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The best Sonos speakers: How the Sonos One, Arc, Beam, and more compare

The best Sonos speakers offer multi-room listening, voice control, Dolby Atmos audio, and portability.
Sonos Era 100 | Best Sonos speaker overall
Sonos Era 100
Sonos Era 100
Best Sonos speaker overall
View now View at Best Buy
Ikea Symfonisk Bookshelf | Best hybrid Sonos speaker
ikea-symfonisk-bookshelf
Ikea Symfonisk Bookshelf
Best hybrid Sonos speaker
View now View at Ikea
Sonos Era 300 | Best Sonos speaker for spatial audio
Sonos Era 300
Sonos Era 300
Best Sonos speaker for spatial audio
View now View at Best Buy
Sonos Arc | Best Sonos speaker for a home theater experience
sonos-arc
Sonos Arc
Best Sonos speaker for a home theater experience
View now View at Best Buy
Sonos One Gen 2 | Best Sonos speaker for Google Home
sonos-one-gen-2
Sonos One Gen 2
Best Sonos speaker for Google Home
View now View at Amazon
Sonos Beam Gen 2 | Best Sonos budget soundbar
sonos-beam-gen-2
Sonos Beam Gen 2
Best Sonos budget soundbar
View now View at Best Buy
Sonos Roam SL | Best portable Sonos speaker
sonos-roam-sl
Sonos Roam SL
Best portable Sonos speaker
View now View at Best Buy
Show more (2 items)

A good speaker or speaker system can make you feel like the ultimate in-house DJ. Some of my favorite family memories involve dancing around the kitchen island as we cleaned up after dinner -- all thanks to and powered by a tiny, yet powerful Bluetooth speaker. Sonos has long been a market leader in the speaker game, offering listeners a sleek, affordable, and functional way to play your favorite album or podcast -- you can even upgrade to a whole-home system. 

With Sonos ushering in a new era of smart speakers with the Era 100 and Era 300, I thought it only appropriate to share our top picks for the best Sonos speakers out there. Including its two newest additions, Sonos offers an impressive lineup, looking as smart and sleek as they sound.

Below are some of my favorite Sonos options -- from portable speakers that allow sound to be the centerpiece to speakers that double as a decorative statement piece. 

Also: The best Echo speakers: How do Amazon's Alexa devices compare? 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Full, powerful and clear sound
  • Bluetooth support
  • USB-C port
Cons
  • More expensive than Sonos One
  • No Google Voice support
More Details

Sonos Era 100 features: Type: Multi-room | Voice-enabled: Yes | Wi-Fi: Yes

The Sonos Era 100 is an upgraded successor to the Sonos One, with all new hardware and software that make it the best-sounding speaker of its size, with the bonus of supporting smart voice assistants like Sonos' own and Amazon Alexa.

Also: Sonos Era 100 vs Sonos One: Which smart speaker should you buy?

It's a definite improvement from previous Sonos smart speakers as it now supports Bluetooth connectivity aside from Wi-Fi, as well as a USB-C port for a line-in or ethernet adapter -- both features many Sonos One users had requested.

Though you can still use Amazon Alexa and Sonos for voice control, the Era 100 doesn't support Google Voice anymore, like previous Sonos smart speakers did, which is one of the few drawbacks the Era 100 has.

Also: Hear me out: Sonos Era 100 is the best smart speaker under $300

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Convenient to mount or place
  • Easy to use
  • Excellent vocals
Cons
  • Only available via Ikea
  • Relies on Wi-Fi connection instead of Bluetooth
More Details

Ikea Symfonisk Bookshelf features: Type: Portable | Voice-enabled: No | Wi-Fi: Yes

The Ikea Symfonisk Bookshelf takes a very Ikea approach. Mirroring the Swedish furniture company's long-term, simple, DIY mission, the second-generation Symfonisk bookshelf speaker is both sleek and multi-functional. You can stack your books and power your dance party all from the same stylish source -- talk about multi-dimensional! You can even mount the speaker as a fully-fledged shelf by adding the speaker bracket, which is worth noting, and is separate from the speaker itself.

