Speakers are a bit like podcasts nowadays in that seemingly anyone can make one and a lot of them are utter tosh. Especially since the advent of Bluetooth, Spotify and all manner of new technologies that affect how your music sounds. Not that we’re pining for the days of the cassette tape deck, mind.
With the right speaker to hand, your record collection can sound resplendent once again. Yep, even if you insist on using the thing to mount a fresh defence of Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music. That’s why we’ve tested the best speakers you can buy for every budget. Whether you’re in need of a smart home powerhouse, or a muso-friendly stereo pairing, our picks below will see you right. Before that, here’s the buying advice you need to know when searching for a new speaker.
What is a wireless speaker?
A wireless speaker is basically a speaker you can stream music to. Most wireless and Bluetooth speakers will need plugging into a power source – so they’re not totally wireless – but others come with a rechargeable battery so you can bring the noise wherever you please. Since the iPod dock died off and the advent of Amazon’s Alexa pretty much all speakers outside the hi-fi high-end are wireless, thanks to a heady mix of convenience and voice controls.
How much should I spend on a wireless speaker?
This all comes down to how big you want your speaker to be. Bigger boomboxes generally sound better because they can more easily fill a room with sound and their added components can draw out a greater audio fidelity from a song. If all you’re looking for is something to sit on your bedside table, then you should be spending £200 or less. If you need to entertain a dinner party with the genteel strains of Black Flag’s Damaged.
Do I need a multiroom speaker?
Multiroom speakers were all the rage a couple years ago. Now with the advent of Spotify Connect and Apple’s Airplay 2 standard, there’s no such need to stick to one brand of speaker when populating your home. That’s bad news for Sonos, which still excels at playing the same tune simultaneously in every crevice of your home, but excellent news for anyone who just wants to use one app to control all the music in their home.
Should I just get a Sonos speaker?
Just as the Apple’s iPad has become synonymous with tablets, Sonos is used as a byword by many for wireless speakers. As good as the Sonos One and Play:5 are, there are plenty of alternatives worth looking at whether you want a superior sound quality, greater portability or a different voice assistant to chat with.