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Level up your listening: Best wireless surround sound systems

Whether you're watching a movie or listening to Taylor Swift's latest album, an excellent sound system can take your listening to the next level. Check out our top picks for the best wireless surround sound systems.
Written by Lena Borrelli, Contributing Writer on
Reviewed by Emery Wright

To truly immerse yourself in the action of your favorite movies, games, and songs, you need the right sound system to keep up with every twist and turn. That is where you need the best wireless surround sound system to level up your listening experience. 

There are many wireless surround sound systems on the market, and it can feel overwhelming to sift through options and price tags. But don't worry, ZDNET experts scoured the market to find the best wireless surround systems for a variety of preferences and price pounds. Based on thousands of real user reviews and in-depth market research, these are the best wireless surround systems you can buy. 

Also: Ditch the AirPods and get a portable speaker instead: Our top picks

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Super loud volume
  • Tons of bass
  • Plays audio while charging
cons
  • EQ restrictions
  • Pricey
More Details

Tech specs: Speaker type: Subwoofer | Output: 820W | Subwoofer dimensions: 10 inches / 300W

The JBL Bar 9.1 includes a 10-inch subwoofer with 820-watt output and detachable surround sound speakers that use batteries to operate. With built-in Wi-Fi, there is excellent audio with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X 3D sound incorporated. You will also enjoy fantastic clarity through Dolby Vision. An available HDMI port makes it easy to start working, or you can stream from Chromecast or AirPlay.

When you open the box, you'll find the soundbar, two detachable wireless surround speakers, two L-shape wall-mount brackets, two U-shape wall-mount brackets, a remote control, an HDMI cable, power cords, and a kit with screws. 

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Completely immersive sound
  • Removable grilles
  • High-performing design
cons
  • Better sound for larger rooms
  • Takes up a lot of space
More Details

Tech specs: Speaker type: Subwoofer | Subwoofer dimensions: 12 inches

Klipsch Reference combines floor-standing speakers and a built-in elevation channel for a more balanced sound that you can enjoy. It also includes a set of bookshelf speakers and a subwoofer for a more well-rounded system. The system incorporates 360 Dolby Atmos for better clarity and is powered by 90° X 90° Tractrix® Horn for more powerful sound. To better secure your purchase, a five-year limited warranty applies.

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Excellent pairing
  • 18 drivers
  • Thoughtful design
cons
  • Some compression at higher temperatures
  • Several cords
More Details

Tech specs: Speaker type: Subwoofer | Output: 600W | Subwoofer dimensions: 10 inches / 600W

The Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2.4 eARC SSE Max is a wireless surround sound system that includes dual subwoofers with twin-cone drivers and a soundbar design. You also receive four modular surround speakers. With this surround system, Nakamichi-exclusive software meets Dolby Atmos for more powerful sound. When you need to hook up to your speakers, multiple options exist for connectivity, including RCA, Bluetooth, auxiliary, optional, HDMI, and coaxial cables for a well-rounded system.

The system includes the soundbar, brackets, remote control, batteries, a mounting kit, and a mounting guide along with the necessary cords and cables.

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Simple design
  • User-friendly
  • Excellent sound
cons
  • Pricey
  • Single HDMI port
More Details

Tech specs: Speaker type: Subwoofer

To buy a surround sound system from Sonos, you must bundle the Sonos Arc with the Sonos Sub and Sonos One. The wireless surround sound system perfectly captures highs and lows with a particular attention to dialogue. With the addition of Dolby Atmos, you receive strong bass and excellent clarity for a truly immersive experience. The Sonos app gives you complete control, too, with the ability to stream all sorts of music and content with Apple Airplay 2 available. 

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Competitively priced
  • Rear satellites included
  • Enticing bass
cons
  • Mediocre treble
  • Missing graphic EQ
More Details

Tech specs: Speaker type: Subwoofer

The Vizio M-Series 5.1 includes subwoofers, tweeters, and an incorporated soundbar with 11 total speakers for a powerhouse system. It works with televisions for excellent audio via Dolby Atmos and DTS:X for a 3D wireless surround sound system. The sound pressure level measures 103 decibels with a 45Hz – 20kHz frequency range for better audio. There is also Bluetooth and HDMI connectivity to simplify listening. 

In the box, you'll find two surround speakers, two tweeters, a wireless subwoofer, and a backlit display remote.

What is the best wireless surround sound system?

The JBL Bar 9.1 may not be the cheapest wireless surround sound system, but the three piece system performs as well as other larger systems. It delivers strong, powerful bass with startling clarity, and users agree -- it is the best wireless surround sound system.

To see how it compares, here is an overview of the best wireless surround sound systems. 

Best wireless surround sound system

Cost

No. of pieces

Dolby Atmos

Subwoofer Dimensions 

JBL Bar 9.1

$1,200

3

Yes

10 inches

Klipsch Reference

$1,299

6

Yes

12 inches

Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2.4 eARC SSE Max

$1,900

6

Yes

10 inches

Sonos Arc with Sonos Sub and Sonos One

$1,946

4

Yes

N/A 

Vizio M-Series 5.1

$330

4

Yes

6 inches

Which is the right wireless surround sound system for you?

To help you find the right wireless surround sound system for your needs, here are our expert recommendations to consider. 

Choose this wireless surround sound system...

If you want...

JBL Bar 9.1

Excellent surround sound with a simple setup 

Klipsch Reference

A budget-friendly upgrade from a wired system

Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2.4 eARC SSE Max

Fantastic Dolby Atmos sound

Sonos Arc with Sonos Sub and Sonos One

A well-designed surround sound system with smart features

Vizio M-Series 5.1

The best bang for your buck

How did we choose these wireless surround sound systems?

In choosing the best wireless surround sound system, we consider several critical factors.

  • Speakers: Each system comes with a different number of and type of speaker included, which can affect how sound is played.
  • Type: From bookshelf speakers to floor-standing options, there are several types of speakers included in a wireless surround sound system.
  • Connectivity: Connecting to different sources is important if you plan on using a variety of different connections. This can include Bluetooth, HDMI, and even coaxial cable connections. 
  • Cost: Wireless surround sound systems can get pricey, so we look for options that suit a variety of budgets.

Can I use Bluetooth with my wireless surround sound system?

Bluetooth connections are actually quite common in wireless surround sound systems. They offer a simple, convenient way to connect your surround sound system to your mobile device. Not all wireless surround sound systems have Bluetooth, but they may offer Wi-Fi. 

Do you get surround sound from a soundbar?

It all depends on the type of soundbar that you have. Typically, both front and rear speakers are necessary for surround sound, but some soundbars offer technology that mimics this audio, offering a full surround-sound experience. 

Are there alternative wireless surround sound systems worth considering?

In our search for the best wireless surround sound systems, we also found these great options that are worth checking out. 

While setting up your home, also consider our top picks for the best stereo speakers, the best soundbars, and the best PC speakers for your home or office!

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