Buying a wireless speaker is a tricky business. In the current climate, there’s a sea of options covering pretty much every use case and budget you can think of.
Pop into any store and you’ll see everything from basic rugged speakers best-suited to student pool parties to audiophile-level options costing hundreds (and sometimes thousands), with brands touting everything from the best Bluetooth speakers for the home, the best wi-fi speakers, the best wireless speakers and everything in between. Even for the professionals, it can be hard to know where to begin.
Just to add an added layer of complexity, having reviewed more wireless speakers than we care to count, we can confirm that there are plenty of terrible options doing the rounds that simply aren’t worth your time or money. If a speaker isn't present on this list, chances are it's not worth your time or your cash.
All too often we’ve received promising-looking speakers in for review, only to have them fail to deliver (poor sound, patchy connectivity or flimsy build quality) when we put them through their paces in our dedicated test rooms.
To make sure you get the best wireless speaker possible for your specific needs and budget, we’ve created this guide detailing the top performers we’ve reviewed in recent years.
How to choose the best wireless speaker for you
Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.
When choosing a wireless speaker, besides setting and sticking to a budget, you need to think about where you'll be using it and what you want from it. Will a small wireless speaker for a second room suffice, or do you want a bigger model that can fill a larger space, or even act as your main sound system? Do you need voice control? If you want portability from your wireless speaker, you might want to pick something with a built-in rechargeable battery, too.
Wireless speakers tend to include Bluetooth in their feature set for basic streaming, but many can be connected to your home wi-fi network so you can use features like AirPlay, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect and any multi-room features they might have. Many wireless speakers also come with their own control app so you can take command of all their tricks and features using your smartphone or tablet.
Wireless speakers can come in one-box units (Audio Pro, Naim) or as active stereo speakers with amplification and sources built-in (a complete system, if you will, such as the KEF LSX II).
Once you've decided what you're looking for, you'll want to draw up a list of candidates and to help with that, we've got you covered below with a great selection of wireless speakers across different price points. There should be something for everyone here.
It seems that it isn't enough for the best wi-fi speakers just to deliver great sound and a decent array of features anymore. Ever since Apple's mighty HomePod 2 landed early in 2023 with the ability to deliver spatial audio, the race has been on to see who could challenge the biggest dog on the block when it came to integrating the much-vaunted tech into their own speaker designs.
Enter the Era 300, Sonos’ more expensive rival to the HomePod 2 that looks to beat Apple at its own game. With its unique, “cinched hourglass” shape, there’s no question that the Era 300 is a bit more of an acquired taste than most of the brand’s rather more conservative designs, but what isn't up for debate is how superbly the five-star Era 300 manages to perform. In short, it is absolutely excellent.
Throw whatever you like at the Era 300, chances are it has it covered, filling our testing rooms with cohesive, spacious sound without a hint of a struggle. Big choral numbers feel broad and immersive thanks to spatial audio, but the Era 300 excels seemingly with all genres and across every taste. Hip-hop, classic rock, soundtracks, it’s all covered with ease. Yes, it’s expensive and yes, it smacks of a rip-off having to pay 20 quid extra for a wired connector, but the Era 300 has earned the right to be cheeky.
A truly five-star performer, and one of the best wireless speakers we’ve tested in a good while.
Read the full five-star review: Sonos Era 300
As the name suggests, Sonos’ range of wireless speakers promises a new ‘era’ for the American audio company. Released alongside the superb Era 300, the Era 100 keeps up with its bigger, more expensive brother by delivering a host of streaming playback features within another excellent-sounding speaker.
If you’re not keen on forking out the somewhat whopping £449/$449/AU$749 asking price for the Era 300, the Era 100 is a fine option as a wireless home speaker. Just like its heftier counterpart, the 100 delivers a big, open sound, a lovely sense of rhythmic drive and all the detail and precision you could hope for at this price point. The app is excellent to use, the number of streaming features is, frankly, vast, and everything is as well-made and reliable as you’d expect.
Again, Sonos rarely delivers what you’d call ‘budget’ options in the best wifi speakers category, and we’re still not delighted to be forking out extra for a wired connection, but if you’re still happy to spend a decent amount of cash without making as much of a dent in your funds as the 300, the Era 100 is a five-star banker.
