What's the best Sonos speaker? Sonos One, Play:1, Play:3, Play:5, Beam, Playbar and Playbase compared | Apps & Software

Multi-room speaker options are plentiful to say the least, with Denon, Samsung or LG and all offering their own take, with Apple, Amazon and Google now getting into the mix too.

Unlike some of the newer additions to the multi-room speaker sector, Sonos has been around for over a decade and it offers one of the best app platforms out there, with support for many of the big streaming services including Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.

There are four speakers within the Sonos multi-room line up, but there is also a soundbar, soundbase and a wireless subwoofer available to join the party too. Most recently, Sonos added a compact smart soundbar to the mix too.

Let us help you work out which Sonos speaker, or speakers, are the best for you.

The Play:1 is a great little speaker with so much potential beyond the speaker itself that we can’t recommend it enough as a starting place to embrace the Sonos system. It doesn’t sound as good as the Play:3, but this speaker is about getting the most out of your digital streaming music service without spending a fortune in doing so.

The Sonos One features a similar design and sound output to the Play:1 but it offers integrated voice control and capacitive touch controls. Like the Play:1, it’s a great place to start your Sonos system, but it is also a great addition to an existing Sonos system, bringing Alexa voice control to all of them through this speaker. Google Assistant is to come, too.

The Play:3 delivers a better sound than the Play:1, while offering the same advantages and a couple more, such as orientation choice. It is £100 more expensive but the price jump is probably worth it for those that want the extra oomph or for those with a bigger room. It is the oldest of the lot, though.

The Play:5 is for those who want the best sound offered by Sonos. If you have the cash to spend, the Play:5 is a fantastic option and a brilliant way to start a Sonos multi-room system with a big bang, or add to an existing one.

The Beam is Sonos’ newest speaker designed for your TV. It’s compact, powerful, but fully connected offering HDMI for your TV as well as offering Alexa voice control. If you’re after a compact single-box sound system for your TV, the Beam is incredibly attractive. It also supports Apple AirPlay 2 and Google Assistant will also be offered in future.

The Playbar is a fantastic piece of kit that really brings a punch to your TV audio, especially when combined with the Sonos Sub. It doesn’t offer HDMI or voice control and it is pretty expensive – even if it does sound great.

The Playbase is delivers big sound in a slim package. It is designed to sit underneath your TV, rather than be mounted to the wall like the PlayBar, and it doesn’t offer HDMI or voice control, but it does sound great.

The main reason you would invest in the Sub with the Beam, Playbar or Playbase is to bring a more powerful sound to your TV, movies and music. They are an expensive pair though so make sure you really want that extra bass and perhaps check with your neighbours before you spend the extra money.

Sonoswhat s the best sonos speaker sonos one play 1 play 3 play 5 beam playbar and playbase compared image 2

See current price on Amazon UK – Amazon US

  • Dimensions: 161.45 x 119.7 x 119.7mm, 1.85kg
  • Connections: Ethernet
  • Colours: Black, White

The Sonos Play:1 is the smallest of the Sonos multi-room offering, featuring two Class-D digital amplifiers, one tweeter for the high-frequency notes and one mid-woofer for mid-range frequencies and bass. It has a clean and simple design, much like the rest of the Sonos speaker line-up and you’ll find physical buttons on the top of the Play:1 for controlling the volume, along with playing and pausing a track.

The Play:1 allows you to stream your entire music library, popular music services like Spotify and internet radio through the Sonos app on your smartphone or tablet and there is also control via PC and Mac. You can connect the Play:1 to your router using the Ethernet port, but Sonos has a brilliant Wi-Fi mesh network that allows you to place it anywhere. 

The Play:1 delivers good sound, it’s easy to set up with step-by-step instructions through the app and you can pair two Play:1’s together to create a stereo pair, or combine with the Beam, Playbar or Playbase and Sub for a 5.1 surround sound experience.

You can also pair the Play:1 up with other Sonos speakers to achieve a multi-room experience. Room-specific bass, treble, balance and loudness controls are available using the Sonos app and volume can be adjusted by individual rooms or by groups, depending on your setup. The Play:1 can also be controlled with your voice but only if you have an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot. Sadly it won’t be getting Apple AirPlay 2.

