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Best Sonos Setup (2022): Which Speakers and Soundbars Should You Buy?

Best Sonos Setup (2022): Which Speakers and Soundbars Should You Buy?

Here at WIRED, we like Sonos speakers. We really do. Throughout the past decade, we’ve reviewed all of the company’s wirelessly connectable speakers, from its small shelf speakers to its TV soundbars, and we’ve recommended every one of them. But turning your home into a Sonos-powered shrine to sound isn’t cheap. Like Apple products, Sonos speakers sell at a premium, starting at $120 for a basic bookshelf speaker. But which ones should you buy? Read on for our recommendations.

Updated December 2022: We’ve added the Sonos Ray Soundbar and the Sonos Sub Mini subwoofer and updated pricing and retailers.

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Best Overall Sonos Speaker

The Sonos One (Gen 2) is just about the smallest Sonos speaker, but it packs enough oomph to fill most rooms. Compared to its predecessor, the Gen 2 model has a faster processor and more memory. So it not only sounds better, it’ll also last longer—which means you won’t have to worry about upgrading it for a while.

We recommend other Sonos speakers in this guide, but you also can’t go wrong by just getting more Sonos Ones to fill up your house. Their hands-free Alexa and Google Assistant integration also makes them a lot more versatile. They can play music, tell you the weather, find a recipe, and answer simple questions, like any of our other favorite smart speakers. They also work with Siri via AirPlay 2. They’re much more affordable than other Sonos speakers too, and their small size means you can hide them in almost any room. 

Sonos one SL

Sonos One SL

Photograph: Sonos

It’s nearly identical to the One but doesn’t have microphones, so you can only control it from your phone or the touch buttons on it (and you don’t have to worry about someone listening in to your home). The SL is also a good way to add more satellite speakers to your home. And if you want a speaker that can really belt it out, the Sonos Five ($549) sounds fantastic and is mic-less.


Best Speakers to Fill Out a Room

Earlier this year, Sonos reunited with Ikea to release a second-generation version of its bookshelf speaker. At $120, it’s a bit pricier than its $99 predecessor, but it does come with a few upgrades, including an increase in memory and a faster processor. We have yet to test this model, but we did like the first-generation version. 

Looks aside, it sounds almost as good as a Sonos One. You can mount it right to your wall or stand it upright on a bookshelf or table. And if you want to network a few speakers together for a larger room, or connected rooms, this is the cheapest way to do it. It doesn’t directly take audio commands, because it has no mic, so you’ll need a Sonos One, Google speaker, or Alexa speaker that you can yell at if you want to control it with your voice. Other than that, it does everything you’d want a Sonos to do.

Sonos and Ikea also launched a new version of their unique table lamp. There is a white version, a black version, and a $169 version with a textile light shade. It offers enhanced sound and is more customizable this time around, with swappable shades. The first model, which you can read about in our dual review, sounded great. We have high hopes for the new version. Finally, if wall art is more your style, Ikea offers the Symfonisk Picture Frame with a built-in Sonos Wi-Fi Speaker for $249. We are currently testing the table lamp and will update this guide with our thoughts soon.


Best Portable Speaker With Bluetooth

The Sonos Roam (9/10, WIRED Recommends) is the company’s smallest and most portable speaker. With built-in Bluetooth connectivity (it’s one of our favorite Bluetooth speakers), you can easily throw it into a tote bag and play music on the go. Using the Sonos app, available for Android and iPhone, you also have the ability to stream from major services like Spotify, Apple Music (with support for AirPlay 2), Tidal, and more. And you can control the speaker via voice commands using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

It may not offer audiophile-approved sound for its stature, but it’s still fairly impressive. The dual-driver system, subwoofer, and tweeter work in tandem to provide a bold bass and clear highs—with zero distortion when the volume is cranked up. And with up to 10 hours of listening, it’ll last you a full beach day—and then some.

Sonos Move speaker

Sonos Move

Photograph: Sonos

The Sonos Move is a bigger portable speaker with better sound. It packs Bluetooth connectivity, 11 hours of battery life, and onboard microphones that adapt its sound to the environment, plus it’s water-resistant. Can’t decide between the Roam and Move? You can purchase both of them for $578 at Sonos.


Best Sonos Soundbar (for Most)

As with the original Beam (8/10, WIRED Recommends), the second-generation Beam delivers impressive sound and has a sleek design. In terms of upgrades, it has a faster processor, support for Dolby Atmos (with compatible TVs and streaming apps) for enhanced sound, and an HDMI eARC port for higher-definition audio. You’ll also get hands-free Alexa and Google Assistant, and it works with Airplay 2. You can pair it with a Sonos Sub (an expensive subwoofer) and two other Sonos speakers for surround.

