletop audio speaker without microphones
- Sonos One (Gen 2): $219 -- smart table audio speaker with onboard voice assistant
- Sonos Ray: $279 -- soundbar with optical connection
- Sonos Beam Gen 2: $395 -- soundbar with voice assistant and HDMI
- Sonos Move $399: -- portable smart speaker with water resistance
- : $449 -- streaming add-on box for existing systems, analog input/output
- : $549 -- large tabletop audio speaker
- : $699 -- amplifier with analog input
- Sonos Sub: $749 -- wireless subwoofer
- Sonos Arc: $899 -- Dolby Atmos soundbar
There are also three speakers from Ikea that work with the Sonos system: the Symfonisk Speaker lamp base (which replaces the ) and the $199 Ikea Symfonisk ., the $140
The Sonos app
Until voice control completely replaces it, the Sonos app is where you control most of your audio's setup and playback. The app's focus has changed over the years as it's moved away from services to concentrate on the speakers themselves. The app still has one of the best universal searches, and it's easy to set up your speakers.
The app is available for the following devices:
- Apple iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
- Android phones and tablets
- Apple laptops and desktops
- Windows laptops and desktops
- Amazon Fire tablets
As well as the Sonos app, you'll also be able to stream to the audio speakers directly from your favorite apps using Play To Sonos. These include: Spotify, Pandora, YouTube Music and Tidal's streaming music service. The system also supports streaming from iOS and compatible software using
The main competitive standards available to Sonos are Bose Music,, , Apple AirPlay 2, and . Amazon Echo and the Polk Command Bar also support the .
Wireless audio speakers start at around $100 -- with most featuring Apple AirPlay, Chromecast or both -- and great wireless sound bars such as the Polk Command Bar start at $250..