Buying Guide

Which Sonos speakers are right for me?

  • 29 November 2019
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Which Sonos speakers are right for me?
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If you’re considering equipping your home with Sonos, deciding what to get should be easy.

We offer a range of WiFi-connected audio devices, suited to a host of purposes. However, before you are able to make a decision (or even consider the options), it’s helpful to get an idea of what’s available in the Sonos range.
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We have an entire section dedicated to discussions surrounding what Sonos products to get, where you will find conversations centered around this very topic. You’re always welcome to start a new topic to discuss which Sonos products may be best for you. 

​​​Though if you’d like to ask more specific questions, this article may be the best place to start.
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Comparisons: A number of our users have already posted some very helpful articles describing the differences between some of our products. We have a topic which compares Sonos products on a chart in a comprehensive overview. It features the Sonos One and Five. It also lists the Arc and Beam alongside one another, and discontinued products, for easy comparison. 

If you’d like to get to know our products, read on. 


Firstly, why Sonos?

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Why you might consider our products:

  • Great sound for the whole home. We enable you to play your choice of audio source throughout the entire home, in perfect synchronisation. 
  • Easy experience. You can have the kids upstairs listening to their music, while you play yours in the living room (and kitchen, and hall), all at the same time. Home theater, bringing that vintage 80’s HiFi into the 21st century, music in the living room, voice assistant in the kitchen... All of that and more.
  • Freedom of choice. Whether you just want to buy one speaker to listen to all your favourite music services in one room, or you want to equip every room at home with music, the extent of your Sonos system is entirely up to you. 
  • It all works together. We offer compatibility with Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Airplay 2, plus a whole range of music services. But it doesn’t stop there. We also have products that will allow you to combine your existing audio systems with Sonos products. Any product with a compatible cable connection can be integrated into the Sonos ecosystem, and vice-versa. 
  • Premium design. We design simple things in unexpected and enduring ways. High-quality products made responsibly. 


What to keep in mind:

  • Sonos speakers are not Bluetooth speakers (with the exception of the Sonos Move). Sonos is a system designed to fill your whole home with sound. This is in contrast to the average Bluetooth speaker: A single source to a single speaker.
  • Sonos relies on WiFi. The reliability of your system will only ever be as good as your home WiFi.


The products:

(You can click “show content” under each of the product names for more information. You can also just click on the name of the product to link straight to it in our store). 

Both the Sonos One and PLAY:1 are compact but powerful enough to fill up a small room. They do sound the same as one-another. However, the Sonos One, being a more modern product, does pack more features when compared to the PLAY:1. Namely, it is equipped with a microphone for voice assistant features and is compatible with Apple Airplay 2. You can find out about these differences in the following article, created by community user @AjTrek1: Sonos One (Gen2/Gen1) and Play:1 Product Comparison Chart.

What is the ONE SL?
The PLAY:1 has been superseded by the Sonos One SL. Many retailers still have PLAY:1’s in stock and will do for some time to come. You can often get great deals on these. Aside from how they look and a difference in the layout of the buttons, one of the noticeable differences between the Sonos One SL and the PLAY:1 is that the PLAY:1 is not Apple Airplay 2 compatible. The difference between the Sonos One and the Sonos One SL is that the SL does not have microphones for voice activation.

Why you might consider one of these:

  • You have a smaller sized living room, bedroom, kitchen, etc.
    ​​If you intend to set up a Sonos home theater system, the PLAY:1 or Sonos One SL are the most cost effective Sonos rear surrounds. If you make use of voice assistant functionalities, the Sonos One is the way to go.
  • These speakers are also humidity resistant, so you could place them in an environment where they may be exposed to, for instance, steam. However, this does not mean they are weatherproof. For that, you may wish to look at the Sonos Move. We have explained the Move in further detail further down. 

What to keep in mind: 

  • When operating independently, these are all mono speakers. However, in most cases, you can set up Sonos devices as a stereo pair (though they need to be a close match).
  • Being smaller speakers, you will inevitably lose some of the dynamics in your music when really cranking it, and / or when trying to fill a large room with music. If you have a larger space or like loud music, you may want to look into the Five. You can find more information on the Five further down this page. 

