Wireless speakers do not necessarily produce better audio than their wired counterparts, but they do have the advantage of convenience. They are easy to move around the house, and come in compact sizes. Two or more wireless speakers may even be wirelessly connected with each other, or with an existing wired system. Control is almost always done via a smartphone and tablet, adding even more flexibility to wireless speakers. Wired speakers, however, are believed to produce better sound than wireless ones. It’s just that in today’s world, more and more people prefer the range of options and ease of setup that wireless speakers offer.
Key Factors in Choosing a Wireless Speaker
A good wireless speaker should first and foremost be easy to setup. Connecting to a home’s WiFi network should be simple and straightforward. After all, wireless speakers were chosen in the first place because of their convenience of use. Range between the music source and the speaker shouldn’t be a problem since true wireless speakers can operate via WiFi, and not just Bluetooth. If there is a model that offers both WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, then that would be an even better choice
It should go without saying that a good wireless speaker should produce high-quality audio. Nowadays, there are many available wireless speaker models in the market that could rival the audio quality of wired speakers. A free app should come with the wireless speaker, enabling access to a variety of music services. Ideally, speaker setup and adjustment should also be possible via the app. The app should be compatible and be able to work with the majority of music services today.
Unlike purely Bluetooth speakers, wireless speakers need to be plugged into the wall. It would be best to determine if a wireless speaker is the best option, or a Bluetooth one is preferred. Bluetooth speakers are technically wireless speakers too, but they have limited range and may not play songs as smoothly as wireless speakers can.
The last factor to consider is the price. There are numerous affordable options for wireless speakers, but it is not guaranteed that they offer the same flexibility when it comes to music source compatibility. The more music sources a wireless speaker can recognize, the better. It is highly likely though that those speakers are the ones that would cost more.
Here are some of the wireless speakers that have consistently been rated as among the top-performing in their categories.
Best Wireless Speaker Overall
Sonos PLAY:5 is in a class all by itself. The sound it produces is exquisite and clear, and suits all kinds of genre. For years, SONOS has been making quality speakers, but the PLAY:5 is their best one to date. Although the form factor is minimized, the bass output was given a boost.
This amazing wireless speaker is powered by 6 drivers and 6 amps, making it possible to hear even the lowest sounds at soft volumes. TruePlay is Sonos’s own technology and this enables a smartphone’s mic to measure the room in order to tune the speaker. This allows for greater flexibility in placing the speaker in any part of the room.
- exceptional sound
- TruePlay makes it possible to place speaker almost anywhere
- simple but fantastic design
- TruePlay can be tricky to set-up
- no Bluetooth connectivity
Best Affordable Wireless Speaker
Despite its competitive price, the Amazon Echo is giving other more expensive speakers a run for their money. This remarkable device features voice assistance and is able to answer almost any question asked and is able to save various alarms and reminders. There are seven microphones that makes it possible to be heard from any direction in the room. In addition to this, the Echo has a noise-cancelling feature that makes it easy to be heard even in the midst of a noisy room.
Amazon Echo offers WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, making it convenient to playback music from a wide array of sources. And if that’s not enough, this speaker is compatible with other home smart products like WeMo, Hue, SmartThings, Nest, and others.
- speech recognition is good
- competitive price
- music can be accessed from a lot of sources
- audio is good, but not great
- cannot search within a playlist
- functionality is still limited compared to Siri and Google Now
Best Wireless Speaker under $200
Sonos has been known to produce great speakers, but with hefty price tags. Sonos Play:1 is their most affordable speaker yet. One great thing about the speaker is its resistance to moisture, making it possible to be placed in kitchens or bathrooms. Two class-D amps, one mid-woofer, and a tweeter are found inside every Play:1. This makes the speaker produce a rich sound quality.
Play:1 speakers are quite small, but produce an impressive amount of bass for its size. Two speakers can be made to pair with each other to increase the sound field in a bigger room. Access to the device may be done through the Sonos app that comes with the device may be used with iOS and Android devices.
- great sound quality for the size
- compatible with iOS, Android, and PC
- no built-in battery
- no aux input
- still quite expensive for 1 speaker
Best Wireless Speaker Under $100
Polk Audio Omni S2
The Omni S2 speaker houses two 2” full-range drivers that are powered by a 2-channel amplifier, eliminating the need for an external amp. Passive bass radiators make audio quality even more remarkable. Stereo separation and depth produces superb sound and smooth bass. The speaker is actually easy to setup and controlled via WiFi using a smartphone or tablet. Connection via WiFi is stable and solid, compared to Bluetooth which can be erratic at times. Thanks to a free app for iOS or Android devices, selection and playback of music is made convenient.
- easy to set up
- smooth bass
- good value for money
- cannot run on batteries
- heavy bass at low volumes
- power cords may be too short
Best Looking Wireless Speaker
BeoPlay A6 may be pricier than most wireless speakers, but it does look the part. The speaker design is unique with its swappable wool cover, a touch interface, and the option to mount to a wall. BeoPlay A6 is able to stream from numerous sources such as iPhones, Anroid devices, tablets, NAS drive, Deezer, or even Spotify. All mainstream formats are also supported like MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV, FLAC, or ALAC. If those weren’t enough, internet stations may also be played via TuneIn.
The range of colors available for the wool cover can match any room. The cover actually serves more than an aesthetic purpose for the speaker. It is said to produce acoustic transparency that further enhance the amazing audio emitted by the speaker. Changing volume is done by brushing a finger along top, while switching between playback and standby mode needs a tapping motion near the middle of the top edge.
- crystal-clear sound
- deep bass
- extensive functionality
- controls may initially be hard to master
- connection ports are hard to access
Best Wireless Speaker with Bluetooth Capability
Bose SoundTouch 10
The Bose SoundTouch 10 is considered the rival of Sonos’s Play:1 speaker. They are almost the same in size, with Bose slight being taller, thinner, and lighter. Aside from being able to use a smartphone or tablet to control the SoundTouch 10, a small remote is included and copies the buttons found on top of the speaker. SoundTouch 10 can access playlists form different music sources like Deezer, Pandora, Spotify, and other Internet radio stations. The speaker can also support playback of MP3, WMA, FLAC, AAC, and Apple Lossless. Although the SoundTouch 10 is not as portable as the SoundLink Mini, it is still a good buy for an impressive WiFi speaker than sounds better than the Mini.
- has Bluetooth capability
- impressive audio quality
- has separate remote
- no integrated battery
- some music sound harsh at high volumes
- average design