Read the full five-star review: Sonos Era 100
The 2021 update (sensibly titled MkII) to the multiple What Hi-Fi? Award-winning Audio Pro C10 (also listed, below) adds AirPlay 2 and Google Cast to complete a multi-room home run and gain another yet more What Hi-Fi? Awards for the best home wireless speaker at £250-£500.
When we tested its older sibling, we pitted it against models almost double its price and found it bettered them. We’re happy to report that it's still the case today – if £500/$500 is your maximum budget, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a speaker that comes close to the Audio Pro C10 MkII.
We miss the leather handle and fun, slightly rock'n'roll aesthetic and sonic presentation of the original, but we can't argue with three options for multi-room streaming (AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast and Audio Pro's own slick and functional app) or the levelled-up grippy bass and improved hi-fidelity performance.
Read the full review: Audio Pro Addon C10 MkII
The HomePod 2 is the latest speaker from big tech heavyweight Apple that we’ve reviewed. It’s the pricier option in Apple’s current lineup, sitting well above the smaller HomePod Mini featured in this list, and a successor to the first generation HomePod we tested all the way back in 2018.
Though it looks a lot like its predecessor, under the hood it’s a completely different beast and a clear sonic step forward for the brand. Our tests revealed the HomePod 2 to be one of the best-sounding smart speakers you’ll find, and listening to Apple Music’s Dolby Atmos version of The 1 by Taylor Swift reveals clear, warm vocals. The HomePod has boundless energy, its enthusiasm is infectious, and its rhythmic drive is always exciting and engaging.
The deep integration with Apple’s ecosystem also makes it blissfully easy to set up. Paired with an iPhone all you have to do is scan for the speaker and run through a few on-screen commands to get it fully up and running and integrated with your smart home setup. The entire procedure only took us a few minutes.
There's even a clever process where the speaker uses in-built sensors to optimise its sound settings for its position in the room. Testing the feature by moving it closer to a wall in our listening room, our reviewers could hear the HomePod 2 adjusting its sound in real time. Very impressive.
The only real downside to the HomePod 2 is that it's designed for people embedded in Apple’s ecosystem - its primary connection is locked to Apple’s AirPlay 2 tech, Apple Music is the only music streaming service natively supported, and Siri is your only option for voice commands. Services like Tidal or BBC Radio still don’t work with Siri, something which will limit its appeal to those who aren’t Apple fans or fully ensconced in the iOS ecosystem. If you're part of that crowd, you might favour more platform-agnostic options like the more affordable Sonos One.
Read our HomePod 2 review
The HomePod Mini really is bijou, and at just 8.4cm tall and 9.8cm wide, it’s quite a bit smaller than the similarly spherical new Amazon Echo - in fact, it’s even dwarfed by the new Echo Dot. Get its swirling orb of coloured light up and running (when Siri is listening or processing) though, and you realise what a classy performer you've got on your hands.
It goes loud, too. From the moment we start playing music, it’s clear that the HomePod Mini comfortably outperforms its size and price, quite frankly embarrassing its direct competition with the sophistication and maturity of its sound. Not at all bad for a price that falls just under the £100 / $100 / AU$150 mark.
Siri is your voice assistant, and after a short period of learning it'll respond to the phrase “Hey Siri, play something I'll like” not by streaming your most played track of the last few weeks, but by playing something that you probably haven't heard before but which has been curated to fit in with your current listening habits and tastes. It’s a really powerful way to discover new music, and Alexa is nowhere near as good at it.
Apple's HomePod Mini: every inch the What Hi-Fi? 2021 and 2022 Award-winner.
Read the full review: Apple HomePod Mini
At What Hi-Fi?, we know full well the value of revisions. Yet still, it was quite the surprise when first we heard about one made by Naim, with its second generation of the Mu-so Qb wireless speaker. The previous iteration was great, earning five stars when it was first reviewed. This version, however, is truly phenomenal.
You can now choose between an Olive, Terracotta or Peacock grille alongside the standard black, but the best tweaks Naim has made go far deeper. Remove whatever colour grille you've gone for and you'll be rewarded with upgraded and optimised midrange and bass drive units, all powered by a total of 300W of amplification.
