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The Complete Sonos Buying Guide: Every Speaker, Soundbar and Amp Explained

We break down every product that Sonos currently makes. Including the brand-new Sub Mini.

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Sonos

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Sonos basically invented the multi-room category of home audio, starting as a software company in the early 2000s before integrating its Wi-Fi-enabled network into hardware a few years later. Its first amplifier (which became the Connect:Amp) and subsequent speakers were great, but the real beauty of Sonos is its ecosystem of audio products that make listening to music at home really easy.

The magic of Sonos is the ability to group any number of Sonos speakers together, provided they are all connected to the same Wi-Fi network, and have them all playing in sync throughout the house. Alternatively, they can all be playing different tunes if you'd like. And it's all controlled through a smartphone app.

Imitation is the finest form of flattery, so, over the years, a lot of companies have tried to beat Sonos at its own game. New wireless protocols have been introduced, such as DTS Play-Fi, Google’s Chromecast, Bluesound and Apple AirPlay, which emulate what Sonos does. Some big companies, most notably Google and Bose, also have their own line of multi-room speakers.

Under that pressure, Sonos has introduced smaller and more affordable speakers, like the Play:1, giving more people a gateway into Sonos. Under new leadership — after a decade in charge, CEO John MacFarlane stepped down in 2017 and handed over the reins to Patrick Spence — the company is now in the business of producing smart speakers that work with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.

In 2022, Sonos’s bread-and-butter is still multi-room audio, but the breadth of its entire ecosystem has expanded a lot. Its line of soundbars (as well as its connected amplifiers) have helped it weave its way into the home theater so that now you can integrate your TV into its greater audio system. Its connected receivers and amplifiers have helped Sonos become a solution for people who already have some part of the system, like a vintage receiver or passive speakers — which is most people — and don’t want to start over. And now Sonos even has several portable speakers.

The bottom line: Sonos is still the best wireless home audio ecosystem out there and Sonos are worth it in every sense.

How to Get a Great Deal on Sonos Speakers

The Upgrade Program: As of November 2020, Sonos has introduced a new Upgrade Program that allows long-time Sonos owners to buy new Sonos speakers and get a 15-percent discount. This is not a trade-in program; you'll still keep your old Sonos speakers. It's an initiative by Sonos to encourage long-time listeners to expand their system with some newer products.

Shop Certified Refurbished: Sonos refurbishes many of its speakers, amps and soundbars and sells them at a discount. The catch is that it regularly changes which of its various speakers are available in its "Certified Refurbished" section, so you might not be able to get the exact model of refurbished speaker you're looking for. For Sonos's latest refurbished offerings, click here.

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Sonos One
Sonos One SL
Sonos Five
Sonos
Symfonisk Bookshelf Speaker (Gen 2)
Sonos Roam
Sonos
Sonos Roam SL
Sonos
Sonos Move
Sonos
Sonos Ray
Sonos
Sonos
Sonos Beam, Gen 2
Sonos
Now 20% off
Sonos Arc
Sonos
Sonos Port
Sonos
Sonos Sub, 3rd Gen
Sub Mini
Sonos
Symfonisk Table Lamp (Gen 2)
Ikea
Symfonisk Table Lamp, Gen 2
Symfonisk Picture Frame Speaker
Sonos Amp
Sonos
Sonos Boost
Sonos
Sonos Architectural by Sonance
Discontinued and Unsupported Products
sonos system gear patrol lead full
Henry Phillips

Because Sonos speakers are essentially computers, they don't stay supported forever. Their sound-making abilities may remain intact, but their connectivity features get left behind. It's the tradeoff for the simplicity Sonos provides. Old-school vintage speakers may last for a generation, but they're also way more difficult to stream Spotify to.

Older Sonos products fall into one of two categories: Discontinued, and unsupported.

Discontinued products may still be for sale by Sonos, as refurbished models. Most importantly, they are supported by Sonos' latest "S2" app which means that although they are no longer top-of-the-line, they will place nicely in a Sonos system that contains more current speakers. Buying a discontinued Sonos product can be a good get if you're looking for a deal and understand it may become unsupported sooner than the newer products.

Unsupported products are not compatible with Sonos' newest "S2" app. They can still function, but they need to be grouped on their own separate network, and Sonos may not support this workaround forever. Buying unsupported products is almost certainly not a good idea (unless you are getting them at garage sale prices), and they're included below primarily for posterity.

Sonos Beam, Gen 1 (Discontinued)
Sonos Play:1 (Discontinued)
Sonos
Sonos Playbar (Discontinued)
Sonos
Sonos Playbase (Discontinued)
Sonos
Sonos Play:3 (Discontinued)
Sonos Play:5, Gen 2 (Discontinued)
Courtesy
Sonos Play:5, Gen 1 (Unsupported)
Sonos Connect (Unsupported)
Sonos Connect: Amp (Unsupported)
Sonos
How Do You Connect Your Streaming Services to Sonos?
sonos arc review lead full
Sonos

As an audio ecosystem, Sonos plays well with a lot of different streaming services. It works with Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Pandora and Google Play Music, and that’s just to name a few. (You can check out the full list of streaming services, here.) The beauty of this is that you don’t have to play music through the Sonos app. You can just open the streaming app that you normally use, say Spotify, and direct the app to play music through your Sonos system rather than through your smartphone.

If you have a streaming service that you already subscribe to and want to be able to stream to your Sonos speaker, it’s easy but you have to add that music service account to Sonos. To do this, simply

  • Open the Sonos app
  • Select “More”
  • Select “Add Music Services”
  • Select the service you want to add (Spotify)
  • Select “Add Account”

And then follow the rest of the instructions to finish adding your account. You can do this from a smartphone or computer from a Mac or PC.

Further setup info can be found here.

How Do I tune My Sonos speakers?

if you talk to people who know music, like sound engineers or audiophiles, they’ll tell you a huge part of listening to music is the room you’re in. A lot of rooms aren’t meant for listening to music — it’s why a concert is always going to sound better in an auditorium rather than an open-air stadium — and Sonos’s way of combating this issue is Trueplay, a technology launched in 2015 that tunes your Sonos speaker so that it sounds best for the room it’s in.

After you plug in your Sonos speaker and go through the standard Sonos protocols, like naming the speaker and connecting it to your home’s Wi-Fi, the Sonos app will ask you to tune the speaker using Trueplay. It requires you to flip your smartphone upside down and wave it around the room. You look crazy and your Sonos speaker will make some bizarre sounds, but your smartphone is actually listening and measuring how the sound reflects in the room. Trueplay then tunes the speaker, which only takes a few minutes (per speaker), so that it sounds more closely to how the artists originally intended.

Of course, not everybody wants technology to tune their speakers for them. So if you get a Sonos speaker, you don’t have to tune it with Trueplay. And if you do, but then regret it, you can turn Trueplay off at any time.

  • Go into the Sonos app
  • Select "Room Settings"
  • Select the speaker
  • Turn Trueplay off

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