Review: Tempo Move: If Ikea made a home gym for iPhone users

Like the Sonos One, the bookshelf speaker relies on a solid Wi-Fi connection for your streaming needs, rather than Bluetooth. Customer reviews signal that the speaker delivers rich and full sound without compromising clarity, no matter the connection point. To make it even more convenient, the speaker is also compatible with AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect for easy listening. The only drawback of this hybrid masterpiece is that it lacks voice control. But hey, it's pretty close to doing everything else.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Exceptional, crystal clear audio
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 6 support
  • Supports spatial audio in Amazon Music and Apple Music
Cons
  • No Google Voice assistant support
  • Needs adapter for line-in or ethernet
  • Expensive at $449
More Details

Sonos Era 300 features: Type: Dolby Atmos speaker | Voice-enabled: Yes | Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB-C port

It's no surprise that the Sonos Era 300 is the best Sonos speaker for spatial audio as it's the only one thus far that supports the technology. It does, however, put out exceptional audio quality and booming, room-filling sound.

The great features don't stop there; the Era 300 not only supports Bluetooth connectivity, but also Wi-Fi 6, and has a USB-C port for a line-in or ethernet adapter. 

The new speaker features four tweeters and two woofers, and a whopping six Class-D amplifiers to round out the sound. It features new touch controls at the top that make for an improved user experience.

Review: Sonos Era 300: Close to a perfect smart speaker, but with one big drawback

The only thing I wished to see in a new Sonos smart speaker wasn't included in the Era lineup: Chromecast support. These speakers support Apple AirPlay 2 but don't support casting from Android devices, and Sonos has also done away with support for Google Voice Assistant.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No subwoofer necessary
  • Top sound technology
  • Excellent audio quality
Cons
  • High-end price
  • Relies on Wi-Fi rather than Bluetooth connection
More Details

Sonos Arc features: Type: Soundbar | Voice-enabled: Yes | Wi-Fi: Yes

Watching a movie in theaters is special, and yes the big screen, smell of buttery popcorn, and reclining seats are all factors, but don't count out the all-encompassing sound. Let's be honest, the Star Wars or Harry Potter score sounds good at home, but truly out of this world magical when accompanied by a quality soundbar. The Sonos Arc might be what unlocks that home theater experience, but you will have to make your own popcorn. 

Also: The best wireless sound systems you can buy 

By enlisting the help of Oscar-winning sound engineers, the Sonos Arc emphasizes the human voice, reducing the need to go back and rewind to catch exact dialogue. Additionally, the Arc offers optional speech enhancement when paired and used in conjunction with the Sonos app. The Arc soundbar includes a subwoofer and Dolby Atmos to deliver that immersive experience. And by utilizing Enhanced Trueplay, a tuning technology, the Sonos Arc can also make adjustments according to your surrounding environment, providing a more personalized listening experience. To top it all off, the Sonos Arc has both Wi-Fi and HDMI connectivity, and like the above speakers mentioned, it can connect to the Sonos app, Amazon Alexa, or Apple AirPlay 2. 

The speaker may be more of a splurge, but its high-end price reflects the luxury sound technology and has the potential to unlock a watching and listening experience that parallels the magic of the cinema. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Excellent clarity
  • Google and Alexa integrations
  • Humidity resistant
Cons
  • Pricey
  • No Bluetooth
More Details

Sonos One Gen 2 features: Type: Multi-room | Voice-enabled: Yes | Wi-Fi: Yes

As a Houston, Texas native, I am familiar with high levels of humidity. When looking for a speaker, I often seek one that can handle or even surpass such conditions. That being said, the Sonos One (Gen 2) has officially become the top contender on my summer speaker wishlist due to its humidity-resistant status. Unfortunately, it is worth noting that the speaker is not waterproof and does not carry an IP rating.