Belying its box-like dimensions with a punchy bass alongside sparkling and rich tones across frequencies, the Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation scooped up multiple 2022 What Hi-Fi? Awards for the best home wireless speaker over £500/$500. Give it a listen and you'll realise how richly deserved such accolades are.
Read the full review: Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation
Audio Pro has never quite managed to become the biggest name on the hi-fi campus, but what the Scandinavian company has managed to do is forge a well-earned reputation as one of the finest purveyors of portable, upper-mid-range speakers around.
The Addon C3 is basically the wi-fi-enabled, multi-room version of Audio Pro's Addon T3. It has the same minimalist looks that the Scandinavian company is known for, complete with textured surfaces and an embossed leather carry handle, but the wireless tech adds a whole new dimension to your listening.
The Audio Pro Addon C3 does support all the main streaming services, though, including Tidal, Spotify, Qobuz and Apple Music, with playback controlled via the Audio Pro Control app for iOS and Android. It’s not quite the seamless experience offered by Sonos’ equivalent app, but neither is it seriously flawed.
Set-up is a painless process whether you choose a Bluetooth or wi-fi connection. When setting up a multi-room system, the app searches for other Audio Pro speakers in the vicinity on the same network, and you can then drag-and-drop from here to group or separate speakers, either in stereo pairs or multi-room zones, or else make manual adjustments to bass and treble.
Sonically, it's a belter of a speaker and a fine addition to any home set-up. The sound offered is mature, refined and textured, with an open, detailed delivery backed by a really impressive sense of rhythmic drive. At this price, the only thing we could really find to gripe about was a slightly clunky control app, but that's hardly the most fatal of fatal flaws.
A worthy What Hi-Fi? 2022 Awards winner.
Read the full review: Audio Pro Addon C3
Classical linguists know that ‘Omnia’ means ‘prepared in all things’ (and now we know too – thank you, Google), and it's a fitting name for such a versatile product. Living up to its name, the Omnia can also accommodate a TV through its HDMI ARC socket, as well as an audio source – including a turntable – through its dongle-like MiniDin switchable phono/line input adapter.
Sonus Faber suggests giving the Omnia 10cm of clearance behind it and to the sides, and it’s advice we’d follow if you possibly can. Given just a little space in which to shine, the Omnia is one of the biggest and most open-sounding examples of its type we’ve heard. Close your eyes and it's not difficult to believe that the sound is coming from a pair of standmounters. That depth and breadth displayed mean instruments can work comfortably with space around them, even in denser mixes – and the Omnia impressively refrains from hardness or distortion at high (and even maximum) volume levels.
The strengths of both this and the Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation (listed above) would combine to be the perfect system in an ideal world, but if you value openness and clarity and your listening habits are compatible with what the Sonus Faber has to offer, the Omnia is one of the finest products of its kind.
It's arguably the better-looking of the two, as well...
Read the full review: Sonus Faber Omnia
Yes, it's a high-end one-box proposition (at around £900 / $900), but the B&W Formation Wedge offers the kind of detailed, balanced, cohesive sound that cannot be ignored – making it a class-leader in its category. Offering 24-bit/96kHz hi-res audio playback and B&W's proprietary mesh system for a basically-imperceptible microsecond between speakers when used with other Formation products (like the Formation Duo) the Wedge leaves the competition for dust.
Oh, and that sound. Even when aggregated to take into account the Wedge's considerable price take, you can't help but be blown away by how balanced, well-ordered and cohesive B&W's wireless wonder delivers its music. Everything you throw at it sounds a million dollars, so much so that you could spend hours digging out tracks old and new to see how the Wedge interprets your eclectic musical catalogue.
Its looks can be divisive and you'll need to consider investing in a Roon subscription to get it at its glorious best, but even if you forgo Roon entirely, it's an excellent standalone performer.
Read the full review: Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge
We know what you're thinking: we've arrived at the expensive properties on the metaphorical Monopoly board.