If you’re interested some of the more nuanced differences between the Sonos One and PLAY:1, you will find the distinctions here, a little bit more in-depth.  

 

Get brilliant sound anywhere with the weatherproof and drop-resistant Move and Roam. Control them with your voice, the Sonos app, and Apple AirPlay 2 at home. You can stream via Bluetooth when WiFi isn't available, or when what you want to listen to is not offered via the Sonos application, or available as one of our offered music services

The Roam can share it’s Bluetooth link with the rest of your Sonos system, as well as “grab” music from a playing Sonos room and continue playback itself, even once out of range of WiFi (using your phone’s cellular data connection) using our new Sound Swap feature.

Why you might consider the Move:

  • Can be used as part of an existing Sonos system when at home, or as a standalone speaker when on-the-go.
  • Stream using WiFi and Bluetooth.
  • There’s no need to plug Move in (even though you can via USB-C). Set the speaker on the included indoor charging base for quick power whilst you get ready to go, then grab it and take it with you when you’re on the move.
  • Amazing sound, on the Move! (pun intended) The Move has a similar sound reproduction (some would say it has more bass) to the Sonos One (or SL).
  • Ideal for temporary use in the patio, garden or bathroom. 

Why you might consider the Roam:

  • Much more portable than the Move, you would be more comfortable carrying this around with you.
  • Still has the sound quality you expect from Sonos, despite it’s diminutive size.
  • Share Bluetooth with your Sonos system!

What to keep in mind: 

  • The Move and Roam can’t be used as a home theater surround speakers. 
  • We do not recommend leaving them outdoors for extended periods of time.

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If you have a larger room and / or require more power, consider the Five. The Five sounds great by itself but will truly shine as part of a stereo pair. Equipped with six Class-D amplifiers and six dedicated speaker drivers, there’s plenty on tap. Also, depending on whether you lay the Five horizontally or stand it vertically, you'll get a different audio experience: A wider stereo image or more direct sound stage respectively.

The Five is equipped with a 3.5mm line-in port, so you can connect any source you’d like to.

 

A question that comes up from time-to-time is whether the Five is suited for television audio. We do not generally recommend using the five in this way as this sort of connection may not pass an audio signal quickly enough. For that purpose, we recommend home theater specific Sonos products

The Five can, however, be used as a Sonos home theater surround speaker. Though in many cases, it may not be necessary to have such a large speaker performing this task. 

 

Why you might consider the Five:

  • You have a larger space that you want to fill with music. 
  • Line-in is important to you.
  • Great bass response relative to its size.

What to keep in mind: 

  • It may be overkill for smaller spaces. 
  • It is not recommended for television audio.
  • You need to set up the Five before you can use the Line-In feature. After this, you can have it active by default. 

 

We have collaborated with IKEA to create SYMFONISK, a range of WiFi speakers designed to democratise the home sound system. Combining Sonos’ expertise in sound and technology with IKEA’s knowledge of home furnishings, SYMFONISK WiFi speakers seamlessly fit into the home to enhance everyday life and integrate with the Sonos system.

Also, if you are a user of Hue lighting, you can add a Hue bulb to your SYMFONISK lamp. Then, if you’ve paired your lamp with Alexa or Google Assistant, you can voice control your Ikea lamp for that perfect reading light. IKEA also offers their own range of coloured bulbs in the TRÅDFRI series.

​​​​Do be advised, however, that the SYMFONISK lamp is not independently voice capable. You need to have a compatible voice configured product to be able to use this functionality: A SONOS ONE, Google Home device, Alexa Dot, etc.

Why you might consider these:

  • The bookshelf speaker is the most cost-effective way to expand upon an existing Sonos sound system, or to get one started. 
  • Both offer a discreet way of adding speakers to a space (most may not even realise a speaker is present).
  • They are compatible with Apple Airplay 2. 
  • A pair of either product can be used to create style conscious rear surround speakers in a Sonos home theater system. Note: They do have to be the same product, i.e., you cannot pair a lamp with a bookshelf speaker. 

