(Pocket-lint) - Wireless, Wi-Fi-enabled speakers allow you to fill your home with music without the hassle and mess of running cables everywhere. They tend to use their own mesh network that allows for high-fidelity audio and synchronised multi-room playback.
We're always testing the latest and greatest wireless speakers here at Pocket-Lint, and, so, this is the place where we round them up. It can get a little complicated if you're trying to pick between these options, as you might expect, which is why we've also included a concise list of things to consider before you buy - find this below our top picks.
Keep in mind that many of the devices we detail below support Bluetooth and Apple's AirPlay, as well as Wi-Fi, which really helps broaden their appeal. However, if you don't necessarily need all these connections, you may be better served with one of the best Bluetooth speakers.
Now, let's get into some of our favourites.
What are the best wireless speakers right now? Our top recommendation is currently the Sonos One. However, this is followed closely by the Amazon Echo Studio, Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd generation, Sonos Five and the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin (2021).
- Superb sound
- Class-leading software
- Excellent Alexa and Google Assistant integration
- On the pricey side
- Doesn't support Alexa calls
The Sonos One (2nd generation) is a great little speaker that has so much potential beyond the speaker itself that we can't recommend it enough as a starting place in the Sonos system.
This is about getting the most out of your digital streaming music service without spending a fortune in doing so.
Pick up one of these and it's likely you'll be going back a couple of weeks later to set up another one in another room. Expect music in your house to multiply very quickly, and for good reason.
Wireless speakers we also recommend
The Sonos One detailed above is a brilliant speaker, but it won't be the right pick for everyone. That's why we also recommend checking out these four other superb options below.
Amazon Echo Studio
- Incredible value for money
- Dolby Atmos support
- Pairs with Fire TV
- Not the prettiest to look at
- Could use more colour options
Let's be honest - Amazon is pretty dominant when it comes to Wi-Fi speakers for your home, and its Echo line is thankfully also really good for the prices it commands.
The Echo Studio is a game-changer, though - it's a huge step up in audio quality. There are high-resolution levels and the overall quality is outstanding, coming in at a price that, quite frankly, embarrasses a lot of the competition. It's not the most beautiful speaker around, but there's real value on the sound front and amazing connectivity, too.
Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd generation
- Gorgeous design
- Fantastic audio fidelity
- Updated command dial looks and feels great
- It is very expensive
- Not capable of as much bass as the full-size Mu-so
We'd not call the Qb a budget speaker by any means, but its price point is about as low as we thought we'd ever see from the Naim, um, name.
Now in its second generation, the Qb certainly makes a strong impression, giving out high-quality audio at a smaller size and price compared to the larger Mu-so.
For a speaker so square, the Qb is an all-around success.
- Lovely minimal design
- Excellent sound and build quality
- The peerless Sonos experience
- No voice assistant features
- No Bluetooth support
This speaker has a subtle and sophisticated design that we love - with great features like capacitive touch controls - while also offering support for the brilliant Sonos app to connect to streaming services.
More importantly, however, the sound it delivers is superb, especially with Trueplay software tuning. Sonos has competition nipping at its heels left, right and centre, but the Five shows what over a decade of experience can deliver. It's another ideal way to start a Sonos multi-room system or add a superb centrepiece to an existing one.
- Unique and beautiful aesthetics
- Loads of services supported
- Audiophile standard soundstage
- No wired music sources, wireless only
- It's a pricey one
Bowers & Wilkins' iconic Zeppelin is sure to become the centre-piece of any room it is placed in. Not only because of its striking design, but also because it can pump out deep, throaty bass and precise sparkling highs. It's an audiophile's dream come true.
We liked it so much that the only real downside we noted, other than the price tag, is the lack of wired source inputs. Luckily, the app support is excellent, so we don't think it'll be an issue for most.
Other products we considered
When trying to decide what we believe are the best wireless speakers currently available, we spent hours testing and researching. We consider a number of factors when it comes to recommending speakers - and apply the same criteria when a new device is being considered for inclusion. It's not all judged on our testing, either - we also try to factor in consumer reviews, brand quality and value.
In all of our roundups, there are also many products we test that don't make the final cut. Since they may be the right fit for some people, however, we've listed them below.
How to choose a wireless speaker
The wireless speaker market has grown considerably over the past decade or so, and it doesn't look like it's going to slow down any time soon. All this choice means that you can find speakers in any style and with any kind of features you want. Unfortunately, it also makes it much harder to narrow down your options. So, with that in mind, here are some things worth thinking about before you decide on a wireless speaker.
What is the multi-room ecosystem like?
One of the main reasons people get into wireless audio systems, rather than something like Bluetooth, is the multi-room expandability. It's really nice to be able to access your music all over the house, and even better when you can group speakers together for more immersive sound.
If you're only really focused on one room, or, if you live in a studio, then it might not be important to you. Regardless, it's something worth thinking about as many users choose to expand their home audio systems as time goes by and a good ecosystem can make that process much easier.
Which services are supported?
This one is nice and simple, if you're an avid Apple Music user then you had better check that your chosen wireless speaker supports Apple Music playback. Not all wireless speakers offer the option of wired or Bluetooth playback, so if your favourite service is missing you'd be out of luck.
It's always worth paying attention to what reviewers and customers are saying about the app too. With a wireless speaker, the majority of your interaction with the device will be through its app, so it's important to seek out a good one. It's no good having the best speaker in the world if it has a buggy app that's always crashing, as you'll likely never want to use it.
What about other smart integrations?
A feature that is becoming more common on wireless speakers is the ability to integrate with smart assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant. It won't matter to everyone, but if you're a keen user then it's undeniably convenient to have your audio system integrated too. If you've got lots of other smart home kit, then imagine how convenient it would be to ask any speaker in any room to turn the heating up or switch certain lights off.
Another feature that we're big fans of is Spotify Connect (there are equivalents for lots of the other streaming services too), this allows you to control Spotify playback on wireless speakers from within the Spotify app without needing to open your music system's app. It's worth taking a look at the compatible devices for your chosen music platform to check if you could take advantage of such a feature.
How's the sound quality?
Last but not least, it's got to sound good, of course. As the sound quality is fairly subjective, we'd recommend thinking about the particular sonic aspects you enjoy, as well as the genres you'll be listening to. If it's gonna be all DNB, all the time, then obviously you'll want something that can kick out the low-frequencies. Whereas, if it's going to be mainly podcasts, the mids are going to be far more important.
One important thing to remember is that great bass response tends to come from larger housings, so there's a balance to be found between what fits neatly into your space and what is going to rumble your face off.
More about this story
Every product in this list has been tested in real-life situations, just as you would use it in your day-to-day life.
In the case of wireless speakers, we put each device through its paces by listening to a range of different genres, in a variety of room sizes and via a variety of streaming services. In doing this, we're able to decipher which are worth your time and why.
We've been testing wireless speakers since they became a thing, and have pretty much reviewed every major model released. The product category has changed a lot, adding features like smart assistants, better sound capabilities and in some cases, built-in batteries for portability. We've also seen a greater focus on design, and all these elements have played into the choices we've picked for this buyer's guide.
As with any roundup, it's not possible to deliver a list that works for every type of user, but we lean on the experiences and opinions of the Pocket-lint team - as well as thoroughly assessing the areas outlined above - in order to do our best in this regard.
What we always tend to avoid when compiling these picks are needless spec comparisons and marketing lines; we just want to provide an easy to understand summary that gives you an idea of what each wireless speaker is like to use. Our verdicts are concise, but this is purely in the interest of brevity.