Despite its limitations, the second-generation Sonos One, along with its predecessor, delivers clear and robust sound quality. And while the Sonos is a speaker, its operation is not limited to sound alone. With voice control functions enabled, you can control the Sonos through the app or via connections such as Apple AirPlay 2. You can also leverage Amazon Alexa to ask questions, set an alarm, check the news, or deliver a "funny" joke. 

Also: How to stream from your iPhone to your TV using AirPlay or screen mirroring

At only four pounds and standing just short of five inches, the Sonos One is compact enough to be moved around, or it can be set up as a home theater powerhouse. If you believe that two or more speakers are more powerful than the Sonos One, the speakers' wireless connection to other devices is effective in creating a completely customizable sound system. So, whether you are battling even the hottest of temperatures or turning your living room into a cinematic soundstage, the Sonos One is the definition of tiny but mighty. My only callout is that with a lack of Bluetooth, the Sonos One relies on Wi-Fi for connectivity, so you will need a dependable Wi-Fi connection.

However, when ZDNET reviewed the speaker in 2019, they noticed that the Wi-Fi-only connectivity is likely behind its powerful and high-quality sound performance.

Review: Sonos One (Gen 2): Still a fantastic-sounding speaker, even without Bluetooth

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Dolby Atmos
  • Custom bass and treble settings
  • Easy set up
Cons
  • Less powerful bass than higher-end options
  • Relies on WiFi connection
More Details

Sonos Beam Gen 2 features: Type: Soundbar | Voice-enabled: Yes | Wi-Fi: Yes

While the Sonos Arc is certainly a luxurious soundbar in both price and performance, the company also offers Sonos Beam Gen 2, which condenses the best of the Arc's technology into a smaller model and price tag. The four-pound Sonos Beam Gen 2 also promises clear dialogue, full bass, and Dolby Atmos' 3D surround sound to provide that cinematic sound quality. 

Also: The best cheap soundbars: Great audio for less

Like the rest of Sonos' lineup, be aware that the beam relies on a Wi-Fi connection as opposed to Bluetooth. If like me, you suffer from chronic Wi-Fi issues, you may have to make the proper readjustments. That said, the Sonos Beam Gen 2 connects to a series of devices, including your TV remote, and provides access to Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple AirPlay 2. Connect your Sonos Beam Gen 2 to a series of devices, including your TV remote. 

As a major plus, the setup is also a painless process from my understanding. I for one know I'm sick of the cable salad that usually compiles behind my TV entertainment center, so the fact the Beam Gen 2 only has two cables to connect is a major win.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Portable
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Voice-controlled
Cons
  • No TruePlay
  • Bass isn't as powerful as larger iterations
More Details

Sonos Roam SL features: Type: Portable | Voice-enabled: Yes | Wi-Fi: Yes

Fittingly, the Sonos Roam SL lets you blast your favorite music wherever you may roam -- even if it's at a pool party or off-road adventure. Toting an official iP67 dust and waterproof rating, the Roam is both portable and rugged. Plus, unlike the other Sonos speakers on this list, the Roam connects to both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Better yet, the Roam knows to pair to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth depending on current availability.  As if the on-the-go speaker wasn't smart enough, the Roam You also have the ability to connect via the Sonos app or Apple AirPlay 2, and can even use voice control for hands-free interaction. 

Also: Sonos Roam SL drops the mic with a $159 price tag and all the portability 

As with the Sonos One Gen 2 model, you can also pair the Roam with other Sonos speakers for that extra amp -- but without all the cords. Adding wireless charging to its spec sheet, the Sonos Roam is compatible with any Qi-enabled dock -- and in a world where there always seems to be another cable to keep track of, we here at ZDNET view cordless charging as a game-changing feature. What's most impressive about the Sonos Roam is that it packs all this punch into a price tag under $200, a steal from Sonos' usual offerings. So, if you're looking for the perfect summertime portable DJ, the Roam is ready if you are.

What are the best Sonos speakers?