The Naim Mu-so-2 price tag, easily reaching north of a cool grand, will put off anyone looking to save money without sacrifice, but there's no issue with a product being costly if it has the chops to back it up. After all, a piece of audio, in fact anything you buy at all, is only expensive if its price isn't justified by the quality and innovation on offer.
The gorgeous Mu-so 2 looks like a premium wireless speaker and it sounds like one too, with a rich, confident presentation, packed full of detail and delivered with immense rhythmic drive. Bass is plentiful and high quality, and that design is typically Naim; it won't be for everyone, but if you like it, you'll fall for it in a big way.
The Naim Mu-so 2's extensive feature set, meanwhile, includes all manner of wireless streaming technologies such as AirPlay 2 and Chromecast. Tidal and Spotify are also supported, as is high-res audio to the tune of 24-bit/88kHz. It's not just about streaming, though, with an HDMI ARC input allowing you to hook up a TV and boost its sound at the same time.
Budget hunters will likely have to look elsewhere, but if your wallet allows, you won't be disappointed when you get the Mu-so 2 home. Offline streaming is catered for via Bluetooth, while USB, optical and 3.5mm inputs allow physical connection to another source such as a CD transport, CD player or television. Speaking of TV, Naim also added an HDMI ARC to the Mu-so 2 so you can hook the speaker up to your telly or AV receiver to pass-through high-quality Blu-ray formats.
Budget hunters will likely have to look elsewhere, but if your wallet allows, you won't be disappointed when you get the Mu-so 2 home. A lovely premium speaker.
Read the full review: Naim Mu-so 2
The second-generation Sonos One is really a Sonos Play:1 in new clothing, but that's no bad thing. The One arrived back in 2017 Sonos' first-ever smart speaker, representing the company's bid to muscle-in on a market increasingly in danger of becoming dominated by Google, Apple and, of course, Amazon.
These were all speakers made by companies that are smart, but not first and foremost experts in audio. That’s why, for hi-fi fans, the more recent trend for audio companies licensing smart technology – like Google Cast, AirPlay 2 and Alexa and Assistant voice control – has become much more interesting, as you can have clever voice integration sitting alongside refined, bespoke audio delivery.
Old(ish) as it is, the Sonos One boasts Amazon's Alexa smart assistant for voice controls (alongside Google Assistant), and it's all the better for it, and with its room-filling sound, stands apart from the glut of smart speakers that are smart first and speakers second. Throw in Apple's AirPlay 2 tech and the fact that the One fits seamlessly into a multi-room set-up, and you've got a winner on your hands.
Yes, the newer Sonos Era 100 has rather stolen the One's thunder as of late, but that doesn't diminish the qualities of one of Sonos' most popular wireless speakers. It's also good news for bargain hunters, as the emergence of the new Era range has meant a significant price drop for slightly older models. A five-star Sonos speaker at a discount is nothing to be sniffed at, after all.
Read the full review: Sonos One
The original KEF LSX streaming system impressed us immensely when it dropped in 2018, and it’s a similar story with this multi-talented, dynamic-sounding sequel. A certified What Hi-Fi? Awards 2022 winner, the LSX II (tested at £1199 / $1400 / AU$2195) didn’t make any visible departure from their predecessors’ petite and sleek design (no bad thing), but beneath the surface, KEF has improved on a great recipe with some mouthwatering new ingredients.
The DSP software has been completely redesigned and the streaming platform is updated (and it’s now fully Roon Ready). The LSX II brings in a host of connectivity options ranging from wi-fi, Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast and Bluetooth, to a wide spectrum of streaming services like Amazon Music, Deezer, Qobuz, Spotify and Tidal. There are also new physical inputs in the form of HDMI ARC and USB-C connections for hooking up to a TV and laptop respectively.
Most importantly, KEF hasn’t lost a step when it comes to producing great sound in small spaces. Capable, layered, dynamic and as tight as your old skinny jeans, the LSX II once again delivers superb sound no matter what you’re listening to. Bass is taut and controlled, there’s a real sense of refinement and maturity to the sound without being showy, and you get a reassuringly natural warmth to the whole presentation.
As we’ve said before, little else really comes close at this level.
