The best Sonos alternatives

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best sonos alternatives

You probably already know this instinctively, but scientific research has now proven that music has the remarkable ability of being able to alter your mood, and — at certain rhythm intervals — may even help reduce the risk of heart issues. Those sound like pretty good reasons to invest in an amazing speaker, but speakers that consistently deliver great sound can get pricey fast. Sonos, for example, is a leader in technologically advanced speaker systems, but you have to be willing to make a significant financial investment, and they may not have all the features you want. If you're looking for something a little more wallet-friendly, the best Sonos alternatives, will offer stellar sound, as well as multiple connectivity and streaming options — at a price you're willing to pay.

When shopping for Sonos alternatives, it's important to know the difference between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speakers. They're both wireless, but Bluetooth pairs directly with a single device, like a phone or tablet, while Wi-Fi connects to your home internet network. All of the speakers below use Wi-Fi, which offers the benefits of a stronger signal, longer range, and the ability to stream to multiple speakers at the same time. A few of the options below also have Bluetooth capability, for portability and quick pairing with your electronic device of choice.

Sonos speakers are known for offering a clear, rich sound, and while you could get into the nitty-gritty of why — expertly tuned amplifiers, various tweeters and woofers, adjustable EQ settings — it's probably not worth learning all the terms unless you're a bona fide techie. Your best bet will be checking the ratings and reviews to see what past buyers have to say about the sound quality of these options. While you're at it, be sure to check out connectivity and compatibility with your favorite streaming services.

Now that you know what to look for in the best Sonos alternatives, check out the top five picks that are designed to rock your world.

1. The overall best Sonos alternative

With 1,000 reviews and a consistently respectable rating, the Bose Home 500 is quite arguably the best Sonos alternative on the market — in fact, some even say it's better. Among its many great features, you'll find Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and audio jack connectivity, a bold, impressive sound, and an advanced, eight-microphone voice-pickup that lets you utilize Alexa or Google Assistant voice commands from across the room — even when the music is turned all the way up. You also have the option of controlling the speaker via the Bose music app, which integrates your favorite listening platforms, like Spotify and Pandora. The Bose 500 is also Apple AirPlay 2-compatible and has an LCD display screen that showcases the song you're listening to.

With this pick, you can also opt for package deals, that combine the 500 with a portable speaker or a speaker with 360-degree sound.

  • Available colors: black and silver
  • Connection options: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay, audio jack

One reviewer wrote: "Amazing sound quality, beats Sonos! [...] I unboxed the Bose 500 and placed it next to the Sonos Move and played a variety of songs on it. I preferred the sound of the Bose on almost every song. I love the deep bass sounds. It has an equalizer for treble and bass and this really helps to customize the sound. [...] Highly recommend for fantastic sound quality and ease of use."

2. The best budget Wi-Fi speaker

Don't want to break the bank? The Polk Audio Omni S6 is the budget-friendly pick because it fill the room with a four-channel amplifier sound and, thanks to the Polk Omni app, is widely compatible with streaming services like Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, and Spotify. Additionally, it boasts a sleek design and has an accompanying app that lets you sync up to other speakers for a multi-room setup. There's no Bluetooth connectivity, and reviewers say the software and set-up could benefit from some improvement, but at such a low price, you probably won't find another Wi-Fi-enabled speaker with this many features.

  • Available colors: black
  • Connection options: Wi-Fi, audio jack

One reviewer wrote: "Easy to set up, excellent sound quality, great on the pocketbook. Love it!"

3. The best party speaker

If you're looking for a huge, bold sound that fills an entire room — or your entire backyard — opt for the Denon HEOS 7. It features five custom drivers, five amplifiers, two passive radiators for a much bigger sound, and — unlike the previous two picks — a subwoofer for powerful bass that's sure to get the party started. And even though it looks pretty sleek, it sounds loud and clear, even in open spaces. There an accompanying app that makes it easy to set up multi-room listening with additional HEOS speakers, and you can choose between Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to stream from all the most popular services, like Spotify, Pandora, and Amazon music. Plus, it's compatible with AirPlay 2, as well as Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, and, for hands-free voice control.

  • Available colors: white and black
  • Connection options: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, audio jack, USB, AirPlay 2

One reviewer wrote: "This speaker fills the room [and] I mean FILLS THE ROOM with sound. You can hear this in the other end of the house. The bass is huge for a speaker this size - I needed to tone it down a bit which is done thru the App. [...] Sound is crisp [and] clean [and] it can play very loud with no distortion."

4. The most portable speaker

The Libratone ZIPP Mini is easy to take anywhere, thanks to the mini handheld design, built-in strap, extensive Bluetooth range, and rechargeable battery that lasts for up to 10 hours. It boasts a balanced 360-degree sound and manages to pack in a small woofer and two passive radiators for outsized sound. Plus, you can stream music from all your favorite apps, like Spotify, Tidal, and more. It's also a worthy at-home speaker since the Libratone app makes it easy to set up multi-room listening for up to six speakers, while also allowing you to toggle between modes that optimize listening for different types of music and even movies. (For an at-home speaker, it might be worth opting for the larger version for a little more money.)

The one drawback: It's only directly compatible with Alexa smart assistants, so you'll have to use a mini-jack if you want to connect to a Google device. Nonetheless, if you're looking for a speaker that you can bring from room to room or take with you on the road, this is the way to go.

  • Available colors: turquoise, black, graphite, red, gray
  • Connection options: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, audio jack

One reviewer wrote: "Took it on a picnic with friends and streamed Spotify for pretty much the whole day and the battery held up without needing a recharge and was still working when I got home. Unlike traditional speakers sound comes from all sides of the speaker's cylindrical shape so everyone sitting around hears it equally well."

5. The best for surround sound & home theaters

Finally, for those looking to build an at-home surround-sound theater, the Polk Signa S3 is the way to go, having earned more than 1,800 five-star Amazon reviews. The kit comes with an ultra-slim, 37-inch Dolby Digital soundbar that can be wall-mounted or placed in front of your TV without blocking the screen, as well as a wireless subwoofer for room-filling bass. Another big selling point? It has patented voice adjust technology that lets you toggle between three different settings, so you can get crisp, clear dialogue and sports commentating every time.

The Wi-Fi-enabled speakers have Google Chromecast built-in, so you can stream from all your favorite platforms, like Amazon Music, Pandora, and Spotify, and you can also group these speakers with other Google Home speakers throughout your home for multi-room listening. However — you can't voice command this option, so you'll have to adjust with the accompanying remote control. For a little less money, you can get a version without Wi-Fi capabilities.

  • Available colors: black
  • Connection options: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, audio jack

One reviewer wrote: "Read all the reviews, then purchased. Setup was a breeze and the wireless sub-woofer just worked in setup. Excellent sound... surprisingly powerful and crisp. Have this in a 20-25 foot bonus room and it shakes the room when I turn it up. Excellent quality for the $! Don’t hesitate to pick this up!"

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