Best Wireless Speakers

Updated: Feb 11, 2024 11:43 AM
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Wireless speakers go further than just Bluetooth, offering connection to a wider variety of devices. Before we get into what is the best wireless speaker for 2019, it’s important to note that there are two types: wireless and Bluetooth speakers. Bluetooth speakers work based on a one-to-one connection; smartphone to the speaker. Whereas WiFi speakers, generally speaking, operate over your home’s wireless internet. With that in mind, we went out and purchased the top 20 wireless speakers on the market today and researched them in our homes and office to figure out which one is the best for your ears in creating a superb audio experience.

Once we received the wireless portable speakers, we researched them based on features like sound quality, app availability, connectivity options, ease of use, and more. These are the most important features of a wireless speaker, and of all the models we researched, we found that the Sonos Play:5 Speaker offers the best overall experience. With its Trueplay technology, this wireless speaker can adjust its audio levels automatically to provide the best sound for your specific space. Keep reading this buying guide to learn more about the Play:5 and the other speakers that impressed us the most.

Top 5 Wireless Speakers Compared

 #1   SONOS Play:5 Wireless Speaker

Award: Editor’s Choice/Best Wireless Speaker System

Price: $499

This is bar none SONOS’ best wireless speaker to date. Its spectrum of sound is very wide, clear, and works with just about any genre of music you can throw at it. There’s a reason it is the best Bluetooth speaker on our list.

Drawing from years of experience, SONOS took the opportunity in 2015 to relaunch the Play:5 speaker, offering unparalleled sound quality not seen in any of their speakers. With that, they minimized the form factor, improved the manufacturing quality, and enhanced the bass output. The speakers connect to your home wireless connection for uninterrupted wireless streaming and can play audio from any device connected to your Wi-Fi network without the need to pair. Unfortunately, it does not offer Bluetooth connectivity for use on the go like the SONOS Move which has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth options.

6 drivers and 6 amps power the Sonos Play:5, enabling it to produce exceptional lows at even reduced volumes. SONOS also introduced their Trueplay technology with the launch of this speaker, which uses your smartphone’s mic to measure the room and automatically tune the speaker. Great if you plan on placing the Play:5 behind a plant, TV, or in a location that is less than ideal for a speaker. This model is also Google Home and Amazon Alexa compatible, which means you can use voice control by combining it with an Alexa device.

The Play:5 is SONOS’ most expensive speaker, but again, it’s the best-sounding wireless speaker from both the brand and in the category. The studio-quality sound means there’s no distortion even at high volumes, and no need to add a soundbar. If you’re looking to dip your toe in the wireless speaker market, you could start with their Play:1 or Play:3, which are more affordable options. If you want to compare this with a less expensive portable Bluetooth speaker, take a look at the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 instead.

 #2   Amazon Echo Wireless Speaker

Award: Best Wireless Smart Speaker

Price: $99.99 

Amazon’s Echo most certainly shouldn’t be overlooked. It easily ranks as a top wireless speaker and it’s definitely one of the most affordable, top smart speakers on the market today. And yes, it works over WiFi and Bluetooth allowing playback from a whole variety of music sources. Connectivity over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth means you can play music on the go, even when outside the wireless network

What’s even better is that it can be controlled purely by voice using Amazon Alexa voice assistant and can even tie into your home’s smart products (SmartThings, WeMo, and more) allowing lights to be turned off just by yelling the command. If you’re out of range, just grab an Amazon remote and things will get “cleared up” in a jiffy. The voice assistant feature will soon become a regular part of your daily routine.

Related: You might also be interested in the best floor-standing speakers.

Inside the Echo are dual downward-firing speakers that provide immersive, 360-degree sound when used as a stereo pair, or you can decide to use them as two mono speakers playing the same song. I didn’t believe it, but once you hear the stereo-paired speakers, you’ll be a convert. They produce a much better sound than the individual mono speakers. Are they the best speakers? No, but they sound like it. If you prefer to listen to your music independently, take a look at the Ultimate Ears headphones instead.