Sonos Which Sonos is right for you image 1

See current price on Amazon UK – Amazon US

  • Dimensions: 161.45 x 119.7 x 119.7mm, 1.85kg
  • Connections: Ethernet
  • Colours: Black with black matte grille, white with white matte grille

The Sonos One is the newest speaker in the Sonos portfolio, bringing integrated voice control thanks to its array of six far-field microphones. It features a similar design to the Play:1, along with the exact same measurements and weight but it is a little more refined, featuring a colour-matched speaker grille and a capacitive touch control pad rather than physical buttons.

All the same features are on board the Sonos One as the Play:1 including the ability to pair two Sonos One’s together to create a stereo pair, add it to a group of existing Sonos speakers for multi-room audio and it is compatible with over 80 music streaming services, all controllable via the app.

Built-in Amazon Alexa will not only enable you to ask for a specific song to play, turn the volume up or down or skip a track on the Sonos One or any other Sonos speaker within your system, but you will also be able to ask Alexa to control your smart lights, order you an Uber or ask what the weather is, for example. Google Assistant will be coming via an update, and the Sonos One will also be updated to support Apple AirPlay 2.

In terms of sound, you can expect the same quality as the Play:1 with the same two Class-D amplifiers inside, along with a tweeter and a mid-woofer. The Play:3 and Play:5 are more powerful, but the Sonos One is the only smart Sonos speaker, while still offering all the same features as other Sonos speakers, such as Trueplay tuning and bass, treble, balance and loudness control. 

Sonoswhat s the best sonos speaker sonos one play 1 play 3 play 5 beam playbar and playbase compared image 3

See current price on Amazon UK – Amazon US

  • Dimensions: 132 x 268 x 160mm, 2.6kg
  • Connections: Ethernet
  • Colours: Black with graphite grille, White with light graphite grille 

The Sonos Play:3 sits in the middle of the range, featuring three Class-D amplifiers, along with a tweeter, two mid-range drivers and a bass radiator. Like the Play:1 and Sonos One, you can pair two Play:3 speakers in the same room in order to create a stereo pair or you can pair it up to the Sonos TV speakers as part of a surround sound setup.

The Play:3 has physical control buttons on the top with the ports on the rear, like the Play:1, and all the same features apply in that you can connect the Play:3 to other Sonos speakers in order to achieve a multi-room set up, plus you’ll be able to stream from various services, internet radio, or your own tracks. It will also allow for voice control if you have an Amazon Echo like the Play:1 but it isn’t integrated like the Sonos One. It also won’t be getting Apple AirPlay 2.

Aside from being slightly larger and offering deeper bass and more power than the Sonos One and Play:1, the Play:3 can also be positioned horizontally or vertically and the EQ will automatically adjust. 

Sonoswhat s the best sonos speaker sonos one play 1 play 3 play 5 beam playbar and playbase compared image 4

See current price on Amazon UK – Amazon US

  • Dimensions: 203 x 364 x 154mm, 6.36kg
  • Connections: Line-in, Ethernet
  • Colours: Black, White

The 2015 Play:5 replaced the older model and it is the biggest speaker in the Sonos line-up. It features six Class-D amplifiers, three tweeters and three dedicated mid-woofers. The Play:5 is quite a bit bigger than the Play:3 and it also features capacitive touch controls rather than physical buttons for the volume control, previous and next track, and play or pause.

The Play:5 has a plastic front grille rather than metal and both colour options have a black grille and it can be positioned vertically or horizontally, like the Play:3. You get the same option to pair two Play:5’s together, have multi-room or combine it with TV speakers for surround sound – although that would be an incredibly expensive way to build a 5.1 setup.

All the same features apply as the Play:1 and Play:3 that we have mentioned, including the ability to place the speaker where you choose when connected to the Wi-Fi mesh network, as well as the streaming options, app features and voice control if you have an Amazon Echo device. The Play:5 will also get AirPlay 2 via an update in July, meaning closer seamless working with Apple devices.

SonosBest Sonos Speaker Sonos One Play 1 Play 3 Play 5 Beam Playbar And Playbase Compared image 1

Currently available for preorder on Sonos.com

  • Dimensions: 100 x 651 x 68.5mm, 2.8kg
  • Connections: Ethernet, Optical, HDMI
  • Colours: Black, White

The Sonos Beam is the newest addition to the Sonos family, looking to give you everything in one compact box. It’s designed for the living room, a compact soundbar to compliment your TV with dimensions that will make it easy to place on a TV stand or wall mount with your TV. 

