Table of Contents_
What makes the best WiFi speakers? While choosing among today’s top-performing WiFi speakers depends on your particular needs, great stereo sound quality is a great starting point. The best WiFi smart speakers use WiFi’s higher bandwidth capabilities to stream better audio quality, with clear highs and mid-tones and strong bass.
Connecting over a Wi-Fi network also enables a portable speaker to pair with a wide range of smart home devices and voice assistants, like Google Assistant. So, look for connected speakers that work with your IoT setup, are compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, and work with Dolby Atmos or enable surround-sound audio quality.
Finally, the best WiFi speakers should have the flexibility to connect with other multi-room speakers and deliver an excellent sound experience as single speakers, too. Unlike most Bluetooth speakers, WiFi-enabled speakers can use more bandwidth, enabling additional individual speakers to share a network.
Keep reading to learn more about the top-performing WiFi speakers for home and portable audio and how to choose the best speakers for your needs.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model features WiFi connectivity to offer seamless sound from streaming music services or watching the latest movie with friends. In addition, this device supports Dolby Atmos for an incredible soundscape from music, movies, or TV.
The Amazon Echo Studio speaker is an impressive pick for users looking for a multimedia smart home device to deliver exceptional audio across music, movies, and TV. This model features five speakers to provide expansive 3D audio with Dolby Atmos and other virtual surround sound technologies. This model features a simple four-step setup, and users will love having devices like smart TVs and music services directly connected to this speaker. While this model sometimes misses voice commands, users can add calendar events, activate appliances, and start a party with their voice.
In addition to voice control and 3D audio support, the Amazon Echo Studio speaker is suited for the 21st-century smart home thanks to WiFi connectivity and cutting-edge Bluetooth technology. This model features automatic room sensing that analyzes the acoustics of your room and delivers fine-tuned audio playback from anywhere it is placed. Additionally, this model offers enhanced control of your smart home and internet-connected devices like light bulbs, smart plugs, and other smart appliances.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model features impressive audio and simple wire-free connectivity for listening to tunes or watching a streaming movie with friends. Additionally, users will love this rugged device for enjoying music while in harsh outdoor conditions.
The Cambridge Soundworks SWOA3UBLK speaker is a superb choice for users looking for a durable speaker for outdoor excursions or simple fireside hangouts with friends. This model features a long-lasting internal battery for listening on the go, and the Bluetooth range is a staggering 100 feet. This triangular speaker features IPX7 waterproofing that can stand up to days at the pool or beach. While the bass levels are heavy for some users, the downward-facing passive bass radiator ensures that the bass sounds rich.
In addition to impressive waterproofing and a great wireless range, the Cambridge Soundworks SWOA3UBLK speaker delivers up to 20 hours of listening on a single charge. It is easy to set up for new users. This speaker offers the OontZ App for enhanced control and tuning of this speaker, and users can connect multiple units for wireless surround sound. Additionally, the digital audio processor enhances the highs and mids of music and ensures that voices are clear for audiobooks or podcasts.
Award: BEST FOR OUTSIDE LISTENING
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model features impressive durability and easy mounting for listening to your favorite tunes by the pool or on the back deck. Thanks to strong waterproofing and durable construction, users can enjoy this kit in most weather conditions.
The Pyle PDWR64BTB speaker system is a compelling option for users looking for a robust sound to listen to music by the pool or enjoy stereo TV in the garage. This speaker system features dual 800-watt speakers to deliver high-fidelity sound for backyard cookouts or to watch the big game from your patio. This model features a simple mounting system and excellent weatherproofing that can withstand harsh weather. While the power cable is relatively short, these speakers work from vertical, horizontal, or hanging positions.
In addition to versatile mounting and powerful sound, the Pyle PDWR64BTB speaker delivers a user-friendly set of speakers that work with most modern and legacy devices. This model can connect to smartphones, tablets, and PCs for easy wireless sound, thanks to Bluetooth connectivity. Additionally, these speakers feature numerous ports for connecting to CD/DVD players, camcorders, VCRs, and other legacy devices. Users don’t need to worry about water or dirt invading their speakers, thanks to the recessed ports.
Award: BEST FOR TRAVEL
WHY WE LIKE IT: This extremely durable model features wireless connectivity and a long-lasting internal battery so users can enjoy hours of music on the go. Additionally, thanks to robust 360-degree speakers, users will hear their favorite media from any position around the unit.
The Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST speaker is a terrific choice for users needing robust sound for weekend camping excursions or day-long hikes with friends. This wireless speaker features advanced waterproofing to keep up, even during wet weather and harsh conditions. Additionally, users will love the versatile wireless connectivity that works with Bluetooth and dual-band WiFi. While the associated app only allows for battery monitoring, this model features a simple setup process that gives users access to multiple music services thanks to Amazon Alexa.
In addition to efficient wireless connectivity and Amazon Alexa, the Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST speaker delivers an impressive soundscape thanks to the 360-degree speakers that wrap around the unit. This model features an incredible wireless range in WiFi or Bluetooth mode. This unit features a 330 ft range in WiFi mode, and it has a 150 ft range in Bluetooth mode. Additionally, this speaker can connect directly with music services to stream music, podcasts, or audiobooks in WiFi mode.
Award: BEST FOR CONNECTED HOMES
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model features impressive sound and versatile wireless connectivity for users needing a central hub for an interconnected home. Additionally, this model supports voice controls that let you stream directly from your favorite music service.
The Sonos MOVE1US1BLK speaker is a fantastic choice for users needing a durable device with a strong sound and battery-powered operation for indoor and outdoor listening sessions. This model features a simple setup that takes an average of under 10 minutes, and users will love the versatile connectivity that supports WiFi and Bluetooth technology. Additionally, this speaker features responsive and simple onboard controls. While the battery life is only 11 hours, the charging base blends into any interior design scheme.
In addition to multiple connectivity options and a fantastic charging base, the Sonos MOVE1US1BLK speaker features advanced durability that can stand up to camping trips or simple backyard barbeque sessions. This model features Trueplay tuning that automatically optimizes the sound for your setting and music. Additionally, users will love the expansive soundstage and rich bass so they can hear deep tones or booming action. Thanks to Amazon Alexa, users can utilize voice controls to use streaming apps, check the news, set alarms, etc.
Award: BEST FOR OFFICES
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model features a premium design that lets it fit in a library or shared professional workspace. With multiple connectivity options and simple onboard controls, this unit allows users to hear their favorite tunes without a lengthy setup.
The Edifier MS50A speaker is an excellent choice for users needing dynamic sound for their office, shared workspace, or waiting room. This model features a premium design with solid black plastic and woodgrain accents that can fit in most interior design schemes. Thanks to the simple connectivity and onboard controls, users can listen to podcasts or their favorite albums while working around the house. While this model doesn’t feature an integrated microphone, it is still compatible with Amazon Alexa.
In addition to Alexa compatibility and a modern design, the Edifier MS50A speaker features WiFi connectivity so users can stream music directly from most major streaming services. If you’re outside of the WiFi range, users can play their favorite sounds from their smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. Additionally, users can connect multiple MS50A speakers for stereo surround sound, or they can place various synced speakers throughout their homes. Lastly, users will love the smart touch controls.
A Wi-Fi speaker is a wireless speaker that can connect to an audio source or other devices over a Wi-Fi network. Many models can also use Bluetooth. Thanks to WiFi, users can easily link individual speakers together to function as stereo speakers or add additional speaker units for multi-room audio. These speakers can also deliver better audio performance thanks to a higher bandwidth for wireless streaming apps and streaming quality. They come in a wide range of sizes and power levels, ranging from pocket-sized portable speakers to soundbars and desktop models that deliver room-filling, rich sound, and 3D audio playback capabilities with Dolby Atmos.
Compared to speakers in general, a WiFi speaker stands out because of its ability to connect wirelessly over a WiFi network. This adds versatility and acoustic performance, making connecting to a mobile device, laptop, smart TV, or additional speaker unit easier. That’s why WiFi speakers make great laptop speakers.
A WiFi speaker may be more suited to working with smart home devices and IoT interfaces with a higher bandwidth internet connection. Many WiFi models, like the best JBL speakers, have built-in support for smart TVs, Amazon Echo, Google Chromecast, and other major streaming services.
Unlike other home entertainment speakers, WiFi soundbars and speakers are usually battery-powered and somewhat portable. Compared to Bluetooth speakers, speakers that use WiFi often have more of an audiophile and home theater focus, rather than emphasizing portability and convenience. To that end, they might offer improved sound quality. You’ll find such features in our Philips Fidelio SoundAvia AD7000W37 review.
Like speakers in general, WiFi models connect to an audio input, process audio signals through a transducer, and generate sound using one or more magnetic sound drivers. As with other speakers, a Wi-Fi speaker or Wi-Fi stereo pair operates in a specific frequency response range. They also offer volume control and some amount of equalizer tuning control, letting users adjust the relative levels of bass, treble, and mid-tones.