 #3   Sonos One Wireless Speaker

Award: Best Wireless Speaker Under $200

Price: $199

This is SONOS’ most affordable speaker at $199. And while that might not sound cheap compared to some other wireless speakers on the market, it’s actually a great way to jump into wireless music in your home.

The Sonos One has been specifically designed to be placed almost anywhere. It’s even good for the kitchen or bathroom as it was built to be resistant to moisture. So a little steam won’t hurt.

Inside each One are two Class-D amps, a dedicated tweeter, and one mid-woofer. And despite its small size, it produces exceptional sound quality. If you’re looking to upgrade this to a different Sonos model, take a look at Sonos Move instead.

Note: The One, if you opt for SONOS Playbar, makes an excellent wireless rear speaker.

 #4   JBL Charge 4 Wireless Speaker

Award: Best Waterproof Wireless Speaker

Price: $119.95

Following the Sonos One is the JBL Charge 4, an interesting and super durable wireless speaker. On its own, it’s a simple Bluetooth speaker that you can run with your smart devices. However, you can wirelessly connect up to 100 JBL Charge speakers for an incredible audio experience. It’s just $119.95 on Amazon, and it’s also fully waterproof, making this the top shower speaker on our list.

On top of all these features, the Charge sounds great, too, which is kind of surprising for how small it actually is. It’s got powerful bass due to the dual passive radiators inside and overall sounds like a high-end bass Bluetooth speaker. And for those looking to mix and match, you can purchase this portable speaker in 10 different colors. This speaker has a solid battery life, with about 20 hours of battery life per charge. If you want to upgrade this to the next model, take a look at the JBL Flip 5. The portability of either of these speakers would make it the perfect pairing with one of the best in-wall speakers.

 #5   Bose Soundtouch 30 Wireless Speaker

Award: Best Looking Wireless Speaker

Price: $499

The Bose SoundTouch 30 is unlike any other speaker on our list. Not only because it’s probably one of the more pricey wireless speakers, but because it’s exceptionally good-looking for a speaker. Attention to detail probably best describes the SoundTouch, as it offers the classic look you see in other Bose speakers like the Bose SoundLink and others. And not only does this speaker look good, but it also sounds amazing.

What also makes the Bose SoundTouch 30 unique is that it works via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, and it’s Amazon Alexa compatible, meaning you can control it via the Alexa Voice Assistant. So just about any device can connect to it; PC, Android, or Apple-based. And if that isn’t enough, the SoundTouch 30 features 6 unique, “instant listen” buttons that allow you to program presets for your favorite podcasts, radio stations, and more. If you’re looking for a less expensive speaker with Google Assistant, look at Bose Soundlink Resolve instead.

Key Factors To A Good Wireless Speaker

Easy to Setup: You’ve likely chosen a wireless speaker for its convenience, sans speaker wires. So with that, the wireless speaker you choose should be set up without much hassle, especially if you’ve purchased the best wireless surround sound. A setup like the best wireless speakers for the home should always be easy on you. Plus, it should pair to your home’s wireless connection with ease and, ideally, like SONOS, have an app that walks you through the process.

Pairs Over WiFi: A real wireless speaker operates over your home’s WiFi, not Bluetooth. This means that you should be able to walk out of range of your wireless speaker, or even turn off your phone, and music will still be playing back. In the instance of Airplay, Apple’s wireless beaming tech, you’ll need to be connected to your home’s wireless connection, and you shouldn’t need to be concerned with your range to the speaker, as it will continue to play because it’s over (note: powering down your phone during Apple Airplay playback will discontinue the music).

An Easy to Use App: Oddly enough SONOS’ app isn’t all that easy to use, but it still makes it a top contender. Setup is pretty painless; it works with a wide variety of your favorite music services. Moreover, you might want to look for extra features, like the ability to set up alarms, adjust EQ and add new speakers with ease, which can be done with SONOS.

Works with All Services: Again, SONOS is so great because it works with just about any music service out there. Heck, it even plays audio back from what’s stored on your phone without any additional setup. So look for this if you’re considering a wireless speaker.