In terms of connectivity, the Beam adds HDMI into the mix. This is HDMI ARC, taking the sound from your TV, but allowing the Beam to control your TV too. There’s optical as a second option. Making the Beam smart is a five-mic array, enabling Alexa voice control, as well as supporting AirPlay 2 and with Google Assistant coming in the future – so it’s widely connected. 

That gives you the advantage of having all the major platforms for voice controls, as well as Sonos’ connectivity for all those music services. It works with all other Sonos products in a multi-room setup and can also be paired with the Sub and other speakers for a 5.1 surround sound setup.

In terms of the audio, the Sonos Beam has four full-range woofers, one tweeter and three passive radiators, with five Class-D amplifiers. Perhaps the most attractive part about the Sonos Beam is that it’s much cheaper than the Playbar or Playbase, while offering better connectivity.

Sonoswhat s the best sonos speaker sonos one play 1 play 3 play 5 beam playbar and playbase compared image 5

See current price on Amazon UK – Amazon US

  • Dimensions: 85 x 900 x 140mm, 5.4kg
  • Connections: Optical input, Two Ethernet ports
  • Colours: Black

The Sonos Playbar is one of the more expensive options when it comes to building your Sonos system. As a soundbar its purpose is to complement your TV, but it will also work as a standalone speaker. With nine Class-D digital amplified speakers, six mid-range and three tweeters, the PlayBar’s aim is to deliver clear, boombastic sound.

You can connect the Playbar to your TV with a single cable for 3.0 home cinema sound, or pair it up to the Sonos Sub for 3.1 home cinema. Take this one step further and add a couple of Sonos One, Play:1, Play:3 or Play:5 speakers to your Playbar and Sub and you’ll find yourself with 5.1 home cinema surround sound, but optical is your only connection option.

Like the rest of the Sonos system, it uses your Wi-Fi network and it is easily setup using the Sonos app. It offers physical control buttons on the side for volume up, volume down and mute. 

The Playbar is also a standalone speaker so you’ll be able to wirelessly stream all the same music as the other Sonos speakers, from playlists on Spotify to your iTunes library and internet radio stations or podcasts. It won’t be getting AirPlay 2, however.

Sonoswhat s the best sonos speaker sonos one play 1 play 3 play 5 beam playbar and playbase compared image 7

See current price on Amazon UK – Amazon US

  • Dimensions: 380 x 720 x 58mm, 8.6kg
  • Connections: Optical input, Ethernet port
  • Colours: Black, White

The Sonos Playbase joins the Playbar in the Sonos home theatre line-up, making it one of the more expensive options in creating a Sonos system. It is a soundbase rather than a soundbar, designed for TVs that are not wall-mounted, with the intention being that its super-slim build slides beneath the TV as oppose to hung under it on the wall.

Like the Playbar, you can connect the Playbase to your TV with an optical cable for 3.0 home cinema sound, pair it up with the Sonos Sub for 3.1 home cinema, or add two Sonos One, Play:1, Play:3 or Play:5 speakers for 5.1 surround sound. It will also work with your TV remote and it is also a very capable standalone speaker as well as a TV sound booster.

The Playbase has ten Class-D digital amplifiers, as well as ten speaker drivers comprising six mid-range, three tweeters and one woofer. It follows the same design principals as the Play:5, with black and white colour options, a premium plastic exterior and capacitive touch control buttons.

As the Playbase is a newer model, it will get updated with Apple AirPlay 2 meaning a more seamless experience working with Apple devices, but it doesn’t offer integrated Alexa like the Sonos Beam.

Sonoswhat s the best sonos speaker sonos one play 1 play 3 play 5 beam playbar and playbase compared image 6

See current price on Amazon UK – Amazon US

  • Dimensions: 389 x 402 x 158mm, 16kg
  • Connections: Ethernet port, Dual acoustic ports
  • Colours: Black, White

The Sonos Sub is an extension of the Sonos Beam, Playbar or Playbase, and its intention is to add more depth to everything you hear by introducing more bass, offering a frequency response down to 25Hz. You will be able to stand the Sonos Sub upright or lay it flat and it features built-in rubber feet, as well as optional feet.

The Sub has two Class-D amplifiers along with two force-cancelling speakers that are positioned face-to-face for a deeper and richer sound. Audio settings will be automatically adjusted to balance the Sub and the paired Sonos component.

Like the rest of the Sonos system, the Sub can be controlled using the Sonos Controller App and it will connect wirelessly to your home network so you can place it wherever you choose.

You might also like

Comments are closed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. AcceptRead More