February 8, 2023

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Best Sonos Setup (2022): Which Speakers and Soundbars Should You Buy?

Here at WIRED, we like Sonos speakers. We really do. For the past decade, we’ve reviewed all of the company’s wireless speakers, from small bookshelf speakers to TV soundbars, and we’ve recommended each of them. But turning your home into a Sonos-powered shrine doesn’t come cheap. Like Apple products, Sonos speakers are sold at a premium that starts at $120 for a basic bookshelf speaker. But which one should you buy? Read on for our recommendations.

Updated December 2022: We’ve added the Sonos Ray Soundbar and Sonos Sub Mini Subwoofer, and updated prices and retailers.

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Overall the best Sonos speaker

The Sonos One (Gen 2) is pretty much the smallest Sonos speaker, but it packs enough punch to fill most rooms. Compared to its predecessor, the Gen 2 model has a faster processor and more RAM. So not only does it sound better, it lasts longer too – meaning you won’t have to worry about upgrading for a while.

We recommend other Sonos speakers in this guide, but you also can’t go wrong by simply buying more Sonos Ones to fill your house. Their hands-free Alexa and Google Assistant integration also makes them a lot more versatile. They can play music, tell you the weather, find a recipe, and answer simple questions just like any of our other favorite smart speakers. They also work with Siri via AirPlay 2. They’re also a lot cheaper than other Sonos speakers, and their small size means you can hide them in almost any room.

Sonos One SL

Photo: Sonos

It’s nearly identical to the One but lacks microphones, so you can only control it from your phone or the touch buttons on it (and you don’t have to worry about someone eavesdropping on your home). The SL is also a great way to add more satellite speakers to your home. And if you want a speaker that can really take a beating, the Sonos Five ($549) sounds fantastic and is microphone-less.

The best speakers to fill a room

Earlier this year, Sonos teamed up again with Ikea to release a second-gen version of its bookshelf speaker. At $120, it’s a bit more expensive than its $99 predecessor, but it has a few upgrades, including an increase in RAM and a faster processor. We have yet to test this model, but we liked the first-gen version.

Look aside, it sounds almost as good as a Sonos One. You can mount it directly on the wall or stand it upright on a bookshelf or table. And if you want to network a few speakers together for a larger room or connected rooms, this is the cheapest way. It doesn’t accept audio commands directly since it doesn’t have a microphone. So you’ll need a Sonos One, a Google speaker, or an Alexa speaker to shout at if you want to control it with your voice. Otherwise it does everything you’d expect from a Sonos.

Sonos and Ikea also launched a new version of their unique table lamp. There’s a white version, a black version, and a $169 version with a fabric light shade. It offers improved sound and this time it’s more customizable with interchangeable shades. The first model you can read about in our double review sounded great. We have high hopes for the new version. Finally, if wall art is more your style, Ikea offers the Symfonisk Picture Frame with a built-in Sonos Wi-Fi speaker for $249. We are currently testing the table lamp and will update this guide with our thoughts soon.

Best Portable Speaker with Bluetooth

The Sonos Roam (9/10, WIRED Recommends) is the company’s smallest and most portable speaker. With built-in Bluetooth connectivity (it’s one of our most popular Bluetooth speakers), you can just toss it in a carrying case and play music on the go. With the Sonos app, available for Android and iPhone, you also have the option to stream from major services like Spotify, Apple Music (with AirPlay 2 support), Tidal and more. And you can control the speaker via voice commands with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

It might not offer audiophile sound for its stature, but it’s still pretty impressive. The dual driver system, subwoofer and tweeter work together to deliver powerful bass and clear highs – without distortion when the volume is cranked up. And with up to 10 hours of playback, it’s enough for a whole day at the beach – and then some.

SonosMove

Photo: Sonos

The Sonos Move is a bigger portable speaker with better sound. It offers Bluetooth connectivity, 11 hours of battery life and built-in microphones that adapt its sound to the environment, and it’s waterproof. Can’t decide between Roam and Move? You can buy both from Sonos for $578.

Best Sonos Soundbar (For Most)

Like the original Beam (8/10, WIRED Recommends), the second-generation Beam delivers impressive sound and a sleek design. In terms of upgrades, it has a faster processor, support for Dolby Atmos (with compatible TVs and streaming apps) for improved sound, and an HDMI eARC port for high-resolution audio. You also get hands-free Alexa and Google Assistant, and it works with Airplay 2. You can pair it with a Sonos Sub (an expensive subwoofer) and two other Sonos speakers for surround.

Sonos has also tweaked the design, adding a polycarbonate grille to the front instead of a fabric cover like seen on the Gen 1 model. This is to make it easier to blend into your interior design. It’s $50 more than the previous model, which isn’t much more expensive than the already expensive soundbar. For non-Sonos alternatives, check out our guide to the best soundbars.

Sonos Sub Speaker Gen 3 Photo: Sonos

The standard Sonos Sub is $749 at Sonos or Target. It’s great but expensive. If you’re working with a smaller space, the cheaper Sonos Sub Mini is $429 at Sonos (Target). However, don’t bother buying surround speakers until you own a sub. It will make a big difference.

Best small soundbar

If you have an apartment, a smaller room, or are just starting out in the soundbar department, the Sonos Ray (9/10, WIRED Recommends) is a solid option for you. The Ray comes in a compact frame, but don’t let that fool you. The soundbar produces clear, crisp sound that effortlessly fills your room with zooms and booms, soft talk, and any other moments you don’t want to miss from your favorite movies and shows. Plus, with customizable settings in the Sonos app, you can configure your ideal listening experience for every song on your favorite album.

This small soundbar fits easily on entertainment centers and dressers, or you can mount it on your wall to free up as much valuable space as possible.

Want to take it to the next level? You can pair the Ray with the Sonos Sub Mini to complete the sound in your room. The Sub Mini is wireless (apart from a power cord) so it connects seamlessly to your current system via the Sonos app. This subwoofer is $429 on Sonos and Target.

Best for large home theaters

A soundbar can make all the difference in a home theater, and it costs a lot less than a full surround sound setup. And if you’re looking for a really powerful one, the Sonos Arc (9/10, WIRED Recommends) is the way to go. It has full Dolby Atmos support and in many rooms it can bounce sound off your walls and ceiling so well it sounds like you have a surround setup.

With three tweeters and eight mid-range drivers, it delivers deep bass and has more balance and depth than the Beam. It’s also much longer, stretching out at 45 inches, or about the width of a 55-inch TV. Its design is sleek and understated in the usual Sonos manner – you won’t always notice the bar, but when you do, it’s not an eyesore at all.