(Pocket-lint) - The market for multi-room speakers has grown significantly in recent years, with new entrants all the time. There are some brands that have been doing the work for many years though, like Sonos. The company has been around for well over a decade and offers one of the best app platforms out there, with support for many of the big streaming services including Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.
There are several speakers within the Sonos multi-room line up, and there are two soundbars and a wireless subwoofer too.
Let us help you work out which Sonos speaker, or speakers, are the best for you.
The Sonos Move is bigger than the Sonos One, and more expensive, but it brings water resistance, portability and Bluetooth audio streaming capabilities, whilst also offering all the usual Sonos features when connected to Wi-Fi, as well as built-in voice control.
The Sonos One SL has the exact same design and sound architecture as the Sonos One, but without built-in voice control from Google or Alexa, making it a little cheaper and a good alternative to the older Play:1.
The Beam is a small form factor soundbar, designed for your TV. It's compact, powerful and fully connected, offering HDMI for your TV, as well as Alexa and Google Assistant voice control. Like the Sonos One, One SL, Move and Five, it also supports Apple AirPlay 2.
Replacing the seven year-old Playbar is the Sonos Arc, the larger of the two soundbars offered by Sonos. Not only does it support many of the features of the Beam, it also comes with Dolby Atmos upfiring speakers and HDMI eARC capabilities.
The main reason you would invest in the Sub is to pair it with the Beam or Arc, although it could also work as an excellent companion to two Sonos Five speakers working as a pair. They are an expensive pair though so make sure you really want that extra bass.
The Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Wi-Fi Bookshelf Speaker is a bookshelf and speaker in one. It doesn't offer the same power as a Sonos One or Sonos One SL, but it's more affordable and it offers many of the Sonos features, as well as Apple AirPlay 2.
The Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Table Lamp Speaker is a table lamp and speaker in one. It has the same power as the older Play:1 and it's the same price a the Sonos One SL but you get a table lamp too, and Apple AirPlay 2 compatibility.
The Sonos Move is the first portable speaker from Sonos, offering Bluetooth audio capabilities alongside Wi-Fi. When in Bluetooth mode - there's a toggle switch on the rear - the Sonos Move allows you to pair your device to it and stream audio, as you would any other Bluetooth speaker.
When in Wi-Fi mode, the Sonos Move offers all the same features you would expect from a Sonos speaker, controlled using the Sonos app. It offers Automatic Trueplay tuning so if you move the Move, it will automatically tune itself to its surroundings, and there is Apple AirPlay 2 on board too.
Additionally, the Sonos Move has built in Google Assistant and Alexa voice control - like the Sonos One below - and it is IP56 water and dust resistant so you can bring it wherever you're going. The battery lasts around 10 hours but there is a charging dock, as well as USB Type-C.
The Sonos One has integrated voice control from Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant like the Sonos Move, allowing you to control other Sonos speakers, as well as order an Uber or control smart lights, for example.
It features a similar design to the older and dioscontinued Play:1, but the Sonos One has a colour-matched speaker grille and a capacitive touch control pad rather than physical buttons. It also offers the same sound architecture as the Play:1 while it doesn't offer the power of the Sonos Five, the Sonos One still sounds great for its size.
It's worth noting there is a second generation Sonos One model available which includes the addition of Bluetooth Low Energy, an updated processor and an increased memory over the 2017 model. The sound experience, design and smart functionalities remain the same as the 2017 model but the 2017 model costs £179 (if you can find it) and the second generation model costs £199.
Sonos One SL
The Sonos One SL is virtually identical in design to the Sonos One, except the SL doesn't offer voice control and therefore ditches the microphone array on the top compared to the Sonos One.
Aside from no integrated Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, the Sonos One SL offers the same features as the One though, including Apple AirPlay 2 support, compatibility with over 100 music services, multi-room audio and Trueplay tuning.
The Sonos One SL replaced the older Play:1, taking over as the smallest and cheapest Sonos speaker for those that don't want a smart speaker or those that might want to use the Sonos One SL as surrounds with the Sonos Beam taking over voice, for example.
You'll still be able to control the Sonos One SL through a third-party Amazon Alexa or Google Home device, and it can also be stereo paired with another Sonos One SL or a Sonos One.
Introduced as a like-for-like replacement for the Play:5, the Five is the biggest speaker in the Sonos line-up and the most powerful. It features capacitive touch controls and can be positioned vertically or horizontally. There is no built in voice control but users with an Alexa or Google Assistant-enabled device, or separate Sonos One, Move, Beam or Arc, can control the Five with their voice. There is Apple AirPlay 2 compatibility too.
As with other Sonos speakers, you get the same option to pair two Five speakers together for a full-fledged stereo pair, have multi-room audio, combine it with TV speakers for surround sound, place the speaker where you choose when connected to the Wi-Fi mesh network, as well as the streaming options and app features.
The main enhancements over the older Play:5 model are better processing, memory and more stable wireless connectivity.
