In-home speaker systems have made a huge comeback over the past couple of years. Wireless has made all the difference, of course, because it makes listening to music at home easy and convenient. Gone are the days when streaming music throughout your house required thousands of dollars worth of equipment and professional installation. Now, you just need to purchase a few wireless speakers.
Since the category has become so popular though, the number of options on the market has ballooned. Weeding through them all and finding the right speaker can be very difficult, so we’ve done or best to identify the five top options that will appeal to the widest range of users.
Harman Kardon Soundsticks Wireless
Rarely does a product with a look as unique and modern as Harman Kardon’s Soundsticks Wireless also feature a competitive price tag and impressive performance. The Soundsticks are indeed triple threat.
Harman Kardon’s Soundsticks Wireless system features two main speaks with four drivers each, and then a third component that houses a 6-inch subwoofer. All nine speakers are encased in beautiful transparent housings that are like nothing else you’ll find, even at two or three times the price.
Sound quality is impressive and clear at all volumes, and the devices can be connected to the speakers via Bluetooth or using the standard 1/8-inch audio jack. The Soundsticks also feature touch-sensitive volume and mute controls.
Harman Kardon Soundsticks Wireless – $229.95
Inching up to a slightly more expensive category, the Wren V5 wireless speaker harkens back to the good old days when designs were simple and craftsmanship was a top priority.
Wren’s V5 wireless speaker is housed in a terrific cabinet crafted from real wood. With natural bamboo and rosewood options, the speaker will fit any decor and fill your room — or even a floor of your house — with fantastic sound.
There are actually three different versions of the V5 that are available from Wren. One is compatible with AirPlay for Apple device users, a second packs Play-Fi for Android devices, and a third includes Bluetooth so it can connect to any device.
All three models are the same price in either bamboo or rosewood.
Sonos Play:1, Play:3 and Play:5
When it comes to wireless speakers, Sonos is a name that needs no introduction. The company is known far and wide for producing speakers that emphasize sound quality and simplicity, and Sonos is definitely among the companies that helped popularize the wireless speaker category.
The company’s Play series spans three sizes and price points, and all three of them feature class-leading performance.
Sonos’ two-driver Play:1 is a compact speaker that touts sound much bigger than its stature, and the Play:3 adds a third driver and even more impressive performance. At the high end, the Play:5 features five digital amplifiers and five crystal-clear drivers that will fill any room.
Simplicity is key with Sonos, and its speakers integrate seamlessly with a number of streaming Internet radio services.
The one potential drawback is that the simplicity spills over a bit too much in the external design, resulting in a bit of a bland look. That’s a good thing if you want your speakers to blend into the background in your room, but not if you’re looking for a showpiece.
Harman Kardon Onyx
Harman Kardon’s second wireless speaker in this guide takes us to the higher end of the wireless speaker market. It costs twice as much as the company’s Soundsticks Wireless speaker system, but delivers sound that is much truer and more powerful.
The Onyx is a great system for people who want to feel the sound coming out of their speakers.
Harman Kardon’s Onyx speaker features four drivers and dual passive radiators that combine to create a fantastic listening experience across all genres. Also impressive is the rear subwoofer design, which lets you actually see the bass that your speaker system is pumping out as the radiator vibrates.
The Onyx packs NFC, AirPlay, DLNA and Bluetooth as well as an 1/8-inch audio jack, and the enclosure design is bold and unique.
Harman Kardon Onyx – $499.95
Our fifth and final recommendation turns down the volume a bit on price and cranks everything else up to 11.
Marshall makes the best professional amps and speakers in the world, having been relied upon by the most successful bands in the world for decades. Now, the company is bringing its heritage to your living room with what we believe to be the best all-around wireless speaker on the market.
The look of the Stanmore is unmistakably Marshall. More importantly, of course, the sound is unmistakably Marshall. Bass and treble are adjustable using dedicated pots on the top of the speaker, and the sound will remain crisp and clean at any volume as you fine tune it.
Marshall’s Stanmore includes Bluetooth connectivity as well as three different wired options: Optical, RCA and 1/8-inch.
Marshall’s Stanmore wireless speaker has also been awarded a BGR Seal Of Approval, which we award to just a handful of products each year that have been thoroughly tested and found to be a cut above the rest. More information can be found here.
Be sure to check out the rest of the posts in our holiday buying guide series