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8 best Sonos speakers that elevate your listening experience

Find the best audio device to fit every room in your house

Andrew Griffin
Friday 18 March 2022 13:13 GMT
The good news is that there aren’t really any bad Sonos speakers but it offers so many packages that it can be a little confusing to know where to start
The good news is that there aren’t really any bad Sonos speakers but it offers so many packages that it can be a little confusing to know where to start (iStock/The Independent)

Sonos offers the best of the modern music listening experience: a seemingly infinite number of songs, in glorious quality, all ready to stream into your house with just the touch of an app.

But it offers so many packages that it can be a little confusing to know which of them are the best for you, and which you should buy.

The good news is that there aren’t really any bad Sonos speakers – just ones that may well be too expensive for you, and which are best to avoid.

All Sonos speakers feature the same basic smart features: you’ll be able to stream music from anywhere, use the "TruePlay" feature to adjust the sound to the shape of your room, connect them into stereo pairs or surround systems. You can also stream with multi-room features that let you fill your whole house at once. It’s just a question of which product is likely to fit best in which room.

Here’s the rundown of which is best in what situation.

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The best Sonos speakers for 2022 are:

  • Best for a bit of everything – Sonos one: £199, Sonos.com
  • Best for chunky tunes – Sonos five: £499, Sonos.com
  • Best for improving your TV’s sound – Sonos beam: £449, Sonos.com
  • Best for Hollywood sound at home – Sonos arc: £899, Sonos.com
  • Best for pairing with the speakers you already own – Sonos amp: £699, Sonos.com
  • Best for garden parties – Sonos move: £399, Sonos.com
  • Best for on the move – Sonos roam: £179, Sonos.com
  • Best for on the move on a budget – Sonos roam SL: £159, Sonos.com

Sonos one

ONEG2US1BLK.jpg

Best: For a bit of everything

Sonos’s classic speaker is “the one”, and it’s the favourite for a reason. It’s one of the cheapest of the home speakers, but offers the perfect introduction to what they have to offer. Small enough to fit onto almost any shelf, but still big enough that it packs a punch, it’s a mono speaker, meaning that it doesn’t go especially loud and can sometimes be lacking in clarity and bass if you strain to listen to it very hard, but it still sounds great in most cases. It becomes even better when combined with another One, to make a stereo pair that vastly widens the sound and allows the speakers to do more of what they’re best at.

The One is the perfect introduction to the Sonos system, if you are just wondering what it is all about and want to dip your toe in. It’s also the perfect extension, if you’re looking to fill up your house with more sound and more speakers. Sonos also sells another version – the One SL (£179, Sonos.com) – for slightly cheaper. It comes without a microphone, making it the perfect choice if the thought of being listened to by Alexa is scary or unnecessary, or if you just want to save a little money.

  1.  £199 from Sonos.com
Prices may vary
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Sonos five

Sonos_five.jpeg

Best: For chunky tunes

The Sonos five is the big sibling of the line-up: hefty, both in size and sound, with a price tag to match. But it is also an astonishing sounding speaker, and the best of Sonos’s line-up when it comes to music. It will pay off in rooms that are bigger or situations where you’re going to be giving the music your full attention. Pair two fives together and you have the peak of what the Sonos system has to offer. It’s an expensive pairing – but an exquisite one, too.

  1.  £499 from Sonos.com
Prices may vary
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Sonos beam

SONOS_BEAM1US1BLK.jpg

Best: For improving your TV’s sound

Sonos doesn’t just make music speakers, in fact some of its best products are meant to be paired with your TV – even if they’re great at playing music, too. The beam is perhaps the most easy to recommend of those options, representing a relatively cheap – though still fairly pricey – entry into Sonos’s home cinema speakers in the form of a soundbar. It’s guaranteed to be better than the speakers in your TV and it brings extra smart features to it, including voice assistants that can control the TV as well as being used to start music.

Because the beam – and other home cinema speakers – are made with the same Sonos attention to sound, they also have the benefit of being beautiful music machines. As such, you’re unlikely to need another speaker in the room with a beam, and it can serve as the perfect music streaming box, too. The beam is small, and its sound is a little diminutive too. But as long as it’s not in a huge room, or being used for full blasting cinema-style watching, it will hold its own.

  1.  £449 from Sonos.com
Prices may vary
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Sonos arc

SONOS_ARC.jpeg

Best: For Hollywood sound at home

The Sonos arc was released in 2020, and marked the arrival of a range of technologies to the Sonos line-up, most notably Dolby Atmos. It aims to throw the TV’s sound around the room, giving the impression that noises are coming from the ceiling or the floor. And the sound is big in other ways, too. Its vast array of speakers mean that it can throw out sound that is precise and crisp, and when it plays music it can simply not be faulted.

