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How Ikea Is Diving Into the World of Speakers

The world’s largest furniture store is getting in the speaker business in a big way.

ikea
Ikea

Ikea, with its affordable, assembly-required chairs and shelving units, is the largest furniture retailer in the world. But that hasn’t meant that the growth is over. In just the past few years, the Swedish goliath has been dipping its hands into tech as well, trading in charging cables, wall adapters and wireless chargers, and a launching a whole home division — named Trådfri which is Swedish for “wire-free” — with smart light bulbs, smart blinds and other smart sensors. But one of its notable, growing sectors, is the furniture giant’s growing suite of speakers.

Björn Block, the leader of Ikea’s Home Smart division, will tell you that this focus is actually nothing new for Ikea, which sold records in its stores as early as the 1970s. It also launched its Renn range of hi-fi products around that time, consisting of a turntable, amplifier and a pair of bookshelf speakers. While it doesn’t sell hi-fi products or vinyl records anymore (although it does have copious vinyl storage options, as you’d expect), it does sell more speakers than ever.

Ikea upped its audio game last year with the much-anticipated speaker collaboration with Sonos, consisting of two bookshelf speakers and a table lamp speaker, which paired Sonos calling cards — same app, similar acoustic abilities — with affordable Ikea style. And the mixture proved a great success, with 30,000 Symfonisk speakers sold on the first day they went on sale in August 2019.

It was also the first time Ikea had ever sold a non-Ikea product in its stores, though the co-branded speakers are available exclusively through Ikea’s stores. But Ikea isn’t dependent on Sonos for sound. It has its own audio division located in Älmhult, Sweden, that’s dedicated to developing its own line of first-party speakers. Here is a look at what Swedes have to offer so far.

Eneby

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The Eneby line of home speakers is fully designed and developed by Ikea. There are two different sized models — 8-inch ($70) and 12-inch ($100) — both of which share a minimalist design, a simple and multi-functional volume knob, and a surprisingly powerful sound. There’s also a portable option ($25), which is smaller yet just $25. If you don’t have Wi-Fi or don’t want to pay over the odds for a speaker, the Eneby line is for you.

Price: $25 — $100

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Symfonisk

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The best way of looking at the Symfonisk range of speakers, which means “symphony” in Swedish, is that they’re the cheapest Sonos speakers you can buy — specifically the Bookshelf Speaker ($120). They work exactly the same, and sound very similarly, to Sonos’s own One SL or older Play: 1 speakers (they lack the built-in voice assistant of the One). The Table Lamp Speaker ($169+) is a little more niche, but highlights how Sonos likes to blend home furniture with sound. (As of October 2021, Ikea released an updated version of the Table Lamp Speaker, which you can pair with one of two lampshades: glass or a see-through textile.)

Price: $120 — $179

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Vappeby

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Ikea

Released in early 2022, the Vappeby is a portable Bluetooth speaker that also doubles as an outdoor lantern. It has a 12-hour battery life, an IP65 water-resistance rating, an integrated handle and it can deliver 360-degree sound. It's also the first speaker (as opposed to wireless earbuds or headphones) to support Spotify Tap, a feature that lets you to quickly resume whatever you were listening to on Spotify by tapping a button on the speaker. It's available in white or blue.

Price: $65

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Frekvens

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Note: Ikea no longer sells its Frekvens line of speakers, but you can find them on third-party sellers like eBay.

The Frekvens collection was a one-time collection between Ikea and Teenage Engineering that was in early 2020. It consisted of two Frekvens speakers. The first was a $70 party speaker and a smaller, more portable $20 speaker option that actually has a belt clip. Both portable Bluetooth speakers are kind of quirky, which is Teenage Engineering’s modus operandi. You could also buy a subwoofer combo or a $10 base for your speaker, in case you wanted to spice things up.

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