Sonos Ikea Symfonisk speakers
Sonos and Ikea teamed up together to offer the Symfonisk Wi-Fi Book Shelf Speaker and the Symfonisk Table Lamp Speaker. Both offer all the same features as other Sonos speakers, including Trueplay tuning, multi-room audio, compatibility with over 100 music services, the ability to stereo pair two of the same and voice control via an Alexa or Google Assistant-enabled device.
The Sonos Ikea Symfonisk speakers are controlled via the Sonos app but they have dual functions in that the Book Shelf speaker can be a bookshelf too, as well as positioned vertically or horizontally, while the Table Lamp is a lamp as well as a speaker. Both are AirPlay 2 compatible.
The Symfonisk Wi-Fi Book Shelf Speaker is the cheapest way to start a Sonos system, offering a decent sound for the price and size. The Symfonisk Table Lamp Speaker is more expensive but it has a very functional design and great sound.
The Sonos Arc is a 5.0.2 bar with HDMI eARC and a completely retuned experience over the Playbar, which it replaces in the line-up.
It comes with a newer design aesthetic, with sleek, curved edges and rounded ends that look similar to the Sonos Move speaker if you look at that from above. This ties the new bar in with the rest of the Sonos family.
There are a stack of speaker drivers inside, with centre, left and right channels, plus a couple angled for a wider surround effect than the Beam (for example). Two additional drivers are angled upwards to send Dolby Atmos extra channels to your ceiling and down to the seating position to envelope you in immersive audio.
The Sonos Beam is a compact soundbar, offering all the features of a Sonos speaker but TV smarts too with HDMI ARC on board - taking the sound from your TV, but allowing Beam to control your TV too - as well as optical as a second option.
There's built-in Alexa and Google Assistant voice control, as well as AirPlay 2 support too. The Sonos Beam works with all other Sonos products in a multi-room setup and can also be paired with the Sub and other speakers for a 5.1 surround sound setup, but perhaps the most attractive element is that it's much cheaper than the Arc or Playbase, while offering better connectivity.
While it looks identical, the Sonos Sub was given an upgrade to a third-generation model.
It is an extension of the Sonos Beam or Arc, and its intention is to add more depth to everything you hear by introducing more bass, offering a frequency response down to 25Hz. You can stand the Sonos Sub upright or lay it flat and it features built-in rubber feet, as well as optional feet.
Audio settings are automatically adjusted to balance the Sub and the paired Sonos component and like the rest of the Sonos system, the Sub can be controlled using the Sonos app and it will connect wirelessly to your home network so you can place it wherever you choose.
The main differences between the lastes model and last generation is the gen 3 comes with better processing, more memory and stronger wireless connectivity.
The Sonos Play:1 is one of the smallest speakers in the Sonos multi-room offering but it is being phased out following the arrival of the Sonos One SL. It has a clean and simple design, with physical buttons on the top.
There is no Apple AirPlay 2 compatibility or built-in voice control like the Sonos One or Sonos Move but you can still control it with your voice if you have an Alexa or Google Assistant-enabled device, like other Sonos speakers.
The Play:1 offers many of the same features as other Sonos speakers, including the ability to stream your entire music library, music services and internet radio through the Sonos app, as well as control it via PC and Mac.
It offers great sound for its size and like other Sonos speakers, you can pair two Play:1's together to create a stereo pair, or combine with the Beam, Playbar or Playbase and Sub for a 5.1 surround sound experience.
The Sonos Playbar is the old stalwart that was for a long time the larger of the two soundbars in the Sonos portfolio, designed to complement your TV, but work as a standalone speaker too, like the Beam, with all the standard Sonos features. It offers clear, boombastic sound but unlike the Beam, optical is your only connection option, and the Arc is effectively a replacement for it.
Physical controls are present over capacitive and there is no built-in voice control or Apple AirPlay 2 compatibility like the Beam offers for less money. As with the Beam though, you can connect the Playbar to your TV for 3.0 home cinema sound, pair it up to the Sonos Sub for 3.1 home cinema, or take it one step further and add a couple of Sonos One, Sonos One SL, Play:1, Five speakers or even Ikea Symfonisk Bookshelf Speakers for 5.1 home cinema surround sound with a Playbar and Sub.
The Sonos Playbase is a soundbase rather than a soundbar, designed for TVs that are not wall-mounted, with the intention being that its super-slim build slides beneath the TV as oppose to hung under it on the wall. It follows the same design principals as the Five, with black and white colour options, a premium plastic exterior and capacitive touch control buttons.
Like the Playbar, you can connect the Playbase to your TV with an optical cable for 3.0 home cinema sound, pair it up with the Sonos Sub for 3.1 home cinema, or add two Sonos One, Sonos One SL, Play:1, Five speakers or Ikea Symfonisk Bookshelf Speakers for 5.1 surround sound. It will also work with your TV remote and it is also a very capable standalone speaker as well as a TV sound booster.