Best Wi-Fi Speaker for 2022

Wireless audio home has been with us for a while, but the speakers that do Wi-Fi streaming as an alternative to Bluetooth they have multiplied in the last few years. One of the best-selling Wi-Fi features is the ability to control music on multiroom environment, with the added bonus of almost all Wi-Fi speakers also offer voice control by Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri apple. The benefits of it? You can request a song to be played on the same great sounding speaker. Don’t miss out on more topwatchbest’s guide to the best smart speakers.

If you don’t want voice control, you don’t need to have it – all your speakers will work without it as they don’t have microphones or you can physically turn them off. Either way, you don’t have to spend a lot; a fantastic “stupid” multiroom speaker like the Ikea Symfonisk Bookshelf starts at $ 120. However, there are many standards, and if you fill your home with them, you want to make sure they work together. To understand all of this, read on to find the best Wi-Fi speakers for your needs.

Sarah Tew / topwatchbest

For less than $ 200 and with both Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant in addition to great sound quality, Sonos One is this a smart speaker that will please every music fan. Combine this compact speaker with another Sonos One and Apple AirPlay 2 for a flexible, high-quality theater speaker system that responds to voice commands for less than the price Play: 5. You don’t want to voice control? Get it Sonos One SL – it is virtually identical, but lacks microphones.

Read our Sonos One review.

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Sarah Tew / topwatchbest

Google may offer a variety of speakers, including Audio socketbut the one that was really great in music – the House Max – has been discontinued. So it’s surprising that the list is inexpensive but good sounding Chromecast built-in speakers can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Of these, the JBL playlist is the best I’ve heard, with a bulky speaker and enough volume to fill a typical room. It also has Bluetooth and an auxiliary input to increase its flexibility. It may not be “smart,” but if you want a system that can be controlled with your existing Google Assistant speaker, this is the one to get.

Read our JBL playlist review.

David Carnoy / topwatchbest

The Sonos Roam is a portable Bluetooth speaker on steroids – it can be used anywhere or as part of a Sonos multiroom system. It is inexpensive (I mean for Sonos) and sounds better than other products of this type. It also comes with a voice assistant that makes song selection even easier.

We also tested

  • Portable JBL Link ($ 180): Link Portable is a bigger competitor to Sonos as it is compatible with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and can play louder and with heavier bass. In his Sonos Roam reviewreviewer David Carnoy says he preferred Sonos’ sound and build quality and would buy it from JBL.
  • Bose 300 home speaker ($ 200): If you’re looking for a responsive smart speaker, the Bose Home Speaker 300 is both quick to operate and easy on the eye. In terms of sound quality, however, it does not match its competitor, the cheaper Sonos One. In addition, the on-board Bose Music multiroom system is not compatible with the existing ones SoundTouch products. The 300 appears to have been discontinued, but is still available in many places. Read the topwatchbest review on Bose 300 home speaker.
  • Bowers and Wilkins Formation Flex ($ 500): The little brother of the flashy Formation Wedge, the Flex is still quite stylish and boasts an open-hearted sound signature. There is a ton of competition at this level, however, including the Sonos Five, which is capable of delivering a much larger, party-ready performance. Read topwatchbest’s first approach to the scope of formation.
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Sonos Movement

David Carnoy / topwatchbest

  • Sonos Movement ($ 399): If you need a wireless speaker model that is (a bit) portable and waterproof, Sonos Move offers great sound in a very large box. If you need to power a tailgate or a big party this would be great, but for most people the Sonos Roam is both cheaper and handier. Read topwatchbest Sonos Move review.
  • Sony SRS-RA5000 ($ 800): Where should people put large speakers like the Sony SRS-RA5000 and the McIntosh RS150? Dressing table – really big? Sony is over a foot tall, but increases its potential awkwardness with 360-degree playback, making it the “best” place to place it in the center of a room. The audio is okay, but if you want to listen to 3D audio, Amazon Echo Studio that’s a quarter of the price. Read topwatchbest’s first take on the Sony SRS-RA5000
  • McIntosh RS150 ($ 1,200): Honestly, the chunky McIntosh RS150 has some good things – namely Chromecast built-in, Roon Ready, and Spotify Connect. Nevertheless, we found the sound a little disappointing, with a strong bass mix and no EQ control. Also, while the RS100 had the legendary McIntosh blue meters, this update was pointless by replacing them with LED lights. Competitive Naim Mu-so Qb is able to offer more including that great volume control for the same price.