Sonos tweaked the design too, adding a polycarbonate grille to the front instead of a fabric cover as seen on the Gen 1 model. That’s supposed to make it easier to blend in with your interior decor. It’s $50 more than the previous model, which isn’t that much more expensive than the already expensive soundbar. For non-Sonos alternatives, read our Best Soundbars guide.

Sonos sub speaker gen 3

Sonos sub speaker gen 3Photograph: Sonos

The standard Sonos Sub will cost you $749 at Sonos or Target. It’s superb but expensive. If you’re working with a smaller space, the less costly Sonos Sub Mini is $429 at Sonos (Target). Don’t bother buying surround speakers until you own a Sub, though. It will make a profound difference.


Best Small Soundbar 

If you have an apartment or a smaller room, or are just getting started in the soundbar department, the Sonos Ray (9/10, WIRED Recommends) is a solid option for you. The Ray comes in a compact frame, but don’t let that fool you. The soundbar produces clear, crisp sound that easily fills your space with zooms and booms, quiet conversations, and any other moments you wouldn’t want to miss in your favorite movies and shows. Plus, with adjustable settings in the Sonos app, you can configure your ideal listening experience for every song on your favorite album.

This small soundbar easily fits on entertainment centers and dressers, or you can mount it on your wall to free up as much precious space as possible.

Wanna take it to the next level? You can pair the Ray with the Sonos Sub Mini to round out the sound in your room. The Sub Mini is wireless (aside from a power cord), so it connects seamlessly to your current system through the Sonos app. This subwoofer is $429 at Sonos and Target.

Best for Big Home Theaters

A soundbar can make all the difference in a home theater, and they cost a lot less than a full surround-sound setup. And if you’re looking for one that’s really powerful, the Sonos Arc (9/10, WIRED Recommends) is the way to go. It has full Dolby Atmos support, and in many rooms, it can bounce sound off your walls and ceiling well enough that it sounds like you have a surround setup.

With three tweeters and eight mid-woofers, it delivers deep bass and has more balance and depth than the Beam. It’s also a lot longer, stretching 45 inches, or about the width of a 55-inch TV. Its design is elegant and understated in the usual Sonos way—you won’t always notice the bar, but when you do, it’s not an eyesore at all.

Take Your Tunes Anywhere With Our Fave Bluetooth Speakers

Take Your Tunes Anywhere With Our Fave Bluetooth Speakers

The best Bluetooth speakers still have a place near and dear to our hearts, even as we’ve seen better (and more portable) smart speakers creeping into the universe. 

It’s fun and easy to ask an Amazon Echo or Google Nest speaker to play your favorite track or tell you the weather, but smart speakers have a few crutches—first and foremost, stable Wi-Fi. By (mostly) forgoing voice assistants and Wi-Fi radios, Bluetooth speakers gain portability, with the ability to venture outside of your house and withstand rugged conditions like the sandy beach or the steamy Airbnb jacuzzi. They’ll also work with any smartphone, and they sound as good their smart-speaker equivalents. 

We’ve tested hundreds of models in the past few years, and we can happily say they are still some of the best small devices you can listen to. Here are our favorites right now.

Be sure to check out all our buying guides, including the Best Soundbars, Best Wirefree Earbuds, and Best Smart Speakers.

Updated February 2022: We’ve added the Sony SRS-RA5000 and Tribit Stormbox Micro 2.

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Your TV Sounds Terrible. These Soundbars Can Fix That

Your TV Sounds Terrible. These Soundbars Can Fix That

You probably already shelled out good money for a nice big TV and maybe a streaming gadget to play your Netflix. But it doesn’t matter how large your screen is or how much it cost—the speakers in your TV probably sound awful. 

You’d be surprised by how much more you enjoy those shows with a halfway decent soundbar or surround system hooked up to your primo panel. Explosions pop, dialog sounds far crisper, and you may even notice sonic details in your favorite films that you’ve never picked up on before.

Updated September 2021: We’ve added the Samsung HW-Q950A, Nakamichi Shockwafe, and LG SP9YA. We’ve also updated links and prices.

Why You Need a Soundbar

We have yet to test a new TV that didn’t sound crummy without some kind of audio accessory added. That’s mostly due to the way televisions are designed. Great-sounding speakers are bulky, and as TVs have gotten thinner, with shrinking bezels and sleeker designs, manufacturers are having a harder time building good speakers into them.

If you can afford to spend $150 on a new soundbar with a subwoofer, it’s essential to getting the most out of your viewing experience. To help, we put together this list of the best soundbars we’ve tested, including soundbars sold on their own as well as models that come bundled with a subwoofer. We’ve also compiled some advice on how to make the most of your purchase.

Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.

If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more. Please also consider subscribing to WIRED