Sonos offers three home theatre speakers in the form of the Playbase, Playbar and the compact Beam. The Playbase is designed for TVs that aren't wall-mounted, sliding beneath them, while the Playbar and Beam are primarily designed for wall-mounted TVs, though none of the speakers are restricted to those setups.

We've compared the Playbar and the Beam in a separate feature, but here we are looking at how the Playbar and the Playbase compare to help you work out which is the most suitable for your home and setup.

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Design and connections

  • Playbase has slimmer and more refined design
  • Playbase designed for under TV, Playbar for wall
  • Both require broadband, power supply and TV with optical audio output

The Sonos Playbase is a super-slim speaker that measures 720m wide, 380mm deep and offers a height of just 58mm. It weighs 8.6kg and it features a lovely smooth finish with no visible joins, delivering a beautiful design. At the front is the acoustically transparent grille with the Sonos tag in the centre, while the left side has the pairing button.

On the flat top, which can withstand a TV up to 34kgs, there are capacitive touch buttons for play, pause, volume and track skipping control, while the rear has the power supply port, Ethernet port and the optical audio input. The Playbase is available in white and black colour options.

The Sonos Playbar on the other hand has a different shape. It measures 900mm wide, 85mm deep and 140mm high, but it is a little lighter than the Playbase at 5.4kg.

Its design is a little less refined, which is to be expected given it is several years older. It is available in a combination of black and dark silver only, and it features physical controls on the side for play, pause and volume, like the Play:1, rather than capacitive like newer Sonos speakers including the Sonos Beam, Sonos Move, Sonos One, Sonos One SL, and Play:5. On the rear of the Playbar in the centre there are two Ethernet ports, an optical audio input and a power supply port.

Neither the Playbase or the Playbar have HDMI - which the Beam does - meaning both require a TV with an optical audio output. They also both require a broadband connection.

Sound

  • Playbase has 10-driver speaker system
  • Playbar has nine-driver speaker system
  • Both have Class-D digital amplifiers to match speaker drivers

The Sonos Playbase has a ten-driver speaker system comprising six mid-range, three tweeters and one woofer. Each of which has been custom-designed to the Playbase's acoustic architecture. There are also ten Class-D digital amplifiers on board.

The Sonos Playbar has a nine-driver speaker system made up of six mid-woofers and three tweeters. There are also nine Class-D digital amplifiers, which like the Playbase's are tuned to match the speaker drivers.

Features

  • Both can stream music and offer cinema sound for TV
  • Both have same features, including Dialogue Enhancement 
  • Both have voice control through an Alexa-enabled or Google Assistant-enabled device

The Sonos Playbase and Playbar both offer the same features. They both run on the Sonos platform, meaning access to over 100 music streaming services, and they can both be grouped with existing Sonos speakers. This means they can either act as another multi-room speaker streaming music, or they can deliver the sound from your TV to other Sonos speakers around the house.

Both speakers can also be combined with a Sonos Sub and two of the same Sonos speakers, such as two Sonos One (or a Sonos One and Sonos One SL), Play:1, Play:3 or Play:5 speakers for a 5:1 surround sound setup. They also both offer Dialogue Enhancement, which enhances vocal clarity, and Night Mode, which tones down bass during loud action scenes, and they can both be controlled with a TV remote control rather than just the Sonos app.

The Playbase and Playbar are compatible with the Sonos Trueplay feature too, which enables users to tune the speakers to the specifics of the room environment they are in. They also both have voice control via an Amazon-Alexa or Google Assistant-enabled device, such as an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Google Home or Google Home Mini, or a Sonos One or Sonos Move. 

Price

  • Both same price
  • Playbar wall-mounting kit costs extra

The Sonos Playbase and Playbar both cost £699 or $699. If you want to wall-mount your Playbar, the kit is an extra £39.

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Conclusion

The Sonos Playbase and Playbar are both two-in-one speakers, streaming music while also offering cinema sound to your TV. They also both offer the same features and functions, they both have a two-cable setup, with one for power and the other for connecting to your TV and they are both the same price.

Ultimately, the Playbase is designed for TVs that are not wall-mounted, with the idea being that the TV sits on top of the speaker. It has a more refined design and an extra driver for enhanced sound output.

The Playbar on the other hand, can sit flat below the TV too, but it can also be wall-mounted to sit underneath a wall-hung TV. It doesn't have quite as striking a design as the Playbase, and it isn't as compact or as smart as the Sonos Beam, but it still looks great up on the wall.