The arc comes at a price as high as you might expect for something so big and beautiful. As such, it’s only likely to pay off in rooms that are especially big, or where you want the full cinema experience; in other cases, the beam (£449, Sonos.com)will do the job.

There is a degree of snobbishness around soundbars, but this sounds better than almost any other we’ve heard. If you’re keen to get something that will look as good as it sounds, or just to get something that will work seamlessly with the rest of your Sonos line-up, you won’t go wrong with the arc – though you will have to pay up for it.

  1.  £899 from Sonos.com
Prices may vary
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Sonos amp

Sonos_amp.jpg

Best: For pairing with the speakers you already own

One of the most intriguing Sonos speakers isn’t really a Sonos speaker at all – but instead gives your existing speakers all the smarts of the system. On the face of it, the Sonos amp works just like any other amplifier: plug in your speakers using the standard cables, and it will provide them with the loud music they need for you to start listening.

Inside is the same kind of wifi features found on the rest of the Sonos line-up. You can stream from all the same sources, through the same app, with the same easy multi-room features. It’s the perfect way to combine the best of both worlds: whatever speakers you already have and love, and which might be permanently installed or otherwise found their perfect place in your home, combined with the clever features of the Sonos system.

Using it will get them in sync with the rest of your home, as well as making it easy to stream without having to plug in aux cables or fuss with CDs. Sonos also sells the port (£399, Sonos.com), which is intended for situations where you already have an amplifier and want to add it to your Sonos system. It does that well, but it is pricey, and it’s ultimately unlikely you’ll need it unless you are installing a full smart home system.

  1.  £699 from Sonos.com
Prices may vary
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Sonos move

Sonos_move.jpg

Best: For garden parties

Sonos’s move is really a chunky One (£199, Sonos.com) with a battery. But while describing it that way might be accurate, it also undersells just how enjoyable it can be.

For the most part, the speaker functions like any other Sonos product: tucked away in its small charging cradle, it can sit on a shelf or table and play music like the rest of its siblings in the line-up. But lift it off that cradle and its true utility becomes clear. Its battery means that it can be taken anywhere and will work for up to 11 hours, on wifi or Bluetooth, with sound as chunky as its body.

It’s still heavy though – so heavy in fact, that you’re not going to want to carry it around in a backpack, for instance, or (ironically) use it on the move. Instead, it’s best used in places where you might not otherwise be able to get to an outlet: using it in the garden, or taking it to a friend’s house.

  1.  £399 from Sonos.com
Prices may vary
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Sonos roam

SonosRoamWM2.jpeg

Best: For on the move

The new Sonos roam appears to be the ultimate portable speaker for Sonos fans: it’s light, and as small as a water bottle. Despite that diminutive size, it still packs in all the smarts of other Sonos speakers, and more. It can connect to wifi and be used like any other speaker in the home, but can also be taken out and about thanks to its Bluetooth connectivity – and it can tell whether it is at home or not, and use whichever setting is best.. Either way, the roam sounds great and the battery life is impressive, meaning that it’s the perfect speaker for taking on the go.

But unexpectedly, it’s also a really great first Sonos speaker to buy. Its small size means that it’s not only good for taking out of the house, but also around it, so you can quickly take it from cooking in the kitchen to relaxing in the bath, for instance. It is definitely the least loud speaker in Sonos’s range – as you might expect – but it has plenty of power for a small room, and will fit perfectly alongside other Sonos speakers if you buy it and then decide to build up your collection.

  1.  £179 from Sonos.com
Prices may vary
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Sonos roam SL

Sonos roam SL indybest.jpg

Best: For on the move on a budget

The idea behind the roam SL is simple: it’s the roam, but without the microphone. As such, you can’t use the voice features, but in return the price is a bit lower, and you get the benefit of privacy. It’s a simple trade-off, and whether it’s worth it will depend entirely on whether you think you’re likely to use Alexa or the Google Assistant.

In practice, with long-term use of the roam, we’ve found ourselves rarely using those features: the speaker is specifically built for taking around, and the voice assistants don’t work once you’re not on wifi anymore, anyway. But if you are planning to use the roam more as a home speaker that you can occasionally take on the move – for which it is great, despite its small size – then you might find yourself looking to use that feature more often and as such this might not be the one for you.

  1.  £159 from Sonos.com
Prices may vary
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The Verdict: Sonos speakers

The One offers an introduction to the best of Sonos: very smart, very good sound for its size and price, and the ability to link up not just with the world of music streaming but also with the rest of the speakers in your house. It’s the best place to start, and likely to be the best addition to any existing system.

But the real appeal of the line-up is that you can probably find whatever you need for the room you have – and then string the speakers together to take up your full house. As such, there’s not a speaker that won’t do the job – you just need to work out what that job is.

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