The Sonos One wins our award for best Sonos speaker, thanks to its booming bass and crisp clarity. With voice control and a portable design, Sonos One is an overall fantastic pick when you are shopping for the best Sonos speaker available today.

To see how it compares, here is an overview of the best Sonos speakers.

Sonos speakerPriceTypeVoice controlConnectivityWhere to buy
Sonos Era 100$249BookshelfSonos, AlexaWi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB-C for line-in or ethernet adapterAmazon, Best Buy, Target
Ikea Symfonisk Bookshelf$130BookshelfNoYesIkea
Sonos Era 300$449Traditional/standmountSonos, Alexa, GoogleWi-Fi 6, Wi-FI, Bluetooth, USB-C for line-in or ethernet adapterAmazon, Best Buy, Target
Sonos One$214BookshelfSonos, Alexa, GoogleWi-Fi, EthernetAmazon, Best Buy, Target
Sonos Arc$865SoundbarSonos, Alexa, Google2.4GHz Wi-Fi, HDMI eARC, ethernet, IR receiverAmazon, Best Buy, Walmart
Sonos Beam Gen 2$476SoundbarSonos, Alexa, Google2.4GHz Wi-Fi, HDMI eARC, ethernet, IR receiverAmazon, Best Buy, Walmart
Sonos Roam$179PortableSonos, Alexa, GoogleWi-Fi, BluetoothAmazon, Best Buy, Walmart

Which are the right Sonos speakers for you?

To help you find the right Sonos speaker for your needs, follow this decision tree chart:

Choose this best Sonos speaker...If you want...
Sonos Era 100The best-sounding smart speaker of its size. It features an all-new software and hardware and upgraded audio quality compared to its predecessor, the Sonos One.
Ikea Symfonisk BookshelfA bookshelf-friendly speaker. The Ikea Symfonisk Bookshelf is also humidity resistant and easy to mount or place.
Sonos Era 300Spatial audio capability or room-filling sound. It's able to fill medium-to-large rooms with outstanding sound.
Sonos OneAffordability and performance with multi-room listening. If you choose the Sonos One, you'll get excellent clarity and built-in Google and Alexa integrations.
Sonos ArcA premium speaker and soundbar. The Sonos Arc features top sound technology, including Dolby Atmos.
Sonos Beam Gen 2A more budget-friendly soundbar. It still offers custom bass and treble settings and an easy setup.
Sonos RoamSomething you can take on the go. It's perfect for outdoor use, being dust and waterproof, and it can be charged wirelessly.

How did I choose these best Sonos speakers?

To find the best Sonos speakers, I considered several factors.

  • Size: The size of a Sonos speaker can range from a small portable unit to a multi-room system. We look for Sonos speakers of all sizes to help with your decision. 
  • Features: Many of the best Sonos speakers also incorporate special features like voice control and Dolby Atmos audio. We look for Sonos speakers with these little extras when determining the best Sonos speaker.
  • Cost: Budget is typically a concern when shopping for a new Sonos speaker, so we look for speakers at all different price points. 

What is Sonos?

Sonos has led the market for quite some time as one of the best speakers you can buy. Whether it is a portable speaker or a multi-room audio system, Sonos has something for everyone.  

Currently, they have over 2,100 patented innovations. And on this front, its proprietary Trueplay™ tuning technology can automatically adjust the sound to your surroundings for a truly remarkable experience. 

Do I need the Sonos app?

The Sonos app helps you control your speaker, allowing you to set up and control your speaker. It also serves as an entertainment platform, connecting your music, podcast, and radio apps with your speakers. 

The app is secure, supporting elliptic curve cipher suites in SSL/TLS. You will also need the app if you plan on using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. 

Are there alternative Sonos speakers worth considering?

In my search for the best Sonos speaker, we found five worthy options. If you would like more choices, I also found these suitable options. 

View at Best BuyView at SonosView at Sonos

For other speaker ideas, check out our picks for the best portable speakers, the best stereo speakers, and the best smart speakers

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