If you want to spread sound into every corner of your home, a wireless multi-room audio system could be just the ticket.
Most multi-room music systems connect to (and work over) your home's wi-fi network so there's no need to trip over trailing wires. You can also integrate existing hi-fi systems or start afresh, and you can add outdoor, portable speakers to the family, too. Plenty of options, then.
While Sonos has been flying high for years, it's far from the only game in town. All of the below have scored four or five stars in our reviews, so they're pretty much guaranteed to please. But which is right for you?
How to choose the right multi-room wireless system
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.
You don't have to buy a complete system, you can start with one or two speakers and expand from room to room. That's the beauty of multi-room. Most systems are now compatible with voice assistants such as Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa, or you can control them via a mobile app. You can opt to listen to the same song in every room, or a different tune in each, ensuring a harmonious home in more ways than one.
There's a vast choice of multi-room speakers and systems on the market, but which is best? Sonos is the most recognisable brand, and with good reason. It's intuitive and sounds fantastic. But there are plenty of rivals, too, all serving tempting features such as support for hi-res audio files or your favourite streaming service, Bluetooth connectivity and more. Read on to discover the best multi-room music systems we've tested.
- Check out the best Sonos alternatives
It’s facing more competition than ever, but few multi-room offerings are as complete or as pleasurable to live with as Sonos.
Sonos as a system has two big advantages: breadth of choice and simplicity of use. In the time its rivals have been playing catch-up, Sonos has launched a whole family of products – including the new Era 300 and 100, Sonos Ray, Beam (Gen 2) and Arc soundbars, Roam portable speaker and Sub Mini – and got onside with a long list of streaming services (including Apple Music Spatial Audio), and added lossless audio support, not to mention nailing the usability aspect of multi-room.
Combining a broad range of accomplished products with the most substantial selection of streaming services and the most pleasant and complete user experience, Sonos remains one of the best multi-room options.
The announcement that the company will end support for older devices due to the Sonos S2 software update poses questions around longevity, not least as it was previously a class-leader when it came to long-term device support. But the devices no longer supported are on the old side and it's an issue rivals will likely face too.
For those dipping their toes into wireless waters for the first time, we'd still recommend Sonos products.
Read the full Sonos multi-room system review
The Audio Pro range might be small compared to some multi-room rivals (there's no soundbar), and the app is a little lacking, but for sound quality at the price, it's hard to beat. And the company continues to add new products to the family, such as the recent Addon C10 Mk11 (even if not all recent additions have been quite as impressive).
The affordable, puck-like Link 1 hub turns your hi-fi and other Addon speakers into a simple multi-room system, while the larger Audio Pro offerings tend to deliver great sound and are easy to use.
As much as anything else, your chosen path for migration to multi-room should be about whose speakers you want around your house. For us, Audio Pro makes that particular decision admirably simple.
Read the full Audio Pro multi-room system review
There's a lot to love about Bluesound's hi-res capable multi-room system. It's one of the most musical we've heard and boasts enough midrange clarity to pick out every nuance in an expressive vocal performance.
The choice of products includes a streamer, server, streamer and amp combo and a collection of speakers ranging from the diminutive Pulse Flex 2i to the gargantuan Pulse 2i. Newer models in Bluesound's line-up, such as the Powernode Edge, a just-add-speakers streamer that earned four stars in our review, and the 2022 Award-winning Node (2021) streamer, can also join the multi-room fun.
While its speakers might be bettered in terms of performance-for-pound by Sonos and Audio Pro, this is one of the most 'hi-fi-sounding' multi-room set-ups we've tested and returns plenty of bang for buck.
Read the full Bluesound multi-room system review
Denon might be better known for its AV receivers, but it also offers soundbars, subwoofers, amplifiers and wireless speakers. What's more, all of that kit can be connected up through Denon's HEOS platform.
Since launching, HEOS has been upgraded with support for high-res audio and additional support for streaming services such as Amazon Music. You also get more Alexa skills, allowing you to control playback with vocal commands.
Sound is smooth, spacious and replete with insight. And while Audio Pro's offering just edges it on sound quality, the HEOS makes a superb all-rounder – and it offers a wider choice of pick 'n' mix components.
Read the full Denon HEOS multi-room system review
The Bose SoundTouch system is a bit of a mixed bag. Reliable wi-fi streaming and impressive sound – blessed with plenty of scale and dynamic expression – are the highlights. Sadly the control app is less impressive. It's easy to use, but lacks functionality.
Were it not for the commanding presence of Sonos and Audio Pro in this category, the SoundTouch would have fared much better. We admire its sound and simplicity, but it doesn't quite measure up to more contemporary, feature-laden rivals. Still, it's a decent performer at an attractive price.
Read the full Bose SoundTouch multi-room review
How we test multi-room systems
At What Hi-Fi? we comprehensively test and review every product we recommend, from soundbars to speakers, headphones and TVs. And it's no different for multi-room systems.
As a rule, we do comparative testing – ensuring new products are tested against their rivals according to product type, features and price. Almost all the testing is carried out by our team of expert reviewers at our dedicated test rooms.
Multi-room speaker systems are tested for sound quality, features, ease of set-up and use, and overall performance. And we aim to test multiple products in each family, usually involving at least two wireless speakers and a soundbar but this will vary depending on each system's product line-up.