Wi-Fi speakers connect to an audio source using a WiFi LAN protocol, process the audio signals through a transducer, and generate sound output using drivers, woofers, and tweeters. Sound drivers generally consist of a small permanent magnet and electrical coil that can vibrate at different frequencies corresponding to the input signal.
Soundbars and some compact speaker models use directional drivers that enable multiple-channel output with Dolby Atmos or a similar virtual surround sound system. Many top-rated WiFi speaker models have dedicated dome or ribbon tweeters for clear, ringing high notes. Many also employ woofers with passive radiators for more resonant bass response.
WiFi wireless speakers, like the Aether Cone, can connect with other devices sharing a wireless network. The latest models can use the 2.4 GHz radio band, WiFi 5, or WiFi 6, adding additional bands for increased bandwidth and less interference.
Compared to the Bluetooth standard, WiFi makes connecting multiple speakers and other devices on a home wireless network easier.
If you often use smart home devices and want to add a room-filling, high-quality audio system that’s easy to set up and will work with your Nest Audio, Google Home, or another smart assistant, you might want to consider WiFi-enabled speakers. WiFi models often allow for easier pairing with smart home devices. They can also deliver smoother, more consistent HD audio streaming.
You might also want to look at WiFi speakers for your home if you want to enable synchronized multi-room audio. WiFi with modern router systems can overcome the range and bandwidth limitations of other wireless connection protocols.
Additionally, you might find that WiFi networked speakers are great for entertaining. They provide a flexible solution for movie nights and multiplayer gaming or listening to Hi-Fi quality sound in different rooms of the house. A WiFi speaker system is great for dance parties and pool parties, too.
Compared to older wireless speakers, newer Wi-Fi speakers offer more advanced voice control that can be used with Google Assistant, plus easier and more secure integration with smart devices. Some models and series also produce improved audio quality thanks to better processing.
More powerful batteries also enable the newest top-ranked WiFi speakers to deliver outstanding bass performance and longer playback time, with some speakers now claiming over 24 hours of battery life on a single charge.
As with other leading wireless speakers, a Wi-Fi speaker unit’s projected lifespan varies depending on a wide range of factors. High-quality models should last at least five years if stored and used according to manufacturer guidelines. Smaller, cheaper portable models with smaller batteries may have a shorter life cycle of around one to three years.
Portable speakers tend to be physically durable, with many top waterproof speakers having an IP67 rating. There are also dust and drop-resistant speakers available.
Some of the most common signs of wear and tear on wireless speakers include sticking or damaged USB ports, reduced battery life, and difficulty connecting to a wireless network. As with other smart devices, some wireless speaker models require periodic updates to remain compatible with each iteration of their smart device ecosystem. Others may become obsolete due to changing Wi-Fi protocols.
To get the most life from your Wi-Fi speaker, choose a durable model or set with the latest Wi-Fi standard. You may also want to make sure the speakers work with a range of platforms. If a speaker set relies on a companion app, make sure the app offers tech support and updates.
Various factors can help you decide on the best WiFi-equipped home speaker set for your needs. Keep in mind the size of the area where you generally listen to them, whether you’re looking for a single speaker unit, a pair of stereo speakers, or a multi-room setup with front and rear speakers on the same wireless network. Other factors include whether you’ll be taking the speaker outside and what type of media and music you’ll mainly be listening to on it.
One factor to consider is whether you’re looking for a single speaker unit, a pair of stereo speakers, or a modular multi-channel setup such as 5.1 surround sound. If you think you might want to expand and use a WiFi speaker as part of a multi-channel layout, ensure the speakers of your choice are compatible with surround sound inputs and multi-channel digital audio systems such as Dolby Atmos.
Different types of media and even different music genres may call for differently optimized speaker hardware. Movie scores, classical compositions, Jazz, and R&B may call for exquisite detail and resonant mids. If you frequently listen to music with heavy bass in your vehicle, car speakers for high bass performance are what you need.
One advantage of WiFi speakers is their ability to link multiple smart devices. If you’re looking to use the speaker as an interface for a particular system, look for a model that offers built-in support for your smart devices.
If you want a portable home speaker with WiFi, you might want to look especially for speakers with the flexibility to perform well as part of a home system or on their own as travel speakers. Some WiFi speakers stand out with longer battery life and more robust weatherproofing, making them more travel-friendly.