How Wireless Speakers Work

Bluetooth vs Airplay vs Play-Fi vs SONOS

best wireless speakers
  • Bluetooth – works on a one-to-one connection. For example, your smartphone connects directly with a single speaker. That means your smartphone does all the heavy lifting, and uses its wireless connection and app to process the music playing. It also means that your phone’s battery will be reduced at a quicker rate. Some Bluetooth speakers and phones support aptX, a codec that is designed to enhance the wireless transmission’s audio quality, aptX was developed by Qualcomm. It’s important to note that both the transmitter (the phone or tablet) and the speaker need to have aptX.
  • Airplay – Apple’s propriety wireless tech allows you to stream audio (and video or photos) wirelessly to a device. It’s only available on the iPhones, Apple computers, and iPads. Which is to say it can’t be found on an Android or PC device. It works by finding compatible Airplay devices (speakers and licensed devices) on the same WiFi network. Like Bluetooth, your phone will do the heavy lifting by sending the stream (video or audio) over the wireless connection.
  • SONOS – SONOS is unlike the other streaming technologies above as it doesn’t require a device to playback music or audio. All SONOS speakers are probably best described as their own music service. This is to say your phone or tablet is simply a remote; you choose the music you want to listen to, but the speaker does the playing back. So if you leave the confines of your home, the music plays on. Moreover, the battery isn’t used to playback audio, which gives it another advantage. While SONOS’ tech leverage the 802.11n spectrum, it’s a variant of it. Because of that, your SONOS speakers can be converted into a “mesh network.”
  • Play-Fi – created as a standard by DTS, Play-Fi hasn’t taken off in the same capacity that SONOS has. The company, DTS, has licensed the technology out to a wide range of speaker makers, allowing for a SONOS-like experience, though Play-Fi allows you to mix and match speaker brands as long as it has the Play-Fi tech onboard. Like SONOS, Play-Fi leverages WiFi.

Wireless Speaker Features to Understand and Look For

Sound Quality

  • Usually, anything wireless and you’re looking at reduced quality. Or are you? At this point, it’s hard to distinguish between music played back wireless vs not. Though your music or audio is only as good as the source, you don’t need to have wired connections for excellent sound. Moreover, your home’s bandwidth could dictate this. Of note, SONOS’ app lets you reduce and compress the wireless audio, reducing the audio quality but allowing the stream to go uninterrupted if your wireless connection isn’t fast enough. If you plan on using it in wet conditions like a pool area, consider something water-resistant like the best waterproof speaker that can work wirelessly.


  • Don’t overlook this small factor. Sure, sound quality is a much bigger deal, but you’ll want a companion app that ties in a variety of music services and provides easy access to them. Speakers with built-in Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant/Google Home will offer voice control and streaming services. That said, the apps are always free, and if it isn’t move on to the next speaker.


  • Most W-iFi speakers will require that you plug them into the wall. It’s the caveat of wireless connectivity. This is where a Bluetooth speaker has one advantage over a wireless speaker. So don’t be surprised if you have to plug the speakers in.
  • Some portable speakers will have a rechargeable battery, so the battery life on a single charge will be something to consider. A 20-hour battery life, as is the case with our #4 pick, is good playtime.
  • Plus, having enough power will make it easier when you’re learning how to connect Bluetooth speakers to Xbox One.

Which Wireless Speaker is Right For You

Wireless speakers have been around for several years, and I’ve written many top wireless speaker reviews. However, with smart devices becoming ubiquitous and affordable, along with in-home wireless connection with decent broadband speeds, only in recent years has the best wireless speaker segment grown in popularity. That said, the category is largely owned by SONOS, which made 2 of our 5 top picks – no mystery why.

But they’re one of the most pricey. But, for a low-priced speaker with large sound, you’ll want to check out the Tribit XSound Go.

So it comes down to what you’re willing to spend versus convenience.

This is to say, with SONOS, you probably get the most scalable experience, offering the ability to add speakers in every room in your home. Conversely, the Amazon Echo is great for a studio apartment or a home with not more than 2-3 rooms. Whereas Polk’s offering is cheap and can be scaled, which arguably makes it the best choice, especially since you’re not locked into one brand of speaker. In any case, you’re likely going to pay a premium, and the question should be: what other top electronic reviews can I peruse before I plunk down this cash?

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