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Wireless speakers

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What's behind our wireless speaker Ratings?

Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 54 models in wireless speakers to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
  • Overall score
    Overall score is based mainly on sound quality with ease of use and versatility also factored in. The displayed score is out of a total of 100 points.
  • Sound quality
    Sound quality represents the speaker systems tonal accuracy and ability to reproduce fine sonic detail. Sound quality judgments are made with the system optimized using its own tone controls and/or pre-set tone settings (if any) adjusted for most balanced sound.
  • Ease of use
    Ease of use indicates how easy it is to set up the system and use controls on the speaker and/or it's remote control.
  • Versatility
    Versatility score is based on the presence or absence of useful features.

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Recommended wireless speakers

Recommended wireless speakers are standout choices with high scores. They include CR Best Buys, which offer exceptional value. When narrowing your choices, weigh features, price, and attributes that matter to you.
  • Buying Guide
  • Price & Shop
Wireless speaker systems let you play music stored on a phone, tablet, media player, or computer that's across the room or even elsewhere in the house. Our tests showed that you don't have to trade sound quality for convenience, but you will pay a premium. Most models use Bluetooth wireless technology, which works with a wide range of mobile devices, including the Apple iPhone and Android smart phones. Consumer Reports’ unbiased Wi-Fi & Bluetooth speakers systems reviews will give you honest buying advice that you can trust. Use our Wireless speakers buying guide to discover the features that are most important to consider when looking for the best wireless speakers. We also provide unbiased Wireless speaker Ratings to help you choose the best wireless speakers for your needs.

Wireless speaker buying guide

Wireless speaker buying guide

Wireless speaker systems let you play music stored on a phone, tablet, media player, or computer that's across the room or even elsewhere in the house without fiddling around with cables and connections. Our tests showed that you don't have to trade sound quality for convenience, but you will pay a premium--several models we tested cost $400 or more.

Most portable models use Bluetooth wireless technology, which works with a wide range of mobile devices, including the Apple iPhone 5 and Android smart phones. But Bluetooth's reach is limited to about 30 feet, fine when the music source and the speaker are in the same room. Wi-Fi has a longer range, and with some sources you can stream music to multiple speakers in different rooms. Typically Apple devices use AirPlay to connect to your Wi-Fi network; Android and Windows devices generally use DLNA technology. (See Wi-Fi vs. Bluetooth.)

Depending on the speaker model, you may also get an iPod dock or the ability to connect an iPhone, iPod, or other device via USB. And almost all of the tested wireless speaker models have auxiliary audio inputs for connecting other gear, such as a portable audio player or TV.

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