How does topwatchbest test Wi-Fi speakers?

topwatchbest uses a rigorous, impartial evaluation process for all of our audio tests. We test Wi-Fi speakers, ranging from simple bedside speakers to high-end systems. Our audio lab covers Roon server Works on Synology NAS servers, Google Nest speakers, and Amazon Echo, as well as iOS and Android devices. Similar speakers are compared side by side in the living room with different music styles and using multiple streaming platforms as needed. We evaluate the sound quality of each one by assessing clarity, dynamics, bass response and stereo imaging (if applicable). If your speaker ships with a proprietary app, we’ll compare it with other competing controllers.

Frequently asked questions about Wi-Fi speakers

Is Bluetooth better than Wi-Fi?

Both of them can be described as wireless speaker systems. Wi-Fi provides the same basic convenience as Bluetooth: using your phone’s Wi-Fi connection to play music through an external speaker or sound system. Like Bluetooth speakers, it can work with a music subscription application such as Spotify (via Spotify Connect) or Apple musica radio service such as Pandora or TuneIn or your own music collection. Here are the top reasons to buy a Wi-Fi speaker for streaming:

  • The Wi-Fi speaker sounds better than the Bluetooth speaker because of the higher bandwidth.
  • Wi-Fi has better coverage.
  • Wi-Fi does not take over the phone’s audio channel – so you can, for example, answer a call without interrupting the track.
  • It also works great for multiroom audio, allowing you to play from multiple speakers throughout your home over Wi-Fi, all controlled from a single app on your phone.

How do multiroom speakers work?

Mutliroom allows users to play from one or more loudspeakers anywhere in the home simultaneously, with most systems supporting up to a dozen different zones. For example, if you want to play a song in “home party mode” where it comes from multiple speakers throughout your home simultaneously, all of those speakers need to share the same ecosystem. For Sonos and other proprietary systems, all of these speakers will need to be Sonos (or connected to a Sonos device). For Chromecast, all speakers regardless of brand must be Chromecast compatible. And so on.

How to connect WiFi to music?

Most speakers come with a dedicated iOS and Android companion app for both setup and system control. Needless to say, you need an internet connection to use the Wi-Fi speaker, and most speakers support at least 2.4GHz or even 5GHz connections. Check the documentation for the name of the application you need and make sure you have the Wi-Fi password handy. Most apps use a simple step-by-step process and you should be listening to music within minutes.

    What are the different Wi-Fi music standards?

    When you buy a Wi-Fi speaker, you’re also investing in an ecosystem – a family of products and apps that work together but don’t always work with other ecosystems. Here is an overview of the main Wi-Fi systems currently available.

    • Sonos: It’s a bit pricey and a bit exclusive, but Sonos still offers some of the best home speaker sets available. The company is moving away from a megalithic single application in favor of native support for third-party music services (Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay 2). Given the demanding sound quality and bombproof design, Sonos still … this premium Wi-Fi system up for grabs. The market launch of the Symfonisk series by Ikea makes the system more affordable.
    • Apple AirPlay / AirPlay 2: Apple’s AirPlay 2 coverage will continue to grow with the music streaming service – with the most intriguing multiroom feature – but there are plenty of speakers that still support the original AirPlay feature. Great for iPhone users.
    • Chromecast built-in: The Chromecast Built-in Chromecast is our favorite Wi-Fi music system for its entry cost and ease of use and setup. There’s no need to learn new apps – just press Cast on the compatible app and your music will play from the speakers you choose.
    • Amazon Multi Room Music: The speaker market has been given back by the Amazon Echo speaker family, which combines wireless audio with voice control and home automation. However, development of MRM has been slow, in part because support for third-party devices is limited.
    • There are many other Wi-Fi systems, some open-ended and some specific to a single manufacturer. They include: Yamaha MusicCast, Denon HEOS, Bowers and Wilkins, Bose Music and bluesound.

    Most Wi-Fi speakers support streaming services like Pandora and Spotify, but double-check to make sure. Is your music stored on iTunes, Google Play Music, or Amazon Music? You’ll still be fine with Sonos (for example), but other products may support the same number of platforms.

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