Read the full review: KEF LSX II
An innovative and entertaining sequel that became a What Hi-Fi? Award winner in 2020 and retained it for 2021 and 2022, KEF brought hi-res streaming support all the way up to 24-bit/384kHz. DSD256 music files are now on the menu too, as well as MQA decoding for the playback of compatible downloaded files and hi-res Tidal Masters.
Tidal is one of many streaming services directly accessible from the new KEF Connect app – you have Amazon Music, Qobuz, Deezer and Spotify, as well as internet radio and UPnP servers, at your fingertips too.
The Uni-Q driver array, beautiful Carbon Black, Titanium Grey, Mineral White and Crimson Red Special Edition finishes, and curved front panel all combine to create a thorough head turner – and really, they ought to be. As a new product following in the footsteps of such a huge success, the KEF LS50 Wireless IIs arrive with a world of expectations on their shoulders – but they well and truly live up to those standards. Make no mistake, this is a sequel of rare quality.
Read the full review: KEF LS50 Wireless II
How we test wireless speakers
The What Hi-Fi? team reviews hundreds of products every year, including no small amount of wireless speakers – all shapes, sizes and types have graced our dedicated listening facilities located in London, Reading and Bath. We review products as a team, ensuring no voice goes unheard, while our team is filled with experts in the audio world with a wealth of experience.
Aside from the raw audio quality of a wireless speaker, we also test and evaluate every aspect of its performance, including battery life, connection quality, ease of use, and versatility. Our review philosophy doesn't change based on price or brand reputation, either.
All wireless speakers are tested and reviewed in the context of their value on a performance-per-dollar basis, and as part of our testing procedure, wireless speakers are compared against similarly-priced class leaders to see how they perform and help us figure out an appropriate rating.
There's absolutely no input from PR companies or sales teams (internal or external) that influence our scores, as What Hi-Fi? has a sterling reputation for delivering honest, unbiased feedback for decades.
Frequently asked questions
What's the difference between Bluetooth and wireless speakers?
As you'd expect, Bluetooth speakers are wireless in that they don't require a wire to connect to an audio source; they use Bluetooth. However, they don't necessarily also support wi-fi, which is a necessary feature of what we term 'wireless speakers'. A wireless speaker can connect to an audio source via the internet (i.e. wi-fi) – by way of Apple AirPlay or Google Chromecast, for example – whether or not it also has Bluetooth. While a Bluetooth-only speaker won't be able to connect to the internet at all.
While this will depend on the kit you are using and your wi-fi limitations, transmitting audio over wi-fi rather than Bluetooth comes with certain benefits: wi-fi doesn't have as limited a signal range as Bluetooth, generally facilitates better sound quality and is capable of transmitting higher-quality audio (Bluetooth is not widely capable of transmitting CD-quality or above audio).
However, Bluetooth-only speakers are generally more portable (as they don't require an internet connection to work) and often more affordable.
Are JBL and Bose good brands?
At What Hi-Fi?, we've reviewed many products from both JBL and Bose, and we've liked products from both brands. Though, while Bose speakers are often stylish and have lots of features, sometimes JBL can offer up better value for the money in terms of performance.
However, while JBL is very dominant when it comes to Bluetooth speakers, as you'll see with the list above, we tend to find wireless speakers from other brands, like Apple or Audio Pro Addon, will serve you best when it comes to buying a wireless speaker.
Why is Sonos so popular?
Sonos' big claim to fame is popularizing multi-room audio, i.e. being able to play music across your entire house instead of in a single room.
Of course, Sonos wasn't the first company to do this, but Sonos did manage to design stylish, performant, feature-rich speakers that were never too tough to set up, bringing high-quality multi-room audio to the masses.
Now, the company offers a variety of products from smart speakers to soundbars, many of which we've found to offer up strong performances and good values. All of this, together, adds up to why Sonos is so popular.
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What's up with wifi direct not being a thing on portable speakers?
Kef LS50 II and LSX II also have wifi and Ethernet connections. LSX II have HDMI up to 1.411Mbps PCM
I don't think you understood but maybe you did. In case you didn't, WiFi Direct doesn't use a router... You connect directly from device to device without router (similar to Bluetooth).
In other words, if I was in the middle of the woods with just the speaker and my phone, would I be able to connect to it and stream to it using WiFi?