What to keep in mind: 

  • Neither of these devices is (independently) voice capable.

 

You want a Sub if you want to enhance your listening experience. When you wirelessly connect Sub to any Sonos system, the difference will be remarkable. Add more dimension to your home theatre experience when you pair Sub with Beam, Arc, Playbar, or Playbase (the last two have been discontinued), plus a pair of Sonos Ones (for example) to provide surround sound.

 

Why you might consider the SUB:

  • You want more bass. As we all know, certain music styles really thrive when you add more oopmh.​​​
  • In larger rooms to provide additional low-end projection. 
  • Do your movies justice and add some rumble.

What to keep in mind:

New:

  • As long as one of them is a third generation Sub, you can now bond two Subs to a single Home Theatre room! Both Subs will play exactly the same sounds (there isn’t a channel separation) and S2 software must be used.

 

Use the Port to connect your traditional stereo system to stream music and more via Sonos. Enjoy control with the Sonos app or Apple AirPlay 2, and easily expand your sound system to more rooms.
 

Why you might consider the Port:

  • You have an existing HiFi system or audio device and want to integrate this into your Sonos system, or vice-versa. 
  • The PORT is also Airplay 2 compatible. This means you can make your traditional HiFi system Airplay 2 compatible, too.

What to keep in mind: 

 

Amp is the amplifier for powering your entertainment. Bring the Sonos experience to your floor-standing, in-wall, in-ceiling, outdoor, and other speakers with Amp. In other words, if you already have a set of passive speakers and want to include them in your Sonos system, or build a system around these speakers, the Amp has you covered.

If you don’t yet have a set of speakers and prefer a more discreet look with flush-mounting speakers, you’ll definitely want to check out Sonance and their architectural solutions.


Why you might consider the Amp:

  • You have some speakers that you want to introduce into a Sonos system, or vice-versa.
  • You are in the market for a speaker amplifier.
  • You already have built-in speakers without their own source of power. 
  • More than twice the power of the old Connect:AMP

What to keep in mind: 

 

We offer a range of devices to create a home theater system using Sonos products.

  • Arc - Ideal for bigger TV’s and / or larger rooms. The Arc comes in at 3.4 x 45 x 4.5 in (87 x 1141.7 x 115.7 mm). The Arc brings Dolby Atmos (uncompressed via a eARC port or compressed via HDMI-ARC) support to Sonos, with two upwards-firing speakers to add a vertical element to your soundstage.
  • Beam - For smaller TV’s and / or smaller rooms, the Beam comes in at 2.68 x 25.63 x 3.94 in. (68 x 651 x 100 mm)
  • Amp - For utilising passive speakers. 4.1 sound can be achieved with a second Amp and a Sub. 2.52 x 8.54 x 8.54 in. (64 x 217 x 217 mm) and rack-mountable.

The one that’s right for you is entirely situation dependent. Thankfully, one of our community users@AjTrek1 has put together a wonderful chart comparing the features of each one, side-by-side: Sonos Speaker Comparison Charts

If you already have a set of third-party speakers that you want to use with your television, you may wish to read up on the SONOS AMP. The details of which, are listed above. 

Why you might consider the Arc or Beam:

  • You wish to benefit from the features and functionalities of Sonos and introduce a great home theater audio system, which can also be used for music streaming.
  • Both the Arc and the Beam come with microphones and can work as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant devices.

What to keep in mind: 

  • These different products suit different room/TV sizes and price ranges. Have a look at the previously mentioned Sonos Speaker Comparison Charts to decide which would work best for you. 


We hope that you have become better acquainted with what Sonos has to offer and which specific products may cater to your needs. If you want to hear the differences between our speakers, you can do this at a Sonos dealer.
If you have any further questions or remarks, we’d love for you to start a conversation. We’ve decided to keep this topic closed for responses, we would prefer you to open your own topic to discuss your personal needs. 

Useful links and further reading:



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