The multi-room speaker market has really picked up over the last couple of years. The options are plentiful to say the least with Denon, Samsung, LG and Bluesound all offering their own solutions.
If you are reading this feature however, chances are you have opted for Sonos. Unlike some of the newer additions to the multi-room speaker sector, Sonos has been kicking around for a good decade and it offers one of the best app platforms out there, with support for many of the big streaming services including Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Prime Music.
There are three speakers within the Sonos multi-room line up, but there is also a soundbar and a wireless subwoofer available for the party too. This feature is all about working out which Sonos devices are best for you and your setup, and highlighting the differences between them all. Whether you are planning to put Sonos on your wish list or you are looking to set your home up, let us help you work out which Sonos speaker, or speakers, are right for you.
The Sonos Play:1 is the smallest of the Sonos multi-room offering measuring 161.45 x 119.7 x 119.7mm and weighing 1.85kg. It features two Class-D digital amplifiers, one tweeter for the high-frequency notes and one mid-woofer for mid-range frequencies and bass.
Black and white are the colour options available and it offers a clean and simple design, much like the rest of the Sonos speaker line-up. You'll find physical buttons on the top of the Play:1 for controlling the volume, along with playing and pausing a track, while the rear of the speaker houses Aux-In and Ethernet ports.
As you would expect from a multi-room system, the Play:1 allows you to stream your entire music library, popular music services like Spotify and internet radio through the Sonos app on your smartphone or tablet and there is also control via PC and Mac. You can connect the Play:1 to your router using the Ethernet port, but Sonos has a brilliant Wi-Fi mesh network that allows you to place it anywhere.
The Play:1 delivers good sound, it's easy to set up with step-by-step instructions through the app and you can pair two Play:1's together to create a stereo pair, as well as with the Playbar and Sub for a 5.1 surround sound experience.
Of course you can also pair the Play:1 up with another one of the Sonos speakers to achieve a multi-room experience. Room-specific bass, treble, balance and loudness controls are available using the Sonos app and volume can be adjusted by individual rooms or by groups, depending on your setup.
The Play:1 is a great little speaker with so much potential beyond the speaker itself that we can't recommend it enough as a starting place to embrace the Sonos system. It doesn't sound as good as the Play:3, but this speaker is about getting the most out of your digital streaming music service without spending a fortune in doing so.
READ MORE Sonos Play:1 review
The Sonos Play:3 is the middle of the ranger, measuring 132 x 268 x 160mm and hitting the scales at 2.6kg. It features three Class-D amplifiers, along with a tweeter, two mid-range drivers and a bass radiator.
Like the Play:1, you can pair two Play:3 speakers in the same room in order to create a stereo pair, with one speaker serving as the left channel and the other as the right, or you can pair it up to the Sonos Playbar and Sub for surround sound.
The Play:3 comes in black and white and like the Play:1 it has the physical control buttons on the top with the ports on the rear. All the same features apply in that you can connect the Play:3 to other Sonos speakers in order to achieve a multi-room set up and you'll be able to stream from various services, internet radio, or your own tracks.
At the moment, Sonos works with Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, TuneIn, SiriusXM, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Rhapsody, Rdio, Qobuz, Tidal and downloads from any service offering DRM-free tracks. Apple Music is due to be supported before the end of the year.
Aside from being slightly bigger and offering deeper bass and more power than the Play:1, the Play:3 can also be positioned horizontally or vertically and the EQ will automatically adjust accordingly. There are rubber feet on the sides to protect your speaker and whatever you choose to put it on from scratches and scrapes.
The Sonos Play:3 delivers a better sound than the Play:1, while offering the same advantages and a couple more, such as orientation choice. It is a £90 more expensive but the price jump is probably worth it for those that want the extra oomph or for those with a bigger room.
READ MORE Sonos Play:3 review
The Sonos Play:5 replaces the old Play:5 and it is the biggest and most expensive speaker within the Sonos line-up. It is currently available for pre-order and will be shipped on 25 November and it features six Class-D amplifiers, three tweeters and three dedicated mid-woofers.
The new Play:5 measures 203 x 364 x 154mm and weighs 6.36kg so it is quite a bit bigger than the Play:3. It also features capacitive touch controls rather than physical buttons for the volume control, previous and next track, and play or pause.
Like the Play:3 and Play:1, the colour options consist of white or black but unlike the other two speakers, the new Play:5 has a plastic front grille rather than metal and both colour options have a black grille.
The new Play:5 can be positioned vertically or horizontally and of course you get the same option to pair two Play:5's together for a stereo pair setting, or to the Sonos Playbar and Sub for a surround sound experience, or add it to other Sonos speakers for multi-room.
All the same features apply as the Play:1 and Play:3 that we have mentioned, including the ability to place the speaker where you choose when connected to the Wi-Fi mesh network, as well as the streaming options and app features. The Play:5 adds a line-in option to the mix too though.
The Play:5 is for those that want the best sound offered from Sonos. If you have the cash to spend, the Play:5 is a fantastic option and a brilliant way to start a Sonos multi-room system with a big bang, or add to an existing one.
READ MORE Sonos Play:5 review
The Sonos Playbar is another one of the more expensive options when it comes to building your Sonos system. It is a soundbar its purpose is to complement your TV, but it will also work as a standalone speaker.
It measures 85 x 900 x 140mm and weighs 5.4kg, offering physical control buttons on the side for volume up, volume down and mute. With nine Class-D digital amplified speakers, six mid-range and three tweeters, the Playbar's aim is to deliver clearer sound.
You can connect the Playbar to your TV with a single cable for 3.0 Home Cinema sound, or pair it up to the Sonos Sub for 3.1 Home Cinema. Take this one step further and add a couple of Play:1 or Play:3 speakers to your Playbar and Sub and you'll find yourself with 5.1 Home Cinema surround sound, as we mentioned previously.
The Sonos Playbar understands most IR remote's language so you'll be able to control it using various apps on your Android, iPhone or iPad, and like the rest of the Sonos system, it uses your Wi-Fi network and is easily setup using the Sonos app.
As we said, the Playbar is also a standalone speaker so you'll be able to wirelessly stream all the same music as the other Sonos speakers, from playlists on Spotify to your iTunes library and internet radio stations or podcasts.
The Sonos PlayBar is a fantastic piece of kit that really delivers. While the price might seem high on the surface you are getting a speaker that replaces your AV receiver, a stack of speakers, and the ability to make it part of a bigger streaming system as well. It doesn't support HDMI or 7.1 however, so keep that in mind.
READ MORE Sonos Playbar review
The Sonos Sub is an extension of the Sonos Playbar, and its intention is to add more depth to everything you see and hear by introducing more bass, offering a frequency response down to 25Hz.
It measures 389 x 402 x 158mm, weighs 16kgs and is finished in black gloss. You will be able to stand the Sonos Sub upright or lay it flat and it features built-in rubber feet, as well as optional feet.
The Sonos Sub has two Class-D amplifiers along with two force-cancelling speakers that are positioned face-to-face for a deeper and richer sound. Audio settings will be automatically adjusted to balance the Sub and the paired Sonos component.
Like the rest of the Sonos system, the Sub can be controlled using the Sonos Controller App and it will connect wirelessly to your home network so you can place it wherever you choose.
The main reason you would invest in the Sonos Sub with the Playbar is to bring a more powerful sound to your TV, movies and music. They are an expensive pair though so make sure you really want that extra bass and perhaps check with your neighbours before you spend the extra £599.
PRICE: £1198 with Playbar
READ MORE Sonos Sub review